Justice League’s Darkest Revelations Prove DC Must End Epic Events


Justice League Incarnate reveals the influence of the great darkness, and it’s the exact same type of threat that too many recent DC stories have used.

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League Incarnate #4 by Joshua Williamson, Dennis Culver, Chris Burnham, Mike Norton, Andrei Bressan, Hi-Fi and Tom Napolitano, now on sale from DC Comics

DC has a history of risking the entire fate of the multiverse repeatedly, with stories exploring possible multiversal destruction repeatedly taking place in DC Comics’ core recently. The last one is already advancing at an accelerated pace – and it’s way too fast.

Revelations of Great Darkness’ longstanding influence on the DC Universe in Justice League Incarnate #4 are undermined by similar events featured in Recent Events. This speaks to DC’s need to avoid massive events for a while and instead focus on building the characters of the DC Universe before beginning the next “epic war for the fate of the multiverse.”

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infinite border showed the potential danger of the Great Darkness. Darkseid, Nekron, Eclipso, the Upside Down Man, and the Empty Hand have been teased as combatants in a conflict over dark power. But as confirmed in Justice League Incarnate #4, the empty hand and the rest of the nobility are extensions of the great darkness. Seeking to break the tenuous truce brokered by Swamp Thing between life and the Great Dark after Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Great Darkness has been retconned to have been the source of many events that threatened the stability of the DC Multiverse. Extant, Superboy-Prime, Mister Mind and others have all been influenced in one way or another by the Great Darkness’ desire to reduce all creation to nothing.

Darkseid’s motivations in Final Crisis were turned into an attempt by Darkseid to extract the Great Darkness so he could try to control the force on his own. Even the demon Barbatos of the dark multiverse is revealed to have been only an avatar of the great darkness. In short, Justice incarnate uses this great darkness as a means of piecing together a number of stories and ultimately tying together everything that happens in the DC Universe. It’s a massive revelation – and one that mimics the discoveries made about Perpetua in the lead-up to Dark Nights: Death Metal and Doctor Manhattan in Apocalyptic clock. Before long, the Great Darkness is revealed to be the dark force behind all — more or less taking the “secret villain puppet master” trope to an absolutely ridiculous degree.

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It’s quietly a very tiring reveal, effectively retracing the steps already taken in recent stories. It’s especially frustrating, given the revelations about (and eventual defeat of) Perpetua just over a year ago at the time of this writing. The entire multiverse was in danger, characters were pushed to their absolute limits and barely survived – only now for a very the same kind of meta-threat looms right after. DC has made a habit of embracing massive retcon-filled events spanning the universe lately. But it gets tiring, because there’s no time to focus on the characters caught up in these conflicts before they’re thrown back into the deep end. This reduces the personal stakes inherent in the characters and continues to increase the scope without forcing the audience to feel genuinely concerned with the threats at hand.

The constant escalation of “multiverse-level threats” without a focus on heroes instead leads to diminishing returns – with just about every massive stake in the War for the Great Dark having already been hit recently. DC should take time between events, flesh out the new status quo from the last event, and make readers care about the situations the heroes find them in before throwing them back into chaos. The upcoming death of the members of the Justice League is the perfect opportunity. It could force DC to spotlight underserved characters, setting them up to cast them in a conflict they have never encountered. But instead, by setting up the Multiversal War that change everything again, they eased tension that they might have naturally aggravated through buildup and history. It’s disappointing and makes the Great Darkness feel like an afterthought.

KEEP READING: Why Justice League’s Death Will Let Batman and Superman’s Sons Shine

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