Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Alvaro Martinez Bueno (pencils), Raul Fernandez (inks)
Colours: Brad Anderson
Lettering: Rob Leigh
Release Date: 13th February 2019
You know what Justice League Dark is like? It’s like watching a horror film where everyone keeps bloody dying. You think that some characters are safe, like the A-lister who’s somehow in it, or the wise old codger who looks like he’s been through the wars. But nope, before you know what’s happening, they turn a corner and end up with an axe in their face. This seems to be the recurring theme with JLD, as every arc tries it’s best to make things worse and worse for the characters to the point where you really start to think this is it for our heroes, only for them to pull the rug from under the villain at he last minute.
To continue that analogy, this issue is most definitely still in the ‘axe in the face’ phase of James Tynion IV’s story. We open again with Kirk Langstrum still locked away in his study and now trying his hand at magic in another last-ditch attempt to save the day. While he scratches away at a summoning circle, Zatanna and Wondrous Woman are in search of Mordu, an intense magical being to say the least but seemingly their last resort against the encircling dark forces literally eating the magic world alive. In their desperation they meet with an old familiar face, Papa Midnight, another magical figurehead filling his pants against the other kind.
Detective Chimp and Swamp Thing are playing host to the magical refugees of the world who are choosing to run and hide until someone figures something out. However, it looks like they can’t stay hidden for long. Even with the gem passed through the void by her father, and the use of her magical powers back, Zatanna is still two steps behind the Otherkind at all times. And, as we learn from Langstrum, they are the least of our heroes’ worries.
Martinez Bueno, Fernandez and Anderson deliver another Hammer Horror-style aesthetic for this issue, delivering scenes that could easily fit in any of the classic Christopher Lee-era horror classics. They also pay homage to the classic characters brought into the current canon, such as delivering a Papa Midnight appearing strikingly similar to his look from the Keanu Reeves movie. This familiarity provides an odd kind of a comfort in between the constant fleeing from the utterly creepy Otherkind monsters, whose upside-down smiles are guaranteed to make your skin crawl.
This is still an enjoyable romp. Some might say it’s becoming a little too much of a constant kick in the teeth, but it still makes me want to read every new page just to see how deep these characters are able to go.
The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
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