Favorite Female DC Heroes

The Mary Sue website recently published a list of The Ten Most Powerful Female Villains of the DC universe, then challenged readers to list their favorite female DC heroes. So here we go.

1 – Birds of Prey

The Birds of Prey are not a single hero, but a group. Specifically, they are a team of female superheroes. First created by Chuck Dixon in the 1990s. The original group included Oracle (Barbara Gordon who also gets a place on this list herself), Black Canary (yes, she also gets her own listing), Huntress, and others. The team was rebooted in the New 52 and again in Rebirth. The membership of the team tends to rotate, but Barbara Gordon, Dinah Lance, and Helena are usually members. The series has been written and drawn by women as well.

2 – Zatanna

Originally a “joke” character who appeared in Justice League International and cast spells by speaking backward, Zatanna has emerged as one of the most powerful magic users in the entire DC Universe. At one point in New 52 – John Constantine describes her as the most powerful magician on Earth because she can bend reality itself. This after John discovers she cast a spell on him to make him a better person. Zatanna has been a member of the Justice League and Justice League Dark. She’s also one of the main characters in the animated series Young Justice and a supporting character in Justice League Unlimited. Zatanna is also one of the main characters in the recent mini-series Mystic U.

3 – Barbara Gordon (Oracle, Batgirl)

My favorite version of Barbara is Oracle. After she was shot by the Joker in Alan Moore’s famous The Killing Joke, Barbara doesn’t curl up and die. She doesn’t become bitter and decide to be a villain. Barbara goes through intense physical therapy, learns to use a wheelchair, returns to grad school and gets her MLS – Master’s of Library Science, and gets a job at the Gotham City Library. All of that would make her an admirable character, and representative of a very under-represented group: those with physical disabilities. It is not easy to get a master’s degree. It is not easy to get a good job when one has physical disabilities – discrimination is alive and well. But for Barbara, this isn’t enough, she uses her computer skills and becomes Oracle – running the Birds of Prey single-handedly (for much of Birds of Prey the other Birds don’t even know who the “voice in their ear” is), she also became knowledge gatherer for Batman and his allies, especially Nightwing. Barbara is strong and admirable for all that. New 52 retconned her back to Batgirl, and personally, I felt that was a step back for the character. There are plenty of tough female superheroes, how many superheroes in a wheelchair can you name? Rebirth has Barbara as Batgirl, but back in charge of the Birds of Prey, and keeps her computer skills, so that’s something.

4 – Black Canary

Black Canary is more than the girlfriend/wife/ex-wife of Green Arrow. She has been a member of the Justice Society of America (back in the 1940s), then Justice League International, Justice League, and the Birds of Prey. Her main power is her Sonic Cry, which is strong enough to kill someone. She also is a gifted martial artist, and at times has lived in the dojo where she teaches self-defense to at-risk women. Dinah is strong in more ways than one, and she remains one of my favorite characters.

5 – Jessica Cruz, Green Lantern

Jessica Cruz is one of the newest female DC heroes on this list, as she was introduced in the Rebirth book, Green Lanterns, with her partner, Simon Baz (a Muslim man). Jessica is Latina and suffered such severe acrophobia that she didn’t leave her apartment for two years. This is the woman who gets a power ring for overcoming great fear. Although Jessica is at first unsure of herself, she grows and becomes the hero her ring knows she can be. She and her partner, Simon, have a great relationship that is entirely platonic, a refreshing change for a story essentially about two cops. Jessica also is, by default, a member of the Green Lantern Corps and the Justice League, meaning she also goes on missions in space, and world-saving missions, as well as her “normal” work as Earth’s Green Lantern.

6 – Batwoman

Kate Kane is Bruce Wayne’s cousin, a lesbian, and a kick-ass superhero. Raised in a military family, when she was young and the family abroad, she, her sister and their mother, were kidnapped. Her mother and sister were killed, and Kate was raised by her father. As a young adult, she enrolls in West Point – and is kicked out when it’s discovered she’s a lesbian. She goes wild for a year but then returns to Gotham as Batwoman. For much of Rebirth, Kate has been the leader of the Batfamily in Detective Comics, but after a few serious arguments with Bruce (lets just say Kate is more pragmatic than Bruce, and she doesn’t feel as strongly about his “no kill” rule as he does), she’s currently on her own. Kate is a strong fighter, has the intelligence common in Batfamily members, has military contacts through her father, and has her mother’s money. She’s basically Batman but a woman, which makes her awesome.

