Justice League Dark #22
What dreams may come-we should be so lucky! Instead, the nightmares are here! Zatanna and John Constantine take a dive into the mind of Abigail Arcane to save her from the all-consuming Rot, while Animal Man must reach deep within himself to save Detective Chimp and Wonder Woman from the hordes of infected rot monsters. Minds, worlds, and lives hang in the (im)balance!
Justice League Dark #22 has arrived and with it, an entanglement of parliaments that hold the safety of humanity’s delicate future in their grasp, pushing the story into dire consequences as we jump from one narrative thread to the next. It’s an expansive issue, but it’s also incredibly inspiring and shows what kind of strength can be found even in the most unthinkable places.
Before we get into the interwoven plot lines and how these characters have set out to once more save everything they know and love, Justice League Dark #22 stands on the shoulders of powerful visuals thanks to an impressive artistic team. Readers will notice the structure immediately as we jump from one perspective to the other. While these sudden change might be difficult for some artists, everyone involved from pencils to colors in JLD #22 pulls off exceptional work to give the story depth when it needs it most. This is particularly true from letterer Rob Leigh, who shines with great execution with letters that don’t just help guide you through the story, they elevate it. You may not expect to find such a powerhouse of great artwork in the third issue of an arc twenty plus issues into an ongoing series, but I was stunned page after page at how great this book looked.
Now, the story is something that is heavily intertwined with the overarching narrative both in this arc and the entire Justice League Dark series thus far. It plays out almost like a long speech, supported and bolstered by others at opportune moments, and frames the struggle to convince the different Parliaments of Life to fight on the side of humanity. It’s heartfelt and all of the characterizations truly feel emotionally charged. The result is an issue that hooks you from the first few panels and doesn’t let go until a rather epic cliffhanger featuring Wonder Woman.
The exploration of humanity, the natural order of chaos and how we can influence it with our own story is something that gets right to the heart of what this entire series has been about. It’s a message that doesn’t rely on outright horror to push the story forward, but it’s predicated on the absolute terror that often results from our own actions. It’s a story that acknowledges our past and who we are, as well as the struggle to overcome, fitting neatly within the superhero genre. As we see Constantine finally reach Abby, Animal Man confront the Parliaments on a micro level while Doctor Fate faces those on a much more macro level, we start to see how the story encompasses the life and death cycle and what our heroes do to achieve what is just.
There is something to be taken away from this issue, and with just a bit of participation with its themes you can really find substance in complexities you may not have noticed first. That is a sign of quality storytelling.
While it’s not the most action-packed issue, instead relying on the impact of spoken words as the fight comes to a head, the awesome visuals give plenty of excitement to keep you entertained all throughout. Justice League Dark #22 is yet another example why the series is arguably among the best ongoing titles at DC today, and just one read through will prove it. It’s not the best issue to jump into, as it relies on a lot of already established motives and even themes to flesh out the story, but it’s good enough to warrant catching up to read.
Justice League Dark #22 finds strength in the exploration of humanity, the natural order of chaos and how we can influence it with our own story, getting right to the heart of what this entire series has been about. It's a can't miss issue for sure.
Justice League Dark #22: Are Our Stories Not Worth Saving?
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 10/1010/10
Color - 10/1010/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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