Ricky Church reviews Justice League #41…
The critically acclaimed team of Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok present the much anticipated, extra-sized first chapter of “DARKSEID WAR”! When the Justice League investigate a series of unexplained murders on Earth, it leads them to the frontlines of a war unlike any the DC Universe has ever seen – a battle between the two most powerful villains in existence: Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor! Meet Darkseid’s daughter – a mysterious force of evil with a bizarre connection to the Justice League! Plus: The horrible secret of Superwoman’s baby! The ultimate temptation of Batman! Lex Luthor vs. Superman – no holds barred! New villains! New allies! And so much more in the DC Event that has been building since JUSTICE LEAGUE #1!
Much like his other works, Geoff Johns’ run on Justice League has focused a lot on character and mythology building with an epic plot that goes all the way back to the very beginning of his time on DC’s flagship title. Justice League #41, the first chapter of ‘The Darkseid War’, weaves together many of the plot threads Johns’ has planted throughout his run, from Forever Evil all the way back to Origin.
John’s great character work is on full display as he finds a place for every Justice League member to be. With such a large cast, it’s a testament to his storytelling ability to balance each and every character with their moment to shine and role to play. One such moment is used subtly as Shazam, a young kid in the body of a grown man, remarks that he’s never seen a dead body before while the League investigates a murder scene. Wonder Woman is also given a lot of emphasis as she narrates about half of the story, examining each member of the League’s specific traits and talents. Wonder Woman has not always come across as the most interesting League member or benefited positively from Johns’ writing throughout his run, so this emphasis was a nice touch and well within her character.
At the same time Johns gives intriguing introductions to new characters and villains. While the heavy exposition during Mister Miracle’s introduction is a little distracting, its at least well served to his character’s backstory and motivations. Another new character in particular comes across as very threatening and formidable in a heavy action scene that also serves as her introduction. Darkseid himself, seen in the pages of Justice League for the first time since Johns began his run, is very imposing and deadly. Some of the criticism of Johns’ first arc was how Darkseid seemed to have no depth and was one-note, but that seems to be rectified with this story as it’s immediately clear why Darkseid is the most feared villain throughout the DC Universe.
Jason Fabok’s artwork continues to shine in this issue. In the aforementioned action sequence, Fabok had a very good eye for what exactly to focus on and how to choreograph such an intense fight with so many characters on the page. He also displayed a lot of emotionality during other scenes, such as Shazam’s subtle moment or Lex Luthor’s thinly veiled contempt for Superman.
‘The Darkseid War’ offered readers a good opening salvo for what is to come with a steady build-up and mythology building. Johns and Fabok once again showed their talent for character work and action sequences in the script and artwork. As the forces of Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor collide, things will only get more intense from here.