With the Enchantress gone mad, after being separated from her human host, June Moon, magic started wreaking havoc on the world. Madame Xanadu would attempt to bring together a group of magic using, yet personally damaged heroes, to combat Enchantress' magic.
The Justice League Dark started with Alan Moore and artists Stephen Bissette and Rick Veitch in Swamp Thing #50. It was however re-launched with the New 52.
In 1986 the team was originally composed of Deadman, Phantom Stranger, Etrigan, John Constantine, Doctor Fate, Spectre, Zatanna and Zatara.
When the New 52 title first launched, Peter Milligan comprised the team of Madame Xanadu, John Constantine, Zatanna, Deadman, Shade and Mindwarp, a character he created for the Flashpoint tie in Flashpoint: Secret Seven. Milligan would leave the title after eight issues, replaced by Jeff Lemire who brought some changes to the roster. Lemire would bring in new members Black Orchid, Andrew Bennett, and Doctor Mist. Shade would end up leaving the team, as Lemire stated on twitter that he chose not to write the character out of respect to Milligan, believing that Shade was an iconic character for him. Other changes Lemire planned to make to the team included making Constantine the clear leader of the team, and exploring exactly why the words "Justice League" are in the team's title.
Major Story Arcs
In the Dark
Due to circumstances unknown, June Moon, Enchantress' human host, suddenly was separated from the powerful witch, causing her to go mad. Magical events started popping up all over the world wreaking havoc, while Enchantress searched for June Moon. Not even the Justice League were able to stop her, so Madame Xanadu took it upon herself to form a team that could. While Xanadu attempts to reach various magic heros, June ends up on the doorstep of Dawn Granger aka Dove, who is Deadman's girlfriend. Deadman want's to help the girl, protecting her from the Enchantress, and due to stress in his relationship with Dove, he begins to grow feelings for June. Meanwhile, Zatanna attempts to subdue Enchantress herself, but is unable to do so, getting trapped in a magical coma of sorts, which Constantine snaps her out of. With Shade being the first to work with Xanadu, the both of them attempt to recruit the others, to no avail, all the while Enchantress is getting closer to June and Deadman.
With Enchantress' attacks growing in power, Zatanna finally excepts Xanadu's recruitment, just as Enchantress finds and corners Deadman and June. Using Shade's powers, he attempts to open a teleportation door that would allow Deadman and June to transport themselves to their location, but only Deadman makes it through, leaving June at Enchantress' mercy. Angered, Deadman flies off in order to find June again and protect her, but before Enchantress can do anything to June, Constantine appears, casting a magical barrier around the two. Constantine had deduced that for some reason, it was Xanadu who had split June and Enchantress apart, and begins to repeat the spell that would bind them back together. Deadman finds Constantine doing this, and not knowing what Constantine is doing tries to stop him but is unable to. After this John successfully binds June and Enchantress back together, quelling her madness. Sometime later, Constantine, Shade, Deadman and Zatanna meet with Xanadu, who admits to causing the trouble, saying she had a vision of the future and needed a reason to bring the heroes together. None of the would be team are too pleased with Xanadu, ignoring her warnings, and storming off separately.
Rise of the Vampires
(Note: Rise of the Vampires was a cross over between both Justice League Dark and I, Vampire.) After their battle with the Enchantress, Constantine, Zatanna, Shade and Deadman all begin to have horrid dreams. This brings them all back to Xanadu's magic shop, where she explains that they are glimpses of the future that would have come true had she not brought them all together to fight Enchantress. She continues, saying that whether or not they like it, it's best that they stick together as a team, to prevent such futures from occurring. Suddenly, Xanadu is stricken with a great pain as she senses a disturbance in the world's magic. What she's sensing is the death of vampire Andrew Bennett in Gotham City, leading to the resurrection of Cain the original, and most powerful vampire.
