Justice League Dark: Jeff Lemire, Mikel Janin, Ulises Arreola, Kyle Ritter, Rob Leigh, Ryan Sook
Brilliance in twenty-something pages. So much going on in this arc of Justice League Dark. The title’s previous writer, Milligan, may be a “Hellblazer” veteran, but never spun a story so intricate, or involving so many different aspects of the magical world within the DC Universe as Jeff Lemire.
In just three issues, he’s introduced so many more important, magical elements than Milligan did in eight. Here’s what we’ve seen: Felix Faust, Dr. Mist, Orchid (though it’s slightly unfair to use new villains and team members), the House of Mystery, the Books of Magic, the Black Room, and now Timothy Hunter. Whoop, slight spoiler? Yes, the main character from the Neil Gaiman penned “The Books of Magic” miniseries is back and, apparently, everything that happened in that series still exists in the DCnU. Xanadu was able to brilliantly outline what some readers missed in just a few panels. I’m excited to see what happens with this character in this title. Could be big stuff!
So, in this issue, the JLD faces off against Faust - with Zatanna’s backwards magic suddenly somehow effectual against the Demons Three (see last ish) - as Constantine and Orchid make a run for the Black Room to gather a bunch of mystical weaponry to combat Faust. In the Black Room, we see a NUMBER of interesting artifacts. I cannot say I know absolutely everything I see here…but here’s some of them: Etrigan’s armor from Demon Knights (that much is clear), a giant coin (I’m sure it’s NOT the penny from the batcave) that says something like “raugger manicus,” a large Roman or Viking boat, a dragon skeleton, a chandelier made of bones, a German tank, and a large black jewel rock that makes me think of a black diamond. Could this be the hint of the return of Eclipso?
So Constantine comes barreling at Faust with all these magical objects, but it doesn’t last long before he’s betrayed! Oh no! By whom?! I won’t say. It’s interesting to see Faust is still playing all the events around him, even Constantine getting into the Black Room. It’s crazy, but it’s definitely devious and I like that Faust is a bit of a mastermind. Other titles have been trying to pull off this same thing, but have been failing horribly. Lemire’s Faust here actually has concocted a plan that we can see, and it’s falling into place perfectly. There may be a couple hiccups, and those are addressed, and Faust reacts reasonably. I like it.
Janin’s art is great, as always, though a couple of Faust’s expressions are a little too manic and, actually, quite hilarious. I really have to hand it to Arreola - like I do every issue - and Ritter for their color job. This is unbelievable stuff. Every time, they bring us bright, vivid colors that really make us understand that what we’re seeing is magic. Looking at this book, I don’t see how it could be called anything else. Just really loving the whole staff on this title right now, and I hope they stick with it for a while.
Justice League Dark #11, the verdict: A great addition to the story that included a ton of information about the magical world within the DCnU…something that’s been really devoid of definition since last September. I fell off the couch at the mention, and then appearance, of Tim Hunter…and I’m super excited to see what kind of role he plays in later issues (because, c’mon, it can’t just end at those few panels). While Faust is proving to be a very formidable villain, I’m looking forward to seeing what else Lemire can throw at the JLD and us readers. I know he has some cool ideas he can shape into another great story involving all kinds of obscure references in the next arc.
(Photo Source: ScienceFiction.com)