The tide continues to rise against the heroes in this issue, as they attempt to locate the all-powerful Books of Magic, but find themselves on a wild goose chase, stepping into traps set by their nemesis Felix Faust.  Outside of Gotham City, John Constantine and Black Orchid battle a giant troll named Black Boris and Constantine learns more about Orchid the mystery lady, whose nature seems to defy possibility.  In Peru, Deadman and Zatanna face Black Briarthorn, seemingly the jungle itself come to life.

Ultimately, the heroes discover that Faust is just the puppet of a greater power– one that they thought had been eliminated for good.  (See the #0 issue.)  Constantine makes a last ditch effort to stop this force, but it backfires and the heroes lose one of their most powerful resources.

Things are really building to what will surely be an explosive climax.  The new villain, revealed here, really seems to have the upper hand in every way, so the heroes seemingly must find the Books of Magic if they want any chance of standing up to this force.  The story is action-packed with some interesting reveals about various characters.  We get a brief spotlight on Deadman as he attacks Black Briarthorn.  Madame Xanadu and Timothy Hunter have a brief battle with Faust.  We even get more insight into the mysterious Black Orchid and Dr. Mist.

Mikel Janin’s art is so amazing, I’m really surprised he isn’t a bigger name and that this book doesn’t have more buzz based simply on that.  If nothing else, this is an absolutely gorgeous book.

One thing that’s bugging me, though, is that Zatanna comes off as really weak.  He magic spells NEVER work.  She is constantly overpowered and having to be saved.  I mean, you don’t want to read about characters that are all-powerful, because that’s boring, but this is the opposite.  She borders on bungling with her inability, and it doesn’t maked sense from a story standpoint that she’s such a central figure, when she comes across as the weakest character in the whole book.

If you’ve never read this title, this single issue probably won’t make much sense, but overall, this series is exciting, beautiful to look at and has some fun characterization.


Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Ryan Sook