5 Reasons You Should Read Justice League Dark
Whether you're new to the current DC Comics universe (also known as the New 52 and Post-New 52) or you've been on board from the beginning, It can be hard to decide which titles to invest in. With so many titles canceled and being launched, how can we determine which are worth our time? Which titles give us the most bang for our buck?
Well, here I plead my case for Justice League Dark. If you're a fan of the supernatural, magic and monsters, then the JLD might just be for you. Here are 5 reasons why:
1. The Definitive Supernatural Title
Much like any other team book, Justice League Dark gives us access to a wide variety of supernatural characters and stories. From characters you might never hear from again, such as Mindwarp and Shade, to mainstay's you won't see in other titles, such as Deadman and Zatanna (who both totally deserve their own books).
We also get a good look at character's from other titles we might not read otherwise such as:
- Andrew Bennet: I, Vampire
- Frankenstein: Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
- Swamp Thing: Self-Titled
- Amethyst: Sword and Sorcery
Just to name a few. Of those, I can personally recommend branching out into Swamp Thing because it's just fantastic.
2. It's the Justice League, But With Magic!
Staying in the team-up book vein, the JLD is much like any other Justice League title and is amazing for all the same reasons. The top hitters gather together to take on threats none could handle alone. Famous loners interact with other people! *Gasp* (More on this in a later entry)
Everyone has a favorite "Leaguer," but each character is important in its own right. This is true no matter what "League" title you're reading. But, more important than the individual characters is how they interact and grow in the company of their teammates.
One of the biggest differences between the JLD and other league teams is, more often than not, the JLD is brought together against their will. Some characters even hate each other. But, in the end they work together, beautifully I might add, for a common goal: To save the world. And that usually includes those "bastards" on the team they hate. In that, I think the JLD really captures the spirit of the "Justice League." It's about coming together to do good, not because they can, but because they should.
Constantine Steals the Power of SHAZAM!? (Trinity War)
3. Major Events
The JLD may feel like it lives in another world, but it still connects to other titles. From small crossovers like The Rise of Vampires (featuring Batman btw) with I, Vampire to huge events like the Trinity War and Forever Evil.
The Rise of Vampires storyline, I feel, parallels the Throne of Atlantis crossover in the main Justice League title. Both feature a particular league member and deal with a threat that a member cannot handle alone in his own title. From the Order of Van Hellsings to Bloody Mary and her vampire army, not to mention BATMAN! (Did I mention this takes place in Gotham? ..... Also Batman?)
Trinity War is one giant cluster-F#%^ as all three leagues meet, battle, and attempt to save the world. The Justice League "prime," in all its glory, the government-run Justice League of America, designed to counter the Justice League, and the Justice League Dark, bringing the Magic and Mayhem, all clash around a single character and her magic box. Pandora, featured in every starting title of the New 52 initial launch, and the voice that spoke to the Flash at the end of the Flashpoint Paradox leading to the creation of this current universe, finally gets her day in the sun.
Forever Evil: Blight: The JLD is a little more reserved in this one, dealing with the Magical after-effects of the Trinity War and the Forever Evil event. You won't lose too much from the main event if you miss this tie-in, but it's still a pretty good story and answers the question of "Where the eff is the JLD in all this?"
4. Jeff Lemire and J.M DeMatteis
I could go on for days about the awesome writing prowess of Jeff Lemire. I've loved everything I've read from the man, and I've seen him take terrible books and make them awesome (Green Arrow, anyone?). He took over Justice League Dark with issue 9 and concluded his run with issue 23, making him the author of the great Books of Magic (a great call back to some pre-New 52 material, but still awesome in its own right), Death of Magic, and Trinity War tie-in arcs. He's most known for his work on the Essex County Trilogy, The Nobody, Sweet Tooth, and his most notable work in the New 52 Animal Man (Another phenomenal title). He's received the Xeric Award in 2005, the YALSA Alex, Joe Shuster, and Doug Wright awards in 2008, as well as another Joe Shuster Award in 2013. He's also been nominated for an Ignatz, a Harvey, and two Eisner Awards.
I'm less familiar with the works of J.M DeMatteis, but since he took over the title with issue 24, Justice League Dark has continued to impress. He's no stranger to team books or supernatural characters, with stints featuring Dr. Strange, Dr. Fate, the Defenders, the Justice League, Ghost Rider, and the list goes on. I may not be familiar with his previous work, but his run here on the JLD is compelling and has kept me invested in this awesome title.
5. John Constantine
Ah, Constantine, the con-man. I've talked a lot about the characters of this title being what really makes it good, but Constantine is in a category of his own. Love him or hate him, there doesn't seem to be an in-between even for characters on the page, his complexity and interactions are among the most powerful devices used by the JLD's three writers.
John is a self-centered con artist. He always looks out for number one. But, there's a small part of him that recognizes that he has a responsibility to do some good in this world. Even if only because doing that good can benefit him. It's really hard to take his words and actions and determine whether he's truly a good or bad guy. This also makes it really hard to predict what he's going to do or say. He's a real wild card.
He has his moments though, that really cause you to lean one way or the other on the hero/villain scale. Betraying friends to save himself, or put him in a good position. His love for Zatanna and the lengths he'll go to save/protect her. The contradictions are strong with this one and that only serves to show how human Constantine really is. We are all full of contradictions and John makes no excuses. He knows he's an asshole. He also knows that it doesn't matter. Sometimes we are who we are because we need to be.
© 2015 Michael