The Legacy story arc got kicked off with the last issue. Bryan Hitch delivered an unremarkable start to this new story arc. You can read our review of Justice League #26 here. It was not a bad issue, but Hitch certainly did not do anything to get it above being an average at best story. Hopefully, Hitch is able to flesh out the Justice League’s children a bit more and delivery a story with more meat on its bones with Justice League #27. Let’s hit this review.
Words: Bryan Hitch
Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
Inks: Oclair Albert
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 6 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 9 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 7.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with the Justice Leaguers and their children back on the Watchtower Satellite. The kids are excited to be back on the Watchtower Satellite. They have fond memories as little kids playing on the Watchtower Satellite.
Everyone enters the main computer room where Cyborg is busy running scans on all of the children to confirm that they really are the children of the Justice Leaguers. Mera states that she does not remember giving birth to any children. Hunter says that they are from 22 years in the future. Mera asks why the children came here. Serenity says they came here to find their parents: The Justice League. Hunter said they came to the past because they knew for sure that the Leaguers would be present. And they are their parents so of course the Justice Leaguers would want to help them.
Jessica Cruz starts stressing out and says that she cannot get her head around any of this. Nora calls Jessica “Mom” and tells her to calm down. Nora says that she used to hate seeing Jessica get upset. Jessica is stunned and asks if she is Nora’s mom. Nora says yes. That Jessica is mom to Nora, Jenny and Jason. Jessica is in shock and says that she does not know what to do.
Barry steps in and tells the kids to back off a bit. Barry asks if the kids have any proof to back up what they are claiming. Jason says that why wouldn’t the Justice Leaguers believe their children.
Jenny starts to cry. Jenny says that they have not seen mom and dad is so long. Jenny hugs Jessica and says, “Please, Mom.” Superman steps in and says that he is sure that they can sort all of this out.
Nora then calls Barry “Daddy” and says that she knows this is weird. Barry is shocked and asks “Wait, I’m going to be your Dad? With Jessica? Oh, boy. How am I gonna tell Iris…?” (Because Barry is dating Iris over in The Flash solo comic.) Nora says that her full name is Nora Allen and everyone calls her Cruise. Nora says that Barry named her after his mother.
Superman approaches Wonder Woman and says that she has not said anything. Superman asks if she is okay. Wonder Woman replies that she can feel that they are telling the truth. But, that there is something else. Wonder Woman approaches Hunter and said that he told her that she had no right to care. Wonder Woman asks if she is his mother.
Hunter gets angry and says that he knew it would be like this. Hunter says that he should not have expecting anything else from Wonder Woman. Cruise steps in and tells Hunter to relax. Serenity replies that Hunter has every right to be angry. Cruise says that this is not the proper time for this type of talk.
Wonder Woman asks why Hunter would be angry at her. Wonder Woman asks what she has done. Hunter replies “Nothing. Absolutely nothing.” Hunter says that Wonder Woman abandoned him the minute he was born. Hunter says she abandoned him because he was not a girl. Because he was not an Amazon. (Ohhh, damn. Wondy just got burned to a crisp.)
Hunter grabs Wonder Woman’s golden lasso and says if she doesn’t believe him then she can use the lasso and face the truth. (Damn. Hunter is bringing it in this scene.) Wonder Woman gets sad and ashamed and looks away. Wonder Woman says that Hunter is telling the truth.
Jenny starts getting upset and yellow power ring energy starts enveloping her. Jenny says that this is horrible. That this was supposed to be a good and happy time. Jason hugs Jenny and tells her to calm down. That it will be okay. Cruise tells Barry that she got his speed. That Jenny and Jason got the Lantern light. All of it. All of the emotions. All of the colors. That when they get upset it can get a bit crazy.
Jessica goes over to Jenny and holds her and says that everything will be okay. Cyborg then announces that his computer readings have finished. Cyborg says that the computer scans confirm that these are indeed the Justice Leaguers’ children. Superman says that this might be a good time for proper introductions.
Nora, Jenny and Jason introduce themselves to Jessica and Barry. Cube introduces himself to Cyborg. Cyborg is impressed with Cube’s Mother Box technology that has been integrated into his body. Cyborg and Cube then do the bro handshake. (Really?! This is you freaking son!! I have two boys. They have gotten hugs and kisses from day one. Damn. Hug your son, Cyborg. Don’t be that guy.)
Serenity introduces herself to Mera. Serenity says that she is Queen of Oceana and she sits on the throne of Atlantis and that she has brought magic back to the waters and united the seven seas. Mera smiles and says, “I like her.” (Me, too.)
