Justice League Dark #7 // Review
An anthology of Lovecraftian horrors await in Justice League Dark #7, written by James Tynion IV, with pencils by Alvaro Martínez Bueno, inks by Raúl Fernández, and colors by Brad Anderson. Otherkind compatriots to nemesis, The Upside-Down Man, take center stage this issue, as an ensemble of nightmare creatures on par with Bill Cipher’s Henchmaniacs are introduced to haunt readers’ dreams.
Man-Bat narrates a quartet of nightmarishly sinister short stories, highlighting thus-far unseen members of the otherworldly magical collection known as The Otherkind. In each tale, he regales the reader with recent encounters between Justice League Dark team members and representatives of The Otherkind, in stories spanning the globe. These new characters prove their might, opposing, overwhelming, and at times seemingly destroying significant players in DC’s magical community. The stories are framed in a manner meant to evoke Silver Age comic stylings,while similarly conjuring fears of the unknown inherent in the stylings of H.P. Lovecraft, resulting in eerie and engaging entries.
The highlight of Tynion IV’s writing this issue is witnessed in the voice of expository narrator, Man-Bat. The Lovecraftian manner in which he attempts to strike fear into the minds of the readers, whilst slowly succumbing to terror and madness himself, is a devilish delight. The limited exposure and background of the The Otherkind monsters also mark a high point, allowing enough creepiness to tantalize and intrigue the readers, without hindering the creatures’ aura of mystery.
The semi-realistic nature of Alvaro Martínez Bueno’s designs pair wonderfully with Raúl Fernández’s subtle shadowing, and Brad Anderson’s muted palette, to create horrific visages that deviate from the norm, but not to such an extent that they would be too fantastical to imagine encountering in reality; adding to the frightening nature of the creatures and their actions. A gelatinous assortment of assorted appendages, congealed together in humanoid form, The Soup steals what few panels they appear in, though The Morning Star’s receptionist and her myriad of eyes make for a close runner-up, particularly her demonic appearance contrasting with the skeevy nature of the client with whom she shares scenes.
Justice League Dark #7 masterfully introduces The Upside-Down Man’s cadre of villainous cohorts, presenting the evil Otherkind in a manner both memorable and menacing. In the issue’s penultimate tale, Wonder Woman remarks to Frankenstein(‘s Monster), “There is power in stories, particularly the ones whispered in the dark. The more people believe in these creatures, the harder it will be to get rid of them.” Much to her chagrin, this issue succeeds in giving power to The Otherkind, providing the characters with compelling starts, and imbuing the audience with a desire to see more of them, which is something she and the rest of Justice League Dark, should truly fear.