Written by Geoff Johns
Art by Francis Manapul
For the last few years, Justice League has been dancing to its own tune. With the exception of Trinity War and Forever Evil, Johns and company have never had to worry about any book but their own, which as anyone who read Morrison and Porter’s JLA would probably agree is for the best given how frequently characters would change on a dime in their own books. But that also means the book consequently exists outside of DC continuity as it currently stands for various characters, that bit of weirdness aside, it allows for Johns to do much more than he would if he had to slavishly adhere to the status quo at the moment, when a year from now it might not even matter.
That said, so far Darkseid War has been large in scale even beyond the boundaries of what DC has used as big event fodder in the New 52’s lifetime. There really isn’t a much bigger way to open an issue than with Darkseid’s death. And on the surface a good chunk of the story resembles Final Crisis, from the Black Racer killing Darkseid, to even using what were then rumors (the Justice League becoming New Gods) as plot points. While this is an interesting idea in theory, in execution it comes off fairly tepidly as presented and in some cases like a lot of other developments in Darkseid War happens out of left field. While it’s been welcome to have fresh faces like Power Ring, or Captain Cold hanging around, it doesn’t help when those characters get short shrift, or those aforementioned developments have no room to breathe.
While admittedly those are spreading out to some degree to the one-shots, it doesn’t help in making the events of this issue more bearable. That said Francis Manapul as typical for the books he does, takes what could be boring material in lesser hands and makes it exciting just to read exposition. While the shift midway through from Jason Fabok is jarring, it does work in terms of the narrative’s own tonal shift away from a blockbuster summer movie, and in giving the story a distinctive look. Hopefully the following issues are more clear than this one was, but if you’re a fan of Manapul’s art you won’t be disappointed.
3.5 out of 5 Mobius Chairs