Comic Vine Review

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Justice League #23.1 - Apotheosis Review

5

Witness Darkseid's new origin and see why he traveled to Earth back in JUSTICE LEAGUE's first storyline.

The Good

Writer Greg Pak's tale is engrossing right from the first page and it just gets more and more fascinating from there. Yes, there's some big -- and I do mean big -- changes to Uxas' history, but this is called the new 52 for a reason, yes? It leaves some questions about where and how some characters could come into play (if at all), but this is all vastly outweighed by the quality of Pak's story and how it never loses steam. Not to mention it makes his history more simplistic, too (or at least I think so).

Pak also manages to give this issue an organic connection to his brand new BATMAN/SUPERMAN title. What's great is it doesn't feel like it's primarily there to serve as a reminder to check out his other book (though it does conclude with that suggestion and it'll make you want to follow-up). Instead, it's a brilliant link to Darkseid's history and does a grand job adding a nice twist to Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's opening JUSTICE LEAGUE story arc.

Visually, this is an excellent issue as well. Despite having two artists (and Hi-Fi coloring) there's never a jarring transition and the team does a solid job throwing us into Pak's engaging chapter. There's some pages loaded with spectacle and the coloring is beyond vivid at times -- most notably when the Gods clash with one another. It's an explosion of contrasting colors and it looks great.

The Bad

Like I said, there's some significant changes to the Dread Lord of Apokolips' history, but that doesn't bug me at all.

The Verdict

When it comes to fantasy, wonder and escapism, Greg Pak rules (see 'Planet Hulk' if you require more evidence). DC has tasked the writer with providing an all-new origin for Darkseid in The New 52 and, let me tell you, he definitely nailed it. He does a thorough job creating an absorbing story and makes the character every bit as formidable as he should be. This is without question a must read if you consider yourself a fan of Darkseid, and if not, it absolutely has the potential to turn you into one.

46 Comments
Posted by Saren

Mud-grubber is my new favorite word.

The only issue I had with this story is the idea that Darkseid doesn't appear to have much of a grand plan or scheme or something befitting his status as the DCU's Biggest Bad. He's running around the multiverse destroying planets and killing Supermen more or less because he's bored and wants something to do. Him chasing Kaiyo across the universes makes me wonder if she's the "daughter of Darkseid" from Vibe. In the first arc of JL, Wonder Woman asks him why he came to Earth and he replied "For her", and later someone, I think it was Waller, said Darkseid had come to Earth in pursuit of his daughter. But then this issue doesn't indicate any kind of familial relationship between him and Kaiyo.

Moderator
Posted by Lvenger
Posted by TheAcidSkull

f*ck yeah!

Edited by k4tzm4n

@citizenbane: I haven't been reading Vibe, but if this does turn out to be Darkseid's daughter (which seems possible), I imagine that could be a reveal and/or elaboration Pak is saving for his other title.

Staff
Edited by EnigmaLantern

I looked constantly for this title at my LCS and couldn't find it, I'm glad the review is good, Darkseid is right up there as one of my favourite villains.

Posted by Lvenger

@citizenbane: @k4tzm4n: But doesn't Waller have Darkseid's daughter under wraps on Earth? The Trickster could still be at large in Pak's Batman/Superman.

Posted by lifeboy

Go K4tzm4n Go! Come'on pal, pump those comics out! :)

Posted by Saren

@lvenger: Pak's Batman/Superman takes place in the past, Vibe takes place in the present. Kaiyo could have been captured sometime in between, if she really is Darkseid's daughter.

Moderator
Edited by Lvenger

@citizenbane: Good point, I'd briefly forgotten about that. But Pak does make a mention of Kaiyo being an important villain in his series in one particular interview.

Edited by UltimateSMfan

This issue was bittersweet for me, i really enjoyed it (was actually looking forward to it the most after forever evil this week) and am looking forward to Darkseid's future following this but i am a big,BIG fan of the rich New God history that existed pre-flashpoint. This also raises some questions about how some characters came to be.

also this...

