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‘Justice League Dark #8’ (review)

Written by James T Tynion IV
Illustrated by Alvaro Martinez Bueno,
and Raúl Fernández
Published by DC Comics

“I think… I think we’re safe.  The horror’s ended.”

“No Bobo… I’m afraid it has only begun.”

Alright-y, now we’re getting somewhere.

There’s a lot to love about this issue, as it careens from one enjoyable scene to another, in a story arc that builds to a particularly satisfying conclusion.

It’s something that author James Tynion does well, interweaving narrative threads like this, and he’s been laying the groundwork for this month’s showcase of his talents for some time, so be prepared to enjoy yourself.

We know already, from the title page and the front cover (featuring the return of Alvara Martinez Bueno, Huzzah!), that Doctor Fate has a lot to do with that ending so I’m not spoiling anything to say so.

This is only the first chapter of the story-arc however, so this issue is all about the set-up. And finally, everything seems to tie together.

The team’s been hanging on, but just barely.

Wonder Woman and Zatanna are in the field, trying to stem the tide of encroaching Otherkind, while simultaneously tracking down Mordru. Which is not a popular agenda, and may go some way to explaining why more of the Justice League isn’t at this point involved in the impending catastrophe… because something has to.

OK, well, there is that little matter of how things ended with Hecate, which somehow has, within the magical community anyway, put the blame for the Otherkind fully on Wonder Woman’s shoulders. Irrational as all these magic-types can be.

Zatanna is playing with fire herself lately too, as she’s thrown caution to the wind and is using her magic at full force now. Despite the dangers of doing so – as much, it seems, due to the debts she’s been risking, as the threat of any further incursions from the Otherkind.

Makes you wonder just what her ‘fateful role’ in the coming crisis is going to end up looking like…

Constantine, as we know, has been taken of the board. Along with the Dark One himself, which has sent the Hosts of Heavens and Hell both into full retreat, because apparently even the Presence is alarmed by the Otherkind.

(Um… Really? OK. Hm. Little more explanation maybe? – Where’s Grant Morrison’s cosmology chops when you need them?)

Bobo and Swamp Thing meanwhile are busy holding down the fort at the Oblivion Bar where the whole of the remaining magical community has been gathering, in full terrified retreat of the Otherkind and the horrors they’ve been perpetrating across their domains.

All of this, again, makes for a number of enjoyable scenes, but it’s the storyline of Dr. Kirk Langstrom you want to keep your eye on. It seems the rest of the team has been concerned by Man-bat’s journaling obsession with the Otherkind, and so they’ve sequestered him in the Hall of Justice, away from his labs and alone with… a full compendium of magical grimoires.

That suits Kirk just fine, as there’s a certain young man trapped in an urn from Dr. Fate’s tower he’s been trying to emancipate, and his enforced downtime seems opportune to begin his own foray into the Dark Arts.

Good thing too, because when young Master is finally returned to us, it’s with an understanding of what’s coming. What’s been coming all along apparently.

Because all of what’s unfolding now has been anticipated it seems, perhaps even orchestrated, from the very start. And as everything seems to fall into place – in really, a rather orderly fashion, one might say – it seems the entire magical community and our team, are in for something of a rude shock.

One with a particularly satisfying conclusion.

Good luck gang.

Game on.

Next Issue: Madness in the Method

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