What’s up everyone! Welcome to Beyond The Panel. Coming at you today with talk about Justice League Dark #26! As I said last month, where we are right now in the story is a time to get excited. Everything has been leading to this confrontation with the Upside-Down Man as the entire Justice League Dark team storms the Other Place. This is the kind of story which rewards you for your patience because this has been a confrontation in the making since the first issue. Right now everything is coming full circle, and what we wanted to see from this issue is the entirety of the team stepping up to the plate.
With that said, things kicked off with the search for one John Constantine. This part took me by surprise because who would have guessed that he would have somehow found himself in trouble that he needed rescuing from? The guy who conveniently had all the answers for what to do, and somehow he was subdued by someone who at first seemed unfamiliar. I mean that’s not to say that they didn’t make it pretty obvious who trapped him from the state of the room being surrounded by cards. However, one would have assumed that the likes of Madame Xanadu would have been more welcoming to whatever was going to be asked of her to help save the world of magic. So when we got an actual line of conversation out of her, I was intrigued by what created this situation. More so by the kind of help she offered towards the end.
Now I also feel as though I would be doing myself a disservice not to address the importance of the main takeaway from that conversation with Madame Xanadu. That being the final lesson in how the magic of this world works. Up to this issue, this creative team has been consistent with the exploration of the general rule of magic, and the constant rule emphasized that there is always a cost to it. However, this time around there was a different approach taken towards simply exploring the way magic works, and I should say there’s a distinct difference between the two. It is one thing to know the rules of magic, but it is another thing to understand what creates magic. This was something so small, and yet so powerful to grasp. It meant a lot that there is one book out there which was ready to take that next step into the world of magic.
From there it was everyone else coming together to play their part in what comes next. As I said above, the excitement from this chapter is the way that they are each stepping up to the plate to do what has to be done. Any one of them could have turned tail and saved themself, but that wouldn’t have been genuine to the experience they have all survived to get to this point. I even liked the bit thrown in to get Khalil to where he needed to be for their confrontation with the Upside-Down Man. When they all came together in the Other Place? It was a magical moment because you have never seen this team with so much confidence in their ability to stand up to a greater power. Even if you knew what was meant by them finding out the true anger of the Upside-Down Man’s power and cost of his anger, for better or worse they still knew exactly what had to be done and were ready for it.
Like before, stunning work from this art team. Credit where it is due that at this stage in the plot we have an art team who knows how to bring out the best that these characters have to offer. Off the bat, the design for Madame Xanadu was a refreshing change from what was usually so safe about her attire. Another decision which stood out was what it would look like when the Upside-Down Man is enraged. It’s no simple task putting character into someone who stands upside-down always, and without anything other than a mouth to express with. He looked terrifying for everything which gave him more of a monstrous appearance. Aside from that, there was the explosiveness of the colors which created the right kind of atmosphere for the battle which unfolded. Not only that, but the inking which helped set the tone as well.
Justice League Dark #26 may not be the issue where the big battle reaches it’s decisive end, but this creative team succeeded in setting up one heck of a climax to come next month. One which will make this an all or nothing encounter.