Jeff Lemire and guest artist Lee Garbett bring a solid zero issue in “Justice League Dark” #0 that focuses on the early relationship and first meeting of Zatanna and Constantine.
Lemire’s takeover of “Justice League Dark” has pushed Madame Xanadu to the side and brought Constantine to the forefront, which is a smart choice. Constantine draws the eye any time you use him, so it’s pointless to pretend he’s not going to end up stealing the spotlight. In keeping with that idea, Lemire wisely narrows the focus of this issue on Constantine, Zatanna and Nick Necro, who basically ends up being Zatanna and Constantine’s teacher and mentor. Zatanna still doesn’t get to do much, except for an initial dashing intro, but since this is primarily intended to be a John Constantine story, it’s not so surprising. Their history does at least explain some of the tension between the two in the ongoing “Justice League Dark” arc.
There’s nothing particularly revolutionary here, but it’s an intro to a character with a lot of history that will at least leave new readers curious for more — and hopefully won’t horribly offend long-time fans. It’s hard when a character with as many layers and great stories as Constantine gets his slate wiped clean. It’s happened to many in this new continuity and at least now we’ve got a small piece of Constantine’s new story. Plus, Lemire as a writer seems respectful of what a great character he has in John, and his limitless potential.
Mikel Janin has been an absolute star on this book. His art becomes better and better with each issue. Janin has a full year on “Justice League Dark” under his belt, something few artists can manage these days, so it’s no surprise he needs a little break. Lee Garbett is a pretty good fill-in artist for this story, keeping things simple, clean and consistent. His Zatanna is beautiful and dark and his Constantine is young and fresh-faced, which feels right for the story. Garbett does unfortunately have a whole harem of inkers on this issue, and some of them are a better fit for Garbett’s style than others, giving the issue a bit of frustrating inconsistency.
The most successful of the zero issues this past month have been ones that managed to show something new about their characters or bring important ideas to the table, while still being new-reader friendly. Lemire’s “Justice League Dark” #0 isn’t an amazing must read-comic, but it does manage to intrigue on the character front and serves as a decent jumping on point for one of the stronger ongoing books from DC.