|Justice League Dark|
Textless cover of Justice League Dark #9 (July 2012) by Ryan Sook
|Group publication information|
|First appearance||Justice League Dark #1 (September 2011)|
|Created by||Peter Milligan|
|Base(s)||House of Mystery (2011–2015)|
Hall of Justice
|Justice League Dark|
|Cover of Justice League Dark #1 (September 2011).|
Art by Ryan Sook.
|Series publication information|
|Publication date||(Volume 1)|
September 2011 – March 2015
July 2018 – present
|Number of issues||Volume 1:|
40 (plus a #0 issue, Futures End one-shot, and 2 annuals)
|Main character(s)||John Constantine|
Peter Milligan (#1–8), Jeff Lemire (#9–23, #0, Annual #1), Ray Fawkes (#15–21), J. M. DeMatteis (#24–40, Annual #2, Futures End #1) Dan DiDio (#23.1–23.2), Ann Nocenti (#23.1)
James Tynion IV
The Justice League Dark, or JLD, is a fictional superhero team appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. First appearing in Justice League Dark #1 (September 2011), the Justice League Dark originally featured John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Shade: The Changing Man, and Zatanna. The team consists of the more supernatural members of the DC Universe, handling situations deemed outside the scope of the traditional Justice League.
Justice League Dark was announced on May 31, 2011, as a First Wave title of The New 52. The title and team was created by Peter Milligan, with art by Mikel Janín. The title launched on September 28, 2011. The title brought several of DC Comics' occult and offbeat characters, something which had been a trait of sister imprint Vertigo, back into the main DC Universe following Vertigo's editorial change to publish purely new, creator-owned content.
The Search for Swamp Thing, a three part miniseries released between June and August 2011 which led up to The New 52 relaunch, and followed the events of the Brightest Day maxiseries, follows Constantine's search for the resurrected Alec Holland as the new Swamp Thing, involving the cooperation of Batman, Zatanna and Superman. In addition, the Flashpoint: Secret Seven miniseries, written by Milligan as part of the "Flashpoint" crossover storyline, included Enchantress and Shade and introduced the character Mindwarp in the lead-up to the start of the series.
Peter Milligan stated in an interview that he got the job for the book from his work on the 2011 Flashpoint: Secret Seven miniseries, and that he hoped to write something "emotionally dark" set in the DC Universe, comparing his characters to detectives, who struggle to cope with the things they see and have to do. The initial anticipation for this title has been good, with critics celebrating the fact that DC are willing to bring back some of the darker elements which had moved over to Vertigo in the 1990s.
The opening storyline involves Enchantress' defeat of the Justice League, leading to the necessity of a more supernatural team to assist in these events, and detailing how they have come together. There is also a minor crossover story with I...Vampire. From issue #9, Sweet Tooth and Animal Man writer Jeff Lemire became the principal writer on the series. In his first story arc, the Justice League Dark took residence in their new base, at the House of Mystery, and have started to show their links with the wider DC Universe, dealing with Steve Trevor and A.R.G.U.S.
In August 2013, it was announced that J. M. DeMatteis would take over as series writer from Lemire in November 2013, after a solo issue by Ray Fawkes in October. The series ended publication in March 2015.
In March 2018, a new volume of Justice League Dark was announced. Spinning out of the "Justice League: No Justice" storyline, the title debuted in July 2018, written by James Tynion IV and drawn by Alvaro Martinez, Raul Fernandez and Brad Anderson. The team features Zatanna, Swamp Thing, Man-Bat, and Detective Chimp, and is led by Wonder Woman. Additional magical characters from the DC Universe are also expected to appear in the series.
Early in the run, Peter Milligan stated that he was, "ruling no-one out" for future appearances, amid speculation that both the Ragman and the Spectre may feature in future comics. However, writer Jeff Lemire did not include either during the series, having added Black Orchid and Frankenstein, among others, to the team.
All members joined in issue #1 unless otherwise noted.
- Madame Xanadu – A mystic and fortune teller. Originally featured in Doorway to Nightmare. She was also featured in One Year Later and Flashpoint. She has previously dealt with John Constantine in the plot of Neil Gaiman's Books of Magic miniseries, where their relationship is fraught, as he has deceived her in the past. She brought the team together. She was captured as part of Project Thaumaton for the Crime Syndicate.
