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Justice League Dark 18 Main

"Justice League Dark #18" Comic Review

Written by James Ferguson

Published by DC Comics

article-cover

Written by James Tynion IV
Illustrated by Alvaro Martinez Bueno
Inked by Raul Fernandez
Colored by Brad Anderson
Lettered by Rob Leigh
2019, 32 Pages, $3.99
Comic released on January 1st, 2020

Review:

Circe and her sinister cohorts have made their move against the Justice League Dark and the heroes are a few steps behind. To make matters worse, Eclipso, the deadly entity trapped in a crystal, is so close to breaking free. The team is separated and dropping like flies, so they're going to have to act fast if they want to stop Circe, let alone survive this battle. Also, there's a dragon!

While all of this is riveting and terrifying, the real standout for Justice League Dark #18 is the return of the Upside Down Man. This chilling creature from beyond our universe never fails to creep me out. He literally hangs upside down from thin air, which is a little unsettling, but the real terror comes in his appearance. He has no eyes. Instead, the focus of his face (if you can call it that) comes in his demonic jaw that stretches across his entire head. It's full of razor sharp teeth.

Artist Alvaro Martinez Bueno draws the Upside Down Man with such alarming detail that is makes me queasy at times. There are these scales of sorts that run across his body. They might be more like the skin of a frog. Colorist Brad Anderson gives him a sickly pallor, like he's been living in darkness for so long that he'd burst into flames if he stepped foot into the sunlight. All of this is on page one, by the way.

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The Upside Down Man is clearly a being of great power and he's had a chance to check out our world and figure out how to play with the people here. He taunts Wonder Woman, trapped in the collective unconscious. He's preying on her need to save the rest of her team, regardless of the cost she'll have to pay. His actions slowly lure Diana into a trap and we can all see it coming, yet it's fascinating to watch. It's not like some stupid guy investigating a sound in a horror movie. Instead, writer James Tynion IV builds this up so we see no other way out, yet we're dreading the outcome.

Inker Raul Fernandez highlights the impressive detail and clean lines in Bueno's artwork. This is especially true for the dragon. That is a thing of beauty...and terror. This is where Anderson really plays with the shadows too, showing this creature as a monster of fire and death. I love how its mouth glows with a fiery energy, ready to fry anyone that gets in its way.

The dragon speaks in a powerful yet foreign voice. Letterer Rob Leigh uses an ancient-looking font for this that makes it really stand out. Its words are measured and angry and that really comes through.

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I am not totally up to speed on everything that's going on in Year of the Villain and fortunately that lack of knowledge has not hurt my enjoyment of Justice League Dark. The creative team has used what they needed from this big event to build up its ongoing narrative instead of distracting from it. It's like this is the logical place for the story to go and it just happens to tie into Year of the Villain.

So far, this story arc has been a lot of buildup. It's that climb up the first big hill of a roller coaster. By the end of this issue, we've reached the top and we're just about to go careening down with equal parts excitement and dread. Characters are about to make some tough decisions that could change a great deal not only for them, but for the DC Universe as a whole. I think we can all agree that's some pretty cool stuff.

Grades:

Story: fourandahalfstars Cover
Buy from Amazon US
Cover
Tfaw Buy Button
Art: fourandahalfstars
Overall: 4.5 Star Rating

About The Author
James Ferguson
Lord of the Funny Books
James has a 2nd grade reading level and, as a result, only reads books with pictures. Horror is his 5th favorite genre right after romantic comedy and just before silent films. No one knows why he's here, but he won't leave.
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