Justice League Tarot

Review by Allan Ritchie


Artwork by Sara Richard
Published by DC Comics

ISBN-13: 978-160584660
ISBN-10: 1605846600

Retail U.S. $24.95

When you are both comics fanboy and a Tarot collector then at the mention of a Justice League Tarot you can be overcome with excitement. I found a copy at my local comics shop so I bought it and rushed home to check it out. (Okay, I peeked in the car but then rushed home.)

Justice League Tarot is packaged in a sturdy box with an insert that allows the cards to rest securely and includes a black velvet bag. The deck is the creation of Sara Ricard. The seventy-eight card deck has unnumbered Major Trumps and Minor Suits are titled Wands, Cups, Swords and Pentacles. The court cards are Page, Knight, Queen, and King ordering. The cards are Waite-Smith inspired and have a black border.

 The card stock is firm and while it is possible to riffle shuffle this deck will be daunting to those with smaller hands. The cards do fit in the black bag, which is a nice inclusion. The deck is overall good quality.

The card images draw from the vast DC canon. While titled the Justice League Tarot this deck includes many of the familiar faces and some that are more obscure. The inclusion of characters from the Watchmen, Midnighter and Amethyst give a depth of scope and includes villains. The deck images are colorful and dynamic.

Initially, I wanted to see some unique and interesting choices that would challenge me. Many cards provide a bit of edge to the meaning and make for a great card. Stand out choices were Harlequin for the Fool, Poison Ivy for the Empress, Wonder Woman wrestling with Cheetah in Strength gave me a grin, and Aquaman for the Emperor. In the Minor Suits I liked the Fortress of Solitude as the Four of Swords, Lightening Lad, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy as the Three of Cups, Booster Gold in the Six of Wands, the Flash as Eight of Wands was a great choice, and the Penguin as the Four of Pentacle as they are all great takes on the cards. Court cards that I liked were Amanda Waller as the Queen of Swords, Martian Manhunter as King of Cups, Zartanna as the Queen of Wands, and Ozymandias as the King of Pentacles.

Some cards are problematic for me. The Chariot is the Green Lantern. The Batmobile might be a better if obvious choice. If the Chariot card focused on the actual power ring it would have been inspired. Bane as the Ace of Pentacles is bewildering. Sinestro as the Ace of Swords and Saint Walker as the Four of Cups don’t connect with me. Lobo as the Knight of Pentacles is odd. The most frustrating card is the Seven of Pentacles. I came of age reading the New Teen Titans when they were at their peak. The Judas Contract storyline is a defining moment in my life. I know that sounds overly dramatic but when Terra was revealed to be a traitor working with Deathstroke and she turns on the Titans and then dies it was a crushing blow of my childhood innocence. So to find this story reference on the Seven of Pentacles I am at a loss for the connection. This card is the best illustration of my disappointment with a deck that I desperately wanted to like.

The development of the deck would have benefited from a bit more guidance from someone who is more familiar with Tarot. The deck creator in an interview with DC comics online spoke of her Tarot understanding and a bit of her process.

While the deck is disappointing from as a Tarot collector I have reservations as a comic book reader. The deck is titled the Justice League Tarot so I question why the Blue Beetle is on as many cards in the deck as Superman. Robins in their multitude are represented even more. There are only two representations of Superman. The first is Superman dead with a raging Doomsday standing over him on the Death card. It is a decent attempt but doesn’t hold with canon as the death blow that killed Superman also killed Doomsday. Then second on the World card we see Superman with Lois Lane this is again an attempt that we can understand but seems lacking. I am not looking for a Superman Tarot but as the most iconic image of the Justice League he needed to be more prominent. Wonder Woman is only on two cards, and Batman is only found twice as well.

I am not one who is desperate for a companion books. I tend to look through them and then toss them aside, unless the book is unique and provides not information on the Tarot but on the deck’s creation. The Justice League Tarot would have benefited from a companion text that explained some of the choices that were made in pairing the iconic comic images and the individual cards. How great would it have been to have a graphic novel Little White Book where the characters in the cards explained their meaning and how they embody the card?

The Justice League Tarot is a collection of comic artwork but for the Tarot aficionados it may be at best a good addition to a collection. The long term use of the deck seems to be limited. This is a novelty art deck. The deck and the production value show that there was concern and hard work that went into the deck’s creation. The work that went into the decks creation makes the disappointment with it all that more acute. I continue to still want to like it but falls short on both levels of my expectation.

Click here to read an exclusive interview with Sara Richard, the artist of the Justice League Tarot:

Sara Richard Interview

All submissions remain the property of their respective authors. All images are used with permission. Tarot Reflections is published by the Ameriican Tarot Association ©2016 Questions? Comments? Contact us at:  ATAsTarotReflections@gmail.com