Written by Geoff Johns with art by Jason Fabok
With both Darkseid and the Anti-monitor dead, the battle has developed into a war between Grail and the loosely allied Justice and Injustice League. Grail has returned with a weaponized Steven Trevor pumped with the Anti-Life Equation and Superwoman has emerged with the Syndicate’s secret weapon of their own, her baby.
Wow. In a climactic ending to the Darkseid War, Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok give us 48 adrenaline packed pages and a turn of events that leave you literally exhausted by the end of it (Personally I’m exhuasted). However, this issue is less about the end of the battle and more about what it sets up, including the events in Rebirth.
The actual battle between Grail and the Justice League is volleyed back and forth for the majority of the issue and the Crime Syndicate stands idling by, serving no purpose other than providing Superwoman’s baby, allowing a couple of their members to be killed, and then running away. Once Grail incinerated Superwoman in front of everyone’s eyes, she reveals that her master plan was to use the baby to steal the Justice League’s God powers to resurrect a “super” Darkseid and destroy everyone in her path (Yes, it’s pretty intense). Grail’s actually able to accomplish everything until Barda and the Furies arrive and in the end Grail is persuaded to achieve one act for good through evil intentions by killing (re-killing) Darkseid and her own mother simultaneously.
*Major Spoilers Ahead*
So where are we left right before Rebirth? Here’s a quick character breakdown. Barda promised to rejoin the Furies if they assisted the battle and is therefore forced to leave Mister Miracle once again. Volthoom is murdered by the Black Racer and Jessica Cruz is resurrected as a Green Lantern. Superman gets the news from Cyborg that he is, indeed, dying. Batman reveals to Green Lantern that when he asked the Mobius Chair who the Joker was, it informed him that there are actually three of them. Lex Luthor returns to Apocalypse and is hailed as a hero, clad in a new metal suit with the “Superman” emblem. In her last breathes, Myrina reveals to Wonder Woman that she has a twin and that her brother may still be out there somewhere. And finally, Owlman, Grid, and Mobius, who fled during the fight, are murdered by a mysterious force, something I have a feeling will be explained in Rebirth.
Geoff Johns really had this planned out and it shows. This was one of the most difficult issues I’ve had to summarize and to catch everything you really need to just read it for yourself. There is an incredible amount of action which makes the 48 pages go by quickly and it seems like every time you turn the page there’s a huge twist or reveal waiting for you. While it does end with Wonder Woman monologuing, this issue has special moments for every character so regardless of who’s you’re favorite, you’re going to leave happy (Ok I lied, Flash is screwed out of the limelight yet again. Poor Barry).
I can’t get enough of Fabok’s art and I can’t imagine how long it took him to do this because there’s so much detail in every single panel whether it’s in the background or the character’s expressions. I encourage everyone to reread the issue and dedicate time to examining every panel and it’s contents. We also get multiple two page spreads and full page illustrations which make you want to enlarge it and pin it on your wall.
The problem I do have with this issue is the series of events that transpired within the war’s finale. While it’s drawn beautifully and we do get even more character appearances within the sequence, the battle wraps up the loose ends a little too conveniently (i.e. baby zapping all the Justice League’s God powers away). If it weren’t for the ridiculous amount of other great events that occurred within this issue then this notion would surely have received some criticism, but fortunately for us this is just a small flaw in an otherwise brilliantly constructed mosaic.
An additional note which doesn’t come from the creative team’s hand is the fact that some aspects of the book are ruined by our knowledge of post-Rebirth events. So our concern for Jessica Cruz or the Flash within this issue is ultimately lost by the fact we’ve seen their faces plastered on future titles. There are a few other aspects where the drama is diminished by our additional knowledge, but again that’s difficult to avoid.
This is certainly a worthy finale for such an anticipated event. Johns and Fabok knock this one out of the park and is a must read before Rebirth. Yes there a few hiccups here and there, but the story lines this issue sets into play are sure to make you geek out.