Writer: James Tynion IV / Artist: Alvaro Martínez Bueno / DC Comics
After his reveal last issue, the Upside Down Man has actively haunted the comic book section of my brain. He is certainly not the first unsettling pale white villain to inhabit the DC Universe post-Metal, but there is something about the menace in his aura, his scaly skin, and the teeth. I think it’s the teeth that concern me the most. Justice League Dark #3 provides a nice sampling of backstory for the main cast and confrontation with this living embodiment of evil magic.
Tynion knows how to narrate a story. The prologue to the issue discusses Zatanna’s origins and carefully interpolates how they perceive magic. The different ways that the main cast connects with the ethereal world casts this dark shadow of our understanding of the fundamentals. The diversity of these viewpoints conveys the grand scope of the looming threat to magic and creates an imminent sense of dread. Martínez Bueno’s panel work and illustration are absolutely stellar and make wonderful use of structure and negative space. There are truly enchanting, majestic pieces of work that are quickly juxtaposed to various Eldritch Horrors and the way everything blends together is a testament to the creative team’s vision.
Reality bends and breaks, and there are wonderfully bombastic moments that made my jaw drop. Tynion is very much like a magician, expertly subverting the expected with shocking revelation, and Martínez Bueno provides all of the visual spectacle. Yet, the most impressive thing is how all of the actions begin to reverberate and grow. None of the heroes probably expected for the cascading cavalcade of events and the suspense of seeing what magics manifest from the rewriting of the worries is awe inducing.
As this arc ends, you’ll want to catch up and get ready for the tricks that Tynion has up his sleeves. It is a wonderfully inventive book with a lot of heart that is a pleasure to experience.
9.0 “Feeding Times” out of 10
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