I wasn’t sure how I felt about “Villains Month.” The heroes of the DC Universe would be taking a month off, while their enemies took over their books, with fill-in writers and artists. With comics, “fill-in” usually means throw away, useless one-off tales that don’t matter in the grand scheme of things.
How did Darkseid fare? Not too shabby! Here we get his origins as a “mud grubber” (I think it’s some kind of farmer) named Uxas. He and his brother Izaya (or Ixaya, it’s spelled both ways in this book) and his wife Avia find themselves the victims of the “Old Gods” towering, powerful beings with no regard for the beings that worship them. But then the gods go to war and devastate their planet. Uxas comes upon a dying god and finishes him off, to discover that he has inherited his power. This motivates him to murder all the gods in order to gain their abilities as well. Well, all but one. The final god perishes but passes his power on to Izaya making him Highfather.
Later, guided by The Trixster (see ‘Batman/Superman’), Darkseid discovers Superman. Well, a Superman at any rate. Suddenly, Darkseid has a purpose, to destroy every Superman in every reality.
Darkseid’s shadow has loomed over the New 52 from the beginning. His invasion of Earth resulted in the Justice League’s formation and the launch of the age of heroes. He also left his mark on Earth 2, killing not only that world’s Superman, but Batman and Wonder Woman as well. And his disciples Steppenwolf and DeSaad continue to leave their marks.
It was nice to get an origin. I liked how Highfather’s origin differed in that his powers were given to him, whereas Darkseid took his. And this issue seems to be leading to greater things, perhaps Grant Morrison’s ‘Multiversity’ miniseries which has been simmering for years.
There are two artists credited, Paulo Siqueira and Netho Diaz. I’m going to assume Siqueira did the first part of the book and his work is just lovely! Really gorgeous stuff! Not to sleep on Diaz. His work is good too. Both do a fine job, but Siqueira’s work just has a lushness to it that’s really nice to look at.
Over all, unfortunately there was a sense that this was “extra” material, like a DVD bonus. It certainly helps embellish things and flesh things out further, but if you didn’t read it, you wouldn’t be missing out. There’s nothing vital here, that you HAVE to know. It’s okay if you just want something to read. The art is nice, but it just isn’t essential.
JUSTICE LEAGUE #23.1 – DARKSEID
Written by Greg Pak
Art by Paulo Siguiera and Netho Diaz
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Alex Sinclair