7 – Huntress

There are two versions of Huntress, and I really like them both. The Earth 2 version is the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. (Bruce and Selina both grow older, retire from their respective “night ” jobs, and then marry.) The newer version is the daughter of a mob boss, who gets disgusted by her family’s violence, especially after her boyfriend is killed. She seeks revenge by killing mobsters. Bruce decides to bring her into the fold and gets her to agree to non-lethal ways of curbing the mob in Gotham. Both versions of Huntress have the first name, Helena, with the Earth 2 version being Helena Wayne and the modern version Helena Bertinelli. Helena is usually in a purple costume (sometimes black), and has strong fighting abilities, intelligence, and loyalty. As mentioned above, she’s frequently a member of the Birds of Prey.

8 – Fire and 9 – Ice

Fire was a Brazilian woman who had green fire powers. Ice was a Nordic Ice goddess. Both were characters in Justice League International. Both really need to be brought back!

10 – Wonder Woman

What new can one say about Wonder Woman? Diana is an Amazon princess, originally she brought American airman Steve Trevor back to America during World War II (which was contemporary with the times of her comic which was first published in 1940), where she stayed to fight Nazis, evil, and supervillains. She has the strength of Superman and the intelligence of Batman. Diana is part of DC’s Trinity of superheroes (the other’s being Superman and Batman) and is a member of the Justice League.

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Book Review – Bombshells vol. 2: Allies

  • Title: Bombshells vol. 2: Allies
  • Author: Marguerite Bennett
  • Artists: Mirka Andolfo, Laura Braga, Sandy Jarrell, ML Sanapo, Juan Albarran, Marguerite Sauvage, J. Nanjan (colors), Wendy Broome (colors), Jeremy Lawson (colors), Wes Abbott (letters)
  • Characters: Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Mera (Aqua Woman), Zatanna, John Constantine, Amanda Waller, Stargirl, Supergirl (Kara Starikov)
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 06/23/2018

**Spoiler Alert** Bombshells, a series based on World War II-era Bombshell-style statues (don’t judge), is an incredibly good series. Volume 2 opens with the Smoak family being evicted from their tenement apartment by a racist landlord who doesn’t want Jews and their “illegal immigrant” family in his building. The Batgirls, a group of young women, arrive to help young Felicity and her family escape, taking them to a safe house to start over. I believe this is the first time we’ve seen the CW’s Arrow’s Felicity Smoak in the DC Universe – even if it is in a historical timeline.

The Batgirls are leaving when one spots a corrupt cop, who’s rounding up young children and handing them over to an orphanage for payments. One of the Batgirls recognizes the name of the orphanage as being the one she and her brother were sent to – a prison for kids. She got out and intended to apply for guardianship of her brother as soon as she was old enough. They run into two more young women, both of whom have connections with the orphanage and organize a break-in.

Upon entering the orphanage, they find horrible conditions – children forced to work in a basement sweatshop – creating instruments of war, a headmistress who is a racist xenophobe who supports the Axis and is sending her weapons to them – and a horrific giant war robot to boot. But the Batgirls succeed in releasing all the children. The next day, one of the new Batgirls, Bette Kane, takes her majority at her family’s company – she clears out people like her aunt who ran the evil orphanage, and promises her company will help Gotham – from building real affordable housing to re-settle refugees from the horrors in Europe to helping unfortunates in the city, and beyond.

Meanwhile, in Greece – Steve Trevor and Wonder Woman confront Baroness Paula von Gunther and her Tenebrae troops.

Stargirl learns from her mother who her father really was – a British Lord who did a tour of Russia in 1923. Kortni’s mother met him in St. Peterburg and the two fell in love. But their relationship wasn’t approved of – the young Lord returned to England, and Kortni’s mother was sent to Siberia where she met and fell in love with Kortni’s adoptive father. The flashback panels are beautifully drawn and colored. This comes up because Kortni’s mother has heard from her father and wants her to meet him. Kara feels a bit left out in all this – but wants to be happy for her sister. Kortni, who now knows her name is Courtney Elizabeth Whitmore, meets her father, Samuel Whitmore. But Samuel Whitmore has grown rich by selling arms. Furthermore, he must have had an inkling of his daughter’s existence – because he has a pink princess room for her, filled with toys. Kortni is having none of it, though, because she was an experienced fighter, even before joining the Bombshells. When Whitmore threatens to keep Kortni locked-up to “keep her safe” she rebels and leaves to find her sister.