JLD travel to Gotham where they are met with a massive attack on the city from Cain's vampire forces, which he took control of from Mary, Queen of Blood, Andrew's lover. Cain's pressence also begins to siphon all magical energy towards himself, which leaves the teams powers weakened. In order to combat Cain, Xanadu tasks Constantine and Deadman to enter Purgatory in an attempts to retrieve Andrew, while she enters a trance in order to enter an astral plain in an effort to acquire more help, while Zatanna and Shade are forced to protect her body on a rooftop as they, along with Batman and Andrew's allies square off against more and more vampires. Angry that her horde was stolen from her, Mary eventually comes to the defense of Zatanna and Shade, but Cain begins to power up his new army with all the magical energy he siphoned. While Constantine and Deadman find Andrew, he seems uninterested in coming back to fight, saying he has nothing left in him, meanwhile, Xanadu has the Crystal One shift the tides of magic. Back in Gotham, Shade begins to have an emotional breakdown, leading his M-Vest to transport himself to a plain outside reality where he would stay with his love Kathy George, never to be seen again. Zatanna eventually transports herself, Xanadu and Mary to Robinson park where Constantine and Deadman show up empty handed, followed by Cain and his vampires. Before the team can be attacked, the effects of the Crystal One's shifts are seen, as a rejuvenated Andrew appears, proclaiming he found some fight left in him.
With his new powers, he takes control of the vampire horde, proclaiming he is to lead them, and reuniting with Mary. He uses the horde to hold back Cain while he decapitates the primordial vampire. With Cain gone, Mary suggests finishing the job, killing the humans, but Andrew stops her, saying they've exposed their kind enough for one night, and uses his powers to erase the memory from all but the JLD and his friends. Before Andrew leaves to lead his species to a new life, he is confronted by Constantine, as the JLD believes they just switched one vampire threat for another, but Andrew assures them that he is the least of their worries, as there are bigger threats on the horizon, and when the time comes, he would lend his aid to the team.
Books of Magic
Steve Trevor recruits Constantine to track down Faust. He lures Constantine in by showing him the Dreamstone of Doctor Destiny's. Trevor tells Constantine A.R.G.U.S. calls the team Justice League Dark. Trevor will allow Constantine into The Black Room for 5 minutes when the mission is completed. Constantine has trouble getting the group on board. He reveals to Zatanna that he say a picture of The Black Room that Trevor showed him and he saw her fathers hat and stage outfit.. He will retrieve them for her if she can get the group to go to The Amazon. They defeat Faust and retrieve the map to The Books of Magic. Constantine takes the map and the team to The House Of Mystery. Constantine tells the team he won the keys to the House in a poker game from Father Time and Doctor Occult. He is seen in Xanadu's vision where he is in possession Of The Books of Magic and has killed millions of people including Etrigan, Swamp Thing, Frankenstein, Andrew Bennett, Zatanna, and Black Orchid.
He tells Xanadu no person should take possession of the Books because they are too strong. He whispers the name of Timothy Hunter, who is pure enough to possess The Books before the vision ends. Constantine no longer being controlled by The Books of Magic recruits Bennett, Tim Hunter, Frankenstein, and Amethyst to defeat Nick Necro and his group. The final battle takes place in Nanda Parbat. The JLD team defeats Black Boris and Black Briarthorne. The JLD locates Nick Necro, Felix Faust, Dr. Mist, and their hostage, Zatanna. Necro and Faust are working on opening the Tesseract to unleash The Books of Magic. The Books of Magic repel Faust and Necro because as long as Tim Hunter lives no one else can control The Books. Tim Hunter opens The first book, revealing that it is not magic in origin, but its mechanical in nature. The device reboots and begins to transport him home. Zatanna grabs onto Tim's legs and they are transported to Tim's home. ARGUS travels to Nanda Parbat to take Necro and Faust into custody and will be held in their underground metahuman facility. Zatanna takes Tim Hunter back home but are transported to a place called Epoch. The scientists have been battling the magical denizens for an unknown amount of centuries or millennia. In the ensuing battle, it is revealed that Felix Faust offered his soul up for the release of Nick Necro. The rumours of Necro being close to the Books of Magic has been widespread in the occult community, and Faust wanted to make sure that he gets the book for himself, thus making the offer. It also revealed that Nick Necro also instigated the formation of the Justice League Dark that includes Doctor Mist and Black Orchid.
