Happy New Year, folks. Time to kick off a new year of reviews with one of my favorite new series of last year: Justice Leauge Dark. The fourth issue continues the first story arc. Let’s see how far along it gets us.
I’m going to be honest here: Justice League Dark is getting progressively more difficult for me to review from issue to issue. It just happens to be consistently exceptional. At the risk of sounding redundant, JLD #4 continues the trend. The art is fantastic and the story is well-paced. For the fist time, coverage is spread evenly among the would-be magical teammates. This means that instead of giving particular time to getting one character to where he or she needs to be, we are finally starting to see all the members come together to form a group.
Despite this being the first issue to see the characters starting to converge, the script is still super effective in displaying their independence from one another. Shade, the Changing Man, still guided by the advice of Madame Xanadu, is the only one actively trying to assemble a team. After some hiccups with the unstable Mindwarp, he’s working on bringing others to him and, surprisingly enough, finally succeeds.
Zatanna, as always, is trying to take everything upon herself and looks for an end to the conflict. I will admit that I would like to see a bit more of the clever and playful Zatanna, but I can appreciate that there is more than one side to the character. She can be extremely serious when she needs to be and this is definitely a serious situation that she finds herself in this issue. Her portrayal does not feel forced to me and that’s what is important.
John Constantine is looking for answers. Again, I feel like this character is played very true to his roots here as he seems far more interested in finding out what is going on and who can tell him. Whether he thinks a solution can be found or whether he just wants to know who to be pissed off at, I do not know. Constantine is the detective of the group though, which is very well displayed here. There’s a bit with him eating a can of beans that looks almost exactly like a page from Watchmen, with John as Rorschach. Of course, Constantine is also a bastard and we get to see that side of him too.
Finally, Deadman is playing the knight and doing his best to protect the cast-off aspect of Enchantress, June Moone. It’s clear that June is the key to stopping the insane Enchantress, but by the book’s end, it looks like Deadman may have to give up his personal quest to save her in order to team up with the other arcane-inclined heroes.
Justice League Dark #4 is great. I don’t know what else I can say in praise of this series. Maybe I’m getting spoiled though. While this is a fantastic book with some gorgeously terrifying images and decent character development, there is not a ton new this time. We are finally starting to see the team pull together and reveal some of the secrets going on, but there is a sense of holding back, stalling almost, until the time is right. Either way, I really enjoyed this issue and, whenever everything feels like coming together, I’ll be excited to see what it looks like.