Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Justice League Dark #16 Review

Writers: Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Artist: Mikel Janin

After all the nice things said about this series, as well as the release of the new Constantine series I finally decided to try this series, and I'm very glad that I did, as the Books of Magic storyline was phenomenal, and this series as a whole as been one of the most unique series I've read from the New 52, and I look forward to seeing what comes next.


The Justice League Dark have crossed over into Epoch, the dimension that Zatanna and Tim Hunter were taken to. After being briefly alive in this dimension Deadman is dead... again, and he's not the only one that's been affected, as there are changes to all JLD members. The history of Epoch is also revealed.


Another good issue, but after the fabulous opening to this story I was expecting a bit more. This issue was however still very good, and Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes still manage to give us a very entertaining, and unique issue, that's also interesting. The thing that I felt let the issue down as a whole was that it took too much time developing the story. Don't get me wrong stories need development, and I'd much rather an over developed story than an under developed story, but at the same time it does sap a bit of the life out, slowing it down a bit. I did however enjoy how Lemire and Fawkes started to show more of this world, and the entire concept is brilliant. They've also continued to make a very unique story that's dark, and mysterious, which has been the thing I've liked most about this series. Lemire and Fawkes have also started to introduce new experiences for the characters involved, which I'm sure will change there thoughts of one another. Overall although this isn't the most exciting issue that Lemire and Fawkes has written, it's still interesting, and has it's moments.

Mikel Janin continues to impress me with his artwork, and he's really done a tremendous job on this series. What I love most about Janin's art is that it's very smooth, and realistic, and the crispness of the lines is fantastic. Janin's art is also very unique, and the detail and emotion put into it is phenomenal with everything looking fantastic. There's also a lot of new elements in this story, and Janin uses them to his best advantage, creating new and wonderful things that don't only add a new concept to the series, but also compliments it. I also love the way he's drawn the characters in this issue, and especially considering the changes that have happened to them, as they look fantastic, with ton's of detail. The layouts also continue to impress me, and I've loved how they've really suited not just the series, but the sequences within the series. Janin also did a brilliant job of all the magical characters that were awful fantasy and fairy tale like, and I also loved that they had their own layout design. The colours from Jeromy Cox are once again brilliant, and I much prefer them this time round now that I've became more used to them, as they actually really suit this type of story.

This issue started with Deadman, who was recently killed by Vikar, and has to escape the afterlife by battling Infernal Core. When Deadman was killed at the end of the last issue I was angry, but after a couple of seconds realized that he was already dead, and that he'd just be a ghost again. Either way it must have been hard for Deadman having a moment of life, just for it to be ripped away. He did however have a bit of fun with Infernal Core, as apparently he's able to touch things in the afterlife, meaning that he can fight Infernal Core without possessing anyone. The fight was fairly short, but it was very exciting, and I really enjoyed seeing Deadman let out some of his frustrations, whilst also having fun. I won't ruin the fight but I will say that the best bit about it was the ending, which was very entertaining, and slightly unexpected.

Besides Deadman's return to life, followed by death again, there were changes to every member of the JLD, apart from Frankenstein, with Madame Xanadu turning extremely old, Black Orchid turning into some kind of monster, and John Constantine not being able to lie, revealing his true feelings. It was these changes that kept the story interesting, as besides that the issue was basically all development, explaining the history of Epoch, but I'll talk more on that later. The change I actually liked best was in Constantine, as although Xanadu and Orchid's changes were more noticeable, I was still more interested in the fact that Constantine has went from this person that doesn't show his emotions, and also appears fearless, into someone the complete opposite, showing that he cares for the team, and that he truly is afraid, and that he's just had a front on. I probably liked this more as I'm a big fan of Constantine, so the change in characteristics was hilarious. Xanadu was probably the most interesting following Constanitine, as for someone supposedly immortal, the years didn't half catch up quickly, and it's the development of this that I'll be most looking forward to.

The main bulk of this issue was focused on the history of Epoch, and how it was once inhabited by many more magical creatures, until man found science and eradicated magic, killing anything with a connection to it. It also went on about Tim's ancestor, and the magical creatures King, The Hunter, and even went on to say how the Books of Magic were created. I found this sequence very interesting, and although it took away from the other sequences, slowing the issue down, I still liked it, and found it a necessary delay. What I liked most about this sequence was the art, as it was truly stunning, and I loved how everything was so magical (no pun intended), and that it made the series a bit more lighthearted, whilst also keeping a dark background nature. Again, although it slowed the issue down, I'm still looking forward to seeing the development of this part of the story, as being the main focus of the story, it's what needs to be good.

There was also a very minor appearance from Johnny Peril and Steve Trevor of A.R.G.U.S. near the end, and although I won't go into details as to avoid spoilers, I will say how I felt about this addition. It didn't really do much for the story, but this sequence did shine a light on what might happen in the next issue, and I for one am really looking forward to seeing what happens.

Final Verdict

Not the best issue in the series, but still a very good issue, and although it spends most time developing the story, essentially slowing it down, it was still very interesting, and also very unique. I would still easily recommend this issue, as despite being a bit slow it had it's moments, and is still better than a lot of other series' out the now.

Rating: 4/5