In Part 3 of ‘Rise of the Vampires,’ John Constantine and Deadman journey into the great beyond to retrieve the soul of Andrew Bennett, who is described by Madame Xanadu as “The only vampire ever to retain his conscience. His death allowed great evil to rise.” That evil being Cain, forefather of all vampires. (Read more about it here.) Andrew however is wallowing in self-doubt and tells them he has no fight left in him. Madame Xanadu tells a deity known as The Crystal One that Cain is siphoning off magic and asks him to redirect it. Mary the Blood Queen has allied herself with what’s left of Justice League Dark and Andrews associates John Troughton and Tig to fend off Cain’s vampire army, but with Cain draining their powers, they aren’t faring very well.
(Things get magically spoiler-y from here.)
Shade the Changing Man is overwhelmed by the power of his M Vest and seems to self-destruct! He awakens in “The Area of Magic” and is reunited with his love Kathy, whom he thought he’d killed. He is content to remain there with her and not return to help the JLD.
Madame Xanadu wallows in self-pity due to her teams seeming failure. She along with Zatanna and Mary rush Cain but he beats them down with little effort. It takes the last of Zatanna’s powers to teleport them away, but Cain chases them down. Constantine and Deadman return sans Andrew. Things look dire, when suddenly Andrew appears and via the aid of The Crystal One, steals Cain’s powers.
Oh and Batman makes a few silent and to be honest gratuitous and pointless cameos, fending off vampires and assorted chaos in Gotham City. (Honestly, I think he’s just there to hopefully boost sales.)
To be brutally honest, this issue was a little sloppy for me. I know it was decided a while back that the book needed to change direction. I guess sales weren’t where DC wanted them to be. So it feels like a lot of changes were slapped together in order to set up the new direction next month, for instance Shade’s story arc ending abruptly. Shade was a terrible character in this book; just this sad sack with no confidence or ability to control his powers. He never really contributed much and wasn’t even really likeable. I’m not saying he didn’t have potential. Had he stuck around, I’m sure more could have been done with him.
Madame Xanadu doesn’t come across that well in my opinion either. She’s very Debbie Downer here! And the more entertaining characters, Constantine and Zatanna don’t get enough to do.
This book wasn’t awful or anything, but it was a brutal transition, wrapping things up so the new creative team could take over next month. It’s essential to the overall ‘Rise of the Vampires’ story, but as an issue all its own, based on it’s own merits, I don’t think it’s very good.
I am truly going to miss Daniel Sampere’s lovely artwork, though. I hope he gets a new book very soon! But this series original artist, Mikel Janin is returning, so I’m happy about that.
I’m kind of waffling on my verdict this time. Overall, it’s not terrible, just… choppy, I guess. The art was great though. I’ll be generous…
JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #8
Written by Peter Milligan
Art by Daniel Sampere
Cover by Ryan Sook