Justice League Dark 12


If you’re not reading this, you’re stupid and I hate you.

You know what I like?  Magic, plant-based superpeople, and John Constantine. So Justice League Dark #12 was, understandably, a crucible of awesome.  Ever since Jeff Lemire took over writing duties from Peter Milligan in issue 9, the series has really skyrocketed in quality.  In this issue, we deal with the betrayal of Dr. Mist – who was revealed in issue 11 to have been working with Faust against the JLD – and the team splits off to find the Books of Magic and stop Faust from doing the same.

I love it when the team breaks up.  Even in the days of Scooby Doo, you knew that when Fred divvied up responsibilities something was going to go wrong.  Constantine should’ve watched more Scooby Doo.  I mentioned that I love plant-based superpeople:  and we have two in this issue!  Zatanna and Deadman run into Blackbriar Thorn (a botanical druid-demon-mystic-villain thing) in the Peruvian jungle while Constantine teams up with Black Orchid (from the excellent Neil Gaiman comic) in Slaughter Swamp.  The only way this could’ve gotten better was if Constantine and Black Orchid faced off against a pissed-off and enchanted Solomon Grundy rather than…what was it?…Black Boris, Cannibal King of the Fire Trolls…?  Even Swamp Thing got a mention in!  Damn, Jeff Lemire knows how to get me.

As for the magic bit of the story, Lemire’s world is delving deeper and deeper into DC’s rich magical mythos.  Tim Hunter (a la Neil Gaiman’s Books of Magic and subsequent series) makes his second appearance in two issues and reveals that he has relinquished all of his magic years ago; Doctor Occult (Simon and Siegel’s other creation and co-member with our friend Constantine of the Trenchcoat Brigade) gets his ass handed to him by our mysterious antagonist in the House of Secrets; and we get mentions and flashbacks of Alec Holland, Zatara, Sargon the Sorcerer, the origin of Dr. Mist…it just keeps getting better and better.

Lemire’s Justice League Dark is really starting to remind me of Gaiman’s Books of Magic mini-series, not only because they share so many characters, but because both are investing very heavily in the backlog of DC magic.  Thinking about the characters that Lemire has brought on in a mere 3 issues makes me excited to see who else he might have in store.  Could Frankenstein be rejoining the team anytime soon?  With DiDio bringing back the Phantom Stranger, could we see a reunion of the Trenchcoat Brigade?  Maybe Lemire will precipitate Earth 2 by resurrecting fan (and personal) favorites Dr. Fate or the Spectre?  If so, we might not see them for a while.

In the meantime though, I’m going to go out on a limb and guess who the mysterious villain is.  Anyone who has read Books of Magic knows that Tim Hunter appears as an adult just as often as a child – and he’s not the kindest of men, either.  This man wields power enough to destroy Dr. Occult and has a thorny history with Constantine.  I’m willing to bet that our mystery villain is no other than future Tim Hunter: Magical Asshole and Destroyer of Worlds.   Only one problem with my theory:

“Tim Hunter wears glasses.  Mysterious Shadow Villain doesn’t wear glasses.”

“He takes them off and transforms.”

“That doesn’t make any sense.  He wouldn’t be able to see.”

– Henry