Justice League Dark #23 – Ram V, James Tynion IV, Writers; Kyle Hotz, Artist; June Chung, Colorist
Ray – 9.5/10
Ray: James Tynion IV had to leave this title a little early due to his massive new gig on Batman, so Ram V began his run early on script. We’ll see how he does when he goes solo, but this first arc hasn’t missed a beat on one of the DCU’s best titles. Bringing in horror-styled artist Kyle Hotz – who reminds me a little of a less-stylized Kelley Jones – was a great choice for an arc dealing heavily with surreal, nightmarish beings straight out of the Rot. The ongoing subplot of the Parliaments and their war has been a great backdrop for a huge-scale storyline, and with Swamp Thing missing, the Justice League Dark is forced to attempt a desperate gambit with the help of Abigail Arcane. One interesting thing about this team is that it pairs straightforward heroes like Wonder Woman with characters who are anything but, like the duplicitous John Constantine who returns to his Vertigo roots this issue.
Kyle Hotz’ art is the highlight of this issue, as he gets to draw some of the strangest beings in the DCU including Anton Arcane, Floronic Man, and the Upside-Down Man (who makes a surprise reappearance, and is as horrific as ever). But the real tension comes in a great scene of crosses and double-crosses as the various Parliaments parley and some characters make massive sacrifices to restore the balance – until Constantine reveals his true gambit. By the end of the issue, one major part of the League is restored, while another may be shattered beyond repair. The stakes are nothing less than the structure that keeps all life in balance, and there are many unanswered questions by the end of the issue. Ram V takes the reins in full next issue, with a strong legacy to live up to. If this arc is any indication, he’s more than up to the task of keeping this title strong.
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GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.