Justice League #28 is the third chapter of “The Legacy” story arc involving the children of the Justice League traveling from the future in a desperate attempt to save the Earth from the Kindred and an evil Aquaman. The first two issues of this story arc have been slow. Yes, we have gotten some neat character work. However, it is now time for Hitch to step on the gas and deliver some quality plot progression and action. Let’s see if Hitch delivers with Justice League #28.
Words: Bryan Hitch
Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 4 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 5.5 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin with Hunter having dinner with Clark, Lois and Jon. Hunter tells stories of how Jon and Damien were like his big brothers. Jon is excited to hear these stories about himself and Damien as older brothers to Hunter. Clark says that Hunter probably wants a shower and some clean clothes. Jon quickly gets up and grabs Hunter’s arm and says that he will show Hunter their rooms. Hunter comments that he already knows where everything is.
The boys race off. Clark then thanks Lois for her understanding and being all right with Hunter staying with them. Clark says that he brings a lot to Lois’ doorstep. Lois replies that this “our” doorstep. Lois says that Clark is his father’s son. Lois then clarifies that Clark is Jonathan’s son.
Clark says that what if the Justice Leaguers caused this to happen when they defeated the Kindred in Midway City. Clark says that they knew the Kindred was up to something but they never bothered to find out what and why. (In hindsight, that was probably dumb.) Clark says that now it may be too late.
Lois replies that Clark is Superman. That it is never too late. (I love these two. Best. Comic. Book. Couple.) Lois says that maybe the children are not in the wrong time. That maybe they are exactly where they need to be. Here. With their parents.
We shift to Arthur Curry’s Lighthouse in Amnesty Bay. We see Mera and Serenity arriving at the shores of the lighthouse. Mera asks Serenity what is wrong. Serenity starts crying and says that just being here with Mera is making her emotional. Serenity asks what if they change things and get it all wrong. Serenity says that she is not Mera’s daughter yet and if she screws it up then maybe she will never be Mera’s daughter. Mera hugs Serenity and replies that Serenity is her daughter today.
We cut to the Foundry. Cyborg and his father, Silas, are running a bunch of tests on Cube’s advanced technology. Cyborg tells his father to stop being a emotionless scientist and talk to Cube. That Cube is his grandson.
Cube replies that Silas died before Cube was born. Cube says that Silas should consider a healthier diet and more exercise. Cube displays the same cold and analytical personality as Silas. Cyborg smiles about this fact.
Cyborg calls Cube by his real name “George.” Cube asks Cyborg to call him “Cube.” Cube says that he can hear all of the computers from all over the world. Cube says that it feels wonderful. Cube says that after the war all technology collapsed. There was no signals or information left. It was like being deaf and blind. A technological marvel in a dark age.
Cube said that he downloaded a copy of Cyborg before Cyborg died. That it was more than the other children had. Cube then says that he can join with Cyborg if Cyborg would like to do so. Cyborg said that he would very much like that. The two men then hold hands and join.
We hop over to Barry Allen’s apartment in Central City. Barry and Cruise have finishes racing back and forth to New York. Barry says that Cruise is really fast. Cruise asks if she is even faster than him. Barry says maybe just a bit. Cruise gets excited and says, “Yes!”
Jessica walks in and tells the two to be quiet since the twins are asleep. Cruise says, “Ooops, sorry, mom.” Cruise then asks if it is okay that she calls Jessica “mom.” Jessica says that she does not mind at all. Jessica then hugs Cruise. Cruise then peeks in on the twins. They are glowing blue. Cruise says that she has never seen them blue before. Jessica replies that they are blue for hope. Jessica says that now that the children have found their parents that there is going to be more hope now.
Barry then sits down on the couch. Cruise snuggles next to him and immediately falls asleep. Barry comments that Cruise even falls asleep fast. Jessica asks Barry if he thinks that this really is their future. Barry says that he has time travelled enough to know that a small change can lead to a vastly different future. That this may or may not be their future. But, the children need their help anyway. Jessica then holds Barry’s hand.
We hop over to Midway City. Baz is on the scene and has the entire city under a green dome. He has all of the bodies of the people in green tubes. Steve Trevor is on the scene as well. Baz tells Steve that he has everything quarantined. That they have to stay isolated. That there is some sort of contagion in Midway City.
Steve replies that Baz and the League were in there, too. Steve asks how do they know if the Leaguers are infected as well. Baz says that is a good question. Baz then runs a scan on himself. Baz then runs a scan in the area and is able to isolate the Kindred’s frequency and make it visible. We suddenly see black tendrils all over Midway City. Baz then tells Steve that neither of them are infected.
