The New 52 is introduced to two central members of Justice League Dark – John Constantine and Zatanna.
Justice League Dark #0
Meet a young John Constantine, fresh off the plane from London. He’s come to New York to learn all he can about magic. He’s come to meet magician Nick Necro, a supposed superstar in the magic community. He’s originally brushed off so Necro can watch his girlfriend, Zatanna perform. Starstruck, Constantine falls in love at first sight with the young sorceress. After saving Necro and Zatanna from a would-be assassin from a magical cult, Constantine is allowed to study under Necro. Soon, both Zatanna and Constantine not only learn all they can in their apprenticeship, but when Necro begins to seclude himself in his obsessed search for the fabled Books of Magic, the two young magicians explore a romantic relationship with each other. After Necro betrays them, Necro is killed and Constantine begins to wonder what he’s missed out on by not being able to get more information about the Books…
One thing that I’ve found somewhat frustrating about these zero issues from the DC series is that there was a perception by fans that these one shot style books would help fill in details for the origins of these characters now inhabiting the New 52. What they’ve done, more often than not, is interrupt several storylines. There have been some exceptions, but of the zeroes I’ve read, it’s been a love/hate relationship. Green Lantern introduced a new character instead of trying to help figure out why this corner of the DCU seems to carry directly on from the previous universe. It worked as if it was part of the new arc that has begun instead of a standalone story. The Dial H issue didn’t give us any true insight on the H Dial, but instead gave us a story of a previous user. It did present an idea of where the powers came from, an alternate universe, but really acted as more of a standalone story than any kind of assistance to understand more about the characters we’ve come to know in the first four issues.
This issue also comes in the midst of an already active arc, but it actually does help us out a bit. Those of us who aren’t as familiar with Constantine can see how he hungers for all he can obtain and the Books of Magic is just that next thing he wants to take a peek at despite the consequences. We are also given a taste of what his early relationship with the stunning Zatanna is like. Artist Lee Garbett’s reveal of her on stage left me just as enraptured as it did Constantine. It was a nice little addition to the book to see Constantine, for all the bastardly that he can be, to see him utterly weak to this beautiful girl.
I’d still prefer these stories be told in an annual instead of as a numbered issue. It presents problems for readers and collectors. Are these issues as important as the other issues of the series? Are they stories that would go before issue #1 in your comic book box or do they go between 12 and 13? You could still tease story elements of upcoming or current arcs, but it would feel much less gimmicky and keep people from having bad tastes in their mouths from when they don’t quite get what they expected from the story.
Still, Jeff Lemire tells a nice story. It was neat to see Constantine as someone who could still be enamored by something. We’re so used to seeing him as this hardened jerk who’s only out for himself. He’s still pretty self-centered here, but there’s a bit more wide-eyed behavior. Garbett’s art works well with the story and all the mystical elements. Overall, this is a book that’s got some good things for fans of Constantine and Zatanna in particular.
A COMIC BOOK BLOG RATING
|Solid story and some nice artwork from Lemire and Garbett.||Would still like this to be an annual instead of a numbered issue even if it is a #0.|
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