The next Crisis is upon us, but this time, the universe may be beyond saving. Your Major Spoilers review of Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 from DC Comics awaits!
JUSTICE LEAGUE: ROAD TO DARK CRISIS #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson/Jeremy Adams/Chuck Brown/Phillip Kennedy Johnson/Stephanie Phillips
Artist: Dan Jurgens/Rosi Kampe/Fico Ossio/Leila Del Duca/Clayton Henry
Inker: Norm Rapmund
Colorist: Hi-Fi/Matt Herms/Sebastian Cheng/Jordie Bellaire/Marcelo Maiolo
Letterer: Josh Reed
Editor: Paul Kaminski
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $5.99
Release Date: May 31, 2022
Previously in Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis: The Justice League has tragically fallen in battle, and now we see the aftermath. How does the world react to the Justice League being gone? Which heroes rise up and which villains try to take advantage?
And what dark forces are lying in wait to attack?
22 SHORT FILMS ABOUT PRIME EARTH
In the wake of the Justice League’s death, everything is in flux. Nightwing is surprised to find Star City criminal Brick attacking Gotham, but the intervention of Superman Jon Kent takes care of him easily. The two heroes discuss how death in the DC Universe isn’t always final and show off how much like their now-deceased dads they are, bonding in the face of chaos. In Central City, The Flash meets with his family to find that his Uncle Barry has gone missing. Teaming with Kid Flash Wallace West (who is either going by Ace or has a cute nickname from his identically named cousin), The Flash tries to keep everyone’s spirits up, but still takes the time to remember how much the loss of Barry in the first Crisis affected him. Green Lantern Hal Jordan returns to Earth just in time to find that his colleagues have fallen, but teams up with Aquaman Jackson Hyde and finds an appreciation for the new kid, while Batgirl faces Nocturna and Nocturna faces a hard decision when recruited by the Secret Society. Most terribly, we finally get the blanks filled in as to how Pariah triggered The Great Darkness in the first place.
STILL A BIT CONFUSING
The biggest problem with this issue is that there’s nowhere near six bucks worth of content in these pages. There are fun bits (like Nocturna and Stephanie Brown’s sparring or the Superman/Nightwing World’s Finest Sons) but even the part of the comic dedicated to explaining Pariah’s actions isn’t critical information. As far as the art goes, we get lovely work from Jurgens, Fico Ossio, and others, and certainly nothing that is overtly sub-par, but all five stories feel like backup tales without a lead feature to partner with. It’s been seven months since Barry Allen disappeared into the previous Multiverse at the end of Infinite Frontier, which brings up another big issue with this comic book: The current “No Central Continuity” approach makes a big crossover like this maddening to try and follow. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, and company are dead, except in stories where they’re not, and the recent string of big crossovers (the Doomsday Clock to Dark Nights to Year of the Villain to Death Metal to Future State to Infinite Frontier pipeline) seems incompatible not only with each other but with the beginnings of this story as well.
BOTTOM LINE: STILL DON’T KNOW WHAT DARK CRISIS IS
All in all, Justice League: Road To Dark Crisis #1 has its charms and provides a few fun moments, some touching interactions, and a couple of dad jokes, with art that ranges from pretty okay to excellent and stories that feel like they could have actually been multi-panel sequences in the actual Dark Crisis comic book, shaking down to 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. If the measure of success for a Road To comic is making me want to read the series it leads up to, this one falls quite a bit short.
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JUSTICE LEAGUE: ROAD TO DARK CRISIS #1
A collection of moments to highlight the coming Crisis, providing some emotional underpinning for the new crossover but costing too much and providing little that feels really critical to the stories.