Dr. Peril opens a portal and Constantine, Deadman, Frankenstein, Black Orchid and Madame Xanadu go to rescue them. Due to some imbalance of magic, various undesirable effects occurred to some of the members of the JLD. Constantine couldn't lie. Black Orchid was transformed into some kind of flesh monster. Madame Xanadu began to rapidly age. Deadman came back to life, only to be shot again almost immediately afterwards, causing him to return to his normal self. Frankenstein is the only member that is not affected. Due to he stress between both dimensions, the safety of both Earth-1, and the other dimension's world was compromised. Tim's father volunteers to go through the portal while the Dark team has sided with the magic based denizens. Tim Hunter and father choose to stay and rebuild while Dark team go through the portal before Xanadu, who had aged during her stay, is about to die. Constantine tells Trevor that A. R. G. U. S. can leave the Justice League Dark alone. Trevor tells Constantine that they have made enemies of A.R. G.U.S. and the new JLA.
After unexpectedly winning a horse race by betting on a horse with incredibly low odds of winning, John Constantine is attacked by a previously unknown assailant, causing a massive explosion in front of him. Madame Xanadu, sensing another catastrophic event calls on the aid of her team. Deadman, Frankenstein, and Constantine arrive within minutes, and Xanadu explains the dire situation regarding the danger that has come to Constantine. The House of Mystery has been nicked from him, as his link to it was severed in his panic. Knowing that the Swamp Thing connects to all plant life force, Constantine beckons his aid, hoping that the creature could locate where the house went. Upon his arrival, Swamp Thing attacks Constantine, but is calmed down once Frankenstein vouches for Constantine's good intentions.
Upon trying to locate the house, the Swamp Thing vanishes in pain, and great nightmares persist outside them. The House of Mystery has been compromised, and someone is releasing the nightmares that it conceals.Constantine is plagued by copies of himself drawn from his own blood, Deadman battles a group of cannibalistic carnies who try to eat him, Xanadu is haunted by his dead lovers, and Frankenstein's horrific spawn appears before him consuming his wife. Swamp Thing is revealed to be chained in the House of Mystery, with his captor being Doctor Destiny.
While horror and carnage go amok Manhattan, The Flash, sensing a Justice League distress signal, sprints toward the source, only to find out that it's source was Frankenstein, not a member of any official Justice League team. The spawn attacks them, and The Flash vibrates his way right through him, causing it to disappear completely. The nightmares were mere illusions that The Flash could disintegrate at the right frequency of vibration. Upon hearing of this, Frankenstein suggests he locate Madame Xanadu, and Deadman. After saving both, the four ventured towards Constantine, but The Flash was unable to disintegrate the blood-drawn copies of Constantine, and he was frozen in place to constrict his movement. Reversing the blood spell, Constantine withdraws the nightmares, and the five of them set out to find the House of Mystery. The Flash immediately finds the house, and reports that it sits atop the penthouse.
Upon reaching their destination, Frankie and The Flash decide to stay to combat the nightmares and to sweep through Manhattan and defend the innocents. Xanadu, Constantine, and Deadman go up to confront the thief, only to face Doctor Destiny's rampage, and find Swamp Thing weak and held in place. Doctor Destiny is revealed to be Madame Xanadu's son.
Upon seeing her son, Xanadu is drawn into another apocalyptic vision. Her son, Doctor Destiny, has caused ultimate destruction 20 years from the present. She saw her team dead, stuck onto spears, and only she and John Constantine remain. It turns out, Boston Brand or Deadman has possessed John Constantine hoping to be with Madame Xanadu just one last time before it all ends. The two share a kiss, and Xanadu's vision ends. The JLD began their battle with Doctor Destiny, with N'aal, the demon butler of the House of Mystery fighting alongside Doctor Destiny. Frankenstein takes on the demon, but he is held back by his weakness--fire. Deadman attempts to free the Swamp Thing by possessing him. After which, he realizes that the whole house is alive, and he begins to possess it, controlling all the horrors that the house beholds. Meanwhile, Xanadu combats her son, and The Flash arrives on scene to aid the suffering Frankenstein. With Doctor Destiny unable to fight back, Swamp Thing holds him into place with vines, and Madame Xanadu confronts him. Deadman begins to show affection for Xanadu, and despite her wanting to reciprocate, she holds back. To ensure that her vision remains that way--just a vision, Madame Xanadu decides that she has to kill her son. Using Frankenstein's swords, Xanadu takes out the gem that is his son's heat and ends his life. The father is never revealed, as Xanadu declares that some secrets should never see the light. As the day ends, Madame Xanadu laments on her loneliness, she has been alone for a long time, and though she longs for someone, she believes that in order for the world to survive, she must continue to walk it on her own.