Darkseid is dead in Justice League #45 written by Geoff Johns, art by Francis Manapul, colors by Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato, Rob Leigh on letters.
Indeed Darkseid is dead and now like uncorking a bottle of spirits, new gods rise in his wake.
The Flash is now bonded with the Black Racer, an irony if you remember Final Crisis, and is now the New God of Death. Meanwhile on Apokolips Superman still full of Apokolipsian energy rips Lex Luthor from his armor and warns him to never come back to Earth.He is now the God of Strength. Meanwhile the Metron bound Batman is now The God of Knowledge and sends Hal Jordan back to Oa to make sure the planet is protected from the now free (and wild) parademons.
The abandoned Lex Luthor is found Mad Max styleby Ardora, leader of the human-like Forgotten People who claims a human from Earth will bring hope to Apokolips. The entire prophecy seems to paint their savoir as being Clark, but when asked if he is that man, Lex Luthor says that he is.
Voices issues out from Billy Batson as Shazam is turned into the God of Gods and flies off. Diana, Cyborg, Steve Trevor, Power Ring remain and are about to split up to pursue Shazam and Flash but Kalibak and other Darkseid loyals interrupts. Meanwhile Ardora has strapped Lex Luthor onto a machine saying the Omega Effect has been released following Darkseid’s death and will be returning to the planet. Ardora will contain in, within Lex Luthor. If he is worthy, he will survive. Myrina Black and Grail then watch from the sidelines as Lex Luthor becomes the new God of Apokolips
After some drawn out action and an artist switch we have some rather fast paced action and build up with half of Justice League now possessed or have been ascended to New God status.
I like to see where this is going. There’s a lot of factors and possible new status quos that should be interesting to see develop.
Artwork is stunning with a slight retro Kirby touch to Manapul’s traditionally very “pretty” artwork. It works here. Granted its not as cinematic as we’ve been dealing with on the title, which quite frankly fit this rather grandiose and melodramatic arc so some of the paneling here is not as riveting but it’s still gorgeous and Manapul draws everyone rather well. I like his Wonder Woman. I always judge an artist by their Wonder Woman. Stunning color work.
The art, while beautiful is indeed quite different so the change is a bit jarring but this is not dock much points (why would it?). Otherwise the Forgotten People thing seems quite sudden and they move fast. Pacing has been all over the place and while I appreciate movement this felt slightly squished. I’m sure it will level out. I’m feeling like Wonder Woman will get a huge role from now on to try to release her teammates from their New God possessions and I’m quite excited. This does, as I mentioned earlier have Final Crisis elements to it, and given Wonder Woman was purposefully more or less put out of commission for the event (becoming a Female Fury, freed from the Anti-Life equation off panel and shown bounding Darkseid with her lasso…that’s about it…) this almost feels like a spiritual answer to that story (the Death of Darkseid) but with Diana now sort of given more to do. Hopefully. Let’s see what comes next.
Bring on the (new) New Gods.