Justice League Dark #24 by J. M. DeMatteis (Comics Review)

Justice League Dark is a title that I had no interest in until quite recently, when DC announced its Trinity War event. I was already reading the other two JL titles and since this was going to be a short event, I was really enthused about finally picking up the the third title as well, just so I was current on all the characters and what brought the JLD team together. It proved to be a somewhat mixed experience, given all the creative changes on the book, but Trinity War proved to be rather excellent.

With that event ended, we are now in the Forever Evil phase and we finally get an issue with the characters of the book in focus. Or rather one of them that is, John Constantine, confidence man and magician extraordinaire. And that’s not all of course, since with this issue the fourth Forever Evil tie-in begins, Blight, and this one doesn’t have its own mini-series, but is a large tale across four different titles. So this issue had a lot to live up to with new writer J. M. DeMatteis, and delivers aplenty.

Justice League Dark 24To be brutally honest, I dislike that John Constantine has been the point man in this title, especially since he has his own solo title. In the previous issues, this has caused some missed opportunities for character development where Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, and the others have been concerned. But, the stories were mostly good so it didn’t matter as much. Even with this issue, I don’t like the fact that of all the people, only Constantine has seemingly survived the Crime Syndicate’s attack. I’d have loved to see Zatanna in a central role here. But, as before, the story was good.

Actually, that’s not right. The story was excellent. J. M. DeMatteis begins his run on Justice League Dark with an absolutely cracking issue that delves into Constantine’s character really deeply, with lots of development throughout. We also learn a lot about his relationship with the House of Mystery, the seemingly sentient magical house that Constantine calls home and the Justice League Dark counts as a safe haven of sorts. This was one of the great things about this issue. I’ve recently started reading DeMatteis’ run on Phantom Stranger, as part of my Trinity War reading, and he’s been doing a damn good job with the last three issues. He repeats that success and excellent work with Constantine in this issue. The way everything is handled, the series is in good hands with the departure of Jeff Lemire.

Another thing that was really aces here was how DeMatteis deals with the birth and nature of evil in Earth One. The Crime Syndicate has brought the evil of Earth 3 with it to Earth One and the Forever Evil: Blight storyline is going to deal with that evil, as an entity manifested in the being known as Blight. A lot of this issue is taken up with Constantine getting a crash course in the true nature of evil, learning how futile his existence is.

Or so he is meant to think. There’s a kicker of a twist later on in the issue, towards the end, and DeMatteis brings over a really fun character, someone that he has written before in the pages of Phantom Stranger. It creates a lot of interesting possibilities for how the story is going to move forward, and plays up really well with the supernatural and mystical nature of this book. So thematically, DeMatteis is off to a sprinting start already!

The art in this issue is by Mikel Janin, colourist Jeromy Cox, and letterer Rob Leigh. Janin has been a terrific artist for his entire run on Justice League Dark thus far and he continues the great work he’s been doing on the series. His Constantine is superb, with a hell of a range of diverse facial expressions and body language. But that’s not all. This is a team-book and Janin (and DeMatteis) brings out the entire JLD team at one point to show prevalent evil is in the world and how devastating it can be as a manifested ending. Cox’s colours, as always, are equally superb, giving the issue a really nice and soft feel, despite all the heavy stuff that is going on. Definitely one of the best issues of this week so far!

I was already a fan of DeMatteis and with this issue he’s given me even more reasons to think he is one of the best. Not to mention, now I definitely want to read the entirety of his run on Phantom Stranger. That’s what a good comic should be all about, and DeMatteis and Co are right on top of that.

Rating: 9.5/10

More Justice League Dark: Volume 1, Volume 2, Volume 3, #22-23.

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Posted on October 24, 2013, in Comics Reviews, General, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.

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