Justice League Dark #33-34 (Comics Review)
Next month, almost all of DC’s titles are going to jump forward five years from their present timelines, to bring them to parity with the on-going Future’s End weekly series. It is going to be an interesting month, though I can’t help but groan at the massive time-jump, and part of that interest is what is going to happen to characters and titles that I love, such as Justice League Dark. Since the end of Trinity War last year, the title has really stepped up to become one of my favourite titles with the JLD crew being among my favourite titles. J.M. DeMatteis has shepherded the supernatural Justice League quite nicely in the last year, and the recent issues bear that out.
Boston Brand aka Deadman has kind of operated on the fringes of the Justice League Dark since he joined up back in 2011. Most of the stories told so far have focused on the other members and he didn’t really get a chance to shine until quite recently with the Forever Evil: Blight story arc that saw him possess the Sea-King from Earth-3. With Justice League Dark #33 and #34 however, DeMatteis has changed that around and even delved into Boston’s history and his time at Nanda Parbat. As ever with the writer, the story is well-told and artist Andrew Guinaldo has finally settled into the title as well.
These two issues tell the tale of how Boston Brand tries to return to Nanda Parbat, following a mind-break episode that threatens his existence as a ghost. True to form, the Justice League Dark chips in to help him make that happen, with Constantine, Zatanna and Asa casting a powerful spell that backfires on them. From there, it is a matter of investigations and observations, because getting back to Nanda Parbat is not as easy as it seemed.
Here, DeMatteis tells the story of a dead man who longs for some piece and quiet in his life, who wants to live a more normal life than he has right now, who is dissatisfied with his existence. That Deadman has friends within the team, Zatanna, Asa and Swamp Thing among them, it gives him some peace of sorts because they make his current existence worth living. But he longs for more. DeMatteis’ characterization of Deadman is at his best in this story arc and the fact that we get to see his relationship with both Nanda Parbat and his teacher Brahma Dass only add to the overall attraction of the story.
To be honest, the best thing about this arc is that it gives Boston Brand something to do. Usually he is reduced to possessing someone and winning the day for the team, but now we see him do more than that. Especially after the cliffhanger of #33 and which continues more than halfway through the next issue. With this arc, DeMatteis answers the question of how Deadman can contribute to the team without possessing someone, without his “gimmick”/special powers. Quite fascinating I assure you.
Of course, the arc isn’t wholly focused on Deadman, because we do get to see what the rest of the team is up to as well. While Deadman goes off on his own in the middle of the first issue, the team ends up following him and ends up getting caught in the deception being played on Deadman, after which there really is a big showdown at hand. The enemy that the team faces in this issue is something quite powerful and almost out of their league as well, something the likes of which they haven’t faced ever.
Andres Guinaldo is the penciller for both issues while Chris Sotomayor does the colours and Walden Wong does the inks (on #34 he is joined by Raul Fernandez), with Travis Lanham on letters for the first issue and Rob Leigh on the second. And as usual, Mikel Janin does the covers, and he is fantastic with both of them. The team of DeMatteis and Guinaldo is really beginning to gel together by now and this arc is proof of that. All the fantasy elements that DeMatteis works in are rendered really nicely by Guinaldo with some great definitive ink- and colour-work by the other artists. The art is definitely one of the many reasons to read this arc.
Highly recommended reading as usual.
Posted on August 31, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged Alice Winter, Andres Guinaldo, Asa, Black Magic, Boston Brand, Chris Sotomayor, Comics, Comics Review, DC Comics, Deadman, Fantasy, Female Protagonists, Female Superheroes, Forever Evil, Forever Evil: Blight, Ghosts, Horror, House of Mystery, J.M. DeMatteis, John Constantine, Justice League, Justice League Dark, magic, Mikel Janin, Mythology, Nanda Parbat, New 52, Nightmare Nurse, Raul Fernandez, Review, Review Central, Rob Leigh, Supernatural, Supernatural Fantasy, Swamp Thing, Thaumaton, Thriller, Travis Lanham, Urban Fantasy, Walden Wong, Zatanna. Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.