Review: Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy (Rebirth) trade paperback (DC Comics)

February 28, 2018


The Rebirth Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy brings to a close Bryan Hitch's 30-plus-issue run on Justice League, impressive I think for the extent to which Hitch told one related story over these six volumes (including Justice League America: Power and Glory). These books have not been without their flaws, including considerable repetitiousness and also, with this last volume, a rush to completion that leaves a number of aspects unresolved. But the children of the Justice League introduced here are a hoot, certainly capable of carrying their own series, and Hitch delivers some great character moments in the middle as the present League confronts their future. As mentioned, it's in the denouement, when too neat a bow tries to be tied on it, that Legacy feels less cohesive.

[Review contains spoilers]

My favorite story from Grant Morrison's JLA run is "Rock of Ages," and among many delights is that, even though Wonder Woman was technically dead at the time, through the machinations of time travel Morrison is able to use the whole team for the story, including Wonder Woman. So too with Legacy, where Aquaman has been off the table. Having Mera around is great (the character deserves permanent membership alongside Aquaman), but I thought it was particularly clever how Hitch managed to make Aquaman part of the story, especially since I don't imagine Aquaman's zombified role was part of Hitch's original plan.

Indeed, among a few odd turns that Legacy takes, the time travelers Jane, Alexis, and Vincent that Hitch has used throughout his run are almost nowhere to be found, and instead the book focuses on the generation that followed them, the League's children. We know Alexis is Lex Luthor's daughter, but this puts Jane and Vincent's identities in question, never to be resolved -- surely we imagine this wasn't what Hitch originally had in mind. Additionally, while Hitch does reference the Kindred from Justice League Vol. 1: The Extinction Machines, neither do we learn much more about the ubiquitous Infinity Stones, either.

There are other small hiccups, not terribly different than what this book has had throughout this run. Without much fanfare, the League has apparently adopted the malicious computer virus of Justice League Vol. 2: Outbreak as their League AI, which seems kind of reckless. The book's evil Sovereign turns out to be Wonder Woman's mother, Queen Hippolyta of the Amazons, which does not get nearly the attention it deserves given that, over in the Wonder Woman title, Diana's just realized she hasn't seen her mother for decades. And Hitch waves away the question of whether, having altered the past, the League's children haven't just effectively killed themselves, when the audience has read the serious consequences of time travel enough that he ought not be so glib (it brings the book's happy ending into question, and we might have benefited from an epilogue actually set in the future).

What we do get, however, is some time with the plucky future children of the Justice League. Hitch's League has been more social than some we've seen of late, and there's a charming simplicity in that in short order the League takes their newly-arrived children up to the Watchtower with them, reveals their identities, and then takes them to their respective homes. Clark Kent preparing a room for Wonder Woman's son Hunter on the Kent farm evokes scenes with the Kon-El Superboy. Flash Barry Allen and Green Lantern Jessica Cruz have three kids (despite, Hitch finally decides, not being in a relationship), and their scenes are awkward and funny. Again, Mera steals the show in her interactions with daughter Eldoris (Hitch makes a funny -- everyone calls her "Dory"); their scenes with the future Aquaman are among the book's most gripping.

Fernando Pasarin draws here again, following his work on Green Lantern Corps and Detective Comics. His is a style pretty on par with DC house style, but with an extra level of detail that reminds of Hitch himself. (I'll also always love that Pasarin draws Batman's cowl with bumps for Bruce Wayne's ears.) Pasarin draws some particularly effective fight scenes, too -- one, between the future Aquaman and Batman, so bloody that it's hard to believe Batman is upright a few issues later -- and the fact that he draws every issue helps make the book. I'm glad to see Pasarin is doing at least a stint on Suicide Squad coming up, which will surely bring some seriousness to that book.

Support Collected Editions -- Purchase Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy

I was struck by the fact that the end of Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy leans very heavily on the multi-hued spectrum from Geoff Johns's Green Lantern. To an extent I don't think yet fully realized, that Johns run contributed to the lasting mythos of the DC Universe in a way I don't think much had for decades before it; the fact that it shows up in titles completed unrelated would seem proof of that. For the book itself, Bryan Hitch's Justice League run has been exciting, nicely drawn, and yes, "widescreen." Once again Hitch closes with an image of the team all together, and I believe his "legacy" for this book has been to show the League as a team of partners and not a loose collection of individuals for the first time in a while. That's been fun, and I hope the next iteration of the Justice League (or "No Justice," as it's been called) preserves some of that.

[Includes original and variant covers]

Review Date
Reviewed Item
Justice League Vol. 5: Legacy
Author Rating
3.5 (scale of 1 to 5)

Comments ( 2 )

  1. Hitch appears to have left the book sooner than he intended to, but I'm hoping some of the stuff he left dangling will be resolved in one of the mystery projects he's currently working on.

  2. My impression is JLA was supposed to be one superlong story (I believe at one point it was mentioned as being over 12 issues), and rebirth led to that getting capped before it was intended to be (and Hitch not directly writing or drawing the end himself), leading to this book, which as you mention may also have been capped before it was intended.


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