STORY: Jeff Lemire
ART: Mikel Janin
With a name like Justice League Dark, it’s not hard to see why this series might not be high on most readers’ radar. You’ve already got the main Justice League, along with the extremely competent Justice League International, as well as Teen Titans and Green Lantern Corps to round out the whole ‘team-based series’ quota, so why the need for an occult-related team and why call it the JLD? The answers: because the team is awesome and the name is as much a satire as it is an indicator of what these folks are actually up to. Alien invasion? Superman and Green Lantern have you covered. Some witch bending reality as a result of her inherent madness? You call these guys.
I came to Justice League Dark a little late, as my aforementioned quandaries regarding the series kept me from even flipping through it’s pages. That, along with my normal aversion to horror-or-magic-based titles meant it simply wouldn’t be something I would be interested in. So, I sit here at my desk a corrected man. Justice League Dark is great.
That being said, I’m mostly impressed with the last three issues, including the one for this review. For the past two months, Justice League Dark has crossed over with I, Vampire for “Rise of the Vampires”, an event that resulted in Andrew Bennet becoming the new leader of all vampires, complete with a whole new host of awesome powers. This month, JLD begins it’s third arc (technically) with a new team roster or “the new band” as John Constantine puts it.
Steve Trevor (from the pages of Justice League and the one who coins the term ‘Justice League Dark’) tasks a reluctant John Constantine to rescue stop a mad Felix Faust and rescue the reimagined Dr. Mist in exchange for five minutes in the Black Room, a single warehouse filled with every single mystical piece of paraphernalia ever ascertained by the United States government. With his own interests always at heart, Constantine rallies the troops to travel to Egypt.
I was only halfway impressed with the lineup choices for the first six issues of JLD. John Shade and Mindwarp were very odd choices to throw into the mix, and they get written out this issue as Constantine explains that he needs to reorganize his magical buddies. John’s successful in getting Zatanna and Deadman back into the game, but chooses Andrew Bennet as a new ally, cashing in a favor to guarantee his loyalty. Madame Xanadu refuses based on her past repor, and newcomer Black Orchid – a shapeshifter – acts as Trevor’s liaison and extra manpower when magic isn’t enough.
Well, it turns out that in defeating Felix Faust, the JLD would also be able to retrieve a mystical artifact lost to the government before it turned up in Faust’s hands. After a cunning sleight-of-hand maneuver, Faust is defeated and the team takes a look at the real focus of their trip: the map to the ancient Books of Magic.