Justice League is a comic during the beginning of DC Rebirth that I picked up but ended up dropping after the first story arc. Bryan Hitch’s work was a far cry from the excellent run on Justice League that Geoff Johns finished up before DC Rebirth began. The story Hitch deliver was a by-the-numbers superhero story that did not deliver the epicness from what we would come to expect from a Justice League series. Now after not picking up Justice League for twenty issues I’ve decided to pick it back up for the latest story arc that has some good buzz around it. The potential of a story involving the Justice League meeting their children from a post-apocalyptic future is endless. Will Bryan Hitch be able to deliver on that potential? Let’s find out with Justice League #26.
Writer: Bryan Hitch
Artist: Fernando Pasarin
Inker: Oclair Albert
Colorist: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 5 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: In the middle of a destroyed city the future Justice League made up of the children of Superman and Wonder Woman (Hunter), Cyborg (Cube), Flash and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz (Cruise) and Aquaman (Serenity) alongside two ring bearers named Jason and Jenny have taken cover near Olympus, New York City.
Hunter has Cruise look to see if Curry is in the area while Cube works on taking a look at the area. Cube and Cruise can’t find anything in the area.
Serenity shows up as Hunter and Cruise start flirting. She informs the team that Tempest forces are attempting to attack Atlantis. The team remind each other that they are in this fight together.
Aquaman, who has merged with Cyborg’s technology, suddenly appears. Cruise tries to attack but Aquaman quickly pins her down before she does anything.
Hunter tries to punch Aquaman but Aquaman dodges all the attacks and slams Hunter down on the ground face first.
Jason and Jenny use their energy powers to hold Aquaman back as the rest of the team recovers. Aquaman suddenly uses the Black Lantern ring he has to create a energy bubble around everyone.
Inside the bubble Serenity uses her power to knock back Aquaman. She then uses another power to transport the team to Olympus.
The team rush their way into the destroyed Infinity Corp building. Inside they find a message from a guy named Vincent about how they can change the world and end the darkness.
Sovereign blasts her way into the building ready to kill everyone. The team all combine their powers to try to damage her but Sovereign swats everyone away easily.
Cube’s Boom Tube finally fully powers up and he is able to open a portal for the entire team to enter.
In the present the Justice League survey a destroyed Midway City and reflect on all the lives lost. Wonder Woman says they are supposed to stop all threats against Earth. Cyborg mentions they can’t just impose their will on the world or else they would be no better than villains. Superman reminds everyone that they are supposed to inspire everyone and build a better future for their children to live in.
Suddenly the Justice League’s children from the future crash land in front of the Justice League. Cruise and Hunter reveal that they are from the future that the Justice League destroyed. End of issue.
The Good: In reading Justice League #26 I realized why Bryan Hitch’s first arc did not connect with me. It was the fact that Bryan Hitch was telling a safe Justice League story that did not take any sort of chances that a A-List comic like Justice League should. That is not the case with the first issue of “Legacy” as Hitch is finally showing that he is setting something epic that is taking a risk.
Opening Justice League #26 up with a look at the post-apocalyptic DC Universe and the Justice League children surveying the destruction was a great way to set the stage for the setting. The setting gave us a clear understanding of what the children of the Justice League are up against even before the Aquaman-Cyborg hybrid and Sovereign showed up. The setting also gave Hitch a good reason to give a different design for each Justice League child as each costume looked patched together rather than sleek like in other possible DC Universe futures we have seen.
Though not one of the children, the Aquaman-Cyborg hybrid was possibly the best one. There is something about an Aquaman designed to only have one hand that makes the character an even bigger badass. Hitch treating this version of Aquaman as an unstoppable tank was a great way to use the new universe to showcase a character in a different light. This Aquaman-Cyborg hybrid also built on the mystery of what exactly happened in the DC Universe that lead to this post-apocalyptic future. The fact that Aquaman had a Black Lantern ring added to that mystery, especially if that means that Aquaman is a walking corpse.
Aquaman’s appearance made Serenity, his kid, character development much better. Seeing father and daughter fight it out gave a better sense of how much this future Justice League has gone through. It at least gave us a good idea of how much Serenity has gone through with her father going to the dark side and having to defend Atlantis from Tempest’s forces.
Fernando Pasarin adds to the post-apocalyptic future DC Universe that Hitch has created with strong destructive artwork. Having Olympus placed in the middle of New York City was a fantastic visual as it does give Justice League #26 that “We aren’t in Kansas anymore” moment.
The Bad: Though Hitch does take a chance with the setting of Justice League #26 the characters that existed in this world were disappointing. Outside of Serenity and Aquaman all of the children of the Justice League were undefined characters. The way they interacted did not mesh with the post-apocalyptic setting. There was no sense of desperation in how all the kids talked. Instead they just talked as though they weren’t in an end of the world scenario.
This way of interacting hurt the overall tone of the story that is supposed to be dark. It almost made the entire world we are presented in Justice League #26 as though it was normal. That is not something that goes along with what Hitch was trying to accomplish as there were various moments where we do get that. Unfortunately that is far and few in-between, which made it hard to actually connect with the conflict all the kids were involved in.
The lack of impact in the dialogue is furthered by the fact that it did feel as though Hitch was rushing to get the kids to the present just so he could end Justice League #26 with them meeting their parents. Justice League #26 would’ve been a much better issue if the entire thing was dedicated to the future setting. This way Hitch would’ve had time to flesh out all the characters of the world. At the same time it would’ve built anticipation for the actual meeting of the Justice League and their kids. But since the meeting was rushed the ending did come off as though Hitch was rushing the story along rather than letting the story develop so that we can get behind these new characters.
Also, while Pasarin delivered some very good visuals the action sequences did leave something to be desired. The choreography of the fight between Aquaman and the Justice League children was not the most exciting set piece. Sovereign’s appearance also felt like a basic way to introduce a villain as it did not get over how she is the big bad the Justice League will have a hard time taking down.
Overall: Justice League #26 is the first issue in Bryan Hitch’s run that felt like a risk. While the setting and some of the characters are intriguing the full execution of the story did leave something to desired. Rather than being fascinating new characters, the new children of the Justice League all came off as basic superheroes due to the weak dialogue from Hitch. That leaves a lot of work for Hitch to do in future parts of the “Legacy” arc to make the new characters and world fan favorites.