The time is here. The event that will decide the future of the DC Universe begins with the release of Dark Crisis #1. This is the big event DC Comics has been hyping up for most of 2022. Now that all the hyping up is done we will witness what the future of the DC Universe will be. To kick things off we will finally see what the impact of the Death Of The Justice League has on the entire DCU. Without Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern John Stewart, and other of the heaviest hitters can the DCU survive the latest Crisis event? Let’s find out with Dark Crisis #1.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
In front of the statues of the Justice League that sit outside the Hall Of Justice, Nightwing speaks to a large crowd of superheroes and regular people who have gathered to mourn the loss of the Superman (Clark Kent), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), Green Lantern John Stewart, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, and Martian Manhunter. Nightwing speaks on what the Justice League stood for and how their legacy will live on with their family, friends, and those they’ve inspired to continue the fight.
Somewhere nearby Deathstroke is shown watching Nightwing’s speech silently with the rest of the Secret Society behind him.
Sometime later, Superman (Jon Kent) and Flash (Wally West) fight the Kobra Cult in Washington, DC.
At the same the Green Lantern Corps, Frankenstein, Katana, and Doctor Light are all shown fighting threats across the universe.
Back in DC, Green Lantern Hal Jordan arrives to help Superman and Flash defeat the Kobra Cult.
Flash and Superman then take Hal to the Hall Of Justice to talk with Black Adam about what killed the Justice League (because somehow Hal forgot that Jackson Hyde told him that just a day ago in Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis).
Hal does not trust Black Adam. When Hal asks how Wally and Jon confirmed Black Adam’s story they go over how Doctor Fate, both Atoms, the D.E.O., and Captain Cold could not find anything about the Dark Army or where the Justice League is at.
Hearing this Hal tells Wally they have to investigate things from their end. Hal tells Wally to go find Barry Allen while he looks for clues on the Justice League.
Jon wonders what he should do. Wally tells Jon to find his own way to shine as Superman.
After looking at the statues of Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman alone Jon gets an idea.
Somewhere in Brazil, Wonder Girl (Yara Flor) is fighting a demon attacking a forest. Superman shows up to help Wonder Girl defeat the demon.
After introducing themselves to one another Superman then reveals that he is putting together a new Justice League. Wonder Girl laughs this off as she declines the offer to join Superman’s new team. Yara says that she has a lot of responsibilities to the Esquecida and can’t look to fill Wonder Woman’s role for Superman. She then wishes Superman luck.
In New York City, Superman helps Batman (Jace Fox) stop some criminals. Superman tries to recruit Batman but Jace is not interested. Batman recommends Superman to recruit one of the Robins since the last time a Batman was on a team they died.
Over the next few days, Superman approaches Doctor Light, Robin (Damian Wayne), Harley Quinn, Green Lantern Jo Mullein, Supergirl, Aquaman (Jackson Hyde), Killer Frost, Naomi, Shazam, Vixen Booster Gold, Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), Firestorm, Peacemaker, and Swamp Thing to join his new team.
Back outside the Hall of Justice, various people from mourners to people who believe the world is ending are still gathering around the hero statues.
Inside Superman shows Black Adam his new Justice League made up of Robin, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Supergirl, Killer Frost, Blue Beetles (Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord), Booster Gold, Doctor Light, and Frankenstein. Black Adam is not impressed and calls out the fact that they all know who should be leading the Justice League.
Over at Titans Tower as Nightwing is holding a class with the students of Teen Titans Academy. Suddenly a bloody Chupacabra pleads for some help. An explosion is then set off inside Titans Tower.
Outside the Secret Society are all shown rushing Titans Tower. Deathstroke says that without the Justice League around the Titans are their targets. He then orders the Secret Society to leave the Titans’ teachers to him as he wants to kill the Legacy once and for all.
As Superman is shown heading to Titans Tower some of the Secret Society members drag out a bloodied Beast Boy. Beast Boy says that the Titans will always rebuild. Deathstroke waste no more time by shooting Beast Boy in the head.
Over in Multiverse 2, Pariah talks to himself about how the Justice League wasn’t enough and he needs more heroes from Earth-Zero his and Great Darkness plan. Pariah then proclaims he will turn the hope of those on Earth-Zero into a weapon and he will use the death of the Justice League to destroy the Multiverse.
Images of what appears to be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern John Stewart, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, and Martian Manhunter are shown trapped in energy spheres by Pariah. End of issue.
There is no more holding back. The stage for Dark Crisis was well set ahead of time. Now is the time to see what it means to have a world with the iconic Justice League around and that is exactly what Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere, and Alejandro Sanchez deliver with Dark Crisis #1.
