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Justice League Dark Reading Order: The Death of Magic (2011-2016)

As part of DC Comics’ New 52 initiative that saw the birth of a modernised DC Universe, the Justice League Dark are a team made up of key magic users who gather to combat mystical and supernatural threats. Even though the line-up make it clear they don’t want to be a team, fate will keep bringing them together until they accept it. Zatanna, John Constantine, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, Deadman and others appear as members of the course of this first incarnation of one of the darker teams in the modern DC Universe.

Must Reads: Story arcs marked with a ✔are must-read stories from this time period, along with any key related stories and often-forgotten tales that are worth a read.

When an issue contains multiple stories, the relevant story is denoted with square brackets. For example [2/5] refers to the second story of the five stories in that issue, so you don’t need to read the other four

Want to keep it simple? A version of this reading order without story descriptions, page-by-page breakdowns or less non-essential guest appearances – just the primary stories:

  • Justice League Dark #1-7
  • I, Vampire #7
  • Justice League Dark #8
  • I, Vampire #8
  • Justice League Dark #9-12
  • Justice League Dark #0
  • Justice League Dark #13
  • Justice League Dark Annual #1
  • Justice League Dark #15-21
  • Justice League #22
  • Justice League of America #6
  • Justice League Dark #22
  • Constantine #5
  • Justice League of America #7
  • Justice League Dark #23
  • Justice League #23
  • Justice League Dark #24-25
  • Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #14
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6
  • Justice League Dark #26
  • Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #15
  • Constantine #10
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #7
  • Justice League Dark #27
  • Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #16
  • Constantine #11
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #8
  • Justice League Dark #28
  • Constantine #12
  • Trinity of Sin: Pandora #9 (2014)
  • Justice League Dark #29-34 (2014)

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Chronology: Every appearance of Justice League Dark from this period is included in chronological order, mapping out their timeline rather than just the order the issues were released.
Spoilers: The issue/story overviews may include spoilers, so be warned!

Must ReadsTitle, Synopsis and First AppearancesCrossover / Event
Justice League Dark #1-5 (2011-2012)
The Enchantress is separated from her host, June Moon, but begins to lose control of her magical power; when the Justice League prove unable to stop the Enchantress, Madame Xanadu summons ZatannaDeadmanJohn ConstantineShade and Mindwarp to restore her and save reality; the ‘Justice League Dark’ decide not to stay together.

1st appearances: John Constantine, Enchantress, Mindwarp/Jay Young, June Moon, Shade the Changing Man/Rac Shade, Zatanna/Zatanna Zatara, Justice League Dark, Hocus & Pokus Occult Curioso
I, Vampire #4 (2012)
John Constantine encounters the vampire Steve RafelsonAndrew Bennett advises John Constantine to prepare his friends for the coming of the Queen of Blood.
Justice League Dark #6-7 (2012)
I, Vampire #7 (2012)
Justice League Dark #8 (2012)
I, Vampire #8 (2012)

Madame Xanadu convinces the Justice League Dark (minus Mindwarp) to reform to combat Cain, the father of all vampires; the JLD rescue the deceased vampire Andrew Bennett from the afterlife; Shade’s breakdown forces him to leave the team.
RISE OF THE VAMPIRES 
Animal Man #9-10 (2012)
Responding to a premonition of the Rot taking over the Earth, Madame XanaduZatanna & John Constantine warn Animal Man‘s wife and kids, steering them towards Swamp Thing.
Sword of Sorcery #0[1/2] (2012)
John Constantine cameo; Constantine finds the portal crystal discarded by Amy Winston and keeps it.

1st appearance: Lady Graciel, Lady Ingvie, Lady Mordeil, Amy Winston
WAR FOR THE BOOKS OF MAGIC 

ZERO MONTH 
Justice League Dark #9-12 (2014)
Andrew Bennet briefly joins the JLD when Steve Trevor of ARGUS asks them to rescue Doctor Mist from Felix Faust; ARGUS agent Black Orchid joins the team to race Faust to the Books of Magic.

1st appearances: Black Orchid/Alba Garcia, Doctor Mist/Nommo Balewa, Tim Hunter, Nick Necro, Dr John Peril, Giovanni Zatara, House of Mystery, House of Secrets
WAR FOR THE BOOKS OF MAGIC 
Justice League Dark #0 (2012)
Zatanna & Constantine’s past is revealed, along with their connection to Nick Necro.

