Justice League Dark Annual #1 Cover Katie KubertThings came to a head last issue, with super villain Nick Necro seizing control of the House of Secrets, kidnapping Zatanna and destroying the heroes’ House of Mystery.  Facing such seemingly unstoppable odds, Constantine calls in reinforcements, Andrew Bennett, Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E. and Princess Amaya of the House of Amethyst.  Madame Xanadu and Timothy Hunter also join them.  (The gang’s all here!)  Nick Necro reveals how he found the map to the Book of Magic and that Mordru and Merlin were part of the tale and how Timothy Hunter was destined to acquire them and become the world’s greatest sorcerer, but Timothy has seemingly given up all of his magic.  Necro and his forces gather in Nanda Parbat, but begin fighting among themselves.  Then the heroes strike and it’s an all-out magical super brawl.  There are two huge twists and rather than wrapping up every dangling thread, the tale ends in another cliffhanger!

This tale is a nice throwback to the super-charged annuals from my youth.  Rather than a stand-alone tale or a throwaway catalog story done by a fill-in creative team, this served as the culmination of the current storyline and the beginning of the next.  It satisfies, but still leaves you wanting more.

There’s a lot of information presented here that fills in the story and explains some of Nick’s motivations and back story.  But the real treat is much more visceral… the big battle at the end, between the heroes and villains!  I mean, isn’t that what it’s all about?  I love a book that challenges me intellectually, but at the end of the day, guys/gals in tights punching one another is what this hobby boils down to!  Good stuff!

Mikel Janin’s art is DROP.  DEAD.  BEAUTIFUL.  Seriously, this is one of the prettiest books on stands.  He is a superstar in the making!  I can only imagine how he’d handle drawing the regular Justice League book or even better, a huge crossover event!  The colors by Rob Leigh are also just gorgeous and really enhance the artwork.  The magic effects are unique and really make the art explode off the page.  At one point, Black Orchid’s energy forms wings that resemble her old costume’s, which I just loved!  Just a dazzling book!

I’m actually quite excited about the new characters stepping in as well.  I doubt Andrew Bennett will be sticking around, considering his dark turn in his own book (but Mary the Blood Queen, now acting as anti-hero is MORE than welcome to take his place), but Frankenstein and Princess Amaya are absolutely welcome!  Despite his solo book’s cancellation, ‘Frankenstein Agent of S.H.A.D.E.’ was a quirky, fun read and I am LOVING Amethyst in ‘Sword of Sorcery.’  And the pair are already forging a bond, so there’s that!

This is just a great, fun read!  It’s a bit pricey, but I think even if you haven’t been reading this title, that this issue could make you a regular.

 

JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK ANNUAL #1
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Katie Kubert