Kate (and Dan) read JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK

Dan: So Red, ready to try something weird?

Kate: How many times do I have to tell you that I won’t wear the Batgirl costume?

D: Hrrm. That’s not what I’m talking about this time. This time.

K: ::Looks at Dan sideways:: Then what are you talking about?

D: ::pulls a scarf out of his sleeve:: MAGIC!

K: Come again, David Copperfield?

D: Before the New 52 DC re-launch, all of the magic-y/fringy characters that had been too weird for the main-stream books had been shunted from the DC proper Universe, and were then published under DC’s Vertigo banner. Since the arrival of the New 52, most of those characters are now back in the same universe as Superman, Batman, and all the rest. Most of these oddball, magic based heroes have starred in more adult based stories, rarely solving a problem caused by a traditional super villain, and almost never with a sock to the jaw.

But in the New 52? They all get to hang together in a group called JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK . This includes one of my all-time favorites: John Constantine.

K: Keanu Reeves, FTW! POINT BREAK, DUDE!

D: SHUT UP. I HATE YOU.

K: ::snicker:: So, are some of these guys like, wizards and stuff? I’m down with Harry Potter, but I’ve read some of your weirdo Vertigo stuff and it’s just not my bag. Maybe it’s because Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman wrote so much of that stuff? I’m a redhead from Wisconsin. It’s tough to relate to these Brits.

D: I hear you. ::tosses JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK Annual #1:: It’s by wonder-boy writer Jeff Lemire. He’s Canadian. And he rocks.

K: Isn’t this a little late to jump into a book? All of the characters are established and I don’t know their back-stories. And this is the climax to a long running story? Oy. You’re going to have to hold my hand and do a lot of explaining.

D: This is how new readers jump into new books. If the storytelling is good and the art captivating, then the reader will come back the next month. I’m telling you, when I was a skinny kid buying comics off of the spinner rack, I didn’t pick books by if it was the start of a new story…

K: … You picked the issues with the curvy chicks in bikinis.

D: … er…

K: Yup, thought so. Let’s do this, Magic Boy.

….

K: You were right: those are some weird characters. A character named Xanadu without roller skates? A princess that’s summoned from a gemstone? I think I got one of those in a cereal box when I was a kid.

D: I bought that box, too, except I swallowed mine. What did you think about the story?

K: The glimpses of back-story did help me understand what was happening. Constantine stole the bad guy’s lady and now the bad guy is pissed. As any guy should be. Dude stole his chick! Now the bad guy kidnapped his lady in a plot to kill Constantine.

D: Right! But don’t forget about the magic! ::pulls The Dog out of his baseball cap::

K: I thought you were supposed to pull a rabbit out of your hat? Never mind, I don’t want to know.

D: Ummm… We don’t have a rabbit. We have a dog. ::shrugs shoulders::

K: So the Bad Guy is trying to track down The Books of Magic. The super-duper source of all magic or some such thing. Unfortunately for him, he can’t open them because he’s not the Chosen One. You know, like Eddie Murphy in the GOLDEN CHILD. In fact, that flick took place in India, too! This comic is just like that ‘80’s movie!

D: STOP. STOP IT RIGHT NOW.

K: So, Constantine crashes his flying house (WHA?) in the desert and is rescued by Frankenstein’s Monster (DOUBLE WHA?) who arrives by super-jet. Meanwhile, the Bad Guy is cruising around in his own flying house (HOW MANY DAMN FLYING HOUSES ARE THERE?) as he lays out his exposition to the sexy Goth chic tied to the chair.

D: My favorite part.

K: Shush. So everyone meets up with their flying houses in India and has a super magic throw down.

D: It’s an epic battle of good versus evil! A vampire and the Gem Princess defeat a wood wizard! Frankenstein fights a troll!

K: Frankenstein totally decapitated that troll! FRANKENSTEIN AGENT OF S.H.A.D.E FTW!!!! Then the REAL battle takes place between Constantine and the Bad Guy. But the kid who IS the chosen one is all “Can I have the Books of Magic, please? C-c-can I have the booookssss, pllleeeaasse?”

D: Heh. Ok, that was pretty funny.

K: So the Chosen One Kid gets the coveted Books of Magic. Hooray! When he opens it, there is some kind of transporter inside. One minute he’s there, the next he’s gone. Where’d he go?

D: ::waves hands in the air:: It’s magic!