J. M. DeMatteis, Mikel Janin
Forever Evil Crossover
Spoiler alert! You have been warned!
Good news came in the form of a Forever Evil announcement not too long ago… And it was two-fold. First, I was ecstatic to hear that one of my all-time favorite writers, J. M DeMatteis would be taking over the writing duties of my least favorite (but not for lack of cast members) book DC has been putting out since their reboot. And secondly, the fact that Justice League Dark would not only be receiving a writer makeover, but would be tying into the events of Forever Evil. Add to this the little bonus of the fact that the one thing that has been working, artist Mikel Janin, would be staying on the title, and you have a recipe for success. Finally. Two years into the title’s already lengthy and tiresome run. And this new creative team (with the Forever Evil even banner flying high and proud on the cover) do not disappoint in the least. In fact, they go a step further. I knew it would be an instant improvement, but I was downright shocked at just how good it was.
We get a pretty straight-forward plot for the first issue of the “event-within-an-event” that starts in this issue’s pages. It will be crossing over with not only the main event, but also with the other “supernatural-based” characters of the DC Universe, which is a fantastic idea and I don’t know why this wasn’t already instituted in the first place. We get John Constantine (the star of said sub-universe in the DCU) narrating, without his team. He talks about his regrets. He talks about the House of Mystery (which has proven itself to be not only sentient, but intelligent). And Janin’s artwork compliments DeMatteis’ master storyteller skills quite nicely. We get some creepy Zatanna scenes with Constantine conjuring her up and fighting his inner demons (not to mention the actual inner demons who look like little monsters with Constantineesque trench coats). But the best twist and turn moment of the issue is when we find out that there is more going on than it seems at first. We get a surprise guest star that even I didn’t see coming: A secondary character last seen in the pages of DeMatteis’ other book (which is criminally underrated as well), The Phantom Stranger.
Needless to say, if you’re a fan of good old supernatural superhero fun, this is a book for you. If you are not, it will be a nice introduction to said realm. Constantine is an interesting character because, to be quite honest, he’s not really a hero. He never claims to be, yet, we all want him to end up doing the right thing. But what makes this creative team taking over and leading the charge of this portion of the Forever Evil event interesting is the fact that they are both talented, yes, but also know how to make darkness cool. And they won’t just use bad guys to do it. They’re going to show us all of the nooks and crannies of the souls of our favorite heroes, anti-heroes, and whatever John Constantine is. And I, for one, cannot wait to see where they take it and just how far they decide to take us. It may not be as reader-friendly as the other Justice League books, but who cares. It should get you interested in a whole other part of the DCU that you may not have ever given a chance before. And I hope that I’m not alone in my excitement that DeMatteis is going to bring some more much needed intelligence back to the dialogue and stories involving some of my favorite characters.
My Rating: 4/5