Dark Crisis kicked off by dealing with the aftermath of The Death Of The Justice League. As all the heroes and villains had different reactions to the Justice League being gone we learned that Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, and the others may not be as dead as we thought they were. Based on the ending of Dark Crisis #1 it appears that Pariah has trapped the Justice League in some alternate dimension. But that may not be the #1 concern for our heroes at the moment. That is because Deathstroke and the Secret Society have begun their assault on the superhero community by first starting with the elimination of all the young heroes at Titans Tower. How will the DC Universe heroes respond? Let’s find out with Dark Crisis #2.
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
Remembering his original homeworld Pariah repairs the Monitor device Green Arrow destroyed (see Justice League #75) in order to reach Earth-Zero and return things to the status quo of the Infinite Earths.
On Earth-Zero, inside the destroyed Titans Tower Roundhouse, Batgirl and Gorilla Gregg try to get an unconscious and injured Nightwing to safety. Nightwing regains consciousness just as the Secret Society appears and takes Roundhouse, Batgirl, and Gorilla Gregg.
Nightwing rushes to save his students but runs into a room where Deathstroke and the Secret Society have already captured the Titans. Deathstroke then presents Nightwing with Beast Boy, who was shot in the face.
Challenged to a one-on-one fight Nightwing and Deathstroke hold nothing back as the Secret Society and captured Titans watch. After trading brutal blows Nightwing is able to knock Deathstroke down to take the fight.
Seeing this Hyena threatens to kill Batgirl to get Nightwing to stand down, but Deathstroke says that is not necessary. Deathstroke tells Nightwing that he was always the only trophy of what he was planning to get. Hearing this Nightwing says that if killing him will ensure the Titans and his students’ safety he will give himself up.
As Deathstroke shoots Superman (Jon Kent) rushes in to block the bullet meant for Nightwing. With Superman’s help Nightwing, Cyborg, and Starfire are able to get the students out of the Tower.
Deathstroke then summons Cyborg Superman, who has similarly been contacted by the Great Darkness, to fight Superman.
As Deathstroke and the Secret Society prepare to kill Nightwing they are stopped by Pariah, who reminds Deathstroke his mission is to cause Earth-Zero to reach a Crisis level in order to bring the Dark Army to them. Deathstroke and the Secret Society then teleport away.
In the sky, Superman is able to overpower Cyborg Superman by body slamming him through Titans Tower. Cyborg shows up and finishes off Cyborg Superman before the villain can recover.
Black Adam then shows up to call out both Nightwing and Superman for not being the leaders that Earth needs. Black Adam then says he will take over and be the leader and train the heroes to be the protectors they need to be.
Somewhere in space Kyle Rayner escapes his imprisonment and is about to escape the ship he is on. Hal Jordan and Jo Mullein suddenly appear and tell Kyle everything that has happened. Hal then recruits Kyle back into the Green Lantern Corps and says they are all going after the ones responsible for the death of the Justice League. End of issue.
Dark Crisis #2 gets the job done in terms of delivering the epic action sequences that you expect from a big event. The Battle At Titans Tower gets across how bad things not only are at the moment but are going to get worse before they better. In that aspect, Dark Crisis #2 is very successful. Though some of the bigger plot elements around the Great Darkness don’t deliver as much as I hoped they would.
Before getting into the Great Darkness side of things, I got to give Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere for how well choreographed the Battle At Titans Tower was. This fight directly delivers on the promise of how bad things are about to get for the DC Universe. Titans Tower as the setting for the majority of Dark Crisis #2 gets that message across as this is a location meant for the next generation of heroes. Seeing Titans Tower crumbling as the fire from the explosion that the Secret Society caused was a great visual message at how Dark Crisis is going to challenge the legacy of the DCU.
