Sound the alarms! Ring the bells! I’ve broken my rule for a second time, and I’ve given a book a perfect score! (In case you’re wondering, the previous instance was The Multiversity: Pax Americana.) Now you might be asking yourself, “What’s his rule?” My “rule” is that I don’t give books a score of 0 or 10. My reasoning for this is that I believe that nothing is ever perfect, and nothing deserves a 0 because someone actually took the time, effort, and risk to create a comic… even if it’s terrible. So why did I give this issue a 10 if I feel like nothing is ever perfect? Quite frankly, it’s because this run kicks ass, and I don’t feel justified leaving this book at a 9 or a 9.5 when the story continues to build on itself!
Earlier this month, Justice League: Darkseid War Special #1 was released, and this issue picks up where that issue left off. As I mentioned above, this story has been running for just shy of a year now, and every bit of it (give or take some of the one-shots) has been enjoyable! Johns has taken his time to craft a story that focuses on the characters as much as the plot, and buddy is this a big plot!
Stemming from the reveal that closed out Forever Evil, Anti-Monitor has come to Earth, and with the help of Grail, he’s coerced Darkseid into a battle. After a beautiful set-up, Darkseid War became just that… a war. Darkseid and Anti-Monitor went toe-to-toe while the Justice League did what they could to stop the battle and save lives. But this battle is bigger than the Justice League, and ultimately, gods were destroyed, new gods were created from various League members, the Crime Syndicate came back into play, and Grail has been pursuing a completely separate mission the entire time.
All of this has built for months to create a war on many fronts as Johns races towards the conclusion. By breaking down where we are in this issue, it becomes clear that this story is BIG. And not the typical DC (over)hype where each issue promises to be “ground breaking,” or “earth shattering,” or “guaranteed to change the DC Universe forever,” only to just be “meh.” No, this is legitimately big! Yet, for some strange reason, DC hasn’t shoved this down readers throats like they typically do… Not that I’m asking to have Darkseid War hype shoved down my throat, but if there was ever a time to brag, this is it.
In this issue, the Justice League continues to fight for Earth with the assistance of the Green Lantern Corps. Mobius is leading a nearly unstoppable assault with his shadow creatures. The Crime Syndicate has turned on the League, and are now working their own angle. Lex has been infected with the evil of Darkseid, and continues to carry out Darkseid’s war with the parademons… And now Grail is beginning her war with her new secret weapon: Steve Trevor.
I’m not going to give anything away up here, just trust me when I tell you it’s good!
The Art: Has anyone ever had anything bad to say about Jason Fabok’s art? No? I didn’t think so… The guy is amazing. I’m not an artist, so I can’t confidently talk about the art in detail like I do with the narrative, but damn this guy is a gem! I’m sure if I understood the actual techniques and how difficult they are, or can be, I’d be filling this review with even more praise… but my personal art experience stops at stick figures, and even they look like they’re mentally challenged.
But seriously, check out Fabok’s work. Everything he presents is cinematic and full of detail and emotion… This is definitely some of the best art in the business!
Breakdowns for this issue can be found in the spoiler tag.
The Good: Lex Luthor. Holy power-surge Batman! The MVP for this issue easily goes to Lex! This is the first time we’re getting to see him fully utilize his new power… and it’s awesome! He’s a force to be reckoned with! I’m not sure if it’s his intellect that’s playing into this, but I’d venture to say he’s stronger than the original Darkseid… just less evil.
Power. Speaking of Lex and his new power, there’s a good commentary on power throughout this issue. Wonder Woman has a section towards the beginning where she touches on the corruption of power, and the arrogance that typically comes with power. There are other instances of these themes throughout the issue that are shown through Flash, the Crime Syndicate, and Batman as well, but my favorite moment is actually between Lex and Superman.
Deciding he’s had enough of his newly inherited god-like abilities, Clark decides to burn all of his energy out in an attack on Mobius, hoping the surge will stop the god once and for all… It doesn’t. In fact, it ends up causing more damage to Superman than it does to Mobius. It’s an attack that leads Lex to chastise Superman’s restraint over the years… This is easily one of my favorite moments between Clark and Lex.
The Trinity. This is minor, but it’s still awesome… I loved seeing Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman attack Mobius. There’s just something magical about these three teaming up, but this was even more exciting because of Batman’s enhanced abilities with the Mobius chair!
Barda and Mister Miracle. Two characters that have made the biggest impact on me in the least amount of time are Big Barda and Mister Miracle! Ever panel they’re in, I feel like they “steal the show.” What I’ve loved so far, is the relationship these two have. They work well together, and their love for each other is ever present… so when they have a difference of opinion concerning where their focus and loyalty should be, it hit pretty hard.
Barda saw an abandoned Apokalips as an opportunity to save thousands of slaves and prisoners, but Miracle believed that the best/right thing to do was to stay and assist the Justice League. Just when you think Miracle has convinced Barda of this, and they seemingly agree to move forward together, Barda opens a boom tube and leaves her husband. By no means do I think this will tear the two apart, but when Mister Miracle realizes she left, you can clearly see how hard it hit him. Now I’m hoping they both make it out alive so they can be reunited.
It’s a boy. Seriously… this child has been teased for a long time now… And in this issue, Batman confirms that the child is a weapon that will be needed to win… It’s killing me to learn more… I want to know more about Rosemary’s baby! I mean, Superwoman’s baby!
X-factor. Crap… I got so caught up in all of the action that I actually forgot that Grail had turned Steve Trevor into a new god as well… And here she is with her new x-factor, as well as her mother. If you read the special earlier this month, then you know how complex Grail is, but I think we all know this is bad… very, very bad…
Steve Trevor. Whoa…
Steve just took out Mobius as if he were a joke… I’m tempted to start asking random people in Hollywood if they read Justice League, just so I can geek out with them over this moment… I’m not joking!
The Bad: I gave this a perfect score! Why are you looking here? Ok… fine… You want something negative? What ever happened to Snart? There you go… But I’m not considering it a negative because this story isn’t finished yet…
- If you’ve enjoyed Darkseid War… cause it just keeps getting better.
- Lex Luthor… just trust me.
- You read comics… It’s that simple.
Overall: Justice League: Darkseid War is: epic, awesome, amazing, moving, fun, action-packed, earth-shattering, and the best thing to come out of the New 52 era… If you read any DC comic, then you should be reading this book. Johns and Fabok have marked their place in history.