I’m not going to lie, the wait to this issue felt like forever. This is one of those books where you struggle to hold on to your patience for because the stakes are so high compared to other books tied to unleashing of doom across the multiverse. Especially when our Justice League Dark right now are in the worst position they have ever been in at the hands of one Circe who is reaping the benefits from being able to stay steps ahead of these heroes for so long. Like I said last month, this is one of those stories where it does not pay to be a step behind, and boy did this team learn the hard way what happens when this is the case.
If you didn’t think the Injustice League Dark wasn’t going to be much of a challenge, that chapter said otherwise. This month’s issue wasted little time as well to continue driving that point home. Particularly when spending the time to flesh out the motivations of Circe through her current actions set in motions. The big thing right now has without a doubt been how this creative team planned to sell us on what she had been planning all of this time. Again, we already knew that she could not be trusted long ago. Everything after that came down to the execution of that point where she would show her true face. They nailed that point, though what came next was creating genuine engagement from Circe as well. This too they have done well so far. It goes a long way to understand her story from the perspective of someone who was approached by Hecate to receive the Witchmark.
Now just as fast as they were to dive into Circe’s motivations, they did the same with what would come next once she got what she wanted in Wonder Woman’s body. The execution of that moment was on point, and I appreciated that they didn’t drag on the charade longer than need be. The build-up was believable, and I’m glad that they took advantage of those who know how to read a room when everyone crossed paths once more. The one character who caught me off guard in that moment the most is Zatanna. I almost rolled my eyes at the position she was again put into, you know as if no one knows any real way to disable her. Though she overcame this in the most brutal of ways that you didn’t expect getting a visual of.
Catching up with Wonder Woman in the Collective Unconscious was interesting for the fact that this was the part where just about anything could happen, and did. It was a short scene, but it set up for something terrifying which should get us all looking forward to the next issue.
Now when I flipped open to that first page, I was definitely a bit disappointed. For DC, this book was consistently one of the most visually appealing books they offered. My initial impression was that they heavily toned it down, and it felt like they were about to take us out of the immersion just from that. As I progressed through the issue, this impression did manage to change by the end. This was one of those situations where the art team had to really get their footing with these characters and the supernatural elements to it which makes it stand out. From there the renderings were stunning, expressions captivating, and the action was explosive. Some things also just seemed to be a matter of perspective which does make a difference for artists like this. It also made a big difference when at a certain point they really got playful with the layout design of the pages and panels.
All in all, Justice League Dark #17 was a great issue for those of us who wanted a bit more depth from Circe. This by no way means that we need to sympathize with her, but it always goes a long way to understand what goes through her mind when she decides that this is what it means to have power and be in control.