Meanwhile, Mera is called to investigate a disturbance under the sea – it’s a Kraken-like creature, with god-like powers, and it’s in league with the Tenebrae. Mera fights and nearly loses but is rescued by Supergirl. They proceed to London, along with the other Bombshells to stop the Tenebrae attack on the city (the Tenebrae allies include the Kraken, Edward Nygma, the Baroness, and the like). Even Zatanna helps, although still stuck in the Joker’s Cabaret in Berlin – with encouragement from rabbit-form John Constantine, using her magic to win the battle for the Allies. The Bombshells succeed – but not without cost. Mera is missing, presumed dead, and also lost her powers by attacking the Titan Kraken, Kortni sacrifices herself to save her sister, and although Zatanna’s spell works – she and John are caught by the Joker’s daughter. At first, it appears she strangles rabbit-John. But John is rescued – and both he and Zatanna lose their powers.

Bombshells is a wonderful book – great story, great takes on the characters, a wonderful ode to female empowerment. But the book also has beautiful art throughout, especially on the full-page splash pages, and incredible, incredible color. I’m enjoying this series very much.

Highly recommended.

Read my review of Bombshells vol. 1: Enlisted.

Book Review – Bombshells vol. 1: Enlisted

  • Title: Bombshells vol. 1: Enlisted
  • Author: Marguerite Bennett
  • Artists: Marguerite Sauvage (Art and Colors), Laura Braga, Stephen Mooney, Ted Naifeh, Garry Brown, Bilquis Evely, Mirka Andolfo, Ming Doyle, Sandy Jarrell, ML Sanapo, Marc Derring, Wendy Broome (colors), Doug Garbark (colors), Kelly Fitzpatrick (colors), Wes Abbott (letters)
  • Characters: Batwoman, Wonder Woman, Mera (Aqua Woman), Zatanna, John Constantine, Amanda Waller, Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy, Catwoman, Stargirl, Supergirl (Kara Starikov)
  • Publication Date: 2016
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 05/08/2018

“I would do the right thing. I cannot sit idle, awaiting the next blow… I would not be indifferent to the suffering of strangers.” – Wonder Woman

DC Comics’ Bombshells is awesome. This is the first volume of the series, and I certainly hope there is more because I absolutely loved it! The simplest way to describe Bombshells is that it’s like an alternate reality Birds of Prey set in World War II, but with Amanda Waller in charge (as in Suicide Squad; rather than Oracle/Barbara Gordon being in charge as in Birds of Prey). This particular volume is all about set-up, showing our women as heroes in their own right before being recruited by Amanda, or finding their way to Amanda’s “Bombshells” group. Kate Kane is the Batwoman, interpreted a bit too literally as she is on the Gotham Knights Women’s Baseball team, and in her off time she beats-up criminals in Gotham with her baseball bat. Interestingly enough, she also saved the Waynes, preventing Mr. Wayne from being killed by a street thug. Kane is, also, as in the current DC continuity, a lesbian. Kate also inspires a very young Barbara Gordon to become a heroine, since she witnesses her actions.

Wonder Woman’s origin is the traditional one, Steve Trevor, an American spy, crashes on Paradise Island, and despite the warnings of her mother, Diana decides she must join him and fight great evil in the war against Hitler’s intolerance, hatred, bigotry, and racism. It’s Diana who recruits Mera, the “Aqua Woman”. Steve informs Amanda, and she asks the two to join her Bombshells group.

Meanwhile, Amanda has already sent Kate into the lion’s den in Europe to find out more about La Contessa Selina Digatti – The Catwoman. It’s Alexander Luthor who picks up Kate and takes her to the Contessa’s party, all the time trying to convince Kate how war is good for business but that America shouldn’t challenge Hitler. Luthor basically is just as xenophobic and racist as ever.

In Russia, two very special women are joining the “Night Witches” – female Russian pilots who specialize in night raids. These two women, Star Girl (Kortni Duginovna) and Super Girl (Kara Starikov), have special powers – Star Girl with her staff of power and Supergirl basically like the Supergirl we know: super strength, immune to bullets, the ability to fly. The two, however, discover that the “enemy camp” they were sent to destroy is actually a Russian Prison Camp for political prisoners staged to look like a Nazi forward camp. They realize this and stop the attack, then discover their own parents in the camp. The women’s father had been a scientist and cosmonaut and now was speaking out against a particular general who was too zealous in his persecution of anyone who disagreed with what the Russian government was doing. Unfortunately, they are attacked during their escape attempt and the women’s father is recaptured. Supergirl, Stargirl, and their mother escape and find the English ship where Mera is meeting with Steve Trevor and Amanda Waller. Diana, Wonder Woman, is also nearby, but in custody, because she insisted on a group of captured Nazi soldiers stand trial rather than be executed by Steve’s men immediately. Amanda has her doubts about recruiting two Russians, and the Russians do not want to wear a uniform of American iconography, but one gets the feeling all that will be worked out and the two recruited as Bombshells.

