Who is the godliest god of them all?
Justice League #49 brings the “Darkseid War” saga one step closer to its epic conclusion. This is certainly an eventful issue, as the Justice League and Crime Syndicate come together to stop the all-powerful Mobius from ravaging another world. Gods continue to rise and fall, though the frequency at which Geoff Johns reorganizes the battlefield in this issue diminishes the impact of these twists somewhat.
The weird, back-and-forth, Dragonball Z-esque approach to storytelling is reminiscent of Johns’ work on Green Lantern #20, which also featured a major showdown between good and evil and a plot that saw both sides constantly trying to one-up each other with their displays of power. After nine issues and assorted tie-in issues, it’s enough to wonder what the real focal point of “The Darkseid War” actually is. Why spend so much time building up the battle between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor if neither villain is the real endgame here? Grail’s reintroduction into the story here feels abrupt (and presumably even more so if you’ve didn’t read the recent Darkseid War Special one-shot).
As annoying as that approach can be in some respects, the question of the true villain of this story is fairly superfluous in the end. The entire war that forms the backdrop of this conflict is really just that – a backdrop. The real point of “The Darkseid War” is exploring how the heroes of the Justice League are affected when the lines between men and gods become blurred. And tin that sense, this issue is as memorable as any before it. There are plenty of great character touches here, big and small. There’s great appeal in reading a Lex Luthor whose physical stature now matches his boundless ego and ambition. It’s fun to watch Batman employ his omniscient knowledge in a way that vexes even a being like Mobius. Even Mister Miracle and Big Barda share a crucial moment in this issue, one that makes me hope there are big plans for the New Gods in DC Rebirth.
As always, Jason Fabok’s art helps this series achieve an event-worthy scope and feel. Fabok’s powerful, detailed figures and bold action more than justify the increasingly long waits between issues. This issue does have a slightly repetitive visual quality in the sense that the background of every panel is nothing more than billowing smoke and rubble. But isn’t that level of physical devastation what happens when gods and titans clash?