Since the Justice Leagues are (mostly) all imprisoned due to the events of ‘Forever Evil’, John Constantine– safe in the House of Mystery– is desperate to locate Zatanna and the others.  Unfortunately, he winds up with the sinister Nightmare Nurse, who brought along her own “Swamp Thing.”  Too bad she didn’t okay this with the real Swamp Thing who shows up in quite a rage.  And considering how powerful he is, things look bad for Constantine and Nightmare Nurse.

Meanwhile the darkness that is rising due to the Crime Syndicate’s takeover of the world.  This force is so powerful, it’s preventing Constantine from locating his teammates, so the three rag-tag “heroes” have to take it down if they want any chance of finding the others.  Ultimately, Constantine realizes they simply need more power… and secures the most powerful beings there are.

I gush month after month over Mikel Janin’s absolutely breath-taking artwork, but he even manages to outdo himself here.  He really gets to cut loose on any scene featuring the Swamp Thing!  It’s gorgeous to behold!  Seriously, ridiculous!

The plot is good.  It’s not fascinating– possibly due to the fact that it has to work around ‘Forever Evil’– but it works and is fine.  But there are a lot of small things that elevate the issue above the average.  The approach to magic here is different from any I’ve seen in a comic.  It’s WORK.  Constantine and the others have to really struggle to craft spells.  At one point it’s pointed out that Constantine spent 12 hours working toward one… and looks like he’s been really worked over.  Most of the time, magical characters are nearly omnipotent and just point and boom!  Magic!  The fact that they have to work for it is refreshing.

The characterization is great as well.  Writer J.M. DeMatteis does have a grasp on the characters’ voices.

There’s a surprising resurrection… not that the character is resurrected (well, that is slightly surprising), but why in this book?  Either way, it ties into ‘Forever Evil’.  There’s also a New 52 debut by Cassandra Craft, a supporting character from Zatanna’s last series, this time re-imagined as an African American.  No issues there.  Hey, have you met Etta Candy?

The art on this book is some of the most gorgeous in all of comics.  No flaws there.  The writing is solid, has some really excellent details, but the overall plot is lacking just a little bit.  I don’t mean to hate!  It’s enjoyable, the characterization is great and I really respect this approach to magic.



Written by J.M. DeMatteis
Art and Cover by Mikel Janin