Justice League Dark #6
In Myrra, Daniel Cassidy – the Blue Devil – explains to Zatanna, Wonder Woman, Man-Bat, and Detective Chimp that the skeleton hordes they’ve been fighting never deplete, coming back night after night. Man-Bat surmises that they might somehow be healing themselves, and Zatanna asks Blue Devil how he’s been coping with all of it. Not well, he tells her, though he explains that he’s using movie parts to act out the role he finds himself in.
Across Myrra, Bobo is led away to be jailed. He stops in front of a statue of his late friend Jim Rook, the Nightmaster, and apologizes for breaking Myrra, reiterating that it was a horrible idea for Rook to leave it in Bobo’s care.
On Earth, in Salem, Massachusetts, John Constantine, Swamp Thing, and the Phantom Stranger face off against an unhinged Nabu. Phantom Stranger tries to reason a bit with Nabu, but without a host to keep him in check, Nabu’s gone all the way over to the chaotic side. Swamp Thing wonders what they can do against Nabu, and Constantine explains that the Phantom Stranger has been around for as long as there’s been an Earth, if not longer. Nabu is one of the very few people who could actually take the Stranger down, so for now they have no option but to wait and see what happens between the two mystical powerhouses.
Back on Myrra, Zatanna explains to Man-Bat that the land of Myrra is built on magic in a way that Earth isn’t - a magical idea that bloomed into an entire world with its own unique rules. Rules that Bobo somehow broke with a spell from a spellbook. Zatanna, looking over the spellbook, realizes all too quickly what the problem is: Bobo used a spell to bring Jim Rook back to life, and it backfired, horribly, because death functions differently on Myrra than it does back on Earth. Zatanna then confides in Diana and tells her that a message she’d gotten from her father had conveyed that one of them could either be a savior or a destroyer of magic, and given what Bobo had done...well. The possibilities weren’t great. Zatanna tells Blue Devil that they need the warlocks he has to help bind the rules of death back into place, but the warlocks have already suggested another idea to Dan – killing Bobo.
Diana visits Bobo in his cell and tells him that he should have told them what he’d done. She adds that they’re trying to find a way to fix it themselves, and Bobo wonders why they’re trying to save him at all. Diana explains that she knows that there is good in him, despite what he might believe of himself, and then breaks him out of his cell so that they can solve the matter at hand.
Back on Earth, Nabu and the Phantom Stranger are engaged in battle, and Nabu urges Swamp Thing and Constantine to run. Nabu has a plan to stop the Phantom Stranger, and it’s a bad one. Well, a good one, but a bad one for those on Phantom Stranger’s side. Nabu raises the Helm of Fate and pulls the Phantom Stranger into it as his prisoner.
On Myrra, Bobo and Diana come back to the castle as a battle rages outside. Bobo wants to look over the spell and see if he can figure out what he needs to fix, while Diana and Blue Devil go out to fight the horde of skeletal warriors.
Constantine refuses to leave the scene of the battle, but tells Swamp Thing that he needs to go because Nabu’s about to open an entranceway to Olympus, which means that the Otherkind can’t be far behind. Swamp Thing is hesitant to leave Constantine, but he explains that nothing is more important than keeping Zatanna alive. Swamp Thing leaves, leaving Constantine to face off against Nabu alone.
In Myrra, as Diana and Blue Devil fight outside, inside, Bobo realizes where he went wrong – there was a part of the spell he missed, and it was the part that would have closed the door between the dead and the living. Bobo finally owns up to his power as the Nightmaster and closes that door. Later on, he makes reparations with Blue Devil and strikes a deal with him – Blue Devil wants to stay in Myrra and help rebuild, and Bobo tells him that he’ll make sure that Blue Devil can return to Earth every other Tuesday so he’s not completely cut off. Blue Devil thanks him and then reminds him that there’s one part of Rook’s will that Bobo has to complete – finding Jim Rook’s son, the true heir to the Sword of Night. The Justice League Dark gets ready to depart, then, but before they leave, Dan leave Diana with a warning – it's nice that she believes in him, but when it matters most, Bobo will let her down and cost the Justice League Dark everything.
