Sunday, October 30, 2011

Review: Justice League Dark #2

The magic side of the DCU is my sweet spot, and the first issue of Justice League Dark hit it full force. From showing off what made some of my favorite characters great to introducing a truly terrifying supernatural threat, the first issue of the comic delivered a great story and showed a lot of promise for issues to come. It goes without saying that I was only expecting bigger and better things from issue 2. The solicit mentioned world destruction. The cover promised Zatanna and Constantine burning witches. How could it be anything but awesome?

While Justice League Dark #2 lacked the witch burning featured on the cover, it was still a thoroughly entertaining comic. It looks like we're getting into some of the things Peter Milligan really excels at here- screwed up relationship dynamics, unexpected plot twists, and some really terrific character work. I missed seeing Shade the Changing Man this issue, but characters like Deadman, Dawn Granger, and John Constantine made great use of their increased panel time. In many ways, the conflict between Deadman and Dove was the driving force behind the issue, and there were some big developments for other members of the book's cast. I'm still anxious to see the whole team assembled together, but I don't mind the process being drawn back as long as we keep getting great character moments. Everyone but the yet to be seen Mindwarp has had a chance to shine, and I'm sure he'll get his spotlight soon.

Once again, the art by Mikel Janin is absolutely fantastic. His facial expressions are especially strong- he really helped sell Dawn's hurt, frustration and anger throughout the course of a book, and the little smirk that a bloodied Constantine wore tells readers just what they need to know about the character. The twisted spread near the beginning of the book is incredibly detailed, and I spent a long time looking at the destruction littered across the page. Milligan asks for a lot from Janin here, requiring him both the sweet and the gruesome, and Janin always delivers. Colorist Ulises Arreola adds in some nice little details, like the red glow around Deadman, that really compliment Janin's work.

Milligan promised that this series would be emotionally dark, and it's this issue that's really given an idea of what that will mean. At times, some of the series main characters feel downright unlikable, but their actions still ring true to me. What really makes their behavior work for me is that it feels like a natural result of the situation that they're in, not jerkishness for the sake of angst. Even when they're not facing the incredibly powerful Enchantress, it doesn't look like the Dark crew will have an easy go of it, and I'm looking forward to seeing where Milligan takes some of these characters in the issues to come.

While I've already recommended this title to fans of Vertigo and DC's magic cast of characters, I'd also suggest that Dawn Granger fans give this a try. I think her portrayal here is much stronger than it is in Hawk and Dove, and it looks like she's going to be sticking around for a good long while. Justice League Dark remains a solid supernatural title with beautiful art. It doesn't quite feel like a team book yet, but I'm sure it will soon, and I look forward to seeing the adventures that this motley crew will have. This remains one of my favorite DCnU titles, and I can't wait for issue 3, witch burning or not.

By Marceline with 5 comments


i liked this issue a lot more than the first. i'm confused though. is madame xanadu evil or what? she was helping them in the beginning, then now she's helping the enchantress? also, though i like dawn, she felt out of place in the book. she's not really a magic user, is she?

No, Dawn just has superpowers, but it seems like the Enchantress definitely has an interest in her. Plus, there's the Deadman connection. I don't think Milligan will be breaking them up even if that's where it seems like this is going right now.

I have a couple of theories about Madame Xanadu. Not sure if you're into Arthur lore, but Xan is based on Nimue, who has done both good and evil! Could go either way.

nope, have no idea about arthur lore :( don't like that xanadu plays both sides.

She seems like your sort of character! Though looking at this, I guess there are a lot of versions, I'm only thinking of the stories I read as a kid.

oh, the lady of the lake! yeah, i know her.

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