Justice League Dark #23
"The Parliament of Life" concludes - as the world burns! The villain at the dark heart of the war between the parliaments stands revealed as Anton Arcane! Zatanna lies wounded, her destiny now in jeopardy. Doctor Fate, Wonder Woman, and Animal Man must form an uneasy alliance with Abigail Arcane and the Floronic Man to protect humanity's fate. Betrayals and twists abound, with repercussions for the very future of the Justice League Dark!
The “Parliament of Life” arc has reached its end in Justice League Dark #23, an issue that unfolds briskly, concisely and with pinpoint accuracy as all the moving pieces fall into place. The result is a four-part story that is expansive, but also a very meta exploration of the circular nature of storytelling.
Ram V brought an immediately noticeable level of nuance and depth to the Justice League Dark series that is pushing the series in wonderful directions. This conclusion issue shows that the journey is certainly worthwhile and the team knows where they are going. John Constantine acts as something of a primer for those who may not be following along, arguably explaining a little too in-depth every single development, but it helps to give some direction to the arc for readers to latch onto.
While I was more enthused about the artwork that we were treated to in the last issue compared to this one, it’s also worth mentioning that this issue had a lot more narrative weight to carry. Exposition and panel layouts make this issue a clear read even as we jump around from one event to the next, but it also limits the moments to shine with over-the-top visuals that this arc has done so well with. It’s got a lot to love, especially with a magnificent depiction of Swamp Thing, but those last few issues set the bar pretty high.
The real star of this issue is the concept and power of circular storytelling and what it means both on and off the panel in comics. Justice League Dark is a team that lends itself wonderfully to a more broad exploration of the weird side of the medium, and a meta view at how it operates falls right in line with their intriguing potential. It helps to frame the entire four issues in a really enjoyable way and also acts as a clean transition from the extended Tynion stories dealing with the Witching War to set up an exciting future.
This isn’t a clear cut ending, despite bringing balance to the Parliament of Life, as we see the Upside Down Man once more make his presence known. The villain has been woven into the series at just the right times previously and this instance is no different really. Even if it’s a character that doesn’t always fit or feel like a natural evolution of the story, they have a presence that is just captivating. This is ultimately been an arc that is both insightful and a lot of fun. It doesn’t lose track of the darker, more “out-there” elements that work so well with the team but it also never forgets to tell a solid superhero story. It’s not perfect, but Justice League Dark #23 continues an impressive trend and maintains a streak of momentum that makes this one of my most anticipated releases every month.
Justice League Dark continues to impress in issue #23, maintaining a streak of momentum that makes this one of my most anticipated releases every month. It doesn't lose track of the darker, more "out-there" elements that work so well with the team but it also never forgets to tell a solid superhero story.
Justice League Dark #23: The Hand of Man
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 9.5/109.5/10
Art - 9/109/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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