Dark Crisis is DC’s 2022 crossover event all about what happens after the Justice League dies. Its first issue has a tight focus on Jon Kent, who’s already stepped into his father’s big red boots as Superman and naturally sees it as his responsibility to recruit a new Justice League to inspire, protect, and comfort the world in a time of grief and uncertainty.
It’s just that his picks are... well, let’s go through them. Supergirl, Jon’s cousin once removed who’d certainly hear about it at the next reunion if she hadn’t said yes; a Blue Beetle; Doctor Light, making her mandatory appearance in an event comic and absolutely nowhere else; Killer Frost, who, while reformed, still has a pesky ol’ uncontrollable hunger for the heat of human bodies; Booster Gold; the other Blue Beetle; FRANKENSTEIN; Aqualad, Jon’s closest gay friend; Robin, Jon’s closest straight friend; and the barely reformed Harley Quinn.
If this is how you found out that Frankenstein’s monster is a recurring DC Comics superhero, I’m sorry. He is called Frankenstein and he’s a secret agent for paranormal stuff (I think. I’m not looking it up).
What else is happening in the pages of our favorite comics? We’ll tell you. Welcome to Monday Funnies, Polygon’s weekly list of the books that our comics editor enjoyed this past week. It’s part society pages of superhero lives, part reading recommendations, part “look at this cool art.” There may be some spoilers. There may not be enough context. But there will be great comics. (And if you missed the last edition, read this.)
Dark Crisis #1
In the words of Sam Wilson, Black Adam is out of line, but he’s right — this is not the Justice League that will make the world feel like it’s in good hands when its greatest heroes have fallen and villains are running amok. But it’s a great character beat for Jon, who’s got all of his dad’s optimism and faith in people, but none of his experience in public relations.
Orcs! The Curse #1
I loved Christine Larsen’s Orcs, a classic “what if it was from the henchmen’s point of view” story, but with an uncommon commitment. Orcs is funny, of course, but the humor is in service of a mix of earnest slice-of-life and adventure. I’m really glad Larsen is back with a new miniseries in the setting, this time with these crow-people at the fore. I already love them.
Poison Ivy #1
Writer G. Willow Wilson and artist Marcio Takara’s Poison Ivy starts strong with a cocktail of Annihilation visuals and Hannibal-esque intrusive thoughts. If the rest of the miniseries continues the same, I think it’ll be an Ivy story for the ages.
Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor #1
Jane Foster & The Mighty Thor hits shelves just in time to provide an ongoing Jane Foster comic to grab when Thor: Love & Thunder hits. My longest-shot hoped-for comic book reference? A cameo from Jane’s unionized pegasus, Mr. Horse.
DC Pride 2022
If you pick up one comic this week, make it DC Pride 2022 #1. The standout story here is the only piece of non-fiction: A memoir of struggling as a gay actor in the ’80s and early ’90s from the voice of Batman himself, Kevin Conroy.
Storytime: Picture me, waiting to start an interview at the DC Comics booth, hearing a weirdly familiar laugh on the other side of a dividing screen and wondering which buddy of mine was doing photos over there — and then realizing, with a jolt, that it was familiar because it sounded just like Batman. As I sat down with the reason I was actually there, interviewing a queer comics creator, Conroy crossed the divider to take a chair for his own interviews, and struck up a conversation with my subject. I didn’t dare interrupt, and I didn’t want to. I could have lived in that bubble of a moment — a queer professional creator, a queer reporter, and the queer industry legend who’d inspired both of us — for hours.