Justice League Dark #9—the first issue written by Jeff Lemire, who will probably be writing every single DC comic not written by Grant Morrison or GEOFF!JOHNS! by next year—is not bad. Mikel Janin’s artwork remains lovely, and his redesign for Black Orchid is beautiful. I’m not keen on his version of Felix Faust, but Faust is a B-lister at best.
It’s a very odd transition, though. They repeatedly reiterate that Shade and Mindwarp have disappeared, which comes off like Lemire needs to remind the audience every five minutes that DC has dumped all the characters created by Peter Milligan and used during his tenure on the title.
The characterization of Madame Xanadu as a calculating manipulator who has put together Justice League Dark—still the worst super-team name—for her own reasons? That’s gone as well. They attempt to pay lip service to it but the group’s interaction with her doesn’t jibe with what’s going on, and Constantine bitches her out for not wanting to join his team even though he’s bitched her out for several issues for tricking him into joining hers?
They include Andrew Bennett because DC is trying to make me care about I, Vampire for some reason, Zatanna gets some good bits and Boston Brand is always a treasure. I like the use of Black Orchid and the casual approach to making her work in the new context.
They also establish through dialogue that John Constantine is straight—this version, the DCnU version, anyway. Constantine has traditionally been a presented as a bisexual man who primarily schtups women, and I assume that will continue over in Vertigo with Hellblazer, but his scene with Steve Trevor recruiting him to work for the government—yes, this is a very different Constantine, even if he’s still doing it for opportunistic reasons—ends up disappointingly sexless considering it opens with Constantine cracking a joke about waking up with Trevor in his apartment and wandering around half-naked. I miss those early, heady days of Vertigo.
And actually that maybe why it’s not working so hot for me—it’s weird to push these characters back into the DC(n)U. Constantine doesn’t feel like he fits well without ironing out all but the broadest of strokes, and my fear is that by pulling Black Orchid back in she’ll become somewhat one-dimensional; Lemire writes her as a knock-off of Black Widow with a talent for disguise. Vertigo was, once upon a time, feverish with its approach to the dark characters poached from the DCU, and I’m not convinced yet. It’s better, so far, in terms of pacing to Milligan’s plodding narrative (which feels weird to say given how much I love Peter Milligan), but I can feel the hand of editorial in it too much, and it’s too much of the Constantine Show.
But they remembered about Doctor Mist.
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- nomi-malone said: Straight John Constantine?? For shame, DC, for shame.
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