Review: JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #14
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: James Tynion IV
Pencils: Alvaro Martinez Bueno
Inks: Raul Fernandez
Colors: Adriano Lucas
Letters: Rob Leigh
Reviewed By: Ari Bard
In Justice League Dark #14, Wonder Woman is visited by Zatara, The Justice League Dark has infiltrators in its headquarters, and the Dark Legion of Doom is assembling. The brief calm between storms is over!
Justice League Dark has been a delightful exploration through the magical DCU. Who are we kidding, it’s been a wild, chaotic whirlwind tearing up the principles of magic as we know it. Last issue brought us tales from Doctor Fate and an offer to Circe, but this issue there’s a lot mroe to worry about. An evil, magical team is assembling, and they look to be more powerful than even the Lords of Order. Featuring the return of some of your favorite magical villains, Justice League Dark #14 provides excellent setup for the upcoming magical conflict in the DCU.
Tynion’s sense of balance is the best part of this issue and the book as a whole. Sometimes when reading team books, you think of the last time one of the members spoke and it’s been two or three issues. That never happens in Justice League Dark. Each character, with their own unique voice, makes an appearance every issue. Every character has a purpose, strengths and weaknesses, and those are always present, even if they aren’t int he spotlight. Detective Chimp may not be the focus anymore, but that doesn’t mean his entire character has become one-dimensional. Wonder Woman helps lead the team and always ground some of the more morally dubious members in doing the right thing. Zatanna is the resident magic expert, guide, and teacher. Detective Chimp is mischievous, crass, and smart. Swamp Thing is incredibly powerful and reminds the team to consider other factors than just humanity. Man-bat provides the intersection of science and magic. It’s a phenomenal team of individuals, not just a team.
The art team of Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Raul Fernandez, and Adriano Lucas continues to excel at this book. Bueno’s pencils make each panel look different. Fernandez’s inks make sure every expression and mannerism feels real. Lucas’s colors show a perfect harmony of light and darkness that sucks you right in. This is some of the best these characters have ever been drawn. It’s dynamic, exciting, and scary. Justice League Dark continues to be a book to look forward to every month. Between the magnificent art, Rob Leigh’s phenomenal lettering, and a compelling story, what’s not to love?
Some of the takes on certain characters don’t feel quite right. We’ve seen in previous iterations, especially Morrison’s Seven Soldiers, that Klarion can be more than just a dark imp-like character, but this seems to be the take that has stuck unfortunately. Additionally, Wonder Woman and Zatanna have recently been defined by their fathers throughout a lot of the book, and it’d be nice to see Tynion move away from that. Finally, this issue is more setup than story, which is always a bit of a bummer.
The Witching War begins with an exciting issue reminding you of why you love this team, even if it does have a few flaws.