Art by: Fernando Pasarin, Matt Ryan, Brad Anderson and Richard Starkings
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: March 15, 2017
Since the last issue of Justice League surprised me so much, I have to admit that this may have been the first time I've been looking forward to reading Justice League since the start of Rebirth. While that is a back handed compliment of sorts, it's at least positive and that sort of thing is rare nowadays when the Justice League is involved. Last issue did a better job of explaining the Timeless and the Infinity Corps and really got me intrigued with what was going on with the League. So, does Hitch follow it up with another good issue? Let's find out...
The issue opens with Superman wanting, if not demanding, information about his wife and son. It's where we left off last issue and while the Timeless Big Bad looks less like a big baby here, we get his name, Tempus, and his game, somehow saving the Universe...I guess.
It seems that the Universe revolves around the Justice League and possibly the whole DCU. It's a bit meta as Tempus throws out terms like "changed" and "reborn" and then mentions the intrusion of "something that doesn't belong." I understand that Hitch is winking and nudging about Rebirth and the Watchmen, but as far as I'm concerned, he hasn't given us enough to be the guy doing the winking and the nudging. We also get cryptic mentions of the New 52 Superman, but sadly, no real answers to anything.
We then head off to see the rest of the League throughout time. I liked seeing Wonder Woman make a "you scratch my back" deal with Zeus to free his brothers and sisters, but again cringed a little when Hitch tried to tie it into what is happening in Greg Rucka's Wonder Woman series.
We then head off to see Barry Allen at the moment the Speed Force was created. I was worried about what the Timeless were up to here...if they attacked this "power point", would Hitch make it so Barry was never the Flash? Would he dare? The answer is no because instead of attacking anything , the Timeless are only there to seize the power of the Speed Force to fuel their master plan. I was still wondering what was going on when the same thing happened in the 26th Century to the Green Light. Maybe it's just me, but this threw me off a bit because it really wasn't what Molly told the League they had to stop. Speaking of Molly, where the hell did she go? We do briefly see Ancient Atlantis get hit by the Timeless' new Speed Force Attack and Cyborg, in the 30th Century, get to use the precursor to a Legion Flight Ring, but it all leads back to Tempus and Superman and that is not necessarily a good thing.
This is where Tempus starts his villain monologue and tells us everything. Since Earth and it's mightiest heroes (that's not copyrighted, right?) are messing up everything, he is going to transport Earth's solar system to the edge of the Universe where it won't affect anything but itself. Tempus even makes it very clear that the whole world (including Lois and Jon) would be very safe after this is done. Seriously, I know it sucks moving and all, but this really doesn't come off as that bad. At least not as bad as Hitch wants us to think. I was actually waiting for Tempus to say he would buy the pizza and beer for the moving party!
So, what happens next? Superman sells everyone out, that's what. He opens his big mouth and tells Tempus that the League is fighting back at these important points in time and Tempus is now able to locate them. I know that Superman doesn't bleed easily, but someone's got to tell him that snitches get stitches pronto!
The issue does end with Superman wondering who is really telling the truth in this whole affair and when Tempus suddenly makes it a Sophie's choice between his family and his friends, I was a bit confused myself. However, the cliffhanger makes up for a bit of this nonsense as we get Batman, the Infinity Corps and a very cool reveal that should make things very interesting next issue...at least visually if nothing else.
It's starting to feel like Bryan Hitch is losing control of his own story again. I am still really interested in seeing the League fight the Timeless throughout time, but we barely got any of that here and except got exposition from Tempus that made things silly and a bit convoluted. I know that some will look into this story for Rebirth clues, but to me, anytime Hitch tries to get involved in that, he comes off as the little brother who is trying anything to be able to play with the big boys. We're not letting you play Brian, no matter what Mom said!
I did like the art in this issue a lot. Fernando Pasarin and the entire art team do a fantastic job of making sure everything looks exciting even when it's not.
Bits and Pieces:
Justice League #17 finally reveals the true nature of the Timeless and their leader, Tempus, but for now, it's pretty laughable. The art in this issue is fantastic, but the uneven storytelling and tell me don't show me dialogue makes for a below average read. Unfortunately, this issue halts the momentum of last issue and has me once again not enjoying DC's flagship title.