Review: Justice League Dark #21

by Steve J Ray
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“The Parliaments Of Life” – Part Two

Writers: Ram V and James Tynion IV
Artists: Álvaro Martínez Bueno and Raül Fernandez
Color Artist: June Chung
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Review by Steve J. Ray

Fans who loved the art of Stephen Bissette and John Totleben will pick up Justice League Dark #21, look at the first two pages and feel like they’ve been taken back in time. This book has evoked moments of skin tingling horror and nervous-stomach fear since its relaunch, not least by homaging the legendary Swamp Thing tales of the 1980s. That series, in my humble opinion, was the greatest horror comic ever made, and this one could be its spiritual offspring, or possibly even a worthy successor.

There are moments in this issue where writers Ram V and James Tynion IV feel like they’re running their icy fingers down my spine. Even when they provide welcome moments of blistering action, or Freddie Mercury related humor, one can feel the tension building and the terror rising until the sublime, wholly expected, yet nevertheless dreaded final page reveal.

He’s baaaaaack.


Buy the comic…

Latin Heart, Latin Fire

I love Álvaro Martínez Bueno and Raül Fernandez. These two men are amongst the finest ambassadors the comics industries has, and two of the most talented artists in the business. Their partnership is up there with Byrne and Austin, Lee and Williams and – of course – Bissette and Totleben. The opening sequence featuring Abby and Matt Cable was as original as it could be, yet still look me right back to the classic Saga of The Swamp Thing issue #30, “A Halo Of Flies.” These two talents work as one, and I never tire of seeing their synergy, feeling their chemistry, or being a part of their family. Follow them online folks, you won’t be sorry.

June Chung’s color work on this book is excellent. I’m used to seeing Álvaro and Raül working with the amazing Brad Anderson, but Ms. Chung has done a great job on Justice League Dark #21, with her own style and atmosphere. Her bright colors on the hugely experimental, and totally jaw-dropping, fight sequence on page 9 are completely different to the very, very frightening page 13, or the deliciously Dali-esque page 14. Beautiful work.

Rob Leigh’s the man. Seriously. He’s been behind the lettering on almost every issue of this series, and he still comes up with new ways to surprise and delight. He is the constant, with his great new titles for every arc, and the way he makes this title flow, through changes in artists and creative teams.

Support the letterers folks, their work is essential and important.


This issue piles more problems and obstacles in our heroes’ paths, but through the use if great dialogue, art and humor does so in a way that keeps us positive and piques our interest. I mean, check out Detective Chimp’s turn of phrase in the book: What verve, what poetry, what panache… what the hell am I talking about?

What will the flatworm in Buddy Baker‘s digestive tract do to help him? Will Zee and Constantine bring Abby back in time? Can Swampy return, to save the world from a fungal virus that could wipe out humanity? There’s not mushroom for error, and the shiitake really looks like it’s gonna hit the fan.


Gimme JL Dark #22, ASAP, please.

Images Courtesy of DC Entertainment

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