- John Constantine – A working class Liverpudlian magician. Originally from Swamp Thing and protagonist of long-running Vertigo title Hellblazer. Became the leader of the group in key issue #9. Ousted as team leader in issue #30, and replaced by Zatanna.
- Zatanna – A stage magician. First appeared in Hawkman #4 (November 1964), many other appearances, in 2010 had a solo series, was part of the Secret Seven during Flashpoint. She has previously been romantically involved with John Constantine. After assisting the Justice League during the "Throne of Atlantis" storyline, she sides with the JL again in issue #22 for "Trinity War". Left the Justice League Dark after issue #18. She was captured as part of Project Thaumaton for the Crime Syndicate. She became the leader of the team in issue #30.
- Deadman – The ghost of an assassinated acrobat who can possess the bodies of the living. Originally featured in Strange Adventures #205 and in Blackest Night and Brightest Day. Constantine found him soon after he was lost after the Crime Syndicate appeared, bound to the Sea King.
- Shade, the Changing Man – A hero with the power to warp reality. Originally featured in his own title, by Steve Ditko, and was later 'rebooted' in Peter Milligan's run on the series in the late 80s and early 90s. He was featured in a crossover event in Hellblazer in 2010, also written by Peter Milligan, although it is unclear if this will affect events in this title. He was also a member of the Secret Seven during the Flashpoint storyline. He is tasked with bringing the team together at the behest of Madame Xanadu. Left the team in issue #8. after losing control of the M-Vest.
- Mindwarp – An original character created by Peter Milligan for Flashpoint. In the event, he was a member of the Secret Seven. Jay Young is a man who possesses the powers of telepathy and astral projection. He may be aware of the Fourth Wall as evidenced by his reading Peter Milligan's Secret Seven miniseries and the Flashpoint title Deadman and the Flying Graysons. Introduced in issue #3 and left in issue #5. He is killed in Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #15 by Felix Faust and Nick Necro during testing of Project Thaumaton.
- Andrew Bennett – A centuries-old vampire from the title I, Vampire. Becomes a member of Justice League Dark as a favor to Constantine and is forcibly induced permanently by him. Left the team in issue #14, rejoined in issue #35.
- Black Orchid – A new shapeshifting version of Black Orchid. Revealed to be Alba Garcia, an A.R.G.U.S. agent who worked under Col. Steve Trevor. Joined in issue #9. She was captured as part of Project Thaumaton for the Crime Syndicate. Left the team in issue #30.
- Doctor Mist – The A.R.G.U.S. supernatural expert and consultant, he is tasked alongside Black Orchid to keep watch on Constantine. He is later revealed to be a spy working for Felix Faust. He tries to redeem himself by opening a portal to another dimension to save Tim Hunter and Zatanna. Joined in issue #9 and left the team after it was revealed he was working for Faust in issue #11.
- Frankenstein – An erudite creature created by Viktor Frankenstein, Frankenstein first assists the team in Justice League Dark Annual #1. He chooses to stay with the team in issue #14, out of a sense of responsibility towards Zatanna and Tim Hunter. He was captured as part of Project Thaumaton for the Crime Syndicate. Left the team in issue #30.
- Princess Amaya of House Amethyst – A fantasy princess from the world of Nilaa, and the main character of the Sword of Sorcery series. She is summoned to Earth in an effort to reconnect Tim Hunter with magic in Justice League Dark Annual #1. Last seen with the team in issue #14. Afterwards, she returned to Nilaa.
- Timothy Hunter – First introduced in issue #11, Timothy is a boy destined to wield and open the Books of Magic. He gave up his magic to save his father, but it was brought back when he shook Amethyst's hand. Timothy decides to stays in the alternate dimension as a wizard-king with his father, at the end of issue #18.
- Swamp Thing – First assisted the team in the "Horror City" storyline, issues #19–21, and continues to aid them in their fight against Blight.
