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Mike Wikholm On Justice League United

A couple of years ago I was introduced to the work of Jeff Lemire through the Volume One trade of Sweet Tooth. It wasn’t long after I finished reading that I wanted to get my hands on anything he had written. And now I just need to see his name as a writer or artist and I immediately want to read it.
So, back in August 2013 when it was announced that Jeff Lemire was going to be taking over writing duties on (the then still titled) Justice League America, I was in. Add to that the changing of the title to Justice League Canada and now I’m doubly hooked.
Written by Jeff Lemire with pencils by Mike McKone, Justice League United was originally planned as a renaming of Justice League America it was later decided that the book would be relaunched as a zero issue, with the first arc in the series titled Justice League Canada. The new team would be based in Canada consisting of Animal Man, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Stargirl, Supergirl, Adam Strange and an all-new, super-powered Cree teenager named Equinox.
The team comes together after a series of events in various locations. The series starts on the prison moon of Thalsalla, where we see them all fighting together against Byth who is the process of creating an alien baby. It then flashes back three days to show us the start of the team, and how they all got there.
In Toronto, Animal Man and Stargirl are doing a meet and greet. Adam Strange has come to them for help after his wife, Alanna, disappears in a beam of light from a dig site in Moosonee, Ontario. Animal Man, Stargirl and Adam are attacked by aliens and are soon joined in the fight by Martian Manhunter and the Green Arrow. All thanks to a call J’onn received from Stargirl.
Meanwhile, we learn that Alanna has been Zeta beamed to the prison moon of Thalsalla. It also happens that Hawkman is one of the prisoners. In a bid to win the freedom of his fellow inmates, Hawkman challenges Lobo to a fight, which does not end well, for Hawkman.
As for Supergirl, she doesn’t arrive until Issue #2. Her arrival is brought on when the team is fighting Sardath on the planet Rann.
We meet the newest character, in the Northern Ontario town of Moose Factory, located not far from Moosonee. Miiyabin Marten is a Cree teenager who later becomes known as Equinox, a superhero that gets her powers from the Earth and change with the season. She first learns of her powers after arriving home to her grandmother’s and sees a strange man has broken into the house. She confronts him and he transforms into The Whitago. He forces her to say “Keewahtin”, the word that allows her to transform into Equinox. The first few issues we don’t see much of Equinox with the ‘United’ team. Her story is developed in bits and pieces but eventually it does lead to her joining the mission.
equinox.jpg.size.xxlarge.letterboxJeff Lemire does a great job on writing duties, and I really enjoy Mike McKone’s art in Justice League United. Having previously written a solo title for Animal Man, and for a short time concurrently writing Green Arrow, you really get a sense of Lemire’s familiarity with the two characters. In fact their banter is some of the best parts of the series.
I also give Lemire a big thumbs up for Equinox. Firstly for creating such an interesting character, but also for the hard work and research that went into it. To get a better understanding of the Cree Nation, their culture and way of life, Lemire travelled to a Cree community in Moose Factory to get a first-hand idea about their way of life and traditions.
All-in-all this is a great effort from Jeff Lemire, Mike McKone and the entire team working on Justice League United. Like I said before, I’ll read anything that Jeff Lemire writes. So, for as long as he’s on the title I’ll be a reader of Justice League United. I’ll probably stick around even after he’s left too.
(Justice League United #0-5 will be collected in hardcover as Justice League United Vol. 1: Justice League Canada this coming March)