The book opens with the Green Lanterns above an alien planet. Jessica holds off the missiles being launched at Earth while Simon goes down to the planet to investigate the source of the missiles. Superman struggles at the Earth’s core, but eventually destroys one of the earthquake machines. At the Kent Farm, Batman is scolded by Lois for giving up on Superman too quickly while Cyborg fights off the swarm of creatures that attacked him last issue and finds he can communicate with them. Wonder Woman is trapped inside one of the Giants from last issue and has a conversation with a disembodied voice where she says the Justice League will fight them. The Flash tries to take on these giants, but his powers fail him while Aquaman hears voices while Atlantis crumbles around him. The issue ends with Simon calling Jessica down to the planet to find it populated by an alien race that looks just like Cyborg.
Writing a summary of what’s going on in this storyline has not been an easy task. This story continues to be muddled and confusing. It’s not really a story. It’s just a bunch of things happening. The villains continue to speak in cryptic terms and we still don’t have a clear idea of what’s going on or what the Kindred want and they just aren’t a very compelling threat for the team to face.
That’s the challenge in creating new villain. When you tell a Joker story, you don’t need to take much time to explain who the Joker is or his motivations because the writer has 75 years of published history to rely on. Hitch seems hellbent on creating new villains and I can understand all the reasons that he would want to do that. If a new character hits big, that’s more money in Hitch’s pocket. But if your going to create a new villain, you need to take the time to set them up and there is no attempt to do that. The story sets up Wonder Woman, who had a very strong introduction to the story back in issue one, to be in a position to speak directly with the threat, and all Hitch does is have the Kindred spout nonsense at her instead of making a compelling threat with an interesting personality which is an utter waste of an opportunity to give these villains some depth.
As this is The Batman Universe, let’s talk about Batman. It’s always a challenge to find things for Batman to do in a book with super powered beings, but he isn’t really given anything interesting to do here. Batman has yet to be given anything meaningful to do in this story. His job last issue to convince Superman to help them seems kind of useless because there’s no moment where you thing that Superman won’t join them. In this issue, Batman is only there to be yelled at by Lois. Frankly, if Hitch doesn’t know how to write Batman onto this kind of story then there’s no point of even having him there.
On the positive side, I dig the ending. A planet full of aliens that look like Cyborg is interesting. I’ll hand it to Hitch, it’s the first time I’ve found anything in this arc interesting. I don’t necessarily have faith that the answers to the questions this issue raises will be answered well, but that’s a step in the right direction. The biggest question I have for this issues is that since Cyborg in the current continuity is essentially a living Mother box, does the Kindred have ties to the New Gods?
Ivan Reis fills in on the art duties this issue and he does a serviceable job. It’s always a shame when an artist doesn’t complete an entire arc but with the book shipping biweekly it’s the cost of doing business.
Despite an intriguing ending, this story continues to limp along. And while I’m interested in seeing where it’s going, I’m more interested in the story ending.