In Justice League Dark Annual #1, Zatanna and Timothy Hunter vanished and have been missing since.  In this issue, we discover that they’ve been teleported to a realm called Epoch, overflowing with wild magical energy, but where it appears that magic is illegal.  A science agent named Vikar, in a powerful scientific battle suit, is dispatched to arrest them because the simple fact that they teleported there is a crime with a mandatory punishment of six years in prison.  The agent is unprepared, however, when Zatanna explodes with mystical energy, powered by this world’s surplus.  The pair are also confronted by giants, uttering the name “Hunter” but once more the uber-powered Zatanna dispatches them.  Zee gushes like an instant drug addict, high on this energy, but Tim is terrified, having given up his magic to avoid things like this.  The pair wind up in a mystical underground, literally.

Back in Nanda Parbat, Constantine reveals that the Books of Magic they found weren’t the real artifacts, so the real ones are still out there somewhere.  Doctor Peril formulates a way of locating Zatanna and Tim and the heroes are teleported to Epoch, but the wild magic has horrific consequences on them all.

Another great issue, kicking off what looks to be a cool new storyline, this is the perfect jumping on point.  The characterization is excellent.  Tim is a scared, non-powered kid.  Zatanna goes power-mad in moments.  Constantine is his typical surly self, but he gets speachless at one point thanks to Doctor Peril and his mutation at the end is hilarious.  A lot of super hero teams are built on the idea of an eclectic group of people that don’t entirely trust one another and don’t get along that well.  When done poorly, it irritates me and I just want to tell them to break up and get it over with.  It’s done very well in this title.  The characters bicker, but it works.

Mikel Janin’s art is so gorgeous!  He does everything excellently, his facial expressions, the detail work, his backgrounds… everything.  But my favorite effect was the use of standard rectangular panels in the Nanda Parbat sequences and jagged, irregular panels in Epoch, with the edges crackling with glowing energy.  It’s innovative and works wonderfully, adding to the storytelling.

Flawless art and solid writing… this is a great super hero book!

Written by Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
Art by Mikel Janin
Cover by Trevor McCarthy