That visual that is excellently brought to life by Sampere and Alejandro Sanchez is enhanced by the dialogue Williamson writes for Deathstroke and the Secret Society. The best part about the writing for the villains when they are calling out Nightwing is that it’s based on fact. The destroyed Titans Tower acts as a physical representation of Nightwing’s failure as one attack from the Secret Society destroyed everything the Titans set out to do for the next generation. Gorilla Gregg walking away while taking off his Titans Academy uniform further symbolized all of this.
This setting made the fight between Nightwing and Deathstroke to be even more personal. These two already have a rich history as both Dick Grayson and Slade Wilson have battled for a long time as enemies. But now in this setting, it did feel like we were at the endpoint of this rivalry where both Nightwing and Deathstroke were ready to end things. Sampere and Sanchez really nailed that intensity between both fighters that it made Nightwing, even with all his injuries, defeating Deathstroke in their straight-up fight for “round one” that much more satisfying.
Nightwing actually defeating Deathstroke played well into how the villains this time around will use every trick in the book to get things to the Crisis point that Pariah needs. Even though Deathstroke did stop Hyena from killing Batgirl the mission stayed the same as Slade was set to kill Nightwing to get the message across to the heroes. This all sets up how we will continue to see the legacy of the DC Universe challenged as it will take heroes like Nightwing and Jon Kent’s Superman to truly rally everyone together.
Speaking of Superman, it was great that after all his talk in the previous issue Williamson had Jon Kent show up big as he faced off against Cyborg Superman. Not only going toe-to-toe but actually defeating Cyborg Superman, who was enhanced by the Great Darkness like Deathstroke was, was a big statement to get Jon over as Superman. It showed how powerful the young Superman is and that he is a hero others can rely on.
That said, everything Black Adam said while calling out Nightwing and Superman was correct. They did fail in terms of protecting the students as they only saved the day when it was too late. Titans Tower being completely destroyed symbolized that failure.
Though I am not sure how to feel about Black Adam suddenly taking charge. Black Adam’s turn as a hero that others will follow isn’t believable at this point. That may be what Williamson intends as he is challenging the legacy characters of the DC Universe to step up during Dark Crisis. But seeing how the Titans like Cyborg, Donna Troy, and Starfire were used as props in Dark Crisis #2 I have a bit of concern for how certain legacy characters will be treated as this event moves forward.
The part of Dark Crisis #2 that I did not connect with at all was Pariah. The opening did not expand on anything that we know about Pariah. A lot of it was a rehash of what we already know about Pariah’s motivations that were on display in Justice League #75 and Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis. Coming into Dark Crisis having read those two issues Pariah’s part in Dark Crisis #2 just felt like a repeat of similar scenes in those issues. This impacts the interest behind the Great Darkness as this unseen being since we aren’t given much to truly feel how it is supposed to be a threat bigger than Anti-Monitor or Darkseid.
Now that is something that could change thanks to the setup we get at the end of the Dark Crisis #2 with Hal Jordan and Jo Mullein rallying the entire Green Lantern Corps to fight the Dark Army. This is definitely how you deliver a strong hook ending that builds excitement for a battle between the Green Lantern Corps and Dark Army. The final image just gives that feeling of already wanting to read the next issue to see the entire Green Lantern Corps in action.
The only thing that kept this from being a home run of an ending was the awkward way Williamson rushes Kyle Rayner’s recruitment. It did come across as a daggling plotline that the current Green Lantern comic book should’ve dealt with. For those not reading the current Green Lantern comic, I could see this be a head-scratching moment with very little explanation why Kyle was where he was without a Green Lantern ring.
As epic battles in big events go Dark Crisis #2 delivers with the Battle At Titans Tower. Everything from the setting to the actual Nightwing vs Deathstroke and Superman vs Cyborg Superman fights hit the way you expect. The only thing that holds Dark Crisis #2 back is the disconnect with how The Great Darkness is being built up as the endgame threat of this event. Hopefully, the ending of Dark Crisis #2 involving the Green Lantern Corps fixes that problem currently facing DC Comics’ latest big event.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10