Dark Crisis #1 certainly reads like an aftermath issue to the events of Justice League #75. Given the magnitude of the Death of the Justice League, there was really no other way Dark Crisis could begin. Williamson, Sampere, and Sanchez needed to show the reader what it means to the DC Universe to deal with the death of the iconic Justice League team.
All of Earth’s heroes and citizens gathering to collectively mourn outside the Hall of Justice is a powerful image that Sampere and Sanchez capture perfectly. That image, along with the flashback to Bruce Wayne having Dick Grayson take the oath and all the flashes of the different generations of the DCU made the speech by Nightwing even more powerful.
Going from the funeral of the Justice League right into how the world continues to move on with villains across the universe trying to take advantage of this major blow to the hero community was a smart move. Seeing how it’s not just Earth but the entire DC Universe that exists in the Earth-Zero continuity is being impacted gave weight to what it means for the Justice League to not be around. The heroes now have to work even harder to fill the role the Justice League served as the beacons of hope and deterrents to evil.
The only thing that did not work in this particular aspect of Dark Crisis #1 was how Hal Jordan reacted to the news. Hal acted like he did not hear about the death of the Justice League until Dark Crisis #1. Which doesn’t make sense since Williamson was part of the creative team for Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis prelude where Hal brushed off the Justice League’s death when Aquaman Jackson Hyde told him about it. Hal’s reaction here did raise eyebrows since it went against what was written in the prelude chapter that Williamson was very much a part of crafting.
Continuity error aside, what Williamson did do well with this entire scene between Jon Kent, Wally West, and Hal Jordan provided the spark to have Jon step up as Superman. As someone who grew up his whole life admiring the work his father and the Justice League did Jon doesn’t know any other world. And when Wally tells him to shine in his own way it was the push for Jon to use his platform as Superman to create a new Justice League and continue his father’s legacy in a new way for him.
While Jon was certainly motivated to create a new Justice League Williamson did well in showing how naïve Jon’s approach to recruiting others was. Jon has such tunnel vision about the need for a new Justice League he isn’t seeing the full picture of how heroes are needed everywhere. Showing how it’s not just Yara Flor and Jace Fox that turn Jon down because different heroes are helping around the universe was handled well. The DC Universe is in the middle of a Crisis and with everyone working overtime it’s understandable that not everyone would jump at the chance to join the young Superman’s new Justice League.
That said, Jon not being able to perfectly recruit everyone did create more interest in what kind of impact the Justice League he did assemble will have in Dark Crisis. Robin, Aquaman, Harley Quinn, Supergirl, Killer Frost, the Blue Beetles, Booster Gold, Doctor Light, and Frankenstein are all heavy hitters in their own right. Though most of these are solo characters without experience dealing with something on the scale of a Crisis event. How Jon as Superman can have this team work well together is something I’m very interested in seeing play out in the early stages of Dark Crisis.
Adding greater interest in this new Justice League is Black Adam pointing out that while it’s nice that Jon was able to assemble a new team they need Nightwing to lead the team. Williamson once again spotlights how the heroes will leaders to rally around. While Jon as Superman will do his best he lacks the experience Nightwing, Wally West’s Flash, and Hal Jordan have in this position. This sub-plot of who will step up for the heroes to be leaders in a time of crisis is something to watch out for.
This also transitioned well into what will most certainly be the biggest event within the early stages of Dark Crisis. And that event is Deathstroke leading the Secret Society army of villains to destroy Titans Tower and all of the heroes and students inside. Williamson chose Deathstroke’s dialogue carefully as it emphasized how the Titans represent the legacy of the fallen Justice League. Killing the Titans will be another major blow to the DC Universe. It also played well with the long-running hatred Deathstroke has had for the Titans and that killing the adult Titans personally is what he will take pleasure in.
Making this battle at Titans Tower even more interesting is the conclusion of Dark Crisis #1 with Pariah. While we don’t know all the details of what Pariah is doing we know that he is looking to use the heroes of Earth-Zero to fuel his Multiverse destroying weapon. The fall of the Titans could further this plan. Though it is interesting to note that proclaiming the death of the Justice League may have been premature as it seems that Pariah is holding them in special energy spheres. What this image of the tortured Justice League means for Dark Crisis is another intriguing sub-plot to hook the reader in for what happens next.
Dark Crisis #1 is a successful start to DC Comics’ latest big event. Joshua Williamson, Daniel Sampere, and Alejandro Sanchez wasted no time in putting over the high stakes of Dark Crisis as the DC Universe’s heroes deal with a world without the Justice League. The way things went down built even more hype to find out what happens next.
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8.5 Night Girls out of 10