Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 4: The Rebirth of Evil

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 4: The Rebirth of Evil
  • Author: JM DeMatteis, Jeff Lemire
  • Artist: Mikel Janin
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Justice League, Nightmare Nurse, Swamp Thing, Pandora, Deadman
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/17/2016

**Spoiler Alert** This issue of Justice League Dark opens in the middle of something going on – so I was very confused at first. I felt like I had missed something. Anyway, the Justice League are after Pandora’s Box for some reason – even though every time a Leaguer gets near it – it turns them evil, including Superman. The Phantom Stranger arrives at A.R.G.U.S. to warn everyone of the danger the Box represents. Wonder Woman goes after Pandora’s Box and is infected. Constantine gets the box from Wonder Woman and Zatanna but rather than arrive in London, he and Zatanna arrive at the Temple of Hephaestus and are swallowed underground.

Constantine and his team learn, too late, that Pandora’s Box is a doorway to Earth-3. It allows the Crime Syndicate (evil versions of the Justice League) to invade Earth. The crime syndicate causes all sorts of trouble and, off-stage, even defeats the Justice League.

Meanwhile, with his own team missing, Constantine joins forces with Nightmare Nurse, Swamp Thing, Pandora, and later Deadman, to solve the crisis. Opening Pandora’s box has also released Blight – a distillation of all the worst things about humanity. Defeating Blight requires the Big Guns including the angel, Zauriel. After that, Constantine must rescue his team and other magic-users, all held prisoner in Nanda Parbat. He succeeds but at a high cost.

Justice League Dark is consistently a very good book, and volume 4 is excellent. It’s complex, well-written, and has truly brilliant art. I read the book twice, and still found there to be an awful lot going on. The story isn’t hard to follow – there is just a lot of it. This is a highly recommended book and series. If you haven’t tried Justice League Dark it’s a must read. Volume 4 is the best so far, but don’t start there – this series must be read from the beginning.

 

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Book Review – Doctor Who: Peri and the Piscon Paradox

  • Title: Peri and the Piscon Paradox
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 2 CDs
  • Author: Nev Fountain
  • Director: John Ainsworth
  • Characters: Peri, Fifth Doctor, Sixth Doctor
  • Cast: Nicola Bryant, Colin Baker
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 10/28/2016

I’ve enjoyed Big Finish’s Doctor Who and other audios for years. I enjoy the Companion Chronicles very much. But this story marks a milestone for me as it is the first time I have listened to an entire story in my car while driving back and forth to work and while doing my errands. I’ve had friends tell me I should try listening to audios in the car, but I always figured it would be too distracting while I’m driving – or that I’d miss too much of the story. Actually, I found that I could pay attention to the story and drive – so this will definitely be an experience I’ll repeat soon.

This double-CD story (which took me four days to listen to – the only time I’ve regretted having a short 25-minute commute) is told first from the point of view of younger Peri, and the Fifth Doctor, who land in L.A. in 2009, and the second CD is told from the point of view of an older Peri, with assistance from the Sixth Doctor. You also could listen to them in reverse order. It’s not recommended, but possible – and it some ways, if you know what’s coming from the older Peri’s point of view, some of what’s going on in the first disc makes more sense.

Disc 1 plays very much like a normal Doctor Who Adventure, told by younger Peri – the Doctor and Peri land in L.A. and discover an alien fish, whom the Doctor knows as a Piscon, is planning on stealing the Earth’s water, or something. But when Peri spots a curiously familiar woman – things get strange.

Disc 2 has the older Peri as the host of a relationship advice cable show, a very successful one. Dr. Peri Brown runs into the Sixth Doctor who shows up in the audience of her show. But she doesn’t remember him, or rather, she remembers their first adventure, and that’s it. The older Peri also meets her younger self. Soon, it’s Peri who spins a tale, an, um, fish tale, to tell Peri and the younger Doctor – because the Sixth Doctor accidentally causes the death of the Piscon Zarl before his younger self can defeat him. This, of course, creates a paradox, as the Doctor explains to Peri, who suggests using time travel to fix the mistake:

“What? Are you mad? I can’t go back in time to stop myself interfering with my own past, because that would mean I’d be interfering with my own past to stop myself interfering with my own past! Then where would we be?” ~ The Doctor

So the Sixth Doctor goes along with Peri’s plan: They will hide the dead Piscon in the trunk of her car, and the Doctor will disguise himself in the Piscon’s spacesuit. Peri will spin her story to her younger self, and the Doctor’s previous incarnation, and they will push the Fifth Doctor into defeating Zarl, thus returning history to what the Sixth Doctor remembers.

Well, that’s the plan, which, when listening you don’t know – all you know is some evil Fish are running around L.A., the fish police (Piscon police) are after Zarl, and older Peri is pretending to be working for a secret government “Men in Black”/X-files organization that deals with alien insurgents. As things shake out, younger Peri becomes very angry at and disillusioned with her older self. But older Peri is hiding quite a lot. And it’s in the last few chapters or tracks of disc 2 that delivers quite the kick in the teeth – the truth of Peri’s past and long and winding road that led to her career as a relationship counselor. The story also explains Peri’s contradicting “ends” from the canon/aired episodes of Doctor Who. It’s a satisfactory, bittersweet, and sad ending, which I’m not going to spoil.

I recommend Peri and the Piscon Paradox but it’s not entirely the light-hearted adventure one might expect.

Find out more about Big Finish audios at their website: www.bigfinish.com

Click this link to order Peri and the Piscon Paradox on CD or Download.

Note: No promotional consideration was paid for this review. I review because I enjoy it!