Declaration of Sin
I'm disappointed to see Gene Ha already off the interior art, but in that time it appears that Philip Tan has cleaned up his act to give us much more consistent artwork Jason Paz's inks change the style a bit from Tan's usual, but it still looks pretty good, much better than any other non-Ha issue for sure.
The's a pretty confusing unanswered question in this issue, and it's How did The Phantom Stranger get dumped on The Justice League Dark's doorstep? You'd think we'd at least get a glimpse at the end when the rest of them pose the question directly to The Stranger, but no, it's just kind of tossed aside.
And honestly, the whole reason he got here is sort of sidelined in a weird way. There appears to be no connection between The Question commanding Dr. 13 to stab The Phantom Stranger with The Spear of Destiny; and Sin Eater who The Stranger faces in 'Non.' In fact, if it weren't for Sin Eater, The Justice League Dark would've been able to save The Stranger without any problems. So, whoever took him to them must have known that, because it's hard to believe that The Question is allied with Sin Eater, there's absolutely no evidence to support that, but it kind of invalidates The Question's plan if The Stranger could've been saved so easily, and the means for that were provided. In fact, I don't think we even still understand why exactly The Question wanted to kill The Phantom Stranger in the first place! But the role of the main villain's been completely taken by Sin Eater.
Something about Sin Eater keeps tugging at the back of my brain. His design seems pretty awesome, but the color scheme resembles Hawk just a bit too much. I kept waiting to see if he was connected to him or the Avatar of War perhaps, but I think I'm just grasping at straws a bit here.
This is one of those issues that's mostly a single conversation, but manages to be great in that. Sin Eater teeters on the edge of scale, up until the end, leaving a sense of the possibility that he works for a higher power in uncertainty. He appears to be another cosmic force like the Trinity of Sin and Lady Luck, but we're not given any answers until the end of the issue. What we get a lot of, are answers to the questions of The Phantom Stranger's immediate past. He's not Philip Stark, per se, but has taken on the life of a man Philip Stark. The revelations take some dark and truly shocking twists and turns back and forth on a morality see-saw up until the finale, where it's essentially cemented, leading into a more direct path for the series to take from this point on.
In Conclusion: 4/5
Finally fixing up the main artwork and moving the plot away from the formulaic repetitive bore we had before, this issue even justifies the family more than any other issue has thus far. They're still his 'in distress' people, but there's an extra layer to it for once as the direction changes with focus. There's a lot of great twists in this issue and some interesting new characters. All in all, this issue gives hope that this series actually has more to offer than previews of cosmic origins.