JUSTICE LEAGUE #43
“Darkseid War, pt. 3: Taken” (24 pages)
Writer: Geoff Johns
Artist: Jason Fabok
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Covers by: Jason Fabok & Brad Anderson; Emanuela Luppachino & Tomeu Morey
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Kalibak the Cruel is a most apt moniker. The beast of a man relishes in sadism and killing just for the hell of it. Steppenwolf approaches him and informs him of their mission to Earth. This time, it’d be more efficient if Kalibak didn’t kill their own troops and stick to the plan. Keeping his temper in check is a completely foreign concept. Aside from that, K-bak fights for himself, not his father. Blasphemy!!
The League is most unsettled with Batman’s ascension. The fact that he talks above them [literally!] and chooses not to unseat himself are reasons to give them pause. GL offers assistance. He’s shut down. Cyborg gives him the highest praise. No response. Steve Trevor notices the elevation [pun intended]. Bats responds rhetorically. Wonder Woman makes a plea. He smiles and emits confidence.
Superman and Lex Luthor will never be friends in this lifetime and universe nor in any other (aside from multiverses). Treading through the ‘streets’ of Apokolips is certain doom. Lex analyses the air quality. Toxic. Supes’ heat vision is unavailable. Hordes of Hunger Dogs rush at them. They have a major dislike for the Man of Steel. Supes begins to bleed after he’s slashed by one. Lex realizes that he’s slowly being depowered due to the lack of sun.
Lashina also lives up to her name lashing out in anger. She’s become extremely impatient. Myrina Black is a most elusive prey. Kanto determines that she was present along with Scot Free. Kanto is obsessed with finding Scot since he’s the only one who ever escaped his evil clutches. Lashina tells him to focus on the actual search party for the mother of Darkseid’s child. His word is law.
Grail draws a circle with an omega symbol to summon daddy dearest. Diana is told of Grail by Batman. They have some common bond but went down two very different roads. Mr. Miracle booms his way into the Rock of Eternity. He’s taken aback at the Dark Knight atop the Mobius Chair. When he questions Metron, he doesn’t believe a single word. He willingly puts the Lasso of Truth around his wrist to state his intentions. He drops the Anti-Monitor’s name. He is priority number one. Steve is skeptical but Diana sees the truth in Scot’s eyes.
Bat-God will journey to the centre of the multiverse to gain vital info. GL offers to be his guide. Power Ring wants to tag along but Hal tells her to remain with Flash since her ring’s energy is connected to his power. Scot creates some cuffs out of thin air and binds them to Metron. The heroes teleport. Metron is relieved since his burden has been lifted.
Anti-Monitor grows restless. He wants battle. Grail assures him of the ritual’s efficacy. Come the heroes as well as the Apokaliptans!! Time to pick a side. No matter the choice, the outcome will be the same: major loss. That’s the beauty of a catch-22.
The only way to get out alive and intact from Darkseid’s world is to cooperate. Supes is extremely wary of his primary nemesis but Baldie’s logic is sound. Fire is the next best thing to solar energy (faulty premise, IMO). Thus, LL hurls his extraterrestrial enemy into a pit. Foolish mortal!! Superman emerges fully energized and powered up to a whole new level. He’s been darkened (literally). His moral compass is completely shot. He regrets not having slain humanity’s greatest threat ages ago. Black beams of heat vision blaze through his eyes.
DDDDAAAAMMMMNNNN!!! Three parts in and only the surface has been scratched. So much has been established but Geoff Johns is definitely crafting an actual epic in terms of length and scope. This was DC’s best-selling title for many months when it first hit the shelves before it was deposed. Time to regain the throne!! Not counting the upcoming one-shots in October, this may go all the way to the milestone number fifty. The November solicitations indicate part six but nowhere near done.
Even though Bat-Tron got major attention last issue and some screen time this issue, there are expanded scenes on Superman and his antithesis. I’m pleased as punch. It’s less than a 180 but necessary to carry the overarching story. Lex will always remain bitter about the alien that stole his thunder. Even if he is somewhat altruistic or philanthropic, his ego is his driving force. Role reversal occurs at the very end. Lex has to step up his heroism while his rival for attention has become something truly out of this world. Irony at its best. Good intentions brought about hellish results.
Diana narrates and is the centre of it all. Mr. Johns doesn’t give her much to do but I bide my time as her ultimate fan. Wiser than Athena, she analyses all variables, is rightly wary of higher beings, patiently determines a course of action, and executes strategies. She is the leader of this pack. Green Lantern’s trip to the core of various realities is going to be quite spacey and trippy. I’m sure that will be furthered explored in the one-shots. As always, Shazam delivers the best lines and provides the unintentional comic relief with his sense of awe and mild ingenuousness.
Jay Fabok has assumed the pinnacle of his career!! This far in, he’s delivered the most gorgeous panoramic shots and successfully transferred Mr. Johns’ ambitious ideas. There are fantabulous full-pagers, an actual widescreen two-page spread, and one-third page showing the majesty of Darkseid with five side-panels having eyes interlock. Background and foreground blend beautifully. The ‘unimportant’ details such as the rain, the rocks, the rubble, the smoke, the soil, the toxic particles: all are arduously acknowledged. There are distinct silhouettes, subtle shadows, and the poster “For Darkseid”. The absolute achievement is the photo-negative effect used to highlight [blacklight? ;-P] Superman’s transformation!! This man deserves an Eisner award!!
Here comes the BOOM! Four times, in fact. Rob Leigh, you are a clever calligraphist. Way to maximum space!! The red boxes for WW’s determination shows her fiery spirit and battle-ready determination. It is intriguing to note the red lining around the black speech balloons uttered by Batman and Superman. Things do not bode well at all. One last thing: the different lingo on the “For Darkseid” poster.
Just when I think things couldn’t improve, I’m wrong at every turn! It’s still too soon to look back at the entire saga but Mr. Johns is on his A+ game not only for us passionate fans but for himself too! Aside from that, the Justice League is DC’s premier team. Always has been, always has to be!! No room for lame villains nor goofy antics. Straight-out action with careful characterization are key.
WARNING!! This is an Omega-level situation!!! 9.8 out of 10!!!!
Tags: Bat-Tron, Darkseid War, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Jason Fabok, Justice League