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Comic Book / Darkseid War

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"The Darkseid War" is a story arc in the New 52 Justice League series. The story is the culmination of Geoff Johns' Justice League work (including the main Justice League (2011) ongoing, Justice League of America (2013) and Forever Evil (2013)) and features the Justice League being caught in the middle of a conflict between Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor.

     Comics involved in "The Darkseid War" 

Main story:

  • Divergence (one-shot) — A comic released on Free Comic Book Day 2015 that includes a prelude to the story (among other material) written by Geoff Johns.
  • Justice League #40-50 — Where the main story takes place. Written by Geoff Johns with art by Jason Fabok.


  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — Batman (one-shot) — Featuring Batman in Gotham adjusting to his new role as the God of Knowledge. Written by Peter Tomasi with art by Fernando Pasarin.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — Flash (one-shot) — Featuring Barry Allen as the Black Racer, the God of Death. Written by Rob Williams with art by Jesus Merino.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — Green Lantern (one-shot) — Featuring Hal Jordan and John Stewart defending Oa from an onslaught of Parademons. Written by Tom King with art by Doc Shaner.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — Lex Luthor (one-shot) — Featuring Lex Luthor. Written by Francis Manapul with art by Bong Dazo.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — SHAZAM (one-shot) — Featuring Shazam! with the power of the Gods of New Genesis. Written by Steve Orlando with art by Scott Kolins.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War — Superman (one-shot) — Featuring Superman as the God of Strength. Written by Francis Manapul with art by Bong Dazo.
  • Justice League: The Darkseid War Special (one-shot) — Featuring the story of Grail, the daughter of Darkseid. Written by Geoff Johns with art by Ivan Reis and Joe Prado.

The story also serves as a sort of lead-in to the DC Rebirth relaunch, helmed by Johns. It received a follow-up in James Robinson's run on Wonder Woman (Rebirth).

"The Darkseid War" contains examples of:

