Justice League Dark #5 // Review
Ramifications from the events of Dark Knight: Metal are explored in depth in Justice League Dark #5, written by James Tynion IV, with pencils by Daniel Sampere, inks by Juan Albarran, and colors by Adriano Lucas.
Detective Chimp is emphasized heavily this issue, as focus is given to how he has been coping with the murder of his best friend, Jim Rook, by the Batman Who Laughs, and the repercussions of Jim leaving the mantle of Nightmaster to Detective Chimp. Guardianship over the mystical realm of Myrra is the charge assigned to the Nightmaster, and Justice League Dark #5 sees the majority of the team travelling to that realm, against the wishes of current holder of that title, Detective Chimp. Simultaneously, John Constantine and Swamp Thing confront Nabu (in the guise of Dr. Fate) for his role in luring the Otherkind to the heroes’ plane of existence, helping set in motion the events of The Witching Hour.
James Tynion IV’s character work really shines in this issue, as his emotional, introspective look at Detective Chimp gives the character depth and bolsters a stronger connection between the primate and the reader. Use of the classic 9-panel grid, and slight variations thereof, helps paint the portrait of Chimp’s stoic expression of suffering and loss in a dark and poignant way.
Interspersed between somber, close-up shots of Detective Chimp drinking mournfully, are fanciful panels of dynamic battles involving magic and dragons. These contrast wonderfully with the gloomier parts of the issue. A particularly noteworthy segment is the detailed and intense illustration of John Constantine’s magical assault on Nabu.
While the storylines in Justice League Dark #5 are relatively tangential for the majority the protagonists, it allows for significant character development and explores some fallout of The Witching Hour without dwelling on it too heavily. Overall, Justice League Dark #5 feels like a much-needed breather between reality altering events, providing an adventure with real stakes that are more personal to the protagonists and, in turn, the reader.