June 19, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Characters Case File #478: Justice Legion Alpha

The Justice League of the 853rd century are here to save the day.

OK, I started this mini-run with an Avengers team from a different time.  Then I did a Marvel multiversal team.  I followed them up with a DC multiversal team.  So, really, the only thing left is a DC team from a different time period.

That means I am covering Justice Legion Alpha, the Justice League of the 853rd century.

Justice Legion Alpha, most of them anyway, first appeared in JLA #23 in 1998.  That was during Grant Morrison’s run on the series, and the idea was that the future Justice League came back to the present to see the original League and get many of them to come to the future to celebrate the return of the original Superman from the heart of the sun.  And yes, most of them came from the 853rd century, the idea being that, if the numbering continued normally, that would be roughly when the one millionth issue of Action Comics came out as the first issue from 1938 included the first appearance of Superman and the birth of the comic book superhero.

Of course, there was more to it than that.  Thanks to a plot put together by present-day villain Vandal Savage (or his future self) and the futuristic “tyrant sun” Solaris, there was a weird plague hitting the modern era, and the Justice Legion had to deal with it before going back to their own time and working with the original League to save the solar system.  For the month that the special series DC One Million came out, every title got numbered “one million” and was plotted at least by Morrison save Hitman because Morrison apparently knew better than to try and tell Garth Ennis what to write.

But there’s a bit more to the main team.  See, the concept was by that time that the heroes of the era were inspired by both the Justice League and the Legion of Super-Heroes.   Hence the whole “Justice Legion” thing.  They had an “alpha” at the end of their name because they were the premier superhero team of their era, and there were other, lesser so to speak, teams beneath them like Justice Legion Beta and so forth, these teams designed after other DC teams like the Teen Titans.

Anyway, the line-up for the Justice Legion Alpha, each of whom had a planet of the Solar System to call their own:

  • Superman, a descendant of Clark Kent’s, thanks to an ancestor marrying a 5th dimensional princess, he had some other powers on top of the ones he got just for being a Kryptonian, Superman was based on Jupiter or Earth (my memory says Jupiter but Wikipedia says Earth).
  • Batman, the warden of the prison planet Pluto, Batman saw his own parents, guards at the prison, were gunned down in front of him and, inspired by the legendary Dark Knight, became the future Batman.  This Batman had a robotic sidekick named Robin the Toy Wonder.
  • Wonder Woman, haling from Venus where the Amazons moved to, this Wonder Woman was a marble statue brought to life by the Goddess of Truth (who may have been Diana).  She wore shapeshifting bracelets that granted her additional weapons akin to the Invisible Jet.
  • Aquaman, the King of the oceanic planet Neptune, he looked more fish-like and had power of water itself down to the molecular level.
  • The Flash, using Mercury as his homebase, this Flash was the only member of the team who wasn’t created by Morrison as he started off as John Fox, the Flash of the 27th Century during Mark Waid’s run on Wally West’s book.
  • Starman, Farris Knight, a descendant of Ted Knight, monitored Solaris from his space station where Uranus used to be (insert Watson joke here).  Starman initially betrayed the team but then sacrificed his life to save the world.
  • Hourman, an android programmed with DNA from the Tyler line, this guy had time-based temporal powers and would spend a good deal of time in the modern era.  Probably based on Saturn.

Additionally, there were a couple others who either joined later or were not part of the group that went into the past to bring the original League to the future.

  • Resurrection Man, Mitch Shelley, still alive in the 853rd century, had his nanotech-powered abilities fixed so he had control over when he died and what sort of powers he had when he came back to life.  He acted as the team’s tactician.
  • The Atom, a survivor of a doomed universe, he didn’t shrink so much as split himself into smaller and smaller versions of himself.
  • Owlwoman, Starman’s replacement, and not much else seems to be out there about her.
  • Martian Manhunter, not really a member, but J’onn J’onzz is still there for advice if you know how to ask him as he became one with the planet Mars at some point.

Now, the Justice Legion has been seen outside of DC One Million, but not that often.  They popped up in Convergence to battle the Crime Syndicate, and they had a supporting role in Scott Snyder’s ultimately kinda pointless Justice League run since that whole thing was just something to go between his big Dark Multiverse stories, and I only barely understood those at times.  But really, even in the future, there’s still Justice.