Justice League #29 – Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Writers; Bruno Redondo, Artist; Hi-Fi, Colorist
Ray – 9/10
Corrina: The Kid Wants To Save Dad
Ray: Over the course of Scott Snyder and James Tynion’s Justice League run, there’s been one break-out character who has fans everywhere clamoring for a bigger spotlight and even a spin-off. I speak, of course, of Jarro – everyone’s favorite not-quite-evil Starfish in a jar. Descended from the late Starro, Jarro has come to see Batman as a father and fantasizes about being his favorite Robin. Now, it’s finally Jarro’s moment in the sun in Justice League #29, as the little starfish dons his costume and takes the fight to the Legion of Doom. Coming off Lex Luthor’s victory and apparent killing of J’onn last issue, the League is at a low point and Luthor is getting closer to his goal every day. In some ways, this issue is a recap, as Jarro spends a lot of time spying on the Legion as they discuss their plans and explain how the seven powers that define the universe and will restore Perpetua to full power work. However, it’s one of the most entertaining recap issues I can remember.
The first half of the issue is the lighthearted absurdity you’d expect out of a Jarro issue, as the little starfish outfoxes the worst supervillains in the DCU. But it’s pretty clear this is some sort of dream sequence, and the actual truth is far darker than expected. Jarro isn’t just having a fantasy – he’s trying to help out the League by finding the Legion’s base, and he’s willing to go much further than expected to stop them. The question of whether Jarro would evolve into Starro was up in the air, and this issue makes clear the potential is definitely there – but he may not be the only potential Starro left. For those who like Bat-dad content, I am happy to inform you that there is plenty here – although it’s odd that Batman is more of a dad to Jarro than he is to most of his actual long-time adopted kids. Jarro is a fun character that easily could have wound up like Dex-Starr – a novelty that’s trotted out to applause on occasion – but this issue indicates that Tynion might have much more nuanced plans.
Corrina: Batman’s portrayal as a dad usually depends on who is writing him. Tom King’s Batman is a near-suicidal loner. Peter Tomasi’s Batman is a little closer to sane, a repressed man of limited emotion doing the best that he can. Christopher Nolan’s Batman in the movies is ultimately one who realizes he can find personal happiness.
Scott Synder’s run on Batman focused on how Bruce was connected to Gotham and introduced other mentorships for Bruce Wayne, namely Duke Thomas and Harper Row. So it’s no surprise to see that Bat-Dad version show up in Snyder’s Justice League, complete with Jarro’s craving to become Robin. Indeed, Batman’s easy acceptance of his alien “son” is one of the best aspects of his character in Justice League #29.
Ah, but Jarro is a child playing with an adult’s power, so his real childish concern for his “parents” goes a bit too far because he lacks impulse control at this age. I don’t see Jarro’s tale as an indication that Jarro could become an evil conquerer but, rather, it’s about a child who sees the world crumbling around him and uses all the power he has (badly) to try and stop it.
Justice League #29 portrays a child’s fears, realized, and a child’s solution. But Jarro learns that manipulation, even in a “good” cause is wrong, which makes him more mature than even Luthor himself.
Note: Starro faces will never not be creepy and the art team simultaneously manages to make the Starro-faces terrifying while also making Jarro himself worthy of sympathy.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.