Justice League United #5 review

The new Justice League United team has scored its first victory, rescuing the space child, Ultra, from an intergalactic war. But a price was paid – Hawkman died.

So who’s activated his transmitter from across space? The question has Animal Man, Stargirl, Supergirl and Green Arrow racing to a bounty hunter’s den, courtesy of Sardath’s zeta beam. And that’s the last we see of them in an issue that focuses on new superhero Equinox, laying out her powers, heritage and responsibilities. She sorts out the whitago – a whitago is to a wendigo what a Marvel zuvembie was to a zombie – in no short order and takes her place on the JLA. Also signing up is Alanna Strange, aparently too excited at suddenly being a superhero to worry too much about being zillions of miles from husband Adam due to a peesky ‘zeta-loop’.

Actually, it’s rather wonderful to see Alanna, and indeed, Equinox – aka Canadian teenage Miiyabin – thrilled to bits at being with the JLU. After a couple of decades in which superhero books seemed embarrassed by themselves, it’s great to see characters embracing the goodness and thinking more of the fun than the sacrifices. Hawkman’s death – for however long it lasts – hasn’t put anyone off, it’s inspired; even the previously grumpy Supergirl is smiling at the prospect of a new adventure.

Jeff Lemire’s script gets off to a cracking start with J’onn J’onn’s hilarious Martian version of an old Earth proverb and things jog along nicely to the end. The whitago plotline is cleaned up a little too quickly, perhaps, but it does re-introduce us to Mii’s grandmother in a new role – Supergran! 

It turns out that she’s also a protector of Canada (or Canadia, as my chums on the Panel Culture podcast have it), and Lemire would be missing an opportunity were he not to have her fill in for Equinox on occasion. Senior superheroes are always fun.

The only off-moment is this reaction from starlet-turned-superhero Stargirl.

Yeah, right.

Oh, and is ‘Ever cool’ a Canadian thing? Both Mii and (apparently middle-aged) best pal Heather say it. And it’s ever annoying.

Timothy Green II (there’s a Freddie Williams II, too, is a II different somehow from a Jr?) draws this issue, and while I like the sense of heroic whimsy he conveys, some of the figurework is a tad goofy – Supergirl and Stargirl, for example, have pipecleaner legs, and many of the ‘standing around’ poses are awkward. it’s a shame inker Joe Silver, who looks to have talent, didn’t correct as he went along, as a hint to Green (whose work I generally enjoy a lot). 

If Green is officially replacing the tremendous Mike McKone – who’s represented here by that beaut of a cover – I hope he gets to redesign Alanna’s costume, which is bonkers similar to that of Equinox. The always excellent colour artist Jeromy Cox could at least change one of the colour schemes, 

Hey ho, these are minor things in a series that continues to delight. And next time, in the Annual, we get the Legion. What can I say but Long Live the Legion – and Justice League United.

10 thoughts on “Justice League United #5 review

  1. As usual, our thoughts on the book are similar.

    I got confused between Alanna and Equinox early in the book too. Too much powder blue!

    I love that Alanna seems excited to be a hero.

    And I also thought the art seemed stiff and the women thin and universally standing with their backs arched.

    But despite those blips, I continue to love this book and the energy Lemire brings to the team

    Plus … Legion!


  2. He does indeed, Martin. But he gets better.
    I thought there was some comment in JLU towards the end of the issue just before the Future's End interruption that the “Hawkman” who died wasn't the real Hawkman. I don't think the JLU know that, but I'm pretty sure Sardath does.


  3. I found the scene. It's in JLU #4. It's a scene in the middle of the story. Byth and Lobo attacking the ship carrying Hawkman's body to Thanagar. Byth wants to harvest the Nth metal out of Hawkman's body. After dispatching the crew and sending Lobo off with payment, Byth looks at the body and says, “And now “Hawkman” it's time to take you home.”
    So… admittedly it's a scene that's open to interpretation but I think it opens the door for Hawkman to return without too much in the way of extra explanations.


  4. “a whitago is to a wendigo what a Marvel zuvembie was to a zombie” I'm pretty sure “whitago” is just the alternative Cree word for “wendigo”.


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