Friday, 6 September 2013

Justice League Dark #20 Review

Writers: Jeff Lemire & Ray Fawkes
Artists: Mikel Janin & Vicente Cifuentes

Although I only caught up with this series recently, I have really enjoyed it, and it's been one of my favourite series in the New 52, and it's stuff like this, and Swamp Thing that show why the Dark series' are just as good, if not better than the more well known series like Superman, and Green Lantern.


With the help of the Flash (Barry Allen), Frankenstein is able to save the rest of the Justice League Dark from their nightmare's, whilst Doctor Destiny keeps torturing Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) in The House of Mystery.


This was a brilliant issue, and it continued to show me why this has become one of my favourite series' out at the moment. Jeff Lemire, and Ray Fawkes continue to amaze me with their weird, and wonderful stories, and although this would appear to be just a filler story in the build-up to Trinity War, it's as good as many stories that have been out recently, and although this issue, along with last issue haven't been the best in the series, they're far from being the worst. The way that Lemire, and Fawkes handle the magic in this series has been phenomenal, and very clever, and that doesn't change in this issue, as although we're seeing the continuation of the House of Mystery's nightmare's, like we saw in issue 14, Lemire, and Fawkes have made it much more exciting, and unique. Lemire, and Fawkes have also did an excellent job with the dialogue in this issue, and I especially loved whenever Flash interacted with people, especially with Frankenstein, and John Constantine, but I'll talk more on that later on in my review. The action in this issue has also been handled perfectly, and Lemire, and Fawkes really know how to add as much drama as they can to this series, which is brilliant, and I hope they can continue this in Trinity War.

The art in this issue was also brilliant, and Mikel Janin once again did an excellent job, this time only doing the layouts, and Vicente Cifuentes did a brilliant job of the finishes. Now I still don't exactly know the difference between the layouts, and the finishes, as I always thought that the layout artist would give a very rough sketch of what he wants, whereas the finishes artist would re-draw that in full detail. I'm not entirely sure however if this is the case, as like when Janin only did layouts before, it looks very similar to his normal artwork, which makes me think that finishes here really means inker (but I may be wrong). Anyway onto the art itself. The layout was as usual phenomenal, and the thought put into it, as well as the drama that comes out of it is amazing, and really makes the issue that much better. The detail is also brilliant, and I especially love how the Flash's speed has been handled in this artwork, as it looks just like you'd expect the Flash to look which is nice. The facial expressions were also handled perfectly, with the character's emotions easily showing through, which really helps the reader to understand what the character is feeling. I also really liked how both the action, and nightmare's were handled, as they both looked outstandingly phenomenal, and added yet more excitement, and drama to the issue.

One of the things that I was most looking forward to with this story was the addition of Swamp Thing. To be honest I'm slightly disappointed with Swamp Thing's appearance in this story, and mainly this issue, as he's not really done much, and I was really looking forward to either him fighting the JLD or preferably working with them, and potentially becoming a member sometime in the future. I do however think it's good for the story overall, as it gives Doctor Destiny a powerful hero as a hostage, showing that if he can capture Swamp Thing easily, he could probably do the same with the rest of the JLD.

Early in the issue, the Flash, and Frankenstein get to know each other, and I really enjoyed the interaction between these two character's, seeing it as one of the more interesting parts of this issue. The fact that Flash didn't know whether Frankenstein was a friend or foe to start with was a brilliant addition, as to be honest if you'd never met Frankenstein before it'd be easy to mistake him for a villain, especially considering he's literally a monster. I also liked how Frankenstein saw Flash as a strange individual, and how you could tell that he was slightly annoyed about Flash not being able to stay in on place for more than a minute.

In continuing with the Flash, I really enjoyed his appearance, and more than just his conversation with Frankenstein, as he was a real asset to the team in this issue. Besides this I've been a fan of the Flash for a few years now, and am currently loving his solo series, and when I noticed that he'd be featuring in last issue I was ecstatic. I was however disappointed when it landed up being a very brief appearance at the end of the issue. This issue however made up for this, as his presence was amazing, and the way he ran about the place helping, whilst also slightly annoying certain individuals was also entertaining. I also loved how he interacted with the rest of the JLD, and especially Constantine, who initially hated the fact that Flash was here.

Talking of Constantine, his nightmare was probably the best, and most interesting in this issue, and I really enjoyed it. Now I won't go into much more detail as to avoid spoilers, but I will say some of my thoughts on the nightmare. Although it was much simpler than the other nightmare's shown in this issue, it was still by far the cleverest, and I feel the simplicity had a lot to do with that. I also loved how Constantine handled it, and how Flash wasn't as well prepared for this nightmare as he was for the rest.

Final Verdict

This was an excellent issue, and although it's not the best that the series has seen so far, it's far from being the worst. Lemire, and Fawkes continue to give you magic in a clever, and unique way, and this along with the action, and guest appearances really made this a special issue. Due to all this I'd highly recommend this issue, along with the rest of Lemire, and Fawkes run, as it's been truly amazing.

Rating: 4/5