Words: Geoff Johns
Art: Jason Fabok
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 10 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 9.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Wonder Woman narrating the events that have taken place thus far. The Crime Syndicate and the Justice League are all meeting together. The Owl says that the Crime Syndicate wants to get revenge on the Anti-Monitor for destroying their world and the Justice League wants to stop the Anti-Monitor (Mobius) from destroying their world. So, Owlman proposes that the two teams work together. Owlman tells the Justice Leaguers to give Ultraman the green Kryptonite that the Justice League got from Lex. Green Kryptonite is what restores Ultraman’s powers.
Wonder Woman tells Owl to have Grid release control of Cyborg and for the Power Ring to release control over Jessica. Owlman responds that Grid will keep control over Cyborg because without Grid’s help the Justice League’s odds of success decreases by 98%. That Owlman will have Grid release Cyborg once they have defeated Mobius as long as the Justice League supplies Grid with a new body in the form of one of Lex Luthor’s mechanical suits. Owlman says that they have no control over the power ring and the fact that it is controlling Jessica.
Owlman says for Wonder Woman to give Ultraman the Kryptonite now and to agree to Owlman’s terms or the Crime Syndicate will have Grid teleport them away from here and have the Justice League waste time trying to find them and also having to fight Mobius on their own. Wonder Woman has no other choice so she agrees to Owlman’s terms. Ultraman is given the green Kryptonite and he hungrily eats it.
We then cut to Gotham City where Mobius is located. A white sphere of energy is destroying everything in its path. Suddenly, the Justice League and Crime Syndicate appear on the scene. The Justice League quickly begins to rescue the civilian bystanders from the white energy. The Justice Leaguers ask the Crime Syndicate to help. Owlman replies that they don’t care about the bystanders. That the Crime Syndicate is here simply to kill Mobius.
Mobius then steps out of the white energy. Mobius is surrounded by an army of his shadow creatures. The shadow creatures attack our heroes. Mobius blasts Batman out of the Mobius Chair. Mobius says that he wants his chair back and that Batman barely understands the power of the Mobius Chair. Green Lantern and Power Ring start fighting Mobius. Power Ring says that Hal is nothing compared to her. Hal responds that he has something that Power Ring doesn’t have. Back up. Suddenly, the entire Green Lantern Corps swoops onto the scene and starts battling the shadow creatures.
Wonder Woman and Superwoman both attack Mobius with their golden lassos. Mobius says that Wonder Woman’s lasso compels him to say the truth. Mobius says that the truth is that he is enjoying this more than he every thought he would. Mobius says that Superwoman’s lasso compels him to submit. But, after submitting to the Anti-Life, Superwoman’s lasso is nothing more than a whisper. Mobius says that he will never submit again. Mobius takes down both Wonder Woman and Ultrawoman.
During this chaotic fight scene, Grail teleports onto the scene and quickly grabs Steve Trevor and transports away from the scene.
Superman and Ultraman attack Mobius. Ultraman says that he does not need Superman’s help and punches Superman across the city. Utraman begins beating the crap out of Mobius. Mobius then powers up and gets the upper hand on Ultraman. Mobius says that when he was the Anti-Monitor that he used the Anti-Life Equation to destroy billions at a time. Mobius says that it was so unsatisfying to do things that way. That it is so much more enjoyable to be a god who kills people individually. Mobius then disintegrates Ultraman.
Mobius says that killing Ultraman felt satisfying. Mobius asks “Who’s next?” Suddenly, there is a massive BOOM as a Boom Tube teleports Lex Luthor and an army of Parademons into the scene. Lex says “I’ll take a turn.”
Superwoman suddenly goes into labor. She cries out that her baby is coming. We cut to Steve Trevor being held captive by Grail. Grail says that she has plans for Steve. Wonder Woman narrates that a new god is about to be born. End of issue.
The Good: Good lord. Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok continue on their white-hot streak with the Darkseid War. Justice League #48 is another fantastic issue. This story keeps rolling onward firing on all pistons like a finely tuned race car. This latest installment of the Darkseid War continues this grand and epic tale that is easily the most exciting super hero story that is currently on the market. When Johns is on his game there are few writers who can match his ability to weave epic super hero stories that deliver a complex story on such an impressive grand scale. And Geoff Johns is most assuredly on the top of his game with the Darkseid War.
Justice League #48 is not a fast paced read. The story progresses forward in Johns’ trademark steady and measured pace. However, the slow pacing is acceptable since Johns never loses focus and keeps the story progressing forward with a clear purpose and destination in mind. The steady pacing also serves to crank up the intensity in several scenes in this issue. The tension between the Justice League and the Crime Syndicated was highlighted and made more pronounced by the steady pace. The seemingly hopeless situation that our heroes find themselves in at the moment is made more intense by the pacing of the story.
