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Justice League Dark #1 - In The Dark, Part One: Imaginary Women Review

4

Will this unlikely team of mystical characters join together to defeat a villain not even Superman can take on?

With the Enchantress losing control of her powers and the Justice League taking a heavy beating, who but a band of mystical heroes would be better off in handling magic?

The Good

The first issue of any team book should first and foremost introduce the team and all the character's we'll be seeing. If you're not a fan of heavy hitting Justice League action (or even if you are) and you are looking to read a new and very different kind of team book then this might be what you're looking for. The execution of magic is often something difficult for comic writers to convey, but writer Peter Milligan seems to be doing a fine job with his execution based on the first issue of Justice League Dark which, for all intents and purposes, is strictly a team comprised of characters with magical and mystical properties. The really cool part? A lot of the characters that appear therein are Vertigo characters; like Madam Xanadu, for example.

What happens when the Justice League fails to stop Enchantress who is seemingly losing control? Bring in some people who can defeat her; or at the very least, get her under control. The first issue introduces us to a cast of characters we'll be seeing join the Justice League Dark team like Madam Xanadu, Deadman, John Constantine and Zatanna for example. Most of the narration is done by Madam Xanadu (who is able to see the future). It's a good introductory issue to Justice League dark.

The Bad

If you're new to this series and unfamiliar with these characters you may have a hard time understanding the events that take place in this book. I don't feel the writer really explains who these characters are and what their powers are -- at least not all of them. This doesn't mean the issue is bad, by any means, but it might mean that you will have to do a little bit of research before you dive in.

The Verdict

Solid art and good story. I like the fact that the team is given a unique purpose; Milligan answers why a Justice League Dark team is even necessary by depicting Superman's inability to get the situation (The Enchantress) under control. I really enjoyed Madam Xanadu's character in this issue, and it's cool to have the perspective of an all knowing character who can foresee future events as part of the story. Good start to a new book, although it might be hard for new readers who are unfamiliar with many of these characters to grasp the events.

38 Comments
Posted by nazer858

I was really looking forward to this, and wasn't at all disappointed. Looking forward to reading the next issues, and I loved the stuff with the regular JL.

Posted by CombatSpoon86

good set up issue, I'm hooked for the long run.

Posted by fenixREVOLUTION

I'm glad to see Madame Xanadu back and liked this book more than I thought I would. My only gripe was the Justice League being in the issue, I understand why, but their dialogue felt kind of off to me, but I don't expect them to have more than cameos. I'll stick around for a few issues.

Posted by Bestostero

I really enjoyed the bits with the Justice League. I'm not liking the new look for Zatanna, they should've kept her design the same.

Posted by JonesDeini

@CombatSpoon86 said:

good set up issue, I'm hooked for the long run.

Yes this delivered everything I needed, and as a Vertigo man through and through this was a huge treat! New comers may want to bone up on these character's wiki's but I almost think it'll be more fun to see these characters develop, learn them on the go so to speak. I look forward to seeing how Milligan brings this team together and how he develops characters like John and Shade in the DCU.

Posted by dadarkknight36310

I wonder if Dr. Fate will eventually join this team lol

Posted by Fantasgasmic

I was hoping Raven would be in this book. Kinda sad she's not.

Posted by RareCheshire

@dadarkknight36310: @Fantasgasmic: They both should be in this book! Dr. Fate and Raven!

Edited by hajime76

The DC Universe can be pretty dense but I somehow found the Vertigo cast of characters and titles easier to digest. It was a daunting task for Milligan to introduce this cast of characters and he put in a good effort but some characters just have so much history and baggage (i.e. John Constantine, Shade) that you can't explain it all in one issue. Mikel Janin's artwork was amazing and Ryan Sook's beautiful covers for this title will definitely stand out. Besides Shade and Constantine, I don't know much about the other members of this group but look forward to reading more. I have fond memories reading Milligan when he was writing the Vertigo series of Shade the Changing Man in the mid-1990s so I expect a lot of weirdness ahead. Maybe even a cameo from Swamp Thing or one of the Endless later on down the line…

Posted by GraveSp

I'm waiting to see more interaction between the members of the team. Yeah we had Xanadu talking to Shade but the thing I like about team books is the interactions between the people so I'm excited to see more of that in the near future. That being said Milligan did a good job, although I didn't doubt it, he seems to have a passion for the Vertigo characters and I trust them in his care.

