Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 3: The Death of Magic

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 3: The Death of Magic
  • Author: Jeff Lemire
  • Artist: Mikel Janin
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid, Frankenstein (Agent of S.H.A.D.E.), Tim Hunter
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/10/2016

**Spoiler Alert** Justice League Dark starts where the previous volume ended – with Zatanna and Tim Hunter being kidnapped. Engaging the help of Dr. Peril, an A.R.G.U.S. agent, John Constantine and company soon follow to an alternate dimension. There, they discover two problems. First, the very nature of the alternate dimension is physically affecting all of the team, taking away their powers. Constantine discovers he cannot lie and keeps blurting out his innermost fears and his utter lack of real confidence at the most awkward times. Mme Xanadu has instantaneously grown impossibly old. Black Orchid has turned into a bulky flesh creature. Only Frankenstein is unaffected since he is a creature born of science – demented science – but science. The world they have landed on is one of science, where magical creatures are persecuted, hunted, and the use of any magic is illegal.

Meanwhile, Zatanna and Tim Hunter have landed right in the midst of the Magical Resistance, where the few remaining magic users think that Tim is their savior.

Constantine and company are attacked and captured by the anti-magic police and put in jail. Tim, is convinced by the magic users to lead an attack on the main scientific city. Frankenstein, however, though captured, is taken to a lab for study, rather than simply a prison, like the rest of the group. Therefore, Frankenstein is able to escape and rescue Constantine and the others. Therefore, by the time that Tim’s group attacks the city and prison – Constantine and company have already escaped.

Meanwhile, on Earth, Dr. Peril calls in Tim’s father, not only to tell him his son’s been kidnapped, but to seek his help. Tim’s father goes through the portal to the other world, and he is the hero the magic users expect, having left that world long ago to give his son a fighting chance.

For once everything works out – Tim Hunter stops the attack on the city after Zatanna realizes they’d kill innocent people if they destroyed the city. Everyone returns to Earth – even Mme Xanadu survives.

Although the first story was well-written, and the other “science world” was well visualized and designed (and the art in this book continues to be really impressive) – the story itself is problematical. Science is not in the habit of fostering prejudice and bigotry. If magic existed in the world, it is more likely to be studied by science than to be persecuted by it. Politicians have, at times, tried to twist science and policy to their own devices, but if a world was to be “ruled by science” (another unlikely scenario) it wouldn’t drive an entire class of people underground simply because of who they are.

The second story involves Constantine losing the House of Mystery and it truly wasn’t his fault. We discover just how dangerous the House is – and Mme Xanadu’s important secret.

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