1st appearances: Cult of the Cold Flame
WAR FOR THE BOOKS OF MAGIC
 
ZERO MONTH 
Justice League Dark #13 (2012)
Justice League Dark Annual #1 (2012)
Justice League Dark #14 (2013)
Sword of Sorcery #4[1/2] (2013)
Justice League Dark #15-18 (2013)
Amethyst and Frankenstein join the JLD to oppose Felix Faust & Nick Necro; John Constantine returns Amethyst to NilaaTim Hunter briefly joins the JLD when the team are taken to a world of magic.
WAR FOR THE BOOKS OF MAGIC
StormWatch #13 (2012)
Madame Xanadu & John Constantine cameo; Xanadu & Constantine sense Etrigan‘s return to the Earthly plane.
I, Vampire #16-19 (2013)
John Constantine agrees to help Mary Seward bring Andrew Bennett back to the side of good; Andrew Bennett takes control of the House of Mystery; Constantine & Bennett join forces to stop the rise of Cain & Lilith, Mother of Monsters.

1st appearance: Lilith
Sword of Sorcery #6 (2013)
To prevent Eclipso from coming to Earth, John Constantine betrays Amethyst and traps him on Nilaa.
Must ReadsTitle, Synopsis and First AppearancesCrossover / Event
Justice League Dark #19-21 (2013)
John Constantine’s history with the Cult of the Cold Flame catches up with him when Doctor Destiny rallies them against him and the Justice League Dark; Doctor Destiny’s connection to the team is revealed; Swamp Thing and the Flash assist the JLD against Destiny 

1st appearance: Doctor Destiny/John Dee
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #10-12 (2012)
Frankenstein returns to his day job, leading SHADE‘s Creature Commandos against Crowley, the Scare-Eb Agents, a Leviathan & Agent Mycroft as he searches for the secret behind Satan’s Ring.
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #13-15 (2012-2013)
Animal Man #15 (2013)
Under Anton Arcane‘s control, the Rot takes over the Earth; John Constantine and Frankenstein are among those who stand against him, though Animal Man and Swamp Thing ultimately manages to undo their sacrifices.
ROTWORLD 
Frankenstein: Agent of SHADE #16 (2013)
Agent Frankenstein risks his life against the Plague Agents.
Justice League #16-17 (2013)
Zatanna is among those selected to expand the ranks of the Justice League, just in time for Ocean Master to lead the Atlanteans in an attack on the surface world.

1st appearance: Element Woman/Emily Sung
THRONE OF ATLANTIS 
Phantom Stranger #4, 6, 8 (2013)
Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #9 (2013)
John Constantine pulls the Phantom Stranger into the House of Mystery against his will in an attempt to recruit him to the JLD; when the Stranger is betrayed by a friend, the JLD summon the Nightmare Nurse to help him.

1st appearances: Nightmare Nurse/Asa, Sin Eater/Philip Stark
Constantine #1-4 (2013)
The Cult of the Cold Flame come gunning for John Constantine, with Mister E and Sargon the Sorceress returning to confront him directly until the real threat behind the Cult emerges.

1st appearances: Mister E, Papa Midnite/Linton Midnite, Sargon the Sorcerer/John Sargent, Sargon the Sorceress/Jaimini Sargent, Tannarak
Flash #28-29 (2014)
The Flash and Deadman team up to investigate a series of murders in Central City.
Justice League Dark #23.1: The Creeper (2013)
No Justice League Dark appearance; Katana finally discovers the connection between the Creeper and Jack Ryder; this has no impact on the JLD.
VILLAINS MONTH
Justice League Dark #23.2L Eclipso (2013)
No Justice League Dark appearance; the origin of Eclipso is revealed; this has no impact on the JLD.
VILLAINS MONTH 
Justice League #18 (2013)
Zatanna returns to the Justice League’s Watchtower to find out if she’s among those who’ve been accepted as a full-time member.

1st appearances: Atom/Atomica/Rhonda Pineda, Copperhead, Platinum
All-Star Western #24-26 (2013-2014)
Gunfighter Jonah Hex ends up in the present day and finds himself side-by-side with John Constantine and the Swamp Thing fighting demons at the Burning Man festival.
Justice League #22 (2013)
Justice League of America #6 (2013)
Justice League Dark #22 (2013)
Constantine #5 (2013)
While the Justice League Dark seek out whoever’s responsible for an attack on Madame Xanadu, the Justice League of America face off against the Justice League over Pandora’s Box; while it looks like either ARGUS or Pandora herself are responsible, a more sinister organisation manipulates the situation behind the scenes; while the teams are divided, John Constantine clashes with Shazam and is taken out of the fight by Mister E.
TRINITY WAR 
Constantine #6-7 (2013)
The decisions Constantine recently made in his feud with Sargon the Sorceress come back to bite him
Must ReadsTitle, Synopsis and First AppearancesCrossover / Event
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #11 (2013)
Justice League of America #7 (2013)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #3 (2013)
Deadman assists the Phantom Stranger & Batman in a journey to the afterlife; the threes Leagues fight to keep Pandora’s Box out of the wrong hands and clear Superman‘s name, but it’s evil threatens to subvert them all. 
TRINITY WAR 
 
Constantine #8 (2014)
Constantine is transported to the Temple of the Cold Flame to face Mister E, but is shown visions of the fight over Pandora’s Box and rejoins to aid Zatanna.
Justice League Dark #23 (2013)
Justice League #23 (2013)
3 (Deathstorm/Martin Stein, Grid, Johnny Quick/Jonathan Allen, Owlman/Thomas Wayne Jr, Power Ring/Hal Jordan, Sea King, Superwoman/Lois Lane, Ultraman/Kal-ll), Mazahs/Alexander Luthor
The real identity of the Outsider and the true purpose of Pandora’s Box comes to light when the war between the three Leagues erupts and the ‘Justice League’ of another universe emerges… the Crime Syndicate from Earth 3.

