Villain Month Guide: Part 3 – Justice Leagues and Teen Titans

villains month JL

In September, DC’s entire line is going to be highjacked by the villains of the universe. The creative teams frankenstiened together from DC’s regular stable of writers and artists, but — with a few exceptions — none of titles look like logical continuations of any of the current series. How’s a body supposed to know what they’re supposed to read? That’s where our four-part guide comes in.

One more day guys: then the Trinity War will be behind us and we can stop pretending that it makes any sense to have three different Justice Leagues. Oh, sure, we all know they’re coming back (in Canada), but in the meantime, here are the enemies of the Leagues (and also some randos that are getting lumped in with the Leagues — presumably for sales reasons). In part three of our guide, we’ll be going over the issues from Justice League, Justice League of America, Justice League Dark and Teen Titans. You can also check out Part I – Batman and Part 2 – Superman and Earth-2 Continue reading

Justice League Dark 23

Justice League Dark 23 trinity

Today, Mikyzptlk and Patrick are discussing Justice League Dark 23 originally released August 21st, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

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Mikyzptlk: Event comics are…strange. As Drew mentioned in his previous coverage of Trinity War, event comics like these can be hard to pin down. There’s usually a ton of damage and more colorfully clad heroes than you can shake a superpowered stick at. At the same time though, with so much going on, it can be hard to get to any meaningful characterization. It’s not impossible, but there’s just usually not that much of it. Another thing that event comics like Trinity War are known for is the idea that “Things Will Never Be The Same” after the events of said comics. In the end, what we normally get in event comics are shallow, action packed adventures that drastically change the playing field for our heroes. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, in fact, I think it’s kind of necessary. The ever-changing playing field helps to keep these decades old characters fresh, and help to prime our heroes for those character-rich solo stories we all love so much. While Trinity War has given us some interesting moments, I can’t help but feel impatient for the drastic changes it will bring. The penultimate chapter of the tale helps to reinforce that feeling.  Continue reading

Justice League Dark 22

Today, Taylor and Patrick are discussing Justice League Dark 22 originally released July 24th, 2013. This issue is part of the Trinity War crossover event. Click here for our complete Trinity War coverage.

trinity war divTaylor: Superheroes are, by nature, egotistical creatures. Think about what it requires to be a superhero. Not only do you need some sort of amazing ability or power, but more importantly, you need to have a belief in yourself and that you can help the world. For some, such as Spider-Man and Superman, this egotism can be a burden, while for others, like Batman, it can be a tool to fulfill unspoken desires. Regardless of the why, superheroes must believe they are doing the right thing, otherwise they lapse into inaction or perhaps outright villainy. But this raises a question: what happens when superheroes team up and they have to make a decision, but everyone has a different opinion on how to solve that problem? Being egotists, it’s not in their nature to give in to another’s will, so what happens when they come to an impasse with their superhero peers? Justice League Dark 22, the third installment in the Trinity War tackles this question and the results are explosive, to say the least.

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Justice League Dark 21

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 21, originally released June 26th, 2013. 

Taylor: When you’re John Constantine, it’s always good to predict future as best you can. In order to escape the jaws of death time and again, John needs to predict what his enemies will do and how they will do it. Usually the man is pretty good at that sort of stuff and since he is often the focus of Justice League Dark it’s easy to forget that there are other ways of going about things. In fact, in Madame Xanadu the team has a colleague who can literally see the future and who doesn’t need to indulge herself in guesswork of any sort. But how useful is this power? More importantly, how does she choose to use this power and is it responsible? Issue 21 of Justice League Dark delves into these questions while also exploring a character that — up until this point — we have known very little about.

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Justice League Dark 20

Alternating Currents: Justice League Dark 20, Drew and Taylor

Today, Drew and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 20, originally released May 29th, 2013. 

Drew: Comic books love team-ups, to the point that we rarely question their utility. Whether it’s random circumstance or a specific goal that brings the team together, once the team is formed, we kind of take it for granted that they will stick together. Who cares if Ocean’s 12 requires a ballistics expert (or whatever it is that Brad Pitt’s character does)? The team is the team – don’t question it. Unless, of course, you’re Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes, who devote Justice League Dark 20 to examining the utility of each team-up, from the random cameos to the team’s core members. The result is a fresh, surprisingly compelling argument for the team’s existence. Continue reading

Justice League Dark 19

justice league dark 19

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 19, originally released April 24, 2013. 

