The Justice League Dark team inches closer to actually coming together this issue, as The Enchantress’ power continues to grow.  Constantine and Zatanna recall what caused her to slip into a coma in ‘Justice League Dark’ #2.  It’s revealed that these two share a complicated history.  Deadman and June Moone grow closer, but June is so terrified of becoming possessed by The Enchantress that she asks Boston to kill her if it ever looks like that is about to happen.  Shade the Changing Man, alongside Madame Xanadu, attempts to recruit Deadman, but Boston is busy thwarting June’s suicide attempt.  Something dire then befalls Shade once he is on his own.  This encounter is so unsettling that he flees to a bar, before going after another recruit, suggested by Xanadu, a being named Mindwarp, who is in Australia, murdering one man and going after a woman, before Shade intervenes.  June and Deadman meanwhile come face to face with The Enchantress!

At least Xanadu makes mention of assembling this team.  This, like a lot of New 52 titles, is starting to drag.  Maybe if there weren’t 52 books all telling the same decompressed story of a team coming together to battle one gigantic threat, it wouldn’t be getting to me as much.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wonderfully written.  The characterization is excellent!  I’ve never read ‘Shade, The Changing Man,’ but this issue develops him as a complicated character.  Xanadu comes across as slightly nefarious.  The revelation of Zatanna’s past with Constantine is intriguing.  Deadman is the “everyman” of the team, that’s easy to like, but June Moone is coming across as too much of a damsel in distress and also… kind of a slut.  I mean she’s hitting on a guy whose relationship she just helped end a few hours ago!  Yeah, it’s definitely more his fault than hers, but it’s called Sister Code, lady!  Mindwarp adds a dangerous new element.

I’m just ready for like… something to happen!  I’m ready for more than two characters to appear in a scene together!  June shows up, Dawn leaves.  Zatanna leaves, Constantine goes to the same bar as Shade.  The Enchantress assaulted three of the regular Justice League in issue #1, but since then, the attacks have been much smaller and on individual targets.  At least the cliffhanger alludes to something bigger coming.

The art is still gorgeous!  It’s the one “magic”/”horror” book in DC’s lineup that has a cleaner, smoother look, but it actually works here.  Plus, Mikel Janin does ugly well in his Enchantress scenes.  The magic effects are all really cool and unique.  It makes me laugh to think back to the comics I grew up with, where most magical characters’ energy signatures were just beams or bursts with sound effects!  Dr. Fate’s ankh-shaped bolts were all that differentiated his blasts from Green Lanterns.  This book actually seems like it has Hollywood-level special effects!  The whole book is just gorgeous and lush!

This is a real sleeper book, but overall, it’s excellent!  I am a tad annoyed that the story is dragging its feet, but it’s still a GOOD story and I’m sure once I have the whole thing, it’ll flow just fine.  And even if you don’t read it, this is one of those books where the art is so beautiful; you can buy it just for that!

Verdict: Buy

Written by Peter Milligan
Art and Cover by Mikel Janin