Superman introduces himself to Hunter. Wonder Woman stands there ashamed and embarrassed. Hunter says that he grew up with Superman. Superman took him in when Wonder Woman abandoned him. Superman and Lois raised him. Jon Kent was like a big brother to Hunter. That Superman always made Hunter feel like he was Superman’s son even though he wasn’t.
Hunter says that Jon and Damien would get irritated when Hunter would hang around them and the Super Sons club that they started. Hunter says that he thought Jon and Damien were the coolest. Hunter says that Superman took him in when Wonder Woman abandoned him and that Superman always did his best. Hunter then looks at Wonder Woman and says, “What did she ever do?” Wonder Woman looks away from the two men.
Jenny then tells Baz that he ends up leading the Yellow Lanterns after he killed Sinestro. (Dude!! Don’t talk about the future!! You will screw up the space-time continuum! Head Doc Brown’s warnings!)
Superman asks why did the children come here and why now. Hunter replies that they had nowhere else to go. Cyborg says that they need to fill them in on what the children experienced. Cube says he can download his memories to Cyborg and then they can upload them to the computer screen for everyone to watch.
We see the Justice Leaguers giving birth to the children. The kids all grew up together. Then there was a massive superhuman war. It was the most brutal war the world had ever seen. The Justice Leaguers had their children hidden way on Olympus. The Justice Leaguers said they would return. But, they never did.
The children waited. They grew into adults. They never knew what happened to their parents. They eventually found their way out of Olympus and headed back to the world. All of the super heroes were gone.
Serenity claimed her throne in Atlantis which was now the last remaining free nation in the world. Then Sovereign came. She took Olympus and smashed it into the Earth. Sovereign spread her reign of terror across the planet. Earth became like Apokolips.
The children then found the last Forever Stones. They used them to travel back in time to this moment to find their parents. Jessica hugs her children. Jessica says that that is no kind of life for any child.
Hunter says that everything that happens takes place in about a decade. Superman says that the children are probably tired and hungry. Cruise says she is starving. Barry says that he understands that.
Jessica says that she and Barry should take their children home. That their children came here to find us and they need to be looked after properly. Cruise asks “Dad, will you come, too.” Barry responds “Sure, I mean, should I?” Jessica then kisses Barry and says, “You really should. Not being a single parent today.” (Hold on. Wait a minute. Isn’t Barry dating Iris over in The Flash solo title?!)
Hunter says that he would like nothing more than to go home with Superman. Wonder Woman looks at Hunter but Hunter looks the other way. Serenity asks Mera if Dad will be home. Mera says that Arthur is currently lost. (She seems really nonchalant about the fact. Kind of like how you might casually lose a sock or something.)
Superman says that he and the Justice Leaguers need to make some arrangements. He tells the children to wait and that they will be right back. The Justice Leaguers all gather together. Wonder Woman asks them if they are sure about this. (Worst. Mom. Ever.) Superman says that they cannot just let them wander around alone. That the children need guidance. (Best. Dad. Ever.) Mera agrees saying that they need to watch over the children while they figure out what to do next.
We cut to the children standing together. Jenny is so happy to have seen her parents again. Hunter reminds everyone that they cannot tell their parents about why they are here. Cruise says that they need to enjoy this moment a little while they can.
Superman steps back into the room and tells the children that everything is ready. That it is time to go home. Everyone leaves the room except for Baz and Wonder Woman. Baz asks Wonder Woman “So, I kill Sinestro?” Wonder Woman asks Simon to please leave her alone. We see Wonder Woman standing there staring at the ground.
We shift to the Batcave. Batman is on the Batcomputer. Batman asks the Batcomputer to show him all the information on the Kindred. The Batcomputer asks “Okay, Bruce. Would you like to play a game?” (Nice Wargames reference that nobody under 40 caught.) Batman says not now.
Batman asks if the Batcomputer has gotten any information on the Kindred’s song. The Batcomputer says that it is a signal. Batman asks if there are any comparable signals. The Batcomputer says there is one. It is in Midway City. It is still broadcasting. Batman tells the Batcomputer to get this information to the Watchtower and to Cyborg.
The Batcomputer says that the signal is being jammed. The Batcomputer then asks “Would you and Aquaman like to play a game?” Suddenly, a smoke grenade lands next to Batman. A figure then attacks Batman. The mysterious attacker beats the crap out of Batman.
We then see the smoke begin to clear. We see that the attacker is the Old Man Aquaman from the future. Old Man Aquaman stands over Batman and says, “It’s been a long time, Bruce. I need to borrow your stuff.” End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #27 was a solid read. The clear strength of this issue is the character work and the interplay between the Justice Leaguers and their children. One of the main problems with Justice League #26 was the character work. The Justice Leaguer’s children were nondescript and lacked any real personalities. Hitch addresses that problem with Justice League #27. While certainly not perfect, Hitch manages to flesh out a few of the children in this issue. Hitch also gives the reader a much better sense for the relationships between the various children and their Justice League parents.