Baz says that once Steve and A.R.G.U.S. finish the evacuation then Baz will permanently lock Midway City down until they can figure out how to counter whatever this is. We hear the Kindred voice saying “Different. More. Find. Grow. Feed. Feast.” Baz then looks around and says that he thought he heard something.
We hop back to the Kent Farm. Clark and Hunter enter Hunter’s old room. Hunter says that this room always made him feel safe. Hunter says that he can remember everything. He can remember the stories that Clark read to him while Lois held him on the nights when he was crying. Hunter says he remembers the sound of Clark flying down from the clouds and the soft thump as he landed by the back porch. Hunter says that he remembers every second he spent here.
Clark says that he cannot imagine how Hunter must feel. Hunter says that Clark gave him a home, family and love. Hunter says that is more than his mother ever gave him. Clark says that he cannot imagine Diana abandoning her child. Hunter says Clark doesn’t need to imagine it. That Hunter lived it.
Clark says that Diana is proud and stubborn but she always has compassion for the whole world. Hunter retorts “Just none for me.” Clark says that Hunter is welcome to stay at the Kent Farm for as long as he wants. That this can be his room again.
Hunter smiles and says that he might be too old for stories. Clark responds, “Never too old for stories.” (Damn. It doesn’t get any better than Clark Kent. You can keep all of your dark and fucked up modern super heroes. I’m sticking with Mr. Kent.) Hunter says, “Thank you, Clark. Dad.”
Clark then asks what happens to Jon in the future. Hunter says that Jon fought at Clark’s side. And Jon died by Clark’s side. Hunter says that Lois also died. Hunter hangs his head in sadness at the memories.
Clark places his hand on Hunter’s shoulder and says that they will beat this. That they will find a way to stop the darkness. Hunter says that they Justice Leaguers could not stop it before. That it was already too late once the Kindred began to sing.
Hunter asks Clark why the Justice Leaguers did not stop the Kindred in the first place. Clark says that they did stop the Kindred. Hunter replies that the Justice Leaguers did not totally stop the Kindred. Clark replies that the Justice Leaguers did the best that they could.
Hunter says that the Kindred sang and that song doomed the world. That the Justice Leaguers should have destroyed the Kindred. That is what the children came to the past to do. Clark says that destroying the Kindred would have required the Justice Leaguers to kill thousands of innocent people that were caught up inside the Kindred.
Hunter replies that sometimes the only choices are between a bad one and a worse one. That killing a thousand people to save billions of people is the only choice that you should make. Clark responds that if Hunter did grow up in the Kent Farm then Hunter would know that Clark would never make that choice. Even knowing what Clark knows now he would still make the same choice again.
Hunter says that he knows Clark would do the same. That Clark always believed that he could save everybody. But, Hunter knows that Clark cannot save everyone. Hunter has seen it. Clark says that Hunter and the children came back believing that they could change their future and save the world. Clark says that they can still do that. (Nothing beats the pure heart and unwavering positivity of Clark Kent.)
Hunter says that it feels so good being back here with Clark, Lois and Jon. But it is all an illusion. An echo. That Clark, Lois and Jon are already dead and have been dead for years. It just hasn’t happened yet. (This is a really slow issue. But, this scene was so well written.)
We hop back to the Watchtower. Mom of the Year Wonder Woman is staring out a window. The Kindred’s voice narrates that she does not understand herself and her place in this. That she will have a part to play but it is not now, not here and not today. That she knows who they are. Soon she will know who she is.
Wonder Woman calls out for Genie. (The Watchtower computer.) Genie asks if Wondy wants to play a game. Wondy says that she is not feeling playful right now. (I like the idea of a playful Wonder Woman. Sounds like a fantastic evening.) Genie replies that Bruce was not feeling playful, either. (Yeah, because he just got the crapped kicked out of him by evil Old Man Aquaman! By the way, why hasn’t Genie alerted the rest of the Justice Leaguers about what happened? He has to know! Worst fucking A.I. computer ever.)
Wonder Woman tells Genie to bring up the archived files of the Kindred event. Genie says that Bruce was reviewing these files before his friend arrived. (Seriously? Is Genie retarded or something? Friend? Batman got attacked and beaten. And Genie calls that a visit from a friend?)
Wonder Woman says that the Kindred told her that she had a part to play in what is coming. Genie asks if Wondy has any idea what that meant. Wonder Woman replies, “None.”
Wonder Woman says that she has leaned that much of what she thought was true about herself was a lie. That even without her lasso she can feel the truth of things. Wonder Woman asks Genie to show her the fear creatures. Wonder Woman says that she was ready to go to war with the world that day. The creatures didn’t make her feel those things. That those feelings were already inside of Wonder Woman.
Wonder Woman says that it is all connected. Wondy asks Genie to show her Midway City. Wonder Woman says that she was there and she felt everything that the people of Midway City felt. That she recognized it. It was like the fear creature but much worse and much more powerful.
