Justice League Dark #20 – Ram V, James Tynion IV, Writers; Kyle Hotz, Artist; FCO Plascencia, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Ray: Ram V has jumped on to join James Tynion IV on this title, and it barely loses a step in Justice League Dark #20. If anything, the story jumps full-on into the horror themes of this run, and it works very well for a first issue.
There’s no time to breathe, as a mysterious fungi plague starts infecting people in deeply disturbing visuals by Kyle Hotz. People grow mushrooms on their head, infect anyone they come near, climb to the top of buildings and explode their heads, infecting everyone in the vicinity. This quickly turns into a World War Z type scenario, with the heroes up against a growing army of mushroom-zombies. Animal Man, the guardian of the Red, shows up to give an assist – but it’s clear not even he’s immune from the plague. It soon becomes obvious that this isn’t an isolated incident, and the various kingdoms are going to war in the aftermath of the rules of magic being rewritten.
The Justice League Dark is a skeleton crew right now, with Swamp Thing and Man-Bat out of commission and a new Doctor Fate still trying to build a new rapport with Nabu. A desperate gambit is formed to collect the avatars of the kingdoms for a summit, but there are more than a few problems with that. For one, Abigail Arcane is missing – appearing only in a brilliant one-page segment that shows her in a strange, creepy world cast in black and white. Second, the current avatar of the Green is the unstable Jason Woodrue, currently in the Justice League’s custody.
While Zatanna is determined not to give Woodrue what he wants for a deal, Constantine is less certain and another betrayal might be right around the corner. The writing is strong as always, but it’s Kyle Hotz’s disturbing art – it reminds me a lot of the chilling visuals of Kelley Jones with a bit more realism – that really steals the show in this first issue.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.