The Mysterious Man
With all the nice things getting said about this series since Jeff Lemire took over writing duties since issue 9, combined with the release of the new Constantine series, I decided to get the back issues of this, and boy am I happy I have. It's been phenomenal, and one of the most unique series I've seen in the New 52, and I'm glad I've given it a try.
After a shocking betrayal last issue the Justice League Dark are planing how to stop Felix Faust, and the traitor. Meanwhile Madame Xanadu continues to convince Tim Hunter to help her, and a mysterious man is up to something.
Yet again this series continues to amaze me, and after the shocking conclusion to the last issue, I expected a lot from this issue, and it didn't disappoint. Jeff Lemire produced a very interesting, and exciting issue here, and I loved how he managed to keep it so dynamic, whilst also explaining the betrayal. I won't mention who the traitor is in this review, seems it's just after, but I may in future reviews, so although you're safe from the spoiler here, be warned as my next couple of reviews may not. Overall I have loved what Lemire has been doing in the New 52, and literary anything he works on, whether this, Green Arrow, or Animal Man, it's always something interesting, and unique, and although series like Batman, and the normal Justice League series will always have a higher following, and be higher up pull lists, they're not as unique as these darker series, that are almost always gripping, and exciting. Lemire also did a brilliant job of splitting the story into multiple parts, whilst keeping the development of the overall story at a good pace, and overall there isn't nothing I can fault, and although this wasn't the best issue in the series it wasn't far behind, and still very entertaining.
Mikel Janin continues to amaze me with his artwork, and I just love everything about it, feeling that it's the best art for the series, and although there are better artists out there, I don't think they'd bring the right feel to the series, like Janin has. As I've said before I love that everything's so neat, and crisp, with all the lines being smooth, showing the detail even clearer. I do however think that a big thing that will have helped Janin with the quality of his art is that he's been doing his own inks as well, and I always think that the inks go best with the art if it's the artist that's doing it, even though there's great inkers out there. Janin also did a fabulous job of layouts, and general positioning of characters, as everyone looked to be in the right place, giving a very dramatic, and movie like feel to the issue. The colours from Ulises Arreola were also brilliant, and they have really helped bring the right tone to this series, improving Janin's already stunning artwork. I also loved that the colours were a bit softer in the flashback sequences, giving a faded tone, showing that it's old, or in this case, a older time frame.
This issue started by showing the traitor's history, and why they betrayed their friend. Like I said earlier I won't name the traitor as there may be people reading this review that decide to get the previous issues also, and with this event happening I'd still feel like it was a spoiler, but I may mention the traitors name in my following reviews, so once again be warned if you read them. Although I found it shocking when the traitor betrayed the JLD, also feeling negatively towards them, this issue kinda made me feel a bit of sympathy for them, as it showed how they "needed" to do this for their personal greater good. I still however felt overall negativity towards the traitor, but at the same time this was probably the main goal of Lemire whilst writing this issue, and it payed off.
The following sequence showed Steve Trevor awful angry at Constantine for slipping up (you've guessed it, neither Trevor, nor Constantine was the traitor, but that's a bit obvious), and they land up deciding that it's best to split up, with Constantine and one of the remaining JLD members going to the Slaughter Swamp in Gotham City, and the other two members following Faust and the traitor to Peru (I've worded it this way to obscure the identity of the traitor). Splitting the team into two was a very interesting thing for Lemire to do, for a few reasons. Not only does it have the JLD not putting all their eggs in one basket, but it also gives for different scenery, and a wider story. It also weakens the JLD, as with them being split into two different groups neither will be at their full power. Another thing I liked was that this lead to action, as we see both groups get into fights, and although I won't speak specifics, I will say that it was very exciting, and interesting.
The Xanadu, and Tim Hunter part of this story took a step back in this issue, and wasn't really developed much, only spanning a page and a bit, but that small addition was still interesting, and kept the story alive. Although it was a shame only seeing so little of this part of the story, I think it was the right thing to do, as with everything else that's happening at the same time, adding more of this story would take away from the others, and the development of the entire story would be a lot slower, whereas slowing the development of this part for one issue doesn't damage the overall development too much. As I said what did happen in this sequence was very interesting, and the art was amazing, but due to it holding key information I won't mention anything specific to avoid spoilers, but I will say that I'm looking forward to the continuation of this.
It was also revealed in this issue that Faust, and the traitor weren't working alone, and that they were working with a mystery man. I found this a real interesting development, as it adds yet another twist to the story. What I like even more is that the character is kept a secret, adding more mystery to this already mysterious story. Again I won't go into specifics about the sequence he featured in as to avoid spoilers, but the conversational dialogue between this man and Faust was very interesting, and it showed that this man was the real player. I also found the very minor things that were revealed about this person to be very interesting, as it shows that he has a bigger connection to this story.
This was yet another brilliant issue in this phenomenal series, and Lemire has really produced something magical in this story. This was also a very interesting, entertaining, and mystical issue, and I'd recommend both this issue, and the entire series from issue 9 to anyone, as it's one of the most unique series I myself have read in a while.