THIS WEEK: We get a look at what some of the villains of Dark Crisis On Infinite Earths are up to with Dark Crisis – The Dark Army #1. Plus, a new story arc starts in the pages of Detective Comics, and it’s very pretty.

Note: the reviews below contain spoilers. If you want a quick, spoiler-free buy/pass recommendation on the comics in question, check out the bottom of the article for our final verdict.

Dark ArmyDark Crisis – The Dark Army #1

Writers: Mark Waid, Delilah S. Dawson, and Dennis Culver
Artists: Freddie E. Williams and Jack Herbert
Colorist: Adriano Lucas
Letterer: Troy Peteri

This week’s Dark Crisis – The Dark Army #1 is (obviously) a tie-in to DC’s major 2022 event, Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths, and it’s a tie-in that was added later to the initial checklist for this event. The book centers on Damian Wayne, leading a team of heroes as they do battle with an army of supervillains who have been corrupted by Pariah and the Great Darkness, which takes away their personal agency and subsequently diminishes their power. That diminishment is key here, as it makes heavy hitters like Darkseid a little more beatable, putting them on the level of the team Damian is leading, made up of lesser-seen DC heroes like Sideways, Power Girl, and Doctor Light, as well as the introduction of a new Red Canary.

On its own merits, this is a fun superhero story that sees a grab bag of heroes doing battle with a grab bag of villains under more-interesting-than-usual circumstances. It’s scripted in segments, with Mark Waid penning a frame that introduces and concludes the action, while Delilah S. Dawson and Dennis Culver handle the middle where the action primarily takes place. It all looks great, with Freddie E. Williams II and Jack Herbert splitting art duties seamlessly enough, without the book feeling too disjointed. Adriano Lucas’ colors and Troy Peteri’s letters are nice connective tissue. All the creators on this one do a great job navigating the intricate pages this story calls for, some of which end up looking George Perez-esque, given the high density of the battling heroes and villains.

And like I said, on its own merits this comic is a fun romp. You get nice nods to what’s happening in the event’s main story. You get moments between characters — specifically Damian Wayne and Jon Kent — that deepen the emotional resonance of the main book, too. And you get the usual big punches, fun quips, and unlikely triumphs that make a good superhero comic such a nice escape for 30-some pages.

Where this book really gets interesting though is in planting seeds for things that are to come next year in the DC Universe. As I noted above, this tie-in was a later addition to the event, and my guess is that that has to do with wanting to set up things that are coming in 2023. At NYCC, the publisher announced that Mark Waid is showrunning the next major in-continuity superhero story, Lazarus Planet. While a lot of details for that one are still coming into focus, early preview art and other teases make clear that Damian Wayne and Power Girl are part of it, as is the new Red Canary. If you’re into following the niche minutia of shared-universe superhero comics (which I’m guessing you are, because you have read this far), this is all very exciting.

Dark Army

So, in the end, I think Dark Army #1 is a really well-done sort of event tie-in, one that checks all the usual boxes for this sort of thing while also looking forward, giving us a quick tease of how these events will give rise to stories to come.

Verdict: BUY

‘Bullock and Gordon Investigations’ – The Round-Up

  • I absolutely love the concept of Bullock and Gordon Investigations, which has been previously established but appears again here in Detective Comics #1066, at the start of a new arc for the title. Batman is injured and on the couch of Gordon’s new private investigators office at the start here, and it’s a fun way to open; the status quo has changed for both of these familiar characters, but we see hints of how it used to be — Batman vanishing when Gordon’s back is turned, of course — as well as a glimpse at how it will continue to be moving forward. Overall, I really liked the start of this new arc, which looks absolutely incredible, thanks to the addition of Ivan Reis as penciller and Danny Miki as inker. The script is by Ram V., colors are by Dave Stewart, and letters are by Ariana Maher. This one feels like a good jumping on point, too, if you’re so inclined.
  • With Deathstroke Inc. #15, that title wraps up, which makes sense given the focal role Deathstroke is playing in Dark Crisis. While I have mixed feelings about Year One arcs generally, I did enjoy this one, in part because the creative team of writer Ed Brisson, artist Dexter Soy, colorist Veronica Gandini, and letterer Steve Wands are a great fit for the subject matter.
  • Finally, we get more gorgeous comics in this week’s The Human Target #9, a series that from the start has just brimmed with good-looking art. This week’s issue opens with four entirely silent Greg Smallwood pages. The panels double as they go, delivering excellent visual storytelling that heightens the tension of the scene in ways that words never could. Written by Tom King and lettered by Clayton Cowles, this is a revelatory chapter of the story, delivering the type of twist this sort of noir-take on sueperhero characters was always going to have. One choice I especially enjoyed is that the story built right up to last panel before making clear what’s really going on here. Anyway, I could go on and on about the craft in this comic, but I’ll just conclude by noting that this prestige series remains a must-read.

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