"Aftershocks": After quitting the Justice League Dark, John Constantine is depressed, and drowns his sorrows in alcohol at a New York bar. Drunkenly, he calls for more drink, and is surprised when his
- The House of Mystery belongs to me now-- and as I recall. I threw your worthless ass out of here days ago. Now why are you back?
- — Zatanna
Synopsis for "Aftershocks"
After quitting the Justice League Dark, John Constantine is depressed, and drowns his sorrows in alcohol at a New York bar. Drunkenly, he calls for more drink, and is surprised when his order is brought to him by a young and attractive woman, whom he immediately begins flirting with. The flirtation is fruitless, however, because it soon becomes clear that she is possessed by Deadman, whose hatred of John has reached a point that he would possess this woman to get revenge for having been trapped in the corpse of Sea King. However, once he realizes that John's drinking has made him such a pathetic figure that he'll do more harm to himself than he ever could in anger, he decides to leave John to it.
As he returns to the House of Mystery, Deadman regrets behaving so badly - using an innocent's body to blow off steam. He was just angry that John had used him, after he'd thought they were friends. In any case, the Justice League Dark is under new leadership in Zatanna, and Boston can afford to just forget about John.
Meanwhile, inside the House of Mystery, Zatanna worries that she should be resting - recuperating after all that happened at Nanda Parbat, and trying to put John Constantine out of her mind. However, she feels responsible to the team that has come to mean more to her than she knew. The Justice League Dark is her family now - and she has bonded to the House. In fact, the House created the very room she now sits in, floating in a small swimming pool.
Her relaxation and introspection are interrupted by a sudden splash, as Nightmare Nurse surfaces, explaining that she needed to wash the stink of the Thaumaton wheels from her body. Confused, Zatanna comments that she thought Nightmare Nurse had only joined them in the first place because of John. The nurse responds that her relationship with John is long ended. She came to the House because she is a healer, and the world needs healing now more than ever. Not to mention that she has a certain attraction to Zatanna, who is not interested, and emerges from the pool, getting dressed. As she leaves, Zatanna muses that she doesn't trust the Nurse. She is dangerous and unpredictable. She fails to notice the tortured figure begging for help from behind the glass mirror of the room.
Elsewhere in the House, Boston tries to convince Frankenstein and Black Orchid to stay - but they've made up their minds to leave. While the traumatic memories of Frankenstein's origins were drudged up by his violent treatment at Nanda Parbat, and his solitary nature draws him away, Black Orchid is drawn away by the mysteries about her past that she hopes to learn. She suggests that perhaps it is time that Boston learned the mysteries of his own life. Losing his temper, Boston reminds that he is dead. They are his family, and he cares about them. He doesn't want them to go. As he rages, he is suddenly confounded by the sound of a doorbell.
Investigating, they discover that John Constantine has arrived - still reeking of booze. He demands to see Zatanna, but the others warn that she doesn't want to see him. Realizing that they will be of no help to him, John attacks them. He speaks a magic word to torture Frankenstein, and knocks Nightmare Nurse aside. When Black Orchid attempts to stop him, he casts a spell on her to reveal the lies about who she is. The magic reveals that all of the identities that she thought she might be are nothing. Inside, she is empty. Angrily, Deadman enters John's body, reminding that these people are his friends, and it isn't fair of him to play with their minds and hearts.
Finally, Zatanna intervenes, demanding to know why John has come back. He begs just five minutes to explain, and she hates herself for granting it to him. He claims that he feels awful about how they left things, and that he shouldn't have left the team. He had left and betrayed them because he had only ever got involved with the Blight issue in the first place because he wanted to save her. All that effort was wasted when it turned out she'd think less of him than she did a demon double that sprouted from his unconscious. And as soon as one evil was defeated, another raised its head in the form of the Sons of Trigon. He had left because he couldn't deal with that hopelessness.
Zatanna responds that she was shocked, at first, when she watched John's double behave altruistically - but she realized later that it was just an extension of his consciousness. If a demonic aspect of John Constantine's psyche could be capable of altruism, wouldn't John himself be capable of more? Sadly, John reminds that she is projecting the good in her own heart onto him. The only good he has ever known is her. She had loved him, but things are different now. Sadly, John kisses her on the cheek, and begs her not to forget him, as he disappears from the House of Mystery.
With John, Black Orchid, and Frankenstein gone, all that remains of the Justice League Dark are Zatanna, Deadman, and the Nightmare Nurse. Boston assures her that he doesn't intend to leave, but they could certainly use more muscle. Zatanna agrees, and summons the Swamp Thing - against his will. Naturally, Alec is annoyed to be summoned so again, and demands to be sent back. Zatanna promises never to do it again, if he'll hear her out, but a sudden outburst from the Nightmare Nurse prevents her from getting any further.
The Nurse bursts into flame, and when the fire dies, she lives - but she is changed. She no longer answers to the name of Nightmare Nurse. She is Alice Winter.
Appearing in "Aftershocks"
- Justice League Dark
- Alice Winter
- Marie (Possessed)