The penultimate issue of “The Darkseid War” is here (we’re at part 9 for those of you keeping track) and Lex Luthor has been let off the leash! The Justice League have been turned into gods, but is it good?
Justice League #49 (DC Comics)
It has been over two months since the last issue of Justice League (released February 24th). That’s a long time and seriously do we even remember what is happening? Mobius blah blah, Crime Syndicate blah blah…what does the official summary say again?
In this, the penultimate chapter of the critically-acclaimed epic “Darkseid War,” the fate of the Justice League and the entire universe is on the line! But can even the combined might of the Justice Gods contend with the secret machinations of Grail, the deadly daughter of Darkseid? Death, rebirth and the life of one of the members of the League changed forever!
Why does this book matter?
Hmm, that’s sort of vague. After reading this issue though I can safely say Geoff Johns has gone out of his way to remind us what it’s all about. Thankfully, you won’t have any trouble remembering thanks to Johns’ set-up; he showcases the stakes, what each character is going through, and most importantly maybe the biggest threat to the Justice League (and Earth!) isn’t the big bad guy we thought.
Lil arrogant Lex…
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Spectacle. That’s what this kind of series is all about. It’s a summer blockbuster with explosions, high stakes, and a story that puts our heroes in a position that sets our jaws wide open. Justice League #49 does that, but with characters talking more than punching, which we have to admit earns Johns some big ups. Johns lays down some serious good writing here starting with the recap captions that are anything but boring. Meanwhile Batman is floating on his giant chair foreshadowing some rather big threats that aren’t even in regards to Mobius (who was supposedly the bringer of death to Earth).
In a lot of ways Johns has made the Crime Syndicate – the alternate reality Justice League – much more relevant just in this very issue. Though they’re helping the Justice League they pose a much bigger threat and that’s because of the fact that they’re mirrors of the heroes. They know our heroes better than anyone and are evil as sin. Combined they are a huge threat, but by the end of this issue Johns flips everything and makes them possibly the worst threat the Justice League have ever faced. That sets up a climax that can’t be missed.
Jeez, spoilers Batman! Gawd!
This issue also has Lex going full god on Mobius, which is a lot of fun especially with him reflecting on how he’s finally felt like Superman for once. While he’s projecting constantly as always he’s still learning a bit, which is important in making the comic feel relevant. There’s also intriguing story elements for Barda, Cyborg and Superman that shouldn’t be missed. While the spectacle is high Johns has managed to stuff it with moments for everyone.
At the same time, Jason Fabok continues to prove this is an event book that is solid in every single panel. The detail is great, the effects of power incredible, and the characters act and react clearly. The colors by Brad Anderson maintain the darker tone with reds and browns – because this is the apocalypse after all – but the energy and explosions look perfect too.
It can’t be perfect can it?
Sticklers might argue the art does tend to not show environments in great detail, or uses explosions and extreme closeups too much. I for one sometimes found it hard to understand where the characters were in relation to each other. The action looks great, don’t get me wrong, but spatially it was tough to follow where characters were in relation to each other. This became increasingly difficult in the final pages as – avoiding spoilers here – the big cliffhanger reveal isn’t quite clear. A certain character is introduced and I’m not sure if that character – again avoiding spoilers and staying vague – turned into an adult over a single page. I think so, but I’m perplexed. That took the teeth out of the cliffhanger because I’m still a bit unsure what happened!
Is It Good?
The balance between action, character development, and twists are unparalleled. This is how you do spectacle in comics!