What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Dark #20! Or in other words, new story arc time! With all the doom madness between the end of all that is and the rise of Cersi, of course we would get around to saving Swamp Thing who was the only casualty of that war. As someone who fell head over heels for Charles Soule’s Swamp Thing, and even has a poster hanging of a favorite issue from that running, the excitement was real when we would finally jump back into a story centered around the avatars and parliaments.
Now what caught me off guard here was how the direction changed with this new story arc. We knew what we were expecting from it, but this didn’t prepare us for how we were going to jump into it. This creative team was quick to hit the ground running with this new situation. We got our reintroduction to Animal Man, and then from there an introduction to the new situation which has now arisen from the balance being disturbed for the parliaments. Off the bat, I was glad to see Animal Man again. There is no better hero to take the charge into this when he has experience with what comes from balance shifts. Not to mention he is the guy who has the connections leading into the other avatars.
From there of course there was a lot of laying the groundwork for everything that is now unfolding. Some could say there was a lot of talking, but it was all very insightful since there is nothing about this new situation that does not connect to everything the Justice League Dark has been through up to this point. So with that said, this certainly is not a story that you want to simply jump into useless you are either caught up on current issues, or up to date on things which have happened in the past Swamp Thing stories. Now does that mean you can’t pick up on the direction given the gist of the situation? You can, and that is something to appreciate as well.
With this being a new story arc, even then things can never be that straightforward. We may not know directly what this old evil may be, even though I want to assume Anton Arcane, but it is a good mystery they stirred up when its hard to say who this magical team should be worrying about more. This mysterious enemy? The Parliaments? One of their own? Who knows! And that is the further appeal of a book like this. They know how to keep us all on our toes through the element of the unknown.
I’m not going to lie, I was a bit taken back when with this new story arc we would also be introduced to a new art team. If you’ve read my previous reviews for this book, then you know that I have loved the teams which we have gotten to this point. They shared similar styles, and all really nailed the glow-up look of these heroes and their corner of the universe. However, this art team? They brought something completely different to the table, and yet? I couldn’t help but still love it. Different is different, but they still managed to nail the same atmosphere which makes this story what it is. From the minute you flip open to that first page, the thin pencils, strong inks, pale colors, all of it gives you the impression that you are stepping into a world of strangeness. And we do. I even loved the way that characters like Constantine were drawn more like how they look in their own solo books (Hellblazer).
Justice League Dark #20 marks the start of something familiar, yet all the same thrilling. Once more this magic team has been thrown outside of their wheelhouse, and that is the best place for them to be when the this team overcoming great odds is peak excitement. I hope that this creative team blows he doors wide open to a world that is more extensive than it seems on the surface between the different kingdoms and their avatars.