As always, Johns delivers a meticulously plotted issue. Justice League #48 is logically constructed and moves forward with a clear purpose in mind. The plot lines are well detailed and each plot line fits into the other like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. It is fascinating to watch Johns slide all of the various disparate plot lines together in a seamless fashion. The numerous plot lines makes Justice League #48 has plenty of depth and texture to the story. Johns gives the reader plenty to digest with this issue.
Johns cranks up the intensity of the story with the tense opening six page scene between the Justice League and the Crime Syndicate. This is the slowest part of Justice League #48. The slow pacing to this opening scene is purposeful in creating tension in the reader about whether the Crime Syndicate would help the Justice League or not. This scene also increased the stakes concerning the fates of Power Ring and Cyborg. This opening scene was powerful and served to create anxiety to the reader with this uneasy quiet before the storm.
Johns then kicks the pacing up several notches with the second scene set in Gotham that takes up the remaining sixteen pages of the issue. Justice League #48’s simmering story finally comes to a boil in this scene. Johns delivers a copious amount of action in these sixteen pages. Action fans will be more than pleased with Johns’ wonderfully dynamic fight scene. The battle in Gotham feels grand in scale. This feels like an epic battle between gods and heroes. Johns masterfully kicks up the intensity of the battle scene with several stunning moments Each moment is designed to top the previous moment.
First, Johns has the Green Lantern Corps charging into the battle in a dramatic and unexpected fashion. That moment is then topped by Mobius showing off his might by killing Ultraman. Then that moment is topped by the badass appearance of Lex Luthor and his horde of Parademons. This is simply brilliant. This scene delivers multiple geek out moments designed to get the reader cheering. Johns delivers three punches to the reader in successive fashion with increasing intensity. By the end of this issue the reader is left gasping for breath and at the edge of their seat.
Johns ends Justice League #48 with a triple hook ending that is nothing short of masterful. It is hard enough for a writer to come up with a single solid hook ending much less three! However, Johns shows off his impressive plotting skills by delivering a three-headed monster of an ending designed to get the reader excited for the next issue. In the final three pages, we get the badass appearance of Lex Luthor and his Parademon army, Ultrawoman beginning to give birth to her baby and Steve Trevor in the clutches of Grail. If that does not get the reader pumped up for the next issue then I do not know what will!
I continue to enjoy Johns’ use of Wonder Woman’s narration to serve as the spine for the story. Wonder Woman is the logical choice to serve as the reader’s guide through the Darkseid War since Wonder Woman has one foot in the world of the gods and one foot in the world of the super heroes. Wonder Woman’s narration is beautifully scripted and helps to frame the core theme of super heroes being gods for a modern society and comic books being modern-day mythology.
Johns continues to deliver plenty of excellent character work. Justice League #48 posts a massive roster of characters. Yet, Johns manages to flesh out the characters enough to give most of them their own unique and distinct personalities. My favorite character in this issue was Owlman. I loved Oilman’s brutal negotiation style. Johns clearly has fun writing the evil Batman in the Owlman. The Darkseid War is certainly not a character driven story. However, Johns still manages to make sure that the characters are well-developed and interesting.
Johns also crafts some nice dialogue. The characters have their own unique external voices. The flow of the dialogue is enjoyable. The solid character work and well crafted dialogue allow for some quality chemistry between the characters.
Now, let’s talk about Jason Fabok’s artwork. In a word? Gorgeous. Fabok’s artwork is simply stunning. Fabok brings Johns’ epic story of gods and heroes alive in an incredibly dynamic and vivid fashion. Fabok is equally adept at handling dialogue heavy dramatic scenes as he is handling action scenes. Fabok draws excellent facial expressions which lend more emotion to the dialogue heavy scenes. And for the action scenes? Fabok cranks out some incredibly energetic panels where the characters leap off of the page at the reader. Most important is the fact that Fabok’s artwork gives Johns’ story the gravitas necessary to get over to the reader how the Darkseid War is such an epic and important event.
The Bad: Nada. Zilch. Nothing.
Overall: Justice League #48 continues to be an unabashedly grand and epic super hero tale. Justice League #48 is another engrossing read. Johns pulls the reader deeply into the story and captivates their attention. This is an issue that is easy to get lost in. If you love the super hero genre and love when a writer embraces the genre for all of its strengths then you have to read the Darkseid War.