Justice League Dark #2 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Penciller; Raul Fernandez, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 10/10
Ray: Last issue’s debut of Justice League Dark introduced us to a fascinating oddball team of characters taking on a massive magical threat, and I immediately said it had the potential to become one of DC’s best books. With Justice League Dark #2, it’s clear I was wrong – it already is one of DC’s best books, an epic horror story with some of DC’s best art and most suspenseful plotting. The issue opens with a great horror segment flashing back to Wonder Woman’s childhood, as a young Diana disobeys her mother and observes a secret ritual of Themysciran witches – discovering a horrific ritual of body horror that leads to her being captured and branded. What has Diana been carrying with her all these years? I have a feeling it’s going to play a big role here. But there’s no time for childhood reflections, as in the present day the just-formed team is battling against an army of magical-powered zombies. They win the day thanks to Man-Bat, but tensions are rising between Diana and Zatanna as the truth of what’s happening to magic continues to unfold. Needing answers, the team decides to head to the source of some of the greatest magic power on Earth.
That would be the Tower of Fate, where Kent Nelson has been keeping Nabu’s power under control for generations with the help of his new apprentice Khalid. However, with magic spiraling out of control, Zatanna and Diana decide that they need to confer with Nabu directly. What unfolds at the tower is one of the best segments in a DC comic I’ve read in some time. The cast is split into three segments, and each one has a role to play. Swamp Thing stands guard at the tower, and Constantine makes another unexpected appearance – revealing that Alec Holland is planning to abdicate his role and ascend to the Parliament of Trees, passing on his power. Detective Chimp and Kirk Langstrom explore the confusing tower and accidentally break a vase – and briefly unleash Khalid, who has been held captive by the person really in charge of the Tower of Fate, Nabu. Diana and Zatanna face off against the wizard, who has his own plans for the future of magic, and the issue ends with a brilliantly disturbing visual that has me already anticipating the next issue. This story is a master class in tension and worldbuilding, and is already one of the high points of Tynion and Martinez Bueno’s careers.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.