Review: DARK CRISIS #0 FCBD SPECIAL EDITION
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Colors: Alejandro Sanchez, Jay David Ramos, Hi-Fi, Matt Herms
Letters: Tom Napolitano, Jodi Tong
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition: Witness the rise and fall of the Justice League! The event years in the making is here with Dark Crisis! The Justice League is comics’ greatest super-team – made up of DC’s legendary heroes, they have saved the world countless times. No crisis was too much for them to handle… until now! The Justice League has been defeated by the Great Darkness and its army of DC’s most dangerous enemies, now a new generation of heroes must rise to protect not only the Multiverse… but also the legacy of the DCU! A prelude to DC Comics’ biggest story of 2022!
As part of the 2022 Free Comic Book Day celebration, DC has released the Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition. The stories presented here are intended to stoke reader interest in DC’s summer event, Dark Crisis and each of the book’s three main features are designed to do so in a different way.
The first tale is set in the DCU after the death of several major DC heroes in Justice League #75 and features the Flash (Wally West) fighting Clayface in the Hall of Justice. There are a couple of interesting hints about upcoming plotlines. For example, Clayface mentions that:
With Batman and the Justice League dead, other people are making big moves, and they offered me a new deal.
It stands to reason that this tragedy would provide an opportunity for the villains of the DCU, but which of them is the mastermind pulling Clayface’s strings? Lex Luthor? Deathstroke? How many other villains are part of this plan? I’m betting this unknown villain’s plot will be central to the Dark Crisis story.
However, the most important part of this chapter is the emphasis it places on this being a world without a Justice League. At one point in the fight between the Flash and Clayface, Clayface taunts Wally with, “So is this where your new Justice League shows up to save the day?” Wally’s retort is simply, “There is no Justice League, but to honor them I’m going to teach you a lesson”.
The first sentence declares the stark tragedy that the Justice League is no more, but more importantly, Wally continues with an affirmation that he will continue on in their honour. It will likely be the case that other heroes will echo this same commitment to honour the memory of the League.
Also, one of the children present asks Wally a question that will be on the minds of many readers, “Do you think there will ever be a Justice League again?”. Wally replies in the affirmative, stating that the Justice League is always growing and changing. Embracing the new. This assures the kids in the story and the readers that a new Justice League will arise.
However, Wally continues by stating, “It’s not really a question of if there will be a new Justice League… or when…the real question is who?” We’re then shown a glimpse of several heroes who are successors or former sidekicks to the former Justice League. This implies that we are likely to see a Justice League composed of legacy heroes arise during Dark Crisis. However, this does leave the the question of what happens to this League, when the originals return, and let’s face it, their return is inevitable.
The second story isn’t really an entire story, but the first few pages from next month’s Dark Crisis #1. The main theme in these pages is legacy in the DC Universe. It starts with Batman inducting Robin as DC’s first kid sidekick. It relates the continuing heroic legacy from DC’s earliest heroes to its most recent.
These images are shown as Nightwing eulogizes the fallen members of the Justice League at a memorial event at the Hall of Justice. By the size of the crowd, it appears that most of DC’s living superheroes are in attendance to pay their respects. Oddly enough, Deathstroke’s present as well. Is he also paying honour to the League, or doing reconnaissance for an as yet unrevealed plot?
We also see a short glimpse of a number of heroes fighting the hordes of Kobra in Washington DC. It’s unclear whether these heroes are a new incarnation of the Justice League, or whether this is part of the story leading up to the formation of a new team. It does raise some interesting possibilities of who might be on the roster. Wally West and Jon Kent seem obvious choices, but seeing other heroes, like Frankenstein and Doctor Light, presents intriguing possibilities.
During the memorial scene, we see that several statues of the fallen heroes have been erected in front of the Hall of Justice. However, not all of the apparently fallen heroes have gotten statues. There are no statues for Black Canary, Green Arrow, or Zatanna. Was this an oversight in the artwork, or is this hinting at something else? In Justice League #75, neither Black Canary nor Green Arrow were seen dying in the same manner as the rest. So, they might be still alive, but how would anyone back on Earth know of their survival? Zatanna did die like the others though, so doesn’t she merit a statue like the rest of the fallen legends?
The third story is not entirely new. Justice League Incarnate #4 began with a short history of DC’s various Crises from the original Crisis On Infinite Earths up to the present. In my review of that issue, I stated that DC should consider using those pages as a primer to bring new readers up to speed on that history, which they have done here. Well… sort of. This is a shortened version of those pages with the addition of a glimpse at the Army of Darkness gathered by Pariah for the Great Darkness.
There’s also a short section titled “DC Essential Graphic Novels” (i.e. trade paperback collections). The focus on Justice League collections from the New 52 to the present, plus a selection of DC’s various Crises, and “DC Universe Rebirth: The Deluxe Edition”. While many readers will already be familiar these stories, this still could be invaluable to new readers. It gives them a good idea of what to read if they want to catch up on the current state of the DCU in preparation for Dark Crisis.
Finally, we get a checklist for the Dark Crisis event. Looking at it, I was glad to see that most of the story is told in the Dark Crisis miniseries, one tie-in miniseries, and a handful of specials. Only one regular ongoing series (The Flash) is listed as being being part of the event. DC is thankfully not making forcing readers to buy their entire line of titles to get the full story.
From the sample pages included, it appears that we’re in for a visual treat with Dark Crisis. The few pages we see of Daniel Sampere’s handiwork are breathtaking. What we’re shown features some of DC’s most iconic heroes and character and Sampere’s artwork beautifully conveys the significance of those images. I’m eagerly anticipating seeing the rest of his work on this story.
There’s little room for complaint when talking about a free comic. Even a mediocre effort would be worth the purchase price. The only problem I might have is if there was anything that raised concerns about the quality of the upcoming Dark Crisis event. However, I was unable to find anything in this preview that rings any warning bells about this event. If this preview is any indication, this should be one of DC’s better crossovers.
The Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition gives every indication that DC’s summer event will be phenomenal. This small taste makes it clear that Williamson and Sampere are capable of giving us a truly memorable story. It’s free, so there’s little excuse not to check it out. You won’t be sorry.