- Nightmare Nurse – Joined to help fight Blight during Forever Evil. A mysterious woman capable of healing even the most grievous mystical or supernatural wounds. Tried to clone Swamp Thing to help the JLD but the clone died leaving the real Swamp Thing in its place. Her name may be Asa.
- The Phantom Stranger – One of the Trinity of Sin, joined to help fight Blight during "Forever Evil".
- Pandora – One of the Trinity of Sin, joined to help fight Blight during "Forever Evil". She unleashed the Seven Sins on Earth and has been fighting them for thousands of years. Her Box was a gateway that let the Crime Syndicate come from Earth-3. She is the mysterious figure who appeared at the end of Flashpoint when then the DC, Vertigo, and Wildstorm universes merged into one. She later appeared throughout the DC Universe, seemingly observing all the characters. Left the team in issue #29.
- Zauriel – An angel who is a guardian of Heaven. He joined to help fight Blight during "Forever Evil".
- Etrigan the Demon –
- Raven –
- Doctor Thirteen –
- Mento –
- Wonder Woman – Diana of Themyscira is an Amazon Princess that possesses superhuman strength and durability, a magic lasso and many other abilities. First appeared in All Star Comics issue #8 (October 1941). After the destruction of the Source Wall Wonder Woman sets out to create a team to address the looming threat to magic. In the first issue of the series Wonder Woman becomes the leader of the team and begins recruiting new members. In the Witching Hour it is revealed that Wonder Woman was given the witches mark by Hecate as child, which further ties her to the world of magic.
- Zatanna – Previous leader and founding member of Justice League Dark. Zatanna was approached by Wonder Woman regarding joining the new team, but she rebuffed the invitation in issue #1. After assisting in battle against the Otherkind Zatanna decides to join the team to save magic in issue #2. At the Oblivion Bar John Constantine reveals to Zantanna that he was recruited by her father, Zatara, in his secret plan to stop the Otherkind. His plan resulted in him being trapped in the Other Place. Zatanna vowed to free her father with the help of Constantine in issue #13.
- Detective Chimp – Bobo is a chimpanzee with human-level intelligence that solves crimes. First appeared in Adventures of Rex the Wonder Dog #4 (August 1952). Bobo became Nightmaster and proprietor of the Oblivion Bar after the death of his friend Jim Rook, the former Nightmaster, at the hands of The Batman Who Laughs during the Dark Nights: Metal event. Bobo was recruited by Wonder Woman to join the team at the Oblivion Bar in issue #1.
- Man-Bat – Dr. Kirk Langstrom is a zoologist that developed a formula that was intended to give humans a bat's sonar. Langstrom tested it on himself, which resulted in him being turned into monstrous human/bat hybrid creature. Man-Bat first appeared in Detective Comics #400 (June 1970). Man-Bat was revealed to be one of Wonder Woman's early recruits for the team in issue #1. Langstrom uses various formulas he's developed over the years to augment his abilities as Man-Bat to assist the team in battle. The effects of the formula range from a bat-headed scientist to a feral creature. As the result of an enchantment by Klarion the Witch Boy Langstrom develops a new formula that turns him into a multi-headed hell beast. In that form Man-Bat tries to kill several of his teammates in issue #15. Man-Bat left the team after checking himself into a hospital to set himself right in issue #20. Man-Bat rejoins the team in Issue #24.
- Swamp Thing – Previous member of Justice League Dark. First appeared in House of Secrets #92 (July 1971). Swamp Thing joined the team after joining Zatanna in locating the team and battling the Otherkind in issue #2. Swamp Thing's body was seemly destroyed at the hands of the Floronic Man in issue #15. Swamp Thing rejoined the team after having his body restored thanks to a plan hatched by Constantine in Issue #23. This resulted in Swamp Thing possessing the memories and knowledge of the prior Swamp Things.
- Doctor Fate – A powerful sorcerer that has many abilities including, but not limited to spell-casting, telekinesis, telepathy, pyrokinesis, and force fields. The Kent Nelson version of Dr. Fate first appeared in More Fun Comics #55 (May 1940). The Khalid Nassour version of Dr. Fate first appeared in Dr. Fate #1 (June 2015).
