JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 by Bryan Hitch and Fernando Pasarin
Despite excellent worldbuilding and art, JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 fails in its pacing. By bouncing between a number of story elements too quickly, none receive the spotlight they're due.
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DC Rebirth has played host to some of the greatest storylines in modern comic books. With a renewed focus on characters from all facets of DC history, Rebirth has set the stage for a new era of storytelling. That being said, only recently have I developed an interest in the JUSTICE LEAGUE line. While Bryan Hitch and Fernando Pasarin have consistently delivered interesting stories and stunning art, I never wholly connected with their work until the latest story arc, “Legacy.” The future children of the League have traveled back to the present to prevent their post-apocalypse from ever coming about. However, as we learn in JUSTICE LEAGUE #30, their interference may well be the impetus that brings about the end of the world.

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Darkness Infection

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

At the close of the previous issue, the Future Children (as they will now be called, for simplicity’s sake) attacked Wonder Woman and drove her to a small suburban town. However, this town was also the site of a supernatural or scientific attack that drove the citizens homicidal. Now, this dark energy has attached itself to Wonder Woman and Simon Baz, who struggle to control this dark energy. As JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 opens, this darkness urges them to kill all of the A.R.G.U.S. soldiers and Future Children. All except Hunter Prince, the future son of Wonder Woman. As they look on, the Future Children are horrified. This darkness may have destroyed their future. However, it was supposed to happen years from now, meaning that their time traveling antics may well have incited the very problem they set out to solve.

While the Future Children decide their next move, one of their members, Eldoris Curry, is not present. She is spending some much needed time with her mother, Mera, unaware of her team’s many problems. As they talk, Eldoris and Mera are approached by an old, grizzled, and cybernetically enhanced Aquaman from the future. He has arrived to summon his queen, Sovereign, to this timeline. As Mount Olympus rises from the surf and Sovereign appears before them, heroes of all stripes must choose whose side they’re on. Chief among them is the future Aquaman himself.

Waiting Tsunami

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 page 6. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

As “Legacy” nears its end, Bryan Hitch has to pull out all the stops to tie up this epic story arc. In JUSTICE LEAGUE #30, several questions have arisen without any semblance of an answer. Who is Sovereign? What is the Darkness? Most importantly, why does it want Wonder Woman? In one fell swoop, Hitch managed to answer all of these questions. In many ways, “Legacy” may act as some of Hitch’s finest world-building.

Injustice: What Makes The Story So Good?

One of the biggest mistakes a writer can make is to slap their readers in the face with the necessary information and then move on. Sadly, due to genre tropes and the limitations of the medium, superhero comics don’t often have room for the kind of subtlety needed to slowly build up a world. Think the stereotypical supervillain monologues, where the villain explains every facet of his plan to the reader as if they were ignorant children.

Readers like to put the pieces together, and Hitch obviously realizes this. Not only has he slowly fed us information from the beginning of “Legacy,” but he uses JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 only as a means of giving the reader more puzzle pieces. We learn through Wonder Woman’s dialogue with the Darkness that her destiny is tied to the substance. We learn through the Future Children that something is drastically different from their own timeline. As Sovereign arrives atop Mount Olympus and reveals her true identity, everything starts to fall into place. The brilliance of all of this comes from Hitch’s patience. Like a master puppeteer, he slowly gives readers only what they need to know and slowly helps them put the pieces together.

The Sovereign Reigns

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JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 page 10. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

The one negative I found in JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 was in its pacing. While Hitch slowly developed the world-building, much of this story happens on fast forward. Hitch never gives any of the events or characterization their whole due. There were several scenes with huge potential in this story. The conversation between future Aquaman, Mera, and Eldoris was full of awkward family tension and would have given great insight into these characters. Instead, it passes in a heartbeat and we lose something potentially showstopping. The same can be said for the scene between the Future Children and Wonder Woman. We don’t necessarily get anything new about any of these characters. Instead, we see them simply stand off and weigh their options. Compared to the high stakes of the previous issue, this felt like a let down.

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While the characterization failed due to this lack of focus, the plot fell furthest. So much happens in this issue. In a three page section, we bounce from Wonder Woman’s plight to Batman’s investigation to Eldoris and Mera’s meeting. Hitch’s primary focus in this issue seems to be on developing these interesting facets of his narrative. However, while he does a fantastic job at sharing information, the story itself suffers. JUSTICE LEAGUE #30 nears the end of the “Legacy” arc, and I am looking for powerful, interesting character moments or even a few explosions. Give me one or the other, and I would be happy. However, with the rapid fire storytelling in JUSTICE LEAGUE #30, I got neither.

Final Thoughts: JUSTICE LEAGUE #30

For fans of the “Legacy” story arc, you may be wondering if you should buy this issue, and my answer is a definite yes. While the pacing leads to a confused plot and lackluster characterization, the world-building is highly necessary to understand future events. Not only that, but Fernando Pasarin returns to the series with his trademark eye for detail and anatomy. As the series has continues, Pasarin has only improved in his depiction of the League. He’s slowly becoming one of my favorite current DC artists as time goes on. While JUSTICE LEAUGE #30 didn’t impress on all fronts, it only adds to the overall “Legacy” story arc. So yes, buy this issue. Just don’t set the bar too high.

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