JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: Volume 1 by Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin

Justice League Dark Vol. 1: In the Dark by Peter Milligan & Mikel Janin

I had really, really high hopes for this series. Prior to this I hadn’t read anything written by Peter Milligan or illustrated by Mikel Janin, so I didn’t know what to expect from them. My anticipation, however, came entirely from fascination of the Justice League Dark concept. I’m sorry to say I felt rather unfulfilled after completing Volume 1.

The art is great and writing is just fine. I think the problem is that there is a lot of material crammed into only 144 pages. Story lines with the regular Justice League can get away with this because the core characters are about as developed as a character can get. You’re already invested in the key players before cracking the first page. Without having to worry about much character development, authors/artists can run with a central story line while giving it proper treatment. This wasn’t the case here yet it was still approached as if the characters had the same status.

Justice League Dark struggled with character investment because the characters are largely obscure. I’ve seen all of them at some point in other JLA books; some come up way more than others. Zatanna is a solid player who pops up frequently in JLA books and shows like Young Justice and Justice League Unlimited. Deadman was familiar only because I’d recently read the Darkest Night/Brightest Day books. Constantine is the strongest of the lot by far. HELLBLAZER is a worthy favorite series for the charming “old sod” even after decades. I still hold a grudge against NBC for cheating John Constantine out of what he deserved and hope his coming appearance on Arrow turns into something more frequent.

Constantine was too much of a minor player in this volume. Sure it wouldn’t have been fair for it to focus on him, however, he deserved to be featured more than Shade the Changing Man. If given the chance, I’d read an entire volume that primarily focused on Zatanna and Constantine because chemistry between the two is strong enough to carry the book.

I still like the concept of Justice League Dark but don’t feel compelled to seek out Volume 2. If I stumble across it in my regular used book store visits then I’ll grab it, otherwise I think I’ll pass. It wasn’t a bad book… but I wouldn’t call it a good one. In rating I feel Constantine and Zatanna earn an entire point each.

My rating of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK Vol. 1: In the Dark is a disappointed 5.5 out of 10.

5 out of 10

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