What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Dark #22! With the scheduling of comic releases getting back to something normal, this left JLD as the last Justice League book which had yet made a return. Once again, if you loved the Charles Soule run of Swamp Thing, then this story arc for JLD is a must-read. As they said, minds, worlds, and lives hang in the (im)balance when the natural world has bee thrown into chaos once more.
The great thing about this new arc for Justice League Dark is the fact that this creative team has not forgotten what makes this book what it is. This is a book which dares to journey to that dark place and get lost in it. They enhanced that experience in this new arc by taking us back into the conflict of the parliaments. One which some of us know to be full of terrors and strangeness. I mean, could you really imagine a world where you were running from people covered in mushrooms the way these people are? Don’t worry, even if you couldn’t imagine it, you have a very capable art team like this one which was more than able to put a perfect image in your head. All of this made the situation which Wonder Woman, Animal Man, and Bobo found themselves handling, chilling. Animal Man’s solution to it was definitely strange, but it was on brand at the same time.
Now what shakes things up in this situation is the way that the issues of balance has been handled. Before, this was a parliament situation that was handled most by those connected to them. This time around there is the addition of those connected to magic as a whole, because it makes sense that this would also be a magical problem. The natural world would have to be thrown into a state of chaos too if things ever got this bad in the world.
What deserves recognition as well is the dialogue and narration for this story. Beautiful work if you as me because these are people speaking for the survival of everything they hold dear, and there are words shared throughout which describe something pivotal in the world unfolding. They nailed this approach towards putting us right there in the moment to feel the weight of it all.
Beyond this, I am enjoying this twist to Constantine’s story. This is not the kind of guy you imagine to ever have his strings pulled by someone else. That someone like him really is acting according to an intricate plan that has been set in motion really says a lot about what is at stake right now. The good, the bad, he’s pretty much there to experience it all while making sure everything happens as they should. I for one want to know where this is all leading and how someone could have that much foresight into future events without making too many waves.
If I’m being honest, there was a mistake I did make when this story arc first began. I recall I had my concerns about this art team. In fact I wasn’t fully on board with what they had to offer compared to the last team. Maybe it was because of the difference in penciling,or maybe it was the less flashy approach with the colors. But this issue reminded me that there was a lot more to look for than the spectacle. Sometimes it pays to be more of a risk-taker and bold enough to genuinely venture into that world of magic. I felt that through the work with sigils, the visual effects that really engage you in a dream world, the detail in things grotesque. The list goes on, and this art team was right there focusing on the very things which scream supernatural and unnatural. Let’s take the dream sequence for example. The consuming of everything in white to strip the color, and even how the word boxes were fading into loose-leaf paper was brilliant.
At the end of the day, Justice League Dark is not the book you should sleep on right now. Just when you thought this book couldn’t captivate you more than everything you have seen so far, issue #22 reminds you of the limitless potential in a book like this. While other books are quick to jump to the next thing, Justice League Dark remains one of the most consistent books which DC has to offer.