This issue serves as an epilogue to the Darkseid War, but oh man does it kick off an interesting set of events. I was genuinely curious as to what would happen and what Darkseid’s death meant in the world. Turns out that this wasn’t a simple winner/loser battle. There’s been a major shift in the status quo!

image

I’ll be the first to admit that this war did not unravel how I imagined. There had been a lot of set pieces set up prior to the war beginning, and initially thought the League were going to have to find a way to stop the battle from commencing or bring a swift end to the cataclysmic clash. Amazingly, the league found themselves severely outmatched and outclassed. They basically had to sit back and watch as the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid went toe to toe. In a shocking twist, the fight began and ended in a flash (pun intended). The fight itself is not even the biggest draw of the story. As big of an event this has been, the war can be viewed as a prologue to the individual paths that our heroes will have to journey down. Excitement levels rising.

image

Geoff Johns stated that Darkseid War was going to be its own event, and he and the creative team delivered on that promise. I honestly thought that was just talk; something said to downplay any thoughts of a major crossover happening. Instead, we get a continuation of events through a launch of six one shots based on several characters. Johns and company really crafted an amazing story that was too large for the confines of just one book.

image

The issue opens in spectacular fashion. There isn’t a large splash or some grand action set piece. It’s just the heroes’ somber realization that Darkseid has died. It was a great way to open the issue because what unfolds is loud and in living color. As you can see above, there’s some very drastic changes above. Flash has merged with the Black Racer to become the God of Death. He was the instrument used by Anti-Monitor to deal the final blow to Darkseid. There was a bit of confusion for me regarding the transformation. While talking to Mister Miracle, Flash states that he doesn’t want to run from death, he seeks to control it. When the story returns to Flash and the rest of the League, it seems as if there are two people talking. Flash seemed to be fighting in his mind against the Black Racer. He takes off (or I assume he takes off. He’s just absent in the next panel and Shazam says they need to track him), but some voices still linger around, surrounding Shazam. Not sure where the voices or powers come from, but a source of energy surges through Captain Marvel’s body (can I call him that?), transforming him to a god as well–the God of gods. Shazam also splits from the scene, leaving the rest of the League scratching their heads as to what happened and what they’re going to do about it. I’m right there with you, guys.

image

Superman and Lex had the most interesting part in the issue for me. Not so much because of Superman, but because of good ol’ Alexander Luthor. With Superman’s cells fully charged by the fires of Apokolips, he’s taking out his frustrations with Lex on Luthor’s face. I’m definitely not a big fan of Luthor, and I’ve always wanted Superman to lay into him a bit, but I was actually worried about him during this scene. Superman could easily rip Lex out of his suit (which he does), and squash him like a bug (which he doesn’t). It brings up the same thoughts that I had seeing the other God transformations: how much control does each character have? They appear to have some sense of control and the same persona, but their psyche is different. Especially Superman who wouldn’t beat down an innocent Luthor even, no matter their shared history.

Spoiler
The best part is after Superman leaves Lex on Apokolips to fend for himself. He’s captured by a group of humans who call themselves The Forgotten People. Their leader, Adora, speaks of a prophecy: a hero from Metropolis who was raised by humble farmers would come and change everything. She asks Luthor if he was that man in the prophecy. With a piece of Superman’s tattered cape on his back and a slick smile, Luthor confirmed that he was that prophetic hero. Of course Luthor’s ego allowed him to claim to be Superman. Too bad he becomes something totally different.
image

image

Of course, Batman provides my other favorite part in the story. He and Hal Jordan are discussing the aftermath of the war. Batman, being the ever so vigilant obsessed hero that he is wants to keep the chair to aid in his mission in Gotham. Again, there’s that sense of control, but Batman’s attitude is definitely different. Green Lantern’s concern is absolutely warranted, but Batman reminds him that Darkseid’s horde is now without their leader and home. GL returns to Oa where the parademons are most likely headed. Seems like the Anti-Monitor/Darkseid fight was the least of everyone’s worries.

Speaking of Anti-Monitor, Grail and her mother Myrina Black gathered together to watch the transformation of Anti-Monitor back to his original form. Apparently, Grail made a deal with him prior to the war. What will be on his agenda now that he’s reverting back to Möbius? What does this mean for Grail and the League? Will Anti-Monitor come back for his chair? Find out all this and more next time in….
image

I must give a special mention to guest artist on this issue, Francis Manapul. He did such an outstanding job on this issue. His pencils gave the book an almost surreal feel to it. That match perfectly with the tone of events as I wished that this was all a dream for the Justice League’s sake. He and Brian Buccelato tackled the colors wonderfully, bringing life to each page. I definitely do not mention it enough, but letterer Rob Leigh does a helluva job. The entire book flows smoothly. Applause all around to everyone involved.

Recommended if:

  • You want to see the aftermath of Darkseid’s death
  • You’re interested in the upcoming one shots
  • You’re interested in big changes/challenges for the Justice League

Overall

I was on the edge of my seat while reading this issue. Mainly because I don’t sit properly in my chair, but I was also highly entertained but what unfolded. Essentially the conclusion to something big, and the start of something bigger Justice League #45 is terrific, start to finish. Although the main fight is done Justice League have their hands full with the multiple changes within the team. Not to mention that Kalibak and the rest of Darkseid’s lackies are still around, most likely looking for revenge. Lex Luthor easily takes the cake on best scenes for me, and that’s saying a lot. Like Superman, I trust Luthor about as much as his grows. But seeing him get pummeled by the Man of Steel, and then turn around and tell a freedom fighting group that he’s the prophesied man they’ve been waiting for…well you just don’t see that type of egomaniacal behavior often. Kudos, Luthor. Kudos

SCORE: 10 / 10