Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 5: Paradise Lost

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 5: Pardise Lost
  • Author: JM DeMatteis
  • Artist: Mikel Janin
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Nightmare Nurse, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Frankenstein, Black Orchid, Etrigan the Demon (Jason Blood)
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/04/2016

Justice League Dark vol. 5 picks up where Volume 4 left off – with John Constantine having lost the House of Mystery and leadership of Justice League Dark to Zatanna. Deadman finds Constantine in a bar and hits him, seeking to even the score a bit for John’s trapping him in the Sea King. Brand rushes off feeling horrible about what he’s done. Meanwhile at the House of Mystery, Zatanna’s also trying to come to terms with the recent changes, her own increasing power, and her new role as leader – so she’s cut herself off from everyone. Frank(enstein) and Black Orchid tell Deadman they are leaving – the House of Mystery tries to convince them otherwise.

Nightmare Nurse, Asa, falls sick and the entire Justice League Dark learns her backstory. John tries to help Asa return to Alice’s body to save them both, but seeing it as a threat to Alice (Asa’s host) Zatanna gets in the way and Nightmare Nurse possesses her and starts to use her power. John and Asa are pulled into The Between, a metaphysical Limbo. In trying to pull Asa’s spirit from Zatanna – John accidentally sends the entire House of Mystery into The Between. Asa sacrifice’s herself to The Between so the House of Mystery and the Justice League Dark can return to normal space and time. Zatanna uses a very powerful and dangerous spell and rescues Asa – returning Nightmare Nurse to the body of the dying Alice Winter.

This volume also gets into Boston Brand aka Deadman’s background. Brand had been raised and trained in Nanda Parbat – the paradise – from childhood, before being set back in the world. Thus he has a connection to the mystical place. He tries to open a portal to it for Brahma Dass, his teacher, but it backfires and dangerous demons are released to destroy Nanda Parbat. Justice League Dark comes to the rescue, so to speak, and Swamp Thing helps return Nanda Parbat to glory.

Finally, “Scars” seems to be set in the future, with a lone John Constantine reflecting on what’s gone wrong for him, and his betrayals of his friends and colleagues. John and a few members of Justice League Dark, including: Zatanna, Cassandra Craft, Black Orchid, Nightmare Nurse, and Etrigan the Demon; are trapped in the House of Mystery in The Between. They find another trapped survivor, only he isn’t what he claims to be. Etrigan and Zatanna see through the deception – but all the Justice League Dark remains trapped in The Between.

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Book Review – Doctor Who: The Great Space Elevator

  • Title: The Great Space Elevator
  • Series: Doctor Who Companion Chronicles
  • Discs: 1 CD
  • Author: Jonathan Morris
  • Director: Nigel Fairs
  • Characters: Victoria, Jamie, Second Doctor
  • Cast: Deborah Watling, Helen Goldwyn
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/14/2016

**Spoiler Alert** The Great Space Elevator is a Companion Chronicle story featuring the Second Doctor as played by Patrick Troughton, and his Companions, Victoria and Jamie. The audio is read/performed by Deborah Watling who played Victoria on Doctor Who. The Companion Chronicles series by Big Finish always remind me of the Doctor Who Missing Adventures books or the BBC Past Doctor Adventures books and this one is no different. It’s great to re-visit an older era of Doctor Who.

The TARDIS lands in a jungle, and the Doctor, Jamie, and Victoria see a huge skyscraper rising into the sky. They are brought to a base station and told they are in a restricted area. The Doctor actually offers to leave immediately but the base station receives a distress signal from the sky station. The Doctor and his companions, as well as Tara, the base commander, take the Space Elevator to the Sky Station to investigate.

Once at the Sky Station, which takes several hours of travel time, Tara and company arrive, only to be told nothing is wrong and they should turn around and head back to the ground. But the crew of the Sky Station is acting strangely. First, everyone is wearing thick, insulating space suits (which Victoria, who is telling the story, assumes to be normal). Second, the Doctor quickly discovers the crew is magnetic, and they seem to have electricity in their eyes.

The Doctor tells Victoria to return to the space elevator where it’s safe, while he and Jamie investigate. Victoria waits a few minutes, then goes to investigate on her own. She wanders through the station and is soon attacked and thrown into a storage closet. She’s rescued by the Doctor and Jamie, who have been joined by one of the Sky Station workers – someone who “hasn’t been converted” like the ones in the control room. Victoria realizes she was nearly converted and offers to pretend she was and investigate in the control room. The Doctor and Jamie tell her it’s too dangerous, but Victoria insists.

In the control room, Victoria discovers the purpose of the Sky Station – to monitor and control the weather. And the “converted” staff are attempting to create a giant electric storm, a cyclone. The cyclone will be centered on the base station – it will also allow the creature that is controlling everyone on the station to feed on even purer electric power.

Unfortunately, when Victoria sees Tara, she sees her as an ally – she’s chased out of the control room. Tara follows, aiming to convert her, but is trapped in a Faraday cage by the Doctor. The Doctor interrogates Tara and discovers the electric creature comes from deep space. Unfortunately, more of the converted crew arrive and “convert” the Doctor – and everyone returns to the control room. In the control room, the Doctor quickly reveals he was never converted because he had ground himself (in the story referred to as “being Earthed”). However, it is Victoria who turns on the automatic fire suppressant system, grounding everyone and forcing out the electric creature. The creature escapes down the elevator cable, but the Doctor calls down to the base station and has the cable ground. The Doctor also turns the storm back to sea and disperses it.

I liked seeing Victoria in this story. She is often an underused companion. And I liked seeing her frustration with the Doctor’s protective attitude (and Jamie’s – “you’re just a girl” comments). And it was great to see Victoria figuring things out and even saving the day by turning on the fire extinguishers. But the story here was a bit basic. I kept expecting the mysterious force controlling the crew to be Cybermen, but the actual electric monster was a bit disappointing. Still, it’s well worth a listen. Recommended.

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

Click this link to order The Great Space Elevator on CD or Download.

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