Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Justice League Dark Annual #1 Review

Taking Root

Written By: James Tynion IV, Ram V
Art By: Guillem March, Arif Prianto, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $4.99
Release Date: July 31, 2019

With our first annual to this series and the extra pages that comes with it, maybe we'll get an answer to one of the aspects of how "magic was changed".  I mean, we keep hearing about it and we'll hear about it within the first couple of pages in this issue, but since our heroes' fight with the Lords of Order, all we keep hearing about is how magic is changed and I'd like to see something come of that.  With that being said, there is an aspect to one of our looming questions that has come up in this book that will be addressed this issue and I only hope that it's the beginning of a tread coming down the line.  Let's jump into this issue and see what's going on with the Parliament of Flowers.  Let's check it out.

While we deal with the idea of the Parliament of Flowers' avatar this issue, which I'm all about, this bit of plot makes me wonder about a larger subject of Swamp Thing's connection to the Green, which we're told throughout the issue is severed.  Now that's all fine and good, we have a new Parliament, a new avatar, but Swamp Thing this issue still just comes off as Swamp Thing and him saying that's he's not the chosen guardian anymore and has no connection really just comes off feeling like another version of "magic's been changed" because even though he says these things, we really never see anything that makes you realize that this has any significance.  For a bit of an example here, we see what looks like a killing blow done to our swampy hero and it looks like he's done for......... only at the end of the issue he's back up and running and it doesn't seem like him not being connected to the Green like he was means anything by the end.

Okay, Swamp Thing and Parliament of Flowers issues aside, this issue is a really nice annual in showing the struggles of what becoming an avatar means and what kind of power one would possess and the responsibility it would take to wield such a power, while also showing how the human side of the avatar is hindrance in doing what you're supposed to.  That being said, I feel like it could have been a little more straight forward in showing us the emotions of the characters through the art and dialog, which it does, but it's also a bit over-written in that we deal with a lot of ideas about flowers through the journal of our new avatar and it just becomes a little much for what it's trying to depict.  By the end though, the setup that we got here for what's to come in the recruiting of the magical Legion of Doom was a cool twist that I hope we get a bit of stories like this one where we can see the individuals confronted by Circe and given an offer.  

All in all, I really dug the art this issue and the design of the new avatar, the King of Petals.  My biggest problem with the issue is that it came off a little long winded for what it wanted to say and really did little to go further to explain the idea of magic being broken and what Swamp Thing's place in the world is or what him not being the avatar of the Green anymore really means.  This was an enjoyable story though with a great lead in to the magical Legion of Doom and can't wait to get more of that story to come, not to mention Constantine possibly becoming a bigger part of our JLD roster. I just really hope that we're not strung along for another year without getting answers to all the ramifications of this series' events because with the scope of this book, I don't need magic to be broken until it is suddenly magic-ed back to being okay. 

Bits and Pieces:

While a bit over-written in my mind, this issue was still enjoyable for what it lays out and sets up for things to come.  The art was gruesomely lovely, while the story made the supernatural feel more human.  Yeah, I'd like more answers to the things going on in the world of magic, but this was a fine annual with the small progressions it gave us and I look forward to the stories that come out of it.


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