- Do you really think my master would stand by and allow Blight to consume his creation? There is always a reason... always a plan-- even in... especially in... the chaos.
- -- Zauriel
Appearing in "Redemption"
- Justice League Dark
- Sea King (Appears only as a corpse)
Synopsis for "Redemption"
On the George Washington Bridge, John Constantine's cobbled together Justice League Dark is beginning to realize that they are no match for the physical manifestation of the evil that lay in the human collective unconscious, called Blight. The evil has taken possession of the human boy Chris Esperanza, and John is convinced that they will not destroy Blight, and in doing so, rescue his friends, without killing him.
Both the Phantom Stranger and Pandora were killed before the others' eyes, and that drove the angel Zauriel mad. This fills Nightmare Nurse hope, thinking that an emissary of Heaven itself might be able to thwart evil. Blight, though, taunts him, explaining that if the Presence could kill him, he would have already. It is the Presence who fears the Blight. With that, the evil swallows the angel whole. Seeing this, John and his companions realize they may have to fight evil with evil.
Meanwhile, Pandora and the Phantom Stranger find themselves deep within the collective unconscious. It was the Stranger's plan to create the illusion of both of their deaths, and end up here. Soon, Zauriel joins them, having intuited the Stranger's plan, and they head deeper into the realm of the mind. The stranger explains that because they lost the battle in the material world by battling a human host, allowing blight to hide his weaknesses. Here, though, they have access to the human hiding within the Blight's heart.
John orders the Swamp Thing and Deadman to distract Blight while he and Nightmare Nurse come up with some tricky, dark magic that they would rather not do. As they begin their spell, a magical pyramid forms around them, protecting them as they face each other, naked in both body and soul. The magic they must perform is the complex Blackmare Curse, which unleashes the darkness within the caster's soul. Soon, that darkness is given form, rushing at Blight while the distraction continues.
In the darkness, the Stranger leads the others to the body of Chris Esperanza, who was slain by the Sin Eater. He had brought the boy back to life at great cost - and he will not stand to see the boy corrupted and his future destroyed. Pandora surmises that if she cuts Chris out of the Blight's heart, she may weaken Blight enough that John and the others can defeat it. However, Zauriel intervenes, warning that he came not to help, but to stop them. He explains that the Blight's existence is not an accident. The Presence has a reason to allow the Blight to get free. And they cannot cut Chris free yet, because he is not yet ready to be born.
Before the angel can explain what Chris is to be born as, the Blight sends an aspect of itself to defend itself. Zauriel warns Pandora and the Stranger that he will take care of the beast, and they must see to Chris - but how they should do so will be for their hearts to decide. Leaving him, they return to the heart, and think on his words. Pandora places her hand on the Stranger's chest, and they realize that while the world has thought them sinners, this whole ordeal has taught them that the world is often wrong. Pandora has touched the blessed heart of the universe, becoming a vessel of light and hope. The Stranger has learned that his own suffering is second to the suffering of others. Reaching out, they send their souls outward, toward Chris.
John and the Nightmare Nurse's black magic fights Blight back, and continues even when he is on his knees - it is more than what John himself would do, but the power is beyond his control. He feels the desire to kill Chris, and send Blight back into the collective unconscious, regardless of the boy's blamelessness. Despite her nature, Nightmare Nurse fights her own desires enough to drag John away, and throw herself and him from the bridge. She begins to unravel the curse, returning the demons inside them to their prisons, just as Swamp Thing and Deadman rescue them from the river.
Unfortunately, the Blight stands ever stronger, having been bolstered by the curse. He begins uniting the conscious and unconscious, plunging both realms into eternal shadow. However, inside the Blight, Pandora and the Stranger's hopes reach Chris, who wakes in a burst of white light that explodes from within the Blight in the physical world. Before their eyes, John and his companions witness Blight transform into the spirit of redemption, to whom Chris Esperanza plays host. He explains that the Blight has been sealed in the collective unconscious again, but he will never die. But it was the efforts of John and his team against the Blight that brought about his transformation from a vulnerable soul to this spirit now.
John isn't particularly interested in that, given that he only did all this for Zatanna, whom he loves. With Blight's disappearance, though, so too has the psychic static blocking their attempts to find her dissipated. At last, he knows where the remains of the Justice League Dark have been imprisoned.
- This book was first published on January 29, 2014.
- Story Continued from Trinity of Sin: Pandora #7 and Continues in Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger Vol. 4 #16
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