Justice League Dark 22
Jeff Lemire, Mike Janin
Trinity War Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
All right. I’m going to say it. Jeff Lemire is not a good writer. I wouldn’t say he’s a terrible writer, but there’s a reason I don’t review Animal Man or any of his other work. I simply have never been a fan of his superhero stuff. Now, I’ve heard great things about all of his creator-owned titles, but the artwork on those alone makes Rob Liefeld look like Alex Ross. His Superboy a few years ago was crap. He single-handedly almost ruined one of my favorite characters. He did the same thing to Animal Man (and continues to do so, I would assume; I dropped that book after “Rotworld” ended its crossover with Scott Snyder’s Swamp Thing) and when he replaced Peter Milligan on this title, I feared the worst. The one thing that saved this title in previous issues was the writing assistance by Ray Fawkes, whom some say he’s Lemire’s protégé (much like James Tynion IV is to Scott Snyder), but let’s be real. Lemire simply cannot write. Fawkes can. And this issue, solely written by him, proves that.
The artwork is a great. But the story’s a mess. Three issues into Trinity War and I couldn’t be less excited. In fact, I’m flat out bored. We find out in the opening pages that Madame Xanadu’s death was a trick and she’s being held captive by the bad guys. We also see Superman and the Question escape, which leads to the Justice League of America (surprise, surprise) turning against Amanda Waller and joining them in their quest to join the Phantom Stranger and Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor argue, which leads to the Justice League Dark (surprise, surprise) turning against Waller’s lapdog, Trevor on their quest to find Pandora. Then Shazam! and Constantine disappear, which would be intriguing and mysterious, if I had been given any sort of character-driven reason to care. Which, as this jumbled attempt at a third part in the latest DC epic proves, there’s just not a whole lot of room for that to happen. Our cliffhanger ending, if you can even call it that, takes us back to the beginning, and we see the bad guy letting Madame Xanadu know that has a mole among the Justice League. Again, this would be neat if we hadn’t ever read a comic book, seen a movie, or watched a TV show before.
Essentially, the only thing saving this issue is the fact that it does advance the plot, albeit very slowly and unrealistically, which paves the way for a few crossovers (Constantine, also out this week, and the upcoming Trinity of Sin titles, Pandora and The Phantom Stranger) and the next part, Justice League of America again written (hopefully alone) by Geoff Johns. That, and the artwork. Janin is nailing these characters, even though they are not the regular cast. He essentially tripled his character count and you can tell he knows his DCU, because everyone looks great. And even though Lemire’s script is awful, his characters are merely cardboard cutout versions of their greater selves, and he simultaneously crammed way too much into an issue while not really accomplishing a whole lot, the scene, he absolutely nailed every scene where John Constantine opened his mouth. I love the fact that even the other Justice Leaguers aren’t entirely sure if he’s a good guy or a bad guy. So, I guess, because you have to, go ahead and pick this one up. Just set your standards really low and hope for more from Johns when he reigns it in next issue.
My Rating: 2.5/5