Spoilers ahead for today's Justice League #45.
Darkseid really is dead.
But, guess who the new "god of Apokolips" is?
Yikes, this should get interesting.
So let's back up and review what happened in this week's Justice League #45, the latest chapter in "Darkseid War."
You'll remember that, at the end of Justice League #44, readers saw Darkseid die, apparently killed by the Black Racer.
(Who's the Black Racer, you say? He's pretty much just "death" in the form of a fast dude. The Black Racer has bonded to Barry Allen Flash. So in other words, now he's a really, really fast death.)
In the early pages of Justice League #45, we get confirmation that yes, Darkseid is dead. The Justice League members and New Gods who witnessed it are stunned.
That includes Mister Miracle, who seems pleased. After all of this, Scot really is Free. (See what we did there? Well, to be fair, Geoff Johns did it first. Mister Miracle, a.k.a. Scot Free, is no longer technically a slave. Scot is…free.)
But of course, there are some negative side effects to this victory over Darkseid.
For one thing, the Justice League members are acting god-like — and not necessarily in a good way.
The Flash is being controlled by the Black Racer, who has Barry thinking he's better off bonded to death. Barry says he wants to "control death" (although there's evidence that Barry is fighting the urge). He runs away.
And Shazam appears to be called by a bunch of gods to be some type of New God. (According to upcoming solicitations, he no longer has access to the powers of the "Old Gods" but commands the combined might of Highfather, Mantis and other New Gods.) And…Shazam flies away.
Meanwhile, Superman (who was on Apokolips with Lex Luthor) has gone all dark and nasty — and quite a bit egotistical — because he used the energy of Apokolips to fill his cells (sans access to sunlight). So he beats on Lex and tells him to never return to Earth. Superman hits him so hard that Lex's body flies across Apokolips.
The beaten-down body of Lex is found by Ardora and the Forgotten People of Apokolips, who say that a prophesy predicted that, on the night of Darkseid's death, a human would walk through the ashes of Apokolips and "everything would change."
But as Ardora describes the "human" who was written about in the prophesy, it becomes clear that she's referring to Clark Kent — an "orphan," a "humble son of farmers," and a "seeker of truth and embodiment of justice."
Ardora asks Lex: "Are you this man?" Lex thinks a bit and lies, "Yes, I am." Some Forgotten People appear to be impressed (even bowing to Lex), but Ardora says she's going to make him earn her respect.
She says "with Darkseid's death, his Omega Effect has been unleashed" and will return to Apokolips. Ardora plans to "contain it" in Lex.
But Lex is like, wait…wha…?
And… there it comes. The Omega Effect. Flying through the air like a red star falling out of the sky and slamming down on Lex. He emerges looking like a new form of Darkseid. Still bald, of course, and with red eyes, but more human-looking than the former New God.
Lex says, "Long live Lex Luthor."
So… you thought Darkseid was bad. Is Dark-Lex better? Or worse?
But wait, you say, what about Grail and her mom Myrina and the Anti-Monitor? Well, the Anti-Monitor and his minions disappeared right when Darkseid died. They're not by the remaining Justice League members anymore.
Batman, who's off with Hal Jordan/Green Lantern in Qward, says the Anti-Monitor "is gone, as if it never existed." He claims that "the threat is over."
Despite that, Batman wants to keep the Mobius chair, thank you very much, and he even attacks Green Lantern when the green dude implies that Batman should step off. He tells Green Lantern that he'd better get to Oa, because the Parademons will surely go there now that they've lost their master (because, you know, Parademons are "drawn to…the brightest light in the universe").
But although the Anti-Monitor is gone, his original identity, Mobius, is not. Readers are shown that the Anti-Monitor has changed back into Mobius (his former identity, for those just catching up. He's the Mobius of the Mobius chair, having inhabited that chair before Metron, who inhabited it before Batman).
So yeah, Mobius is back. And he's on Earth. And Grails says that means she'll get what she wants. (Anyone else smell a fight with Wonder Woman coming?)
Speaking of Diana, it looks like the only members of the Justice League who aren't affected by all this, so far, are Wonder Woman, Cyborg and Power Ring — who are still standing (along with Steve Trevor) in the aftermath of the battle. Wonder Woman wants to split up and look for their now-godlike Justice League members to figure out what's happening to them.
Buuuuut….there are a few New Gods standing there too, unhappy that Darkseid died. Cue battle scene between a few Leaguers and a few New Gods. (Steve Trevor's pistol will surely come in handy.)
So to sum this stuff up:
- Lex Luthor is the new Darkseid, or something that resembles him, and is on Apokolips with Darkseid's old "Omega" powers (an inheritance he apparently stole from Superman).
- Batman wants to use the Mobius Chair to be "the Batman that Gotham needs."
- The Flash wants to control death (although there's evidence that Barry is fighting the Black Racer who's bonded to him).
- Superman is super-strong, super-jerk-like and super-self-righteous.
- Green Lantern is rushing to Oa to protect it from Parademons.
- Shazam flew off with godly voices nagging him to be a New God.
Each of these six characters is getting a one-shot issue dedicated to their new god-like powers and problems later this year.
Justice League #46 comes out November 18.