Justice League Dark #23
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox
The short of it:
Xanadu sits, a prisoner of the Secret Society, realizing that her captivity is to keep her visions from being shared. To keep the all powerful future sight from disrupting the war that is going on…which, currently, is a League against a possessed Wonder Woman. She outmatches everyone until Shazam shows up and takes it from her, which immediately possesses him and sends feedback across all people magical in the New 52 as his colors turn black. Deadman tells Batman about it and then realizes that he can go find Xanadu now.
Then you’ve got the remnants of Superman’s team surviving the exploding Dr. Light of last issue. Heroes? Alive. The Wall? Alive. Faceless and nameless ARGUS people? They dead. The heroes? They blame Waller, and while it isn’t her fault, she’s Amanda Waller, she deserves the blame anyway. They call her out on the Atom double agent stuff, she gets all need to know basis, and Firestorm is all “I made her kryptonite!” That earns her Green Arrow with an arrow pointed at her while everyone else goes about looking for survivors. Speaking of survivors, there’s a monkey pile in the House of Mystery and everyone wants the Box. Literally, evil little golden skull is making everybody go all Larfleeze to get it save for Zatanna, Pandora, and Stargirl thanks to magic. Admittedly, this does not last long, and Z is soon on her back with a pissed off Wonder Woman going for the box….
Until that bastard John Constantine gets it; though he does help Z make a hasty retreat to Greece. Yup. And not just Greece! There’s Xanadu, and Batman, and Xanadu knows something, and it all may be too late.
Because The Outsider is in control of the situation.
What I liked:
The art, the art, the art. Holy crap, I know I mentioned it last year, but Janin and Cox are fantastic. This issue is a visual treat with a style that I really wouldn’t have expected to be used on a Dark line book. It doesn’t feel superhero-y, but it works perfectly for superheroes. I’m not sure how to explain it, really.
Dark Shazam is Black Adam colors. I can live with this.
So this is what competent Zatanna looks like in action? I always forget how powerful she can be because, usually, she’s the first person off the board.
The double page spread of Shazam channeling his magic, and the Box, and it going across not only the globe, the but entire New 52. I mean, seriously, Amethyst feels it all the way in Gemworld, and Dr. Fate is blasted with the feedback all the way on Earth 2. It’s a cool visual, and it also does a great job showing us how major this degree of power is.
Finally, an issue where Atom isn’t sitting around whining that she’s a secret traitor and doesn’t want to be!
I really liked the fights. Everyone versus Wonder Woman, Everyone versus Shazam, and Everyone versus Everyone.
What I didn’t like:
Apparently I missed interesting stuff with Constantine and Shazam by not reading that tie-in. Now I kinda wish I had, but at the same time, I don’t want to buy Constantine. It’s a horrible conundrum.
Lex Luthor is a background character for the ‘everyone brawl over the Box’ fight. I mean, yes, I understand that he was there when it happened, and everyone was dealing with the effects of the Box, but he’s Lex Luthor. He shouldn’t be part of a skirmish like that, one that his normal human nature will only hurt him with, and he doesn’t really do anything all issue. He’s just there and a part of the fights and it feels like a waste of Lex Luthor.
This issue was just over way too quickly.
Big fight issues are fun, but when you take one like this everyone just sorta steps on each others toes and nobody really matters. I know none of the heroes will kill each other under possession, and they all really become interchangeable, but it really does get the job done. Everyone fighting over the Box really made it seem like more than a golden skull.
Shazam grabs Frankenstein by the arm to grab the Box and gets smacked away. I call bullshit, Shazam could rip Franky’s arm off and beat him with it.
What was the point of protecting Stargirl if she was just going to turn on the next page?
I wish Pandora was Zealot.
Though Pandora running around with guns and a red cloak makes me want to call her the New 52 Crimson Avenger.
Superman has been deathly fall over sick for a few issues now, and to be honest, I either need a reason why or for it to just stop. Him being half dead has gotten really boring.
If I was Amanda Waller I’d have anti-Superman plans ready to go, too.
Constantine is too big of a bastard for the Box to make him into a bigger one? Alright, that’s pretty amusing.
So the CSA debuts next issue, I’m going to assume. I figure they come in, take over, send all of the combined Leagues back to Earth 3, and then after Forever Evil they have to make their way back from the reverse Earth. Should be a fun fallout to a very solid event. Five issues deep thus far and I’ve been enjoying the crap out of it. Marvel should take a note in how to do events from DC, focus primarily on the frequency. DC doesn’t over saturate the market with them and when they happen they’re pretty good, whereas Marvel has one every four months and they are becoming more and more trash like.
Oh, and on the note of Marvel versus DC, Constantine smokes cigarettes. You know who else used to smoke? Nick Fury, Wolverine, and Ben Grimm. Things that Joey Q changed out of his personal feelings on smoking for a thousand, Alex. You know what smoking in comics does? No, it doesn’t teach kids that smoking is cool. It shows you a realistic situation where, *gasp*, some people are smokers!
So is The Outsider Earth 3 Alfred?