THIS WEEK: The latest in a long line of event comics that just lead directly into the next event, Shadow War: Omega leads directly into Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1.
Note: the review below contains spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdicts.
Shadow War: Omega #1
Writer: Joshua Williamson
Artists: Stephen Segovia, Mike Henderson, and Howard Porter
Letter: Troy Peteri
Cover: Jonboy Meyers
I’ll admit, that despite the clues throughout the crossover (the cavernous escape routes, for instance) the revelation of Geo-Force as the imposter Deathstroke still got me. Despite my knowledge of the DC Universe, I never considered that he’d be someone with grudges against both Talia and Deathstroke. So good job on surprising me with that reveal despite actually giving me all the clues to solve it, Williamson.
In the end though, as much as I appreciated the reveal, I felt the rest of the wrap-up issue to be a bit underwhelming. Deathstroke was already dead by the start of it, as was Respawn, us no real emotional fall-out leaving for the closing issue of the crossover.
Instead, the issue wraps with the assassins and superheroes fighting a kaiju made of rock, in what feels like the bad CGI act three fight of almost every superhero movie. Sure there are emotional moments of Damian avenging his brother that he knew all of five minutes; And of getting his mother to not execute Geo-Force, but it still feels like maybe they should have made the crossover a little shorter and put more of the payoff in the finale.
Worse still, what little actual emotional payoff there was in this story is mostly undone by the end of it. Yes, Ra’s al Ghul and Respawn are dead. But who really cares about Respawn? And how long do we think Ra’s will stay dead this time? Yes, Talia and Geo-Force are in prison. Ten bucks says this just sets up Geo-Force joining the next iteration of Task Force X. But the real meat of the crossover? The death of Deathstroke? Instantly undone with the Lazarus Pit just like we all probably knew it would be. And in the end, Shadow War: Omega wound up being exactly that thing that I’ve complained about a lot frequently, in that it was yet another seemingly unrelated crossover that leads right into the next event. I sincerely hope that after Dark Crisis we have a little room to breathe for about a year.
Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1
Writers: Joshua Williamson, Jeremy Adams, Chuck Brown, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, and Stephanie Phillips
Artists: Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Rosi Kämpe, Fico Ossio, Leila Del Duca, and Clayton Henry
Colors: Hi-Fi, Matt Herms, Sebastian Cheng, Jordie Bellaire, and Marcelo Maiolo
Letter: Josh Reed
Cover: Daniel Sampere and Alejandro Sánchez
Speaking of Dark Crisis, we got one final lead-in issue to that event before it properly starts next week. Road to Dark Crisis is just a short bridge issue between Justice League #75 and Dark Crisis #1, and honestly, I think it’s the best lead-in issue we’ve gotten for this event. While I said in our Round Table on Justice League #75 that it didn’t feel like the event was really capturing the feel of either event it was trying so hard to emulate, I’ll go ahead and eat my words here. This issue felt very much like my favorite parts of “The Death and Return of Superman” in that it just felt like the world, and specifically — the heroes, reacting to the deaths of people that even to them were icons.
My two favorites of these vignettes were the opener by Williamson and Dan Jurgens, which allowed Jurgens to be self-referential in a way that really felt appropriate and somber, and the closer by Stephanie Phillips and Clayton Henry because I’m a sucker for Stephanie Brown. But what all of these stories did really well was highlighting the absurdity of life in the DC Universe. Even in-universe, nobody believes the Justice League aren’t coming back, they just need to hold everything together in the meantime until they do.
- I really liked the dual look at the early lives of Mongul and Clark Kent in Action Comics 2022 Annual #1. Especially the Clark Kent part of the tale which went in an unexpected direction that really helps to build the mythos.
- Batman, Inc is coming back later this year, and it turns out that Batman 2022 Annual #1 was entirely a backdoor pilot for the new take on the international group of Batmen now headed up by Ghostmaker. This issue was fun, so I’m looking forward to where Brisson and Timms take the group.
- Nice House on the Lake just continues to be a masterclass of a comic. Every issue expands on the universe of the story while also deepening the horror and the mystery of it all.
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