Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes and Mikel Janin kick off a new storyline in “Justice League Dark” #15, one that was lead into directly from the team’s recent search for the legendary Books of Magic. With this new installment, the creative team play to their strengths of continually changing the book’s setting and goals.
“Justice League Dark” #15 picks up seconds after the previous issue; Zatanna and Tim Hunter transported off to a strange realm after opening the Books of Magic, and the rest of the team still in Nanda Parbat scrambling to figure out just what happened. As the two halves of the team try to reunite, Lemire and new co-author Fawkes do a good job of bringing us up to speed even as they set the new rules into place for this latest setting. I think that’s one of the things that makes “Justice League Dark” so entertaining; Lemire never has kept the book in one place for too long. Up until now, the entire planet has been his proverbial oyster, and with “Justice League Dark” #15, he’s expanded that even further. For a book centered around mysticism, it makes perfect sense that so much of the title is able to jump huge distances in the blink of an eye, and the anything-can-happen attitude of “Justice League Dark” is amplified by the ever-shifting location.
The plot itself is fun, too; Lemire and Fawkes have some surprises for us up their sleeve, like the changes to some of the characters when they enter the new realm, or the identity of the captors of Zatanna and Tim. Some of the characters still feel like blank slates (most notably Black Orchid), and that’s something that I hope Fawkes can help out with. With a large cast it’s understandable that not all characters will get deep characterization, but I’d like to see more from the characters that don’t appear elsewhere and get some more look into how they tick.
Janin’s art looks great as always. I love his portraits of the various characters; he draws them in a smooth, appealing way that tells the story well. He’s at his best when Lemire and Fawkes give him something out of the ordinary to draw, though. Zatanna and Tim dragged into the earth is instantly eye-catching, and the detail on the shoots and leaves makes it that much more so. With some new fantastic creatures to draw, there’s going to be a lot of good Janin art ahead in this story arc, especially if this issue is anything to go by.
“Justice League Dark” #15 is the latest in a line of consistently enjoyable issues. The series doesn’t knock my socks off, but it doesn’t need to; it’s fun and entertaining, which is exactly what the book should be. For a book that sounded particularly ridiculous when it was first announced, I feel like it’s quietly turned into a book to look forward to each month.