Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 1: In the Dark

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 1: In the Dark
  • Author: Peter Milligan
  • Artist: Mikel Janin
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade the Changing Man, Mindwarp, Enchantress
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 9/17/2016

I picked-up this graphic novel on the recommendation of one of the staff at my local comics shop. I’m glad I did – because I absolutely loved it. DC has always had a few magic-users in the Justice League (Zatanna, Dr. Fate) but the ’80s post-Crisis on Infinite Earths Justice League was more SF-based. Dr. Fate, though, is curiously absent from volume 1. This graphic novel comes from New 52-Era DC Comics but despite that it rocks! Excellent characters, excellent writing, and a great plot – plus it does something the Classic late-Silver Age/early Modern Age DC Comics did, which was to create a place where the lesser-known DC heroes and protagonists could shine.

Justice League Dark features the following characters: Zatanna (female magic user who casts spells by speaking backwards), John Constantine (cursed sorcerer), Madame Xanadu (a tarot-card reader who can actually see the future and the past), Deadman (a dead guy who can possess people), Shade the Changing Man, Mindwarp, and Enchantress (the villain). Each of these characters has their own way of doing things, their own types of magic, and their own personalities. Unlike other New 52 books, the characters do not blend together into a homogeneous group who can’t be distinguished.

The plot for volume one features two threads – June Moone is trying to escape being taken over by Enchantress (this will sound familiar if you’ve seen this Summer’s film Suicide Squad) and Madame Xanadu has had a horrible vision of the future if the Justice League Dark isn’t established. Xanadu stresses that the members of this new supernatural Justice League must find a way to work together or the world is doomed.

It’s an excellent story and there is some closure to volume 1. I will definitely purchase additional volumes.


Book Review – Doctor Who: Fear of the Daleks

  • Title: Fear of the Daleks
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Patrick Chapman
  • Director: Mark J. Thompson
  • Characters: Zoë Heriot, Jamie, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Wendy Padbury, Nicholas Briggs
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 02/08/2014

Fear of the Daleks is the most “bookish” of the Doctor Who Companion Chronicles CDs I’ve listened to so far – but it is also the earliest. The story is told by Wendy Padbury (who played Zoë Heriot on the original Doctor Who television series) with Nicholas Briggs providing the voices of the Daleks. Zoë is in therapy, trying to deal with the dreams she’s been having – dreams of monsters.

The story changes scenes from Zoë telling her therapist about her dream to the story, where she, Jaime, and the Doctor arrive on an asteroid that is home to a huge, domed city. The city is to be host to a peace conference to end a war between two space-faring races in the nearby system. But before the TARDIS crew can do anything, they are arrested. They are taken to a lab where a megalomaniac plans to use a Dalek mind transfer machine to control Zoë and use her to assassinate one of the planet’s leaders – thus continuing the war. The scientist also plans to use The Doctor in a similar way.

However, although the machine works on Zoë, projecting her astral self to the spaceship hosting one of the two alien races, and controlling her movements; when the Doctor tricks the scientist to use it on him – he is able to resist the conditioning and prevents Zoë from killing the planetary leader. The Daleks are revealed to be behind everything, and the Doctor, again, tricks them into revealing their true nature – causing the scientist to reverse his plan.

Wendy Padbury has a wonderful voice and she reads well – performing what parts she can, though this particular story is more narration than some of the other Doctor Who Companion Chronicles I’ve listened to. Nicholas Briggs has played the Daleks many times, both on the television series, and in Doctor Who audios from Big Finish, though having met him at Chicago TARDIS – I couldn’t help but picture him while listening to this story. The problems with Fear of the Daleks though include it not really being a scary story, some rather silly dialog, and a plot that’s a bit simple. I’ve never been a big fan of the Daleks as a Doctor Who monster – I prefer the Cybermen, and the over-usage of every word ending in -ate imaginable starts to sound silly rather than scary. The plot also was someone flat and simple – I actually wanted to learn more about Zoë and how the Time Lords mind-wipe had affected her life. However, from looking at later discs in this range, I suspect Zoë’s story might continue, and this was only an introduction to her eidetic memory canceling out the Time Lord’s erasure of her memories of her time with the Doctor.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website:

Click this link to order Fear of the Daleks on CD.