Oh no, say it isn’t so, Justice League Dark. Not that. Anything, but a transition issue! Sadly, it’s true. This most recent book in the fantastic series serves as a transition between the end of the initial story arc and the start of the new crossover with I, Vampire. Is this book still worth picking up or is it just too much filler?
I am just going to come out and say what is going to end up being reflected in the review score: This is the worst issue of Justice League Dark, to date. That’s not to say this is a bad book. The worst issue of this series is still a lot better than plenty of other books out there. Unfortunately, this book really seemed focused on the task of supplying exposition for the team finally forming and linking the events of the two story lines. In meeting these goals, the issue is triumphant, but, by virtue of those goals, that means it’s lacking a few things. Mainly, an interesting story of its own.
At the end of the last issue, two very important things were made clear. The first was that the team had defeated Enchantress and that crisis was over. The second was that all of these characters hate one another and they will never willingly team up. Well, get ready for a comical shrug and a “wah-wah,” because guess who needs to team up?
Since the end of the previous book, all the character have gone their separate ways and are back to their old lives. Except they keep having nightmares, featuring their would-be teammates. Each one shows up at Madame Xanadu’s looking for a cure and she basically just repeats over and over again that they have to be a team. Everyone repeats over and over again that they hate one another and would make a horrible team. At the end, it looks like they are going to have to be a team to fight cross-over vampires. A monster is thrown in at one point, just so there’s a little action, but the fight is over with a splash page and then everyone gets back to bickering.
Mikel Janin’s art is still fantastic. There are some very cool scenes that portray the nightmares everyone is having. Again though, these are all just used to reintroduce the characters, so the story side of things ends up being pretty lame. Even so, we have detailed backgrounds, some gorgeous effects, and the characters are as well drawn as ever.
That is really the only other thing that saves this book. The characters are not just well drawn with pen and ink, but they are generally well drawn characters. Constantine and Zatanna are still some of my favorites in the DCU and Deadman and Shade are just as unique and interesting. Even when they are doing almost nothing, it is still pretty cool just to have them interacting with one another. They are portrayed well enough here, each with their own distinguishable voice. It just would have been a hell of a lot more satisfying if they were interacting with one another and casting spells against an army of demons or something.
I love the Justice League Dark series, so far. I thought this book was okay. It is by no means bad, but it just comes off as being unnecessary. If you know who these characters are and you know the circumstances that put them here, then I am really tempted to suggest skipping it. If you pick this issue to come in fresh to the series though, it is definitely not a bad starting point. Let’s just hope it picks back up with the next two issues and sees author Peter Milligan out on a high note.