Justice League: Darkseid War
The Justice League has always been a center point of the DC comic book universe and includes the most powerful super heroes in the world. Now, one by one, its members become “gods”, and the authors leave us with the question: “Does absolute power corrupt absolutely?”
The current major event in the Justice League series is “the Darkseid War” and yet again, Darkseid invades Earth Prime raising many questions and leaving an endless amount of possibilities for the future of the universe. The War itself is a culmination of every event that has happened in the Justice League in the past 4 years, setting the scene up with the first Darkseid invasion back in 2011, continuing with the “Trinity War”, followed by the “Forever evil” arc, and also the storylines involving Lex Luthor’s membership. Although the themes of the storylines differed, they have all been, unbeknownst to us until now, a part of a bigger whole, showing that everything Geoff Johns had been writing was thoroughly and carefully planned since the very beginning.
The Darkseid war’s plot is simple in the way that Darkseid wishes to destroy the Earth, and his enemy wishes to destroy him. His enemy however is the one and only Anti-Monitor, whom we all know from the famous “Crisis on infinite Earths” miniseries from 1985. The story is narrated through the eyes of Wonder Woman, as the key to destroying the Earth lies within the Amazons.
The complexity lies within the infinite number of characters involved, ranging from some who are well known, to some completely new ones like Darkseid’s daughter, the half Amazonian half New God, Grail. As Darkseid’s and Anti-monitor’s forces collide on Earth, the Justice League gets sidelined, as they are easily overpowered by the rampaging armies. What ensues is chaos during which the Justice League members achieve divinity one by one, but at what cost?
Wonder Woman, as the narrator, has been the god of war for some time so there is nothing odd about her, but what about the others? Batman whose main characteristic was humanity, becomes the god of knowledge, finally finding out who the Joker really is, and leads Hal on a quest to find out how to defeat both Darkseid, and his nemesis. This infinite knowledge twists Bruce’s perception and he develops a certain “the end justifies the means” philosophy. Superman and Lex Luthor have been transported to Apokolips, Darkseid’s home planet, having been betrayed by Lex’s sister Lena who had been collaborating with Darkseid since the beginning. As Superman begins losing his powers, Lex throws him in a fiery pit, thus overcharging Clark with Apokolips’ solar energy, turning him into a bloodthirsty villain, countless times stronger than he had ever been, and the two battle. As both Batman and Superman seem to be corrupted due to their new powers, another member joins their villainous ranks. Barry Allen, the Flash, is turned into The Dark Flash, a more or less god of death, who is commanded by Anti-monitor.
Unlike others whose strength has only been growing, Cyborg experiences a different type of transformation. His wounds are healing and his body is starting to repel the alien technology, thus making him a man yet again. As of now, we have yet to see what lies in store for other members more specifically Lex Luthor, Shazam, The Power Ring, Green Lantern, and Mr. Miracle.
In this storyline which began at chapter 40#, we witness the defeat and death of Darkseid, only 4 chapters later, but many new questions arise, since the writers announced that the story and its aftermath will last for at least an entire year. Besides the standard series, 6 spin-off one-shots have been announced for November as well, dealing with the changes in the characters’ status quo.
Another topic that seems to raise a lot of eyebrows is how this story fits into the overall continuity of the universe. When it was announced that DC is abandoning the New 52 imprint and focusing on a DC YOU imprint, it was said that continuity is being put aside because it is more important to have a great story than continuity. However, it was also announced that all the stories across the universe would eventually fall into their respective places, thus forming a chronological order in which the stories occurred. This is one of the aspects of Darkseid War that has been questioned by many fans due to numerous reasons, some which are: Why is Batman in the Justice League Bruce Wayne, while in his own comic book Batman is Commissioner Gordon?; Why is Hal Jordan a hunted criminal in his own Green Lantern series, yet a full lantern corps member in the Justice League?; Where is Aquaman? Hopefully, we will not have to wait long to find out.
It should be made clear that the story is, at this point in time, only half way done, but readers should keep in mind that Johns usually uses his storylines to always set up new stories of even larger proportions. What is worth mentioning is his intrinsic ability to never have plot holes, or use deus ex machina elements in order to solve any current issues. All in all, we have been more or less trained to trust Johns in his endeavors, knowing that everything he touches turns to gold beginning with his Wally West run of the Flash and Barry Allen’s rebirth, followed by Hal Jordan’s rebirth and his legendary Green Lantern storylines, ending with his current run of the Justice League, for which we can safely say that it was for the past 5 years, and still is, a great monthly book, not only widely praised by critics, but also by fans of the series everywhere. Keep an eye out for future chapters to find out how the War will resolve, but more importantly, how it will impact and leave its mark on the DC Universe, not only on the Justice League, but also on all other monthly books.