Justice League Dark - C+
Ah Justice League Dark, why do you taunt me so! I am enjoying this book so far basically on principal because it is dealing with the magical side of the DC universe and fantasy has always been one of my favorite genres. With that being said, this title has dropped on my own personal ranking of the comics in The New 52 lineup and I think it is struggling to deliver.
This title has a very distinct identity in the 52 line-up. It's a comic about magic users dealing with a magical universe. The characters, however, seem a bit muddled to me. I'm one of the new readers that DC was trying to appeal to when the relaunched their comics, and it worked! The fanboy in me couldn't pass up the chance at a whole stack of #1comics and I jumped in, after wiping the drool from my lips of course. With that being said, I've never read DC comics and I know little about the characters under this title. In issue 6, I feel like I don't know the characters in the title any better than I did in issue 1, except Deadman whose origins I learned in the first 5 issues of DC PRESENTS.
Knowing so little about them, it's hard for me to relate to their attitudes. Zatana is fine, I can kinda understand her though I don't know anything about her origins and how she came to learn and use her backwards magic. Shade is arguably my favorite character so far. He's the only one whose attitude directly relates to the mental anguish that his M-Vest puts him through. I don't know who he is, where he's from, or how he got his vest, but I do understand the horror he must be facing as the M-Vest mutates his every attempt to recreate his lost love. With that being said, however, I don't understand why he doesn't just let her memory rest in peace and move on to seek companionship in a woman he doesn't have to create himself. Constantine's a dick, which is fine because he is consistent at least, but I would like to know why he's a dick.
Deadman's character has to be the most frustrating. I loved Paul Jenkins portrayal of the ghost of Boston Brand in the first 5 issues of THE DC UNIVERSE PRESENTS: DEADMAN. I identified with the ghost's struggle to come to terms with why he was being put through body after body by Rama and his fight to regain control of his own destiny. But I feel that all that character growth is lost be Peter Milligan as he writes JLD. First of all, Deadman is, you guessed it, dead! We already know that he doesn't need to eat or sleep because he is free of the needs of his physical body. But what is the first thing he does in this series? He hops into an unwitting strangers body so he can bang his girlfriend. But we just established that Deadman is a ghost and freed of the needs of his physical body, so where is he getting this need to get his ghostly rocks off if his physical body isn't producing the urge to procreate? He should be exploring the depths of the human condition, exploring new ways to be intimate (which is an emotional need to feel close to another person that should transcend just sex) with his girl rather than turning into a supernatural swinger. Then, when his girlfriend gets understandably upset that Boston wants to jump her bones while in the body of a complete stranger (who just happens to have a girlfriend of his own who probably wouldn't be as keen on the arrangement) storms out, Deadman gets uncomfortably friendly with June Moon, a woman he barely knows and just met. Then he breaks up with Dove because his life is TOO DANGEROUS, ignoring the fact that she is already an avatar of peace already and well familiar with the dangers of the world herself, then dreams about her death and blames himself for it because he did break up with her. He just doesn't seem like a very consistent character.
I enjoyed the first arc of this series in which the Justice League battle Enchantress. The stakes were high and there was a real need for the Dark Justice League. My problems with the first arc were this: 1) Having no former experience with DC comics at the time, I had no idea who Enchantress and June Moon were and the author of the books did nothing to reconcile what it meant that the two halves of one person were operating freely from one another or why and how the effects of Flashpoint caused which leads me to my next point 2) There was no resolution. Not any meaningful resolution anyway. Constantine feeds the confused June Moon to the hungry witch essence and Enchantress is fixed, but no one investigates the cause of the situation. They just dust off their hands and go on about their business.