COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Justice League Dark #1 (DC Comics — The New 52)

Justice League Dark #1 Cover DC Comics The New 52It’s been a long (and expensive) month, but the fourth and final week of first issue of The New 52 has finally come and gone! I’ll be reviewing all 52 #1 issues released this month, and you can find all of the reviews on the Comic Book Reviews index page. The third of the Justice League books debuted this week, with the first all-new Justice League spinoff in many years, Justice League Dark #1! With by far the most obscure roster for a Justice League ever and including characters like Shade the Changing Man, June Moone, and the Enchantress, is this book good enough to take advantage of The New 52 marketing bonanza and find a place in the market?

This review will be as spoiler-free as possible.

The Right:

Justice League Dark #1 is not a book I was anticipating. With the exceptions of Zatanna and Deadman, the only exposure I’d ever had to any of the characters in this book was in the Secret Seven Flashpoint mini-series. I found that mini-series to be utterly bewildering and was totally lost to the point where I didn’t even bother to buy the third and final issue after buying the prior two. So it’s an understatement to say that I was dreading the first issue of Justice League Dark, featuring the same writer and a very similar team roster.

However, I am thrilled and astonished to report back that after reading Justice League Dark #1, I am completely enamored with this book to the extent that it may be my favorite #1 issue of all 52 released last month! If I had to describe this book in two words, it would be “crazy” and “fun!” If you want to read a book filled with dozens of the same woman being hit by cars on the highway and tornadoes of flying teeth taking down Superman, then this is the book for you.

Justice League Dark #1 is off-the-wall insanity in the form of a 20-page comic book. I understand the necessity of a supernatural-based Justice League roster now, and I am quite pleased that it exists. Although I hadn’t been a big fan of his before, Peter Milligan is quickly becoming a favorite writer of mine based off of his Red Lanterns #1 and Justice League Dark #1, both of which rank in my Top 5 Favorite Books of The New 52 on my New 52 Report Card.

The Wrong:

I had very little background or foreknowledge of most of this team, so I’m still a little confused about who’s who and what they can do. We saw John Constantine on one page and I know him by name, but I have no concept of what kind of person he is or what his abilities are (if any). I understand from the issue that June Moone is important to the story, but I don’t understand how exactly or why. I have faith that these things are going to be explained as the story arc continues so it doesn’t especially bother me, but I can definitely see where other new readers may be lost or confused by this and may not pick up subsequent issues as a result. A little more expository information could have gone a long way to building a healthy readership for Justice League Dark.

“Where Can I Buy It?!”

The obvious place to buy new comic books is your local comic book store, but if you don’t have one or can’t get to it, I highly recommend giving Things from Another World (TFAW.com) a try! They stock a crazy huge number of comic books, and the prices on new releases and graphic novels are always 10-30% below cover price. I’ve been buying from TFAW for close to a decade now and never had a bad experience, so I have total confidence in their speed, value and quality. Click here if you wanna take a look at buying comics from Things from Another World.

Overall: I went in with little knowledge of these characters and expecting to loathe Justice League Dark #1 and came out loving it–perhaps more than any book in the whole New 52! That has to be considered a major victory for Peter Milligan and DC as a whole. Exciting, fun, terrifying, compelling, and exhilarating. Justice League Dark #1 gets my highest possible recommendation.

Will I be pre-ordering the next issue of  Justice League Dark? Yes!

GRADE: A

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