Chaos envelops the Justice League in Justice League Dark No. 12

The Lords of Order have seemingly won the battle for magic, but Wonder Woman and Zatanna won’t go down without one last fight to save the magical realm. Spoilers for Justice League Dark no. 12 follow.

Months before The Lords of Order have come to power there is no Justice League Dark. It is simply a glimmer in Wonder Woman’s mind. She convenes a meeting with the rest of the Justice League to let them know of her plan to assemble a team to fight the dark. The League okays the idea, but Batman pulls Diana aside to address his concerns. She shares them and they agree that this is a team that needs to be formed, despite their fears.

In the present, The Lords of Order are slowly stripping away the magic from every being who has it coursing through their veins. Distracted by the arrival of Khalid, his former apprentice, Nabu is shocked by the arrival of Wonder Woman and Zatanna who have been transformed by Mordru into the new Lords of Chaos. Horrified, Nabu and the Lords of Order begins to battle Diana and Wonder Woman. The Lords of Order think they outmatch the two though, but finally the rest of the Justice League Dark complete their transformations are the entirety of the new Lords of Chaos are present.

Image by DC Comics/Art by Alvaro Martinez Bueno

The battle between Chaos and Order rages, but before long Zatanna begins to conjure a way to defeat the Lords of Order, by simply breaking the order that gives them their power. By doing so, this weakens the Lords of Order, helping lead to Kent Nelson, John Constantine, and The Phantom Stranger to escape from Nabu’s grasp. While Nabu is distracted, Khalid provides new companions for Jason Blood, the Demons three, giving him his power back. Blood manages to pull Nabu’s helmet off of Kent’s head, separating host from body. Seeing this causes the rest of the Lords of Order to flee, except for one, who is caught by Bobo before she can escape, freeing Madame Xanadu from its grasp.

The magicians gather and help Zatanna bind Nabu to the helmet once and for all, which also drains the power of the Lords of Chaos from the Justice League Dark. In order to restore what she broke though, Zatanna begins to take the power she was given to make everything right before realizing she is not the one for the job, Wonder Woman is.

This issue of Justice League Dark is genuinely one of the best issues of the year. It finishes the story that has been told for the past year in the series in an extremely satisfying way, while also setting up future stories for the series in subtle ways, which is very hard to do. The juxtaposition between past and present in such a pivotal issue is also extremely hard to pull off in a way that flows and also has emotional resonance, but this issue pulls it off with aplomb. If anyone needs to be convinced how good of writer James Tynion IV is, this issue proves it.

Alvaro Martinez Bueno’s art though is just as good, if not better than the story being told. It’s absolutely riveting to behold. His dialogue scenes flow incredibly well and his action scenes are kinetic, but never messy. But the standout portion of his art in this issue is his breakage of the fourth wall. It’s gorgeously rendered and also fits the story absolutely perfectly. Reading it for the first time is mind-blowing.

Next: 100 greatest superhero stories

9.8/10 

Justice League Dark no. 12 wraps up the first chapter of this run on Justice League Dark in an incredibly satisfying, gorgeous way.