Justice League Dark #9Jeff Lemire steps in as the new writer of this book and relaunches it in a completely different direction.  John Constantine is tied up and taken before Felix Faust in the Amazon jungle.  But his allies spring into action battling Faust and his minions, allowing Constantine to offer the reader (hopefully new readers) an explanation of who’s who.  There’s Zatanna, who speaks her spells backwards; Andrew Bennet, the new lord of vampires; Deadman, who can possess others’ bodies; and new member Black Orchid.

We then flash back a week and discover that Constantine was visited by Steve Trevor who offers him a visit to the Black Room, the government’s room full of mystical artifacts in exchange for his services along with those of his group.  He wants them to go into the Amazon after Doctor Mist, the sorcerer responsible for safeguarding the Black Room, who ventured there to infiltrate the cult of Faust.  Trevor also inserts Black Orchid into the team to keep an eye on them.

Back in the present, having dispatched Faust’s followers, the team pursues the villain into a pyramid but are assaulted by monsterous spider creatures.

Justice League DarkIn another flashback, Constantine attempts to enlist his allies but they all refuse.  Xanadu comments on the loss of Shade and Mindwarp.  He leaves, but Zatanna follows him into the rainy streets.  (Her magic keeps them dry.)  He entices her to convince the others to trust him by promising her that he will retrieve her father’s hat from the Black Room.

SPOILERS!

Faust is proving too powerful for the heroes, taking them down one by one.  Constantine approaches and reveals himself to be Black Orchid and she takes Faust down.  They free Dr. Mist who directs them to their objective; a map to the Books of Magic, the source of all magic on Earth.

I apprecciated the previous writer Peter Milligan who gave the book an off-beat feel and characterized the cast very well.  The biggest difference here is the team is given a straight-forward direction; they now work with the government, responding to supernatural threats.  Will that make this quirky team more accessible?  I hope so!  While more mainstream, this book is still fun and the idea of focusing on Constantine retains the darker edge of this book.

Mikel Janin’s art is drop dead gorgeous!  Just amazing!

This is the perfect starting point, so if you are interested in an off-beat, supernatural team of heroes, this is the perfect book for you!

Verdict: Buy

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #9
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Ryan Sook