Justice League Dark #16 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Fernando Blanco, Artist; Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Penciller; Raul Fernandez, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Less a traditional superhero comic than a spookhouse horror show with superheroes, Justice League Dark #16 continues the series’ tradition of being the most consistently excellent team book in DC’s stable.
While splitting up a team can be a tricky proposition, here it works particularly well because of the horror theme – after all, what jacks up the fear more than isolating the protagonists?
Last issue left the team in dire straits, as more than one member was transformed in horrible ways and one of the darkest forces in the DCU’s history was close to release. That would be Eclipso, still trapped inside his diamond but seeking a way out. The opening segment, where Zatanna and Kent Nelson battle the eldritch beast who can undo her spells, is one of the creepiest of the issue and is the most effective use of Eclipso in years. The art team is especially effective and creating environments that really feel like they don’t belong in this world, adding to the tension of the human heroes battling supernatural beasts.
Speaking of supernatural beasts, things took a bad turn for Man-Bat last issue, with the Upside Down Man driving Kirk Langstrom to infect himself with a twisted formula and turn himself into a monstrous mass of mouths and claws. The creature he’s become isn’t quite as horrifying as it was in that one panel from last issue, but as it pursues the oddball team of Detective Chimp and Khalid through the headquarters. It doesn’t help that they have to tote around the dissolved mass that was once Swamp Thing.
Wonder Woman’s segment, meanwhile, doesn’t pack the same terrifying punch of those stories, but pits her against Circe in a tense battle for control of Hecate’s former powers. The reinvention of Circe as a cosmic-level villain in this run has worked really well, elevating her from an occasional Wonder Woman foe into someone who threatens the entire magical balance of the DCU. Add in some wild card players like Constantine, who can never be fully trusted, and this remains a compelling run that never slows down.
To find reviews of all the DC issues, visit DC This Week.
Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.