Life and death – two sides of the same coin.
As a prequel to the upcoming conflict in the pages of the Justice League, this issue isn’t a let down as we encounter one of the more enigmatic characters in the DC Universe – Metron.
Geoff Johns takes a leaf out of Grant Morrison’s playbook and does exceedingly well in developing the story, fleshing out motivations and mysteries while keeping enough hidden to make the journey intriguing at the least.
There are points where explanations stretch to a excruciating point, where already known things are repeated – but quickly, Johns is able to move on and focus on another issue.
Best of all – this feels like long drawn plan is coming to completion. Ever since the New 52 started, everything that has happened feels like it was building up to something – and this is it.
It would be amiss not to mention the juggernaut of artists on this title. Though I feel like it would be threading spoiler territory, I will say that DC has put out all stop for this book.
And waiting for over a month and half for the next one will drive me bonkers.
Metron opens with a thoughtful but dark quote from Mahatma Gandhi, one which echoes our comic book mythos. We see histories get wiped out in the blink of an eye, our characters changed beyond recognization and this has been a very recent development if you think about it.
Metron places himself in our shoes and there are thinly veiled criticisms of such radical restructuring through metaphors. He also mentions how some characters become classic and everlasting while others are forgotten after a while or even immediately when you keep the book down.
We then shift to one of the more ‘classic’ moments of DC history. The New Genesis-Apokolips pact. Where the two rulers, one benevolent one cruel, exchanged sons and created an uneasy peace accord. We see glimpses of both Orion and Scott Free as they adapt to their new environment.
Orion gains love instead of slavery and cruelty, while Scott is whisked away from the warmth of New Genesis to the cold firepits of Apokolips.
Next up, Metron remembers the first Crisis - where the Anti-Monitor managed to destroy the Multiverse – resulting in only one Earth and one Universe, excepting the Fourth World of New Genesis and Apokolips (drawn beautifully by Dan Jurgens).
How he watched in concern as one after the other, universes were destroyed and reborn with Parallax (Zero Hour), Superboy Prime (Infinite Crisis) and the Flash (Flashpoint) proving the transgressors – and each event making the gap between the former smaller and smaller.
The New 52, so young, vibrant yet vicious is again under attack and Metron fears that this time reality may not survive another crisis.
He goes to the Anti-Monitor who’s now ravaging the Crime Syndicate’s world. And here we learn another new tidbit – the Anti-Monitor (or ‘Mobius’ as Metron calls him) was the original host of the Mobius chair. What this means we still don’t know, as Johns reveals only so much that ‘Mobius’ is tired of playing the clichéd role of Destroyer – he wants something more.
Even as we see that the Mobius chair has its own safeguards against its supposed creator, Metron is no match for an unseen opponent – Darkseid’s daughter, who has allied with the Anti-Monitor to bring down Darksied.
It's weird to see that this may be the same Anti-Monitor that has been with us pre-New 52. But Johns has included new details that keep us invested in this character. Darkseid's daughter had roots in the first arc and it's nice to see that there will be payoff soon.
This may be the magnum opus of the New 52 vision and Geoff Johns has gotten it off to a great start. Metron is the perfect narrator and we may finally be getting a more nuanced version of both Darkseid and the Anti-Monitor after the first arc debacle.
The artists are very competent and by using different artists, DC showcases the different events and terrains very well.
So, I give this a 9.0 out of 10.
+Some excellent character moments
+Metron proves to be a captivating narrator
+A great visual bonanza
+Some great reveals
-Some conversations drag on too long