By Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, and Brad Anderson
Fresh off the news of DC’s Rebirth event where this title, creative team, and arc will end with issue 51, “The Darkseid War” is nearing its ultimate conclusion. With all this context surrounding the comic, one can’t help but feel how bittersweet this all is. As the story stands, the members of the Justice League, with their newfound godhood status, have begrudgingly agreed to a dangerous alliance with their old foes from Forever Evil, the Crime Syndicate of Earth-3. The Syndicate, specifically Owlman, believe they have the solution to defeating the Anti-Monitor. During all of this, the very antagonist in question has separated himself from the Anti-Life Equation and has begun what he has always done…destroy!
This series is, without a doubt, one of Geoff Johns’s best works, if not his best. In reading this issue in particular, it is evident how each and every piece of dialog and narration is used to its maximum effect. The first page of the comic is a beautiful full-page shot, from Jason Fabok and Brad Anderson, that has 12 narration boxes from Wonder Woman. Each one is eloquently worded to deliver the necessary recap and set the tone for the rest of the book. Even as serious as the situation is, a little quip from Green Lantern here and there carries the perfect amount of levity. Johns continues to bring his A-game to this brilliant storyline with great finesse.
Without spoiling anything, this creative team continues to pull out all the stops. Geoff leaves no stone unturned in the DC Universe. There are so many characters that he has written into this comic or other series and he’s not afraid to pull them into the fray of Darkseid War. Readers who bite their nails may want to stay away from this issue, because every page will have something that will shock or blow people away. Fabok takes the script and turns it into magic. There are three two-page spreads that, as unconventional as the content is, just instill how massive and intense this event is. Color artist Anderson’s work is just breathtaking. His efforts, from the reflecting light on Owlman’s helmet to the blinding flash of a boom tube portal opening, make all the difference when the scope is properly rendered.
Even with all the spectacle, the heart is never lost. When the fate of villains take an emotional toll on a reader, something is being done right. Something like this is only accomplished when the entire team is working at 100%. It has to be done at the right beat of the plot with the right words (or none in some cases) and the illustration(s) have to be carefully done to deliver the intended impact. Facial expressions are so important in these moments and luckily that is a specialty of Jason’s. Brad fills it all out with the sublime accents to hit readers with an awesome gut punch.
This is the endgame for this run of Justice League, so readers and honestly DC fans in general need to be experiencing this as the final moments unfold. I’m as critical and cynical a reader as they come, but even after reading this issue three times, there’s really nothing that can be faulted. It’s so very rare to find a comic like this. This is sequential art at its finest and that’s what the Justice League deserves!