Writers: Ram V & James Tynion IV
Artist: Kyle Hotz
After three previous installments, it’s seemingly time for the finale to “The Parliaments of Life”. I say seemingly because despite feeling like a conclusive ending, this issue does finish with a “To be continued”. Still, we’ll assume it’s the conclusion to this latest arc of Justice League Dark and get onto the review.
The last issue ended with Wonder Woman and the league arriving to join the battle against Anton Arcane. This one picks up where it left off and I have to say it left me slightly disappointed. After 3 issues of build I was hoping for a longer battle. Still, it does its job. The rest of the issue continues the plotline of the league restoring the Parliaments of Life. Of course, it can’t just be that simple otherwise it’d be hard to fill twenty-three pages. There are forces within the league seeking to take advantage of this situation for their own ends. Meanwhile, Zatanna is still recuperating after her defeat at the hands of Anton last issue.
That’s the summary and I’d say it was pretty good. This issue wraps up “The Parliaments of Life” storyline quite nicely. In the process, it manages to tie up some of the plot threads that had been dangling for a while. I’d have liked to have seen more of the league vs Arcane but the brevity becomes understandable by the end. The issue also manages to set-up and act as a nice segway into the next arc of this run. All in all, the story is done well here. They also do some great character work involving Constantine here. I think this issue was one of his finest moments from this run.
The art throughout the issue is pretty top-notch as well. While the last two issues were penciled by series regular Alvaro Martinez, Kyle Hotz handles this issue. I personally prefer Martinez’s style but Kyle does a damned good job with this issue. Kyle creates some monstrous designs throughout the book that look like they came straight from Resident Evil. It really adds to the horror element of this series which is what drew me to it to begin with. The only criticism I have is that some of the faces look a bit off. In most cases they’re ok. Wonder Woman, Zatanna and the inhuman characters like Anton look great. Constantine and Fate look really awkward though and Abigail Arcane’s eyes are too big for her head.
The lettering is handled well too. The different beings representing the Parliaments have different coloured speech bubbles. It makes them stand out more. We also get different coloured outlines to speech bubbles alongside bold font to draw our attention when a character is shouting. We also get these mysterious, grey narration boxes with white text in them. It’s revealed who they belong to by the end of the issue. Until that point, they leave you wondering who it might be though and it helps you invest in the story. Lettering has always been able to add a lot to a comic. A lot of creators don’t tend to utilize it that well though, which is a shame. This issue is the opposite. Justice League Dark #23 takes full advantage of lettering to make this the best comic it can be. Rob Leigh really deserves congratulations on his lettering here.
To sum it up, this is a great issue and a brilliant ending to “The Parliaments of Life” storyline. It ties up the plot points of the recent Justice League Dark stories and sets up the next arc nicely. The art isn’t as good as the usual stuff from Martinez but Hotz does a solid job here. The lettering is utterly fantastic too, some of the best I’ve seen in a comic this year. I enjoyed the hell out of this issue and if you’ve been following this story then you should definitely grab a copy. If you haven’t, I’d recommend grabbing the last three issues then giving this one a read. It’s really good and you won’t regret it.
Justice League Dark #23
This is a great ending to this storyline. It wraps up most plot points and sets up the next arc of this run and the character work is well-done, particularly with John Constantine. While I prefer Martinez' artwork I still enjoy Kyle Hotz' work on this issue. He does a good job with the only flaw being a few characters faces. The issue is also a tour-de-force in lettering. There's a variety of lettering techniques used throughout the issue that do nothing but add to the quality of the issue. Justice League Dark #23 was a great issue and well worth the read.