Justice League Dark is shaping up to be one of my favourite of DC’s New 52, with its team of magical misfits – ‘damaged goods’ – as one of their number, Madame Xanadu refers to them.
In this second issue from writer Peter Milligan and artist Mikel Janin, we learn a bit more about some of the Dark leaguesters – in particular backwards-spelling Zatanna and the wonderfully-depicted relationship between Deadman and his lady Hawk girlfriend Dawn Granger.
Indeed, over half of this issue concerns the ghostly Deadman’s desperate and misguided attempts to get physical with Dawn, which Milligan handles brilliantly with equal parts humour and pathos, like a post-modern episode of Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased).
John Constantine pops up in the gutter again, preparing his hocus pocus to get together with old flame Zatanna (as hinted at by the cover; a scene which doesn’t happen in this issue). Zatanna herself is the other lead this time, with her efforts to track down and stop Enchantress in a long-distance battle of magic.
Janin’s artwork is once again lovely to look at, even when he’s depicting some of the more warped things flowing from Milligan’s pen. Ulises Arreolo‘s colours further the mood, with a mysterious and sombre blue and black palette, with flashes of red from Zatanna’s magic and Deadman’s costume.
Although the team haven’t yet teamed up, Justice League Dark‘s plot threads are beginning to entwine, and – in a superb cliffhanger – twist. How this one plays out is anyone’s guess, but once the JLD are together, it looks as though it will be one hell of a ride.