Monday, September 21, 2015

Justice League #40

Darkseid War Prologue

Geoff Johns Writer
Kevin Maguire Artist, pages 1-9
Phil Jimenez Artist, pages 10-11
Dan Jurgens Penciller, pages 12-13
Jerry Ordway Pencils and inks, pages 12-13
Scott Kolins Pencils and inks, pages 12-13
Jason Fabok Artist, pages 14-15
Jim Lee Penciller, pages 16-22
Scott Williams Inker, pages 16-22
Brad Anderson Colorist, pages 1-15
Alex Sinclair Colorist, pages 16-22
Rob Leigh Letterer
Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson Cover
Emanuela Lupacchino Movie Poster Variant Cover
Amedeo Turturro Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Group Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster.
By special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family.
The New Gods created by Jack Kirby.

So here it is. What I consider to be the formal sendoff of the New 52. And it all starts with a pretty cool cover that is half Darkseid/half Anti-Monitor. The only complaint I have is that the left side is not immediately obvious that it's the Anti-Monitor. You just kind of have to know it's him. We did see the New 52 version of the Anti-Monitor very briefly at the end of Forever Evil, but that's not really going to help people identify him here.

My local comic shop gave me the movie variant, which is based off Magic Mike. I've never seen the film, but I heard it's about male strippers, which makes this cover a little awkward for me. I guess it's a good adaptation, but the idea of the Justice League men stripping is just ... uncomfortable.

Our story begins with Metron the new god waxing poetically about the nature of the universe. He comes to Earth and witnesses a man attempt to become a superhero. The man's name is Wilson Morgan, and two weeks ago, he became one of the few individuals from the Amazo Virus crisis to retain his powers. Wilson tries to use his electrical abilities to save his neighbor's daughter, but he was promptly gunned down by the kidnappers.

Metron's occupation is to observe and watch everything, but never interfere. However, he has interfered several times, including once, years ago, to forge a treaty between New Genesis and Apokolips. Metron suggested Darkseid and Highfather exchange sons — Orion and Scot (who would become Mr. Miracle).

Metron's memories take him to the first time he saw reality truly threatened. The Anti-Monitor nearly destroyed everything, but was stopped in the event called Crisis on Infinite Earths (during which the original Barry Allen sacrificed himself to save the day). The next big threat was called Zero Hour, caused by Hal Jordan possessed by Parallax. The next event, Infinite Crisis, brought back the multiverse, thanks to alternate versions of Superboy and Lex Luthor. And most recently, reality was remade during Flashpoint, which was caused when Barry Allen attempted to travel back in time and prevent Eobard Thawne from killing his mother. The result of that adventure created the New 52.

Metron ends his trip down memory lane and visits the Anti-Monitor on Earth 3, from which the Crime Syndicate escaped. Metron reveals that the Anti-Monitor's real name is Mobius, and he once sat on the all-powerful chair that Metron now controls. Metron begs Mobius to reconsider his latest plans to destroy the universe, saying reality can't survive another crisis. Metron says as they speak, Brainiac is preparing a Convergence of timelines.

Mobius doesn't care, saying he's only interested in being restored to what he once was, and he knows Metron lacks the power to make that possible. Metron warns Mobius that the wrath of Darkseid will befall him. But Mobius likes that idea, saying the death of Darkseid is the key to it all. Metron is then suddenly attacked from behind by a woman who vows to help Mobius kill her father, Darkseid.

The Good:

Fun overview of the crises. This issue tried to do quite bit. It wanted to follow up on a dangling thread from the Amazo Virus, set things up for the Darkseid War, and, more immediately, Convergence. And on a whole, the issue did a fairly decent job juggling all these tasks. The highlight for me was the brief, yet sufficient look at the previous major reality-altering events. This was one instance where a large cast of artists was used effectively. Each event dealt with a different reality, justifying the different artistic styles for each one. And the artists who worked on this issue are some of the biggest names at DC, delivering quality work as always.

The Bad:

Little to no Flash. Scott Kolins did feature the Flash prominently in the Flashpoint segment, awkwardly butting heads with Reverse-Flash. And Jim Lee did sneak Flash into the background of the Darkseid Invasion. But that was all the Flash we saw in this issue. I don't blame this issue for not including more Flash — that's not the story it's telling — but it is worth noting that Grant Morrison's Multiversity had a similar recap of the crises, and said the Flash was "always there at the electric heart of every momentous transformation." As much as I loved Multiversity, I will not review it on this blog, as it was not part of The New 52.

Final score: 5 out of 10

After this issue, DC dropped that "The New 52!" logo from all their books and launched the Convergence miniseries, which led directly into Divergence. Very little changed, as far as I can tell, with the exception of DC feeling more free to print wild and goofy titles such as Bat-Mite and Bizarro. Instead of attempting to keep 52 titles in the mainstream continuity, DC has slashed that number down to 24 (and maybe even less than that by now). But these changes are big enough for me to finally, fully justify closing this blog once and for all. Of course, my decision is influenced greatly by my extreme dissatisfaction with the current creative team on The Flash.

This isn't goodbye forever. I still hope to do a complete, final reading order and possibly some profile pages and/or timelines. For what it's worth, of the 159 issues I reviewed on this blog, the average score is 5.15, which I think is right about where it should be. I gave seven issues a perfect score of 10 out of 10 (The Flash #0, 7, 9, 12, 17, 23 and 24). Only one issue got a zero, DC Universe Presents #0. The worst score for an issue of The Flash was #40, which earned one point.

So, anyway, hopefully I'll see you again some time! In the meantime, I encourage you to check out my other blog based on a speedster,

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