Warning! Spoilers for Justice League Odyssey #21 below
The Justice League of the cosmos just fought an ultimate battle against Darkseid, the most powerful and evil of the New Gods – and the result surprised even them. In Justice League Odyssey #21, everything that has happened in the series thus far built to a climax as an untested emergency version of the League mounted a defense to stop Darkseid, New God of tyranny, from gaining access to a time machine that would allow him to rewrite the universe from the beginning. And thanks to a mix of brilliant tactics, devoted allies, and a secret weapon, the unlikely allies seem to have won.
Originally, Darkseid formed the Justice League Odyssey team to save the universe from threats within an uncharted “Ghost Sector” of space. But the deceptive tyrant didn’t mention that his plan to save the universe involved regaining his lost godhood, taking over the Ghost Sector, and corrupting or killing his teammates when they tried to resist. The result is that when the villain approached the time machine with an army of Para-Angels, the defenses were ragtag: Blackfire, sister to deceased JLO member Starfire; Orion, Darkseid’s vengeful son; Dex-Starr, a housecat with a Red Lantern ring powered by rage; and Gamma Knife, a bounty hunter with a jetpack, trusty drones, and a radioactive machete. Their leader was Jessica Cruz, a sophomore Green Lantern who was murdered by Darkseid before willing herself back to life by fueling her ring with the very energy that killed her.
Reinforcements came from Epoch, the time-travel scientist finishing the machine that Darkseid needed, but Darkseid simply struck down Epoch’s past self, forcing him to revise his own biography to continue existing. But the League was counting on that. Cruz, displaying her newfound ability to outthink even gods on the battlefield, had a plan: since the attacking overlord wouldn’t want to risk destroying the very machine he came for, he would be attacking to wear the defenders down, not destroy their headquarters outright. Knowing this, she had the Justice League whittle back at Darkseid’s forces until she could deploy the real threat: the Eskaton, an extradimensional deity created to kill New Gods as their era of the DC Universe ends.
Darkseid is genuinely caught off guard as he realizes what his former teammate has done – to the point that the Eskaton immediately puts him on the ground and begins to disintegrate him. The rest of the team stands by and watches in shock and relief as the creature doesn’t just end the battle, it threatens Darkseid’s life. When Blackfire asks Jessica whether the Eskaton will kill him, the Lantern answers “It should … it will.” With that level of confidence from someone who just routed a god and his angelic army, and after the deaths of every other new New God that Darkseid has created (with the exception of the reprogrammed Cyborg), it’s looking likely that the lord of Apokolips’s victory just suddenly and unexpectedly became a fatal defeat.
DC Comics’ Justice League Odyssey #21, written by Dan Abnett with art from Will Conrad and color from Rain Beredo, is available now from local comics shops and digital providers.