The whole of the DC Roster in the Road to Dark Crisis.

Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 Review

Written by: Joshua Williams, Jeremy Adams, Chuck Brown, Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Stephanie Phillips

Art/Penciling/Inking by: Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Rosi Kampe, Fico Ossio, Leila Del Duca, Clayton Henry

Coloring by: Hi-fi, Matt Herms, Sebastian Cheng, Jordie Bellaire, Marcelo Maiolo

Lettering by: Josh Reed

Editing by: Chris Rosa, Paul Kaminski

Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis is another prelude to the Dark Crisis event. I gotta admit, I’m getting pretty sick of them. Every time I read one, I think to myself, “Shouldn’t this have been in Death of the Justice League?” Does this one change my mind? Find out. This one is filled with a bunch of short stories that I’ll break down one by one.

Nightwing is falling as Superman is flying beside him.

Team-Up by Joshua Williamson, Dan Jurgens, Norm Rapmund, Hi-Fi

I’m really not a huge fan of the Jon Kent/Dick Grayson relationship. It’s not bad, and I’m not one of those who thinks comic book friend groups are rock solid things. I just don’t think it works that well. There feels like there are other heroes who could mentor Jon better than Dick Grayson. Conceptually, how do they mesh?

One is the older brother, one is nebulously the middle child. One wants his father’s mantle, the other was forced into and gave it up. Jon helps all around the world, Nightwing bounces between two cities, unless with a team, which Jon has yet to have been on. I guess in a way they are opposites, but they’re not opposites that complete each other the way Bruce and Clark do. There’s tensions and respect between their fathers, but these two don’t even have that.

Their pow-wows feel kind of redundant at this point. While the conversation where Dick is in denial about the League’s deaths raises interesting points, it’s rather out-of-character. He would believe that they would comeback, but in a hopeful way. He’s in denial here and has turned into Bruce in a way he hasn’t in a while from what I remember. Then Jon is just a wet blanket here. Honestly, this story has a lot of interesting ideas, but uses the wrong characters to tell it.

Life of Purpose by Jeremy Adams, Rose Kampe, Matt Herms

Wally West Flash and Wallace West Kid Flash talk to each.
The superior duo.

This story does what Team-Up tries to do but better. Wally’s hope for the future is subtle and appropriate. He knows they’ve been told the worst news one could hear, but history tells him not to assume the worst. Wally’s belief that the best thing to do is hold down the fort in a proactive way shows that he understands his mentors’ lessons.

In fact, it makes Dick Grayson’s lack of understanding stand out even more. Seeing how both Wally and Wallace run around the world trying to save everyone and everything they can is what heroes should do. It makes for a small but fun little Flash story to read.

Survivors by Chuck Brown, Fico Ossio, Sebastian Cheng

Hal Jordan is shook in the foreground, while Superman and Wonder Woman are dying in the background.
This is not how I would tell someone their friends are dead.

I didn’t really need a Hal Jordan and Jackson Hyde team-up, and this story only cements it. It’s a strange and undramatic way to tell Hal Jordan all of his friends are dead. Also, these two don’t have much, if any, chemistry with each other.

Maybe I’m just out of the loop on Hal Jordan and the Aquafam, but I don’t remember Arthur or Hal having much of a dynamic either. This just seems like a filler scene where Jackson gets to show off how his Aquaman thinks out of the box, and doesn’t need violence to succeed.

The seas monster they fight is really forgettable, though the ending of that plot was nice, I guess. this whole short story just feels inconsequential, and as I read though it, this prelude feels inconsequential.

The Pariah by Phillip Kennedy Johnson, Leila Del Duca, Jordie Bellaire

Pariah walks around looking all sad.
Why is he still alive?!

It feels like just as Pariah is about to get what he deserves–death–he deus-ex-machina’s his way out of it. He’s right, he does deserve his lot in life, he should just step aside. Pariah is a character who only make things worse, and the amount of times he’s actually been a good part of a story is… few and far between to say the least.

This short story is one of my favorites because its one of the most infuriating men in DC recognizing what kind of person they are. Or at least that’s what the story seemed to be until it remembered it has an event to tie into.

It doesn’t even tie into the Death of the Justice League that well. Here, Pariah is a broken pit of man, about to commit suicide, and then the Great Darkness shows up, and suddenly he switches sides. It’s random, and ultimately kind of pointless.

Because the Night by Stephanie Phillips, Clayton Henry, Marcelo Maiolo

A close-up on Nocturna's red eyes as someone asks, "Can't do it, can you?" in Road to Dark Crisis.
I feel like Nocturna should be DC’s Selene at this point.

Nocturna is such a strange pick to bring back, but I appreciate that the Road to Dark Crisis has her in it. DC has had a problem with only giving page space to proven characters, and that’s not only true of the heroes. When this story hinted at a bigger plot for lesser known villains, I got excited. That’s what this whole tie-in should make me feel like.

Then there was the appearance of Stephanie Brown which is always a plus.

But besides those two things, not much really happens. Nocturna tries to steal something, finds out its not fun if Batman doesn’t show up, and Spoiler does instead. Then she escapes, and is asked to join Secret Society Deathstroke is building. It’s a very cookie cutter story carried by its ability to find chemistry between two characters I didn’t know had any. It’s enjoyable, maybe my favorite out of the five shorts, but ultimately, I won’t remember it.

Nothing that happens in Road to Dark Crisis feels necessary, and I think that ultimately makes this prelude feel like something you can skip.

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