Taylor: 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.
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.
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 →
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.
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?
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 →
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 →
Today, Taylor and Drew are discussing Justice League Dark Annual 1, originally released October 31st, 2012.
Taylor: Go big or go home. I don’t really know where this phrase came from or even what it really means. I suppose it probably means a person should come prepared to give everything they have to whatever situation they are about to encounter. I guess that’s “going big.” There is perhaps some virtue in that; I can admire anyone who can totally devote themselves to a cause or an idea. But with the election finally (finally) winding down, I also have to question if perhaps there is more merit in playing your cards close to the chest. I question how anyone can fully support one candidate or the other when eventually they will do something to piss you off, or almost certainly break a promise they blatantly made on the campaign trail. The ability to hold back, reserve judgment and always keep a little something extra for yourself, whether in politics or comic books, is a trait that should be applauded. John Constantine has this virtue (if he really can be said to have any such thing) and normally Justice League Dark does as well. But in the first annual edition of this title the creators do just the opposite, they go big and it pays off.
Today, Peter and Shelby are discussing Justice League Dark 12, originally released August 22nd, 2012.
Peter: Justice League Dark is an interesting book. In a DC universe that is really finicky about magic, it takes it all in. It is full of small context clues, as well as small parts of mystical DC history. It may be lost on some, but with a little time and commitment, it is a fantastic book filled with relatable characters and interesting plotting. The team dynamic may seem like a stretch at first, but when a team of miscreants, dead people, con men, vampires, stage magicians, and government agents come together, it just somehow works.
Today, Shelby and Patrick are discussing Justice League Dark 9-11, originally released May 23rd, June, 27th and July 25th, 2012.
Shelby: We’re doing something a little unusual here with Justice League Dark: we are not reviewing issues 1-8. I’ve read all those issues, and there is really no need to do so. Peter Milligan wrote 1-8, and they are not awesome. The story was all over the place and confusing. Even though we’re dealing with magic, the story still needs to be grounded in some sort of established reality, and this story was not. With issue 9, Jeff Lemire has taken over the writing, and there has been a marked improvement. The arc is completely new, even some of the team members have changed. I call it the “reverse Deathstroke” effect, in that a new creative team has made big changes, but for the better instead of for the worst.