Artist: Mikel Janin
With all the nice things getting said about this series since Jeff Lemire took over writing duties since issue 9, combined with the release of the new Constantine series, I decided to get the back issues of this, and boy am I happy I have. It's been phenomenal, and one of the most unique series I've seen in the New 52, and I'm glad I've given it a try.
Felix Faust has played everyone for fools, and is attempting to enter The Black Room, but the Justice League Dark are here to stop him, but will they?
Although this is the conclusion to the Black Room part of the story, it's not "the end" of the story. Although not quite as good as the previous two issues, this was still a fantastic issue, and better than most things in the New 52. Jeff Lemire continues to give us a very dramatic, and dynamic story, and I'm very happy that I've started to try his work, as I've loved everything so far, including this, to Green Arrow, Animal Man, and even the Constantine series that he co-writes with Ray Fawkes (Fawkes writes the dialogue, with Lemire co-plotting the story), and the only one I'm not continuing to get on an ongoing basis is Animal Man (although I will be getting it in trade form). He continues to develop this story brilliantly, and I love how he's managed to give us something very exciting, that is full of action, whilst also being very dramatic, and dynamic. I've also loved that Lemire's managed to add humour to this series, and I'm glad that he's continued this in this issue, even if it's only frequent. I'm also glad that it's frequent as you don't want to spoil to tone of the story with frequent jokes, and gags. Lemire has also done a brilliant job of ending this part of the story, whilst leaving us in to speculate what happens next (don't worry I won't spoil anything).
The art is once again fantastic, and Mikel Janin continues to produce phenomenal artwork. Although I've loved Lemire's writing, and liked how it's been very dark, and mysterious, whilst also being very exciting, it's Janin's art that's made me fall in love with the series. Janin's art more than suits this series, and I love that his the lines of his art are so crisp, and clean, and although I also like rough art, I also like this type, as it's much more clearer. Janin also draws fantastic action sequences, and this is another thing that makes him the perfect artist for this series. It will however help that Janin does his own inks, and I'm glad he does, as another inker may spoil the tone, but besides that overall the art's fabulous. The layouts are also fantastic, giving adding more tone to the series, whilst also making it flow better. Ulises Arreola and Kyle Ritter's colours were also fantastic, and like always they really make Janin's art look even better than it already is, and also gives the perfect tone, and mood for this series.
This issue starts explosive, as Faust has played everyone for fools, and is ever closer to his goal of entering the Black Room. This was a brilliant sequence, and I loved that although everyone didn't trust John Constantine (yet again) they put their differences aside to fight Faust, and his Demons Three. I also found it interesting that Deadman questioned why Constantine was giving out the orders, as no one sees Constantine as they're leader, but at the end of the day he's the only one that acts like one, and it's the best role for him, especially considering he doesn't have as many powers as everyone else. It was also nice to see Golems used by A.R.G.U.S. in this fight, and although they didn't really do much I like Golems.
It was nice to see that Steve Trevor involved in this fight, as with him putting the JLD in this situation in the first place, it's only right that he joins in, but to be honest he didn't really do much. The best thing about Trevor in this fight was when Deadman took over his body, but besides that all Trevor did was moan about Constantine being untrustworthy, which felt like the wrong thing to worry about. I did however like that this continues to show Trevor's attitude towards Constantine, and it did lead to an easy set-up for a later event in the issue, but I still would have preferred to have seen Trevor fight more.
After her vision from the last issue Xanadu feels the need to visit the person she feels is destined to wield the Books of Magic, Tim Hunter. Again I know nothing about Tim, but I get the impression from this issue that he's had a history with Xanadu, Constantine, and Zatanna, and whether any of this happened in the series prior to this, I was happy that it was shown in a flashback sequence. I found this an interesting side story, and although I see that it'll lead to further development of the overall story in later issues I did feel that it took away from the amazing action, and it maybe could have waited till next issue, but it was still very interesting, and at the end of the day although the issue wasn't perfect, it was still brilliant, so no real harm done, plus it should make the development of this side of the story smoother.
WARNING: SMALL SPOILER AHEAD!
I had to mention this even though it may be a small spoiler, as it's the main thing this part of the story's focused on, and it wouldn't be right not to talk about the Black Room. It was just magical (no pun intended), and I loved how Janin made it so detailed, and also loved all the things Lemire thought of putting in it. I also liked how it felt like a more open version of the warehouse from Indiana Jones and The Raiders of The Lost Ark, as it felt all mysterious, and government top secret. I also found it interesting that A.R.G.U.S.'s magic division talked in a technological fashion, as if they worked on super computers, as it made for a much more sophisticated and intelligent atmosphere. The stuff Constantine took were also interesting, and I they gave Constantine the perfect equipment to have a fair fight with Faust.
I also stated that I felt Doctor Mist was a unnecessary character in the last issue, but without spoiling anything I will say that I've changed my mind. He showed in this issue that he's a needed character in the story, and although I won't say why, I will say that it was very interesting.
Although not quite as good as the last two issues, this was still a brilliant issue, and the perfect conclusion to this part of the story. Lemire has also done a brilliant job of leaving the door open for the remained of the story, and that although this is the end of the Black Room story, it's not the end of the Books of Magic story. I would easily recommend this issue, as well as the previous two issues, as Lemire has done a marvellous job on this series, and it's been simply phenomenal so far.