When they first announced that Justice League Dark would be taking a turn towards more influence from Year of the Villain, I was quite concerned about what this meant for the book. This just so happens to be one of those which benefits from being more self-contained than other things unfolding around the world. The destruction of the Source Wall and what not did have a big impact on the direction of this story, but you never would have thought anything more to play a part down the road.
Then here comes the slow progression of Circe who we knew for some time has had her own agenda for helping out Wonder Woman and the Justice League Dark team. She hard her own agenda which unfortunately also included the help of the Upside Down Man of all creatures to team up with. Though it didn’t end there as Lex Luthor gives her access to the very things that would pretty much ensure that she gets what she wants, like every other villain in the world right now. At that point, we were set up to anticipate what doom could also now has to offer the world of magic. So far I have been impressed because everything is for the most part connecting. This includes the events of the Justice League Dark Annual which introduced us to the new champion of The Green, The Floronic Man of all entities.
It could have easily taken another issue for so for them to kick off Circe’s plan, but it was much better that with this one we were thrown right into what comes next. Little time did they waste from start to finish when it came to leading this team towards the truth that the person who will cause them the most trouble is the very person who has been helping them all this time. Many ways they could have figured this out, but I personally appreciated the push they were given in the right direction without actually outright giving them all the answers. Magic after all is about how you get around the rules to get what you want.
We also managed to see the team that Circe was able to put together, and I welcomed a majority of who she brought to her ranks. Most of them were powerful in their field and had something that would easily even out the field against the Justice League Dark team. It was only the decision to add one person that confused me since you might be a bit caught up wondering what happened to said person that they aren’t really anything like you remember.
Aside from this, it was exciting to further jump into all the ways that the rules of magic have changed forever. Every example of this that they have given us has been pretty cool since the team is now running into experiences with things that shouldn’t happen the way that they do. The scenario they are thrown into this issue was perfect because of the action and response from the team after. Without going too much away about that scene, it was also one of the more appealing scenes handled by the art team. I till think they would have done the Floronic Man story better, but it is what it is. They more than made up for that absence in this issue where there was so much creative that they were able to dive into. The biggest thing was the new character design of Circe. They certainly had a bit of fun with her new costume and changes to her face in particular. The hair was wild, but nothing we haven’t seen from some of the others too. The intensity of colors used for her aura were stunning for the boldness of her glow.
For anyone out there who may have also had reservations about the Dark Gifts influence in this story, I would say that the events of Justice League Dark #14 more than puts you at ease. Once more they give us something big to look forward to. Bigger than the Witching Hour, and bigger than the clash with the Lords of Order.