In Review: Justice League Dark #21

The cover: Ahh…How romantic! Deadman and Madame Xanadu embrace (kinda sorta) under the watchful gaze of several hooded skeletons. Who says love is dead? What the heck is going on here?! The perfect tease from artist Mikel Janin. Overall grade: A

The story: The conclusion to Horror City opens with a horrific flashforward. Twenty years in the future Xanadu and Constantine are in a field of debris. Before them Doctor Destiny and two members of the Cult of the Cold Flame stand against the impaled bodies of several JLD members: Zatana, Frankenstein, Flash, Swamp Thing, Amethyst…There are too many to name. Boston Brand reveals he has possessed Constantine, who holds Xanadu close to kiss her as Destiny detonates. The two share a final tender moment as the end of the world occurs. How do you top the end of the world if you’re Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire? You go back to the present and show how our heroes have to keep this far flung future from ever happening. Frankenstein, Flash and Xanadu get the most action this issue, with the latter getting the big scene on Page 18. The fight for the control of the House of Mystery is resolved, albeit a bit too quickly; the solution made sense, but I would have enjoyed this story going on for a little longer, like another issue or two, but crossovers call–here comes Trinity next month! Overall grade: A

The art: This issue looks really good this month. Every character, panel and page is crisp and clean where every fine detail in the art can be seen. Mikel Janin did the entire book, though Vincente Cifuentes finished the final ten pages. You can’t tell when Cifuentes comes in because the entire book looks so good. Particular stand outs are the overwhelming deaths on Page 1, Destiny on 8, Xanadu on 12, the split faces on Page 16 in panels three and four, the top of Page 19, which gets the splash treatment on 20. It all works. Overall grade: A

The colors: Magic dominates the choices Jeromy Cox has and does he show off the many varieties of it! The “BOOM” on Page 3, the Flash running on Pages 6 and 7, Destiny’s magic on 8, the “SKRITCH” on Page 18, and the perfect coloring on the final page to give the impression of a very dark night, yet enough light is present for the reader to see what’s going on. Overall grade: A

The letters: Tons of sounds, many different fonts for different characters, and spot-on dialogue and narration from Rob Leigh. Love the font for this issue’s title on Page 3. Overall grade: A

The final line: Things wrap up nicely…until 2033, possibly. So let’s enjoy this while we can. Overall grade: A


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comics Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as possible, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.

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