I don’t know if anybody can tell or not, but I’m enjoying Darkseid War immensely. Now as we enter the second act, Johns has put some perplexing pieces on the fictional chess board. Certain characters have undergone drastic changes from the previous issue, and if you’re at all familiar to the world of comics, then you know nothing is permanent. Which makes us as readers ask, why should we care about these changes. That is the challenge that John’s and artist duo Francis Manapaul, and Brian Buccellato face with this chapter of Darkseid War.
By my own standards I should be disappointed with this issue of Darkseid War, By in large this is one gigantic set up issue post death of Darkseid. If each of these threads were going to be explored for the rest of the story arc, I wouldn’t have minded an issue dedicated to set up. but before the issue is over you’re told that in order to explore more of this new dynamic to read six individual one shots. I realize that this was most likely a decision out of John’s hand but it still detracts the goal of this issue.
With that being said though, Geoff Johns made sure to make each and every one of these potential one shots desirable, as each gives enough screen time, with the sole exception being Shazam. Sadly despite how good these vignettes are, it doesn’t equal a solid narrative. What really holds this issue together is Francis Manapaul and Brian Buccellato’s art.
Normally in this instance I would complain at how drastic the style change between Jason Fabok to Francis Manupauls. However just because Francis Manapaul’s is currently one of the best comics artist out there, I’ll don’t mind it as much. If both Fabok and Manupaul had worked on the same issue, then it would be a problem, but with this issue acting as a bridge to various one shots. The beautiful painting style of Manapaul’s has evolved since his work on The Flash, his facial expressions have more nuance the prime example I use is Lex Luthor under capture of The Forgotten People.
One sequence that I enjoyed more so than the others was Lex Luthor’s next stage evolution. Despite that Luthor has undergone a more positive change within the pages of Justice League, but Johns returns him to his roots a bit. Luthor is a survivor and will do anything manipulative to continue to survive. It’s a great yet small sequence, that perfectly demonstrates the core of Lex Luthor as a character.
While I was entertained by this issue of Darkseid War, the fact that this issue wasn’t setup for the next chapter of Darkseid War, but instead six individual one shots that may or may not effect the overall story. Francis Manapaul’s art was amazing of course but given the high quality art in the past I didn’t expect anything less. Hopefully the next chapter picks up right where this one leaves off.
Justice League #45 earns a 3/5
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