Zatanna is trapped in Germany, working at a Cabaret, run by the Joker’s daughter. John Constantine is in the audience, though he is turned into a rabbit (who talks, smokes, and whose yellow fur resembles his trench coat). The Germans have raised a demon, who asks for the dead in return. The demon can make zombies. John both warns Zatanna of the dangerous supernatural “stuff” going on, and encourages her to escape Germany. Zatanna has no love for the Germans – but she’s trapped, in no small part because with a Jewish mother and Romani father – she’s dead without the Joker’s daughter’s protection.

Speaking of the Joker, Harley Quinn is working as a psychiatrist, when she learns “Mr J” may be alive. She meets up with Poison Ivy and the two set off to find him.

I loved this book! The art is truly beautiful. The writing is strong and meaningful. The story is very much an introduction to all the characters and their own environments and theaters in what will no doubt be a very far-reaching story. I just simply loved it and I want more. I hope future bound volumes are forthcoming.

Comics these days are very much a cross-medium media, with ideas from films and animated media crossing over into on-going books, and ideas from books becoming animated and live-action movie, and Bombshells is no different, as the origin of this series was actually a series of collectible statues of well-known DC female heroes done in the style of World War II pin-up girls. And while some of the art has that style – this is not an exploitative series at all! It’s brilliant – these are all strong women in extraordinary circumstances who will no doubt be fighting the war just as men would. I think it helps considerably that not only is the first volume written by Marguerite Bennett, one of comics’ most talented female writers, but the art and colors are also, for the most part, by women. This no doubt put a check on any possible exploitative aspects of the story, given the inspiration, and gave power to these extraordinary female characters.

Highly Recommended, and I simply cannot wait to get more!

Book Review – Constantine vol. 2: Blight

  • Title: Constantine vol. 2: Blight
  • Author: Ray Fawkes, Jeff Lemire
  • Artist: Renato Guedes, Marcelo Maiolo
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Justice League Dark, Zatanna
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/21/2016

John Constantine is a fascinating anti-hero and a guy who just can’t win. Blight as a graphic novel is a little hard to follow because it ties in with other titles – some of which I’ve read, such as Justice League Dark and some I haven’t. The book opens with Constantine apparently having a nightmare – but then we learn that everything in his magical vault has been taken from him. The three evil magicians from Volume 1 are back: Sargon, Mr. E, and Tannarak. They are travelling the world offering independent magic users a choice: join the Cult of the Cold Flame or die and have their magic and very life absorbed by whichever magician confronts them. Constantine offers to join the Cult, but keeps his mind free by a little slight of hand with the Cult’s drugged wine. He then uses the one artifact of his (the Moon Sword) that the Cult hasn’t destroyed to absorb it’s magic to kill Mr. E – but instead of absorbing his magic himself, luckily Sargon and Tannarak take it instead. With Mr. E trapped in the Sword, Constantine asks to be filled in on everything. However, just then, Shazam (Billy Batson) touches Pandora’s Box (in events not depicted in this story).

The next volume opens with the Crime Syndicate (evil Justice League from a parallel Earth) having taken over, our Justice League Heroes having disappeared, and a magic-dampening field having made it impossible for Constantine to track down his Justice League Dark or any magic users – good, evil, or indifferent. He and his new League, including Swamp Thing, Pandora, Nightmare Nurse, and Phantom Stranger are all John has now to fight Blight.

The next volume has John and his new allies brought to the border of Heaven where they encounter a ticked off Spectre and John has a weird conversation with God, who looks like Toto from The Wizard of Oz. Yes, it’s as weird as it sounds. After their conversation, the Angel Zauriel follows Constantine to Earth and John binds him in a circle in the House of Mystery. How Zauriel helps to defeat Blight is a story found in Justice League Dark and possibly other collections.

The next volume in this book has John and his new Justice League Dark in Nanda Parbat. There John discovers all the magic users are trapped in a magical torture machine, the Thaumaton Machine – behind this is Felix Faust and John’s one-time mentor and friend (now bitter enemy) Nick Necro. There’s a flashback explaining the background of Nick, John, and Zatanna, including the spell that ties the three together. Constantine and Necro fight both physically and using magic – it seems Constantine will win – when Swamp Thing explodes in the house and John is suddenly about to be sent to a very bad place. – along with every one else. And that’s the end of the book.