Wonder Woman says that when the portal from the future opened and brought the children here that Wonder Woman could feel that same feeling that she did in Midway City. That she could feel her part in that future. It was a great wound. Pain, fear and hatred that could kill anyone and everything it touched.
Wonder Woman says that she has been pushing at these thoughts since she first encountered the Kindred. As she pushes at them she cannot find any trace of falsehood in any of this. Wondy asks what if the darkness that comes and causes the death of millions is all just a war with her.
We shift to Cube contacting Hunter and telling him that they need to talk. We slide over to the Kent Farm where Clark and Lois are in their bedroom. Lois says that Jon is finally asleep. That Jon is very excited about showing Hunter around tomorrow. Clark replies that he is not sure that is a good idea. Clark says that Hunter is troubled.
Lois replies that Hunter has been through so much and this must be a huge adjustment for Hunter. Lois says that Hunter is going to need their help and a lot of it.
We cut to Hunter’s room. Hunter is in bed and talking to a holographic projection of Cube. Hunter asks Cube if he is sure about everything. Cube says that, “she” is sure. That Cube was connected to the Watchtower and heard everything that Wonder Woman said. Cube asks Hunter what he thinks it means. Hunter replies that this means that there is still a chance to save their future. Hunter says, “We have to kill Wonder Woman.” End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #28 was another solid but not spectacular issue. The strengths of this issue are with the character work and quality dialogue. This is an emotionally driven introspective issue that focuses on the characters and their connections to each other.
What is particularly enjoyable is Hitch’s ability to delve into the complex dynamic of the parent and child relationship. Hitch taps into the core emotions of a parent when dealing with their children. Likewise, Hitch is able to effectively portray the undying love a child has for their parent. The way that Hitch handles these various parent/child relationships makes for an emotional and touching read.
As a parent, I get exactly how the various Justice Leaguers are reacting to meeting their children. Hitch has the various Justice Leaguers reacting in a realistic manner. This creates a story that resonates with any reader who has children of their own.
Hunter’s description of his childhood memories at the Kent Farm are brilliant. The smallest details like that of the sound that Superman would make as he flew back home at night or the shadows in the room are exactly the little things that children notice and remember. Childhood memories are more than just visual. They are smells and sounds that bring us back to your childhood. Hitch does an excellent job describing Hunter’s childhood memories.
Hitch also does a fine job with having the Justice Leaguer’s children engage in typical behavior toward their parents. Having Cruise wanting to race her father, Barry, is such a common child desire. And Barry being the kind father and telling his daughter that just just “might” have beaten him in the footrace was spot on. The parent gives the child hope and an ego boost even when it is not reality. And the child being excited about the prospect of beating their parent in a physical contest. Children always measure themselves against their parents. And being able to beat a parent in a game or a physical contest means that the child is growing and evolving and becoming something better.
Cruise being supported by Barry and given the hope and feeling that she can be even better than her father is the positive side of childhood. Hitch nicely contrasts that with the darker side of childhood as we see Hunter admit that he will never be the man that Clark is. There is no animosity in Hunter’s belief. It is more of a resignation when a child is unable to step out of the shadow of a truly great parent.
Much like the previous issue, the best aspect of Justice League #28 are the scenes with Hunter on the Kent Farm. Hitch continues to display a wonderful touch for the Kent family dynamic. I love how Hitch writes Clark, Lois and Jon and the way that these family members interact with each other. Hitch is able to make the Kent family a warm family that feels well developed. Hitch’s Kent family is grounded in the real world while still portraying the classic positive traits of a nuclear family.
Hitch manages to walk that fine line in making the Kent family likable and ideal without making them seem cloying and saccharine to the point where they seem unrealistic. Instead, the Kent family is all of the positive aspects of the ideal American nuclear family but still with the trappings of real world problems and issues. I think this is a perfect blend. Nobody is perfect. But, the Kent family, like Superman himself, sets a realistic positive standard that others should want to aspire to meet.
The scenes with Hunter and the Kents clearly power this issue. These are the scenes where the character work and dialogue absolutely shine. The emotion in these scenes is palpable. Hunter continues to be the character out of all of the Justice League children that Hitch understands the best. Hunter is clearly the most developed and compelling of all of the Justice League children.
Hitch does a fantastic job balancing the love that Hunter has for the Kent family with the hatred that Hunter has for Wonder Woman. Hitch also properly balances Hunter’s belief in Superman and what he stands for with the fact that Hunter’s experiences have let him to believe that Superman’s approach is not always the correct one. Hunter does view Superman as his father and a man that he honors and reveres. However, Hunter also believes that Superman’s views are a bit dated and that extreme actions are warranted in extreme situations. This is very consistent with your typical father and son relationship. Even when the son looks up to the father the son always feels that the father is antiquated in some aspect or another.
