Written by Dan Abnett
Illustrated by Daniel Sampere,
and Juan Albarran
Published by DC Comics
“They fear the truth Blackfire. Just like you. The old gods are a force of serenity, and only they can save these worlds. It is the powers of chaos and universal damnation that want this hate and violence.”
Time for a good super-villain monologue.
Not like the old super-villain monologue.
For one thing, Darkseid’s playing nice. (Of course, he’s also in shackles up to us neck.) For another it’s definitely more like an actual dialogue. Because he needs the team of Justice League Odyssey. He needs them to trust him. To follow him.
Ok, he just needs them to do what he says.
But it is an explication. Darkseid’s side of the story. And he does it pretty well too. Even if he has to strain to not just talk at them.
We probably shouldn’t be surprised. We knew by now it was going to come to this. But it’s a deft piece of dialogue scripting by Dan Abnett, and that makes for all the difference. Sure, Darkseid’s a nightmare despotic universal force of nature. But he makes sense. A dire and dark sense. But he’s frank. Seemingly.
Even if only a third of what he’s saying is actually true though, it might just be that our heroes have a duty to see it through. It may be the only way they’ll save lives.
Their own as well, if Darkseid is to be believed. Which sounds like a line, except end of the universe sounds pretty serious, and the dark New God seems pretty intent on saving his own skin as well. And he seems to need them to do it.
Why? Well for now, because he needs their help collecting the relics that have been conveniently (for us) scattered across the Ghost Sector. They need them to activate the Sepulkore. And they need that to… well, to survive the end of the universe’s Fourth Age. Now that the Walls have come down.
Of course, he needs more than that from them too. Presumably, their influence is important too. For a reason that’s not yet quite clear. But he’s certainly gone to a lot of trouble to create whole millennia-old mythologies for Cyborg, Starfire and Azrael throughout the ancient histories of the Ghost Sector planets. (And the answer to the secret of how that’s happened is intriguing indeed.)
Mythologies that position them all to be able to rally to his side whatever power Darkseid can muster here, at the End of All Things. For whatever precise purpose.
Do are heroes trust Darkseid? Nope. But they may just believe him. It’s a gamble. One that isn’t likely to play out very… smoothly for our team. (Too say nothing of Jessica Cruz, whose power ring is nearly completely drained of energy now.)
Still, step by step things are playing out to bring them all to his side, and fighting for his agenda – a disquieting progression that is starting to take on the feel of destiny. Even when it pits them against former allies, their family, their own worshippers.
That seems to be especially hard on Azrael, who’s been looking forward to meeting his own followers somewhere out there in the Ghost Sector since he learned of them.
Sure, he’s been acting more nobly in recent issues than we might’ve expected. And he seems no fan of Darkseid.
Still we don’t quite know on the side of which angels he’s likely to land when he claims the power the Ghost Sector promises him.
Now that he seems to have found his voice in unanticipated ways in this issue, however, that question is very much front and center.
It’s a satisfying issue, that moves our epic saga along to its next, somewhat alarming phase. Artist Daniel Sampere steps up with excellent layouts and composition, and Ivan Plascencia and Juan Albarran round things out for a fine-looking book.
As for Darkseid, like any great tyrant, he’s not waiting around for the others to catch up, or for their permission. And while they may not be inclined to follow his lead yet with an open heart, it still seems they are acting ultimately in accordance to his design.
Better hope he’s not lying when he says it’s not the destruction of the Ghost Sector he seeks.
It still makes you wonder though, why the Coluans went to all the trouble of collecting these planets and hiding them away from him in the first place…
Next Issue: Scavenger Hunt.