Constantine vol. 2 Blight is a good graphic novel, the art is incredible and the characterization is really good. However, the one negative is it’s a bit hard to follow – it’s intertwined to another story and it’s just becomes a bit frustrating to have stories disappear into the ether. Some are picked up in the Justice League Dark graphics, but some were covered in other books, I suppose. Still it’s well worth reading to pick-up some more detail in the battle against Blight and to defeat the Crime Syndicate and return the Justice League to Earth.

Book Review – Justice League Dark vol. 6: Lost in Forever

  • Title: Justice League Dark vol. 6: Lost in Forever
  • Author: JM DeMatteis
  • Artist: Andres Guinaldo
  • Line: New 52
  • Characters: John Constantine, Zatanna, Nightmare Nurse, Swamp Thing, Deadman, Frankenstein, Black Orchid, Andrew Bennett (vampire), Madame Xanadu
  • Publication Date: 2015
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Date Reviewed on GoodReads: 11/07/2016

**Spoiler Alert** Justice League Dark volume 6 is the last in the collected series so far. The book opens with a dream sequence (showing us the real depth of John Constantine’s feelings for Zatanna) then he wakes up in a confusing, mixed-up, even upside-down strange house. John is in the House of Secrets, and the female manifestation of the House convinces him he must call members of Justice League Dark together to prevent the House of Mystery from engaging in a nefarious plot. Meanwhile in the House of Mystery, Zatanna is pretty much getting the same message from the male manifestation of the House – the House of Secrets is up to something and must be stopped. John and his crew (the House of Secrets, Frank(enstein), the vampire Andrew Bennett, Black Orchid, and Mme Xanadu, soon confront Zatanna, the House of Mystery, Swamp Thing, Nightmare Nurse, and Deadman.

Fortunately, this isn’t a long, drawn-out slug fest. The House of Secrets and the House of Mystery join together and form the House of Wonders – which plans on controlling the world by controlling it’s houses. John and Zatanna decide the only way to stop the disaster is to enact the K’am’Deva curse. This will extract all love for another from one person’s heart from all directions in space and time as if it never existed. While the other person is doomed to remember that lost love for all eternity. John volunteers to give up his love for Zatanna for the greater good. The curse is enacted and it destroys both houses – drawing them away in a whirlpool. But it’s so powerful – all of Justice League Dark is drawn into the whirlpool as well. John is the only one left on Earth, though he later remarks he was on “Earth-2”. Zatanna is taken, alone, to the very beginning of time. There she meets her father, Zatara, and his “wife and daughter”. Zatanna soon realizes this is an illusion – she is alone. And although her mind keeps conjuring illusions to keep her occupied – she breaks through the illusions one by one. Eventually she finds the One Tree and source of all magic.

Meanwhile, Frank, Bennett, Nightmare Nurse, and Swamp Thing end up at the very end of time. They find Felix Faust who has finally obtained immortality and realized it was a curse. The tiny island of Earth they are on is slowly disappearing into the dark of nothingness – so Nightmare Nurse conjures a magical boat and they all sail off in to the Dark.

Meanwhile Mme Xanadu, Deadman, and Black Orchid end up, briefly, in a crystal zone of every moment taking place simultaneously before landing in the Moment of Now which is a time and place that is trapped, in a perpetual Now. There, as Mme Xanadu tries to convey what movement into the future is to a people who have never experienced it – trapped, as they are, in a static moment, lets the leader kiss her. The kiss accelerates the aging – and the entire zone is destroyed. But it also pushes all of Justice League Dark to be reunited – meeting Nightmare Nurse’s boat and Zatanna who at first thinks it’s another illusion. Even John Constantine returns in the House of Mystery – though he says he’s an illusion created by Zatanna’s love.

The entire Justice League Dark confront an evil goddess from before time, Pralaya, released by the Curse. Together John and Zatanna defeat Pralaya and the House of Mystery crash lands on Earth – where they meet John Constantine. Zatanna decides to leave Justice League Dark and returns leadership of the loose group to John as well as giving him back the House of Mystery. It’s clear from the last few panels that John has no memory of what Zatanna meant to him – or of the love he had for her.

Volume 6 satisfactorily wraps-up the story of Justice League Dark but I want more, and I’m guessing the soft-covered versions continued (This graphic collects JLD 35 -40 plus Annual #2 from 2014-2015) and there should be one or two more collected editions to go. Well, I can only hope. I highly recommended this series.

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.

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.