Everything we know about DC's Death of the Justice League and Dark Crisis

Justice League #75 preview
(Image credit: DC)

The Justice League is going to die (well, most of them anyway) and lead to a Dark Crisis.

And no, not in an Elseworlds title or Injustice game. Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and more are really going to perish in the DC continuity. 

Though there is a matter of when in continuity. 

It all begins in April 26's Justice League #75, by writer Joshua Williamson and artist Rafa Sandoval and serves as the launch of Dark Crisis. 

Here's a newly-released seven-page preview of that pivotal issue. 

Justice League #75 is followed by two Dark Justice preludes -  the first is the Free Comic Book Day Dark Crisis Special Edition #0 which will be available (for free) in participating comic book shops on May 7 by Williamson and "more" unnamed writers, with art by Daniel Sampere, Jim Cheung, and more.

Then May 31's Justice League: Road to Dark Crisis #1 features a roster of writers including Williamson, Jeremy Adams, Brandon Thomas, Chuck Brown, Stephanie Phillips, and Phillip Kennedy Johnson along with artists Henry, Jurgens, Fico Ossio, Emanuela Lupacchino, Leila Del Duca, and more.

Then, finally, Dark Crisis, the main seven-issue monthly limited series by Williamson and Sampere and what the artist calls a "love letter" to the DCU, begins June 7.

You can watch the trailer here:

But what is the Dark Crisis? And how does the Justice League die? Readers will have to wait until Justice League #75 for those exact answers, but for now, here's everything we at Newsarama know about the storyline and its impact.

What has led to the Death of the Justice League and Dark Crisis?

Justice League #75 (Image credit: DC)

The simple answer to this is, well, everything. 

DC calls Dark Crisis an 'event 30 years in the making,' and Williamson says the concept of killing the Justice League is at least partially inspired by 1992's 'Death of Superman' story. In short, it looks as though Dark Crisis will be pulling from three decades of DC Comics history, from the classic Crisis on Infinite Earths to the very recent Infinite Frontier (written by Williamson) and much more in between.

In fact, it's one of the main players of Crisis on Infinite Earths that gets the whole shebang started; the cosmic mad scientist Pariah. As if awakening the Anti-Monitor in 1985 wasn't already enough, it will be the Marv Wolfman/George Pérez-created villain that puts together the team to finally take down the Justice Justice.

Pariah is using the Great Darkness as a weapon to bring his Multiverse - now dubbed Multiverse-2 in the new, greater DC Omniverse - back from obliteration. The mad Pariah wants to destroy Earth-0 (otherwise known as Earth-Prime or the main DCU Earth) in his quest for rebirth and vengeance.

Which leads us to our next question:

Who will kill the Justice League?

The Dark Army

The Dark Army (Image credit: DC)

Thanks to Justice Incarnate (penned by, you guessed it, Joshua Williamson), we know that the team of supervillains Pariah will put together is called the Dark Army, servants of the evil Great Darkness entity. 

The Dark Army consists of some of the worst baddies to ever show up in the DCU, including; Doomsday, the villain whose actions led to the Death of Superman; The Empty Hand, Grant Morrison's omni-versal evil from the pages of Multiversity; and Darkseid, who introduced DC readers to another 'Great Darkness' in 1983. 

When will the Justice League die and 'Dark Crisis' begin?

Justice League #75 (Image credit: DC)

We know Justice League #75 will come out April 26 in our world, but when does it happen in the DCU? As we've previously reported, while the history of the DCU is now canonically quite fluid, it appears Dark Crisis takes place "a bit in the future of the DCU." But what does that mean? 

Recently, the publisher introduced the concept of the 'Omniverse,' a fix for all continuity issues since the Crisis on Infinite Earths began unraveling DC's timeline years ago. 

The philosophy of the Omniverse is that everything that's published in a DC comic story can be considered in continuity for creators to pick and choose from. 

