There are spoilers in this article! You’ve been forewarned.
You would think that as a Canadian I would be pumped over the release of Justice League #0 this week. I was definitely pumped, don’t get me wrong, but having read the issue I’m left feeling a bit deflated. I don’t think it was very good. Maybe I’m being overly critical, because to me having a Justice League book based in Canada is a big deal; however, sadly, I don’t think I am.
The story immediately suffers from having been thrown out of continuity by the massive delays in the final issues of Forever Evil. For instance we don’t know how Stargirl and Animal Man found each other, no do we know why they are currently at a joint book signing in Toronto. Later on, when Martian Manhunter and Green Arrow show up in the middle of rural Northern Ontario, we learn from J’onn that after the events of Forever Evil Green Arrow was the only superhero willing to answer his calls for membership.
As readers we know the events of Forever Evil are going to have profound changes on the superhero community, and it’s a safe bet that public opinion within the DCU is probably going to be somewhat negative against them in the short term. However, we don’t know how this all shakes out, and therefore I found myself increasingly frustrated by these gaps cause by Forever Evil’s conclusions and Justice League United’s beginning.
Too Much In One Issue.
The first story arc of any team book is always an origin story. Different authors have take different approaches to the origin story. Jim Lee and Geoff Johns stretched out the team building process when they launched their team and the New 52 universe. Grant Morrison began his run on JLA in the mid-1990’s by presenting a threat so great that Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, and Martin Manhunter come together immediately to face down the challenge.
Justice League United introduces us to all of the new team members, but does it by telling three different stories, going backward and forwards through time, as well as being set on Earth and Thanagar. On Earth the fledgling Justice League is facing down aliens after being brought to a mysterious excavation site by a non-heroic Adam Strange. Meanwhile, the newest DC super heroine Equinox, from one of Canada’s Cree First Nations, is being challenged by a mythical native spirit. Finally, on Thanagar Lobo and Hawkman are about to go toe to toe.
Don’t worry about it though, in three days the team will be a lean mean fighting machine battling the aliens on Thanagar, with the help of a non-Red Lantern Supergirl, trying to save the life of an alien baby (possibly some sort of clone) from the story’s primary, and as of yet mysterious villain, Lord Byth.
Thrown all together in one issue it is all too much, and the story elements are too divergent right now. Maybe when the first arc is done Lemire will have proven this review to be full of shit, but it’s a rough start to the series.
Lemire’s introduction of Equinox was done extremely well. We see Mii, as her friend calls her, leaving school and arriving at her grandmother’s house. Inside, she finds the house destroyed and a stranger within that forces her to reveal her powers as he turns into the Whitago. This part of the story felt natural to Lemire, who has been masterful writing Animal Man and Justice League Dark.
Maybe I’m being unfair to Lemire here as well. I associate him with supernatural stories, and have found his treatment of the Dark family of DC titles. His venture into space didn’t sit well with me, but I’m willing to keep an open mind.
It’s not the strongest debut for a Justice League title in the New 52, but I would rank it my least favorite to date. I feel like this is going to go the way of Justice League International: lost in space and cancelled inside of 8 issues. I might leave this one on the shelf if I were you.