Title: Justice League Dark.
Story Arc: Lords of Order.
Writer(s): James Tynion IV & Ram V.
Penciller(s): Alvaro Martínez Bueno, Guillem March, Daniel Sampere, Mark Buckingham & Miguel Mendonça.
Inker(s): Raul Fernandez, Guillem March, Juan Albarran, Mick Gray & Miguel Mendonça.
Colourist(s): Brad Anderson, Arif Prianto & Adriano Lucas.
Letterer(s): Rob Leigh.
Publisher: DC Comics.
Release Date: October 20th 2019.
Genre(s): Comics, Science-Fiction.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★☆.
Previously on the Justice League Dark series:
Justice League Dark (Vol. 1): The Last Age of Magic by James Tynion IV
Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour (Vol. 1.5) by James Tynion IV
If those who master the art of dark magic are left disarmed and on their knees facing something far stronger and impossible to understand, what hope does humanity have left to survive the chaos to come? It’s during such predicaments that heroes endeavour and find solutions that are beyond their comfort zone, things that would allow them to vanquish evil at the cost of something they would never have dared put on the table. James Tynion IV masterly extends his Justice League Dark run as he continues to handle multiple fascinating heroes in a squad that never seemed remotely possible. From excellent use of humour through banter to formidable emotional colloquy between heroes, this series pursues its intimate exploration of countless characters while delving into epic cosmic events that only the Justice League Dark could possibly handle.
What is Justice League Dark: Lords of Order about? Collecting Justice League Dark #8-12 and Annual #1, the story takes place after the events in The Last Age of Magic and The Witching Hour. While Wonder Woman recuperates from the overwhelming and life-threatening episode where the witch-goddess of magic took possession of her Witchmarked disciples, Doctor Fate assembles the Lords of Order to take advantage of the scar left on Earth with its weaknesses exposed to the world as magic continues to fade away. Although the Justice League Dark is still threatened by the Otherkind, they have to find a way to pull free from Doctor Fate’s machiavellian plans before Earth is plunged into a new form of order. To do so, their only solution relies upon chaos itself.
I believe this has to be James Tynion IV’s strongest comic book run so far as he still does a marvelous job with this team of heroes—giving me hope that his upcoming Batman run will be just as strong. With magic fainting on Earth and our defenders of sorcery struggling to see the light at the end of the tunnel with the Otherkind squeezing its way through the multiverse, their odds of defeating this evil grow slim while Doctor Fate profits of this situation to bring forth the Lords of Order and a new law of magic to dictate Earth from henceforth. As James Tynion IV builds the magical lore of the DC universe through this series, he doesn’t waste a second to plunge the reader into Nabu’s shenanigans that will force Wonder Woman and Zatanna to seek help from someone that no one wants to mess with.
What’s even more impressive about this series is its scope. It doesn’t solely look into delivering a grand dose of world-building exposition, as James Tynion IV still remains a great storyteller at heart who doesn’t shy away from giving the readers lots of information to chew on—the upside is that the artwork offers just as much to admire, balancing the whole in the end. The volume also delves deeper into the psyche of each member of the Justice League Dark and their personal plights. In fact, each one of them is struggling to live with consequences of their actions, from Wonder Woman and her reconciliation with her occult past as well as her ability to understand magic to Detective Chimp and his broken promise regarding the land of Myrrah. To see how it affects them while they still think of the larger-scale issue that takes form in front of them is impressive and well-executed as a whole.
I am also completely sold by Alvaro Martínez Bueno’s artwork (as well as his colleagues) throughout this volume as he continues to execute some of the most fanciful ideas that were explored throughout the story through his visionary artistic style. Not only is the character designs slick, but the panel structure is also ingenious, playing around with juxtapositions and original layouts that allow for excellent storytelling charisma. In fact, there are instances in the story where heroes make use of some of the most absurd and devastating magic that simply alter reality and our perception of it, and the artwork does it justice by breaking the conventional comic book structure and exploring different ways to illustrate these grandiose ideas. The colouring is also near-perfection with excellent work with shadows and tone, giving the volume the desired effect both in terms of realism and mysticism.
Surprisingly enough, even the included Annual #1, titled A Carious Bloom, written by James Tynion IV and Ram V, while illustrated by Guillem March and coloured by Arif Prianto, was truly astonishing. Without giving too much away, this story gives us a glimpse of it would be like if they were to write a Swamp Thing story and it’s truly original from start to finish. This story also ties in with the events in Justice League Dark by introducing a new earthly villain.
Justice League Dark: Lords of Order is a sumptuous story arc where magic meets chaos as new foes rise and catalyze the impending mayhem of an inevitable witching war.
Thank you to Penguin Random House Canada for sending me a copy for review!