The only issue I had with this story is the idea that Darkseid doesn't appear to have much of a grand plan or scheme or something befitting his status as the DCU's Biggest Bad.

ah the days of the Anti-Life Equation...

i really want Darkseid and all the new gods for that matter fleshed out more.

Edited by saoakden

Cool Darkseid, one of my favorite villains in the DC Universe. I hope to see him again in the future story. Maybe in Justice League again or Superman.

Edited by Blackdog2009

I loved this Darkseid story. Pak did an outstanding job. We also got to see Highfather's origin more or less. This is the strongest issue of the villains so far, including the Joker one, which felt rushed and weak.

Edited by TheAcidSkull

loved this.

Darkseid is boss.

Posted by Reactor

Ho...ly...crap. So Darkseid actually was the one responsible for orchestrating the war among the gods and then slaying all of the Old Gods and stealing all of their power (except the highest of them) to become the first New God. This was better than I could have hoped for, even Ixaya had the awesome moment of manipulating/deflecting the Omega Effect away from him. Then Darkseid unleashed his power and destroyed the Fourth Realm, and went on to create Apokolips from the ashes. Loved it, loved it, loved it! I hope they keep Darkseid at a skyfather level like they did here. This was off the chain!

Posted by longbowhunter

Think I'll skip the Joker issue in favor of this.

Posted by jwalser3

Think I'll skip the Joker issue in favor of this.

Posted by jwalser3

Damn is Darkseid powerful in the New 52

Posted by NathanXplosion

Its got Darkseid in it, I must buy.

Posted by manwithoutshame

Going in, I didn't know much about Darkseid's history so for me this was a really cool issue.

Edited by Immortal777

Was that Bizzaro at the end? Man Darkseid is ridiculously powerful now I hope he stays that way.

Online
Posted by inferiorego

Solid issue. I like the retelling of his origin. My only problem is he feels a little dumbed down. He just jumps into battle without thinking. He has no real plan.

Staff
Edited by MrDirector786

I was already thinking of picking this issue up just for Darkseid. Since I'm a huge New Gods fan, I am curious to see what exactly was changed about him.

Posted by timelord

At least this book answers the question. In fact their is only on Darksied.

Online
Posted by Reactor

This issue also gives new facts and raises new questions, I've noticed.

5 New Facts I've Observed:

1) Darkseid's Omega Effect, from all appearances, was not a result of Darkseid immersing himself in an entropic force of the Source (Post-Flashpoint), but instead appears to have been a natural power of his attained after absorbing all the powers from the Old Gods.
2) Darkseid was originally a (mostly) powerless being and peasant-like in status, instead of being powerful already (save the Omega Effect) and being a prince of sorts.
3) Darkseid instigated and orchestrated the original war of the Old Gods, and then killed the entire pantheon himself.4) Darkseid was the first of the New Gods, and Ixaya the second, instead of the New Gods being the species that "evolved" after the Old Gods were long gone.
5) Darkseid created Apokolips - and Highfather created New Genesis - as opposed to them naturally being formed from the aftermath of the Fourth Realm's destruction by the warring Old Gods.

5 New Questions:

1) If Darkseid became a New God by slaying and seizing the power of all the Old Gods, and Ixaya was empowered by the last of the Old Gods before dying, then are all of the current New Gods ultimately descendents of either Darkseid or Highfather?
2) If not, then does this mean that all the New Gods were either as mentioned above, or must have been "ascended" by Darkseid or Highfather to godhood, or does it mean that some of the New Gods were empowered a different way.
3) Darkseid absorbed the power of the entire pantheon of the Old Gods. Highfather was empowered by one Old God before it died. Although their battle seemed to have ended without a clearly decided winner, does this mean that Darkseid is more powerful than Highfather now?
4) Darkseid has now been depicted significantly more powerful than before in most circumstances, given he destroyed the original Fourth World, created Apokolips, and carries the combined powers of the Old Gods. Does this mean that Darkseid is now a skyfather level? And if so, what is now the extent of his powers?
5) Darkseid's powers were available to him from the get-go. Does this mean that he is no longer empowered by the Omega Force, technically speaking - or even that the Omega Force itself no longer exists, and perhaps is just the name Darkseid gives to his power?

