Justice League Dark #13 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Mark Buckingham, Daniel Sampere, Pencillers; Mick Gray, Juan Albarran, Inkers; Adriano Lucas, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: The aftermath of the Chaos-Order War brings a lot of questions now that the Justice League Dark has literally broken magic, and Justice League Dark #13, a breather issue,tackles the biggest question – what to do with Doctor Fate and his near-unimaginable power? Nabu is now locked inside the helmet, waiting for a suitable bearer to harness his power for good.
Wonder Woman wants longtime bearer Kent Nelson to take on the helmet again, but Kent is hesitant – and a brilliant flashback segment drawn by Fables artist Mark Buckingham shows why. A rare look at the origins of Kent Nelson shows how Nabu essentially drove a man mad in search of the helmet, so he would bring his son on the search for it. He then tricked the young Kent into accidentally killing his father and freeing Nabu, then putting on the helmet and being transformed from a boy to an adult. It’s all told in bright, fantasy-accented art, but it’s easily one of the creepiest segments I’ve read in a while and it’s not hard to see why both Kent and Khalid want nothing to do with the helmet again.
The second story is no less brutal, but in a very different way. It’s the first face-off between Zatanna and Constantine since it was revealed that Constantine was in on Zatara’s plot to keep the truth from Zatanna and was involved in the night Zatara died. Zatanna feels betrayed, while John feels like he was nothing but a pawn in the plans of a powerful man who used them both. They go back and forth shouting hurtful things at each other, and a flashback to John’s most painful moment makes clear just how much he resents the decisions he was forced into.
There’s no easy resolutions here, and the two are barely able to make a temporary truce to go after Zatara’s soul. I don’t necessarily like the developments here, but there’s no question they’re written exceptionally. It seems like this is the likely prelude to getting Constantine out of this title and over in his new Sandman Universe title, but there’s still one last story to be told before he goes.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.