Not the shiny-happy Justice LeagueJustice League Dark
is an ongoing DC Comics
series launched in the New 52 DC Universe
. The series features a faction of the Justice League that focuses on the magical and supernatural aspect of DCU. The primary cast is Zatanna
, Madame Xanadu
, John Constantinenote
, Shade, the Changing Man
and a new character called Mindwarp, who was introduced in Flashpoint
. Each character has a history, and powers, related to the supernatural, which makes them better equipped deal with these threats than the Justice League
The original arc featured the formation of the team as each character was independently dragged into a conflict with the Enchantress. The team appears to have a permanently fluctuating roster; after the first storyline Shade and Mindwarp are out, Madame Xanadu is (reluctantly) still connected but not officially a member, and Black Orchid
, Dr Mist (Global Guardians
) and Andrew Bennett (I, Vampire
) have joined (the former two on secondment from A.R.G.U.S.
Tropes featured in Justice League Dark include:
- Dark Is Not Evil: Pretty much every member of the team would on first glance appear to be more at home causing terror wherever they went, but they only save that for the real bad guys. Hell, it's in the name.
- Deconstruction: The Will They or Won't They?, Opposites Attract, and Working with the Ex dynamics between John and Zatanna are brutally slaughtered. John's attachment is borderline obsession that no one really approves of. Zatanna is upset and angry whenever John shows up, and never starts to like or even respect him again no matter how many times he saves her life. In issue #30, Zatanna kicks John out of the House of Mysteries and the JLD. John has matured enough to realize that she, and everyone else, would be better off without him.
- Fantastic Aesop: Magic is sometimes used as an analogue to drug abuse, in that most of the magic users are unstable. But the line is blurred with Xanadu, who is dependent on normal drugs in order to cope with her visions of the future.
- Intimate Healing: Averted. While much has been made of tantra as sex magic, the only instance of it being used has John and Zatanna sit across from each other in bathrobes, with only their hands touching. Which is not far off from actual tantra meditation, except for how it heals injuries.
- The Lost Lenore: Kathy George, whom Shade keeps trying to recreate.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Enchantress's madness? Madame Xanadu's fault.
- Power Perversion Potential: The relationship between Deadman and Dove (of Hawk and Dove) was established when Deadman attempted to possess a human body in order to have physical intimacy with Dove. She was noticeably perturbed.
- Put on a Bus: Shade and Mindwarp in Peter Milligan's final issue.
- Zatanna is conspicuously not called to the team in the Horror City arc.
- Psycho for Hire: When Mindwarp is being recruited, it is established that even the other morally gray characters consider him a psychotic madman.
- Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: Emphasized and acknowledged by Xanadu. She states that all the others are dangerous to themselves and others, but are the only people around to save the world from mystic threats.
- Fire-Forged Friends: The team appears to have softened into this. In the Horror City Arc, John doesn't even need Zatanna to get everyone else to find the stolen House of Mystery, though he does need Frankenstein to talk Swamp Thing around.
- Shoot the Dog: John sacrifices the innocent June Moone in order to stop Enchantress. Deadman calls him out on this.
- Shout-Out: Dove encounters John Constantine eating beans out of a can at her kitchen table. Much like how another bird-themed hero encounters a trenchcoated antihero.
- Star-Crossed Lovers: John fell in love with Zatanna when she was with Nick (though the relationship failed). Then, John's actions led to Giovanni Zatara's death and Zatanna wanted nothing to do with John. Shortly after Zatanna deals with that and becomes more civil, Xanadu prophesies that John will kill Zatanna. John doesn't take it well.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: In the beginning, none of the group really likes or trusts any of the other members, except for Zatanna. Even John looked out for Zatanna.
- Vampire Invitation: Exaggerated. When John invites people—including Andrew Bennett from I, Vampire—into the House of Mystery, he can call them back later whether they want to or not. They usually don't.
- Will They or Won't They?: John has an obsessive emotional attachment to Zatanna throughout the series, which is not returned. At all. As of Issue #30, John decides that the best thing for him to do is leave Zatanna to move on with her life.
- Working with the Ex: John and Zatanna. Belligerent Sexual Tension abounds as they didn't break up due to internal problems or (entirely) because John was an asshole, but because John's actions led to her father's death.
- You Won't Feel a Thing: Deadman uses the "This won't hurt me" variant on June Moone when entering her body.