REVIEW: ‘Are You Afraid of Darkseid?’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Are You Afraid of Darkseid #1 - But Why Tho

Are You Afraid of Darkseid? #1 is an anthology one-shot published by DC Comics. In the vein of other holiday-themed one-shots such as Stargirl Spring Break Special and DC’s Valentine-themed Love Is A Battlefield special, this one-shot is timed to coincide with the beginning of October-aka “Halloween Season.” Damian Wayne/Robin takes his fellow Teen Titans camping, and to pass the time they share a variety of terrifying tales featuring heroes and villains across the DC Universe.

“Are You Afraid of Darkseid?” is the framing device used for the one-shot; it is written by Elliott Kalan, illustrated by Mike Norton, colored by Allen Passalaqua, and lettered by Simon Bowland. “Bloody Mary” features Darkseid and Harley Quinn and is written by Kenny Porter, illustrated by Max Dunbar, colored by Luis Guerrero, and lettered by Becca Carey. “Backseat Killer” features Batman hunting the Mad Hatter; it is written by Calvin Kasulke, illustrated by Rob Guillory, colored by Guerrero, and lettered by Bowland. “Escape The Dark Fortress” stars Green Lantern John Stewart; it is written by Dave Wielgosz, illustrated by Pablo M. Collar, colored by Wil Quintana, and lettered by Dave Sharpe. “The Endless Staircase” features the Phantom Stranger; it is written by Jackson Lanzing & Collin Kelly, illustrated by Jesus Hervas, colored by Eva de La Cruz, and lettered by Clem Robins.

Rounding out the anthology is an Aquaman/Aqualad tale “The Ogopogo,” written by Ed Brisson, illustrated by Christopher Mitten, colored by Tony Avina, and lettered by Carey; Wonder Woman and Vixen in “Black-Eyed Kids” written by Terry Blas, illustrated by Garry Brown, colored by Marissa Louis and lettered by Sharpe; and the Superman/Lois Lane tale “The Cellar” written by Jeremy Haun, penciled by Tony Akins, inked & colored by Moritat, and lettered by ALW’s Troy Peteri.

Those looking for spine-tingling scares may want to look elsewhere, as only half the tales really have horror elements. And even those are a mixed bag; “Bloody Mary,” “Escape The Dark Fortress,” “The Endless Staircase” and “The Cellar” are the few standouts. I feel the framing device involving the Titans, while a worthwhile effort, is a little underdeveloped (even though Norton’s art perfectly captures the camping vibe.) And for a one-shot seemingly centered on Darkseid, the Lord of Apokolips only appears in one story!

That story is actually well-crafted, as the interplay between Darkseid and Harley is just as hilarious as you think it’d be. Porter actually manages to tie the legend of Bloody Mary to the Fourth World mythos, and Dunbar draws her as a terrifying figure who inhabits the world of mirrors and has a mouth literally filled with glass shards, which makes for a terrifying smile. “The Endless Staircase” is equal parts haunting and moving, which fits the Phantom Stranger’s character. “Escape The Dark Fortress” puts Stewart through his paces, as the titular Dark Fortress hits him with memories of the people he’s lost; Wielgosz, Collar and Quintana remind fans why he’s earned the position of Green Lantern. And finally, “The Cellar” is a story that highlights Clark Kent and Lois Lane’s marriage as well as their journalistic skills; it even features an alien monster!

Are You Afraid of Darkseid #1 is a mixed bag of Halloween-themed tales, featuring less of the Lord of Apokolips than one would expect. While some stories are worth a read, DC has done far better with its other holiday-themed one-shots. I can only hope that next year’s installment is an improvement.

Are You Afraid of Darkseid? #1 is available wherever comics are sold.


Are You Afraid of Darkseid? #1
3.5

TL;DR

Are You Afraid of Darkseid #1 is a mixed bag of Halloween-themed tales, featuring less of the Lord of Apokolips than one would expect. While some stories are worth a read, DC has done far better with its other holiday-themed one-shots. I can only hope that next year’s installment is an improvement.