1st appearances: Crime Syndicate of Earth
TRINITY WAR 
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #4 (2013)
Deadman & Madame Xanadu cameo; Pandora stands beside the Justice League Dark as the Crime Syndicate arrive on Prime Earth.
FOREVER EVIL 
Justice League Dark #24-25 (2013-2014)
Nightmare Nurse cures John Constantine of the evil virus from Pandora’s Box; the two of them ally with Swamp Thing as they begin their search for the missing Justice League Dark; Blight – the embodiment of despair – takes Chris Esperanza as a host.

1st appearance: Blight, Cassandra Craft
FOREVER EVIL 

BLIGHT
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #4-5 (2013)
John Constantine cameo; Pandora, the Phantom Stranger & the Question are chained before Constantine, Nightmare Nurse & Swamp Thing.
FOREVER EVIL 
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #14 (2014)
Constantine #9 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #6 (2014)
Justice League Dark #26 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #15 (2014)
Constantine #10 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #7 (2014)
Justice League Dark #27 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: The Phantom Stranger #16 (2014)
Constantine #11 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #8 (2014)
Justice League Dark #28 (2014)
Constantine #12 (2014)
Trinity of Sin: Pandora #9 (2014)
Justice League Dark #29 (2014)

Nightmare Nurse, Pandora, Phantom Stranger & Swamp Thing join John Constantine in the Justice League Dark as their search for the original team is interrupted by Blight’s as he joins forces with the Seven Deadly Sins in New York; Deadman rejoins the group while locked in the corpse of the Crime Syndicate’s Sea King; the Justice League Dark overcome Blight and locate their teammates in Nanda Parbat; Nick Necro and Felix Faust attempt to weaponise the Justice League Dark and other magic users for the Crime Syndicate; Zatanna and John Constantine clash, leading to his departure from the team
FOREVER EVIL 

BLIGHT 
Justice League Dark #30-34 (2014)
The few members of the Justice League Dark that remain face their own internal struggles with Nightmare Nurse accused of possessing the body of an innocent and Deadman being used by the creature PantheonJohn Constantine assists the group.
Justice League Dark Annual #2 (2014)
John Constantine makes a bid to return to the Justice League Dark, but he sacrifices his position to set things right when the House of Mystery and the House of Secrets combine to form the House of Wonders and threatens to control all minds on Earth.
LOST IN FOREVER 
Constantine #13-16 (2014)
While officially no longer a member of the Justice League DarkJohn Constantine‘s ongoing enmity with the Cult of the Cold Flame continues which appears to cost Constantine his life.
Constantine #17-19 (2014-2015)
Earth 2: World’s End #3, 7-8 (2014-2015)
Constantine #20-22 (2015)
Earth 2: World’s End #9-10 (2015)
Constantine #23 (2015)
Identity Change: Huntress/Helena Wayne as Famine
John Constantine‘s final battle with the Cult of the Cold Flame sends his through time, then to Earth 2; Constantine finds him fighting alongside the Earth 2 heroes – the Wonders of the World – and his own Earth 2 counterpart when Darkseid invades the planet and threatens its very existence; Constantine makes it back to Prime Earth.

1st appearances: Brainwave/Henry King Jr, Jonni Thunder
WORLD’S END 
Justice League Dark #35-40 (2014-2015)
The Justice League Dark start are scattered through time and dimensions and have their final showdown with Felix FaustJohn Constantine returns to help the team overcome Pralaya before Andrew BennettBlack OrchidDeadmanFrankensteinMadame XanaduNightmare NurseSwamp Thing & Zatanna go their separate ways.
LOST IN FOREVER 

Even though this incarnation of Justice League Dark ends here, a new team will pick up the mantle:

  • JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK: The Last Age of Magic (2018-2022)
UniverseTitle , Issue Number & SynopsisEvents / Crossover
Futures EndFree Comic Book Day – The New 52: Futures End #0 (2014)
New 52: Futures End #2 (2014)
Futures End: Justice League Dark #1 (2014)
New 52: Futures End #36-37 (2015)
In a possible future five years from now, Zatana leads the Justice League Dark but is corrupted by Brother Eye; the JLD are stranded when the House of Mystery is lost is a nameless nothingness.
FUTURES END 

Reading Order ©OmniverseComicsGuide 2023

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