Review: Justice League Dark #22 – Jeff Lemire & Mikel Janin

Justice-league-darkAnother day, another large crossover. Actually, that’s a bit unfair, because DC’s latest event Trinity War, is shaping up to be something pretty darn cool. A three-way war between the three big superhero teams: Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark, with characters switching allegiances? Sign me up. The third part of this event, following from Justice League #22, then Justice League of America #6, focuses predominantly on the third team, and while it doesn’t seem clear what the overall point of pitching these teams against each other is right now, its a darn fun time.

This issue picks up right where JLA#6 left off. Superman, still reeling from his actions in the first part of the event, remains in captivity. Each character is finding themselves unsure of who to trust, and when Wonder Woman seeks the help from the begrudgingly named Justice League Dark, they find themselves part of a war they didn’t entirely want, as they seek (or prevent the others from finding) Pandora, and ultimately Pandora’s Box.

Why this is something important, I’m not entirely sure. It seems that each of the characters are running around trying to figure out what is the problem with the box, leaving it frustratingly unclear why we should care that the heroes don’t have it. There is some vague “it’ll spell the end of the world” spiels, but it never culminates into anything. While this isn’t necessarily the fault of this issue’s writer Jeff Lemire (the other issues were penned by Geoff Johns), it does leave it a bit open.

But you know what? Currently I’m okay with that. Superhero-on-superhero-on-superhero action is what we want, and while this issue seems like it’s trying to set something bigger up, even having one of the characters saying himself they are moving around like pieces on a chessboard. There is one cool face-off between Wonder Woman and Batman’s teams – it doesn’t end up being much, but they keep teasing a big showdown, and I really can’t wait.

Mikel Janin is arguably the best artist of the bunch in this arc. While Ivan Reis and Doug Mahnke are awesome in their own right, Janin’s clean pencils, and his lack of clutter suit the issue well. Amazingly, no panel feels too packed, despite having what appears to be the entire current roster of New52 heroes throughout the issue. Janin is an artist I love to see, and is one of the main reasons I return to this series month after month.

As a quick aside, since I haven’t had a chance to do so, I’d love to commend DC in their approach to their universe lately. It seems they are doing a massive push in the magic side of the universe, and it has produced some of the most interesting titles out there. I’m really happy that a title like Justice League Dark exists, and is such a large part of the greater DC universe.

All in all, Justice League Dark #22 does appear to be mostly filler, putting everyone in place for the next three issues, but the mere hint of something greater is tantalising. I just hope that whatever Pandora’s Box turns out to be, as well as the lead up to the Forever Evil event later in the year, makes this all worth it.