Following the events of Justice League: No Justice, the fundamental forces of magic are at risk, and a new form of the Justice League will debut in the pages of Justice League Dark #1. This is far from the first time that DC Comics has published a series focused on a magic-oriented team that would handle the largest threats to the universe. The first volume of Justice League Dark was a premiere series during the New 52 era at DC Comics, which led to early rumblings of a possible movie. That series followed in the steps of Shadowpact, a key part of Infinite Crisis that showcased some of the heroes in each subsequent team.
However, the lineup for this incarnation of Justice League Dark is largely unique. There are members who have not been part of either previous incarnation and some that have never even been considered a part of DC Comics’ magic stories before. These deep cuts and interesting combinations are the key ingredients of a spectacular first issue, one that will likely impact both the Justice League and DC universe as a whole in months to come. That’s why we are making a big recommendation to check it out and providing all the information a new reader might need to catch up on these characters. So if you’re looking to see what forces threaten magic in Justice League Dark, then keep reading to find out who will defend them first.
Created by William Moulton Marston and Harry G. Peter
First Appearance: All Star Comics (vol. 1) #8
Wonder Woman is by far the most popular superhero on this team, and also one of those least likely to be associated with it. Her familial connections to gods and mythical islands are being drawn out to make her a key figure in the DC Comics’ world of magic moving forward. Following the events of Justice League: No Justice, in which Wonder Woman led the team of heroes associated with the concept of wonder, she has taken charge of assembling a new team to police the forces of magic. Luckily for fans who have been out of the loop, the current incarnation of Wonder Woman is as close as she comes to a classic version of the character. This is Wonder Woman at her best leading a pack of some of DC Comics’ strangest misfits.
Created by Gardner Fox and Murphy Anderson
First Appearance: Hawkman (vol. 1) #4
Zatanna is one of the most popular magic characters at DC Comics and can be seen as a de facto second-in-command for this evolving team. She has been a notable magic user since the Silver Age, following in the footsteps of her father Zatara who was around in the Golden Age of comics. Much like Wonder Woman, Zatanna has not changed much from her most familiar appearances. She is still a stage performer capable of casting miracles by speaking commands in backwards English. Her connections to the ancient societies of magic and others (e.g. John Constantine) are still present and likely to come into play as well.
Created by Len Wein and Bernie Wrightson
First Appearance: House of Secrets (vol. 1) #92
Swamp Thing has long been connected to the world of magic at DC Comics, although he is often seen as a horror character or a being connected to something even bigger. The current incarnation of the character is still the classic Alec Holland who was resurrected during the Swamp Thing series of the New 52. That means he has an immense amount of power and knowledge about the workings of the world on a physical and metaphysical level. It’s unclear how much of the stories from Saga of the Swamp Thing Holland recalls, but these also involved encounters with enormous magic-ending forces likely to affect the current plot of Justice League Dark.
Created by Frank Robbins, Neal Adams, and Julius Schwartz
First Appearance: Detective Comics (vol. 1) #400
Kirk Langstrom is one of the strangest picks for the new series, a scientist transformed into a bestial bat-like creature by a serum of his own invention. The Man-Bat has fought Batman for much of his existence, struggling to maintain his life as a scientist, husband, and father in the wake of his destructive alter-ego. Dr. Langstrom now serves the Justice League, specifically this dark version of the team, as a scientific liaison. While he retains his intellect, he also remains in his bat-form at all time, resulting in an odd appearance as his enormous ear jut out from a lab coat.
Created by John Broome and Carmine Infantino
First Appearance: Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4
Bobo, a.k.a. Detective Chimp, has long been a favorite cult character at DC Comics and was integral to the Shadowpact series. He is a super-intelligent chimpanzee granted both his wits and ability to speak by the Fountain of Youth. Following the events of Dark Nights: Metal, Bobo also inherited the Oblivion Bar and a magic sword from his friend Jim Rook. This means that in addition to being one of Earth’s greatest detectives (occasionally consulted by Batman), Detective Chimp also now possesses notable magical powers.
Created by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Joshua Williamson, and Francis Manapul
First Appearance: Justice League: No Justice #2
The Tree of Wonder was introduced in the events of Justice League: No Justice as a beacon for ancient, celestial beings. It measures the force of wonder, one of four primal forces in the universe, on a given planet. The tree of Earth has remained since “No Justice,” planted in Salem, Massachusetts beside the Tower of Fate. While it’s unclear what its impact on the forces of magic have been or will be, it is sure to play a central role in Justice League Dark.
Created by Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman
First Appearance: More Fun Comics (vol. 1) #55
While he is not a central part of the Justice League Dark team yet, it is clear that Doctor Fate will play a central role given his place in the world of magic and location next to the Tree of Wonder. Doctor Fate has taken many forms over the years, but all of them have been connected by the Helm of Nabu, an ancient artifact that contains the consciousness and power of one of Earth’s greatest sorcerers. The most recent person to obtain the helm was Khalid Nassour in the 2015 Doctor Fate series. Unless this new comic changes that, it’s likely that Khalid will return to the pages of DC Comics very soon in an even larger role.