So Justice League Canada, eh?

When DC writer Jeff Lemire announced the Justice League of America would move to Canada next spring, it sounds kind of like a hoax or a joke, something to divert attention away from Batffleck, but no, it's true enough. Fellow bloggers immediately intimated that I should comment, being, as we know, the only comics blogger this far north (shhh, don't tell anyone Moncton is more southerly than Washington, Montana, et al.). Well ok then. Here are some random thoughts on the whole affair.

1. My first thought wasn't that wooot, finally DC is putting out a comic book that takes place in Canada. It was my second thought. No, my first was that Lemire was writing a Justice League book, indeed taking it away from Geoff Johns. This is good news from my perspective. And David Finch won't be on the re-titled JLA/JLC. Mike McKone will be doing the art chores according to Lemire's blog. Again, good news.

2. The move follows the events of Trinity War, which means that thing is gonna take until SPRING?! Lord have mercy. (Not that I'm reading ANY Trinity-related books.)

3. The new HQ will be in Northern Ontario, and much of the action will take place in Toronto. That makes sense since Lemire is from those areas, though I do hope the heroes will be going to other places as well. One thing Alpha Flight did very poorly was cover Atlantic Canada, so I always hold out hope that Canadian superheroes will get a chance to at least fly over my province. But Toronto is a fine place for superheroes to be since it WAS the model for Metropolis (that's why the newspaper was originally called the Daily Star, as in, the Toronto Daily Star). As for the boonies in the north, that runs the risk of out Detroit-ing JLDetroit, but Lemire as shown again and again that he knows how to tell rural stories (Essex County, Sweet Tooth), even superhero ones (Superboy).

4. Some purists have condemned the decision to mix Canadian heroes with American heroes on this team (or non-Canadians, shall we say, since it looks like Lemire has plans for the Martian Manhunter). I don't mind it. It might provide some amusing scenes in the style of Due South, and if a superhero team is a little like a hockey team, Americans play for Canadian teams all the time.

5. Of the Canadians on the team, only a re-nationalized Adam Strange has been named. An odd choice, given that he's really a Rannian citizen, although in the New52, who knows? Booster Gold might have been likely, since they gave him Canadian citizenship in the press, but never did anything with it AND he's already a member of a (now forgotten) Justice League. (I now hear it's confirmed he won't be in it.) There will also be a new teen hero who likely WON'T be a "clichéd Canadian archetype", something Lemire criticized about Alpha Flight (the team has had people wrapped in flags, characters based on Native myths and a guy called Puck). Other than that, it's way too early to tell. Can't say who'll stick around from the old team either.

6. And talking roster, I just realized, moving to Canada probably takes them out from under Amanda Waller's thumb, a major major reason I disliked the JLA book from the first issue.

7. If I have a #1 on my wishlist, it would be to make a French-Canadian member NOT be Quebecois. We've never seen that. The token Frenchie is always Quebecois, never Franco-Ontarian, Franco-Manitoban or Acadian. It's possible Lemire, despite his French name, won't be including any French-Canadians in his team, not with all those old, non-Canadian members in there. But if he does decide to be more inclusive, and more representative of the country, at least over time, I hope he'll consider French language minorities.

8. That's if "Justice League Canada" lasts for any length of time. On his blog, Lemire calls it an "arc", which could mean the move is entirely temporary, lasting no more than a year. Perhaps it will depend on the book's success. (According to this interview on CTV, 4 or 5 issues, but Lemire would love to work on a spin-off.)

9. To those who criticize DC for simply copying Marvel's Alpha Flight 35 years too late, I say this: I agree that it IS very late to finally give Canada a little love (though I can complain about that no more than Australians, to name just one other English-speaking country that probably reads these comics), but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing, the same way comics are trying to be more inclusive about sexual orientation or race. If you have a strong fan base in a certain country, especially one without its own well-developed comics industry, maybe they'd like to see themselves portrayed. It just so happens DC has a "hot" Canadian writer right now who's inspired by the assignment.

10. To round things off with a tenth bullet point, let me address the idea that Canadians are so polite, our country could never spawn villains. HA! Nice reputation, but no, this country is as full of douchebags as any other. We have crime too. And Plastique. Don't forget we have Plastique.

Those are my thoughts, what are yours?


Zundian said...

I don't know if I should be happy or sad that I didn't make the "Puck" connection until this blog post.

Siskoid said...

The series did play coy, something saying he named himself after the imp from Midsummer Night's Dream. But dude wore black rubber and bounced off walls as he tumbled.

Anonymous said...

And even in the Alpha Flight where Guardian first died (#12?), Sasquatch even said something like "I'm going to turn this tree into a makeshift hockey stick and score a goal with you, Puck!" Except it was worded differently in the comic to sound even less natural. Ah John Byrne, you are the George Lucas of whatever you lay your hands on.

