I don’t think I can say it enough. Justice League Dark is underrated as a book which has fully embraced the darkest corners of the DC Universe, and even the multiverse as a story connected to the madness of the Source Wall falling. Last month’s issue was stunning for the way that our heroes took on the power of chaos in order to put a stop to the Lords of Order. Just one of many obstacles now taken down as a threat to all magic on Earth. The only question which now remained is who takes on the power of the helmet next. Something to always fear when we have already seen what happens when the host losing control to Nabu.
With that in mind, the start to this issue was different to say the least. We started off in the past with a younger version of who used to be the host for Doctor Fate. Not to mention with a different art style too. This scene was an interesting choice for the fact that you couldn’t really tell how understanding Kent’s transformation into Doctor Fate would lead into the search for a new host. That is of course not to say that Kent’s backstory wasn’t something to appreciate. Not everyone knows his story.
Back in the present, that was where the real conversation took place about what to do with the helmet of fate. You would think that they would just lock it away and throw away the key. After everything Nabu put the magic community through, could you truly risk him causing the same level of trouble once more? To some extent you could also understand why they would need another host to take up the mantle. Last month’s victory was only one battle. There was still a whole war to win for them, and every advantage they could take had to be put on the table. The time they spent addressing the reluctance for anyone in the room to take the helmet was worth it.
What caught me by surprise was at the same time seeing that this issue would be a series of small stories told. Hard to argue with the choice when some can can be spent winding down after a big fight. This second story of the issue centered around Zatanna and Constantine. That was heartbreaking because we knew what was coming for Constantine. After everything Zatanna learned about the role she has been playing due to the strings pulled by Constantine and her father, this was not going to be a pleasant conversation. However, I don’t think anyone was prepared for the equal pain that Constantine himself had to share as someone who could ever truly do what he was told. The true pain to this story was the understanding of what it means when someone’s choice is taken from them.
Now as a tie-in to Year of the Villain “The Offer”, I really did wonder what kind of trouble the Justice League Dark would have to deal with on their end. I mean, how accustomed to the world of magic can Lex Luthor now be to present an agreeable offer to Circe of all magic users on Earth? Even if Lex Luthor knew a thing or two about monsters and where to find them, they would have to be some seriously powerful monsters. I was only a bit disappointed that there was nothing to this but the offer, with everything else after that left in the air.
I contrast to the issues before, there was nothing too standout about the artwork for this issue. Obviously I don’t say this as a bad thing, because the interior work for Justice League Dark is some of the best artwork you could get out of a Justice League book right now. It’s just that this is one of the more tame issues considering what we have gotten up to this point. What I did find interesting was the change in art style to re-establish the origin of both Kent and Constantine. Both styles were distinct to the story told, and well done in general.
Justice League Dark #13 served as more of an informative issue following the battle of chaos versus order. This may have been a slower issue, but not one scene was wasted setting this story up for what comes next between the fight for the fate of magic, and what doom now has to offer the world of magic.