Review: Justice League Dark #22 by Jeff Lemire and Mikel Janin

JL_DARK_22

Justice League Dark #22

Written by Jeff Lemire

Art by Mikel Janin and Jeromy Cox

 

The short of it:

Somewhere unknown Madame Xanadu is a prisoner of the Outsider, since you can’t kill an immortal. But that’s just a framing device, the real story is in DC where Firestorm is working on Kryptonite for Amanda Waller who wants a stock pile, and the autopsy of Doctor Light is ongoing until THE PHANTOM STRANGER arrives! He leaves with Batman and Zatanna to go find Wonder Woman, and possibly stop her from her quest of finding Pandora and her box, Steve Trevor goes along but reassigns his team.

Meanwhile, The Question lets a sick as a dog Superman go and shows him a piece of evidence that is enough to make him believe that he did not kill Doctor Light. This angers the sickly Man of Steel, and unfortunately his escape gets Cyborg punched in the jaw. Then you’ve got Wonder Woman and the JL Dark in New York, where they were investigating Xanadu and now she’s shown up to demand they go find Pandora with her so she can save Superman, and, of course, Constantine almost gets himself killed by pissing off Diana. Batman shows up, with Steve Trevor, Zatanna, Shazam, and good chunks of two different Leagues to stop her at the House of Mystery.

Then we get to see Question’s evidence, and why Cyborg wasn’t aware of it. Actual newspaper clippings that placed the telepathic Dr. Psycho in Kahndaq the day Superman killed Dr. Light. Waller wants everybody to pile on Superman and restrain him, this prisoner who TURNED HIMSELF IN, and the thing is? While she may have a dozen or two nameless faceless well armed guards ready to do her bidding, the JLA doesn’t seem keen to listen to her. At the House of Mystery we see the face off of Wonder Woman and the Justice League Dark against Batman and everyone else and sides get drawn. Hawkman, Aquaman, Stargirl, Black Orchid, and Zatanna go with Wonder Woman, and Steve Trevor is pissed everyone isn’t following him. When he starts barking order to Constantine, however, that’s when he realizes that John took off….with Shazam.

Waller’s goons fight off some Leaguers before Superman finally gets fed up and clears an exit. Against her orders, and I stress orders, everyone bails on her. And now we have three teams, each led by a member of DC’s Trinity, two joined up with members of the Trinity of Sin, and Pandora on the loose.

Yup, it’s a Trinity War.

 

What I liked:

  • All the disrespect Amanda Waller gets. She’s been such a bitch, which works with a group like the Suicide Squad, but with the JLA? Why should Green Arrow listen to the woman who says he shouldn’t be there in the first place? And with the actual Justice League? Who the hell is she to make Firestorm do anything?

  • I love the obvious sickness on Superman’s face. Last week, in JLA, the only reason you really knew he was sick was because he kept coughing and people kept saying he was sick, in this issue it’s REALLY obvious.

  • Seriously, the art in this issue is great.

  • Constantine manipulates Shazam. God help everybody.

  • Maybe it’s because I read Phantom Stranger, but watching Wonder Woman punk him out made me laugh. He’s such an obnoxious jackass that you just want him to get stabbed or shot or choked or whatever. He can take it.

 

What I didn’t like:

  • The book is almost too jumpy at times. I mean, yes, there are multiple stories being told at the same time, but I lost track a few times of just how many go-arounds we had to each story.

  • The fact that Firestorm actually made Kryptonite for Waller. This random woman starts demanding you do stuff that will not get done without you, and you do it because she’s government. I didn’t read Firestorm past issue five or six, but wasn’t the government out to kill them at some point?

  • Not really an issue with this issue so much as several books overall, but not nearly enough Simon Baz these days. He was awesome and easily the best original character at DC in years and now he’s just generic guy in a GL ring.

 

Final thoughts:

Of course they wait for this issue to bring in Phantom Stranger. Using him earlier would have been as logical as having the Justice League Dark show up before the end of last weeks JLA.

Man, they really don’t want us to see Dr. Light’s non-existent face.

Waller and Trevor keep trying to maintain control, and I could understand why until each opened their mouths. It’s one thing for a character to believe they’re right, but when everyone in a room is looking at evidence that Superman isn’t guilty and she refuses to even acknowledge it exists until he’s bound and gagged? It’s not any different than Steve Trevor ordering around people who hated him so much they quit rather than take his orders, and being baffled that they aren’t listening.

John Constantine manipulating Shazam is priceless. I remember before I quit reading they were teasing that he was getting intel on everyone, but I haven’t read JL Dark since the arc where they went looking for the Scrolls of Magic so I hadn’t seen it play out. I liked seeing it here, it worked quite a bit for me.

Why is Atom flying in the last few pages? Also, where did Question come from because Cyborg definitely wasn’t carrying him when he left.

OF COURSE HE HAS A MOLE IN A JUSTICE LEAGUE! Not only is that villain cliche number one, but there have been so many moles in Justice League’s so far that yet another is anything but shocking.

This wasn’t my favorite issue of the crossover so far, but it was the first to really feel like a three book event. Lemire did a great job juggling two books not his own along with his title, and while the book was jumpy, it did a great job of actually keeping everything in order. Trinity War has read like an X-Men crossover of old, where you just loop it through all the books, mash all the characters together, and just have at it.

I love those X-Men crossovers.

Overall: 8/10

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