Writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes usher in the third installment in “The Death of Magic.” As Timothy Hunter tries to reclaim magic and lead a revolution on the science-controlled world of Epoch. The unfortunate thing is “Justice League Dark” #17 is such a slice a much larger story that it only teases the senses, leaving the reader wanting more — much more — which will surely not come soon enough.
Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire continue to prove that any character can be interesting and engaging, as displayed in this issue through the narrative voice given to Madame Xanadu. Although she is wasting away on Epoch (where magic is turned inside out and the unexpected occurs to the magical members of Justice League Dark) she still proves strong enough to propel the story forward while evoking empathy from the readers. The complication is that Xanadu is just a sliver of the cast of characters Fawkes and Lemire have shaped so nicely. Many of the other characters, like Deadman, Frankenstein and Timothy Hunter have flashes of brilliance, but in twenty pages no one really gets a chance to truly shine. Frankenstein comes close, but that is as much attributable to the art as it is the story.
Speaking of the art, Mikel Janin delivers nothing but awesomeness. From high-tech exosuits to dragons and trolls, Janin is given the full gamut to explore. Every single panel is a miniature masterpiece and has a range of expressions and actions packed into it. Every stitch on Frankenstein’s face is visible and still somehow puffy with irritation. With an assist from Jeromy Cox’s colors the radiant wings of fairies glow most brightly and lightning sparkles across the skies. This is as beautiful a book as DC is publishing.
The biggest drawback to “Justice League Dark” #17 is the fact that “The Death of Magic” is such an epic story with such astonishing revelations and implied ramifications that twenty pages doesn’t do it justice. Like the skinniest sliver of cheesecake, what is served up here is enough to tease the palette and elicit the inquiry “Is there any more?” That is compounded by this comic book being the turning point in the story where everything starts to happen, conclusions begin to materialize, but nothing reaches finality. If you haven’t been reading “Justice League Dark” before now, this is not the issue to start with, but this storyline will certainly make one fantastic collection to be sought out once it becomes available. I cannot recommend this ragtag collection of characters from this stunning team of creators enough.