Oh look, it’s DC’s Alpha Flight! A new super team based in Canada, this version of the Justice League fights for truth, justice and the Canadian way.
Or something like that.
DC didn’t make this an easy book to pick up since they start with issue 2 of the Justice League Canada storyline. I didn’t have part 1, which was in Justice League United #0 so I just went with it, that doesn’t mean I wasn’t confused, just that I had no choice. I’m not a big DC fan anyhow, confusion is pretty much the name of the game when I read most of these stories.
So here goes my look at four of the five parts of the Justice League Canada story arc.
To be honest, this doesn’t spend a lot of time in Canada, they have a few scenes there but most of it happens across the galaxy. Of course, I can’t speak to what happened in the first part of the story but there really is no justification given here for why they need a whole new team. Just as with Marvel’s Avengers, the Justice League has so many members and reserve members, you’d think that pretty much everywhere on the planet was covered by somebody associated with the Justice League. Why they need a separate team for Canada is beyond me, but then again, I didn’t know why they needed a West Coast Avengers for the same reason. They don’t address the hows and whys, they just leap into the storyline with Lobo beating the crap out of Hawkman. There have been a lot of character redesigns in the New 52, some good, some bad. I don’t know anyone who likes the new Lobo look, but worse than that is Adam Strange who went from being a hero to a bumbling college professor who just so happened to fall in a hole and find a flying suit. If I might leap to art for a moment, the first appearance of his suit is really, really awkwardly drawn, the human body doesn’t twist that far at the waist, sorry. Where is his other leg?
The story really doesn’t impress me either, but that could be my unfamiliarity with much of the DC universe. There are some parts that I stick to and most that I entirely ignore. With Marvel, I have a general sense how things go across the board. With DC, not so much. However, they start off fighting a big monster. As the team generally fails to act as a team, it rests on Martian Manhunter and Stargirl to do all the heavy lifting and just as they get things under control, Supergirl has to show up. Unfortunately, they pull the one thing that I always hate about New 52, they toss out the entire history of characters and they have to explain all the things that we all know already because we’ve been reading their books for decades. Reboots suck. Anyhow, they all get transported across the universe to Rann, where an evil Thangarian has made a super baby that will allow him to rule the universe. Fighting ensues. Martian Manhunter communicates telepathically with the baby and finds out it isn’t evil after all. Therefore, he adopts it like a pet. Most of them go back to Canada and name themselves Justice League United. United with what? We just don’t know. Getting back to what I said before, since the Justice League has never been centered in America really, why bother with country names and just be Justice League. Maybe they can sell franchises.
The writing by Jeff Lemire really meanders and has plot holes so big you could fly the Watchtower through them. He has a lighter take on Animal Man and Green Arrow, who add to the comedy relief, but Supergirl is a bitch, Martian Manhunter isn’t anyone to look up to, it’s really hard to take them seriously as a team. All we have are B-list and C-list heroes, other than Supergirl, none of them can carry a book on their own and that’s one thing that Justice League has usually done, they’ve had all the heavy hitters on the team. Here, they don’t. Art isn’t bad, helmed by Mike McKone, but it isn’t amazing either. I’ve seen McKone do some really fantastic art and this certainly isn’t his best work.
This just isn’t an impressive book. To quote Animal Man, “Meh.” It could be, I suppose but this first arc really does nothing but show everyone phoning it in.