'Justice League United' comes to Canada

Courtesy of DC Comics

Courtesy of DC Comics

Steve Tilley, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 11:52 AM ET

There are no cape-wearing beavers or Mounties in armoured battle suits. But there is poutine. At least in passing.

This week marks the debut of the Justice League of Canada – or to use its new and more inclusive moniker, Justice League United – a continuation/spinoff of DC Comics’ Justice League of America series, scripted by Toronto comic book phenom Jeff Lemire and set largely right here in in our own sprawling back yard.

Canadian superheroes, eh? Well, yes and no.

The scene-setting prologue issue Justice League United No. 0, now on comic book store shelves and available for download via the Comixology app, introduces us to a reimagined Adam Strange, a University of Toronto anthropology professor who has uncovered a mystery (and lost his assistant) during a dig in northern Ontario.

So desperate is his plight that Strange goes to a Toronto autograph signing to plea for help from Animal Man and Stargirl – members of the now-disbanded Justice League of America – who soon realize Strange isn’t just some nutjob when an artifact he’s carrying quickly but temporarily teleports them to an alien world and back.

Travelling to snowbound Moosonee, Ont. – the location of Strange’s dig site – the trio find more than they bargained for when aliens materialize and attack. But the timely arrival of Green Arrow and the Martian Manhunter even the odds, and the aliens are repelled.

Meanwhile, in the nearby tiny community of Moose Factory, a 16-year-old Cree girl named Miiyahbin is attacked by an entity in her home, forcing her to transform into Equinox, a new hero making her debut in Justice League United. But how or why this transformation happens – along with the nature of the (apparently illusory) entity, and its warning of the coming Whitago – are still a mystery.


Courtesy of DC Comics

By the end of the issue, Hawkman and Lobo are in the mix on an alien moon where dark experiments are afoot, and Supergirl (glimpsed in flash-forward at the outset of the issue) is on her way.

It’s a lot to process, and Lemire and artist Mike McKone clearly know that readers are smart enough – and patient enough – to have a ton more questions thrown at them than answers. All will be revealed in time, including how Equinox will meet and fit in with this newly assembled Justice League.

(Lemire also can’t resist having his American heroes take pokes at Canada, with Animal Man wondering at one point if they’re suffering from poutine-based hallucinations, then later teasing Strange for the way he pronounces “about.”)

Canada’s superhero tradition is long and rich, from Nelvana of the Northern Lights – soon to be returning in a reprint of her Triumph-Adventure Comics exploits of the 1940s – to Wolverine of the X-Men. But Equinox is the first new Canadian mainstream comic book hero to appear in some time, and it’ll be fascinating to see where she and this Canuck-based incarnation of the formerly star-spangled Justice League go from here.

Super-beavers or no super-beavers.

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Twitter: @stevetilley

steve.tilley@sunmedia.ca

 


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