Justice League Dark #1

Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciler: Alvaro Martinez Bueno
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Publisher: DC Comics

Review by Michael Farris, Jr.

The Justice League Dark is back! Sort of. After the Tree of Wonder grew in Salem, MA, during the events of Justice League: No Justice, magic in the world has been a little out of whack. During a standard magic performance, Zatanna unwittingly unleashes a horrific creature, while trying to pull a rabbit out of a hat. Wonder Woman shows up for the assist and tries to recruit Zatanna to the new Justice League Dark, but Zatanna declines. And Zatanna is not the only one to decline, causing great ire on Wonder Woman’s part. Her only members so far are Detective Chimp and Man-Bat.

Meanwhile, a bunch of members from previous versions of JLD are trying to figure out how to work together and bring back magic from the dark forces. Zatanna sees a familiar face…er…planty eye, and ends up tracking down Swamp Thing at the Tree of Wonder, where she receives a message that the owners of magic are coming, and they’re not happy.

First observation after I was done reading this book was that it felt like a long issue. Whether it was text-heavy, or it was the various storylines to follow, or it was just me being tired, I’m not sure, but it didn’t seem like a quick read at all.

That’s not to say, though, the long time spent in the book was a bad thing. There was an eerie, gothic quality to this story that made me linger at parts. Maybe it was the artwork and me trying to take in all the detail or identify the plethora of the DC Universe characters that appear in this book.

The story jumps between Zatanna and Wonder Woman’s separate but converging quests, and it doesn’t feel like a jerky ride. There are also a lot of deeper aspects that I hope get explored more in coming issues. Is Wonder Woman too good and pure to be the leader of a group of people who spend their time in the darker corners of the universe? Will Zatanna find some lost legacy of her father who was gone too soon?

Along with those two, the supporting cast is what originally had me excited for this book. Swamp Thing is one of my favorite DC characters, and the Constantine and Jason Blood cameos were an added bonus. I like the darker, creepier side of DC, so this book was right up my alley.

As I mentioned before, there’s a gothic feel to this book that the art captures nicely. While it feels a little like standard comic book fare at times, it’s nevertheless satisfying art that fits the narrative quite well.

Verdict: Buy it.

This book sets up a story where dark forces beyond our control are on their way to do no good, and the protectors that can face them are fractured and vulnerable. What’s not to like?

Michael Farris Jr.
Michael is a Virginia-born Idaho convert (stuck in Georgia) and a huge fan of sci-fi. He took time off from comics and sci-fi during the dark years of being a teenager and trying to impress girls, but has since married an amazing woman with whom he regularly can geek out and be himself. He's also a drummer, loves metal music, and can always be found in a melancholy state while watching all things DC sports.

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