Now I wasn’t planning on picking this issue up but I talked myself into it when I actually got in the store. I’d read an article that was suggesting Darkseid might have a big event coming up soon and I thought, well on the off chance that’s true I will try to stay in the loop. So I bought it, read it, and I’m left pretty underwhelmed.
Greg Pak writes this issue which should have tipped me off from the get-go but I still feel like this was false-advertisement. This should have been listed as a Batman/Superman title. Now, fortunately, I’ve been reading that book and seriously enjoying it. The thing is, I was expecting this Darkseid issue to have some effect on the title it inhabited, Justice League. However, it has nearly nothing to do with that book except for a couple of scenes depicting that fight back in Volume 1. Other than the fact that this issue kind of misrepresented itself, it didn’t really add much to the story. Well, it did and it didn’t. This issue reveals the origins of Darkseid, Highfather, and Apokolips (sort of). We get a glimpse at the Old Gods which was pretty cool except for a certain goofy, clichéd scene. I would’ve liked to see some more of this. We get an in-depth look at Uxas, Darkseid before becoming a New God, and that was interesting but I feel like this is one of those less-is-more situations. Other than his connection to Highfather being revealed (which also wasn’t really that interesting), none of this really added to the character. I might even go so far as to say it’s taken away, which is a complaint that I’ve heard leveled at Thanos Rising.
So really, the main character of this book winds up being (spoilers?) Kaiyo, the Chaos Bringer. Which is okay, I guess. But that again further relates this issue more towards the current arc on Batman/Superman than anything else. She’s an okay character I guess but she, like Darkseid, doesn’t really get any dimensions or personality other than like a single trait. She likes to start trouble, and that’s it. Darkseid likes to dominate/be in control, and that’s it. The issue has some poor characterization which is probably my biggest problem with it. There are even some inconsistencies in the way Uxas interacts with his sister Avia and her lover Izaya.
We get two artists on this issue: Paulo Siqueira and Netho Diaz. Now the issue doesn’t say which artists do which pages so I’m going to take my best guess here. Paulo Siqueira seems to do the bulk of the issue and Netho Diaz does some fill-in pages near the end. Siqueira’s style here is really cool, very reminiscent of Kenneth Rocafort (which could have something to do with colors or inks but until corrected I’m going to say it was the pencils). He’s got a style suited for this issue. However, Netho Diaz does as well. His pages are obviously different but he also does some good work with the characters and in the end it makes me wish that just one of them had done the entire issue (though I’m guessing Diaz came on because Siqueira was unable to finish the pencils on time). Putting the both of them on it does both of them a little bit of a disservice, that said their styles are similar enough that it’s not too abrupt a change.
Despite my complaints, there’s still some good stuff here. I really like the feel of Apokolips and I’d love to learn some more of the mythology of the Old Gods/New Gods. But this issue is just too short for that to happen in any detail, so in the end the product feels kind of mediocre. It dabbles into a bit of this and that and in the end nothing winds up the better for it. The best part of the issue is that it sets up a possible return of Darkseid and the Parademons into Earth 2. Other than that, though, this feels like something that needed either a double-length or a few more issues (perhaps miniseries) to really flesh out properly.