Justice League Dark (JLD) #9 introduces us to Jeff Lemire’s take on the alternative, magical side of the DCnU narrative. Given his successful history with Animal Man, Sweet Tooth, and Frankenstein, Lemire seems like a natural fit for the darker League. Bringing JLD’s series artist, Mikel Janin, with him, Lemire gathers his troops and prepares for what should be a very interesting run.
Since the reboot I’ve had somewhat mixed feelings about Justice League Dark . It’s always been a promising series but the dynamic between the lead characters never really fell into place. There seems to be a missing element that would elevate this team from the minors and put them into the spotlight they deserve. While Lemire certainly portrays these characters in a stylistic and interesting way, the book is still afflicted from the same hang-ups that suffered it before he started. One big issue is the focus on one character. I understand the use of John Constantine as the anti-Superman leader of the team, but as Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman and Cyborg all get their face time in Justice League there is much more to be desired from the supporting characters of JLD. They are all strong characters themselves and deserve to be given more than just banter-y quips. This hopefully will change as the series progresses, but this issue is to be too focused on one character given the dynamic this group of alt-heroes should have.
All complaints aside though, this issue does an excellent job of establishing itself in the larger DC Universe. Referencing many of the revelations from the recent Free Comic Book Day New 52 book, Lemire ensures that the foundation of this series is robust and will prove vital to the overarching narrative that many New 52 books will surely be affected by.
The art from Janin has been consistent throughout his run. His work fits well with the ambiance of the series and adds character to the general theme of the book. However the layouts don’t always get the point across. Sometimes it seems as though there is just a bit too much that is trying to be conveyed. The use of unconventional panels is more distracting than engaging. I do like his work but when it comes to laying out the page there’s still something to be desired. For a book with so many mystic elements, the pages should be more focused on entrancing the reader rather than attempting to be unconventional.
As a big fan of Jeff Lemire I’m excited to see where this series goes. There’s still plenty to like about this book and it is definitely worth checking out. Hopefully in the context of this arc as a whole, the supporting cast will get their dues and build the team aspect of the JLD. I have the utmost faith in Lemire and Janin. They will give us a series worth raving about. This book is meant for big things, and we’re just on the cusp.