After last issue, I assumed the stakes were as high as they could get in this story — and then Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok turned “Darkseid War” into “Forever Evil” times five in “Justice League” #47. There are a bunch of “oh crap” moments in this issue, including the ending, which provides a rather gloomy sliver of light that could lead to the end of the cosmic war. Somehow, Johns finds a way to get in a few more character-focused moments, and Fabok shows off his playful side, too.
This issue pulls the Crime Syndicate back into the greater “Justice League” story. They have the most experience with the Anti-Monitor, even if that experience is wetting themselves and running into another universe. Most of the League does well for themselves, but Cyborg acts like a real metal-headed teenage dummy in this chapter; here’s a guy trying to spring one of the planet’s deadliest threats from a maximum security prison, and — when he’s warned this is a bad idea from the woman possessed by a ring that’s always wanted to murder him — he pats her on the head like a dumb child and gets himself overpowered instead of listening. The moment when this went down had me shaking my head, but it does point towards Cyborg’s personality on “Teen Titans Go!” more than anything else.
While their plan still isn’t fully revealed, the Anti-Monitor finally got treatment for that anti-life equation he’s been carrying around and is back to being Mobius, who looks just as menacing as he did as the Anti-Monitor. Turns like this are why I’ve really fallen hard for Johns’ writing, particularly on these big epic tales. To him, the entire universe is a toy box; all the tools for his stories already exist. You don’t have to create something like a Flr’nt Differentiator of a Dimpletronic Inducer, because then you have to take the time to introduce these new ideas and make them feel big and important; the writer has to make the reader care fast and deeply about something, a challenge when you’re also juggling scattered story threads across planets. Johns streamlines several different existing concepts and adds a cool twist to an idea many likely hadn’t yet considered in the new iteration of DC: why is a guy named Metron sitting in a chair named for someone else? While I understand the Mobius Chair accesses the infinite loop of space and time, this new idea is much more personal and much funnier, too.
Fabok gets in on some fun here as well. His big splash-page return has Green Lantern sidling up to Batman in the Mobius Chair in his own, ring-powered lounge chair. There are a lot of dark, heavy action scenes in the story, and the creative team uses moments like these to remind readers why the characters are heroes and how they don’t all let the job affect them. With a lot of smaller setup happening here, Fabok doesn’t get a chance to cut loose like he did in The One Where They All Kill Darkseid, but he still incorporates powerful moments like Superman and Wonder Woman going toe-to-toe and skillfully reveals of each member of the Syndicate, in a way that gives readers a one-panel visual summation of each character and their current state of mind.
Johns and Fabok’s work continues to impress on both a macro and micro level in “Justice League” #47. Now that the Anti-Monitor has emerged from his cocoon as a beautiful Mobius butterfly, it will be interesting to see what the endgame is meant to be.