I still think Jay Garrick ought to be Canadian; his traditional costume does not look all that far removed from a Mountie's serge. Which leads to this notion: how'd you like the JSA to be Canadian? Maybe not all of it, but at least some of it? The JSA being involved in joint Canadian / USAvian defense would not be too far afield from what they originally did, and seeing as Canada did enter WWII a good two years before the US, it would give them a jump on punching Nazis (the most archetypal thing JSAvains ever do).

Johnny Thunder's thunderbolt could be related to Nelvana in some fashion -- no reason to go all the way to Tibet -- and there aren't too many JSA members who are strongly tied to locations in the US, so move as many as you like northward.

The longevity of the JSA could be explained in one of two ways, both involving the thunderbolt: either an errant wish on Johnny's part (the Siskoid-approved way, as I recall) or via time-travel shenanigans.

Siskoid said...

Of course, that ship has sailed. The JSA, thought not actually called that, are featured in Earth2, which works on a united Earth-type scheme post-Apokolips invasion. None of the characters are likely to also exist on Earth-1. Especially since there are no supers on the books before the "5 years ago mark", so time travel shenanigans would be indicated, yes.

I could imagine the Young All-Stars as a teenage Canadian team though, set in the present. Flying Fox was already a Canadian Native, Neptune Perkins represents our natural connection to three oceans, Tsunami could represent the west coast's important Asian-Canadian population, and Fury, Iron Munro and Dan the Dyna-Mite make sure the team packs a physical punch. I mean, if we're gonna renationalize characters no one cares about...

Ted said...


I bowled Irwin Hasen completely over at Heroescon In Charlotte NC a few years ago by commissioning a sketch of the Golden Age Harlequin. He told me that no one else had ever MENTIONED her, much less wanted a sketch by her original artist.

I may be a group of one but I am Unanimous In my love of some obscure characters.

*Huffs grumpily and steps down off soap box.*

Siskoid said...

I've been a huge fan of Golden Age characters since All-Star Squadron blew my mind in the early 80s, so I know your pain/joy.

Anonymous said...

Re: JSA/Earth2

I think a throwaway line in one issue of Earth2 was about "the Canadian team Sand and his Sandmen."

Diabolu Frank said...

Booster Gold's Canadianness is in dispute. Do you guys do American football? Anyway, Lemire has stated that Booster is not on the team.

Position on French-Canadian Adam Strange? I'd say take a classy classic over the risk of a new character.

I get really great economical commissions, and I suspect it's because I get characters even more obscure than the Golden Age Harlequin (Hi Molly! Underworld Unleashed made me a fan!) It's obvious I'm not flipping them, and I'm sure getting to draw something different is fun for veterans (though it sometimes seems a source of anxiety for struggling newbies.)

Siskoid said...

Anon: Yes, Wesley Dodd is Canadian. all gotta do our bit for the World Army.

Frank: I never thought Booster made a good Canadian, his concept is SO American, it hurts.

Boosterrific said...

I just dropped by to point out that Lemire already said no Booster Gold on the team (in an interview at CBR), but I see Frank beat me to it.

Boosterrific said...

I meant to say this in that last post, but this whole stunt reminds me more of the time Claremont's X-Men were based in Australia moreso than anything Alpha Flight. It was pretty much the regular X-Men plus a single token Australian (Gateway).

Siskoid said...

Sorry about the Booster snub though!

As for X-Men Australia, I don't think it's quite the same, although maybe Australians would debate that with me, on account of JLC being written by an actual Canadian.

Jeremy Patrick said...

I do think it's a really interesting idea. I lived in Toronto for about a decade, and think it would be a fantastic setting for superhero yarns. That being said, I'm trying to think of team books set in real other countries (or even real parts of the U.S. other than New York). There was West Coast Avengers . . . Excalibur . . . and that's all that comes to mind :) (I'm sure there's lots more, I just can't think of them--hey, Justice League Antarctica that one time!). As I said, an interesting experiment--I just don't imagine most American readers are that intrigued by Canada to make it a selling point, or that an increase in Canadian sales would be enough to boost the title permanently.

Siskoid said...

Justice League Europe started in France and eventually migrated to England. The Justice League was in Detroit for a while. Infinity Inc. was in L.A. If you count mini-series, DC have had the Great Ten in China and Super Young Team in Japan.

They exist, it's just that NYC is a little crowded in comparison.

Unknown said...

I was a little upset. I mean, I love Alpha Flight, but I would have thought it stupid if Alpha Flight replaced the West Coast Avengers (that's an apt comparison, right? Main JL is regular Avengers, JLA is West Coast?)

And I also thought it pretty stupid how Jeff Lemire both a) insulted Alpha Flight and b) said they weren't about to create any new heroes from Canada except for one.


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