Justice League Dark #15
The Justice League Dark meet Wonder Woman at the Hall of Justice archives after their vampire attack in the earlier issue, but not before Kent Nelson notices that moon is eclipsed, an unexpected occurrence. As soon as they arrive, Diana asks Swamp Thing if he could feel the Green back when they had been Aeaea, and he admits to sensing nothing wrong. She asks him to see if he can sense Circe on the island, he tells her that he can’t - it’s like she was never there. This confirms Diana’s suspicion, that as the final bearer of the Witchmark, she’s got all the power. Diana asks Alec to find Circe, and asks Bobo to help him. Khalid jumps in to help as well.
While they get to work, Zatanna goes to have a private conversation with Diana and Kent, and Diana tells Zatanna that Giovanni Zatara, Zatanna’s father, had visited her in a dream the night before. As she leads her teammates deeper into the Hall of Justice archives, Diana explains that he had told her that she was going to destroy the world. Kent asks where they’re going and Diana explains that when she had designed this cavern beneath the Hall of Justice it was to contain a few very dangerous objects including, Kent discovers, the Spear of Destiny and the Helmet of Nabu, amongst others. That’s not all, though. The cavern also houses the black diamond of Eclipso. Diana tells Kent and Zatanna that she needs them to get to Hecate’s domain using a symbol of the moon, and that she needs them to make sure her soul isn’t handed over to Eclipso in the process.
Further down south, in the Amazon rainforest, Papa Midnite and the Floronic Man go to visit the Parliament of Flowers. The Floronic Man tries to introduce himself as the protector of the Green, but the Parliament explains that they never chose him. The Floronic Man has come to them with a proposition from Circe, but before he can offer it up, he senses Swamp Thing. They get into a fight, and it’s one that the Floronic Man bests him in. At the Hall of Justice, where Swamp Thing is physically present, he tells Khalid and Bobo to find Abby Arcane, since she can stop the Rot. Unfortunately, before they can do that, they’re interrupted by Man-Bat, who is still under the spell Klarion cast on him in the last issue, and has created a serum...that turns him into a bigger monster than he already is.
In the Himalayas, Klarion and Solomon Grundy approach the Great Necropolis, where they speak to a giant, winged beast, who doesn’t seem to want to listen to them. Klarion points out that the beast was created by Hecate to be a pawn in conquering all of magic, but a new power has risen in Hecate’s stead. When the beast asks where this new goddess is, Klarion asks him to look up, because things have already started.
Back at the Hall of Justice, Kent and Zatanna help Diana get to Hecate’s domain, even as Eclipso tries to tempt Diana. Diana wakes up in Hecate’s domain, where she finds Witchfire waiting for her. Diana asks Witchfire for her help to find the center of Hecate’s power, but Witchfire tells her that she should have run far away. Diana asks Witchfire what’s wrong as, unbeknownst to her, the spectre of Circe looms large behind her.
One of the best things about Justice League Dark is how every new issue peels back a new layer to the team, gives them another reason to exist, and justifies why the DC Comics line needs the book in the first place. There are very few books that have dealt with the magical and mystical side of the DCU in this grand a manner, and in such a fleshed-out way. James Tynion IV has really built up and built out the magical world, and this issue adds more delightful depth by explaining why Diana had this cavern built between the Hall of Justice in the first place. The fact that Diana had it built to safely house the mystical objects of the DCU is a great factoid – it speaks to her stepping up as the mystical representative of the Justice League, but it also calls to mind her mythical, Amazon past. After all, in various past continuities, the Amazons were tasked with keeping Doom’s Doorway, the gateway into Hades that was underneath Themyscira, in check. Back when the book was first announced, there was a lot of questioning why Wonder Woman was involved in a book called Justice League Dark, given that she’s not a particularly dark character. But the fact that she’s stepping up as the light that holds the darkness of the supernatural at bay…well, it’s time that she had a Justice League book that combined her unique status both as a modern superhero and an ancient mythical being and allowed her to be the leader. f
The interaction between the characters is, as always, incredibly well-written. The conversation between Papa Midnite and Floronic Man fleshes both characters out wonderfully, and it’s fantastic to see them both get some panel time – especially Floronic Man, who in recent times is usually just a footnote in Poison Ivy’s history. Setting him up as the dark mirror to Swamp Thing is a wise move, as is tying him into the Parliament of Flowers. Man-Bat has been dealing with a lot of personal issues since the book started – he’s always been a bit unsure of his role on the team, of being accepted by everyone, and while Diana has wholeheartedly embraced him, doubts remained, doubts that Klarion was able to manipulate with ease. How the team deals with this new monstrous phase for him, and how he will deal with it once the team helps him recover from it will be very interesting to see. He has definitely become one of the most unexpectedly interesting characters on the team.
Alvaro Martinez Bueno, Raul Fernandez, and Brad Anderson continue to be a dream art team for this book. The level of detail and expressiveness brought by Martinez Bueno is incredible and really brings forth a sense of mysticism and wonder. The scene with the Parliament of Flowers is beautifully drawn, as is the page where Kent and Zatanna send Diana to Hecate’s domain. The colours add a lot of mood and drama, and Fernandez understands how to build out and use a palette that really makes each scene pop. It’s truly one of DC’s book looking books today.
This issue has a lot going for it, between a few great plots being set up and some absolutely gorgeous art. Fans should jump on board as the Witching War ramps up, as there definitely seem to be some twists, turns, and treats in store in future installments.
Justice League Dark #15: Witch Hunt
Writing - 9/109/10
Storyline - 8/108/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 7/107/10
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