Thursday, September 27, 2012

Justice League Dark #0: Constantine, You Gotta Love the Bastard

Justice League Dark #0
"Young Bastards"
Writer: Jeff Lemire
Artist: Lee Garbett
Inker: Cam Smith, et al.

Alright, it's time I do the Werner Herzog and eat my own shoe.

I said some not so nice things about Justice League Dark #11, dropped the book from my pull list, and was ready to walk away from this title without looking back.

Then I heard some good buzz surrounding this issue, which tells the origin of everyone's favourite magical bastard, John Constantine, and decided to give this title another chance.

I'm glad that I did. This issue doesn't so much tell the origin of Constantine as it does explain where he gained most of his power from, and how he and Zatanna first met. Basically, Constantine shows up in New York in what looks like the 1980s, seeks out the best mage in the city, a sorceror named Nick Necro, convinces him to teach him the dark arts. Then he steals Necro's girl, Zatanna, and after the two have a falling out, Constantine kills the bloke: because that's what a bastard like Constantine does. It's a smart retelling of Constantine's origins that stays true to the character's roots while also manages to connect to the larger story arc that Lemire has been building since he took over this book from Peter Milligan.

On that subject, Lemire has been building a very good team book on Justice League Dark. His character work has been very consistent, adding additional layers and depth to the characters and their stories with each new issue. Despite what's still an unfortunately awful title (seriously, can't we just give this book a new name?), Justice League Dark is becoming one of the strongest team books from DC and after reading these more recent issues, I think I'm enjoying this book even more than Animal Man. This story finally reveals the history between Constantine and Zatanna, and explains the . source of the romantic tension that has been between the two since the series began.

Lee Garbett's art in this particular issue is great. He has this cartoonish style that really fits the magical underworld that Constantine and Zatanna inhabit. There is some nice panel work that breaks up the action but doesn't distract from what's going on. It's a clean, professional art style that features simple line work, but manages to be very expressive when it needs to be. Mikel Janin's art was what kept me reading the title throughout Milligan's run, so I'm not in any hurry to see him leave the book, but I would absolutely be into having Garbett do an occasional fill-in issue.

So there it is. I take back what I said previously about this book. It's quite entertaining and you shouldn't let a bastard like me or Constantine spoil your fun. Read this book and enjoy one of the best issues from DC's Zero Month.

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