Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Justice League Dark #21

"Horror City Conclusion: Die Die Die My Darling!"

Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire Writers
Mikel Janin Art
Vicente Cifuentes Finishes, pages 11-20
Jeromy Cox Colors
Rob Leigh Letters
Kate Stewart Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Senior Editor
Swamp Thing created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson

The cover is by Mikel Janin, and it's alright, I guess. Kinda boring for the conclusion of a big story that featured two guest heroes, but whatever. The art is very nice, as is the effect on Deadman's transparency. Since I haven't been reading Justice League Dark, I don't know if I'm supposed to be shocked that these two are (almost) kissing. And what's with the hooded skeletons in the background?

This issue starts with Madame Xanadu seeing a vision of the future twenty years from now. Doctor Destiny has conquered the world and slain all the heroes. Deadman possesses John Constantine so he can hold Xanadu in his embrace for one last time as Destiny causes a massive explosion.

Now, in the House of Mystery in Manhattan, Xanadu, Deadman and Constantine are facing off Doctor Destiny. Xanadu confirms that he is her son, just as Frankenstein rather unexpectedly joins the party. He chases after a demon, which lures him to the den of fire feeders to torture the fire-hating hero.

Outside the House of Mystery, the Flash continues to protect people from Destiny's nightmares. Flash is still having a hard time comprehending this magical-based adventure, but he does admit he's taken a liking to Justice League Dark — except for John Constantine. And to his surprise, Flash actually feels at home on this group mission.

Back in the house, Xanadu and Constantine occupy Destiny, while Deadman rescues Swamp Thing, who creates a bunch of clones of himself to help the heroes. Deadman then somehow possesses the entire house and uses its magic to help subdue Doctor Destiny. With all the nightmares gone, Flash joins the party and quickly rescues Frankenstein.

The entire team then gathers to confront Doctor Destiny, and to everybody's surprise, Madame Xanadu kills her son. She refuses to explain anything or tell anybody who his father was, and she sadly walks away alone, shunning even the company of Deadman.

The Good:

The art, as usual, was very nice — although not on a level where I would recommend this issue just for the art. And it was nice to see the Flash continued to be represented well here, even though his role was greatly diminished. He was basically just brought in to take out the nightmares, but he was courteous enough to stay till the end.

The Bad:

The story. This issue was not as tightly-written as the past two were. We were building up a pretty good adventure here with Flash and Swamp Thing as guest stars, and then all of a sudden, it just ended. Things happened, and the story was over. Why did Frankenstein suddenly stop protecting the civilians and jump into the house to start chasing a demon? And what was going on with Xanadu's vision — 20 years? Isn't that a bit much? Also, what exactly was Doctor Destiny's plan, and who was using him and why? I feel like all these questions would have been answered had this story not been forced to end so quickly for Trinity War.

Final score: 4 out of 10

Next time: My next post will be number 75, and I've been debating whether I should do something special. But then I found out today that Francis Manapul and Brian Buccellato will be leaving The Flash, so I decided to do a special goodbye post to them.

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