What seems like the likely scenario that the events of Dark Crisis will take place in the immediate future, but will mostly be contained from a continuity standpoint within a bubble - meaning in its own pages and in the pages of tie-ins, whereas life goes on as normal in the "present" for most of the dead characters.

Then after Dark Crisis concludes, the bubble will pop, and the present-day DCU can catch up to it from a continuity standpoint, and whatever ramifications it holds for the future can begin to be reflected in the pages of the ongoing series without actually being disrupted by the game-changing deaths.

Dark Crisis #2 art (Image credit: DC)

How will the DCU move on after 'Dark Crisis'?

As soon as Dark Crisis was announced, Williamson took to Twitter to tell fans the story was "an epic DCU event about legacy." Indeed, one answer to 'what will DC do after the deaths of Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman?' is 'replace them.' The preview art for Dark Crisis #1 is full of legacy characters, and should other DC books catch up to Dark Crisis, there are plenty of characters to take on the name and keep the title going.

But there's another answer to 'what will DC do after the Justice League members die?' That answer is 'continue to publish comics about the Justice League.' As we know from the publisher's June solicitations, Aquaman, Superman, and Batman are still alive and well in their own books, despite their deaths in April. 

Dark Crisis #0 FCBD Special Edition (Image credit: DC)

See the explanation about how the continuity will likely work above.

But does that mean that the catastrophic events of this Crisis don't mean anything?


Like Death Metal: Dark Crisis before it, this approach to continuity allows Dark Crisis to tell its own story while still impacting the DCU after its conclusion. 

And that's not to mention the story Williamson and DC plan to tell in the series itself. 

"It will have all the giant, fun cosmic battles and Multiversal set pieces, but it's not about reboots, retcons, or rewriting time and space," Williamson promises. "At its core, it's about the characters and the relationships that we've seen built over DC's great history.

As Newsarama once detailed, what matters is "the human element to the story." Dark Crisis has the opportunity to tell a story about mortality and hope, themes that last far longer than any superhero's death.

Will there be spin-offs and tie-ins

Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League - Superman #1 (Image credit: DC)


In June DC will launch Dark Crisis: Young Justice #1, a six-issue limited series that takes place concurrent with the events of Dark Crisis, and The Flash #783 begins a three-issue story arc that also takes place during the main storyline, the only ongoing series (so far) to do so.

Then in July, there's one-shot Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League – Superman #1, that first of what is likely a series of specials set during the events of Dark Crisis... sort of. 

Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League seems to be stories about Superman and Aquaman set in 'dream worlds' - alternate realities in which the Justice League characters don't die in the Dark Crisis near-future, but also diverge from current DC continuity. And this 'dream world' may hold a key to the heroes emerging victorious in Dark Crisis as well as possibly the resurrection of the dead Justice Leaguers.

And that's pretty much all we know

DC has kept a pretty tight lid on details about the series. And despite its approach to continuity, which may be confusing for some more casual DC readers, (particularly since DC as a publisher hasn't officially announced its setting "a bit in the future"), it seems like a pretty straightforward premise. 

The DC Universe must learn to cope and move forward after the death of its biggest iconic superheroes.

So it'll likely be months, and perhaps even as late as December, the projected on-sale month for Dark Crisis #7, until DC readers learn what long-term effects the series holds. 

Until then, check out a gallery of preview art from Dark Crisis Special Edition #0,  Dark Crisis #1, and Dark Crisis #2:

Dark Crisis is just the latest of many ‘Crisis’ events to threaten the heroes of the DCU, but will it be one of the best? Here's our current ranking of all DC's Crisis events so far.

Grant DeArmitt
Freelance writer

Grant DeArmitt is a NYC-based writer and editor who regularly contributes bylines to Newsarama. Grant is a horror aficionado, writing about the genre for Nightmare on Film Street, and has written features, reviews, and interviews for the likes of PanelxPanel and Monkeys Fighting Robots. Grant says he probably isn't a werewolf… but you can never be too careful. 

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