  • Apocalypse How:
    • An Amazonian prophecy predicts that the Anti-Monitor is capable of either Class Z2 (Omniversal 404) or Class Z3 (Omniversal Negation).
    • Flash learns that destroying the Black Racer would trigger a Class X4 (death on a universal scale), as doing so would free Death itself to destroy everything across the universe.
  • Big Bad: Grail, Darkseid's daughter, is the one pulling everyone's strings. She was conceived to wage war against her own father, but inherited his hunger for power and lack of empathy. Once Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor are dead, she becomes the main threat and attempts to take over the universe by merging with the Anti-Life Equation.
  • Book Ends: Played with. The New 52 iteration of the League technically ends the same way it began: With the team going up against Darkseid. However, this time it's not another Apokoptic incursion, but rather the Anti-Monitor vs. Apokolips (with the League and Earth caught in the middle).
  • Call-Back: Once again Volthoom is killed by an entity of death.
  • The Cameo: Though Aquaman is noticeably the only founding member of the Justice League who doesn't make a physical appearance throughout the arc, he is shown among the pictures that Mister Miracle comes across while accessing the Apokoliptian database.
  • Deity of Human Origin: Most of the Justice League took up Godhood. Batman becomes the God of Knowledge by taking Metron's place on the Mobius Chair. Flash becomes the God of Death by being possessed by the Black Racer. Shazam becomes the God of Gods when his pantheon gets replaced by a new one. Superman becomes the God of Strength when he gets corrupted by the Hell Pits on Apokalips. Lex Luthor becomes the God of Apokalips when he is infused with the Omega Effect. Grail becomes the Goddess of Anti-Life when she steals the Anti-Life Equation upon separating it from Mobius.
  • Discard and Draw: The death of Darkseid screwed up Billy Batson's connection with the gods that made him Shazam and so the Wizard had to get some new ones, resulting in a few new powers at the loss of others (Billy lost his super speed and flight, but got some fire powers from the Martian God of Fire. However, the whole SHAZAM theme is kept:
    • The strength of S'ivaa, Urgrundian God of Strength
    • The fire of H'ronmeer, Ma'aleca'andran (Martian) God of Fire, Art and Death.
    • The instinct of Ate, Greek Goddess of Impulse
    • The Source manipulation power of Zonuz, better known as Yuga Khan (Darkseid's father) and God of Evil. He's also the only one forced into this, as a result of Billy beating him after Zonuz tried to usurp the other gods' power.
    • The compassion of Anapel, Koryakian (an indigenous Siberian people) goddess of Birth and Reincarnation.
    • The thunder of Mamagaran (aka The Wizard), Dreamtime god of thunder.
  • Disney Death: Jessica is apparently killed when she throws herself in front of the Black Racer to protect Barry. It's later revealed she survived, as the embodiment of death instead seized Volthoom's soul. A Green Lantern Ring then attaches itself to her finger, restoring her consciousness.
  • Enemy Mine: The Justice League and Crime Syndicate are forced to work together to fight Mobius.
  • Evil Costume Switch: Superman is tinged in black after becoming the God of Strength. In this form, he is a ruthless Blood Knight who cares only about testing his own might, which prompts him to fight Wonder Woman.
  • Evil Counterpart: Grail to Wonder Woman. Both are the daughters of an Amazon and a God, but the former is a power-hungry villainess, while the latter is a compassionate heroine.
  • Evil vs. Evil: The first half of the series is about the Evil God Darkseid waging a war against the omnicidal maniac Anti-Monitor, with the Justice League getting entangled in the conflict due to the two villains choosing Earth as their battlefield.
  • Evil Power Vacuum: After Darkseid's death, the universe desperately tried to fill the void left by his demise, by giving godhood to half of the Justice League and turning Lex Luthor into the "New Darkseid".
  • Fake Ultimate Hero: Lex Luthor for the citizens of Apokolips. He claims to be their prophesied savior, when it is actually Superman.
  • Foreshadowing: Just before Jessica's Heroic Sacrifice a disembodied speech bubble calls out to Barry. Based on the colors, yellow background and red text, it's clearly meant to be the original Wally West, making a vocal appearance ahead of DC Rebirth.
  • A God I Am Not:
    • Hal Jordan is turned into the God of Light after his ring merges with a Mother Box. However, he is unwilling to give up his humanity and orders the Mother Box to destroy itself, thus reverting himself back to a regular Green Lantern.
    • Mobius' motivation is to lose the powers he obtained when he became the Anti-Monitor. This is because his apparent divinity caused him to feel detached from the world, thus making him unable to derive pleasure from the things he did before then... namely, torturing his victims.
  • God of Evil: Darkseid is a god who embodies the concept of evil. He inherited this title from his father Zonuz, the former "Dark God", who was even worse than him.
  • Grand Finale: Of Geoff Johns's JL work, Justice League (2011), and the New 52 era as a whole.
  • Grey-and-Grey Morality: We start out with the league getting caught in the middle of a fight between Darkseid Vs the Anti-Monitor, then half the heroes are corrupted and the ones who aren't forced to team up with the Crime Syndicate.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Jessica Cruz manages to overcome Volthoom's control of her body and leaps in front of the Flash-pursuing Black Racer, with her death allowing the Black Racer to disappear. Subverted when it's later revealed she only managed to wrestle control of her body for a grand total of one second before Volthoom possessed her again. When the Black Racer touched her body, it was Volthoom who perished, while she was just knocked unconscious.
