The final issue of this terribly enjoyable mini-series opens with a multiversal melee gone large as the JSA and Justice Incarnate go head to head for the fate of…actually, I’m not sure they know. The heroes do know that they’ve ended up on Earth Omega, where the bodies of the supposedly all-powerful Quintessence lie dead at the hands of Darkseid.
The master of Apokolips, meanwhile, is waiting for Barry Allen, fed a fake reality by Psycho Pirate, to run fast enough on an Extremely Cosmic Treadmill to tear a crack in reality. Then Darkseid will use Omega Lantern – a zombified Roy Harper – to somehow open a ‘door to beyond’ and allow him to ‘control the greatest force in any and all multiverses’.
Who or what that is, we aren’t told, and don’t find out, as before the Flash can complete his mission, Obsidian, an expert in negotiating the dark side of personalities, helps Roy see the light.
And President Superman destroys the mad hamster wheel, bringing a…
Note, that’s not just the regular ‘Kraka-THOOM’ so beloved of DC Comics – especially the Legion of Super-Heroes – but Krakaka-THOOM. That’s big. Surely reality has just been rewritten?
Now there’s a surprise, but it’s writer Josh Williamson playing fair, given that the end of DC’s Dark Nights: Metal event promised ‘no more Crises’. Which is exactly what this series looked to be, but technically, it’s not. It was ‘just’ a big event book with loads of action, characterisation and intriguing moments.
Highlights of this issue include a new hero name for Jade.
The perfect exit for Psycho Pirate.
And a fresh mission for Chase and a reborn Roy.
As for what’s next, there’s a mini-series coming up for Justice Incarnate.
This looks like it will also feature one of the most annoying characters in DC history, who returns in an epilogue which is, admittedly, extremely intriguing. And Pariah – for it is he – actually sounds a cheerful note.
So, what has this event book achieved? Well, it’s hopefully brought us a step nearer to the Justice Society series that DC has been promising since, oh, 2016. Yeah, not holding my breath on that one.
It’s put a spotlight on parallel world Superman Calvin Ellis, who sounds extremely presidential in his final scene with Darkseid.
Mainly, this series has been great entertainment thanks to Williamson, working with editors Diego Lopez and Mike Cotton, and a bevy of artists. This issue’s illustrations are entirely the work of Xermanico. They’re clean and dynamic, very much in the DC house style that’s dominated since the New 52 publishing push of a decade ago. The artist works blooming hard, filling the pages with a veritable Perez of characters – the opening spread is especially good, with heroes and villains punching and blasting each other in all directions. And a moment near the end gives Xermanico a chance to work in a very different style, something he pulls off with elan.
Romulo Fajardo Jr keeps things clear with a commendable colouring job, the highlight being Xermanico’s superb nine-panel grid sequence presaging Darkseid’s next big plan (you knew he’d have a Plan B, didn’t you?).
Darkseid’s dialogue drips with evil courtesy of letterer Tom Napolitano, who adds to the drama throughout with his skill.
This issue’s cover is tremendous, the best artist Mitch Gerads has contributed to this series – there’s a real sense of irresistible force meets immovable object, and the homage to Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 set my nostalgia sense tingling happily.
If you’ve not been following this series but are in the US with access to DC Universe Infinite, wait until all issues are up and read it in a oner – I suspect it’ll be an even better read.