Edited by longbowhunter

This was a real fun read for me. I'm a huge DC fan but know next to nothing about the New Gods. So any changes made went right over my head. I will say parts of this reminded me of the recent arc with Gorr in Thor: God of Thunder. Like I said I'm pretty ignorant to Darkseid so I'm not sure who's aping who here. I picked this up mostly due to the tie to Batman/Superman. The art was great and we got a little more information on Kaiyo, the New God's trickster. Glad I snagged a copy of this.

Edited by tomtomiii

Fortunately, I had my local shop grab a 3D cover version of this for me. It sounds like it's going to be off the charts awesome. This was EASILY the one book this month I was most psyched to get. Glad to hear it lived up to the hype.

Posted by DecoyElite

Wow I didn't even realize there were two artists on this, they really did an excellent job.

That said I found the exposition a pretty noticeable and maybe because I'm not reading Batman/Superman I didn't feel very drawn in by it.

Posted by sinestro_GL

Whilst I appreciate that the Fourth World FINALLY had some time in the spotlight, I didn't like the changes made in the (re)telling of the origin...at least not compared to the work of previous authors, especially Jack Kirby and John Bryne.

I don't want to sound overly harsh, but IMHO, I don't think that it can compare to previosu works on the Fourth World.

Posted by tensor

Man great minds think a like me and termiteone was talking about this.After reading superman batman number 3 we were asking if there was more than one darkseid since you have 52 earths with so many different heroes and villains.I got my answer and i was right on the money. I love the back story ,different but good you can build on it.

Posted by termiteone4ever

Yes it did answer our questions and remarks for sure. Darkseid for sure will not be defeated by just the mere likes of Superman ... .the next villain i am anxious to see if DOOMSDAY

Posted by JuliusTakalua

This issue was bittersweet for me, i really enjoyed it (was actually looking forward to it the most after forever evil this week) and am looking forward to Darkseid's future following this but i am a big,BIG fan of the rich New God history that existed pre-flashpoint. This also raises some questions about how some characters came to be.

also this...

@citizenbane said:

The only issue I had with this story is the idea that Darkseid doesn't appear to have much of a grand plan or scheme or something befitting his status as the DCU's Biggest Bad.

ah the days of the Anti-Life Equation...

i really want Darkseid and all the new gods for that matter fleshed out more.

Yea, totally agree. This was a great story. But I'm also a big New Gods fan...

So how does this play out? There's not Omega Force? And the Old Gods are no longer the epic cosmic first gods that ever existed in GodWorld who all look like Norse gods? Kirby's epics are seem to be thrown out of the window IMO...

But I love the fact that Darkseid is no longer Jobberseid and can now be taken more seriously... He's still cunning. Love the biblical reference with Uxas and the Serpent.... BUT I do hate the whole "IXaya" not Izaya deal... I mean wth? What about Orion? His Astro Harness? His divine rage and the fury of the Source? And the hell? what is the deal with THe SOurce now? Is Azzarello's vision thrown out of the window as well? What the hell is going on with the DC editors? Aren't tehy keeping track of what's going on?

Apparently "Ixaya" is just some old mortal turned god during the FIrst World... That sucks IMO.
All of the Fourth World epics are gone. I hope they tinker and change this "origin" later though. maybe in a Orion series that I hope DC will make....

And DAMN!!! Where's the ALE? Yea it's cool to see DS destroying planets and shit but where's the cunning dude? The true big bad of the DC rogues!

Posted by TheFirstLantern

Did darkseid have a room full of dead supermen?

