09th Jun2022

‘Dark Crisis #1’ Review (DC Comics)

by Dean Fuller

Written by Joshua Williamson | Art by Daniel Sampere | Published by DC Comics

Will there ever come a time when DC will retire the ‘Crisis’ label for whatever universe-shattering, er, crisis is just around the corner? I doubt it. I guess it’s the comic book equivalent of a movie franchise in some ways. Let’s be honest, the word ‘Crisis’ in a DC book still gets instant buzz, both in the comics press and in fandom in general. I’m pretty cynical overall, yet I’m still the first in line. I say all this as someone who has the original Crisis on Infinite Earths in all sorts of formats (the original newsstand comics, the anniversary collections, the deluxe etc). I suppose that as long as the actual product is still good quality, the book still tells a strong story that has a point, then we will be happily throwing our money at it.

So, DC, show us what you’ve got this time.

The starting point of this first issue is of course legacy, as a Crisis book should always respect the past as well as open the future, should it not? Justice League issue 75 saw the death of the Justice League (for now), and the first few pages celebrate them and the heroes they inspired. The double-page spreads are gorgeously drawn, very Crisis, and very George Perez. There is a large gathering of heroes to remember, to commemorate those gone, although surely some of them must be thinking we’ve done this a few times before. Anyhow, we know bad things are not far away when we see Deathstroke and friends watching all this from a rooftop.

With the Justice League gone, everyone and his friend decide it’s time to launch mayhem and destruction. Strangest of all is the fact that all the doomsday cults, like Kobra, are convinced the end of days are coming. Some of the surviving big guns get together, Hal Jordan, Wally West, Black Adam, Superman’s son, and realise they need to find out if the Justice League are really dead, and also to find out if the enemy they faced really has been defeated. That was Pariah and The Great Darkness of course. Flash and Green Lantern go off to see what they can find, and Jon Kent resolves to form a new Justice League, to fill in for now. His first recruit? The new Wonder Girl.

Well, she would have been, but turns him down. Oh well, at least the new Batman will be on board. Actually, nope, not interested either. This team-building stuff is tougher than it looks. Jon soldiers on, for every yes, there’s a no. The team he finally assembles is, to my eyes at least, a bit meh. To Black Adam’s as well, he counts himself out only after giving a mike drop worthy slam to the new team. That team might be needed sooner than anyone thinks, as Deathstroke leads an army of villains to attack Titans Tower. Good tactics I guess, attack your enemies when weakened. He seems to kill a very big-name hero as well. That’s bad enough. Pariah, though, looks like he is triggering a multiverse wide crisis, and nothing will survive the same. Maybe.

A solid read, though this felt like an issue setting the scene rather than one making you feel as though you must rush out for the next issue. Even the big death was quite low-key, rather than the issue building up to it. That being said, Williamson wrote a nicely balanced story, balancing legacy and future, what’s been lost with what we are gaining. He knows we know what we are expecting and delivers nicely with widescreen action. Talking of widescreen action, the art throughout by Daniel Sampere is superb. He cuts loose with some fantastic double-page spreads, and the art throughout is all clean lines and Crisis-reminiscent panels. Fabulous stuff. Honourable mention to the George Perez tribute spread at the end, a direct tribute to his Crisis work and beautifully done by a whole boatload of artists.

A strong start to what will no doubt be a strong story, and one that will be hard to ignore. Who will live, who will die? All bets are off (unless a character has strong franchise value, in which case they’ll be ok. Yes, I’m looking at you, Harley Quinn).

**** 4/5


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