Justice League Dark Annual #01
Justice League Dark Annual #01
Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Pencils: Mikel Janin

While I admit that I am still enjoying it, I think the current arc of Justice League Dark has lasted just a tad long for my tastes. Whether or not the arc actually ends this issue is debatable, I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes, however the fact still remains that Lemire's inaugural story that started off very strong did feel like it was dragging towards the end.

I may not have even noticed the problem had Lemire not drawn my attention to it with an overly drawn out sequence of flashbacks and exposition. The most glaring addition is where Nick Necro claims credit for bringing together the JLD. With that admission, his whole plot becomes unnecessarily drawn out and convoluted. And while Lemire does offer an explanation, I don't really buy into the whole "He wanted Constantine and Zatanna to be present to make them suffer" angle, as it seems like it would have been much easier to have Dr. Mist quietly steal the stuff they needed and tip off John and Zee once all the pieces were in place. "You are cordially invited to the end of the world etc, etc"

However, pacing is really the only complaint I can really level at this comic right now. The House of Mystery's ability to summon any previous visitor at any time really opens up the exciting possibility to draw in unexpected teammates, guest stars, and mission specialists. In this issue alone we see Madame Xanadu, Tim Hunter, Frankenstein, Princess Amethyst, and Andrew Bennet join in the fray against Nick Necro and his allies.

Lemire's best call since taking over this title has been bringing Constantine to the forefront of this title. Lemire has a better handle on his voice and character than his already impressive grasp on the rest of the cast, and it really shows in the final confrontation between Constantine and Necro.

Mikel Janin is quickly becoming the most reliable artist at DC. Month in month out, Janin delivers distinct figure work and inventive layouts without ever missing a deadline and with minimal need for fill ins. Janin has proven to be more than adept at juggling an ever growing cast of characters and a diverse array of exotic DC locales. Mark my words, he will be positioned for a prime assignment once his tenure on this book is over, I would even go so far as to say he could be a contender for an event down the line.

Some pacing issues aside, this is still one of the most enjoyable, offbeat, and unpredictable team books DC is publishing. If you like horror, magic, and an unlikely cast of misfits, this is the book for you.

Grade: B+

comments powered by Disqus