Review – Justice League Dark #11: My Dinner with Mordru

Comic Books DC This Week
Justice League Dark #11 variant cover, via DC Comics.

Justice League Dark #11 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Penciller; Raul Fernandez, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist


Ray – 9/10

Corrina: Arrogance, He is Mordru

Ray: Justice League Dark continues to pack more suspense and horror into one issue than many event comics do in an entire run, and that doesn’t stop with this tense “breather” issue, Justice League Dark #11, taking place after the escape from the new Lords of Order. When we last left off, the refugees of Myrra were given an ultimatum – surrender all their magic and their memories of it or be destroyed. While the heroes debate this impossible choice, Wonder Woman and Zatanna go to find the evil sorcerer Mordru – because to beat a lord of Order, you might need a lord of Chaos. Swamp Thing, Bobo, and an aging Jason Blood seek refuge in the haven of the Homo Magi, the ancient first magic users, but it’s not long before things go horribly wrong. The Myrra refugees start to disappear, their fabric unraveling with the death of their kingdom. Bobo finds his sword no longer holds any power – and when Blue Devil tries to fight the Lords of Order, he’s quickly turned to stone in the issue’s most dramatic scene.

I wasn’t quite as fond of the Mordru scene, although it does begin very well as Zatanna and Diana find his lair hidden in the Hall of Justice of all places. That gives a good idea of just how powerful this villain is – he can hide under the noses of the world’s most powerful heroes until he wishes to be discovered. He makes for a compelling foe, having a longer streak of tormenting the world than almost any other. The scene where he abuses Diana and Zatanna goes on a little too long for my tastes and didn’t seem to have any real purpose besides showing how cruel he is – some of the images of the body horror he inflicts on Zatanna are pretty grotesque, and it all seems a shell game because he intends to help them anyway. The end of Justice League Dark #11 debuts a dramatic transformation that sets up a final battle as thrilling as the “Witching Hour” crossover that kicked this runoff. The stakes here are big enough that few comics can match this level of tension.

Justice League Dark #11 page
An impossible choice. Via DC Comics.

Corrina: Lo these many years ago, in the days of my early comic reading, I picked up a giant-size reprint of the Legion of Super-Heroes featuring Mordru as the villain. The dark sorcerer was after several Legionnaires, including Shadow Lass, who had come back into the past to escape him. This was a reprint of one of Mordru’s Silver Age Legion of Super-Hero stories.

Why do I mention this? Because there was a hint of sexual menace in that story hanging over Shadow Lass (or so I thought at the time) and I flashed to that long-ago tale as I was reading Zatanna and Wonder Woman’s scenes with Mordru. We get it, all-powerful chaos. Yet Mordru’s evil is different, more direct, than Circe’s, more arrogant, and, yes, more sexually threatening.  He’s always had a giant ego (along to go with his sometimes Giant Size) and he makes for a great addition to this title as an antagonist.

The fate of Myrra was heart-breaking. I hold out some hope for Blue Devil and the rest but given how bleak this series can sometimes be, it’s not a great hope. The artwork as the people vanish is chilling, as is the full-page spread of Blue Devil’s transformation into a statue.

Damn, I hope order and chaos aren’t the only choices for our heroes.

To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.

Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.

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