Review: Justice League Dark #9

[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]

Writer: James Tynion IV

Penciller: Alvaro Martínez Bueno & Miguel Mendonça

Inker: Raul Fernandez & Miguel Mendonça

Colors: Brad Anderson

Letters: Rob Leigh  

 

Summary 

The remaining magic users in the DC Universe are forced to Myrra to flee from the Lords of Order!  Look back at how Dr. Fate and the Lords of Order suddenly became the bad guys and watch the fight for magic continue to unfold! Meanwhile Diana and Zatanna visit a familiar face on the hunt for Mordru.  

Positives

How does the universe bounce back after a powerful authority is silenced?  Justice League Dark #9 aims to tell that story as the magical universe continues to be threatened, and the magnificent use of paneling and perspective are what give this issue an otherworldly feeling.   From page one when we are given panels exquisitely laid out in Dr. Fate’s helmet, the powerful and authoritative energy radiates through the pages.  Throughout this issue, the Nth-metal imbued within each Lord of Order shines brilliantly thanks to the entire art team but especially Brad Anderson’s coloring.  He’s able to contrast the cold and absent darkness with the powerful blinding light so effortlessly, and it brings a great dichotomy to the book.  Magic is the light, and as more if it is taken away from the DCU we see a lot of barren, shadowy rooms. It can be difficult to make a series of cool blue and gray panels dynamic and interesting, but Alvaro Martínez Bueno, Miguel Mendonça, Raul Fernandez do so through the use of perspective.  The Tower of Fate looks straight out of an M.C. Escher painting with its twists, turns, and so many stairs, and the reader gets to view it from every angle thanks to the different panel layouts  Its an epic flashback that ends with a menacing stare from the Helmet of Fate directly at the reader.  

We then meet the Lords of Order in all their glory.  They supersede all known laws of reality, standing above the comic book panel.  These beings have no bounds.  Etrigan turns to oppose them in what looks to be a formidable fight, until the Lords of Order show their true power.  Ironically, the panels get more chaotic.  Etrigan is split in a series of panels containing movement through space and time as kinetic as those in We3. The team does great work here as we see lords of order standing over one panel and diving through another to separate Etrigan in yet another panel.  The Lords of Order maintain their gravitas throughout all this chaos thanks to Tynion’s writing.  He write them like any great villain serving a higher cause by including an air of self-righteousness and condescension. It makes Etrigan’s fall all the more heartbreaking.  

The rest of the issue is one of knowledge. We learn more about Circe, Mordru, and their relationships to the Otherkind and that their may still be a way to save magic.  The panels are much more organized and clearly laid out suggesting a temporary sense of safety, but as soon as we learned about the magical land of Myrra, the entire world falls, and the reader is left excited and wondering what comes next.

Negatives

Tynion, along with the rest of the creative team, is rewriting the magic in the DC universe with this series, and some of that impact is felt through a consistent sense of mystery.  It’s a fine line, however, because in many ways it doesn’t feel like Tynion gives enough information.  The Lords of Order are still largely unknown entities, as are Myrra and Mordru.  It’s very difficult to have complete emotional state in a book if you’re just wondering about some basic information instead.  Hopefully Tynion gives a little more next issue.

Verdict

Its difficult to discern whether Justice League Dark is redefining magic within its pages or whether this creative team’s transformative ideas are magically writing the comic for them.

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Ari Bard

I am currently a Sophomore at Case Western Reserve University studying mechanical engineering. I have been in love with DC since I saw the animated series and movies in the early 2000s. I started reading comics regularly at the start of Rebirth. My favorite character is Martian Manhunter.