Justice League #29 is the fourth chapter of “The Legacy” story arc. The first three issues of this story arc have been quite slow. Hitch seemingly is not a believer of delivering much plot progression or moving the story with a spirited purpose. The decompressed story telling have robbed this story arc of much of its excitement or energy. It is critical that Hitch finally stomp on the gas and inject some action and energy into this story arc. Let’s see if Hitch cranks things up with Justice League #29.
Words: Bryan Hitch
Pencils: Fernando Pasarin
Inks: Oclair Albert & Andy Owens
Colors: Brad Anderson
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: We begin at the Kent Farm. Clark asks Lois is she has seen Jon. Clark says that Hunter is not in his room. Clark says that he cannot see Hunter anywhere for miles. Clark says that he thought Jon and Hunter might have gone out together.
Suddenly, Clark collapses and groans “Kryptonite.” Suddenly, Old Man Aquaman teleports into the kitchen. Old Man Aquaman has a red solar flare in his hand that robs Clark of his powers. Old Man Aquaman proceeds to open a can of whup-ass on Clark. Old Man Aquaman apologizes for having to kick Clark’s ass.
Lois attacks Old Man Aquaman from behind. Old Man Aquaman tells Lois to not make him hurt her. Old Man Aquaman says that none of this is Lois’ fault. Lois then recognizes Old Man Aquaman. Lois asks Arthur why he is doing this. Old Man Aquaman knocks out Lois. Old Man Aquaman then picks up an unconscious Clark and throws him over his shoulder. Old Man Aquaman looks at Lois and the damaged kitchen and says, “Damn.” Old Man Aquaman, carrying Clark, teleports away from the scene.
We zip over to Cape Breton Highlands in Nova Scotia. We see Wonder Woman standing in the middle of a thunder storm. Wonder Woman thinks how they fought the Kindred in this location. That the Kindred sang a sing. The Kindred sent a signal. But to whom and why?
Wonder Woman contacts Genie and tells the computer that the signal is still here and is still somehow transmitting. We then see the Justice League children watching Wonder Woman from a hidden area. Cruise asks Hunter if he is sure that Wonder Woman has to die in order for their future to live. Hunter says that he is sure. Hunter says that hopefully Wonder Woman dying means that their parents won’t die. That maybe a lot of people won’t die.
Cube backs up Hunter and says that he heard Wonder Woman admit this herself. Cruise then says that Wonder Woman is still Hunter’s mom. Hunter says that Wonder Woman may have given birth to him but that she is not his mother. The Lantern twins says that they can’t fight Wonder Woman. That it is like trying to fight Superman. That they are not strong enough to fight Wonder Woman. Hunter replies “I am.” (Badass line.)
The children them comment how Serenity did not meet them here. Hunter says that this is their chance to make everything right. Wonder Woman then thinks how the children believe that she cannot hear them. Wonder Woman thinks how she does not want to do this but she will.
The children then attack Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman takes down Cruise and the Lantern twins. Hunter then yells, “IM GOING TO KILL YOU!” and spears Wonder Woman. Wonder Woman asks Hunter to not make her do this. Wonder Woman says that she will defend herself. Hunter replies “Bring it on. Waited years for this…” (Yup. This is the kind of dialogue you want in a massive brawl.)
We cut back to the Kent Farm. Batman revives Lois. Lois says. “Unnnh…Clark…? Oh. It’s you.” (Perfect response from Lois!) Batman says that he knows it was Old Man Aquaman who attacked them. Lois says that Old Man Aquaman took kryptonite and the red solar flare from batman. Lois says that Batman needs to get to the other Justice Leaguers so they can help Clark. Batman replies that he has gotten no responses from the other Justice Leaguers.
We hop over to Barry Allen’s apartment. Jessica wakes up Barry and tells him that the children have gone. Suddenly, Old Man Aquaman teleports onto the scene. Old Man Aquaman uses a temporal grenade to slow down Barry. Old Man Aquaman then punches Barry and knocks him out. We see that Old Man Aquaman is wearing a Black Lantern ring. Jessica says that her powers are not working. Old Man Aquaman then says, “Lights out” and punches out Jessica. (I’m digging Hitch’s dialogue in all of the action scenes.)
We shift to the Foundry. Cyborg asks his dad if he has seen Cube. Cyborg says that he cannot get a fix on Cube’s location. Suddenly, Old Man Aquaman teleports onto the scene. Old Man Aquaman shuts down Cyborg’s systems and renders him immobile. Old Man Aquaman takes down Cyborg and teleports away from the scene with Cyborg captive.
