JUSTICE LEAGUES #27 by Bryan Hitch and Fernando Pasarin
Utilizing its slow paced narrative, Bryan Hitch earns JUSTICE LEAGUE #27's high action ending. At the center of this brilliant issue is the characterization. Hitch digs into the heart of the League's core members, as well as their future children.
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Parenting can be hard. Your entire job involves watching your kid’s every movement, keeping them safe from the evils of the stove top and sugary treats. All of this is to ensure a bright future. When your parents are the Justice League, you’d assume that future is secure. However, as we learned in JUSTICE LEAGUE #26 with the opening of the “Legacy” story arc, the future has fallen apart. The Justice League is dead, leaving their newly introduced future children to protect what little of the world remains from its evil rulers. The only way for these youths to succeed is to travel back in time and stop this future from ever happening. Because that always turns out well.

Now, in JUSTICE LEAGUE #27, these young heroes finally get to share their story with their parents. Does this family reunion sing good tidings? Or does it turn out to be as awkward and unruly as most?

“Dad, I’m from a Post-Apocalyptic Future”

Courtesy of DC Comics

JUSTICE LEAGUE #27 is filled to the brim with exposition. The first three-quarters of the issue are solely devoted to logistics, meaning which kids belong to whom and just why these vagabond youths traveled back in the first place. Nora, Jenny and Jason Allen, Hunter Kent, Eldoris Curry and Gavin Stone have arrived to warn the League about the coming disaster.

After they were born, the youths were raised to value their powers, given the opportunity to train alongside their parents for their future callings. As they explain, though, the world’s supervillains banded together, and a superpowered war broke out that destroyed civilization. Kept secret on the summit of Mt. Olympus, these children survived the war, growing up as orphans until the villainous Sovereign, a female warrior goddess with incredible powers, began hunting them down.

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Now, these children have come to seek their parents’ aid in fixing their future. After the initial shock and information glut, the team falls into their roles, comforting their kids and vowing to learn more about the coming threat. However, not everything is as it seems. The children hide a deadly secret about their intentions.

Meanwhile, in the Bat Cave, Batman is meticulously investigating the spat of interdimensional threats that have appeared in Rebirth. From the first issue of the series, the team has faced countless threats including the Timeless, an alien contagion, and a massive inter-dimensional lobster monster. As Batman investigates the song of the Kindred (JUSTICE LEAGUE #1-6), the cave fills with smoke, and a mysterious figure appears to bludgeon Batman into unconsciousness.

The League Knows Best

Courtesy of DC Comics

The JUSTICE LEAGUE Rebirth series has been defined by world ending threats and high action team moments. While these have been good, one of my greatest complaints about the series is the lack of focus on the team members. Characterization has flown out the window in favor of dramatic, explosive set pieces. This has not been the case in the “Legacy” arc thus far. JUSTICE LEAGUE #27 is not as strong as issue #26 in terms of balancing plot and characterization, but it still far exceeds the precedent set by previous issues.

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First and foremost, I really grew to care about this huge group of characters. Writer Bryan Hitch had to balance fourteen important cast members. More importantly, he had to give each enough page time to feel relevant and necessary to the plot. All around, he succeeded in all but two characters. Jason Allen, the Lantern son of Barry and Jessica, only gets a brief moment in a scene. Also, the final mystery man is only around long enough to handily defeat Batman before the issue ends. Though he was introduced in the previous issue as an enemy of the future League, his arrival felt underutilized. However, that still leaves twelve characters that felt well-rounded and interesting.

Unsurprisingly, Jessica Cruz leads the way in her characterization. Though defined by overcoming her anxiety, Cruz finds a kindred spirit in her daughter. Jenny inherited the entire spectrum of Lantern light, and when she grows overwhelmed, she loses control of this great power. Jessica goes full mom-mode to comfort Jenny in the midst of one of these panic attacks.

Also taking the spotlight is Hunter Kent. Hunter is the son of Wonder Woman and the adoptive son of Superman. Abandoned at birth by his mother, Hunter grew up feeling like an outcast next to his foster brother Jon. Hunter is filled with justifiable rage, and though it is a bit cliche in its portrayal, his emotional state makes sense. I connected with Hunter’s character, and hope he gets a large role in the upcoming issues.

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Leave It to Batman

Courtesy of DC Comics

The only true issue I found in JUSTICE LEAGUE #27 comes from the brief Batman moment in the final pages. In it, Batman is badly beaten by his unknown assailant. It is visceral and pays witness to artist Fernando Pasarin‘s incredible skill. However, in terms of plotting, it feels tacked on. While I appreciated his cameo, I felt that Batman’s moment could’ve been better utilized in the next issue. It does leave the reader on a satisfying cliff-hanger at issue’s end, but I’d much rather have those final pages devoted to the children’s crusade. Hitch doesn’t give enough time to Batman’s scene to garner much interest.

Some fans may worry about Hitch’s apparent altering of DC Continuity. Jessica Cruz and Barry Allen are not together at this point in the story. In fact, Barry is still dating Iris West in continuity, and with Aquaman currently MIA from the team, things don’t completely line up for Mera’s daughter. However, I didn’t find this personally worrisome. For one, Hitch directly addresses this issue in the story, with Barry questioning how he’s going to explain this to Iris. Also, This is a time-travel story. It could very well be revealed at the end that the kids were from an alternate future. Or maybe the fact that these kids do go back in time initiates the relationships that lead to their births.

With that said, the art of this issue certainly makes up for any plotting problems. Fernando Pasarin approaches each panel of this issue with intricate detail and brilliant character design. I love the Junior League’s dystopian, survival gear style costumes, as well as the call backs to the original members. Jenny Allen’s costume has a Green Lantern patch haphazardly sewn onto her suit. Hunter Kent wears a Superman cape clasped with Wonder Woman’s eagle symbol. These small details make the characters shine, and Pasarin captures each with his brilliant pencil work.

Final Thoughts: JUSTICE LEAGUE #27

Though I had no problem with the pacing of this issue, certain readers may find fault in its slowness and expositional nature. This is a sit and talk story, not one of high-energy theatrics. However, JUSTICE LEAGUE #27 doesn’t just promise great things to come. It delivers a large cast of characters that feels well-rounded and interesting. By the end of the issue, I cared about the fates of these individual heroes. Hitch finally succeeded in branching out to these varying personalities, making a logistics issue actually interesting.

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #27 is one of the best issues in the series so far. With Pasarin’s art at its back, this issue’s “Legacy” will carry on in the minds of JUSTICE LEAGUE fans for years to come. Plus, we all need more Mom-Mode Jessica Cruz in our stories.

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