What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Dark #23! As one of the most consistent books which DC has to offer, I was just as anxious as the last issue to see what comes next. This is yet another mission for the JLD where the fate of the world hangs in the balance. Now more than before that is important to understand when this issue also serves as the conclusion to ‘The Parliament of Life’. Meaning, we have some big stuff to look forward to.
With Justice League Dark #23, the game changes in the best way. Up to this point the JLD has been fighting a battle they didn’t quite yet comprehend. That seems to be a running theme for them. This was a great time for this to stop being the case. This issue picked up at that point where most of the team is back together, and right where they’re supposed to be knowing that their greatest concern is The Rot. A majority of this issue was creating that understanding, and then setting into motion a solution to their problems. This was where things got interesting. It actually felt a bit nostalgic because it has been so long since that last story where there was an interaction with the parliaments on this scale. There was only one thing which did throw me for a loop, and that was the familiarity to some of them. It wasn’t because they were fundamentally different. It was the fact that they looked different. For some of these parliaments, they usually were easy to distinguish from one another because the visual laid heavy into the appearance of their domain.
Now obviously, just because they knew this ritual was going to return balance to the parliaments, that didn’t mean it was going to be a simple task. As they said, this is a chapter which would be filled with betrayals and twists abound. When you read that, it could have only meant one thing. Whatever John Constantine was plotting with Woodrue was going to now become clear. Though with that said, the real shocker was seeing how there was much more to what we were expecting from Constantine. You couldn’t have prepared for the things he had planned himself, simply because he knows things no one else does about what is unfolding. While one would hope that this book did more for Constantine becoming a better person? Right now he serves as the perfect representation of what it looks like when there is a bigger picture at play. For better or for worse he is the guy who is making sure that game is still played in their favor.
Speaking of a bigger picture, I was glad to see them prove me right about this book still being consistent. On the surface this story arc seemed like the start of something new, but at the end of the day the danger is still the same. The JLD is fighting this one threat, though without realizing that the strings are still being pulled by the same person.
It was through issues like this where you formed a greater appreciation for the art style used for this story arc. It’s strange, obscure, and overall fitting to the visual appeal of the dark corner of the DC Universe. When you think of the parliaments of the world, you still think that you will find some natural beauty to it. Though this art team had different ideas in mind for the image they wanted to put in our heads. Familiarity aside to the parliaments, they were still designed in a way that created a feeling of intimidation for how ancient these forces of nature are. Visually what took me by surprise has been the decision that Constantine would be drawn more like his Hellblazer title counterpart. Some writers have this thing where they swing between that version, what most expect him to look like, or going for one that resembles Matt Ryan. Neither would be wrong either. The way other characters were drawn stood out too. For some of them, the work with the expressions matched the tone perfectly. I would say that the colors made a big difference there. I would call the colors organic, though at the same time I would also say pale. You were always left with the impression that everyone was on their toes about what came next.
As the conclusion to ‘The Parliament of Life’, Justice League Dark #23 brought closure to a problem that was long past due for a solution. You have to appreciate a book like this which consistently delivers on decisive endings to the stories told. While also still making sure that there is both a natural and linear progression to everything that has been set in motion since the first story arc.