- Kent Nelson
- In Issue #9 it is revealed that Nabu, the original possessor of the Helm of Fate, had possessed Kent and is using his body to reform the Lords of Order. In Issue #10 it is revealed that Nobu's ultimate plan is to summon the Otherkind to destroy the world of magic. With enhanced abilities given by Mordru the team freed Kent from Nabu's control in Issue #12. Kent agrees to join the team in more of an advisory capacity in Issue #13. However, he swore that he would never again don the Helm of Fate. Kent Nelson leaves the team in Issue #24.
- Kent Nelson
- Khalid Nassour
- In Issue #2 it is revealed that Khalid is imprisoned in a vase in the Tower of Fate. Khalid is freed through the use of a mix of science and magic by Man-bat in issue #8. Khalid formally joins the team in Issue #13. However, he is unsure if he is ready to become Dr. Fate again. In Issue #18 Khalid takes up the mantel of Dr. Fate once again to assist the team in battle against the Injustice League Dark.
- Khalid Nassour
- John Constantine – Founding member and original leader of Justice League Dark. Constantine was not asked to join the team by Wonder Woman. However, Constantine often acted in a consulting capacity and assisted in battle when the need arose. Constantine had the demon's blood in his body that he uses to help channel his magic ripped from his body by the Upside Down Man in Issue #3. In Issue #13 Constantine reveals to Zatanna that he was working for her father in the past, which resulted him being trapped in the Other Place. Zantanna tells Constantine that he is going to help her free her father. After helping restore Swamp Thing's body, Constantine alludes to the fact that he is likely no longer going to be consulting the league due to his actions in Issue #23.
- Animal Man - Buddy Baker has the ability to temporarily use the abilities of animals (such as a bird's flight or the proportionate strength of an ant). Buddy is also the guardian of the Red, which is life force of all living animals. First appeared in Strange Adventures #180 (September 1965). Buddy joins the team in a battle against plant-human zombies in Los Angeles in Issue #20. Buddy helps the team defeat Anton Arcane of the Rot and restore the balance of the life forces through a gathering of the Parliament of Life in Issue #23. Buddy also seemingly leaves the team after this issue.
The roster consists of Zatanna, Etrigan, Cassandra Craft, Black Orchid, Nightmare Nurse, Madame Xanadu, Frankenstein, John Constantine, Amethyst, Blue Devil, Deadman, Andrew Bennett.
Several former Suicide Squad members formed a new team. This roster consists of Zatanna, John Constantine, Raven, Enchantress, Killer Croc, and Ravager.
Prior to the Justice League Dark from the New 52, there was similar version of the team called the Secret Seven in the Flashpoint Timeline. The team consists of Shade, the Changing Man; Abra Kadabra, Amethyst, Enchantress, Mindwarp, Raven, Zatanna, Black Orchid, Klarion, Miss X, Simon Magus, Stiletto, Trigon
A storyline in Superman/Batman shows a possible future version of the Justice League that consists of some supernatural members. The team includes Scream Queen, Traci 13, Klarion and Teekel, Stanley and his Monster, Aquaman, and Etrigan.
Introduced in The Multiversity, a Justice League team from Earth 13 is similar to Justice League Dark. The team consists of Etrigan, Annataz, Deadman, Enchantress, Fate, Hellblazer, Ragman, Swamp-Man, and Witchboy.
Countdown to Adventure
On Earth-33, the League of Shamans is a similar team to Justice League Dark. The team consists of Bat-Mage, Super-Mage, Green Lantern, Black Bird, Terra, Lady Flash, The Shade, and Kara Zor-El.
