Thursday, December 5, 2013

Justice League Dark #23

Jeff Lemire Writer
Mikel Janin Artist
Jeromy Cox Colorist
Rob Leigh Letterer
Kate Stewart Assistant Editor
Brian Cunningham Senior Editor
Superman created by Jerry Siegel and Joe Shuster by special arrangement with the Jerry Siegel family

The cover is the center of the three-part image by Dough Mahnke and Alex Sinclair. It doesn't work terribly well on its own, and Martian Manhunter looks kinda weird, but it's alright.

We open in Lex Luthor's prison cell, where Wonder Woman has seized Pandora's box. She's gained a third eye … on her tiara … and is attacking everyone in sight. Shazam, running away from John Constantine, shows up and grabs the box, which causes a major disturbance in the magical plains. All magical-based beings in the world, including Deadman at the House of Mystery, feel the effects of Shazam possessing Pandora's box. This brief moment of pain, however, enables Deadman to locate the captured Madame Xanadu.

Back at Washington, D.C., formerly the site of A.R.G.U.S. headquarters, Element Woman has protected all the heroes and Amanda Waller from Plastique's blast. Everybody immediately begins to accuse Waller of setting up Superman's "murder." Waller naturally denies these accusations, and at the urging of Superman, everyone begins to dig through the wreckage for survivors.

Back at Luthor's prison cell, Pandora's box has begun to corrupt all the nearby heroes, except for Zatanna, who's protected by her magic. Everybody kind of plays hot potato with Pandora's box, and everything gets quite chaotic, until Constantine arrives and grabs the box without becoming corrupted. He and Zatanna then try to teleport away to London, but end up at the temple of Hephaestus, which is where Xanadu is being held. They are soon joined by Batman and his team.

But that's not all. The Outsider joins the party and tells everybody that Pandora's box is actually a doorway, and now it's time to open it.

The Good:

Epic story. All the characters are still involved, and we got some fighting, to boot. But more importantly, this issue felt like it went somewhere. The reader has known the Outsider has been behind this right from the beginning, but none of the main characters have … until now. Now we just need to figure out exactly who he is and what he's doing. And although my synopsis was brief, I really did enjoy this issue. Jeff Lemire and Mikel Janin are growing on me. And as for the Trinity War as a whole, I'd have to say I've enjoyed it up to this point (part 5 of 6). My scores have been rather average — mainly because the Flash has been mishandled — but I think this has been a good, if rushed, crossover.

The Bad:

The Flash did absolutely nothing in this issue, but I prefer that to what he's been doing recently. I'd much rather have him sit silently in the background than having him sound like an idiot every time he opened his mouth. In an ideal world, this story would have been long enough to give meaningful moments to all characters involved, but it's not, so I'll take what I can get. An uninvolved Flash is better than a stupid/jerky Flash.

Final score: 6 out of 10

Next time: Justice League #23

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