Written By JM DeMatteis
Art By Mikel Janin
Published By DC Comics
Release Date: October 23, 2013

3393554-jld+01New writer JM DeMatteis joins long time artist Mikel Janin to usher in a new era of Justice League Dark. As the book kicks off the Forever Evil: Blight crossover, John Constantine and the House of Mystery take center stage in an issue that serves as a great jumping on point for new readers who may be reading for the first time because of the Forever Evil name plastered on the cover. For those readers who were afraid that the loss of Jeff Lemire would lead to a drop in the book’s quality, it is a pleasure to inform you that JM DeMatteis doesn’t miss a beat, and issue #24 is another strong issue in a long line of them.

The issue begins with John Constantine waking up in the House of Mystery with no idea how he got there. DeMatteis cleverly uses this opportunity to have Constantine walk readers through the events of Trinity War, thus giving new readers a quick recap of what they may have missed. For those who have been keeping up with events, these recap pages are nothing new, but it is still entertaining to read what happened from John’s perspective. From there the issue explores the House of Mystery and its relationship with Constantine. It was a pleasant surprise see the House take center stage this issue. While it has always been treated like a character in the book, it hadn’t received the spotlight that other characters had until now. Its relationship with Constantine is at the forefront of the issue and it is his relationship with both the House of Mystery and Zatanna that carries the issue. His determination to find the woman he loves, with a little help from another character, is the motivating factor behind his drive to continue fighting the good fight.

This issue also serves as the beginning of the 18 issue Forever Evil: Blight crossover with Pandora and The Phantom Stranger, and we get introduced to the concept of Blight. The idea of am entity that feeds off of every sin, big or small, that humanity commits is not a relatively unique concept, but it all lies in the execution. The result is a fascinating look into the concept of evil that is different than the one explored in the main Forever Evil title, and the stakes of which that fits in perfectly with the supernatural side of the DC Universe.

There’s not much more that can be said about Mikel Janin’s artwork. In my opinion he is an elite artist, and is on the verge of becoming a superstar. Being the holdover from the creative team, Janin brings a sense of continuity that helps the book pick up right where Lemire left off. He is perfectly comfortable in his renditions of Constantine and the House of Mystery, but it doesn’t make it any less stunning. There is a vibrancy to both the line work and colors, beautifully renders by colorist Jeromy Cox, that really make the art pop off the page. There is a splash page in the latter half of the issue with Constantine and “The Serpent of Evil” that may be my favorite page of the week.

Justice League Dark #24 is a great start for the new creative team of DeMatteis and Janin. By the end of the issue readers have an idea of what threat will bring together the supernatural side of the DC Universe for their 18 part crossover, and the new Justice League Dark starts to take form. Throw in the high level of characterization, a few revelations about Pandora’s Box, and the always beautiful Mikel Janin pencils and you are left with a very good comic book.

The Verdict: 9.0/10

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