We slide back to the Kent Farm. Lois fills Batman in on the Justice League children from the future. Batman says that given what Old Man Aquaman took from him that it is possible that he has already captured all of the other Justice Leaguers.
Lois says that Batman keeps making things and keeping things that could hurt and kill Clark and Jon. Lois says that whenever all of this is over then they are going to have a conversation. Lois says that right now Batman needs to go and find her husband. (More nice dialogue.)
We hop back to Wonder Woman brawling with the children. Wonder Woman tells the kids to stand down. Hunter tells Cube to use his Boom Tube. Cube then teleports them away from Nova Scotia.
We cut Midway City. Steve Trevor approaches Baz for an update on figuring out if the Kindred pathogen has spread. Simon is distracted and says that everything is locked down. That nothing is getting out unless he lets it. The Kindred voice says that it is hungry. The Kindred voice tells Baz to let them free to feed. Baz seems to be falling under their control.
Suddenly, the Boom Tube transports the Justice League children and Wonder Woman onto the scene. Steve asks Wonder Woman if she is okay. Hunter asks Cube why he brought them to Midway City. Cube replies that there was some weird interference that threw him off somehow.
The Kindred voice keeps telling Baz to open the wall that Baz has created with his power ring. Wonder Woman says that it feels alive and familiar. Baz says that the voice is telling him to open the barrier. Baz opens the barrier and the darkness swarms all over Wonder Woman.
We cut to Amnesty Bay. Serenity is up early. Mera asks her daughter if she slept. Serenity says that she didn’t get much sleep. She was thinking of some choices she has to make. Mera says that she misses Arthur and that she wishes Arthur could meet Serenity. Mera asks how Arthur died. Serenity says that Mera died fighting.
Serenity then admits that Aquaman did not die. Suddenly, we see Old Man Aquaman arrive on the scene. Mera is stunned and asks Old Man Aquaman what happened to him. Serenity yells for Old Man Aquaman to get away from Mera. Mera asks Serenity why she is freaking out. Serenity says that Arthur stopped being her dad a long time ago.
Serenity says that Arthur abandoned them. That Arthur is with “her.” That if Old Man Aquaman is here then he is here to stop them. To kill them. Mera approaches Old Man Aquaman and asks him if he is here to hurt and kill them. Old Man Aquaman replies “No. Never you.”
Mera asks Old Man Aquaman what is going on. Old Man Aquaman replies “I’m sorry.” He pushes a button on a gadget in his hand. This triggers a massive lightning storm in the sky. Old Man Aquaman says that Sovereign, the Queen of the World, has come to reclaim everything she lost. That she will burn the world to find it. End of issue.
The Good: Justice League #29 was exactly what Hitch needed to deliver after three decompressed issues that were light on content, plot progression and action. The plotting and pacing in this issue was much better. Now, this is far from a blistering paced story. Nor is this a story that is chock full of plot developments. However, Justice League #29 is much better than what we have received in the first three issues of this story arc.
Hitch finally moves forward his various plot lines. We finally have Old Man Aquaman in the present day and finally fulfilling his mission of taking down the various Justice Leaguers and ushering in the arrival of Sovereign. We also get the Kindred plot line moved forward with the possession of Baz, the release of the Kindred and the possession of Wonder Woman. And, lastly, the Justice Leaguers’ children plot line finally gets pushed forward as the children lock horns with Wonder Woman. That is an embarrassment of riches in terms of plot progression given the first three issues of this story arc.
Justice League #29 is nicely constructed issue. Each scene flows pleasantly into the next one. Hitch keeps his focus and gradually builds the story in intensity and emotion up until the climactic hook ending. The hook ending was dramatic with the Aquaman family reunion serving as the introduction of the big bad for this story arc.
Both the character work and the dialogue continue to be great. Hitch gives all of the various characters nicely defined external voices. The dialogue has an excellent flow and helps to breathe life into the plot lines. The characters continue to be well fleshed out and have well defined personalities. Hitch’s strong work with the dialogue and the character work leads to more great chemistry between the characters.
The scenes between Lois and Batman were well done. I enjoyed that Lois did not hesitate to call out Batman over him building devices to take down the Justice Leaguers. Hitch is able to drive home the rift between Lois and Batman in the matter of a few panels. I love when an author is able to concisely further along the main plot line (Batman rescuing Clark) and also build some longer range plot lines (Batman building an arsenal to take down the Justice Leaguers) to be dealt with once the current plot is resolved. I always appreciate a more compressed story where no panel is wasted.
