I’d like to begin this review by asking who enjoys this book, and why.
It’s not like I think Dark Crisis could not possibly have fans. In fact, I envy those who are fans of this book – I’d love to find joy in this event, to be invested in the characters to the point where I’m eager to see where they go next! That’s a pleasant feeling for me. I like feeling like that. So I’d like to sincerely ask who feels that way about this book… because right now, I’m just not understanding the appeal.
It’s particularly frustrating for me, because knowing what people like about the book might actually give me something to discuss. As of writing this, I’ve spent the last several hours thinking on what to say about this book – which I have read several times now – and I am consistently drawing a blank. The book is so incredibly vacuuous, saying so little with so much of its page count. This is particularly impressive, given the book never shuts up!
I decided to do a little count when I read this book, and the results genuinely blew my mind. Across the first six pages (not including the title page), the book has a total of 30 panels – and every single one of them is dedicated to exposition. You read this right: thirty panels in a row have some kind of dialogue, and that dialogue is nothing but characters explaining the plot to the audience. While I have no doubts that I’m a pretty stupid little guy, I somewhat resent the feeling that DC has this little confindence in my intelligence as a reader. I hope they realize that people who read this issue of Dark Crisis probably read the last two issues too! Why are they spending six pages confirming things that are already pretty damn clear? It’s another page before we get a panel with no dialogue at all, to boot.
It really makes me feel like no one has any faith in Daniel Sampere’s art… and good god, why? That’s the best part of the book! I don’t think it gets any better than when Sampere’s art has space to breathe, like during a particularly grim scene with Deathstroke and Ravager. There are a few moments in this issue that are genuinely sinister, including some really stunning content involving the Green Lantern Corps. Sampere has a great sense of gravitas: there are a lot of characters in this book, and it would be easy to simply draw their silhouettes and leave the main characters to their important conversations. Instead, every panel feels important: while I don’t feel invested in the story, it does feel like the characters in the comic understand and respect the weight of their situation. It’s almost enough to make me like the book, because any comic with this amount of effort going into the art should recieve a healthy heaping of praise!
But then we get to panels like this, and I’m just reminded of the sheer redundancy of it all. It’s not enough that Pariah has to be wearing the anti-monitor suit – it’s a cool enough suit, visually – but it has to be pointed out that he’s wearing the anti-monitor suit, as if a visual cue can’t just be a visual cue.
If it weren’t for Spider-Verse and Everything, Everywhere, All At Once, I’d say I’m beyond sick of multiverse stories – a hard thing to do, seeing as I love the range of possibility they can explore! But we’ve been overinundated with story after story after story about multiverses simply for the sake of them being “the hot thing” right now. Could a single writer or editor stop for a moment and ask themselves, “Why does this need to be about a multiverse? Does it truly need to involve one for the stakes to be important?” I know the Dark Crisis team wants to restore the multiverse of Infinite Earths in the DCU, but take it from someone who’s been reading DC books his whole life: I really could not give less of a shit.
Also, while we’re at it? Fuck this page in particular!
I mean really, how many times does DC expect us to cheer for the Justice Society just because they showed up??? “These kids should have come to us from the start”? You’re heroes! Where the hell were you when everyone was dying??? That’s on you! Why is this group only good for useless, pandering fanservice every important event?!
- You just have to read every DC event.
- You know what?
No, I don’t recommend this book. At all, to anyone. I think its existence is entirely derivative of DC’s least creative impulses, and I think it’s made by committee (convenient that Black Adam is so relevant all of a sudden!). It’s devoid of any heart, existing for the sake of the mighty plot, the great continuity that lost me years ago with Dark Nights: Death Metal. I don’t feel inspired writing reviews for this book, because I don’t this book encourages inspiration. The only way I was able to say a single thing about this book was by drawing from that same anger I felt when reading Justice League #75, because without that this book makes me feel a grand total of nothing.
My question still stands. If there are people who genuinely, truly see value in this book, I would love to discuss it and its merits with you. As it stands, I have no idea why Dark Crisis is worth either your or my time.
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided Batman News with a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.
Author’s Twitter: @ObnoxiousFinch