Taylor: There’s nothing like having a little time to yourself. This proves to be especially true after you’ve completed a large project or gone through an important life event that required a lot of your time or energy. Having just completed a stint as a student teacher, I understand how nice it is to regain a little bit of time for yourself. Suddenly, I have ample time to pursue my own interests, to take care of things I’ve been putting off for too long, and to generally dedicate myself to laziness and slobbery. Comic book writers and artists, along with the characters they give life to, similarly get to enjoy these moments of re-centering when they come to an end of a story arch. Without the obligations of having to progress a plot or defeat absolute evil, comic creators have the chance to spend a little more time on their characters and enjoy their company. Additionally, this is a chance for writers to reassess where they would like the focus of their series to fall and on whom. Justice League Dark, having wrapped up the Timothy Hunter arc, is enjoying one of these precious moments and in issue 19 it’s a pleasure to see what effect that has on the series.

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Justice League Dark 18

Today, Taylor and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 18, originally released March 27th, 2013. 

Taylor: Magic versus Science is an old trope. This theme has presented itself in books uncountable, in roughly half of all the Star Trek TNG episodes ever made, and in 67% of the movies filmed between 1985 and 2011. Hell, this battle is even present in music. If we accept that magic is essentially a stand-in for things of the past while science stands for those of the future it becomes clear how this relation works.  Just take a look at any of your friend’s iTunes list and you’ll see a large portion of it is devoted to neo-folk while another large portion is made up of electronic or club music. I suppose it is a testament to mankind’s preoccupation with this theme that it exists in so many aspects of our daily life. However, I’m surprised that as a society we haven’t gotten tired of this conversation. While we all certainly long for the past in some way or another, we also all enjoy innovation and exploration. Perhaps there is some deep explanation for why this subject fascinates us all and perhaps that is the reason why the recent events in Justice League Dark are so entertaining. Or maybe, just maybe, the reason why it’s so compelling in JLD is because the story telling is just so damn good, as exemplified in the most recent issue.

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Justice League Dark 17

justice league dark 17

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 17, originally released February 27th, 2013.

Patrick: Have you ever been introduced to a group of new people with a specific adjective? Someone says “this is my funny friend Patrick” or “you’ll be working with Patrick, he’s really smart.” Suddenly, it doesn’t matter how you view yourself, it becomes your singular goal to live up to that defining adjective. It’s stressful, but having your friends state their expectations of you right upfront increases that likelihood that you will be the thing they say you are. So what do you say about someone to turn them into your hero?

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Justice League Dark 16

justice league dark 16

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 16, originally released January 30th, 2013.

Shelby: I loved magic when I was a kid. Stories about fairies, dragons, unicorns: I ate that shit up. I always wanted so badly for those sorts of things to be real. Even as an adult, I still wish for real magic in the world. Embarrassing confession time: I saw the first Chronicles of Narnia movie in the theater with my family. It came out in 2005, so I was 21 years old, and leaving the movie I was bummed out that I couldn’t actually go to Narnia. Nearly a real adult, and I just wanted to be whisked away to a dreamworld of magic. It’s really no surprise I like Justice League Dark as much as I do; Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes have crafted a world where that magic exists and is in danger of being eradicated. Obviously you know which side I’m rooting for. Continue reading

Justice League Dark 15

justice league dark 15

Today, Shelby and Taylor are discussing Justice League Dark 15, originally released January 2nd, 2013.

Shelby: Science and magic. In the broadest of terms, they are the two sources of meta-humans’ powers in the DCU. Superman? He’s an alien being powered up by the particular wavelength of light from our sun: that’s science. Wonder Woman? She’s a demi-god, pure and simple: that’s magic. Green Lantern? Trick question, it’s will-power harnessed and weaponized: I’m calling it magic refined by science. Lantern Corps aside, there’s usually a pretty clear line between science (far-fetched and ridiculous though it may be) and magic in the comic book universe. Often times the two sides face off, refusing to see that they are kind of two sides of the same coin, but every so often science and magic team up and we get something extra special. Luckily for us, Justice League Dark gives us both options in one action-packed issue.  Continue reading