To be completely honest, I was going to completely skip this issue. Given that Darkseid War has now officially entered a weird shipping schedule, I’m assuming that DC put this out to satisfy readers who maybe hankering for more information related to Darkseid War. I’ve made my complaints in recent reviews that I feel like Darkseid War began to feel long in the tooth, or over staying it’s welcome. When I saw this on the stands all I could think about how the actual series isn’t over yet and then I saw Ivan Reis penciled some of this issue, which lead those remarks fleeing my memory.
With the recent announcement that Jessica Cruz would be tag teaming along with Simon Baz, it would make an awful lot of sense to showcase how and why she actually deserves a Green Lantern ring. Especially since Jessica hasn’t really been given a chance to demonstrate her own inner heroism (which makes when you factor in her ring). In fitting with classic super hero tropes, John’s places Jessica in an isolated area with no access to her powers, forcing her to give in to her anxiety or be the hero that others believe she can be. While her page count isn’t exactly high nor does this cement why she deserves a Green Lantern but it’s a step in the right direction. Having her face all the previous wielders of the Power Ring could be seen as Jessica facing her own insecurity as a person, therefore when confronting said problem one can’t help but want to fight against it.
The bulk of this issue centers around the daughter of Darkseid, Grail. Yes we know she’s a child of Darkseid and an Amazonian assassin, which is all one really needs for the basis of Darkseid War but John’s decides to dig deeper into the character. The story of Grail is one of nature vs. nurture. which coincides with Myrina being a single mother. One might say that John’s took the easy way out by showing Grail grow up with the curse of Darkseid’s daughter and how she (just like any child) didn’t have a choice in her lineage.
Even though she’s more malicious with capturing Steve Trevor, I can’t help but feel a tad sorry for her that her path was chosen before she was even born. It could be that John’s has big plans for Grail before the arc was over and this issue sows the seeds of that here.
Appropriately Ivan Reis returns to the Green Lantern side of the DCU as he draws Jessica’s story. Fitting the story, Reis’s art is scratchier than what he was doing with Aquaman. The line work gives off the nightmarish feeling of anxiety, as one might see their world spinning out of control. Given that Power Ring is a opposite version of Hal Jordan, seeing Reis render Power Ring to look exactly like Hal was a nice touch that made me do a double take. For Grail’s story Paul Pelletier and Oscar Jimenez and while it’s difficult to follow an artist like Ivan Reis, they do an perfectly fine job. Good storytelling and especially great character acting with Grail, the best example being right after Grail attempts to murder Myrina and you see the regret in her eyes as she laments the curse of Darkseid. Some pages were a bit muddy (namely the sequences with a naked Grail), but other than that a solid job from both art teams.
Unlike the previous Darkseid War specials, I will say that readers who have been enjoying this long arc will absolutely need to read this. It provides more insight to Jessica and Grail as characters going forward, so in that instance I can forgive it that this time. Hopefully the next chapter of Darkseid War is not to far away.
Justice League: Darkseid War earns a 4/5