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Holy Bat-Cow…. That was A LOT! Geoff Johns epic Justice League: Darkseid War comes to a close with this oversized issue, and it’s great. Yes, some people will probably complain about events that occur in this issue, or the ending overall, but I ultimately feel like the creative team should be happy with the final result. While there are a few moments that were predictable or cliche, there are also a lot of great closures and plots that carry forward for Rebirth. If anything, this issue gives me hope as to what Rebirth might bring.

Typically, I would do a recap of what’s happened in the story so far, but Johns and Fabok take care of that at the beginning of this issue, so…

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Now we’re left with MANY questions before jumping into this final battle. Can the League stop Steve Trevor and Grail? What will happen to the god powers the Justice League inherited? Can Jessica Cruz and Cyborg escape their captivity from the Crime Syndicate? What’s next for the remaining Crime Syndicate members, and what in the hell is up with Superwoman’s baby? There’s SO MUCH to cover, and no page is wasted! I’m not going to beat around the bush in this review with general statements, I’m going to jump right into the breakdowns!

Spoiler

The Good:

The battle. Darkseid War has consistently provided good action, and the final chapter is no exception. Grail and the newly empowered Steve Trevor are stronger than expected, and the League have their hands full. Trevor knows he can’t control himself, and begs Diana to kill him before he hurts anyone, but she refuses. Yes, it’s cliche. Yes, we’ve seen it a thousand times. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t enjoy it. The real enjoyment for me came out of the conflict between Superman and Lex though. It’s a quick moment, but it carries forward from the previous issue, and expands on the difference between Lex and the League in how far they will go for the “greater good.” When all is said and done, the action is top notch, and the praise should be passed on to Fabok.

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The Baby. Johns has kept us on our toes this entire run with one shocking moment or twist, followed by another… Well we get a ton of shocks/twists in this issue alone, and the catalyst for most of them, is Superwoman’s baby. But seriously, what’s so special about this child? How is it going to stop the current situation when it’s an infant? The quick answer: it’s Alexander Luthor’s baby… And because of that, he can absorb power… even the power of the new gods. Whaaaaaaaaat? Ok, I get it now! I now know why Superwoman, Owlman, and Batman made such a big deal about the baby. Yep… Got it… Yay? Crap?… Someone give this baby a good home so he won’t become evil!

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Bye Felicia. And then, the moment I’m coming to terms with the realization of this baby’s abilities, what it means, and how he’s going to change the tides of this battle against both the Justice League and Grail… this happens.

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Crap… This is definitely a “crap” moment. I mean, I don’t really care about Superwoman – in fact, the only member of the Crime Syndicate that I’d care to see stick around is Owlman – but the fact that Grail has this baby, is not good. The moment Grail takes the baby, I know she’s going to separate the Justice League from their god-like powers, and I can’t help but think that there’s no way of beating her…

 

Sacrifices. I feared Johns would take the League’s loss of their godhood, and create a “how can we win now?” type of plot thread that matched my reaction… Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Instead, the League mostly reacted positively to the loss of these abilities and rallied together, which was epic and inspiring. The highlight though, came from the Flash’s separation from the Black Racer. Since the Black Racer is an entity that possessed Flash – for a lack of better words – that energy couldn’t be absorbed by the baby. But as we know, the Black Racer can’t leave until he takes a life. In a fitting and touching move, Cyborg and Jessica Cruz work to break free from the Crime Syndicate’s control, so Jessica can sacrifice herself to save Flash. This doesn’t work on a few levels – which I’ll get to later – but it does work on some levels because of how Flash has treated her in the past. Since gaining the Power Ring, Flash has gone out of his way to reach out a hand of friendship to Cruz, mentoring her, and this was the ultimate way she could repay him.

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Furies. Barda! You beautiful, warrior woman!

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I LOVE what Johns has done with Mister Miracle and Big Barda in this story! I’m overjoyed every time they’re featured, and most of it has to do with their relationship/ the energy they bring to the title. I knew there would be some heartbreak before this run ended though, and I worried one of them would die… Then Barda appeared with the Furies and other warriors from Darkseid. She agreed to return to the Furies if they helped her, which meant she would return to Apokolips following the war. And since Mister Miracle is still considered a slave, it’s clear that this meant the two would need to part ways…. No!!!!!! Considering we’ve yet to get details on Rebirth’s Justice League of America, I was hoping these two would be part of that team… *sigh* I guess there’s still hope, but for now, I’m going to be sad that these two are saying goodbye for a little while.

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A mother’s love. Myrina sacrifices herself to save the world. It’s hardly shocking. I expected this would happen, so it’s not the sacrifice or “shock” that I consider the win here. Instead, it’s the fact that she knows she made mistakes raising Grail, and as much as she tried to keep the darkness from overtaking Grail, she alternatively instilled the idea of war in Grail. That realization, followed by the fact that she owned that mistake… that’s what makes this moment worthwhile.

