The following contains major spoilers for Justice League #75, on sale now from DC Comics.
The Justice League are dead. At least, that's what it looks like. The landmark "Death of the Justice League" story that's kicking off this summer's Dark Crisis event has wiped out DC's premier superteam, leaving the next generation to take their place. Whilst the story, very convincingly, makes it look like the League are dead, readers already know what really happened to DC's biggest heroes - and it's all thanks to the Flash.
The most powerful heroes in the DC Universe were wiped out in one shocking attack in Justice League #75 (by Joshua Williamson, Rafa Sandoval, Jordi Taragona, Matt Herms and Josh Reed). The Crisis on Infinite Earths character Pariah, who has sided with the Great Darkness to bring back the original multiverse, has gained tremendous power from his evil benefactor. In this final issue of the series, he used that power to seemingly reduce almost every hero in his path to nothingness.
It was a horrifying display that seemingly confirmed there was nothing left of any of these iconic heroes. This was, without a doubt, their deaths. That does not seem to be the case. It may seem as if the League is dead, but their apparent demise in this issue has masked their true fate. A fate that has been seen before, at the end of the Infinite Frontier limited series (by Joshua Williamson and Xermanico).
Barry Allen, the Flash, found himself in the graveyard of the old multiverse with Pariah, just as the Justice League did in this latest story. Then, just as he did to the League, Pariah broke Barry down until he was seemingly a skeleton. Then, suddenly, the speedster was alive - but altogether different.
The final panel of the series saw Barry living a creepy idealistic life, visualized in the style of old comic books. This strange world was visited recently by the Justice League Incarnate in the final issue of their own series. When they attempted to free Barry from this other-dimensional prison, he became uncharacteristically angry and refused to leave with them. With the Justice League's fate in this issue appearing exactly the same as Barry's at the end of Infinite Frontier, it's all but confirmed the individual heroes have been locked away in their own ideal lives. In universes that will most likely be named Earth-Superman.1, Earth-Batman.1, and so on. If they were truly dead, they wouldn't be happy. They wouldn't feel anything.
This may also explain where the recently announced one-shot Dark Crisis: Worlds Without a Justice League - Superman #1 (by Tom King and Chris Burnham) fits into the upcoming Crisis event. That story depicts Superman in an ideal life with his son, Jon Kent. Since the Man of Steel missed out on his son's childhood, his perfect world would be getting to raise his son properly and fight by his side.
Therefore, the Justice League may appear dead now, but we already know how they'll come back in the future. In Dark Crisis, the next generation will not only have to fight the Great Darkness and its Dark Army, but they will also have to free the missing Justice League from their personal prisons. This is sure to add an interesting, psychological twist to the Justice League's return and make their reentry into the DC Universe all the more triumphant. As they're forced to overcome these incredibly personal struggles, they'll come back with a renewed sense of who they are and what they fight for - alongside their successors.