While I enjoyed all of the Justice Leaguer/children pairings there was one that I thought stood out from the rest. I found the Hunter/Wonder Woman/Superman plot line to be by far the most intriguing and fascinating of all the parent/children relationships. Hitch really excelled with this plot line.
The dynamic between Hunter, Wonder Woman and Superman was absolutely spot one. It was the perfect use of all three characters. Hitch is able to take this complex relationship and highlight the core personality traits of each of the three characters. Hitch was also able to give Hunter’s character more depth as well.
First off, I was thrilled that Hitch revealed that Hunter was not Superman and Wonder WOman’s son. I would sooner have a root canal with no novocaine rather than have to see that pairing again in any form or fashion. Hitch swerves the reader with a brilliant little plot wrinkle by revealing that Hunter is Wonder Woman’s son but that she gave him up at brith and Superman raised him. This was the dramatic high point of this issue.
This plot swerve manages to play to Superman’s core strengths as well as make Wonder Woman a more compelling and interesting character. Hitch understands that Superman is the ultimate boy scout. And instead of running from that fact Hitch embraces it.
It makes perfect sense that Superman would take in Wonder Woman’s child and raise Hunter as if he was Superman’s own son. It is this type of strong male qualities that makes Superman a classic strong male character and the ultimate father figure that inspires all of those around him. Hunter’s love and respect for Superman emphasizes how Superman is the ultimate role model.
On the other hand, Hitch uses this plot surprise to make Wonder Woman’s character more interesting and complex. I often find Wonder Woman’s character boring. The main reason is that DC normally places Wonder Woman on a pedestal and has her act as a paragon of virtue rather than a real person. DC is afraid of Wonder Woman being a real woman and avoids characters flaws and sexuality when dealing with her character. The result is that she often comes across as more of a symbol for a particular ideal rather than an actual character.
Wonder Woman abandoning Hunter at birth because he was born a male is historically consistent with how the Amazons viewed men. Historically, the Amazons have been inherently sexist and have viewed men as something less than desirable. Hitch uses this fact to have Wonder Woman act in a manner consistent with a proud Amazon. However, while the reader understands why Wonder Woman would act in such a manner this still makes Wonder Woman look awful as a person.
What makes this moment even more fascinating is Wonder Woman’s reaction of pure shame. Wonder Woman does not get angry. She does not get defensive. She does not reach out to Hunter to try and apologize and protest why she would ever do such a horrible act. No. Instead, Wonder Woman becomes completely silent. Wonder Woman displays pure shame. It is a moment of tender vulnerability in a character that is normally presented as power and perfection personified.
And this quiet shameful moment is what draws the reader even closer to Wonder Woman’s character. This gives Wonder Woman some nuance and texture to her personality. Heroes who have a few flaws are always more compelling and engaging. Hitch completely drew me in with this plot line. I am fascinated to see how Wonder Woman reacts to this revelation. We all know that this story arc will end with Hunter and Wonder Woman reconciling at some point. But, it is the journey to that reconciliation that is going to be such a fascinating read.
There is also the remaining plot mystery surrounding Hunter’s background. And that would be the identity of Hunter’s father. I am curious to see who Hitch reveals as the father and how it impacts the story.
Hitch does a nice job fleshing out Hunter’s character as well. Hunter’s anger toward his mother is palpable and understandable. Hitch deftly contrasts Hunter’s hostility for Wonder Woman with his love and respect for Superman. This gives Hunter some depth to his character and makes him more multi-dimensional.
I also liked how Hitch managed to weave the Super Sons comic into this storyline by referencing Hunter’s relationship with Jon Kent and Damien Wayne. I always appreciate it when a writer can give their story some firm context within the larger shared universe. It is always nice to establish ties between various characters and titles when it makes sense. Having Jon and Damien serve as big brothers for Hunter is a nice and logical way to tie Hunter into both the Bat Family and the Superman Family. This makes Hunter the nexus for DC’s Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Hitch also managed to do the impossible with Justice League #27: make me like Jessica’s character. Normally, I find Jessica unbearable. She vacillates between being vanilla and boring and being whiny and irritating. However, Hitch manages to find a role that suits Jessica’s character. Rather than being the unconfident and accidental hero Jessica gets a chance to embrace her role as a mother. Jessica’s personality shines in this issue as she is the first of the Justice Leaguers to accept the children’s story and to embrace them with the love that they deserve. I must admit that Jessica’s character really grew on me with this issue.
I also liked how Barry responded to the revelation that Jason, Jenny and Cruise were his children. Hitch walks a fine line making Barry reticent but at the same time caring. Barry is not immediately accepting the children in a loving embrace like Jessica. The skepticism works with Barry’s personality. However, Barry is never hostile toward the children and immediately embraces them once he is able to process this new information.