Batman’s nonplussed reaction to Lois’ accusation is spot on. While Lois’ indignation and anger is understandable the fact is that Batman has no reason to apologize. Hitch has used this current story arc to show what type of carnage can be wrought on the earth when someone like Wonder Woman gets controlled by a villain like the Kindred. The fact is that Batman needs an arsenal of weapons to take down the god-like Justice Leaguers. The current story arc is proving Batman correct. This is some nifty writing by Hitch.
The scene with the Kindred possessing Wonder Woman was a big plot development for this story. This moment provides the foundation for Wonder Woman’s heel turn so that it supports the Justice Leaguers’ children in their view of Wonder Woman as an evil that must be stopped. It was important that Hitch validate the children’s worries about Wonder Woman and her role in bringing the destruction of the world. This helps to make their decision to attack Wonder Woman seem understandable. This is important so that the reader feels conflicted over whether they support the children or not with their plan to stop the destruction of the earth.
Having the Kindred possess Wonder Woman also gives her character an out for the damage she has done to the children’s future earth. By having Wonder Woman be possessed while committing such evil actions will grant her a pass from the children. Also, this should allow a resolution between Hunter and Wonder Woman once Wonder Woman is rescued from the control of the Kindred.
Hitch delivers some well crafted action scenes in Justice League #29. Hitch uses these action scenes to entertain the reader and also to get over the personalities and relationship of the various characters. I always am appreciative when a writer employs action scenes to do more than just provide for mindless entertainment.
Hitch taps into some excellent emotion with the fight scenes between Wonder Woman and the children. The reader gets a sense of Wonder Woman’s complete emotional detachment from her son. Wonder Woman treats Hunter as she would a complete stranger who was attacking her. The coldness in Wonder Woman as she battles her own son is striking. The reader also gets a good sense of Hunter’s bloodthirsty rage toward his mother. Hunter’s years of repressed anger toward his mother practically leaps off the page. The Wonder Woman/Hunter dynamic is quite compelling. It will be interesting to see where Hitch goes with this relationship.
I also enjoyed how Hitch handled Aquaman’s character. I find Old Man Aquaman to be quite the compelling character. I love the depth and nuance that Hitch gives this character. Up until this issue, the reader has only seen the bad-ass side of Old Man Aquaman. This continues in Justice League #29 as the reader only sees Old Man Aquaman trash talking and kicking ass through out this issue. That is until we get to the final scene with Old Man Aquaman, Mera and Serenity.
In the final scene, Hitch surprises the reader and adds some depth and texture to Old Man Aquaman’s character which, up until then, was fairly one-dimensional. It was a striking difference to see Old Man Aquaman shift in tone, personality and body language. Gone was the barbaric faced and puffed out chest bravado. Instead, Hitch gave the reader an Old Man Aquaman who did not look like a bad-ass strong man. Old Man Aquaman looked tired. He looked worn down by the heavy weight that he has been carrying on his shoulders. Hitch conveyed a tired resignation that permeated through Old Man Aquaman’s character.
There was also a strong sense of regret. Aquaman clearly had chosen a path because he thought it was his best, and possibly only, option. However, that does not mean that there are not regrets that clearly plague this character. I love Old Man Aquaman’s character. This is a cool version of Arthur and I am curious to see where Hitch goes with this character.
Fernando Pasarin and Oclair Albert combine to deliver their usual excellent artwork. Pasarin is equally adept at the intense action scenes as he is with the quieter dialogue heavy scenes. I was impressed with how much emotion Pasarin is able to bring to Hitch’s story. The artwork alone carries much of the weight in getting the characters’ emotions across to the readers. This is appreciated since artwork that infuses the characters full of emotions helps to pull the reader even deeper into the story.
The Bad: Justice League #29 did not have any real glaring problems. The only real downfall of this issue is that it is a bit of a case of too little too late. Yes, Hitch finally steps on the gas and performs the first real plot progression in this story arc. And, yes, the pacing is much better in this issue than in the prior three issues.
Having said that, the pacing in Justice League #29 is still a bit on the slower side. And the amount of plot progression in this issue does not make up for all of the navel gazing that Hitch performed in the prior three issues. For this story arc to really deliver a quality experience Hitch is going to have to give the reader more of what we got in Justice League #29 than what we got in the three prior issues.
Overall: Justice League #29 was an enjoyable read. Hitch delivers an issues that treats the reader to an excellent combination of strong character work, good dialogue and exciting action. Justice League #29 delivers exactly what I expect from a mainstream super hero comic. This story arc keeps getting better with each issue. The reader certainly gets their money’s worth with this issue.