There’s been no time wasted as things have quickly escalated in the DC Universe after the Death of the Justice League. In Dark Crisis #2 we saw Deathstroke and his Secret Society of supervillains make a strong statement that all superheroes are going to be hunted by attacking Titans Tower. While a timely save from Jon Kent’s Superman helped save the day the damage by Deathstroke has been done to the superhero community. Now it looks like Black Adam is stepping up to lead the superheroes his own way. Though given the contentious past Black Adam has had will this even work? Or is the best hope the superheroes have is Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps going after Pariah? Let’s find out with Dark Crisis #3
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Inkers: Daniel Sampere, Daniel Henriques, and Danny Miki
Colorist: Alejandro Sanchez
The superhero community is reeling in the aftermath of Deathstroke and the Secret Society’s attack on Titans Tower.
The Titans and Batman Family gather at a hospital where Beast Boy is barely holding on to life.
Meanwhile Black Adam leads Superman, Aquaman, Blue Beetles (Jaime Reyes and Ted Kord) Booster Gold, Doctor Light, Frankenstein, Killer Frost, Harley Quinn, Robin (Damian Wayne), and Supergirl as the new Justice League to a wide variety of success against the Secret Society’s attack on heroes around the world.
As Robin talks about how Deathstroke operates Black Adam quickly grows frustrated with the new Justice League’s performance. Black Adam attempts to kill Count Vertigo as he believes they need to start sending a message to the villains. Superman and Wonder Girl stop him which causes him to quit this whole direction.
With things settled down the new Justice League all go back home to check on their loved ones.
Superman and Robin then get into an argument about hope which leads to the Justice Society showing up to offer their help.
Over at Deathstroke’s headquarters, the Secret Society brings a captured Rose Wilson to Slade Wilson. Deathstroke asks his daughter to join the Secret Society. Rose says that her dad just can’t accept responsibility for the consequences of his evil actions. Deathstroke he is trying to take responsibility and says he’ll do so by starting a new Crisis. Deathstroke then infects members of the Secret Society with the Great Darkness energy.
Over in Sector 666, the Green Lantern Corps arrive at planet Ryut where the Black Lantern Power Battery has been rebuilt. The Green Lantern Corps use the Black Lantern Power Battery to travel the ruins of a dead Multiverse where Pariah is located.
Pariah reveals to Hal Jordan that he is going to use the Justice League members of Earth-Zero to rebuild the Multiverse. Pariah goes on to say that he is in control of the Great Darkness.
Having heard enough the Green Lantern Corps launch an all-out attack on Pariah. The relentless attacks provide Hal an opening to grab the Green Lantern John Stewart-powered Multiverse orb. As soon as he touches it Hal realizes that the Great Darkness is using the Justice League’s energy to turn them into weapons.
As soon as Hal says this he is transported into the world created by John Stewart’s energy where he is not received well by Green Lantern’s Kyle Raynor and Jason Todd.
Meanwhile, back on Earth-Zero, Black Adam meets up with the assembled Legion of Doom, believing they are the only chance they have to survive the coming Crisis. End of issue.
With this first act of Dark Crisis Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere are showing great restraint in not having things blow up every page. They are making sure that every action that takes place in Dark Crisis carries weight. Even in this issue that acts as an aftermath story for what we saw in Dark Crisis #2, it gives the reader time to properly assess the stakes. That way when things do take a turn in Dark Crisis #3 it means more for the characters of the DC Universe and the reader.
The very start of Dark Crisis #3 is an example of how Williamson and Sampere are building that investment in the gravity of what is going on in this event. The impact of the Secret Society’s attack on Titans Tower is given similar weight to the Death Of The Justice League. They really push the narrative both visually and through Donna Troy’s monologue that the destruction of Titans Tower was a flashpoint moment whose ripple effects are felt across the DC Universe.
The scene at the hospital with the gathered Titans and Batman Family also shows how our heroes need to be mentally ready for this Crisis. The surprise attack by the Secret Society was the last thing they needed in the aftermath of the Death of the Justice League. While their spirits are definitely at an all-time low, as Signal and Donna Troy mention, the world is still moving and villain attacks are increasing. How the heroes respond is incredibly important.
