Writer: Joshua Williamson
Art: Daniel Sampere, Alejandro Sánchez, and Tom Napolitano
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: June 7th, 2022
The story years in the making has finally arrived! The JUSTICE LEAGUE is dead and the younger, prevailing champions are left to preserve the planet from an offense on a Multiversal scale from DC’s greatest villains! Can these heroes trudge out from the shadows of their predecessors to establish a new JUSTICE LEAGUE? And will that be enough? Let’s dive into DARK CRISIS #1 by Joshua Williamson and find out!
The story opens with the world’s reaction to the entire JUSTICE LEAGUE killed. It’s what you would expect. So, nothing out of character. The people of the world look upset and some of the crazies are coming out of the woodwork. However, the thing Williamson hints at is the fact that the true super villains aren’t on the move… it’s the wackadoos and extremists, which is an interesting twist. I would think that some of the “Super-Villains” would come to the forefront. Or, like in FOREVER EVIL, I would suspect some of them would take the reins. Yet, that doesn’t happen.
However, the first angle I love is when Hal Jordan enters the fray. He asks the question that even the readers are probably asking. “Why do you believe BLACK ADAM?” Out of all the people to take their word as to what happened, you believe him? This is a great angle to take that could eventually spin out of control into a Civil War of Heroes or even worse. The possibilities of having Hal re-enter the fold have fantastic possibilities that I’m super excited about, except he peels off quick, and who knows if he’s going to return.
Yet, then the story moves towards Jon Kent and the formation of a new JUSTICE LEAGUE and that’s when things become a bit stagnant and boring. Fans basically watch the beginning of the JUSTICE LEAGUE we witnessed in FUTURE STATE. However, we get what appears to be a quick comedic attempt at a plethora of characters being asked, from HARLEY QUINN to BOOSTER GOLD and Killer Frost, to join the league. I understand the JUSTICE LEAGUE is “dead” but I feel like the characters asked were a bit of a reach. And yes, two BLUE BEETLES were asked for some reason.
Plus, why wouldn’t so many of them be up to the challenge if they truly were the heroes next in line? What about the TEEN TITANS? What about the members of YOUNG JUSTICE? I feel like that was the point of the young teams, right? But instead, we get some makeshift conglomerate of hero-villains in what appears to be an attempt to draw across different eclectic avenues led by an inexperienced Superboy. Yet, what makes this worse is that Williamson uses BLACK ADAM as the meta-thread saying everything that’s wrong with the teams’ creation.
Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sánchez were spot on in this issue of DARK CRISIS. By far, these two were the saving grace of the issue. Sampere and Sánchez get the opportunity to draw a wide range of heroes and villains with such dynamic detail. The style and design of DARK CRISIS immediately reminds this reviewer of so many of the past crisis’ events like INFINITE CRISIS (one of my favs) or even FINAL CRISIS. Each hero is drawn with such attention to detail, stellar linework, and colors that pop off the page.
Moreover, it’s Sampere and Sánchez that make the tone of Jon Kent so incredibly young and out of place to even be capable of running a JUSTICE LEAGUE. Granted, it’s this aspect of the story I disliked the most BUT fans can tell this is the direction of the narrative Williamson wanted and these two provide him with exactly what he desired. Additionally, the TITANS look older and look ready to become the new JUSTICE LEAGUE, which is how Sampere and Sánchez designed them. I feel every DC COMICS fan will be overly pleased with the rendering of DARK CRISIS #1 making it truly one of the highlights of the issue.
The DARK CRISIS begins exactly where JUSTICE LEAGUE: ROAD TO DARK CRISIS #1 left off… with absolutely no direction, clue, or guidance as to the purpose of this event. Truthfully, all we know STILL is that the JUSTICE LEAGUE is dead which is the same thing we learned in JUSTICE LEAGUE #75. Williamson spends most of DARK CRISIS #1 forming a team and poking fun at the team he makes in a very meta-perspective. I literally left DARK CRISIS #1 wondering if this was some kind of joke. The last five to six pages are all you need to read and have any importance whatsoever. And even then, the Multiversal aspects with Pariah don’t make sense and are thrown out to fans providing no direction or purpose.
The only important element of DARK CRISIS #1 is what happens to the TEEN TITANS Tower. However, after leaving DARK CRISIS #1, one could assume that this event is all about the TEEN TITANS. Well, is it? The antagonists focus their attention in that direction, which does make logical sense. Nevertheless, this should have been the entire emphasis of the issue instead of the Jon Kent League. Readers, it’s a DC EVENT! I want to like it. But without an opening that grabs your attention, little to no structure, and a lack of key plot points and conflicts until the story ends, DARK CRISIS #1 crawls out of the gate gasping for air with only one possible exception. This story needs a kick of adrenaline stat before it’s too late. Let me know what you think, have a great week, and God Bless!