As a jumping on point, “Justice League Dark” #6 by Peter Milligan is effective at outlining the characters and yet, fails to majorly capitalize on using them to form a narrative. This issue hints at a story, it teases possibilities, it makes you mildly start to wonder — and then it sends you off to another title completely. The cover doesn’t advertise it but the little you find out will need to be used later in “I, Vampire” #6.
The first half of this issue works on delivering the condensed versions of these characters. The summative introductions weave pretty well through the pages and if you’re new to this title you will get caught up. For veteran readers, it will feel like wheel spinning — not a good thing when it’s the first eight pages. There is a fine balance needed to welcome the new readers without boring the old. This issue errs a little on the side against the established fanbase.
Once the complication of the narrative finally gains traction, this issue mostly works easily on its own. There is a problem plaguing this disparate group of rogues and anti-heroes, which makes for some very cool visuals and a chance for most players to display their power sets. It all resolves far too simply but as a plot device it serves its purpose.
The strength of this book is the variety of characters within the team. Each of these people, especially the men, feels exceptionally different from the others. They certainly look like a rag-tag bunch and the voices, motives, actions and inherent traits are all extremely disparate. A good team book needs someone who can be anyone’s favorite and this issue certainly works toward that. It’s a shame the females feel rather interchangeable.
The art style from Mikel Janin is pleasing on nearly every page. Upon first glance, it’s a very pretty book. Only when you go digging are issues found, such as inconsistent light sources and shadows. Realistically, this is only a small thing but it is a large degree between professional and problematic. The colors from Ulises Arreola work well in all the mystical aspects and bring a sense of artistry to the pages.
“Justice League Dark” is a good book and generally better than this issue indicates, which is a shame because this feels like it wants to lure in more new readers but doesn’t have a strong chance of holding them. The characters feel right and it’s only the narrative that’s wrong.