The series has been collected into the following trade paperbacks:
Volume 1 (New 52 series)
|Justice League Dark Vol. 1: In the Dark||Collects Justice League Dark #1–6||2012-10-10||978-1-4012-3704-2|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 2: The Books of Magic||Collects Justice League Dark #0, #7–13, Annual #1||2013-07-10||978-1-4012-4024-0|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 3: The Death of Magic||Collects Justice League Dark #14–21||2014-01-29||978-1-4012-4245-9|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 4: The Rebirth of Evil||Collects Justice League Dark #22–29||2014-08-20||978-1-4012-4725-6|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 5: Paradise Lost||Collects Justice League Dark #30–34, Justice League Dark: Futures End #1||2015-02-25||978-1-4012-5007-2|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 6: Lost in Forever||Collects Justice League Dark #35–40, Annual #2,||2015-08-26||978-1-4012-5481-0|
Other collections Justice League Dark when the series is part of crossover.
|I, Vampire Vol. 2: Rise of the Vampires||Collects Justice League Dark #7–8 and I, Vampire #7–12||March 2013||978-1-4012-3783-7|
|Justice League: Trinity War||Collects Justice League Dark #22–23, plus Justice League Vol. 2 #22–23, Justice League of America Vol. 3 #6–7, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger Vol. 4 #11, Trinity of Sin: Pandora #1–3||December 2014||978-1-4012-4944-1|
|Forever Evil: Blight||Collects Justice League Dark #24–29, Constantine #9–12, Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6–9, Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #14–17||2014-09-24||978-1-4012-5006-5|
Volume 2 (DC Universe series)
|Justice League Dark Vol. 1: The Last Age of Magic||Collects Justice League Dark vol. 2, #1-3 and #5-7||2019-03-06||978-1-4012-8811-2|
|Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark: The Witching Hour||Collects Justice League Dark and Wonder Woman #1, and Wonder Woman and Justice League Dark #1, Wonder Woman #56-57, Justice League Dark vol. 2, #4. (Note: the publisher listed it as The Witching Hour series.)||2019-05-01||978-1-4012-9073-3|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 2: The Lords of Order||Collects Justice League Dark vol. 2, #8-13 and Justice League Dark Annual #1||October 2019||978-1-4012-9460-1|
|Justice League Dark Vol. 3: The Witching War||Collects Justice League Dark vol. 2, #14-19||May 2020||978-1-77950-034-2|
In other media
- Members of the team were scheduled to appear in an episode of Constantine, but that series was cancelled before those episodes were produced.
- Before the cancellation of the 2019 Swamp Thing series, there were plans to introduce Justice League Dark and create a spin-off series based on that team.
- In January 2020, Warner Media and Bad Robot were working to create a Justice League Dark universe in film and television. In April 2020, a television series centered on the Justice League Dark characters was moving forward for HBO Max, with J.J. Abrams and Ben Stephenson serving as executive producers.
In June 2016, it was revealed that an animated Justice League Dark film was in development as the next film in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies series. In July 2016, the film was announced at the 2016 San Diego Comic-Con International and both John Constantine and Swamp Thing are confirmed to appear respectively. Batman, Zatanna, Deadman, Etrigan the Demon and Black Orchid will also be appearing as members of the team. The film was given the release window of Fall 2016. A sneak peek, with interviews by some of the creators, was provided as a special feature for the DVD and Blu-ray release of Batman: The Killing Joke. The film was digitally released on January 24, 2017 and it was released on DVD and Blu-ray on February 7, 2017. In the film, Batman and Constantine recruit Zatanna, Boston Brand / Deadman, Jason Blood / Etrigan the Demon, and Alec Holland / Swamp Thing to fight against a supernatural threat later revealed to be conducted by Doctor Destiny.
At the 2019 San Diego Comic Con a sequel titled Justice League Dark: Apokolips War was announced and has been released in 2020. In the film, the remaining heroes and villains of Earth following Darkseid's successful conquest of Earth team up to finally end Darkseid's war.
Rumors in November 2012 suggested that Guillermo del Toro was working on a Justice League Dark film titled Heaven Sent. It would feature Deadman, the Spectre, Swamp Thing, John Constantine, Phantom Stranger, Zatanna, Zatara, Sargon the Sorcerer, and Etrigan the Demon. Del Toro later confirmed in January 2013 that he was working on such a film, with the working title, Dark Universe, and was hiring a screenwriter. Del Toro revealed Swamp Thing, Constantine, The Spectre, Deadman, Zatanna and Zatara were characters in the story.
