Review: DARK CRISIS #1
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artist: Daniel Sampere
Colours: Alejandro Sanchez
Letters: Tom Napolitano
Reviewed By: Derek McNeil
Dark Crisis #1: Crisis on Infinite Earths. Infinite Crisis. Final Crisis. And now…Dark Crisis! The epic event years in the making is finally here! Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and the rest of the Justice League are dead. The remaining heroes are left to protect the world from an onslaught of violent attacks by DC’s greatest villains! Can the legacy heroes step out of the shadows of the classic heroes to form a new Justice League? And will that be enough to stop a darkness greater than anything they’ve ever faced from destroying everything? Don’t miss out on the first issue of the blockbuster event of the summer!
With Dark Crisis #1, Joshua Williamson’s major summer event has now officially begun. However, DC has actually been building up to Dark Crisis for months now. Infinite Crisis, Justice League Incarnate, and Justice League #75 have been paving the way for this story.
From the first page, we get introduced to one of this series’ central themes: legagcy. We see a re-enactment of Dick Grayson swearing the oath that began his career as Robin, making him the first sidekick in comics and the first of DC’s second generation of characters. This is immediately followed by a two-page spread that summarizes the legacy from Batman and Robin up to the newest generation heroes.
And while this may seem like a celebration of DC history to fans, this is actually a rather sombre occasion, as Dick’s narration is revealed to be a eulogy for the Justice League who are presumed dead following the events of Justice League #75. However, Dick’s words exhort the gathered heroes to fight on and continue the League’s legacy.
And the question of how to follow the League’s legacy is an important question that falls upon the shoulder’s of Jon Kent. And he does so by assembling his own League. His first impulse is to form a new Trinity at the core by enlisting a new Batman and Wonder Woman. Unfortunately, neither Jace Fox nor Yara Flor are inclined to take him up on his offer. Thus, we see Jon talking to a succession of candidates. some of which turn him down, while others accept.
The team Jon puts together are a rather ragtag selection of heroes. Some make perfect sense, while others seem to be rather odd choices, as Jon was getting desperate to fill the roster. I suspect that this team will not serve as the permanent roster, but that some of them will stick around. I like that the reformed Killer Frost has joined the team, and Frankenstein makes a very intriguing addition. However, there seem to be some redundant selections. Black Adam raises the question “Do you really need two Blue Beetles?”. But he could also have asked if they needed a Superman and a Supergirl.
I think we will see some shakeups in the team’s roster as this series progresses. It’s unclear whether or not the original League will reform when Dark Crisis is over, but I suspect some of these characters will remain on whatever incarnation of the League arises out of this event.
I find the role of Hal Jordan in this story rather interesting. As the only original member of the Justice League remaining, Hal now represents his generation of heroes. He has been thrust into the position of the elder statesman, whom even Dick Grayson defers to. This seems a bit at odds with Hal’s personality, but I believe he can rise to the occasion and provide an example for the younger heroes to emulate.
And Hal gets right to work and doles out the assignments. He directs Wally to search for Barry, while he sets off to “find the perp” responsible for the League’s disappearance. This leaves Jon to deal with the rise in supervillain activity around the world.
Speaking of which, the issue ends with Deathstroke and his Secret Society of Super Villains launching an all-out attack on Titans Tower. Deathstroke states his intention to “Kill legacy once and for all”. Deathstroke has settled firmly into the role of a villain and has declared himself the enemy of the Titans and the very idea they represent. This gives the upcoming conflict an interesting edge. It’s not just a typical fight between heroes and villains, but a war of ideologies.
We also see what looks to be the first casualty in that war, as Deathstroke appears to execute Beaxt Boy with a bullet to the head. However, I suspect this isn’t the end of Gar. Readers of Teen Titans Academy will remember that he and Cyborg currently share a merged body. They appear to be separate, but this is an illusion generated by Raven. And Cyborg is is elsewhere when this happens. I suspect Deathstroke merely killed an illusory duplicate controlled by Gar’s mind.
Daniel Sampere’s visuals for this issue are astounding. Many of DC’s greatest characters are represented here, and they all look absolutely iconic. I loved every image: young Dick Grayson swearing his oath before Batman, the throng of heroes gathered to mourn the Justice League, and Deathstroke’s attack on Titans Tower. Sampere’s art really sells the idea that this story as a major event.
Some of Jon’s selections for the new League seem rather odd. For example, Harley Quinn seems an outright bizarre choice. However, I understand that Jon was likely getting desperate to find enough heroes. And, as I said above, I suspect this lineup will change as the story progresses.
And actually, I think that Harley’s presence could prove interesting. She has been going through a redemption arc in her own title. Also, Harley is actually very intelligent and an expert in criminal psychology. She could be a disruptive influence, or she might actually turn out to be a valuable addition to the team – or quite possibly both. While her being on the team may or may not be a good idea, it will almost certainly prove entertaining.
Dark Crisis #1 serves as a fantastic opening chapter for Williamson’s story. It has me hooked and I am eager to see what twists and turns this story will take over the next few months. Strap in, folks, as it looks like we’re in for a hell of a ride.