With today's release of Justice League #41, writer Geoff Johns and artist Jason Fabok are launching a new blockbuster event for the team — and the revamped DCU — titled "Darkseid War."
Spinning out of the final pages of last year's Forever Evil, "Darkseid War" will feature what Johns has described as "Darkseid versus the Anti-Monitor, with the Justice League caught in between." But in recent months, it's been revealed that "Darkseid War" will delve into the very history of the DC Universe, from the New Gods mythology to Wonder Woman's pantheon, while also challenging members of the Justice League to stop the destruction of reality itself.
"You can say it's a war that erupts between Darkseid and Anti-Monitor," Johns explained to Newsarama in a recent interview, "and the Justice League's got to save reality in between it. But it's much more complicated than that, obviously. And there's a lot more to it. And there's a strategy behind the war, and a reason it's happening, and a reason it's erupting from a bunch of different sides."
Despite being filled with familiar superhero faces, there are several new players in the story, and a few we haven't seen for awhile. To kick off the event, we've gathered a few FAQ's about the major players, outlining what we know so far, and what we expect to see in the coming months during "Darkseid War."
The very first villain the Justice League faced (since the New 52 relaunch of the DCU) was Darkseid. His forces invaded both Earth 0 and Earth 2 — and although the Justice League of Earth 0 succeeded in repelling the attack, the heroes of Earth 2 lost their homeworld.
Darkseid has the ability to travel to different worlds in the Multiverse. In Grant Morrison's Multiversity series, it was explained that 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."
During the Earth 0 invasion, the Justice League beat Darkseid by blinding him and sending him home through a Boom Tube. It's been shown since that event that the villain is not happy with the outcome. Darkseid wants to destroy Earth 0, driven by a hatred for anyone with power besides himself.
Readers recently met a new character named Grail — the daughter of Darkseid and an Amazon woman named Myrina Black.
During Darkseid's first attack on Earth, he was looking for his daughter Grail (as established in Justice League #6, when Wonder Woman commanded Darkseid to explain why he's there, and he answered, "For her").
At the time, A.R.G.U.S. was holding Darkseid's daughter prisoner in a protected vault. But when the dampening fields at A.R.G.U.S. were temporarily shut down, Darkseid's daughter escaped.
Readers got their first look at Darkseid's daughter in Justice League #40. She was hanging out with the Anti-Monitor (also known as Mobius), who has consumed and destroyed Earth 3.
Next stop? Earth 0. And that sets off the "Darkseid War," because not only is Mobius an enemy of Darkseid, but it turns out that his daughter hates him too.
Myrina is the mother of Darkseid's daughter, Grail, was born on the same day as Wonder Woman, in a cave on the same island, Themyscira.
On the day of Grail's birth, an oracle told Myrina that, "if your baby lives, Myrina, this world will die!" But the mother escaped, killing other Amazons to keep herself and her child a secret.
The eight-page sneak peek for Justice League (which was part of DC's Divergence Free Comic Book Day issue) ended with Myrina, who's on Earth, making it clear that she will kill "anyone" to protect her child.
The Anti-Monitor was introduced into the New 52 universe at the end of Forever Evil, when the power-hungry villain had just destroyed Earth 3.
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.
But this version has a history, as readers discovered in Justice League #40. An observer-type character named Metron, who sits in a space-traveling "Mobius chair," revealed in Justice League #40 that the Anti-Monitor has a name: Mobius.
The Anti-Monitor once sat in the Mobius chair and, apparently, observed the universe as a "witness," just like Metron does today. But the Anti-Monitor's role has since changed, obviously, and he's now a "destroyer" — as some sort of penance and "damnation."
"[He is] the Anti-God," Johns told Newsarama. "[He's] the god of destruction. He is a god.
"And he's tired of being forced into this role [of destroyer]," Johns said. "He really wants to get his old form back."
During Justice League #40, Metron warned Mobius to stop consuming worlds, saying that the current reality — presumably the New 52 — could not survive another Crisis. But Mobius said he's not going to destroy reality this time. Mobius says his actual goal is to get out of his damnation, and the key to it is killing Darkseid.
"The age of the New Gods is about to end, and the age of the Anti-God will begin," he says.
As mentioned earlier, Mobius has a partner in his quest to kill Darkseid — the latter's daughter, Grail.
