Darkseid War has quickly become one of the most impactful events of the New 52 and now, as Rebirth begins to take shape, Geoff Johns is giving us a look into the history of one of the main character’s past. Is it good?
Darkseid War Special #1 (DC Comics)
It’s already been established that Grail is the daughter of Darkseid, former ruler of Apokolips, and Myrina, the Amazon’s greatest assassin, but how did the child become the key figure to orchestrate the greatest war between the most powerful villains? This special not only fills in the missing history prior to the war, but also moves the current timeline forward as Grail prepares the next step in her master plan following the death of her father. Geoff Johns does an excellent job with Grail’s backstory, using classic motifs that parallel Greek mythology. It’s literary schema such as this that make Johns such a great writer and those who followed Azarello’s Wonder Woman run will recognize similarities with his mythology incorporation.
While it was stated even before the event took place, this issue firmly cements the notion that Grail is, for the most part, a Wonder Woman villain and I wouldn’t be surprised if we see more confrontations between the two after this event. Not only does this issue define Grail’s place in this war, but it also reveals just what she’s capable of (basically showing how bad-ass she is). While her past and identity itself is directly linked to Diana, it’s obvious that Grail is a threat to the Justice League as a whole and just because Darkseid is dead, Grail has a major role to place in the final four issues of the series.
While Grail is the title character of this special issue, a large portion also focuses on Jessica Cruz and the power struggle with her ring. Volthoom has assumed control of Jessica’s body and has forced her into the depths of the ring itself. Both the beginning and end of the issue document Jessica’s confrontation with fear itself and her attempt to escape. The issue ends with her coming face to face with the voice assisting her journey through the ring’s core which sets up the events for Justice League #49.
As for the artwork, Reis is partnered with a slew of other artists for this particular issue and we get some amazing spreads from the collaboration. The only downside of having Reis’ artwork is that it’s obvious when a panel isn’t sketched by him. That’s not to say that the artwork is bad by any means, there’s just a noticeable talent disparity.
Is It Good?
I was expecting this special to be just another bonus issue and another regretted $3.99 cast into the DC pot. What we actually get is an extremely well written backstory with just as much current, and essential, content to the Darkseid War event. If you’ve read the entire event thus far, this is definitely an issue you don’t want to skip. Johns continues to increase the hype for a dramatic end for the event and New 52 as a whole.