Justice League Dark #6 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Daniel Sampere, Penciller; Juan Albarran, Inker; Adrian Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 10/10
Corrina: Bobo Breaks Your Heart
Ray: I don’t know that there’s ever been a comic book that’s better at capturing the “Every issue is an event” feel than Justice League Dark. While the first arc was clearly inspired by surreal horror, this second arc has taken a larger-scale high-fantasy approach to spectacular effect. When we last left off, the Justice League Dark had returned to the land of Myrra to find that Nightmaster’s land had fallen into supernatural disarray and Blue Devil wanted to kill Detective Chimp. It turns out that Bobo, through a combination of laziness and grief over Nightmaster’s death, broke the rules of death in the world and then absconded, leaving Blue Devil to rule over the collapsing Myrra. This issue is a fascinating combination of spectacular magical action and great human moments, as both Bobo and Dan are given scenes where they get to share just how much this has taken out of them. It’s rare to see a conflict portrayed this evenly – anything with “Civil War” in the title could take some notes.
But as if that’s not enough of a conflict for the issue, there’s a much bigger battle going on at the same time. That would be Phantom Stranger vs. Nabu. As revealed in the first issue of this series, the sorcerer Nabu has taken control of the full power of the helmet of Fate, and he’s powerful enough to even overwhelm one of the strongest magical elementals in the world. Daniel Sampere’s art here is shockingly good, continuing to establish him as one of the best new artists in the DC stables. But it’s John Constantine who really steals the show here with a sacrifice that reminds us of just how good Tynion’s take on the character was in his short-lived solo series. Every issue packs enough action in it for a full arc, but somehow it doesn’t overwhelm just how good Tynion is at the quiet moments. His Detective Comics was fantastic, but this fuses the best of that run with the best of Tynion’s weirder works. It’s arguably the best ongoing in DC’s stable at the moment.
Corrina: Yes, one of the best and most poignant DC stories of the year stars the long-forgotten Blue Devil and Detective Chimp.
If you had told me before this series that I would become fascinated by Detective Chimp, that he’d be the center of one of my favorite issues of the year, I would not have believed you. Not because I don’t trust the creative team but because (I thought) there’s only so much you can do with Bobo.
Nope. Turns out you can do so much with Bobo. Take his sense of isolation because he’s an evolved chimp and never human, add in his devastation at the loss of his only friends, and then the slaughter taking place in his favorite bar, and you have a multi-layered character who (let’s face it) needs a hug. Or a two-by-four upside the head, the latter because he ran away from a problem instead of solving it. His grief is understandable. His inability to confront it was a big mistake.
Oh, and there’s Constantine too, being noble, even though he hates it, and now I look forward to the Phantom Stranger/Constantine team-up inside the Helmet of Fate. That’s coming, yes? I sure hope so!
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.