What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Dark #21! Since the minute it was made known that we would be re-entering the world of the Parliaments, I found myself a bigger fan of this book than I was before. We’ve gone to some dark and twisted places already in this book, darker than you would have thought they were willing to go at the start, but it gets no worse than dealing with the Rot. As we already saw at the start of this story arc, handling the likes of Anton Arcane is always easier said than done. Especially when you don’t see him coming! They don’t even have to say his name yet for us to know that it is him too.
So as I said before, 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. For the likes of one John Constantine and Zatanna, this was definitely stepping into something that was outside of their wheelhouse. Well more when it comes to Zatanna, but either way this is not their world. As I also said last month, I had hopes that this creative team would blow the doors open to a world that is more extensive than it seems on the surface between the different kingdoms and their avatars. They did not disappoint there through where their search for Abigail took them. This was not even a place I remember being taken to in the past either, which made this exploration of the Rot very much appreciated.
What came of this new destination was a thrill-ride because of course nothing is ever that simple when Constantine is involved. What obstacles they faced was intense, and definitely got us where we needed to be when there was only ever one person who could have been behind this madness.
Now back with Wonder Woman, Animal Man, and Bobo, that was where things were at their most dire. With no real solution to work with, all they could really do was old back these Rot-infected people without resorting to killing them. This part here was chilling, yet it was also exciting because this is where teams like this thrive. Particularly when it involves heroes like Wonder Woman who will push to some extraordinary limits to create a fighting chance. There was one page in particular which left me speechless because of the approach she took towards stepping up to the plate. I loved the layout of the scene which was multiple actions played out at once progressing down a flight of stairs. Credit where it is due for this art team that they do not waste an opportunity to play around with the creativity in how this story is visually presented to us.
Though a slow crawl, it has been an experience following the adventures of Abigail Arcane through the depths of the Rot. When you are familiar with her story, then you know that this is a deprived world that she controls. Worse even when existing in that world without a hand on the steering wheel. It was an experience for the fact that everything she was going through was pretty vague. Pretty much the definition of a dream sequence, except of course this is anything but an actual dream. Just the use of blacks, whites, and even the horrific images thrown in her face made the statement that this was more of a nightmare. June Chung did an excellent job as once more the art team was finding a unique way to keep our eyes engaged with something refreshing from page to page.
While I did admire the interior work from this art team in the issue before, it was with this second chapter that I found more confidence in what they offered. Especially when it came to Alvaro Martinez Bueno’s pencils. As good as they were in Justice League Dark #20, you could still see some areas where he was still adjusting to drawing these characters and elements of the Rot. In this issue he found much more form to what he drew, and his overall creativity in drawing most things Rot-infected was praise-worthy. No two things ever looked the same and the spread of the Rot was a thing of nightmares through the way it moved. Aside from this, the coloring made a big difference in taking us from one dark setting into the next. Whether it was the grotesque coloring of the Rot, the lack of color within the depths of the Rot, or the bold colors thrown into the action. Every scene was a different experience.
Never a dull moment with the Justice League Dark. You would think that this next part of their mission would be a bit more tame than what they had to do to stop Cerci, and then you jump into this new story arc to see that this creative team has no chill. Justice League Dark #20 opened the doors to the war of the Parliaments, but Justice League Dark #21 hit the ground running with everything that could go wrong for the world around this team when the balance has once more been jeopardized.