- Johns really builds the mystery of Myrina Black amazingly well. First, we've got Kanto and Lashina, agents of Darkseid, killing a woman of that name, seemingly at random. Then, we've got Mr. Miracle discovering...something...about someone of that name in Darkseid's files on Apokolips. At this point, it becomes clear that Darkseid considers her dangerous enough to want her dead. I have to say, you've got to pretty bad ass if you make Darkseid nervous. When she appears on the last page, I didn't immediately recognize her as the woman that gave birth to Grail in "Divergence FCBD Special Edition" #1. I actually had to Google that. But, color me intrigued. After all, while she tries to recruit Scott Free, Grail makes her way through the Justice League to get to Power Ring so that she can summon the Anti-Monitor. They're definitely not kidding about killing Darkseid.
- How the $&*% did Lena Luthor get a Mother Box? Talk about unexpected developments. Is she really Lex's sister, or is she a Darkseid sleeper agent? If she's both, how -- and when -- did that happen?
- Despite the excitement of the battles in this issue -- and they are exciting -- Johns really shines in managing to work in some characterization:
- Lex is creepy as ever, telling Clark that his new set of armor is fueled by kryptonite not because it would help him defeat Clark, but because it's so powerful. (I continue to love him as an evil version of Iron Man.)
- We also get some more insight into Shazam. Billy has largely faded into the background since his back-up story came to an end. (In fact, I don't really remember how it ended. Did he join the team because they helped him defeat Black Adam? Maybe?) However, here, Johns reminds us how young he is. Diana herself specifically mentions how young he acts (contrasting him to Cyborg), and, proving her point, we see Billy rattled as he faces his first dead body (of Myrina Black). But, Johns also reminds us how powerful he is. As Grail makes her way through the team, he's the first one to land a hit, and it's a helluva hit to boot.
- Finally, Johns begins the process of fleshing out the adult version of Scott Free as a character, after we saw his origin in the "Divergence" issue. I'll admit that I have some problems telling the difference between him and his "Earth 2" analogue, but Johns makes it clear that it's OK. He focuses more on Scott's origin story, informing us that Scott has never returned to New Genesis after his father surrendered him to Apokolips. (Scott even works in a snarky comment about how abandoning him didn't serve its purpose, since his father went to war with Apokolips anyway.)
*** (three of five stars)