Justice League Dark #4 // Review
Continuing his upheaval of the DC Universe’s magical paradigm, writer James Tynion IV uses Hecate and her “Witch-Marked” to besiege bulwarks of the magical community, in Justice League Dark #4, alongside penciler Alvaro Martinez Bueno, inker Raul Fernandez, and colorist Brad Anderson.
Magical seats of power crumble before the will of Hecate as more Witch-Marked are revealed, and the Justice League Dark is forced to divide and defend multiple locations from Hecate’s attacks. Wonder Woman struggles to wield Hecate’s bestowed powers against her, following instruction from Circe, and Deadman’s elusive and powerful patron, Rama Kushna, makes an appearance to defend her magical city of Nanda Parbat from Hecate’s attacks, while one of Hecate’s other Horcrux-like powerslaves is used to attack a different Justice League Dark member’s famed place of power.
While Tynion IV has made a formidable foe of Hecate, the character’s motivations are base and shallow, with the villainess lacking any meaningful characterization. This marks the exception however, as all other prominent characters are given depth and meaningful emotional connection to the events unfolding around them, even including the Witch-Marked being controlled by Hecate. Overall, Hecate’s attacks, and the entire “Witching Hour” arc, seems to be a framing device for Tynion IV’s overarching storyline, allowing him to move around chess pieces so that he can initiate a new magical era, with Wonder Woman positioned as a significant figure.
A thoroughly action-packed issue, the artistic team of Bueno, Fernandez, and Anderson showcase their skills with dynamic panels and a myriad of different page layouts and perspectives. Brad Anderson leans heavily into his use of yellows and oranges this issue, illustrating various forms of energy; while this does tend to make multiple pages seem to blend together, on a panel-to-panel level, it is effective. A highlight this issue is the artistic team’s depictions of magical deities Hecate and Rama Kushna; both characters come through as cosmic, otherworldly, and unknowable, albeit in uniquely different ways.
Beneath the unrelenting issue-long battling in Justice League Dark #4, monumental shifts are made to the Universe’s cornerstones of magic. Essential reading for “The Witching Hour” arc, the issue is also a must-buy for fans invested in DC’s magical realm.