REVIEW: Dark Crisis #1

Dark Crisis #1 has the legacy heroes going places in this blockbuster event that runs all the way until the end of the year. This already feels like a huge event and I cannot wait to see where it takes us and our favourite DC characters.

Dark Crisis #1, the start to DC’s latest big blockbuster event is here! When it says “Crisis,” you know things are about to get serious.

The Crisis events throughout DC’s history have always been about the heroes and villains of the DC Universe and how far they have come and developed. Joshua Williamson, the event’s prime writer promises that Dark Crisis will be all this and more especially for heroes created after the initial Crisis on Infinite Earths event and the newer contemporary ones now seen with their own titles. One issue in, we can absolutely expect a good time. 

As with all major DC events, it’s a collect-a-thon when it comes to variant covers. Artist Daniel Sampere couldn’t wait until this series hit the market as he feels some of his most worked-on panels make up these pages. The default cover with an almost movie poster-Esque spread of the main hero cast set to the fallen Justice League we all know. It turns over on the back side to reveal a look at the rogues’ gallery of DC villains making appearances.

Review: Dark Crisis #1 | The Aspiring Kryptonian
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

Jim Lee’s variant is a great homage to the original Crisis on Infinite Earths and of course, to the late artist George Perez. In the same fashion as the original cover where alternate Earths are being destroyed, it’s the Earths of DC’s recent TV shows and movies. You can see Polka-Dot Man and Starro from The Suicide Squad and Stargirl from her own series. Shazam is also in there as well along with the Titans from their HBO series – this is truly an excellent blend of contemporary and modern DC. 

Review: Dark Crisis #1 | The Aspiring Kryptonian
Photo Credit: DC Entertainment

The Crisis on Infinite Earths references continue with Tyler Kirkham’s variant of the new Wonder Girl, Yara Flor holding a deceased Wonder Woman in the same fashion Superman held Supergirl on the one infamous cover. Yara Flor returns for another variant by Kael Ngu, this time wielding the Lasso of Truth. The Trinity of Jon, Jace, and Yara are done on a couple of variants –together with In-Hyuk Lee’s with a very smooth finish to match the outlines and with the addition of Sojourner Mullein and Jackson Hyde by Mahmud Asrar. That one can be a Justice League cover on its own.

Jace as Batman has his own solo covers, one by Jamal Campbell seeing Jace climatically punching through the collapsing Earths with Bruce Wayne in the background. Bruno Redondo does a Nightwing variant in an all-out tribute to the Bat family with the whole gang there, even Bruce. The white background gives it a sort of stage light effect. Steve Beach has a terrifying variant with Pariah succumbing to the dark energy in a Norman Rockwell-esque style which makes it look real. 

Of course, we get some great Superman-themed covers too. Greg Capullo graces the cover with a foreboding variant of Jon being pulled away by the unseen presence of the Dark Crisis yet to be revealed. Superman’s archenemy Darkseid has his own variant done by Gabriele Dell’Otto. The evil New God always looks great set to the flames of his home world and clutching a torn red cape. Dan Schoening knocked it out of the park with what is my favorite variant. It’s Darkseid holding back Doomsday with a chain. Both are designed using their classical appearances and is once again set to the flames of Apokolips. A big jump from Hunter/Prey where Doomsday had Darkseid outmatched. 

Dark Crisis #1 starts out where we last left our heroes in Justice League #75, or rather when they left us. As of now, the traditional Justice League is in the penalty box known as comic book death. Damian Wayne believes his dad is still out there, and frankly so do I. The League had confronted Pariah harnessing the power of the Great Darkness in a new attempt to remake the Multiverse. Now, with them gone, Pariah can now carry out his war against reality without much resistance.

Off the bat, we get Justice League film influences as Jon the new Superman attempts to form a new Justice League. However, the obvious choices Yara Flor and Jace Fox refuse. But Jon has some power on his side with Hal Jordan returning to Earth and Wally West as The Flash. This leads us to the greatest legacy character of them all – Dick Grayson. DC is in love with the character, and all of us are too. It may be time for the first Robin to step up as leader of the new Justice League. But, the death of the League has the world and its villains in an uproar. The rogues of the DC Universe, led by Deathstroke, siege Titans Tower – the last beacon of justice since the Hall of Justice is empty now. As the old and new threats pile on, we’re left to wonder how the Titans will get out of this. 

Dark Crisis #1 is a crossover, so every character is going to play a role, especially with the tie-in issues. The best part about these events is we get a ton of character appearances both large and small. I particularly love seeing characters that have been thriving in other media. Jim Lee had the right idea with his variant cover. But really, what kind of answer did Jon think he’d get from Peacemaker? He does get a yes from some other rather unexpected characters though.

I describe Daniel Sampere’s art as a cross between Jim Lee and Clay Mann. But if I had to say something more original about his art, I would say that it’s grit with a mix of fantasy. His Action Comics work as of recent mixes Superman with Conan the Barbarian and I trust whatever visual direction he takes us in with Dark Crisis. That one panel of Jon stopping the car in Gotham with the huge onomatopoeia is an absolute masterpiece. I also trust in Joshua Williamson as the writer who truly got me into Flash comics and had a hand in Death Metal. Alejandro Sanchez’s coloring and use of shades make it feel like a movie in your hands. This truly is an event.

Dark Crisis #1 has the legacy heroes going places in this blockbuster event that runs all the way until the end of the year. This already feels like a huge event and I cannot wait to see where it takes us and our favourite DC characters.

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