JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED #0
Written by Jeff Lemire
Art by Mike McKone
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: April 23, 2014
Justice League United #0 does everything a zero issue needs to do. Lemire sets the framework for the series up in these pages, letting readers know who the players in this series are going to be, and how they become involved in this Northern conflict. With the Justice League titles crossing over heavily since last summer’s Trinity War, and JLA really being a companion title to Justice League since the beginning, this comic being a standalone tale is welcomed. Lemire infuses a ton of energy into this comic, giving readers these heroes at their best, each with a unique and strong voice. Lemire’s Animal Man is lighter than during his character defining run, which was nice in this team setting, and his Stargirl is charismatic without being overly peppy. Lemire gives a lot of subtle nods to events of Forever Evil without explicitly dragging the event into this title, which is appreciated. As a #0 issue JLU is a fantastic jumping on point that requires no prior knowledge of anything in the DCU, really, but Lemire deftly adds pieces in for JLA readers to feel at home with the series. The introduction of Adam Strange is handled very well, and the pages featuring the new heroine Equinox are filled with mystery. The lack of knowledge readers have about her make those pages explosive and exciting, and I can’t wait to see what Lemire has in store for her next. Lemire accomplishes a lot in this comic and I applaud his pacing. At no point does this issue feel like information overload, but it also does not drag at all. Readers get a lot of story for their buck, but not an overwhelming amount of exposition that takes half an hour to chew through. This is a very well crafted and entertaining primer for the series, and another win for Jeff Lemire.
As strong as Jeff Lemire’s writing is, Mike McKone matches him with superb artwork. His characters are dynamic and energetic and his style suits this story very well. As a Canadian who has been in the woods up North, I appreciated the detail with which McKone penciled the environment in much of the story. His work with trees in the snowy landscape was perfect, and he uses the geography of the setting well to keep the panels visually interesting. He pencils this large cast very well, and really nails the personalities of the cast. He handles the Equinox pages especially well, presenting readers with a powerful hero and a stunning first look at her in full costumed action. McKone’s storytelling is very strong throughout the entire issue, nailing comedic moments and giving characters like Green Arrow the proper amounts of swagger. His strongest work of the entire issue is on the final page, and I can’t wait to see what visuals McKone has planned for issue #1.
Now, as a Canuck I can’t let this review slide by without discussing the Canadiana of the issue. Jeff Lemire brings a unique perspective to the comic, being that he is Canadian, and I applaud the little details he adds in for Canadian readers. He bucks stereotypes while playing up others, a truly Canadian quality, and gives this comic a very Canadian feel. The inclusion of Equinox and the world he writes her living in is brilliant and I can’t wait to see what he has in store for that character. Very small details, such as the units of measurement being labeled in metric units were appreciated, though I do have one gripe: no human character, without some kind of powers to insulate their bodies, can withstand -35 celsius without a coat. I will stop there so as to not infringe on spoiler territory, but as someone who lives in the cold this detail did stick out like a sore thumb. That minor gripe aside, this is a comic that I will proudly label as being a great Canadian book, something we don’t see often in the Big Two.
Justice League United #0 is a fantastic debut issue from a creative team that is already obviously in sync. Lemire has a great voice for these characters and McKone does a great job of handling this large cast and giving each character a strong personality. This is an excellent jumping on point for anyone looking to dive into a Justice League book without the burden of continuity, and I highly recommend you give this comic a shot.
The Verdict: 9.5/10