REVIEW: ‘Justice League Dark,’ Issue #14 – “The Witching War Part 1”

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Justice League Dark #14

Justice League Dark #14 –“The Witching War Part 1”, is published by DC Comics, with a story by James Tynion IV, pencils by Alvaro Martinez Bueno, inks by Raul Fernandez, colors by Adriano Lucas, and letters by Rob Leigh. Previously, Swamp Thing and Woodrue battled for favor for the new champion of the Parliament of Flowers. As it turns out, the champion was poorly chosen and the Floronic Man was there to reap the rewards of his willing victim as he consumed his essence in visceral fashion. Granted access to a power he had known once before, it was mere minutes before Cerce came calling to enlist his help in the Great Witching War.

In Justice League Dark #14, the tension has most notably been cranked up another notch as the final pieces on the board come together for what one can hope is a clash of great magical titans. Wonder Woman receives is visited by an unexpected old ally from behind the grave, while the remainder of the Justice League Dark team battles a bloodthirsty coven of vampires. Someone is pulling the strings behind this particular chaotic encounter, but this devious villain hides in the shadows and causes havoc from afar.

Justice League Dark #14

The opening scenes of this issue are brilliant. As Diana is woken from her slumber she is greeted by a room of flames as an ominous voice describes to her that they need to finally meet. The penciling, inks, and colors from Martinez Bueno, Fernandez, and Lucas combine for a set of visuals that are massively appealing. The images they’ve created incorporate a real darkness about them. Lucas does an especially fantastic job of encapsulating the fire that appears in Diana’s dream state.

As it engulfs the room, it still manages not to wrest focus away from the characters as they converse. The team also continues to hit high notes when the Upside-Down Man makes an untimely visit in a nightmare-inducing panel. I have to levy high praise to the creative team for being able to make me so uncomfortable.

The lettering from Leigh in this opening sequence is also very good. Particularly when the Upside-Down Man has dialogue. It really elevated the creepy factor as my mind translated it into something horrible. Additionally, Diana’s dreaming ally is also captured very well. It’s all very far from the norm but it serves to elevate the impact and drive home the tension.

Later on in the issue; however, I was hoping for a bit more from the lettering when we get notable cameos from a few other “dark” villains. Care is taken to distinguish the Floronic Man’s, and previously Swamp Thing’s, dialogue. I thought with the collection of particular villains it was an opportunity to really stamp an individual style upon those unworldly beings to end the issue in the same manner we started it. Ultimately, it feels like a missed opportunity.

The story itself was delivered effectively by Tynion, especially as the issue is split amongst four locations and plot points. I thoroughly enjoyed the Batman-esque detective genre of this issue, as Diana, with the help of John Constantine, starts to put the pieces of the plot together. Wonder Woman has also been enlightened to the true nature of the Witching War. It creates the essence of this story coming down to the wire, again hitting those notes of tension and suspense.

This was a great set up issue for what’s next to come, and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it!

Justice League Dark #14, is available in stores now.

Justice League Dark #14
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TL;DR

This was a great set up issue for what’s next to come, and I personally can’t wait to get my hands on it!