Hitch completely gets what makes Clark Kent so special. Hitch writes Clark as the embodiment of positivity. Hitch makes Clark a character that inspires all of those around him. There is no doubt that Hitch really mines the fact that Clark is a true father figure that is a comforting presence in times of uncertainty.
The fact that Hitch writes Clark and Hunter so well individually means that the scenes between Clark and Hunter are excellent. The chemistry between these two men leaps is powerful and makes for some riveting scenes. The Clark/Hunter scenes are powerful and captivate the reader’s attention.
The scene with Barry Allen and Jessica scene is also nicely done. I have never liked Jessica’s character at all. She has come across as a paper thin character created as nothing more than a quota. She feels like a character generated by editorial mandate to fit an agenda rather than a writer’s creative idea. There is also fact that DC could easily add diversity to this title by adding John Stewart to the team. It rankles me that instead of getting a wonderful character like John who has the pedigree and history with the Justice League DC is foisting two lame paper thin characters on the reader.
Having said that, I have to admit that I am starting to warm up to Jessica’s character. I actually am enjoying the pairing of Barry with Jessica. I think the two characters play off of each other well. I also think that Hitch has tapped into something unique with Jessica’s character with her maternal side. This is the first time that Jessica has displayed any type of unique personality to her character. And a super heroine with a maternal instinct is not a character trait seen much in comics so it makes Jessica stand out from the crowd of newer characters.
Hitch generates quality chemistry between Barry and Jessica. He also created nice chemistry between Barry and Cruise. I find this father/daughter relationship to be adorable. It is a heart warming aspect to an otherwise cold and depressing story.
Hitch serves up plenty of quality character work and dialogue. These are the obvious strengths of this issue. All of the characters have nicely developed external voices. The characters all have good chemistry between each other. Hitch is able to infuse the story with plenty of emotion. This all combines to help pull the reader deep into the story. This is an easy issue to become immersed in while reading.
Hitch also delivers a solid hook ending with Cube revealing that Wonder Woman is the person who is going to bring about the end of Earth. This is followed by Hunter dramatically stating that they are going to have to kill Wonder Woman. This hook ending gets the reader excited for the next chapter of this story.
The Bad: There are a few downsides to Justice League #28. One of the biggest problems is that this story is not that creative or original. Hitch rolls out the well worn debate between Hunter and Clark about whether the ends justify the means and whether the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. We also get the tired moral debate over killing a person that could lead to saving many people.
The other main weakness of Justice League #28 is the slow pacing and the meager plot progression that Hitch delivers in this issue. Nothing really happens at all in this issue. Hitch simply treads water for the entire issue. That is just unacceptable.
This issue starts with a three page scene on Kent Farm that simply rehashes what the reader already knows. Then Hitch gives us a two page scene with Mera and Serenity that, once again, just rehashes what the reader already knows. We then get a two page scene with Cyborg and Cube. This scene also gives the reader no new information. This is followed by a two page scene with Barry, Jessica and their children. While this is a cute scene it simply rehashes what the reader already knows.
At this point, the reader is now nine pages into Justice League #28 and has gotten zero plot progression. Hitch has done nothing but waste time and has given the reader literally no new content at all. This is inexcusable.
We then get a three page scene with Baz and Steve. This scene was dull and boring but at least it was something new and presented the first real plot progression in this issue. This was followed by a four page scene with Clark and Hunter. This scene was the strength of the issue. It was well written and delivered great dialogue and character work. This is the only scene in the issue where Hitch fleshes out the story and the upcoming moral dilemma and conflict between the children and the parents.
Hitch then delivers a three page scene with Wonder Woman. While this scene was dry and boring it at least offered up a little bit of plot progression. Then Hitch gives the reader the one page scene at the Kent Farm that delivered the hook ending.
Justice League #28 is twenty pages long. The entire first half of the issue was a complete waste. Hitch only gives the reader half an issue of new content and plot progression. That simply is not worth the cover price.
Another problem with Justice League #28 is the complete lack of any action. I understand that there are moments in a story arc where an entire issue might be devoted more to character work and plot development. The problem is that while we got nice character work we got very little plot development. Also, another problem is that Justice League #27 was also lacking in action. Hitch going back-to-back issues with no action just makes the story arc boring.
This is a small quibble, but the cover to Justice League #28 was false advertising. It is just a pet peeve of mine, but I hate when a publisher promises one thing with a cover and delivers something completely different in the issue.
Overall: Justice League #28 is an issue that will appeal to readers who like quality character work and dialogue. However, the slow pacing, lack of plot progression and absence of action make it hard for me to recommend that readers spend their hard earned money on this issue.