Justice League Dark #19 – James Tynion IV, Writer; Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Penciller; Raul Fernandez, Inker; Brad Anderson, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: James Tynion wraps his solo run with Justice League Dark #19 in an explosive finale that works as an event comic in itself – with several major players getting power-ups and characters forced to make massive sacrifices to save magic.
There’s a great framing device featuring Diana sitting down with Kirk Langstrom to give her perspective on the meaning of magic for the paper he’s writing on the scientific underpinnings of sorcery, and it works as a way for the characters to decompress after the insane trauma conga of this run. But that almost sedate epilogue is bookending a final battle that unites the series’ entire rogues’ gallery for one last assault. Last issue reintroduced the legendary dragon Drakul Karfang, one of the deepest cuts into DC lore I can remember, and as the issue opens, the still-standing members of the team are massively outmatched with Diana under Circe’s control.
Alvaro Martinez Bueno, who has drawn more than half the issues on this run, has one of his finest hours with Justice League Dark #19 as he gets to draw the biggest-scale battle of the run. Diana gets some upgrades with massive implications and Khalid gets his mantle back in a moment that distinctly pleased me as a fan of the underrated DC You-era Doctor Fate run by Levitz and Liew. But the best moment of this series is a more quiet one, between Diana and Circe in a space between worlds.
I was a little critical last week that the Circe in Wonder Woman #750 and the one in this title didn’t really match up, but this issue squares that nicely. There are still a lot of dangling plot threads at the end, including Swamp Thing’s fate, but Tynion is still consulting on story as Ram V takes over as writer. Ram V wrote the excellently creepy Floronic Man annual last year, so this title should be in good hands.
But any new run will have a lot to live up to after these spectacular nineteen issues.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.