REVIEW: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #16

(w) Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
(a) Mikel Janin

Justice League Dark continues to be one of my favorite series from DC’s ‘New 52’ thanks to it’s unique take on the superhero genre. Jeff Lemire has crafted an incredible ongoing narrative that isn’t confined to separate arcs, but rather builds upon itself with each storyline. Things started off with “The Black Room”, which quickly turned into “War for the Books of Magic”, and now, we’re shoulder-deep in “The Death of Magic” that’s bringing Lemire’s big epic to a head. 

Though it sits in the middle of this newest arc, Justice League Dark #16 doesn’t fall prey to the ‘filler syndrome’ — it’s full of intense action, story development, and some not-at-all-annoying exposition that gives readers a better look at how magic originated in the DCnU. I’ve mentioned in past reviews how much Lemire’s Justice League Dark resembles a serial television drama in it’s structure and pacing. Much like LOST, True Blood, or Game of Thrones, each issue of JLD has enough self-containment to feel satisfying as a stand-alone story while contributing to a much grander vision.

Using context clues, it’s been pretty evident that this world our heroes have found themselves in was once a magical realm that has since been taken over by a fascist, scientific society. The somewhat lengthy history lesson about Timothy Hunter’s ancient mystical ancestor reveals a lot about how things came to be in this world known as Epoch, how men became jealous over their inability to wield magic, and how that led to a campaign to exterminate all magic from their world. Lemire is doing a absolutely amazing job at mixing traditional fantasy tropes with high concept superhero drama, and it shows in the way he seamlessly juxtaposes the mystical concept of the series against a world where magic is considered the ultimate heresy.

Mikel Janin’s artwork is beautiful as ever. While many of the characters featured in Justice League Dark are featured in other titles, they seem to always look the best when Janin is as the table (except for maybe Bernard Chang’s Madame Xanadu in Demon Knights). Especially John Constantine, whose facial expression perfectly match his confused and frustrated feelings over losing his silver tongue.

Justice League Dark #16 is another excellent chapter in “The Death of Magic” and the series in general. Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes have such a knack for fantasy writing it’s uncanny. There are so many different elements that affect the story at any given time, and each of them is handled with care and precision to create one of the most entertaining and fun books DC currently publishes.

GRADE
8.5/10
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