Posted by MrUnknown

Certainly one of the best new books, it is!

Posted by Silkcuts

Great primer review.  As much as I miss Matt Wagner's MX, it is nice to know she has a home again.   I felt Shade was the main focus rather then MX.

Posted by hitechlolife

Great comic, utterly stupid name.

Posted by gambitpryde1993

I like how they introduced all the characters but didn't team them up in an awkward way. However, Deadman didn't get enough characterization :( Superman getting cut by the teeth, and John Constantine's solo page were the highlights.

Posted by Osiris1428

I love the art, the introductions, the story and pacing. I am new to most of the characters, and vaguely familiar at best with the others (I loved seeing Superman get his butt whipped)but I'm expecting to find out more about these characters in the coming books. There aren't a lot of books I'm going to return to in 'The New 52', but is one of them that I will.

Posted by Osiris1428

An one more thing: I will more than likely keep up with this title and not the regular Justice League.

Posted by Knight Train

The only character I know from this team is Deadman, have no clue who anyone else is, but i loved every second of it and am sure that all will be revealed, as a first issue wouldn't have engaged me this much if it was all talking about what each of them can do etc. Definitely in my top 3 of favorites

Posted by mikeclark1982

why does Zatanna look like KATY PERRY on the cover?!?!?

Posted by Outside_85

A good start and it interesting to know most of the cast actually have 'issues' of their own...if they arent crazy.

Posted by kennybaese

I've never been into the magical side of superhero comics. I've always liked Zatanna, but for the most part characters like Doctor Strange or Xanadu just don't do a whole lot for me, so I think I'll probably pass on this one. Like the concept, and it'll be cool to see the team be a part of the DCU, but the book itself doesn't interest me a ton.

Posted by The Lobster
@mikeclark1982 said:

why does Zatanna look like KATY PERRY on the cover?!?!?

Why does Madam Xanadu look like Kat Dennings in this picture? 
Posted by ForbushBug

@mikeclark1982 said:

why does Zatanna look like KATY PERRY on the cover?!?!?

Well, Zee used to be based out of San Francisco so she's a California Gurl.

Posted by Larkin1388

I'm new to this series and thought it was great.

Posted by loganchild

so in flashpoint 5 a never seen tha sun superman kills enchantress with one foot smash and now reboot supes needs help gtfoh

Posted by lantian1

Liked it.

Don't understand how wonder woman was defeated so easily. I get that Superman and Cyborg went down but Wonder Woman

Unless she is very decreased in power for the DCNU. She usually fights Circe and other beings which have greater magical power than Enchantress

Posted by PowerPlug

I WILL HAVE THIS COMIC!!!!!

Posted by ltbrd

This was a great read and the depiction of all the characters was amazing, even better then some of their personal titles. Possibly due to the darker shading and coloring of the book but the image of Superman, Wonder Woman, and Cyborg on page 10 and the images of Batman were exactly how I pictured these characters would look in the new 52 its almost disappointing that their own titles don't draw them the same way. I also like that this new part of the League isn't formed in this issue but everything plants the seeds for it as we get introduced to all the major magical characters. I'm a little curious about some of the comments made by Batman about Zatanna though. He says she's not stable enough to go up against Enchantress but Zatanna has always been the League's go to person for magical affairs and this series seems to take place in the present, which means they've had to use her before. She came out of her last solo series quite fine and I don't remember anything happening to her in the last Justice League series (though to be honest I rarely read it because of just how bad that team was and the stories) so what's with the comment? What has changed about her in the new 52? For that matter why is Enchantress now insane? Is this a side-effect of Flashpoint because Barry is a man of science and changing things through science has affected the magical world of the new 52?

