Dancing naked Amazon witches, all access to the Tower of Fate, and plant retirement all in this week’s JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK as James Tynion IV introduces Doctor Fate into the story and gives readers a look at the possible big bad of the story. Let’s plunge in!
WRITTEN BY: James Tynion IV
PENCILS BY: Alvaro Martinez Bueno
INKS: Raul Fernandez
COLORS: Brad Anderson
LETTERS: Rob Leigh
WARNING SPOILERS AHEAD!!!
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK SPOILERS TOO!
To see what happened the last issue, click on the writer’s name below.
After defeating the magical zombie-like creatures inside the Hall of Justice’s basement, Wonder Woman and the rest of her Justice League team head to the Tower of Fate to get answers from the resident Doctor of the Mystical Arts. While Diana, Zatanna, Detective Chimp, and Man-Bat enter the Tower, Swamp Thing goes to the Tree of Wonder to chat with Constantine about retirement.
Doctor Fate talks to Wonder Woman and Zatanna privately about the current magical disruptions while Bobo and Kirk explore the Tower. However, the Justice League Dark team discover that Nabu is actually in control of the helmet and both Kent and Khalid (past owners of the helmet of Fate) are trapped, imprisoned, and not in control. It turns out, Nabu wanted to end magic entirely and opened the door to the Upside Down. Sound familiar? (cough, cough, STRANGER THINGS)
I’m still confused as to why magic is out of whack and how magic originated in our world. Some readers, myself included, need to be guided through a story with the more ambiguous sections of material, especially when its the foundation of the plot moving forward. If I deciphered Tynion correctly, early man unearthed magic and tried to harness its raw power. However, they were not capable of controlling the potency and vigor surrounding it. So, early man bound these newfound magical powers to artifacts, words, and wands. Sound right?
However, where did that power come from? Did man just find it or did man create it from scratch? How did early man learn about magic? How did they harness its power in the first place or realize the need for artifacts? This is something critical that the story’s successfulness hinges on for the future of the series.
Technically, Tynion has the opportunity to set magic in order for the entire DCU henceforth. Tynion quickly glazed over this idea, and it needs a deeper understanding before readers become lost. This is Tynion’s opportunity to remake and mold this part of the DCU. Please don’t mess this up and please take the time to hold the reader’s hands through the heavy, dense, nature of the magical realm and ideals. Now, maybe Tynion will dive deeper into it in future issues, or perhaps it will be left open-ended, but if he explains this correctly soon, the book could be truly magnificent for many years to come with endless storylines and possibilities.
Is it possible to get a summary page? This is something Marvel has done for a long time now, and Brian Michael Bendis has even brought with him to DC in books like SUPERMAN and ACTION COMICS. If Tynion used a summary page in JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK, he could clear up some of the heavy backstory and any confusions that readers may have to this point with the plot of the story and direction it’s going. This way, Tynion could still be creative with his storytelling and fix any bewilderment or perplexity readers have throughout the book. I genuinely wish many DC creative teams ventured down this path and took a ”page” out of the Marvel and Bendis’ book.
Overall, Alvaro Martinez Bueno and Raul Fernandez’ art are solid and impressive. The illustrations are detailed and engaging while Brad Anderson’s colors are intensely vivid amassing a dark overtone that blends perfectly with the theme of the story. Rob Leigh’s lettering adds the perfect icing on the cake to impeccably guide the reader through each panel masterfully.
However, I only had one minor artistic problem. When the witches were dancing at the beginning of the story, I couldn’t tell if it was one woman somehow connected with three heads and arms or if it was three women dancing close together. Later, the dialogue made it seem like the women merged. However, a page later has the women dancing separately. To open an issue, these pages threw me out of the story making it difficult to get back into the rhythm of the comic. Rereading the issue, I understood what was happening with more clarity. However, how many readers take the time to reread an issue for clarity?
Should you buy this issue and/or add it to your pull list?
Yes! Altogether, this issue moved the story forward, incorporated fantastically thorough art, especially of Swamp Thing, and could very well take the magical world of DC Comics in a supernaturally majestic direction. The Justice League Dark team hasn’t worked too well together yet but hopefully, this team will gain some roots, and blossom into the ”Tree of Wonder” I feel it has the potential to be.
Pick this issue up and add this series to your pull list for now. As long as Tynion takes the time to explain the origin of magic, as well as the Tree of Wonder, and why magic is all out of whack, readers will be mesmerized by this series, and it’s potential.