In March 2013, del Toro gave an update on the film at WonderCon 2013, while talking about his film Pacific Rim. He revealed that the story bible was complete and he hoped to start the screenplay soon. Production would begin after his next project, Crimson Peak. The film's story would center around John Constantine recruiting Swamp Thing, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, Spectre, and Zatanna. The film would not be an origin story, with each character already established and elements of their backstory coming into play throughout the film. Del Toro also revealed that Floronic Man would be in the film. In May 2013, del Toro revealed that his script featured Constantine, Swamp Thing, Madame Xanadu, Deadman and Zatanna as the team, with other "in the mix". He also revealed that he was still waiting for the go-ahead from Warner Bros. Pictures. Del Toro revealed in July 2013 that he hoped that the DC Extended Universe, which started with Man of Steel, would become as cohesive as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and he added that if there was any correlation to that universe and this film, he would honor it.
In October 2013, del Toro stated he felt his film would be able to coexist with the television series, Constantine and reiterated that the film was still active and in the writing process. In July 2014, del Toro once again stated he was working on the film, and stated it would be independent from the universe established with Man of Steel, saying, "DC and Warners have been very clear that they are trying to keep [this film and Sandman] separate so when the time comes they can unite them, once they know they’re quantifiable." Del Toro also added that his Constantine would not adhere to the continuity established in the television series, but he would consider incorporating elements from it, and even think about casting the same actor (Matt Ryan). In November 2014, del Toro confirmed that the script was complete and handed it in to Warner Bros. to be reviewed. In December 2014, he hinted that the film would be part of the DC Extended Universe.
In April 2015, del Toro said the script revision has been handed in and if there was availability in his schedule, he would direct it; if not, "somebody else will do it... [The film] needs to fall into the plan of the shared universe." In June 2015, the film was confirmed to still be in development at Warner Bros., with some of their other Vertigo Comics film adaptions moving to New Line Cinema. The Hollywood Reporter stated that del Toro was no longer attached to the project. In July 2016, Swamp Thing test footage was released directed by Joseph Kahn. In August 2016, it was announced that Doug Liman would direct the film with del Toro and Scott Rudin producing and Michael Gilio writing, with the film being titled Dark Universe. By May 2017, Liman left the film to focus on directing Chaos Walking. At the San Diego Comic-Con in July 2017, the film's title was announced to be Justice League Dark. In January 2020, Deadline reported that Warner Media and Bad Robot are working to create a Justice League Dark universe in film and TV.
- Members of Justice League Dark appear in Injustice 2. These include Swamp Thing (as a playable character), Zatanna, and John Constantine (who appear in Doctor Fate's ending in cameo) as well as the team's headquarters The House of Mystery. Additionally, the team is also featured in a mission in the game's Multiverse Mode titled Powerful Spell involving a plant demon that corrupts Swamp Thing. Raiden's ending also features him joining the Justice League Dark (composed of Zatanna, Constantine, Etrigan the Demon, Deadman, and Swamp Thing) as the team's leader.
- The team appears in a DLC pack for the game Lego DC Super-Villains. The roster includes John Constantine, Zatanna, Etrigan, Deadman, Swamp Thing, and The Spectre. Enchantress and Frankenstein are also on the team according to their respective case files.
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- James Tynion IV, Ram V (w), Raúl Fernández, Alvaro Martinez (a). "The Parliaments of Life" Justice League Dark v3, 14 (February, 2020), DC Comics
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- James Tynion IV (w), Raúl Fernández, Alvaro Martinez, Javi Fernandez (a). "The Witching War" Justice League Dark v3, 18 (May, 2020), DC Comics
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- James Tynion IV, Ram V (w), Kyle Hotz (a). "The Parliament of Life" Justice League Dark 20 (February, 2020), DC Comics
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 1: IN THE DARK
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 2: THE BOOKS OF MAGIC
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 3: THE DEATH OF MAGIC
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 4: THE REBIRTH OF EVIL
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 5: PARADISE LOST
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 6: LOST IN FOREVER
- FOREVER EVIL: BLIGHT
- JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK VOL. 1: THE LAST AGE OF MAGIC
- WONDER WOMAN AND THE JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: THE WITCHING HOUR
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- DC page: JLD2011, JLD2018
- Justice League Dark at Comic Vine
- DC Comics The New 52 – Justice League Dark, DC Comics.com