Review – Justice League Dark #1 (DC Comics)

Justice League Dark #1
  • Writing - 7.5/10
  • Art - 8.5/10
  • Overall - 8/10


Writer: James Tynion IV
Penciler: Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno
Inker: Raul Fernandez
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Letterer: Rob Leigh
Maturity Rating: Teen+
Publisher: DC Comics
Release: July 25, 2018

Something is going on with magic in the DC Universe, and a newly formed version of the Justice League Dark must figure it out before it takes over the world!

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Sorcery Runs Amok in Justice League Dark #1

A new magical entity threatens the DC Universe! It is up to Wonder Woman to reform the Justice League Dark to fend off this new threat. Straight from the pages of Justice League: No Justice, this new oddball team of “heroes” must fend off this ghoulish threat that wants to take the magic away. Can the combined might of Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, Zatanna, Man-Bat and Detective Chimp be enough to fend this creature off? Plus, what is happening with the Tree of Wonder? All this, in Justice League Dark #1.


Justice League Dark #1 (DC Comics) main cover by Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno and Raul Fernandez
Main cover by Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno and Raul Fernandez

Justice League Dark is something that always seems like it should be right up my alley. I love the darker, more horror/monster-ish superhero hero comics. But I never really got into Justice League Dark, plus it seems like it gets relaunched every five minutes. Justice League Dark #1 caught my attention for two reasons. Man-Bat was the first one. What an odd character to put on the team; what could this Batman villain possibly bring to the table? Secondly, Detective Chimp. If you are going to put Detective Chimp on the cover and have him partner up with Wonder Woman, you have me sold.

I absolutely adore the team in Justice League Dark #1. You have the people that are always on the Dark team with Zatanna and Swamp Thing (I think now they are just mandatory). Then you have one of the “Trinity” with Wonder Woman—also an odd choice, but she fits now, after the events of Justice League: No Justice. Then the two wild cards with Man-Bat and Detective Chimp. A guy that turns into a giant bat, and a talking chimpanzee that is really good at solving mysteries! James Tynion IV makes this team work extremely well together, and all the characters, actually, make sense as to why they are on the team.

Justice League Dark #1 story wise is pretty solid for the first issue. There is a lot of explaining and talking going on throughout the issue. The setup does get a little long in the tooth at times, but then you have Wonder Woman talking with Detective Chimp and it is just delightful, and you can’t help but crack a smile. The story also does feel like it is something that we see a lot in magic-based superhero books. Magic is either getting taken away or something is wrong with magic. So, the story seems like a retread of a lot of other past and current storylines.


Alvaro Eduardo Martinez Bueno has a great style for Justice League Dark #1. He has good detailed work; I enjoy his panel layouts and setups. Alvaro uses some good angles and different structures throughout Justice League Dark #1. He gets good facial expressions out of Man-Bat and Detective Chimp. Bueno gets more emotional range out of them than the human characters in Justice League Dark #1. Raul Fernandez has a nice tight inking style; his lines are thinner, giving everything a nice detailed look. The coloring work by Brad Anderson is pretty solid. In some instances, I think it could have been a little darker in some scenes, though.

There are some good body horror images in Justice League Dark #1 that definitely brings in the horror element into the book. There are some really good pages and panels throughout the issue that are a lot of fun to look at. I cannot go into much detail without spoiling the issue, but the art team pulls off some really great sequences throughout Justice League Dark #1.


This is the best Justice League Dark Team ever and I really don’t care whether you agree! Come on, it has Detective Chimp and Man-Bat!

Justice League Dark #1 is not without its flaws. It has to do a lot of exposition and explaining to get to the main plot, and the story is nothing really new or exciting. That being said, it is also a lot of fun at the same time.  The art is great and the creative team seems to be having a lot of fun while still taking themselves seriously. The team that is formed in Justice League Dark #1 is really the mainstay for me. It is just different, and James Tynion IV writes them very well. I will definitely be sticking with this series to see where it is going!

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