This week's Justice League #26 received a lot of attention from fans as it's introduced the children of various DC superheroes, who have traveled back from the 20 years in the future.
The issue, which begins the "Legacy" arc, is written by Bryan Hitch, who just announced that he's leaving the book after this story. Drawn by Fernando Pasarin, the issue introduces a group of characters who are the Justice League's children - returned from the future.
Spoilers ahead for this week's Justice League #26.
Meet the Kids
As the story begins, it's 20 years in the future, where readers meet the featured young characters one-by-one:
Hunter: Wonder Woman's son, and probably also the son of Superman. He wears a red cape draped around his shoulders that's held in place by a golden eagle symbol. He's got a scar on his right eye and wears a golden lasso. Later dialogue implies that Hunter's mother "abandoned" him. (DC has shown character sketches that call him "Hunter Price," so there's no verification that he's Clark Kent's boy. And no, there's no sign nor mention of Jonathan, the current Superboy and son of Superman with Lois Lane, nor his Super Sons cohort, Damian.)
Cruise: Daughter of The Flash. Her name implies she's also Jessica Cruz's daughter (since Hitch has been shipping Barry and Jessica a bit in his book). In this future, Cruise is in a relationship with Hunter. (Character sketches have called this character "Nora Allen." This doesn't seem to be tied to the Tornado Twins version of Barry and Iris' kids from the future, which were shown in a recent issue of The Flash)
Cube: Cyborg's kid, apparently, with the ability to boom-tube and sense other entities. Unlike Cyborg, this character's tech is integrated into the body.
Jenny and Jason: These two have glowing eyes and at least one of them dons a Green Lantern symbol. Jason has white hair. They're described in dialogue as "red or yellow glowing, flying people." They can make constructs - although these are, indeed, red and yellow - but there's no sign of rings. They describe their powers as being "the light." (Character sketches have indicated their last name is "Allen," indicating they are probably also the children of Barry Allen and Jessica Cruz.)
Serenity: Real name, Eldoris Curry. This character is confirmed as the daughter of Aquaman (and, we assume, Mera). She carries a trident and uses magic. She apparently rules Atlantis in the future, because she mentions that "Tempest's forces will overrun Atlantis now that I'm gone." The kids call her "Dory," although she doesn't like that name.
Messed Up Future
20 years in the future, the DCU is post-apocalyptic. Readers find out that Mount Olympus is in the middle of New York City. And the young heroes are battling against the rule of someone called Sovereign, a villain who's taken over much of the Earth.
As we join their story, the young heroes have decided to do something drastic, because "the Darkness is growing again."
But their plans are broken up by the appearance of an aged Aquaman - whom they call "Curry" - who's wearing a Black Lantern ring (although these characters called it a "dark ring").
Arthur's fighting against the young heroes and he's not looking like himself these days - he's a nasty fusion of Aquaman and Cyborg tech. He tells them they shouldn't have come.
He uses a "timeless grenade" on Cruise, taking away her speed power. And his ring has a negative effect on Jenny and Jason. The heroes later mention that "Curry" has Boom Tube powers too.
Serenity says that her father did something bad to her mom. So she battles against her father and saves the heroes from his anger by getting them to Mount Olympus.
Dark and Light
All this talk about "the Darkness" and the Lantern kids having "light" powers is echoed when the characters mention an event (in their past - DC's future) that they call "Light Fall," when the Black Lantern rings were destroyed. Well, all of them except the one Aquaman's wearing, it seems.
Inside the mountain, the six characters find a collapsed Infinity Corporation building (which is a nice tie-in to Hitch's "New 52" Justice League of America run). It's been reduced to rubble, piled high, on which the characters climb. They reminisce that they used to "run around in here" when they were little, and they name-drop Jane and Vincent (more tie-ins to past Hitch stories).
Now readers learn that the reason the teen heroes came to this spot is because Vincent messaged them somehow. When the teens arrive at their destination, they find Vincent's dead body, but he's left a message behind, telling them to use the Stones (the conscious objects that Hitch explored in his JLA run — the "Stones of Forever").
The young heroes don't have time to process the message, because Sovereign attacks in a burst of fire.
The villain looks almost robotic, but also has a female shape. She has some type of trident and a cape. She says "I conquered and claimed the powers of Olympus and exiled her former gods. I have taken this world and walked its skies as Sovereign."
Back in Time
The kids escape by using the Stones to create a portal. And where are they going?
To the present-day DCU, of course.
The Justice League is investigating the aftermath of a battle in Midway City, where people got superpowers and killed each other. The heroes start to wonder if maybe the world would be a better place if the League governed them.
Cyborg doesn't like the idea of ruling over the world - falling on the side of freedom. Wonder Woman and Jessica Cruz think it might be worthwhile to govern the world if the "cause is peace."
Superman shuts them all up by saying "we can only lead by example, not by the sword."
Well, he shuts all of them up but Wonder Woman, who appears to be on the verge of quitting because of the "horrors of the real world." She wants to leave a "better world" for her children.
And with that line…ta da! The children arrive.
"We're your children from the future," Cruise says. "The world is almost finished. Billions dead."
"And it's all your fault," Hunter adds.
So…was the future destroyed because the League gave the world too much freedom? Or was it caused by the League's rule?
Considering the villain is called "Sovereign" and talks about ruling, we're guessing the latter. And because she's female, and it uses Olympus to rule, we're thinking Sovereign is somehow connected to Wonder Woman - maybe even is Wonder Woman?
The solicitations for future issues of Justice League indicate that the kids want just one of the team members dead, so it's probably just one character who caused the destruction.
Future issues will have the aged Arthur Curry coming back in time, and eventually Sovereign will follow. And the "Darkness" will continue to grow (which doesn't appear to be connected to the Dark Days: Metal event). And although the kids will be fighting their parents - which should be interesting - they'll obviously team up to save the future.
However, if the future is changed, might it mean this version of the future erases the kids' very existence?
Justice League #27 is due out August 16.