Justice League (vol.2) #40 (2015)

Justice League (vol.2) #40 (June, 2015)
“Darkseid War, Prologue”
Writer – Geoff Johns
Pencillers – Kevin Maguire, Phil Jimenez, Dan Jurgens, Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Jason Fabok & Jim Lee
Inker – Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins & Scott Williams
Colorists – Brad Anderson & Alex Sinclair
Letterer – Rob Leigh
Assistant Editor – Amedeo Turturro
Group Editor – Brian Cunningham
Cover Price: $3.99

Remember Convergence?

Is this thing on?

Yeah, Convergence was pretty underwhelming… however, there was this one week where a few running-late ongoing DC Comics found their way into our shipments.  One was an issue of Superman (vol.3), and the other… was the one we’re going to be discussing today!  A true hidden gem, this issue of Justice League finally gives us the updated History of the DC Universe!

Let’s get right down to it!

We open with the promise that worlds live… and worlds die, and suddenly my ears perk up!  Is this really a New-52! book?  The cycle repeats over and over again.  We zoom in to take a closer look… and see one of the survivors of the Amazo Virus trying his hand at superheroics.  He’s shot… and as he lay dying, he (and we) meet our narrator… Metron!

He gives us the quick and dirty on the attempt he made to keep the peace between New Genesis and Apokolips… which, from how often it’s told must’ve been the most important thing to happen on either planet… ever!  We’re, of course, talking about the son-swapping event.  Highfather sent his son Scot(t) to live on Apokolips, while Darkseid sent his son Orion to live on New Genesis.

Metron pats himself on the back for prompting that pact to be made.  War was averted… and the universe/multiverse was able to roll along.  That is, until something else happened… something nobody was prepared for.  Crisis on Infinite Earths?!  I ask again, am I reading a New-52! book?

Our trip down memory lane doesn’t end there though… since the end of Crisis on Infinite Earths, there have been several more attempts at rewriting reality… including Zero Hour: Crisis in Time, Infinite Crisis, and even… Flashpoint?!  Metron continues, claiming that even up to today… reality hasn’t completely stabilized!

Speaking of today, we join the Justice League as they battle with Parademons… presumably on Apokolips.  Elsewhere, Metron approaches a man he greets as “Mobius”, though we know him better as the Anti-Monitor.

Ol’ Mobius doesn’t take kindly to being called by his “real?” name, and fires a blast in Metron’s direction.  Since he’s seated in the Mobius Chair (hmm…), he is left unscathed.  The Anti-Monitor reminds Metron that at one time he himself sat in that chair… which is an interesting wrinkle.

They discuss the Anti-Monitor’s motivations… last we saw him, he had destroyed Earth-3 (again)… something which “cracked open” the Multiverse, leaving it easily exploited by others… like Brainiac’s Convergence!  Anti-Monitor isn’t impressed… and suggests that Brainiac isn’t worth worrying over… he’s just collecting data.

Metron, still worrying about the fate of the Multiverse… Mobius Chair insight, and all… he dips back into his bag of tricks, and suggests a pact between the Anti-Monitor and… Darkseid.

Welp, sometimes going to the well once too often is futile.  Metron suddenly gets blasted with red energy… and as he lay smoldering, the Anti-Monitor informs him that he isn’t looking for peace… in fact, a war with Darkseid is exactly what he’s looking for.

He then proclaims that the Age of the New Gods is done (again), before introducing us to his partner in crime… the daughter of Darkseid?!

So… everything happened?  Like, everything everything?!

Well, I probably don’t have to tell ya, this is the first time in half a decade where I really felt as though I was “back” with DC Comics.  I first dipped my toe back in with Futures End, hopeful that it would somehow end with a return to tradition… a return to legacy.  While that series kinda under-delivered… and the Convergence event that followed was nothing more than a blatant time-killer to facilitate DC’s move from coast-to-coast… this one issue of Justice League told me everything I needed to know.

I’d go so far as to suggest that had The New-52! started with a similar bit… many of us disenfranchised “seasoned” DC Comics fans would have been okay with things.  Just the acknowledgement that… yes, Crisis happened… yes, there was a DC Universe before the Fall of 2011.  The adherence to the idea that from Justice League (vol.2) #1 (Nov, 2011) forward everything was NEW… except that… and this… and that… and maybe this too… turned a lot of us off.

I’ve gone down this path before, but once more… I, personally, want to know that the comics in my library “matter”… they “happened”.  I don’t want to be condescended to with “Those books are still on your shelf” or “Nobody’s ripping up your old comics”… I want to feel as though my quarter-century-plus investment in these characters (and companies) is appreciated… and that folks like me are not being tossed out with the bath water.  This single issue of Justice League told me… yes, those stories that shaped my understanding and love of DC Comics still happenedThe New-52! is simply the next evolution… and, had it been made clear from jump-street, I’d like to think I’d have been okay with it.

Now, onto the story itself… because, there was one!  I run kinda hot and cold on the New Gods… and, if I’m being honest, I tire of them only being brought back under threat of destroying them.  There doesn’t feel like there’s a status quo for the Fourth Worlders… it’s just “Here are the New Gods… watch them die… until next time.”  Well, that and son-swapping.

The wrinkle with the Anti-Monitor having once sat in the Mobius Chair (hell, it looks like he’s its namesake!) is a really cool way to tie things together.  I don’t want to go too deep into the Darkseid War epic… other than to say, it’s really long… maybe we’ll take a look at that later on.

Overall… this might be the most “must-have” issue from The New-52! era… at least from a history and ‘splaining things standpoint.  Definitely an issue I recommend tracking down, even if you’re not interested in the pending Darkseid War.

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