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Comic Review: Justice League United #0 heads to Canada

Equinox new Cree Canadian superhero in Justice League United #0

It all starts with the Toronto Convention Centre.

Okay, maybe Justice League United #0 actually begins in space, but the team starts to come together when Adam Strange brings an alien skull to show Animal Man and Star Girl at a Comic Con autograph signing.

Because why not show some love to Canada?

Writer Jeff Lemire’s first arc, Justice League Canada, is True North through-and-through.

And that doesn’t mean it’s full of Canadian stereotypes.

It’s actually genuine.

Lemire and artist Mike McKone show they’ve put a lot of work into making this comic right. The Toronto scenes look like Toronto (take it from a Torontonian), and not just because they’ve got the CN Tower on the skyline. It’s obvious McKone took great pains to reproduce the cityscape, just as it’s obvious Lemire has sat at the end of more than a few autograph lines in T.O.

But the research is obvious in his northern Ontario scenes, too. There’s an affection and a care put into the Cree characters introduced here, particularly with Miiyahbin Marten, a.k.a. Equinox. And while we only get one flash of her costume, it’s clear she’s not driven by stereotypes.

Sorry. Enough about the Canadiana.

How was the story?

Pretty good, actually. Lemire brings plenty of humour to the dialogue and does a wonderful job playing his characters off each other – something you need in a team-up book. Animal Man and Green Arrow are particularly good sparring partners, no doubt due to Lemire’s familiarity with writing solo series for each character.

Martian Manhunter feels more accessible than he has been since the New 52 began, while Adam Strange takes the role of Mr. Regular Guy and Star Girl is sort of along for the ride.

Still to join the fray are Hawkman and Supergirl, but their absence (save for a Hawkman cameo at the end) doesn’t hurt at all. Give me Green Arrow, Animal Man and Martian Manhunter and I’ll be satisfied.

And I was more than satisfied with McKone’s art. His clean, detailed lines work well here, but the best stylistic addition he brings is an occasional panel where the subject is drawn black and white, while the background is filled with a single colour. It offsets things nicely and makes for some dramatic single shots.

Justice League United #0 essentially takes our crew of merry misfit B-team Justice Leaguers to remote Moosonee, Ontario, where they discover evil aliens camped underground. Those aliens have abducted Adam Strange’s girlfriend, and they’re causing trouble for Equinox’s village as well.

At the top of that alien organization is the Thanagarian Byth Rok, who’s got space conquest (or something) on his mind. No doubt this series will get interstellar in a hurry, but for the first issue at least, the real locations and grounded tone simply make for a stellar book.

9 out of 10

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