Posted by Jake Fury

Hmmm, most of the New Gods fans I've heard from hated this issue with a righteous passion.

Edited by SavageDragon

I gotta disagree @k4tzm4n I thought this issue really lost steam once Kaiyo was introduced. Loved the beginning but then the sudden shift half way through threw me off, and felt forced to me. Still a fun read.

Posted by jordanhansel3

Is the "Fourth Realm" like a Earth 4 within the Earth Prime, 2 and now Three? Since Darkseid seems to be unique in the multiverse and crossing between a lot of Earths just to kill Supermen.

Posted by JuliusTakalua

Hmmm, most of the New Gods fans I've heard from hated this issue with a righteous passion.

Not really.... I did not see any big complaints in DS pages, and New Gods pages.

I myself is a New Gods fan but I thought this issue was actually really good. My first reaction to the first page was a big negative "WTF??" though... Overall, pretty good. But I hope, like kirby, the writers will spice up the New Gods mythos a lot more starting with this. I miss the whole "WHen the Old Gods died, the brave fell with the wicked..." vibe but I'm all for this too. Just keep the Old Gods the first gods of the multiverse, and Highfather and DS be above Skyfathers. I mean DS killed gods in the New Genesis vs Apok war...

And we do know that the New 52 does have The Source AND the great war from the Wonder Woman comics. Orion said it. Plus I want more Orion....

Posted by Jake Fury

@juliustakalua: I saw quite a few on other sites but don't have enough personal knowledge of Darkseid to make those kind of statements.

Posted by The_Titan_Lord

This was a good issue. Solid start.

Posted by supermanprime6

When Darkseid defeats Kal-L and asks, "Where did you get such power?" Then sniffs and uses his omega beams to apparently destroy Kal-L's Fortress of Solitude, what is that chair-looking object inside? I assume it has to do with Ixaya/Highfather, so does that mean that highfather is responsible for the creation of Earth-2 or that he empowers Kal-L in some way?

Posted by Kal'smahboi

Loved this issue. Having just read Jack Kirby's original Fourth World stories, the new origin was a bit jarring, but I loved it, nonetheless.

Posted by noj

@juliustakalua: Did you serioulsy expect an answer to all those detailed intricacies in a single comic? This was Darkseids origin not the origin of the New Gods and the Fourth World. Given the things we see in Wonder Woman there is still quite a bit more to be learned about the New Gods and I'm very excited to see the gaps filled in.

Posted by Herx

#

Now I know nothing about the new god mythos of the pre-flashpoint universe, except that they existed and were part of final crisis (ALL OF MY KNOWLEDGE!), so I can't really comment on that. But what I liked was the notion after DS battle which took place in the first issues of Justice League he returns to Apokolips and tells Kaiyo to find him another world, to which we the issue ends with 'Pick up batman/superman number 4 to find out how this ends'. It pretty much means that the fall of earth 2's Trinity occurred after DS battle with the Jusitce League, which considering the more militaristic and successful campaign waged against earth 2 by Apokolips, makes sense in my opinion. He got beaten bad by the Justice League and then decided to wage a more tactical battle against the various earths, ending in his generals and subordanates to conduct the battle rather than foolishly rush in himself (as he did in justice league). IT ALL MAKE SENSE NOW!!! (this had been a problem I had been trying to ponder for a while).

Edited by TheFirstLantern

@herx: I think it is said that he attacks both Earth's simultaneously.

Posted by dcguy

In this issue Jack Kirby's fourh wall died. Kirby's new gods was already a good and well devoloped concept should it really need to change? For the issue Darkseid was a mud grubber, great ! The arrogant ,ruthless price of apokolips in pre new 52 gone. Now Highfather's wife was Darkseid's sister , that's stupid they are not related in pre new 52 and it's really unnecessary direction. And reason of the Old god's war is so ridiculous. I really don't like new concept , it ruined Kirby's epic consept.