One of the first indicators that DC Entertainment would not be rebooting the entire DCU in June came when Geoff Johns announced his next storyline in Justice League — "The Darkseid War."
Spinning out of the final pages of last year's blockbuster mini-series Forever Evil, "The Darkseid War" will feature what Johns called "a pretty massive story" involving "Darkseid versus the Anti-Montior, with the Justice League caught in between."
Before the announcement, early theories about the April/May event at DC — which we now know is Convergence — centered on the appearance of the Anti-Monitor. After all, the character was the main adversary in Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 30th anniversary of which is being celebrated by DC during 2015.
But it turns out DC's April/May event has nothing to do with the Anti-Monitor, and will instead be a storyline within Justice League — but one that will probably involve multiple earths. So what do we know about this "massive" story in Justice League?
New 52 Darkseid
The very first villain the Justice League faced was Darkseid. His forces invaded both Earth 0 and Earth 2, with Steppenwulf commanding the Earth 2 forces and Darkseid personally overseeing the battle for the main DCU Earth.
The Justice League beat Darkseid during the invasion, blinding him and sending him home through a Boom Tube. In recent issues of Batman and Robin, it was revealed that Darkseid's eyes are still damaged.
In the New 52 Multiverse, as defined by Grant Morrison in his current Multiversity series, Darkseid and the New Gods reside in the "Sphere of the Gods," outside the alternate earths — meaning there's only one Darkseid in the Multiverse.
As DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio told Newsarama, Darkseid and the New Gods "are what we call a singularity — a single form within all of the multiverse. So while you have multiple interpretations of every other character in these other dimensions and other worlds, the New Gods — there's only one version of the New Gods, and they exist across all planes."
According to Justice League #23.1: Darkseid, released at the beginning of the Forever Evil event, Darkseid has the ability to travel to different worlds in the Multiverse, a power he discovered with the help of a New God named Kaiyo, the Chaos Bringer (who has appeared in Batman/Superman).
Darkseid has been shown attacking various alternate Earths throughout the Multiverse, and he's currently almost destroyed Earth 2, as depicted in the current weekly, Earth 2: Worlds End.
After his confrontations with the Justice League, Darkseid wants to destroy Earth 0 of the DC universe, driven by a hatred for anyone with power besides himself.
Yet there was another motivation behind Darkseid's initial attack on Earth 0. In Justice League #6, Wonder woman commands Darkseid to explain why he's there. And he answers, "For her."
At the time, some fans thought Darkseid might have been referring to Pandora (or even the aforementioned Kaiyo). But readers soon found out — in Justice League of America's Vibe — that A.R.G.U.S. was holding Darkseid's as-yet-unnamed daughter prisoner in a protected vault.
So Darkseid's attack, as he said, was "for her" — for his daughter, who was being kept prisoner on Earth.
So who is Darkseid's daughter? And where is she now?
In Vibe #7, the dampening fields at A.R.G.U.S. were temporarily shut down, and it's discovered that Darkseid's daughter has escaped.
So at the moment, Darkseid's daughter is still at large. There's no indication she has returned home to Apokolips.
So at the beginning of "The Darkseid War," there may be a very powerful female in the mix.
Anti-Monitor (and Friend)
One of the many mysteries in Forever Evil was who was responsible for the destruction of Earth 3? The Crime Syndicate escaped their home world and ravaged Earth 0, but kept referring to an entity that was nearly impossible to beat.
On the final page of Forever Evil #7, readers learned that the villain who destroyed Earth 3 was a power-hungry, New 52 version of the Anti-Monitor.
As long-time DC fans know, the Anti-Monitor was (in pre-New 52 continuity) the world-consuming villain behind the legendary 1985 mini-series Crisis on Infinite Earths.
The issue also revealed that someone is helping the Anti-Monitor. "You have consumed all the power you can from this universe," said an off-panel figure. "But I will find you another universe to consume, Anti-Monitor."
Some fans have wondered if Darkseid's current sidekick could be Psycho-Pirate, one of the pre-New 52 characters who became his accomplice during the original Crisis.
There's also a possibility that Anti-Monitor's sidekick is the aforementioned daughter of Darkseid — after all, there's no indication she gets along with Daddy, and might be supportive of her father's enemy.
The end of Forever Evil #7 foreshadowed the premise of "The Darkseid War" as readers were told there would be a clash between the Anti-Monitor and Darkseid, as the final words uttered in Forever Evil #7 had the Anti-Monitor saying, "Darkseid will be mine!"
When have Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor met before? Darkseid has been shown to be consumed with hatred for other powerful beings, wanting to attack and ravage the earths of the Multiverse where those characters reside. And we know the Anti-Monitor consumes the worlds of the Multiverse. So the characters are most definitely at odds.
But if both of these characters attack Earth, how would the Justice League ever be able to defeat him? Might the storyline involve the spawn of Superwoman and Alex Luthor from Earth 3? If this is part of the celebration of the original Crisis's anniversary, it would make sense for a character known as "Alexander Luthor Jr." to be involved.
Johns has already implied that Hal Jordan will return to the Justice League for "Darkseid War," meaning the big guns of the original New 52 Justice League will be joining again to beat their nemesis. But with the Anti-Monitor, Darkseid and the Justice League involved, and mysteries already set up for readers to consider, "The Darkseid War" is already shaping up to deliver the type of "massive" story that Johns promised.