Other than Hunter, the other two children who really shine in this issue are Cruise and Serenity. Hitch does an excellent job fleshing out both Cruise and Serenity and getting the reader engaged in both of their characters.
Cruise is a neat character. She seems to present an excellent mixture of both Jessica and Barry’s personalities. Hitch manages to generate some nice chemistry between Cruise and Barry in short fashion. Cruise has the classic positive super hero personality that reflects the style of hero that Barry is.
I like that Hitch refrained from making all of the children simply anti-hero versions of their parents. I like that Cruise has the same bright and positive heroic character of Barry. I like that Jenny and Jason have the same heroic but unconfident personalities of Jessica. I love that Serenity has the confidence and attitude of Mera.
Speaking of Serenity, what a cool character that Hitch has presented with her. I love her confidence and badass persona. Hitch is able to quickly establish that Serenity is a character that nobody wants to mess with. I like that it is the child of Aquaman and Mera who is the heavy hitter. This helps boost the credibility of the Aquaman family which has always lagged behind the other families of the DCU.
Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert combine to deliver an absolutely gorgeous issue. Justice League #27 has exactly the quality and style of art that I expect from a mainstream super hero comic book. I am a massive fan of both Pasarin and Oclair. Both artists are on the top of their game and two of the best in the industry.
Pasarin deserves massive praise for taking Hitch’s relatively shallow story and breathing life into it. Pasarin adds another layer of detail and texture to the story.The art was fantastic. Pasarin does a masterful job with the characters’ facial expressions. From Hunter’s hurt and anger, to Wonder Woman’s shame to Serenity’s regal and confident air, Pasarin is able to inject plenty of emotion into the story.
Hitch gives Pasarin almost nothing to work with in terms of action or adventure in this issue. It is much easier to deliver artwork for an issue crammed full of action and adventure and double page splash shots.
Pasarin had to take a script that is nothing but talking heads until the final two pages. That is a tough task for any artist. It is hard to craft a story of nothing but talking heads into a visually appealing issue. However, Pasarin manages to do it with aplomb. Not only that but Pasarin is able to give the story more emotion and impact upon the reader.
The Bad: Justice League #27 does suffer from the fact that Hitch’s story is not particularly complex or deep. The story is still very much on the surface. There is some potential for a more meaty story with the mystery surrounding Wonder Woman abandoning Hunter and the backstory for evil Aquaman. However, at this point, Hitch is not doing much other than delivering a standard issue super hero story. The story still feels rather formulaic.
Justice League #27 is also a slow issue. The pacing is slow and Hitch delivers little plot progression in this issue. Nothing really happens in this issue at all. Hitch hangs his hat on a few plot surprises like Wonder Woman abandoning Hunter and Baz killing Sinestro in order to keep the reader interested.
Hitch falls into the typical formula for a modern day decompressed comic book. Cram the issue full of talking heads that barely advance the overall plot lines and then deliver a wild and crazy hook ending with the final few pages designed to get the reader excited for the next issue and forgetting that not much happened at all in this issue.
Hitch spends 16 pages introducing the children and establishing that they are who they say they are. Other than the plot surprises involving Wonder Woman abandoning Hunter and Baz killing Sinestro the reader does not learn anything new at all. The reader already knew about the children and their backstory. Hitch basically repeats information that the reader pretty much already knew.
Then Hitch delivers a 4 page scene in the Batcave. This is the hook ending that provides for the only action in this entire issue. That is the two page fight scene between Batman and Old Man Aquaman. Other than that brief moment of action the rest of this issue is just talking heads. Justice League #27 suffers from a paucity of either action or adventure.
Hitch has also failed to properly flesh out all of the children at this point. Jenny, Jason, and Cube? They are all nothing more than cardboard cut-outs at this point. All three characters are terribly bland.
I am also confused about the pairing of Barry and Jessica. What exactly is going on and how does this fit in with what is going on in the Flash monthly title? Over on the Flash’s solo title we see Barry together with Iris. However, Hitch has Jessica all over Barry like the two of them are a couple. Now this might just be an issue with me and not a screw up by DC. Either I am totally missing something or DC’s editors have let this continuity issue slip past them.
Overall: Justice League #27 is a solid but certainly not spectacular read. The $2.99 cover price makes the lack of any substantial plot progression a little less irritating than when it is a $3.99 or #4.99 Marvel comic book. However, the lack of depth to the story and the lack of real plot progression make this issue tough to completely recommend. If you like character drive stories then definitely pick up Justice League #27. However, if you demand a fair amount of action and adventure in your stories then you might not find Justice League #27 worth the price of admission.