New 52 Review – “Justice League Dark #1”

The magical corner of DC’s universe has a Justice League of its own.

General Information

Title: Justice League Dark #1

Author: Peter Milligan

Illustrator(s): Mikel Janin (art) and Ulises Arreola (colours)

Cover Date: November 2011

Cover Price: $2.99

Buy the digital edition.


Enchantress is starting her plans for the future. Fortunately for the world Madame Xanadu has looked into the future, even if it did look right back and her and tell her to mind her own business.

High Point

Batman: “You might have a point. We’ll go in together.”
Zatanna: “And that’s what I thought you’d say. See, the problem is… the world just can’t afford to lose you. Me, I reckon it could get along just fine without. Dnib sih teef!”

Low Point

Again, we have a time book with characters that are hard to like and care about. At first, only Xanadu and Zatanna seem likeable, but then Xanadu takes a dive as well.

The Scores

This is an original concept for sure. I can’t think of another magic based team from either company, particularly with the “Justice League” or “Avengers” branding. Even the origin feels more “Avengers” than “Justice League” so far. I give it 6 out of 6.

The artwork is mostly good. The storytelling and the poses are great, but some of the facial expressions (especially for Wonder Woman) just don’t seem right to me. I give it 4 out of 6.

The story is just getting started. The characters are nowhere close to each other, so by the time they are established and the main Justice League guest stars, there’s not a lot of room left for new plot. Some stuff happens, but it feels mostly like it’s there to establish that the main Justice League are out of their element and that this group will have the blessing to use the name. I think this would have been a stronger title without the franchise brand so that those six pages could be reclaimed to establish this team for who they are instead of who they aren’t. I give it 4 out of 6.

The characterization is weak. Xanadu seems to vary from page to page, and Zatanna is the only other character who is clearly defined. I give it 4 out of 6.

The emotional response is not what it should have been. I was originally planning to follow this title, but this first issue changed my mind. There’s other great stuff out there (Aquaman!) that I need to make room on my pull list for. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is smooth enough for most purposes. The characters are so far apart that there are a lot of sudden scene changes. I give it 4 out of 6.

Overall, this just failed to deliver in the ways I’d hoped it would. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Justice League Dark #1 receives 28 out of 42.

The New 52

Here are handy links for the reviews of all 52 new #1 issues:

  1. Action Comics
  2. All-Star Western
  3. Animal Man
  4. Aquaman
  5. Batgirl
  6. Batman
  7. Batman and Robin
  8. Batman: The Dark Knight
  9. Batwing
  10. Batwoman
  11. Birds of Prey
  12. Blackhawks
  13. Blue Beetle
  14. Captain Atom
  15. Catwoman
  16. DC Universe Presents
  17. Deathstroke
  18. Demon Knights
  19. Detective Comics
  20. The Flash
  21. Frankenstein, Agent of S.H.A.D.E.
  22. The Fury of Firestorm
  23. Green Arrow
  24. Green Lantern
  25. Green Lantern Corps
  26. Green Lantern: New Guardians
  27. Grifter
  28. Hawk and Dove
  29. I, Vampire
  30. Justice League
  31. Justice League Dark
  32. Justice League International
  33. Legion Lost
  34. Legion of Super-Heroes
  35. Men of War
  36. Mister Terrific
  37. Nightwing
  38. O.M.A.C.
  39. Red Hood and the Outlaws
  40. Red Lanterns
  41. Resurrection Man
  42. The Savage Hawkman
  43. Static Shock
  44. Stormwatch
  45. Suicide Squad
  46. Superboy
  47. Supergirl
  48. Superman
  49. Swamp Thing
  50. Teen Titans
  51. Voodoo
  52. Wonder Woman

One reply

  1. This is an original concept for sure. I can’t think of another magic based team from either company,

    Shadowpact, which came out of Infinite Crisis, has been kicking around since (pre-reboot), and had their own mini-series. They were principally a magic-based team investigating magic-based crimes, though their roster included Detective Chimp.

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