Justice League Canad--Uhm, United

More because I've written my fair share of articles about Canada as it is presented in comics, presumably, than because of my birthplace, I think I'm expected to weigh in about the new Justice League book by Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone. Well okay then.

While I dread the crossover events that will inevitably interfere with this book, I'm stoked by what the first issue had to offer. It may be a continuation to Justice League of America as far what characters are in it (Martian Manhunter, Stargirl, Green Arrow and Hawkman), but the tone is completely different. There's levity here! Jokes! Banter! Mixed in with superheroic investigation and fighting. And fighting external forces at that. None of that "team infighting" the JL books have done so much since the advent of the New52.
In fact, I have every hope that Lemire will redeem the Martian, Hawkman and Supergirl for me. I'm already a fan of GA and Animal Man, two heroes who've been going through rather dark storylines in their own books, but are a fun pair in JLU. Animal Man and Stargirl have a great common hook, since both are in show business, and so a good reason to go on signing tours in Toronto. The two Canadian heroes have a lot of potential. The new Adam Strange has a cool updated look and a different premise (Alanna is human, for example - or is she? - and I kinda hope Rann doesn't figure into it at all - couldn't the Zeta beam take you anywhere instead?). Equinox is a young First Nations girl with mystical-seeming powers and a connection to some kind of Manitou being. Both are already driving initial story arcs, as is Hawkman, not on the cover (so not actually in the team?), but squaring off against Lobo (whatever, it's not the Lobo we're all sick of, it's the Lobo we just don't care about) while an old enemy (yes!) hides in the shadows. There's also a very cool tribute to the original JLofA's origin story. Did you catch it?
If I have a complaint, it's that it's a little slow-moving, structurally. I mean, there's enough incident and character stuff, but we start with an action scene, back track to "three days ago", and never loop back in the space of the issue. It's a testament to Lemire's craft (and McKone's art too, I quite like it) that I don't lose patience, especially since I'm a well-known critic of team books that take 4-5 issues for the team to even get together.

But I know what you're asking: Is it Canadian enough?
Well, despite the name change, there's still a maple leaf in the logo, and we appreciate it. There are some Canadian jokes here, but Lemire is easing his non-Canadian readers in. It's very much on the level of what you might hear on How I Met Your Mother. He's not trying to lose you with references. His Canada is, in fact, a lot like every other place in the Western world, because we're really not that different. Toronto is a big modern city - the inspiration for Metropolis, in fact - and James Bay is cold wilderness. I hope the series won't stay stuck in Ontario, even if it is what Lemire personally knows best, but for now, I'm quite happy to look at superheroes fighting ankle-deep in snow. It reflects a certain Canadian experience.


Anonymous said...

Didn't know this comic came out; thanks for letting me know so I can grab up a copy.

"There's also a very cool tribute to the original JLofA's origin story. Did you catch it?"

I didn't see it in the picture there; is it how the fire dude looks like one of the Appellexians?

Siskoid said...

Am I over-reaching to think these alien foes were at least inspired by the Appellexians?

SallyP said...

It was...not terrible! In fact, I liked it.

Jayunderscorezero said...

"...Superheroes fighting ankle-deep in slow. It reflects a certain Canadian experience." A Freudian slip about the pacing?

Siskoid said...

I don't think I was slipping at all.

Jeremy Patrick said...

If all it takes to lure a Justice League team is fighting ankle-deep in snow, they should totally come to my home state, Nebraska! We've got snow, and also a lake, and . . . a lot of farmland, and some sandhills. Justice League Nebraska!

Really, no one?


Siskoid said...

You're saying the Justice League should be like the Initiative?


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