Dark Crisis is just around the corner. But before we get to DC Comics’ latest Crisis event there is some work to be done in the post-Justice League #75 timeline. That is where Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis steps in as a follow-up. As a prelude to Dark Crisis, we are going to hopefully see some instant reactions to the death of the Justice League from both the heroes’ and villains’ sides of things. Let’s take a look at the direct aftermath of Death Of The Justice League.
Writers: Joshua Williamson, Jeremy Adams, Chuck Brown, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Stephanie Phillips
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Rosi Kampe, Fico Ossio, Leila Del Duca, and Clayton Henry
Colorists: Norm Rapmund, Matt Herms, Jordie Bellaire, and Marcelo Maiolo
In Gotham City, Superman (Jon Kent) helps Nightwing defeat Brick. Seeing that Superman is on edge Nightwing takes him to get something to eat.
While eating, Dick Grayson tells Jon Kent about having been through death scenarios for Bruce and Clark in the past only to see them return to life which is why he believes the Justice League will be back. Jon reminds Dick that not everyone has his experience with death and resurrection, so they need a new Justice League to fight the Dark Army.
Before they can come to a full agreement Kid Amazo launches an attack on Gotham City.
Dick and Jon change into their Nightwing and Superman costumes to carry on the Justice League’s legacy. At the same time, Superman finally gets Nightwing to agree to speak at the Justice League vigil.
Meanwhile, in Central City, after hearing the news of the Justice League’s death Iris West talks with Wally West, Linda Park, and Wallace West about Barry Allen’s disappearance two months earlier. Wallace is also concerned about Avery Ho as she was part of the Justice League Incarnate. Seeing the concern on his family’s faces Wally says he will find them.
Wally and Wallace then suit up as Flash and Kid Flash to stop Giganta’s latest rampage in Central City and other villain attacks in various cities. During this time Wally does his best to keep the mood light with dad jokes so Wallace doesn’t feel the weight of all the latest news they got about Barry and the Justice League.
Eventually, while alone in front of Barry’s Flash statue, Wally reflects on how losing someone never hurts left but they must continue moving forward to give people heroes they can count on. Wally then rushes off to help Superman when he gets the call.
Somewhere In Sector 2814 Green Lantern, Hal Jordan tries to contact the Justice League to back him up in a fight with a creature named Viro but no one answers. Viro eventual land in Earth’s oceans and attacked Atlantis.
Aquaman (Jackson Hyde) uses all of his magic to protect Atlantis until Hal shows up to help. While fighting off the Viro, Jackson reveals to Hal the details of the death of the Justice League. Hal and Aquaman combine their powers to defeat the Viro.
Before leaving Hal tells Jackson that with the state of things the world will need its young heroes to step up.
Meanwhile, back in Gotham City, Nocturna attempts to steal from an Egyptian exhibit but is stopped by Batgirl (Stephanie Brown). After talking about how bad things have gotten in Gotham City, comparing it to a black hole, Stephanie leaves Nocturna to help Oracle.
Later, Nocturna is confronted by Firefly. Firefly offers Nocturna membership in the new Secret Society End of issue.
Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis certainly lives up to be a prelude to the next big event for DC Comics. There isn’t a lot of new information learned here, with the exception of Pariah’s story. But even Pariah’s story doesn’t escape feeling like a filler given how it went too deep with what it was trying to do for the character.
In general, all of the creative teams did a good job writing the characters they had involved in their respective stories. More than anything that Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis convinced me of is that there is a sense of unity with the current roster of writers and artists DC Comics has. From the first story with Williamson writing Nightwing and Superman to Phillips writing Nocturna and Batgirl, it all felt like one cohesive universe.
This also works against Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis because since we 8 pages for each story we only get a top-level look at where the DC Universe is at post-Justice League #75. With such a short amount of time to tell there is an emptiness in the world. You only feel as though the lead characters of each story are the only ones that exist. Even when Flash and Kid Flash are running around stopping various villains around the country there is a missed opportunity to show normal people reacting to being saved. It’s little things like that which could help the direct aftermath of the Death Of The Justice League to carry greater weight.
That said, Williamson and Adams did a good job in their respective stories presenting us with two perspectives of those who have experienced Crisis events in Dick Grayson and Wally West. With Dick Grayson, we see how Williamson and Jurgens present him as someone who knows that death isn’t always permanent, especially when there is nobody. This sets up an arc for Dick to get over the roadblock he has set for himself and realize it is time to step up as the leader many like Jon, Titans, and others see him as.
On the other side, Adams and Kampe portrayed Wally in a way that shows he knows how paralyzing the feeling of dealing with loss can be and it is not something they can afford to let get to them. Having that personal experience with both stepping up as Flash and returning from non-existence Wally gets that pushing forward as heroes who bring hope is what’s needed right now. While in different states of mind both Dick and Wally understand they both need to push forward in carrying their mentors’ legacy by being the superheroes they need to be.
Dick and Wally’s words are made better by having them paired with Jon and Wallace, respectively. Both Jon and Wallace provide the reader with a new perspective as they have never gone through a Crisis event before. This is a new experience since even in big events the Justice League has been there to be the front lines. Now that the top heroes have been taken out it is their time along with Dick and Wally to step up without the safety net of their mentors being there.
The Aquaman and Green Lantern story on the other hand was one that is a bit more mixed. While it certainly put over how Jackson Hyde is more than ready to continue the Aquaman legacy Hal’s reaction to the Justice League’s death was questionable. While I don’t expect him to get instantly depressed or angry over the news, at least after defeating Viro with Aquaman I thought we get more of him trying to help with things on Earth. As now the most veteran hero left it is disappointing that Hal just leaves without checking on how his friends and family are handling the news of the Justice League’s death. Though I guess that just speaks to Hal’s lone wolf character as a whole, which is not saying much.
When it comes to the Nocturna and Pariah stories I just did not connect with them the way they were intended to. With Pariah, we got all the information needed about his motivation in Justice League #75. This just felt like fluff to make it seem like the killer of the Justice League may be redeemable in some sense.
The Nocturna story lost a lot of impact since all the talk about Gotham City was already mentioned in the Nightwing/Superman story. Having another story in Gotham City just came across as lazy when we could’ve gotten to see how things are in Metropolis or Themyscira. Especially with only 8 pages to tell a story, it would’ve even been preferable if the final story just focused on the Secret Society instead.
With a spotlight on the Batman, Superman, Flash, Aquaman, and Green Lantern franchises it was odd we didn’t get any representation from the Wonder Woman franchise. Given that Wonder Woman is part of not just the Justice League but the Trinity this would’ve been a good time to establish how Donna Troy and Cassie Sandsmark are stepping up in Diana’s place. We already know Yara Flor will play a big part in Dark Crisis but that does not mean that Donna and Cassie couldn’t have been shown also stepping up like Dick Grayson and Wally West did in their stories. It’s a huge missed opportunity that really speaks to how much work there is to build up internal respect at the DC Comics office so it is automatic that the Wonder Woman franchise gets represented in Crisis builds.
For those looking to get every single detail about the Dark Crisis event Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis will not disappoint. Though those looking for more of intimate aftermath from the events of Justice League #75 will be disappointed. Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis is all about reinforcing what Dark Crisis will be about. So if you are not a completionist about getting every related title to a big event you can pass on this comic book.
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10