By Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, Oscar Jimenez, Paul Pelletier, Tony Kordos & Alex Sinclair
This one-shot further deepens and continues the groundbreaking “The Darkseid War” storyline in Justice League. The previous tie-in one-shots were ancillary, but this one is key to the penultimate issue of Geoff Johns’ seminal run. The cover by the talented Jason Fabok (primary artist on this arc) clues readers in on who is the primary focus of the comic – Grail, daughter of Darkseid. What is a pleasant surprise is that another character’s journey is furthered as well.
For Jessica Cruz and Grail to have the spotlight in this issue may seem odd at first, but it makes a lot of sense, especially in Johns’ hands. Of course, they are two key female characters that he created, and it’s great to see a more women-centeric issue, but their relevance and connection to the stories being told in this one-shot are due to their inner demons. Much of Grail’s past is revealed in these pages, which humanizes her, but her actions in the present are a stark contrast. This notion is furthered stylistically with the flashbacks being illustrated by Paul Pelletier and Tony Kordos and the present sequences being done by Oscar Jimenez. Jimenez’s pages are extremely detailed and inked heavily, conveying a dramatic, dark tone. It perfectly suits the material. Whereas Pelletier and Kordos’ work, while still having somber moments, focuses on the love/bond between mother and daughter. They bring a softer touch to the panels that soften some of the emotional blows.
Ivan Reis and Joe Prado, who have teamed up with Geoff in previous Justice League issues and other works, collaborate once again to chronicle Jessica Cruz’s battle with Power Ring. Johns is no stranger to writing how one overcomes fear and he continues powerfully telling Cruz’s emotional journey to the light (if you haven’t read his Green Lantern run, DO IT NOW!). This artistic team is the perfect choice for this story because she has to physically overcome some obstacles and Reis and Prado are able to capture stoic, strong poses that instill a strong emotional response. The last page is a “heroic” full-page shot that delivers a nice jolt to the system. It’s a great beat written by Johns. This comic is a real showcase for color artist Alex Sinclair. He is primarily known for his work with Jim Lee, but he seamlessly brings the pages to colorful life. He makes it clear that he can adapt to almost any art style; truly, a beautiful talent.
Having three sets of artists on this comic was a genius move because they each suited their content extremely well. Also, their work was different, but similar enough where it doesn’t break the flow of the book. All this makes the comic work on multiple levels and deliver another passionately made comic. This is an essential part of this powerful story arc and also fulfills that desire of not wanting this series to end. There are only two more issues left, so any more Geoff Johns Justice League stories are absolutely welcomed and wanted!