The heroes return home, and as soon as they do, Zatanna’s arm starts bleeding and she gets a message from Constantine carved into her arm– find Mordru. That’s when Swamp Thing arrives with a message of his own – Constantine has fallen at the hands of Nabu...and the Otherkind have arrived.
If there was any doubt that the stakes would be lowered after the lead-up to The Witching Hour and the end of that storyline, this issue dispels any worries. There’s a lot going on here, and as has come to be expected, James Tynion IV pulls it all off with a well-written script and story. The way he’s writing and building these relationships between the members of the Justice League Dark, as well as the other characters that they come across, like Blue Devil. Seeing Wonder Woman and Blue Devil work together is a rare moment, a high light, and a great way to expand Diana’s social circle and root her in the magical community. The friendship that Tynion continues to build between Diana and Bobo is also a delight – it was a friendship that was absolutely unexpected, but that’s been wonderful to see grow. Tynion writes possibly the best version of Diana since Greg Rucka – warm, strong, open, and understanding. She connects with Bobo in a way that few others would be able to, and her belief in him – whether or not it’s misguided, as Blue Devil suggested it might be – gives him some of the strength and confidence he needs to set things right, and that sort of teamwork is great to see. Another great, great beat was the moment where Zatanna stands up for Man-Bat in front of Blue Devil, calling him a friend and reiterating the fact that he’s a member of that branch of the Justice League. Man-Bat was definitely one of the more out-there characters added to this version of the League, but his acceptance by the group has been great, and while he’s really only been a background character for the most part, his time to shine will surely come at some point, and it’ll be fantastic to see what, exactly, Tynion does with him.
Nabu has been one of the overhanging threats of the series since this volume has begun, and seeing just how powerful he is is terrifying. Dr. Fate has always been considered one of the most powerful beings on the planet, and withou a host, it’s easy to see why – he’s just as awful as the Spectre could be when left to his own devices. While Constantine will obviously be saved from whatever trouble he’s in – he’s fallen, but not dead – and Phantom Stranger will certainly be freed from the helm, how it happens remains to be seen, but it’s sure to be a hell of a fight getting there.
There are two very interesting tidbits dropped at the end of the issue which are sure to have some far-reaching future repercussions for the team. For one thing, Bobo was tasked with finding Jim Rook’s son, a never-before-seen character who very well could be an interesting addiiton to the Justice League Dark, if the book decides to go that way. It does seem a likely direction, as the book seems to be more of a spiritual successor to the pre-Flashpoint Shadowpact book than it does the earlier incarnation of Justice League Dark. Hopefully this means we’ll get to see more of Nightshade too in the future, as she’s another fantastic, unexplored character. Additionally, Constantine urges Zatanna to seek out Mordru, one of the most prominent Lords of Chaos in the DC Universe, and longtime adversary of the Justice Society of America. A character who is basically Nabu’s opposite, it’s clear why Constantine wants Zatanna to seek him out, but whether or not Mordru agrees to help…well, that’s the big question, isn’t it?
Daniel Sampere continues his art duties in this issue, alpngside Juan Albarran on inks and Adriano Lucas on pencils, and it’s a beautiful looking book. Especially of note is the wonderful detailing that goes into the conversation between Diana and Bobo – all the special care and attention given to Bobo to make him seem more like a real chimp than some toonish facsimile of one. The fight between Phantom Stranger and Dr. Fate is just swirls of background color, but it’s effective, showing two difference forces of power and magic against each other, consuming everything around them, which is an effective way to show just how strong the beings are.
Justice League Dark continues to be a surprise and a delight with well-crafted interpersonal relationships and interesting (and surprising) plot developments.
Justice League Dark #6: Chaos on Two Worlds
Writing - 10/1010/10
Storyline - 10/1010/10
Art - 8/108/10
Color - 8/108/10
Cover Art - 9/109/10
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