  • Heroic Willpower: Jessica overpowers Volthoom long enough to perform a Heroic Sacrifice, earning her a Green Lantern ring.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: When facing the now bloodlusted God of Strength Superman, Wonder Woman resorts to wrapping him with the Lasso of Truth and begging him to remember how he used to be. She succeeds momentarily, causing him to assist the heroes in the battle against Mobius.
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Lampshaded by Wonder Woman when she frees and recruits the Crime Syndicate. They may be psychopathic supervillains, but are the only ones who may have the means to prevent the Anti-Monitor from destroying the universe.
  • More than Mind Control: The Black Racer gets The Flash to comply by showing him what would happen if he didn't.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Myrina comes to regret her decision to raise her daughter as a weapon after seeing how evil Grail has become.
  • Named by the Adaptation: The Anti-Monitor is named Mobius, as the original owner of Metron's famous Chair.
  • Oh, Crap!:
    • At the end, Owlman gets a turn on the Mobius Chair, demands to know the secrets of the universe and promptly panics mere moments before he comes a splotch on the chair, a victim of Doctor Manhattan.
    • Batman asks the Mobius chair what the Joker's real name is, but the answer frightens him. The final issue reveals that he was told there are three jokers.
  • Only Sane Man: Wonder Woman is the only member of the Justice League who is never corrupted through the whole event. The narration reflects this by showing how her Inner Monologue is solely focused on the crisis at hand, whereas everyone else is too conflicted by their personal inner struggles to pay attention to the Anti-Monitor's threat.
  • Paint It Black: Unlike everyone else, all Superman gets when he ascends to God of Strength is his entire body becoming a black and white photo negative.
  • Pregnant Badass: Superwoman joins the battle against Mobius mere hours before she goes into labour, but is still able to keep up with the rest of the league. She also gives birth in the middle of the battlefield in a matter of minutes.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Myrina rejects the Amazons' distaste for war and raises Grail as a weapon she can use against Darkseid, but comes to regret her actions once she sees how evil her daughter has become. At the climax of the story, she tricks Grail into unleashing the Omega Effect against her and Darkseid. The former dies, while Darkseid reverts into a baby, ending the crisis.
  • Refusing the Call: The entire Green Lanterns corp refuse the Mother Box (having fused with the Green Lantern Core) and the offer to become a God. Hal, being Hal, mentions this because of the morality, but rejects the caution and becomes the God of Light. He restores everything to normal before the Parademons arrive before giving up godhood since it would mean giving up Will.
  • The Reveal:
    • Steve Trevor is not the first man to set foot on Themyscira, and therefore not the Chosen One of the prophecy. That honor goes to Jason of Themyscira, Diana's twin brother, whose existence she did not even know about until Myrina revealed it prior to her death.
    • What Batman learned of the Joker: three different people have been the Clown Prince of Crime.
  • Sadist: The Anti-Monitor wants to be reborn as his original "Mobius" self and be freed from the Anti-Life Equation because he could enjoy killing everything and everyone close and personal. He even claimed he found it "unsatisfying" when he killed Lex Luthor's Parademons because they felt no pain or emotion and that he "thirst[s] for suffering". His fight with Ultraman, and what he says to him before he kills him, makes his sadistic nature very clear.
    Mobius: See, this is what I missed. Being a god. Looking down from above. It's all so removed. It's all so isolating. Killing billions in a blink is so unsatisfying. But down here, with all of you... it's much more fun.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: After Superwoman's son is born and transformed into a new incarnation of Darkseid by Grail, Owlman hijacks the Mobius Chair, which Grid uploads himself into, and flees.
  • Smug Super: Batman, Superman and Lex Luthor get Drunk on the Dark Side as a result of ascending into godhood after Darkseid's death.
    • Batman tells Hal Jordan to his face that the Green Lantern is useless without his ring, and dismisses Jim Gordon's efforts in keeping Gotham City safe.
    • Superman plainly tells Luthor that he could have killed him any time he wanted and was always above humanity.
    • Luthor keeps bragging about how he has inherited Darkseid's powers and accuses the League of not knowing how to properly use their own abilities.
  • Wham Episode: Justice League 45. Using the Black Racer combined with Anti-Life, Mobius kills Darkseid and thereby rattles the cosmos.
  • Wham Line: After the event, Hal Jordan asks Batman what the Möbius Chair said to him when he asked who the Joker was. Batman's response turns everything we know about a classic character on its head:
Batman: The chair didn't give me a name. It said there were three.
  • Wham Shot: The final panel of #50 has Owlman and Metron getting incinerated by an unseen entity, tying into DC Rebirth.