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Grail and the baby. Throughout this entire run, I’ve been saying little prayers that Johns wouldn’t kill off Grail… and thankfully, he doesn’t! In my opinion, Grail is an amazing, conflicted character, and it would’ve been a shame to have her existence only last through one story. On top of that, she now has Superwoman’s baby, who has the power/essence of Darkseid, so she considers the child her father, and her responsibility. It’s strange, but interesting. I have no doubt that this baby will come into play during Rebirth at some point… but how? What role will this baby play? Grail is swearing to raise this baby to oppose war, but let’s be honest… There’s an evil in Grail that can’t be denied. Beyond that, there’s an evil in this baby. It’s the child of Superwoman and Alexander Luthor. It has the power of Darkseid. Those are three attributes that point to evil. But at the same time, the child is going to experience love, and has the power of the other gods… This new “Darkseid” is going to have more texture and will be more complex than the previous (original?) Darkseid, and I consider that a win. Any time you can make a character more complex and interesting, it will always serve as a positive in my book.

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Owlman. My thoughts on Owlman basically went like this:

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Yes!!! He survived! Thank God! There’s so much that can be done with him, and we still don’t know what he was doing with Luthor following Forever Evil! I’m so happy right now!

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… F#&%…

 

The Bad:

Rush, rush, rush. Considering everything that needed to be covered in this issue, it was pretty obvious that it was going to feel a little rushed. BUT, Johns honestly balanced all of the plots quite well, so this is a minor argument. Some things were just dealt with more quickly than I would’ve liked.

Cruz’s sacrifice. Above, I praised Cruz’s sacrifice because of the context of her relationship with Flash.  That aspect is great! I love it, in fact. BUT, I felt NOTHING when she “died.” Why? Well, on one level, we’ve never really gotten to know her, so that plays a role in part of it, but mainly it’s because I know she’s going to be front and center in Rebirth… so I knew she wasn’t really dead, or that it would be undone. If I didn’t know anything about Rebirth, I’m sure this moment would’ve had a little more impact, but it still would’ve fallen short for me. Anyways, she didn’t die, just Power Ring, and Cruz is now a full fledged Lantern.

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Darkseid. Umm… Ok… I don’t care how you try to spin or explain this, but it doesn’t make sense… First off, how in the hell does a baby suddenly turn into Darkseid just by absorbing the abilities of the gods? I mean, really… This was easily my least favorite moment from this issue, and in some ways, almost ruined the book for me. Plus, Grail acted like this was her plan the entire time, but that doesn’t make sense either. She wants to kill Darkseid to gain her own path to power, and rule. Got it. So creating a new Darkseid that she can control (seriously… I’m glaring at Geoff Johns for even doing this) makes sense, right? Wrong! She didn’t know that Superwoman was going to birth a mini Alexander Luthor that can absorb powers. She didn’t know that she would be able to then create Darkseid out of that child (again… Johns… buddy… no)… Nothing adds up, and this single moment basically makes the entire story fall in on itself. He should have just left the conflice at Grail, Trevor, and a baby stealing powers.

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Batman. Yo… Johns… For real man… I know I write for Batman-News.com, and I know I’m biased, but seriously, dude… You didn’t do ANYTHING with Batman here! He literally sat on his butt during the final battle, and barely contributed any worthwhile information while in the Mobius Chair during this issue! I thought for a second we were about to get something amazing when Hal gave Bruce his ring… but NOTHING! Dude! What a wasted opportunity! It’s Batman! And he’s wearing a Green Lantern ring!

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Lex. So… at the end of this issue, Lex returns to Apokolips and essentially becomes the leader of these people… Here are a few minor problems I have with this.  1. How did Lex get back to Apokolips?   2. How is he surviving without any type of protection if he’s human? The atmosphere would kill him, and was killing him previously, so why not now?   3. He doesn’t have powers anymore, so why is he still respected by the natives if he’s just human?   4. His story on Apokolips feels completely disconnected from Barda’s story on the same planet.   5. And this is the biggest one for me, why are the people of Apokolips branding him with Superman’s crest? I get that he’s arrogant and believes he’s the answer to everything… but this moment left me scratching my head.

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Joker. No. No! NO! I’m one of those people that believes that the best thing about the Joker is his mystery! I was desperately hoping that Johns would continue this by having the Mobius Chair incapable of explaining the Joker… but instead, we find out that there’s apparently three Jokers…

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The Art: The backbone to Johns’ narrative throughout Darkseid War, has been Fabok. This story wouldn’t be nearly as good as it is, if Fabok hadn’t delivered. The art is honestly a 10/10 in every panel, and is easily the best work in comics today!

 

Recommended if:

  • It’s the final chapter of Darkseid War.
  • You want to read the best Justice League story from the New 52.
  • You like good comics.

 

Overall: Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok close out their epic with this issue, and despite a few issues I have with the narrative, I still found this book to be good. Darkseid War in its entirety is what I find really special though. This story is easily one of the best things to come out of the New 52, and if you don’t read it, you’re missing out. Thank you Johns and Fabok for creating such a fun story. I can’t wait to see what’s coming in Rebirth!

 

SCORE: 8/10