JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 by Bryan Hitch, Fernando Pasarin, Andy Owens, Oclair Albert, and Brad Anderson
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 lovingly completes the "Legacy" arc with an incredibly illustrated battle sequence. The story was strong throughout, despite some rushed moments, but an unexplained shift in the main villains holds this story back from perfection.
83 %
The Future Seems Bright
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JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 marks the end of the “Legacy” arc from writer Bryan Hitch and artist Fernando Pasarin. Family has taken center stage in this arc as readers follow the time-traveling children of the Justice League’s members. These children come from a post-apocalyptic future, one destroyed by an infection of Darkness. This evil seeps into the bodies of human beings, forcing them to seek out and kill all they love. The future became a bleak landscape, with the superhuman being called Sovereign reigning over the ashes. Over the past three issues, we have seen these children reconnect with their parents in the past. We have seen them work together. However, as JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 opens, we’re forced to watch the future children battle the world’s greatest heroes. All is lost at the opening of this issue. Can the future children save the world from their own parents?

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Family Matters

Justice League #31
JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 page 2. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 is an excellent end to a fantastic arc. I have enjoyed every second of Hitch’s exploration of the future children. The emotions seep off the page. Still, JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 has its problems. Before I tackle what excited me about this issue, let us dig into my two sole complaints.

The first stems from Sovereign. Since the beginning of the “Legacy” arc, Sovereign has been lauded as this monstrous being that wants nothing more than destruction. She has murdered gods and humans in her quest for power. However, this doesn’t hold up in JUSTICE LEAGUE #31. Sovereign has a deep connection to Wonder Woman. After the Darkness infected Diana, Sovereign attempted to purge the world of the evil. This swap in allegiances is rather potent narratively. Seeing Sovereign fighting alongside the future children astounds, but her shift feels too sudden. In an instant, she leaves behind any trace of her former self. There’s no explanation for this shift.

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This story also felt a little rushed. While the combat sequence is one of the best in all of comics, Hitch skips over some rather poignant moments. When Cube and his father Cyborg are battling, Cube attempts to link their minds, using their shared memories to break the Darkness’ hold. However, we largely only see them grasping hands, with a single image appearing behind them. I felt that so much more could be done by showing us more memories, making us feel Cube’s hurt and fear. This moment mirrors many of the same dialogues occurring across the battlefield. However, none of these children really gets a chance to shine. The story doesn’t slow down until the end, and even then, it felt a little anticlimactic, with events spiraling and ending with no time to digest.

A War of Demigods

JUSTICE LEAGUE #31
JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 page 3. Image courtesy of DC Entertainment.

While the plot felt rushed, the plot beats were still there. While I wanted more focus on several, the events of this issue truly excited. Watching Hunter (Wonder Woman’s son) and Sovereign team up to stop Diana felt powerful. Seeing the parents battle with their children broke my heart. Hearing Barry tell Cruise, his speedster daughter, that he wished she’d never been born… Even if he wasn’t in control of his faculties, it still feels brutal.

In previous issues, there had been a lack of focus on Jenny and Jason Allen, the Lantern children of Flash and Jessica Cruz. While the other children had their moments to shine, these two characters fell to the wayside. Luckily, Hitch addressed this in brilliant order in this issue. While their characterization still felt lacking, I truly enjoyed the showcase of their powers. Apparently, when Jason grows too afraid or angry, his powers shift to the black light of death. Jenny can call on the white light of life as well. These two play a key part in the events of this issue, and I thought the characterization here is brilliantly executed.

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Final Thoughts — JUSTICE LEAGUE #31

Finally, I have a ton of respect for Fernando Pasarin, Andy Owens, Oclair Albert, and Brad Anderson. These artists perfectly captured this epic battle. I personally love extended fight scenes. They bring a level of grittiness to the plot, and JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 was twenty odd pages of straight fighting. This battle truly gave these artists their chance to shine. Pasarin’s understanding of anatomy and posing is inhuman. With so many characters with light-based powers, Anderson especially faced a unique challenge in the colors, but he handled it perfectly. In all, JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 has some of the best art in modern DC Comics.

JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 had its moments of anticlimax and rushed characterization. Sovereign’s change of heart never received the explanation it deserved. However, this comic drew me in in a way that few modern stories do. The themes of family run through the very center of this narrative, giving it a strong base. The characters feel real, and the future children are a wonderful addition to the DC universe proper. I hope that they aren’t just a splash in the pan and that they will make a return sometime in the future. More importantly, the art pulled me from page to page, investing me further even as certain plot elements fell to the wayside. JUSTICE LEAGUE #31 isn’t a perfect comic, but it is more than worth your interest. You need to read “Legacy.” There can be no argument there.

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