Dark Crisis #3-4
WITNESS THE BIRTH OF THE NEW DC MULTIVERSE! Spinning out of the pages of The Flash, the heroes have learned the secret of Pariah's new worlds—but at what cost does this knowledge come, and what can they even do with this information—or even worse, perhaps Pariah and the Great Darkness want them to know…? On Earth-Zero, Deathstroke continues to move forward with his plans to erase legacy heroics once and for all, while Jon Kent, Nightwing, and the ragtag group of youngsters rally to step up to the increasing number of challenges. The event of the year rages on! Dark Crisis is in many ways the direct sequel to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths by Marv Wolfman and George Perez. In this issue Pariah's attempt to restore the infinite Multiverse reaches a breaking point! Stay tuned for a special announcement at SDCC 2022 that will change all you know about Dark Crisis!
Dark Crisis, DC’s newest universe-shattering event, follows up on a mixed bag of an opener with its third and fourth issues. The event started strong, using the big bads recruited by the Pariah over the course of Justice League: Incarnate to kill off the Justice League in that team’s final comic. Over the first two issues of the titular mini series, Joshua Williamson explored the vacuum that the Justice League left behind. The Titans, heir apparent to the League, were viciously taken off of the board by Deathstroke. Meanwhile, Hal Jordan, conveniently off-world when all of his pals were killed, assembled the Green Lantern Corps, including old friend Kyle Rayner, to look for answers. Got all of that? Then let’s dig into the next pair of issues.
In Dark Crisis #3, writer Joshua Williamson began to well and truly advance his story, which began months ago in the pages of Justice League Incarnate. With the Titans out of play, Black Adam attempts to lead young Superman Jon Kent’s non team in a more brutal direction in reaction to Deathstroke’s continued assault. When he is spurned by the high morals of Kent and co., Adam turns to older, more sinister allies.
While Deathstroke is shown to have been corrupted by his dark benefactor to an even greater extent than previously thought, Hal Jordan and the Green Lantern Corps look to face Pariah head on. Jordan makes the villain do his own dirty work for the first time since Justice League #75, taking the fight to Pariah before discovering that his teammates may not be dead and gone after all.
If Dark Crisis #3 finally developed the plot of the mini series in a meaningful way, issue #4, rebranded Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, began moving that storyline towards its crescendo. Hal Jordan, just as Wally West did in the pages of The Flash (also by Williamson), discovers that the Justice League is not dead but entranced under the thrall of Pariah.
Black Adam, meanwhile, attempted to recruit his old colleagues from the Legion of Doom. Before that association of villains can agree on a course of action they are waylaid by Deathstroke, now fully under the control of the Great Darkness, and worse yet sporting a truly dodgy haircut.
As the issue closes, Pariah promises that the Legion of Doom’s misguided efforts along with Green Lantern’s attempts to save the Justice League will shake the fabric of the DC Universe.
Williamson’s plot is jam-packed with action and as such his scripting struggles to keep up. Expositional dialogue and editor’s notes directing readers to crossover issues return as unwelcome staples of event books. Meanwhile, the cast grows to such an extent that there is no telling who this series is really about. Superman (Jon Kent), Black Adam, and Green Lantern (Jordan) have all been hinted at as power players in Dark Crisis, but an ensemble that has grown to include the Legion of Doom and the JSA leaves little room for anyone to stand out
If Williamson has buckled under the weight of a crossover of this scale, his collaborator on pencils has shown no such strain. Daniel Sampere continues to balance clean panels with the occasional standout splash page in a comic that at the very least looks like a blockbuster.
The absolute glut of superhero groups that have quickly stepped up to the plate in Dark Crisis immediately takes the sting out of the Justice League’s death and the Titans’ subsequent defeat. With legacy heroes, predecessors, and antiheroes abound, Dark Crisis begs the question: why shouldn’t the world survive without a Justice League. Moreover, the unwillingness of DC to commit to this “death” gimmick even in solo titles further clouds the gravity of Williamson’s plot. The inevitable return of our heroes couple with vague stakes to make the final act of Dark Crisis a hard sell.
Dark Crisis # 3-4: Who Can Stop the Darkness?!
- Writing - 4/104/10
- Storyline - 5/105/10
- Art - 8/108/10
- Color - 8/108/10
- Cover Art - 6/106/10