The evil characters from Earth 3 — also known as the Crime Syndicate — escaped their ravaged homeworld and came to Earth 0. During the Forever Evil event, they tried to takeover Earth 0, but they didn't succeed. There were a few notable survivors of their attempt: Ultraman, who is now locked up by A.R.G.U.S. on Earth 0; Superwoman, who's also locked up, but is expecting a child (assumed to belong to the deceased superpowered being, Alexander Luthor from Earth 3), and Owlman, who's on Earth 0 but still at large (although he's made some sort of secret deal with Lex Luthor in exchange for getting Superwoman's baby).
Because the Crime Syndicate has experience with the Anti-Monitor's consumption of their world, they will probably play a part in "Darkseid War" — as will, presumably, Superwoman's child, which should be born any day now… and if this is part of the celebration of the original Crisis on Infinite Earth's anniversary, it would make sense for a character known as "Alexander Luthor Jr." to be involved.
Mister Miracle and the New Gods
With Darkseid being part of the New Gods pantheon, it's not surprising that Johns would tap a few of those characters to play roles in the story of "Darkseid War."
"Researching the New Gods, I read — I mean, I think I've read every New Gods comic now, and specifically Mister Miracle comics," Johns told Newsarama. "I really grew to love the characters, and to see some potential in the characters that I could have fun with. And I always knew I wanted to bring the New Gods characters in."
In Justice League #40, Johns highlighted the New Gods character Mr. Miracle, who 's also known as Scott Free. Mr. Miracle's father is Highfather, Darkseid's enemy who lives on New Genesis (the more "good"-leaning counterpart to the "bad" Apokolips). Some time ago, Highfather exchanged his son Scot for Darkseid's son Orion, all in the name of keeping peace between their two worlds. While Orion was adopted into Highfather's family, Scot was thrown into the slave dungeons of Apokolips.
"He's ultimately the very best character that can go up against Darkseid, who is all about crushing free will and controlling everything. Mister Miracle is the ultimate free spirit. He's an escape artist. He's all about free will. And he's all about freedom," Johns explained. "His name's literally 'Free.'"
Readers can also expect to see the New God Kanto. According to Johns: "[Kanto] was connected to Mister Miracle and he's Darkseid's assassin. But he has actually spent, like, years and years on Earth. He escaped Apokolips and came to Earth for years and was here during the Renaissance era, which was reflected in his costume, which kind of explained why he looked the way he did. But more importantly, it gave him a different perspective than I think a lot of the other characters who were closely tied to Darkseid. I just thought, what an interesting perspective he must have, to have been here during that time and left and returned.
"And he has a whole backstory about how he was recruited back to Apokolips, where Darkseid's assassin came after him to bring him back, and he killed the assassin, and Darkseid says, 'You're my new assassin and this is your duty now.'"
Johns will not disclose how many issues "Darkseid War" lasts in Justice League, but he's promised a lot of things will happen within the story. The Justice League eight-page Sneak Peek featured an oracle (one of the Amazons Myrina killed), who predicted the events of "Darkseid War." In a two-page spread, the following predicted events were shared with readers:
- A "war between the Dark God and the Antigod," as the art showed Darkseid fighting Anti-Monitor/Mobius.
- A "man who will make a horrific sacrifice," and the art showed Hal Jordan.
- "A New God reborn," and the art showed Batman, looking as if he was turning into Metron.
- "Hope lost," and the art showed Lex Luthor saying "Superman, where are you?"
- "A king drowned," showing Aquaman being pushed down into water.
- "Science and magic die," with art showing Cyborg with Shazam, who's saying "just say it, Vic! Say it! Now!" (Is Shazam sharing his "say-the-word-Shazam" power with Cyborg?)
- "The man who always escapes caught," with art showing Mr. Miracle.
- "And at the center of it, I see an Amazon," with Wonder Woman shown kicking butt.
The cover and solicitation for August's Justice League #43 has pretty much confirmed that Batman will somehow become a New God similar to Metron. And Johns himself has confirmed that Wonder Woman will definitely kick butt — and play a major role in the story, not only as one of the hardest-hitting members of the team, but also a character who's connected to Myrina and Grail by being half-Amazon, half-god.
"For me, Wonder Woman has become one of my absolute favorite characters to work on," Johns said. "I feel like there's a lot of untapped potential in her, and expanding her mythology and the characters that are connected to her. The storylines we have upcoming, they really do focus on her, and 'Darkseid War' focuses on her in a way. There are a lot of interesting twists and turns that we have. But this is a storyline that she has to be there for. The story doesn't work without her, and she's a central figure in this, both literally and thematically in what we're trying to accomplish."