Posted by The Impersonator

@Babs: A magical review!

Posted by niamahai

damn. 
Zatanna's fishnets is a victim of the reboot   D=

Posted by RScottH08

So seeing that jla in this, im guessing this ones set in the past too, and not too mention constantine looked a bit younger. anyways im kinda wondering how this will effect the ongoing hellblazer title and vertigo world in general. if anyone has any kinda idea, thanx 
 
anyway on to my thots. being a big hellblazer and vertigo fan, i found this to be really good, milligan knows how to write these darker vertigo types, as seen in his hellblazer run. i was definetley pleased and ready for the next one!!!
Posted by Eyz

I think I'd have preferred a new Shadowpact title... I mean, these characters are also great and all...but we need more Detective Chimp and Ragman too!

Posted by buttersdaman000

@MrUnknown said:

Certainly one of the best new books, it is!

Online
Posted by Silkcuts
@niamahai said:
damn. Zatanna's fishnets is a victim of the reboot   D=
The Zatanna design shows the acceptances of Magic verse Magick.  The classic Zee look was stage magic and that is not the metatex in which Milligan is writing.  Milligan is writing in Magick.  I approve of the new look, but then again I am into Magick.
 
@hitechlolife said:

Great comic, utterly stupid name.


yeah... that is so true.  Really bad name for a good comic.
 
@ForbushBug said:

@mikeclark1982 said:

why does Zatanna look like KATY PERRY on the cover?!?!?

Well, Zee used to be based out of San Francisco so she's a California Gurl.


That is a great answer and it makes sense actually.  Go ForbushBug!
Posted by Son_of_Magnus

I'm still uncomfortable with the Vertigo characters coming back to DC main universe but with Milligan in charge I'm sure I won't have anything to worry about

Edited by Loki9876

I can't wait for the tpb i got to wait so long because all my comics I buy in tpb form because i live in Belgium their is a comicbook shop but it's like 20 min away with the bike and i don't have time to go every week. so i buy my comics on a site it's a very good site, there is fast delivery, I already know the website owner (he often gives me free stuff) but he just sells tpb's. I didn't found it a problem at first because I like having my stories in one bundle but know with all these new cool 52 comics is the wait a little bit long.

ha i guess i just should wait and enjoy the tpb's which come out in the meantime.

Posted by Panelbomber

I've been looking for DC to focus on non-major characters in this new 52, so Justice League Dark didn't disappoint me in that way. I hope as the book progresses outside the story arc we can see what many consider second tier characters become forerunners.

Posted by DMC

Though I haven't read it yet, my only real gripe with this title is why did it have to be called Justice League Dark. I know, I know, name recognition but it's still a lame name. Why didn't DC call the team Shadowpact?

Posted by xkoenig

Some good, promising parts and some bits that left me a bit 'meh' here. Madame Xanadu's narration is just too over-wordy for me. You can be dramatic and you can be melodramatic - this is the latter IMO. The introduction of June Moone is good though and the ensuing weirdness is definitely intriguing as a new reader. But the scene with Wonder Woman, Superman and Cyborg just really took me out of the comic. OK, I get they're there to show that just punching stuff won't work here, but the art is ropey to say the least (sorry, Mikel Janin) and the scene just doesn't convince enough the sheer power they are facing. Then possibly the worst part of the comic, where Zatanna just decides to go a fight the enemy by herself?? Is she supposed to be depressed or suicidal here? Or just stupid? Hopefully it's not the latter... The conclusion redeems this first issue with the appearance of the remaining team members, but we're back to excess verbiage from Xanadu. Oh well. Not bad, but some uncomfortable weak spots IMO.