WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Odyssey #6, by Dan Abnett, Carmine di Giadomenico, Ivan Plascencia and Andworld Designs, on sale now.
The Fourth World tales crafted by Jack Kirby are some of the best galactic stories DC, and comics in general, have ever witnessed -- so much so that they continue to influence later writers, like Grant Morrison and Tom King.
In Justice League: Odyssey #6, a new cosmic threat has arisen, with ties to the foundation laid down by Kirby, and it spells only one thing for the multiverse: an apocalypse that cannot be averted. What makes this all the more intriguing is the one "hero" who can stand against this terror is none other than Darkseid.
This series has been filled with cosmic twists and turns, with Darkseid manipulating the likes of Starfire, Azrael and Cyborg in the Ghost Sector so he could assemble relics for some master plan. We learn he's building a new version of Apokolips -- a Warworld, of sorts -- called Sepulkore. But now Darkseid is searching or an additional piece to the recently discovered Otherbox as he battles soldiers left by Brainiac on the swampy world of Aeolon. However, it's there that Darkseid meets these beings destined to feast on the New Gods.
As he attains the final pieces of the puzzle, he's rocked by the shockwave sent throughout the Ghost Sector by the destruction of the Source Wall. He can feel Apokolips and New Genesis have disappeared, but he still thinks he can salvage what's left of the multiverse via Sepulkore. Darkseid believes it's the last stand against an impending evil, which is presumably the goddess Perpetua from Scott Snyder's Justice League. But just as he decides to soldier on, despite the New Gods perishing, he's attacked by mysterious creatures called the Eskaton.
They're ghoulish creatures, similar to the phantoms in the Phantom Zone, destined to feast on the souls of the New Gods when they die. Yet, despite Darkseid still being alive, they choose him as their first target. It could be because no one ones what happened to the New Gods when their planets disappeared, but nevertheless, Darkseid accepts these devourers were meant to end the Fourth World. They've waited, and now that the multiverse nears its end, they're going to feast on the souls of whichever New Gods remain.
It's an interesting development, because the Eskaton didn't appear in Morrison's Final Crisis stories or his Death of the New Gods. But that could be because their souls were simply lodged in other bodies across the cosmos. Of course, most souls were stored in human hosts, such as Darkseid, who became "Boss Dark Side" inside Dan Turpin's body. Now, however, the presence of these cosmic vultures feels like a more definitive end.
They're here to scavenge the last of these ancient beings; what's most intriguing is that, as they feed on anti-life, it may well be that they're here to scour the entire cosmos for all lifeforms on the verge of death. They will need to be sated without the rest of the New Gods around, and Darkseid alone won't suffice. It's why the upcoming issues have Cyborg & Co. coming to Darkseid's aid -- because, let's face it, creatures who can pick the bones of Darkseid clean are a major threat that can't be allowed to roam free.