Comics

Justice League #41 Review: Darkseid War Part I

If you’re looking for something to take the taste of DC’s Convergence out of your mouth, DC has you covered. As the era of New 52 comes to an end, Geoff Johns is still doing what he does best: writing world class comics that are both exciting and significant. Justice League #41 officially kicks off the long-awaited Darkseid War storyline that promises to have huge ramifications for the DC Universe. Although nothing has been announced about crossover plans for tying in related comic book titles, this series promises to be an event nonetheless. If you’re a long time DC fan or just looking for a place to hop on, Darkseid Wars is what you’ve been waiting for.

As the story begins, we see the Justice League playing CSI at a seemingly unremarkable murder scene. The reason that this looks like a job for the League is that the victim shares the same name as numerous other women who are being “Terminator-ed” all over the world. We know the culprits to be Lashina and Kanto, a pair of evil New Gods who are hunting any and every person with the name Myrina Black they can find as per Darkseid’s orders.

Meanwhile (read as the announcer from Super Friends), Superman is overseeing a Lexcorp operation of the recently subdued super villain Neutron, whose radioactivity has resulted in a severe form of cancer after the recent loss of his powers. Superman and Lex have more of an “I’ve got my eye on you” relationship in the New 52 as opposed to the mortal enemies relationship that a new reader may expect. In fact, at one point, Superman manipulates Lex Luthor to personally take action by essentially taunting his inability to cure cancer, which goads Lex into proving him wrong.


Who can stay mad at that face?

There are a lot of great moments in this issue, one in particular being the confrontation between DC fan favorite Mister Miracle and the series’ titular villain Darkseid. As Mister Miracle is caught attempting to break into Apokalips, Darkseid takes a moment to challenge his choice of costume colors.

“Do you wear them because they come from New Genesis? The world that pretends to embody fairness and tolerance? The world you despise for sending you here? The world you refuse to return to? Is it because there are colors like that there? Is that why you wear them?”

Mister Miracle’s witty response, of course, is to throw an energy disc at him, which results in a laser fight followed by Mister Miracle’s trademark escaping skills. His alter ego is Scott Free, after all. Beneath the surface, this scene is more than mild taunting. Darkseid is almost reflective of his way of life, genuinely seeing little difference between his choices and the choices of others. It is easy to paint a two dimensional villain, but to create a villain like the demonic Darkseid and make him the hero of his own story shows great skill by Geoff Johns and adds a lot of depth to the story to come.


The first faceoff between Mister Miracle and Darkseid in 1978

The scene to follow is clearly the star of the book, in which a grey skinned warrior woman makes a memorable entrance (I’ll let you read about that for yourself) and virtually takes apart every member of the Justice League in attendance–in Cyborg’s case, almost literally. We don’t know much about her identity other than her claim to be of Amazon blood and that she is carrying out a mission that the Amazon race was possibly designed for. She has intricate knowledge of how to take down each member of the League, and drops multiple clues about upcoming storylines: she whispers, “Sleep, Prince of Darkness” to a badly injured Batman, alludes to Cyborg’s technology as both dangerous but extremely useful to her cause, and uses Jessica Cruz to unleash an evil army from another universe using Jessica’s green power ring.

You can already tell from Part I that the readers of this series are in for a wild ride. Along with predictions from past issues about the fate of various characters, this book is already making lots of promises that fans can likely expect to be kept. Considering that DC Comics has already announced its new “DC You” initiative, we can expect that any major losses be short lived, but still likely to tug at the feels. New readers are likely to stick around for answers to many burning questions, and old readers are seeing the harvest of seeds that were planted very long ago. It is interesting that the story takes place independently of the Convergence crossover event, but that is par for the course for previous Justice League stories as well, and also a good chance to give the New 52 era the send-off that it deserves.

 

Images 1 & 2 © 2015 DC Entertainment, Image 3 © 1978 DC Entertainment