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‘Justice League Dark #14’ (review)

Written by James Tynion IV
Art by Alvaro Martinez Bueno
Published by DC Comics

 

“I SWEAR TO WHATEVER UNHOLY MAGIC GODS HAVEN’T BEEN KILLED IN THE LAST YEAR, IF I GET TURNED INTO A VAMPIRE, I’M BITING ALL OF YOU! “

 

Things are heating up.

The Witch is back.

And she’s brought some friends.

Running parallel with the events unfolding over in Justice League and throughout DC’s Year of the Villain, Circe has finally decided that it’s time to reveal herself as the mastermind who has been engineering all of the troubles in the worlds of magic.

So far, her machinations have been responsible for draining the power dry from Hecate, the original Goddess of Magic, knocking the established Order of magic clean off its tracks, rewriting the very laws of Magic itself, and of course allowing the incursion of the horrific Otherkind into the world to feast upon all those who have dared to wield magic’s power. Among other things.

Now, on the eve of her masterstroke, Circe has struck an unholy alliance with Lex Luthor, and with his assistance, has been gathering a team of her own magically powered allies.

A Dark Legion to match Wonder Woman’s Justice League Dark. A team to help her see realized her ascendancy as DC’s new Goddess of Magic. And whatever Doom that will follow.

It’s an elegant move for series author James Tynion, who of course has known exactly what was coming down the pike, courtesy of all the work he’s done with Scott Snyder, et al, to bring things to this tipping point in the DCU. And with Alvara Martinez Bueno right alongside to bring the whole pageantry to life with his marvelous artistry, we finally see that tipping point spill into these pages, as the Witching War kicks off this issue with a bang.

Not that the members of Justice League Dark don’t already have their hands full. But it may no longer simply be the Otherkind now, looking to disrupt the status quo. Now there are other players on the board, players just as eager to move Circe’s agenda along with whatever mischief they can stir up.

Players like Klarion the Witch Boy, doing a turn here from his usual creepy self to something downright terrifying. Or the reanimated Solomon Grundy, speaking of terrifying. Papa Midnight isn’t about to be sidelined for this, and of course the new Floronic Man is back to round out the crew. It’s a delight of super-villainous potential, and that’s nothing compared to Circe’s latest recruit.

Thankfully for Wonder Woman’s team, Diana has been given an oracular heads-up, in dream-time, by none other than the deceased Zatarra, the other magician in our story who has been orchestrating things from the side-lines and, it seems, from the very beginning.

The meeting comes with a warning however – and for the first time a clear understanding of Tynion’s take on magic in the DCU comes through. We already know that much of the magical power in the DCU is understood to be Dark. An easy sell in many cases, but I’ve wondered where that leaves all the High magic, and those who walk in the Light. Now we know that this power is understood to emanate from the Sphere of the Gods itself – that plane of divinity in the DCU responsible for all things, good, noble, and heroic.

Wonder Woman herself is a champion of the gods, of course, and presumably she draws her own sustenance from the Sphere of the Gods. But Diana has also been touched by Hecate’s Witch mark. The mark that Circe now controls. And Zatarra has made it plain that Diana’s brush with magic, makes her vulnerable… perhaps the most vulnerable of them all.

After all, if an ancient witch truly wished to ascend to a state of full divine power, what better channel to do so than through a repository of light from the Sphere of the Gods itself? Particularly if that light can be turned.

Wonder Woman is adamant that she has relinquished Hecate’s dark power. But what if it hasn’t relinquished her?

And what happens when Circe’s newest recruit is exactly the one villain best suited to eclipse the light of any good soul, with darkness…

Guess we’ll see.

Next Issue: Dark side of the moon. (Again.)

 

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