Which transitions well into how quickly we see that Black Adam’s attempt at leading the Justice League was ultimately a failure. I was honestly surprised with how quickly Williamson decided to pull the plug on Black Adam getting this spot. Sampere stepped up big to show through the artwork that Black Adam’s command while works to a degree ultimately does not work because of his authoritarian methods.
Superman, Wonder Girl, and the rest of the Justice League stepping up to stop Black Adam from killing Count Vertigo worked to push the narrative forward in multiple ways. For one, we see how Black Adam was deeply impacted mentally by being the sole survivor of the Justice League that fought Pariah. Williamson did a great job in making you understand why Black Adam is reacting to Superman and the others stopping him from killing Count Vertigo. This also helps to give Black Adam a reason why he exits so quickly as the heroes show that even in this Crisis they are facing they still won’t cross the line of killing.
This all makes Black Adam’s decision to join the latest incarnation of the Legion of Doom to be a strong direction for him and this set of villains. Williamson sets up this version of Legion of Doom to be the third party in what is going on as they’ll cross lines the heroes won’t. At the same time, we see that they, at least at the moment, are operating with their own wills intact as they are not on the Great Darkness’s side. What all this means for the narrative going into the halfway point of Dark Crisis is a major point of intrigue.
Going back to our heroes, while their first operation as the Justice League wasn’t a great success it did a good job not breaking up the team after Black Adam’s exit. Williamson and Sampere put over how exhausting this whole thing is as the heroes are not only protecting their fellow heroes but also their loved ones. While they know they need to be united checking on their loved ones is important as well.
This makes Damian Wayne’s outlook on everything stand out even more. Picking up on the work he has done during his Robin run we see that Damian’s recent history with Deathstroke makes him the biggest realist in the room filled with veteran heroes. This creates an interesting clash between Super Sons as Jon Kent wants to continue having hope while Damian is not having it at all. It’s a dynamic that was very much needed given what we saw happen
The Super Sons clashing made Yara Flor show up as an interesting middle ground. Because while she doesn’t seem to be fully invested in Jon’s Justice League idea she has come to realize the heroes need to be united.
Which makes the big moment of the Justice Society all showing up to provide help a huge hype moment. Sampere did an excellent job through the splash page capturing the reverence that comes with the Justice Society. Alan Scott’s dialogue pushes things to feel like not all hope is lost and our heroes still have a chance to ultimately save the day.
Having this Justice Society moment followed by Slade Wilson and Rose Wilson’s confrontation was a great balance with the heroes’ and villains’ sides of the story. Rose said everything that needed to be said to Deathstroke as everything he is doing is him ultimately blaming others for his failures like Respawn’s death. Even when he tries to act benevolently with his words we see Deathstroke contradicting himself like he always does by infecting the Secret Society with the Great Darkness. Rose’s shocked expression seeing the lengths her father is going put over how we still haven’t reached what is likely the most devastating thing that can happen in the DC Universe.
All of these moments compliment the way things go down with the Green Lantern Corps battle against Pariah. Pariah completely believing he is actually the one in control of the Great Darkness is the greatest sign of hubris for the character. Like Deathstroke, Pariah is so blinded by his mission that he doesn’t see how he is actually the one being used as a tool by the Great Darkness. This is by far the best way the Great Darkness has been put over as the ultimate villain of this story.
The confirmation that the Great Darkness actually manipulated the events of The Death Of The Justice League to make Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the others into weapons was well done. This was not at all surprising since we got hints right in our face about this being the case at the end of Dark Crisis #1. The confirmation of this and seeing one of these worlds the Great Darkness created to harness the iconic Justice League’s energy creates a lot of intriguing questions as to what will happen next in this event.
Overall, Dark Crisis #3 effectively pushes all the narratives of this event forward in intriguing ways. Joshua Williamson and Daniel Sampere are making the most of every page to put over how massive of an event Dark Crisis is. From the moments that create great hype to great dread it all works to keep you on your toes waiting for what is going to happen next.
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10