Justice League Dark #2 // Bonus Review
Wonder, horror, and mystery had been promised from James Tynion IV’s burgeoning Justice League Dark series, and the second issue makes good on each assertion. Following an emphasis on character exposition in the inaugural issue, Justice League Dark #2, illustrated by penciller Alvaro Martinez Bueno, inker Raul Fernandez, and colorist Brad Anderson, forges ahead with a focus on establishing parameters for the magical realm inhabited by the characters.
Opening with an intriguing prologue that retcons a more magical background to Wonder Woman’s past, the narrative jumps to the present, where the newly formed team heads to the Tower of Fate for answers to the mysterious prophecy previously provided by Zatanna’s departed father, Zatara. Knowledge there is gained regarding the history of mysterious antagonists, the Otherkind, as well as Dr. Fate’s connection to their arrival in the protagonists’ dimension. Nearby, Swamp Thing consults with John Constantine at the Tree of Wonder, where he reveals a significant secret regarding his position as the Earth Elemental Guardian of The Green.
Fleshing out the magical history of the DCU, writer James Tynion IV admirably accesses various facets of the Universe’s lore, and interweaves them into a coherent narrative that consolidates the rules of magic and paves the way for further exploration therein. Tynion IV’s writing is concise, yet engaging, supplying enough information to readily progress the plot while still allowing each character enough dialogue and attention to feel fully-formed.
Brad Anderson’s juxtaposition of warm and cool colors composes a world that’s dark and terrifying, yet nonetheless magical. In conjunction, Alvaro Martinez Bueno and Raul Fernandez illustrate detailed monstrosities that vary in design between Gothic and Cronenburg-like horror, while simultaneously providing bold iterations of epic characters like Wonder Woman and Dr. Fate, which blend seamlessly into the world without losing an iota of the characters’ iconic statures.
Justice League Dark #2 is expansive in its scope and momentum. It tells an action-packed story meaningful to the overall narratives of both the title and the DC Universe as a whole. Through this issue, James Tynion IV sets the stage for significant character development and exploration of the DC’s magical realm moving forward in the series.