Review – Justice League Dark #1: Magic Goes Rogue

Comic Books DC This Week
Justice League Dark #1 cover, credit to DC Comics,

Justice League Dark #1 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Penciller; Raul Fernandez, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist

Ray – 9/10

Ray: Coming on the heels of Justice League: No Justice, this spinoff promises to delve into the mystery of what the Tree of Wonder has done to magic in the DC Universe. Its roots, though, go back to another Tynion project. Both the artist and the lead character – Zatanna – make this feel a lot like a spinoff of the excellent Zatanna arc from Tynion’s Detective Comics run, and there are a lot of callbacks to Tynion’s work on Gotham. Visually, this book is easily Alvaro Martinez Bueno’s breakout moment, as he gets to show off exactly what he can do from the opening segment. Zatanna is hosting a magic show when suddenly her spells start going horribly wrong. It’s only due to the intervention of Wonder Woman that her audience survives – but Zatanna is still resistant to joining the mystical task force that Diana is putting together. They’re not the only players with their eye on magic, as Baron Winters is hosting a get-together of the most powerful magicians in the world – but not Constantine, who’s an outcast in the community, but gets a very strong scene where he meets with Zatanna before she heads into the conclave.

To save magic, Wonder Woman needs…Detective Chimp? Credit to DC Comics.

There are a lot of players here, but my favorite has to be Detective Chimp, who is not dealing well with the responsibility of being the new Nightmaster. Also loved seeing Traci 13 as bartender! Diana’s been recruiting allies for a while, and the most unexpected has got to be Kirk Langstrom, now stuck halfway between man and Man-Bat but retaining his scientist’s mind. Tynion obviously likes to write sad-sack former Batman villains seeking to turn their mutation into a force for good, but hey – he’s really good at it. There’s a lot of humor in the early going, but when this book gets going, it plunges the reader into a full-fledged horror show. The weird reanimated corpses that the heroes encounter late in the book are less zombies and more something straight out of John Carpenter’s The Thing. The addition of Swamp Thing, as a major player who knows more about the state of magic than he’s letting on, is the perfect last bit needed to make this a team that I am highly excited to follow. Although Tynion is going to be missed on Detective Comics, this feels like a new hit for DC in the making.

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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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