Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Justice League Dark #23 Review

Cutting Out The Rot

Written By: Ram V, James Tynion IV
Art By: Kyle Hotz, June Chung, Rob Leigh
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 23, 2020

It's the conclusion to the Parliaments of Life story arc and with it, the war of the Parliaments.  Previously, we saw Dr. Fate talking to the Parliaments of Stone, Waves, Flame and Vapors to try to get them to help out and put life back in balance and after a little convincing, that included the idea that these Parliaments dig humans because of the stories they tell about the Parliaments, they agreed.  Now it's all about getting Abby Arcane back as the sole Avatar of the Rot and kicking Anton Arcane right in the keister.  Let's jump into this issue and see how all of this plays out and what the face of the DC Universe will look like by the end.  Let's check it out.

While it seems that the War of the Parliaments just started and we really didn't know what that meant beyond the world couldn't handle a war of that magnitude, it all ends here and I don't quite understand some of the choices involved in us getting to our conclusion.  Ultimately, the end goal really feels like it was all about getting rid of the Parliament of Flowers and getting the Parliament of Trees back, not to mention Swamp Thing, but to get us there we had to take not only the Floronic Man's powers away........ which I get, but also Animal Man's as well, which really feels weird and out of nowhere.  That's just the beginning of weird choices though in my mind because for some reason the Parliament of Flowers being killed by a rot that then leaves a seed behind, that is then planted in the realm of the rot makes a new Swamp Thing and also brings back the Parliament of Trees.  See, I'm fine with the final outcome, even though I think we didn't do enough with the Parliament of Flowers to make them actually feel like a legit thing, but how we got to the final outcome is something that has left me scratching my head and feeling like I've missed something.

Ultimately though, this War of the Parliaments, which mainly felt like it was The Grey just lashing out at mankind and the rise of Anton Arcane was all due to the machinations of the Upside Down Man....... and really, why not?  He's our big bad of this series, but with him being the mastermind it just kind of makes everything we've dealt with in this arc feel a little bit smaller because it wasn't just a natural thing from magic being changed as we saw earlier in the series and like I said previously, it really feels like we're only here to get Swamp Thing back, whether that outcome makes sense or feels appropriately big doesn't matter.

All in All, I enjoyed the art in this issue and I enjoyed a lot of the ideas that were given to us here, but ultimately, this finale made what we were dealing with feel a lot smaller than it should have.  While the idea originally was that we needed to get all the Parliaments together to strike up this balance once again, here we just get The Green, The Rot and The Red and that seems fine.  Not to mention, it now all comes down to the Upside Down man, who only makes a quick cameo in a dream.  The thing is, we were dealing with gigantic primordial energies of life in this issue and in this story and as excited as I was going into this finale because of what we were dealing with, it seemed like it was a sleight of hand trick, where they had me looking one way and by the time I looked back, the story was not only over, but had changed into something else, less impressive.

Bits and Pieces:

While you will get some excellent art and characters seemingly leaving and returning to this team, which is always interesting when dealing with a team book like this, the ending to the Parliaments of Life story just kind of takes a weird turn, where everything that felt big and impressive leading up to this was made to feel small and the scope of the story seemed drastically reduced just to get a character back in the fold.  There's still some cool stuff here, but it doesn't feel as cool as it should have.


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