Please rethink this decision.
Three new Justice League titles will be spinning out of the end of Dark Nights: Metal and the subsequent Justice League: No Justice mini-series, which is cool but not entirely unexpected news, save for one detail: Darkseid, the most dangerous villain in the DC Universe, will be joining one of the teams. It turned heads when Lex Luthor joined the Justice League in 2016, but he at least had Earth’s best interest in mind, in his own twisted way. Darkseid is in a whole other league of evil.
The three new teams will be your classic Justice League squad, the Justice League Dark to combat supernatural threats, and then the one that recruits Darkseid, Justice League Odyssey, which writer Joshua Williamson has nicknamed “Justice League Space.”
IGN talked to Williamson at WonderCon, where he explained that some big, spoilery things happen at the end of Metal and No Justice that creates the need for a Justice League team among the stars. Cyborg leads the team and recruits its members: Starfire, Green Lantern Jessica Cruz, Azrael, and big bad Darkseid. Those that read the New 52’s Justice League series know that Cyborg’s updated origin saw his life saved when his damaged body bonded with a Mother Box, a piece of tech from Darkseid’s neck of the cosmos. That link will be something Williamson explores in Odyssey.
“It’s almost like Hannibal in space. With Darkseid as Hannibal, and Cyborg as Will. And it’s sort of about the relationship between the two of them,” Williamson said. “There’s this awesome splash page [in the New 52 Justice League series] where Cyborg is thinking about and studying the Mother Box, and you have this moment where Darkseid kind of turns and looks at him, and we’ve never really explored that relationship, and so I wanted to explore it. And since Darkseid’s a character who has been around for so long and knows so much, he ends up being kind of their guide in this new part of the DC Universe.”
Darkseid has been going through a lot of changes in the past few years. Justice League: Darkseid War left him as a tiny (but still evil) baby, and we’ve seen him grow up a bit in the pages of Wonder Woman, but it looks like whatever happens to him at the end of Metal mostly restores him to his original self. Although Williamson said to expect there to be some changes with his powers. He also dropped a clue that Darkseid doesn’t exactly join the team of his own free will. “He’s in a cage at the beginning, it’s awesome,” Williamson teased, adding that Cyborg and his team need Darkseid as much as he needs them, setting up a dynamic that sounds a lot like trying to shake hands with a hungry alligator.
This unique team paired with an adventure into space allows Williamson to explore a specific theme in Odyssey.
“I think there is something powerful in the idea of, how people are constantly told who they’re supposed to be, and people have made up their minds about them. I think these characters want to get past that and surprise people, and kind of give them the finger and be like, you don’t know me, it’s not up to you who I am,” Williamson explained. “But then obviously, it’s cloaked in a bunch of action and explosions and all that stuff.”
With a character like Darkseid on the team, you’d think this Justice League would already have their hands full, but you can expect them to cross paths with space-faring evil-doers like Kanjar Ro and Despero, and on top of that, there will be an unexpected villain that Williamson says will truly surprise people. We’ll find out who it is once the comic kicks off in June with artist Stjepan Sejic.