What's Happened to the House of Mystery?
I only caught up with this series recently, having gotten every issue since Jeff Lemire took over writing, and I'm glad I have as it's been phenomenal, and although since Ray Fawkes became co-writer it's not been consistently phenomenal, it's still been outstanding, and had it's moments of brilliance.
After getting blown up at a race course John Constantine has lost his connection to The House of Mystery, and after telling the rest of the Justice League Dark about this he summons Swamp Thing (Alec Holland) for help. Steve Trevor also tries to enlist the help of Deadman.
This was an amazing issue, and although it started a little slowly it was the perfect start to what I'm hoping will be a phenomenal filler before Trinity War starts. Jeff Lemire, and Ray Fawkes once again show why the Dark side of the New 52 is more interesting, and now that they've basically brought my two favourite Dark series (this and Swamp Thing) together, whether it's a one of thing or not is brilliant, and makes it all the more interesting. Besides the fact that this story's already oozing with interesting possibilities, it also continues to show the mystical side of this series perfectly, also adding for more drama, and excitement. Lemire, and Fawkes also continue to write the characters perfectly, showing their characteristics brilliantly, and they've also done a terrific job of writing Swamp Thing, and I'd happily see either writer have a shot at writing Swamp Thing sometime in the future, although not soon as Charles Soule is doing a very good job after his first issue on that series. This story also had some brilliant character emotions in it, and Lemire, and Fawkes handled them well, making it very dramatic.
Mikel Janin continues to amaze me with his artwork, and although Lemire, and Fawkes give him phenomenal scripts to work with, it's his art that I love the most about this series. His style of art is amazing, and the smooth, crisp lines are what I like the most about his art, as although there are fabulous artists out there that use a more rougher style, I always love when an artist is able to show as much detail, whilst also making the finished work neat, and smooth. The way Janin lays his artwork out is also brilliant, and I really love the way it's bordered, as like most New 52 series it gives it it's own unique style, and tone. The thing that really stood out to me from Janin's art in this issue was the way he drew Swamp Thing, as it was brilliant, and I'd be more than happy if he ever worked on that series, but even more so if Swamp Thing became a current feature in this series as well. Janin also draws the little action that's in this issue, and the character's emotions brilliantly giving more drama, and suspense to the issue. Jeromy Cox's colours were once again amazing, and gives the right tone that this series needs.
This issue started with Constantine being blown up at a race track. This was an interesting, and explosive way to start the story, and was very unique. The thing I probably liked most was that this was the first time since Lemire started on the series that it didn't carry on directly from the previous story, which was nice as even superhero's need a rest. It was also interesting that Constantine won a 100/1 bet, as he's usual quite unlucky with stuff like that, and it made the set-up of the explosion even more suspenseful, as it was obvious that not everything was as it seemed.
Due to Constantine protecting himself from the blast he was disconnected from the House of Mystery temporally, giving change for someone to steal it. Now this was the main part of the story, and what the rest appears to be focused on. It was actually a little surprising as although I was expecting it to be involved, from the cover it looked to be in a different way. The mystery, and drama that would come out of this was also brilliant, and it has me really interested in the future of this story, as well as who took the House of Mystery.
After Constantine was blown up it showed Deadman, in another person's body visiting Steve Trevor. Now besides the last issue being the end of the last story, it also showed that the connection that the JLD had with A.R.G.U.S. was severed, and that A.R.G.U.S. would be after the JLD. This was interesting, and to see the continuation of it in this issue was interesting, especially considering Trinity War is on the horizon. The fact that Trevor wanted Deadman to be a spy for him, even offering him a part in the Justice League of America, was even more interesting, and the overall conversion showed both character's characteristics. I did however find it interesting that Deadman didn't actually give an answer.
This issue saw the first appearance of Swamp Thing in the JLD. Now I've really been loving Swamp Thing in the New 52, and since I started getting this series I felt that Swamp Thing would be the perfect fit, especially considering he has history with Deadman, Frankenstein, and Constantine (although they can't remember). The fact that they brought this up in the issue, referencing Rotworld, and the fact that no one bar Swamp Thing (and Animal Man) remembered it. I also liked how like everyone Constantine summons that Swamp Thing wasn't happy, and actually threatened Constantine. Now I won't say much more as to avoid spoilers, but I'm looking forward to seeing more of Swamp Thing in this story, and hope that at some point he becomes a regular member.
Like the cover stated this issue also featured the Flash (Barry Allen). Now this was actually a bit disappointing, as with Flash featuring on the cover I was expecting him to have a biggish role in the issue, but he only appeared at the end. I wasn't however that bothered about this as it was the Swamp Thing appearance that I was more interested in, and the Flash was just an added bonus. I did however like the small appearance, and am looking forward to seeing what he has to offer as the story continues, and with Trinity War coming up it'll be interesting to see a member of the normal Justice League, team-up with the JLD.
This was the perfect start to a new story, which looks to be a brilliant short filler before Trinity War. With the addition of Swamp Thing I expect big things from this story, and with the extra addition of the Flash even more. This issue didn't have too much action, but it was still exciting, and mysterious, as well as very unique. I would highly recommend this issue, as well as the series since issue 9, as it's been one of the best series in the New 52.