The Darkness has a hold of the League. Sovereign has been unmasked as Wonder Woman’s mother. The kids are in over their head. Can they save their future parents from the evil that now infects them or will their future come to pass earlier than expected?
JUSTICE LEAGUE #31
Authors: Bryan Hitch
Artists: Fernando Pasarin
Inkers: Andy Owens and Oclair Albert
Colors: Brad Anderson
Publisher: DC Comics
What You Need to Know:
The children of the League have come from the future to try and prevent their horrific past. Unfortunately they were followed by an Aquaman/Cyborg hybrid (we’ll call him Aquaborg) and Sovereign, who turned out to be Wonder Woman’s mother. Aquaborg turned against Sovereign but then when the Justice League shows up, the Darkness takes hold of them, thus bringing the future to pass, much earlier than it was supposed to.
What You’ll Find Out:
Well…the League is evil, infected by the Darkness that drove the world to ruin in the future. The Junior League springs into action, each Leaguer taking on their kids. Wonder Woman easily beats down Sovereign but before she can kill her mother, Hunter steps in. As the battle progresses, the Darkness continues whispering to the League, telling them to kill. Superman has no problem ripping Aquaborg’s arm off.
But then, Batman drops in with some kryptonite to take on Superman. Cyborg stumbles into the fight between Mera and Serenity. He gets Mera away in time to explain to Serenity that he killed Mera in the future because the Darkness had already taken hold of the League and Mera was about to kill Serenity. But Mera then interrupts that bonding moment by driving her trident through Aquaborg.
Meanwhile, the light twins (I keep wanting to shout “Wondertwin power, activate!”), are battling their mother, Jessica. The sister drops back to check out Simon Boz who was struck down last issue. He seems to be dead, but the twins decide to use their power together, with Jenny glowing white, and Jason glowing black. It revives Simon, healing him completely.
Then, Hunter beats back Wonder Woman, saving Sovereign but oddly enough, Sovereign stops him from killing Wonder Woman, explaining that Diana gave him up as a baby because she had to. He had been conceived by the Darkness (ugh) to be used by the Darkness. So Wonder Woman left, giving him up, her only way to save him as the Darkness had already infected her.
Then, as all of the Junior League struggles against their parents, the light generated by the Wonder Twins starts driving the darkness back. Finally, the strands of darkness are pulled back and coalesce into a ball that Jenny and Jason hold together. But the darkness cannot be destroyed, only contained. So Sovereign and Aquaborg agree to hold it. They disappear into a boom tube to nowhere.
A week later, the Junior League is done helping with the cleanup and teleport back to the future, leaving the Justice League to ponder about what the future will bring.
What Just Happened?
Okay…so let me start off with something good about the issue… that way you’ll see that it wasn’t all bad.
The art was mostly passable. Some of Pasarin’s best on this arc. His facial expressions finally seem to convey some emotion when it’s up close. But those distance group shots still give him trouble. The action scenes are intense, however, and with everything going on, there’s something to be said with how much detail he put in there.
And there was one part of the story that I thought was really awesome: When Jenny accessed the white light and Jason accessed the dark. The best stories of Green Lantern involve the White and Black rings. So to see them push past all the colors and display this was great.
But overall, this was just not a good story. I get that it was supposed to be the culmination of about a year or so of work for Bryan Hitch. But if you’re remembered for the last thing you do, this was not a good way to go out. I’m not going to nitpick it to death. But my biggest problems both involved Sovereign, who when this story started out seemed like such an awesome villain…one that I was looking forward to seeing. But in this issue…she’s a good guy, all of a sudden. She’s a hero, fighting to purge the darkness from her daughter. She was evil because of the darkness. “It took my daughter from me and I hated the world for that.” I get it. Kind of. But she spent years as a horrible villain, traumatizing those kids. Dropping a friggin’ mountain into the present day. Who knows how many innocents she’s killed (it was referenced that she’s killed gods). And yet…the darkness infecting her daughter and the League early snaps her out of it? That’s all it took? Even though it was the darkness infecting her daughter that caused her to go all wonky to begin with? No. Not buying it.
And then…to beat the Darkness… they just contain it in Aquaborg and Sovereign. First of all, the Darkness corrupted the entire League. All of them (okay, all but two). Wonder Woman and Superman included. And yet somehow, Aquaborg and Sovereign can contain it? Just those two? And then what do they do, but create a boom tube to nowhere. Except that Aquaborg is the one who can create the boom tubes. So what’s to stop him from just creating a boom tube out of there? I don’t think I can adequately express how hard I facepalmed at this.
Final Thoughts: What was supposed to be Bryan Hitch’s magnum opus ends up being a dud. The art is the only part of this book that is inspiring and the rest is just lazy. It’s the end of Hitch for the Justice League (kind of, he’ll be back for two Metal tie-in issues) and he tries to leave us with a fondness for what the future may hold, but any attempt at sentimentality is overshadowed by the poor storytelling.