I'm a huge comic book fan. I'm in a WTF Comics Club (the one from the Mary Sue, actually!) and it is one of my greatest joys in life to sit down with a stack of graphic novels and plow through them. My favorite major publisher is Image--I will read almost anything if you tell me that's where it's published, but I'm also a Wonder Woman fanatic and no stranger to the two big house. So when I saw whisperings online of a Justice League Tarot online, I went ahead and grabbed it for my birthday. I was pleasantly surprised by some things, so let's go ahead and dig into my review!
Overall inspiration and connection: Connection for me? Great. This is the first deck I ever bought for 100% novelty value, so when I threw a couple of cards down as daily readings, I was pleasantly surprised by the connection I had. I do think that in novelty decks, strong connection to the source material matters more than the "legitimacy" or whatever of the deck, so for DC fans, this is a very pleasant surprise. I've used it for a few personal readings to great success. In terms of inspiration, the creators made some strange choices. There are very strange characters on some cards, and while this is called the Justice League Tarot, it's basically just all original DC art, which is fine it's just not what I expected. What works in this deck really works. Green Arrow as the symbol of generosity on the Six of Pentacles? Perfection. The Tower was practically made for the chaos that the Joker brings. Harley Quinn as The Fool? Surprising but absolutely fitting if you think about it for a few seconds. But then there were things like Bane as the Ace of Pentacles that were incredibly distracting...
Artwork: For comic fans this deck is stunning. The artwork is all original, and the way they combine the DC character mythology with Tarot symbolism is generally awe-inspiring. My favorite comic book characters ever are Wonder Woman and Poison Ivy, and Ivy's Empress almost brought me to tears. I want a poster of it in my room. It's amazing. It's this decks strongest feature for sure.
Card Quality: What this card has in artwork cred, it lose almost completely in card quality. Thick cardstock, barely glossed. Hard to shuffle and I'm constantly terrified of bending them and making visible cracks.
Queering Potential: Anytime you're working with established material that gets into a tricky area. Certainly there are no opportunities to queer existing characters but many of the LGBTQ+ characters in the DC canon show up in this deck in nice places. And then there's this. This means a lot to me that the card that is the biggest indicator of true, healthy love is a same-sex pairing.
Guide Book and Ease of Learning: AND here is the next biggest flaw in this deck. There is no guidebook or little white book. Not only is there no guidebook, but you can't even buy one separately. If you don't know the entire DC canon (I Don't) it's really hard to gauge how good some cards are. AND if you don't already know tarot (luckily I know THAT very, very well) this is obviously not a starter or even intermediate deck. Because this deck doesn't have a guidebook, those strange choices they made don't have an explanation or a way to reframe your thinking. I was really disappointed in the lack of supplemental materials to be honest. I'm not disappointed in decks a lot, there are just things that work for me and things that don't but to have such beautiful artwork, and to come from a world like comics that are so rick in storytelling and character and have nothing explaining the process of how it came together or giving interpretations? It was a bit of a bummer.
Even so I do enjoy this deck. I know tarot well enough to figure out the direction they took things, and because it is a novelty deck I likely won't use it except for myself and close friends. It's a fun addition to your repertoire, and it's connection with querents and the beautiful artwork were a very pleasant surprise. It's not one I'd necessarily recommend to anyone who wasn't a huge comics fan, but for what it is I'm glad I purchased it and have it in my repertoire, I'm just not as over the moon about it as I hoped to be.
Does anyone else have this deck? Thoughts?