Friday, August 29, 2014
Not Really Off-Topic: Extended Review of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #34
DC's Justice League Dark began as one of the best comics on the mainstream market. The storytelling had consistency, the pacing was good, the art was out of sight and it dealt with themes that were deep and had some meaning to them. I loved it. But then came THE TRINITY WAR and FOREVER EVIL, and the book was taken off-course. Now, we are starting to get back to tighter story telling and more important character development.
Up to this point, the only developed characters had really been Zatanna and Constantine. Now we are starting to get some real character development in my favorite member of the team, Deadman. While this issue wasn't perfect, I really liked the way this character's past history was explored and the way in which a new layer of mystery surrounding him was added.
But what earned this book a place on my extended review list was the commentary on the Cthulu Mythos. The book borrowed imagery and ideas that came from the Lovecraftian genre. The fact that the main character, Pantheon, is a Cthulu-like incarnation of a group of polytheistic gods that once ruled Nanda Parbat was very interesting indeed.
It is hard to deny a maltheistic tone to the ancient polytheistic religions. The gods of old did not exactly love humanity. Nor were they completely disinterested, either. Many were selfish and cruel. They were certainly not good, or not purely good. The idea that the spirit of those kinds of god could incarnate as a purely evil deity is not something that is beyond the pale, to me. It reminds me of Rene Girard's contention that all the violence-dependent gods of old are really incarnations of the mimetic contagion he calls satan.
But this evil, the Cthulu-like being Pantheon, is taken down by the simple goodness of Deadman and his mentor. Pantheon seems nearly unstoppable at the beginning, akin to the unstoppable nature of Lovecraft's "old gods". The thing that Lovecraft was able to capture with his writings, the idea that he explored, which made him the true master of horror, was the idea of evil being more powerful than good, of evil being supreme over good.
The beginning of this issue captured that spirit, but in the end it turned its on its head. This massive evil, this horrible monster, this dark 'elder god' was revealed to be nothing compared to the One True Creator God, and ultimately was defeated by the simple decency of a good heart. That Deadman was the source of that heart made me very glad indeed. I'd like to see the character do some more of the old "Quantum Lead"-style stories he used to do. But this was still a good issue.
Storyline: 4 Stars
Dialogue: 4 Stars
Pacing: 3.5 Stars
Art: 4.5 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars