The big moment is finally here, Dark Crisis is available, and it kicks off the next big DC event. If you have been following Joshua Williamson, you know this is the next stop after stories like Infinite Frontier, Justice League Incarnate, the Shadow War, and the Death of the Justice League. It has been a wild ride for readers and characters alike, but luckily, you’ll do just fine if you’re starting here at Dark Crisis #1. There will be a test of faith, friendships taken for granted, and a murder that will hit hard inside this issue.
To start, the regular cover by Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sanchez is top-notch, with its front and rear cover offering a legion of heroes and villains. It is very poster worthy and captures all the elements that we have seen come together to build this event. The gathered villains are presented in Darkness and their leader Pariah, but the pair of eyes above him is even more mysterious. The image brings a question to my mind: How fair is the relationship between the Great Darkness and Pariah regarding their motivations? I can’t wait to see how that will play out in future issues. What is most impressive is the gathered Justice League in the background with their “Force Ghost” appearance as they watch the many generations of heroes rise to the call. This cover has earned its place right alongside a gathering of characters in the style of George Perez, Phil Jimenez, or Ivan Reis.
The issue opens as we have seen in the preview, which is a great Who’s Who of heroes showcased in fantastic homage images of famous DC comics covers. This creative team did their homework, which adds to my buy-in for this event as I feel like it makes everything count. I think many fans will be excited to see their heroes return to the page after some absences in time, so this is a perfect return to the DCU if you’ve been sitting out their comics. The scene will follow Jon Kent, Dick Grayson, Wally West, and Hal Jordan as they set up for their missions and roles. I appreciate that group of characters. They are all legacies themselves but have become so popular that I can name them by their secret identities instead of heroic codenames. That group also embodies a heritage that stretches to the Golden Age of Comics.
As I mentioned before, some comics build toward this event. Still, Williamson and Sampere provide a beautiful page that catches you up to speed, a fine mix of catching up with new readers without boring longtime readers. There are characters of focus, and it seems that in this issue Hal Jordan will go off for his adventure, which we will probably see continued in issue 3. Then, Wally West has an idea of what he will need to do, so make sure to check out Flash issues #783 to #786. Here is a checklist of comics involved in Dark Crisis. I enjoyed the banter between Hal and Wally as it reminded me of their lost friendship since Barry’s return; seeing Wally say Uncle Hal was such a joy.
I appreciate that Joshua Williamson doesn’t give a free pass to Black Adam and still has him mistrusted by other heroes, which could play out very nicely in later issues as something is happening with the villains. It wasn’t that long ago he was one. The bulk of the issue is Jon Kent’s mission to bring hope to a world that lost the Justice League by gathering a new group of heroes. I enjoyed the featured interactions, and there is also a trick of the art to let us know that Jon is being stalked. Williamson and Sampere spare no expense to showcase as many heroes as possible, which makes me wonder how their future in this event will be even when they decline membership.
The final act takes us to Titans Tower, and that was such a moving moment as the Titans are family, unlike the League. The League is a gathering of heroes, while the Titans are kindred and there for each other. I appreciate how the villain attacking the Titans calls out their role in super-heroics, then reminds them that there is no League to save them. The attack is when the “you know what” hits the fan. If you’ve already seen the cover to issue #2, you know things will get savage. I can’t wait to see fans’ reactions to the sacrificed hero, but I also can’t wait to see how that moment will play out in the grand scheme.
The last two pages are quite the ride. I look forward to all the speculation and discussion they will cause, especially that new costume design. Take a look at the chest logo and see if you can figure out what it will mean. I appreciate this labor of love from Williamson, Sampere, and the rest of the creative team because they understand the characters. The challenge is significant enough to make this a Crisis while testing the legacies to see if they can stand.
The Great Darkness and Pariah will put DC’s legacy of heroes to the test. The dark army has taken down the League, and a new group of villains attack. Characters from the last 35 years of DC history will rise to prove their mettle as the foundation and players set up. Emotions will spill as the creative team entertains you as they showcase their love and history for DC Comics.
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