Justice League Dark #35 (Comics Review)

After the end of the 2-parter arc in late summer that focused on Deadman’s past, last month we got to see a future vision of the Justice League Dark, a future in which The Demon has joined the team and Zatanna is fighting some of the biggest battles of her life. It was a fairly good issue, but it didn’t really satiate my desire to read more of the JLD in the present DC timeline, since the current team dynamics are really excellent and writer J. M. DeMatteis has been dong some great work on the series, focusing on particular characters every few issues, and the art has never been better either.

In this week’s Justice League Dark #35, J. M. DeMatteis presents a story where Zatanna and Constantine have cast a really powerful spell that has torn the fabric of reality and sent the entire team hurtling through the multiverse. Separated from the others, Zatanna ends up on a world unlike any she has seen with monsters unlike any other either. And she meets someone completely unexpected, setting off a great story that explores Zatanna’s past and provides some great emotional moments. Tom Derenick and Scott Hanna are the guest artists on this issue along with Chris Sotomayor and they absolutely knock things out of the park.

The events that lead up to the story of this issue are told in next week’s Justice League Dark Annual #2, which is kind of frustrating in a way since I really want to know what led them all to this. The opening here is rather abrupt, but thankfully DeMatteis takes the reader past that initial hurdle and launches straight into the story, which is almost entirely focused on Zatanna and a confrontation between her and a defining element of her past: her father Zatara, one of the greatest magicians to have ever lived.

Seeing Giovanni Zatara in the pages of Justice League Dark #35 was a real surprise for me. He has been mentioned only in passing up until now, mostly in the first couple arcs of the title, and DeMatteis seems to have a great handle on the character. I’ve never encountered Zatara in comics before but I’ve certainly read a lot about him through various characters, so getting to see the man in the flesh, as it were, was something of an experience.

Given the nature of the world in the multiverse that Zatanna ends up on, the presence of Zatara is a major plot point, and through him DeMatteis explores something that we haven’t seen on Justice League Dark as yet, the dynamic between a father and a daughter. When the two of them eventually go up against the bad guys, they do so as a team and that’s a really good moment. Very positive, very thrilling, very exciting. If there was anything negative about it, it was that Zatara charges up with the cry of “Zatara and Daughter, Masters of Magic”, which was odd since it didn’t make sense for him to not mention his daughter’s name.

But other than that, this was a great metaphor overall, and very symbolic as well. Stories like these certainly have a big place in the title, and given that DeMatteis often explores the supernatural weird and often goes full-on grandiose with it, I want to see more stories like this in the future. Characters like Black Orchid and Nightmare Nurse are still a mystery to us, even though we saw a little bit of Asa a few issues back.

I just want to see more. DeMatteis has finally settled in good and proper on he series, almost a year now since he took over from Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, and he is amazingly consistent.

Tom Derenick is the guest penciller on this issue, with Scott Hanna as guest inker, while colourist Chris Sotomayor is back with letterers Taylor Esposito and Dezi Sienty. There are lots of interesting monsters in this issue and the artists do a great job with each of them. And given all the magic special effects that happen here, things are even that much more interesting. Huge range of colours mean that the artwork is really lively and you couldn’t ask for more, truly.

An excellent new arc that I can’t wait to see more of.

Rating: 9/10

More Justice League DarkVol.1, Vol.2, Vol.3, #22-23, #24, #25, #26, #27, #30, #31, #32, #33-34.

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Posted on October 25, 2014, in Comics Reviews, Review Central and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 4 Comments.

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