Few comics fill me with such joy while also breaking my heart like Jeff Parker’s run on Justice League United. After 10 issues plus an annual and a Future’s End story, writer Jeff Lemire left the title he’d started on. The book never reached any amazing heights but it was always an enjoyable kooky series that had initially started as Justice League Canada. Jeff Parker came on and established a new exciting direction for the book. Team member Adam Strange, now stuck suspended in Zeta Space, beams messages of “Cosmic Convergence anomalies” that have popped up due to the Convergence event, to his wife and JLU member Alanna Strange. Parker uses this setup and takes existing members: Alanna, Stargirl, Animal Man & Equinox and has them become a team that adds rotating members of literally ANY CHARACTER throughout the universe that can help them with whatever trouble pops up. Its genius. Its the absolute perfect way to run a team book .
Now, before Parker’s run started in proper in issue 11, DC Comics released in the back of some comics and then all online digital little previews around 10 pages long for each comic they were publishing called DC Sneak Peeks. These were meant to be primers that anyone could read for free and if they felt hooked, would then buy the series. It was a pretty fun idea and Parker used his to really present the mission statement for his run, joined by Travel Foreman on pencil & ink duties, Jeromy Cox on colors and letterer Travis Lanham. As it was and is a free digital comic I will be posting the entire thing below:
This sneak peek is an amazing promise of a series that we ultimately didnt really get. We get a wonderful couple of issues in issue 11-12, which are some of my favorite issues of a comic ever as Parker & Foreman give us this awesome team:
And then we have a wonderful little time travel arc in issues 13-15 featuring Sgt. Rock, Steel, the Kevin Kho Omac, Robotman and more with art by Paul Pelletier. But then suddenly, Foreman comes back for issue 16 and the title is hurriedly wrapped up in its final issue. In a swathe of titles being cancelled, DC pulled the plug on the series before it really even had a chance to happen!
This one still hurts, man. I constantly think about what could have been. Jeff Parker can do no wrong by me and Travel Foreman is one of my favorite artists of all time. He blends the amazing facial expression skill of Kevin Maguire with the beautifully ugly realism of Frank Quitely with the peak art skill of Travis Charest. His stuff is so unique and such a feast for the eyes. Theres nothing like it.
If I was running DC, I would make this a title that would run forever. A small team of lovable C-listers that you can add anyone to in perpetuity. Its a solid gold book. This shouldve been the evergreen DC Comic. A run we could all as fans delight to each month with wild and crazy teams made up of heroes, villains and everyone in between. It depresses me so much that this wasnt allowed to grow for years and years. The ultimate indignity on top of all this is that the trade paperback collecting all these was ALSO cancelled. This Sneak Peek isnt in physical form anywhere. These issues, welp, you better find the actual issues. Unbelievable that they couldnt even get a reprint collection. Its just so WRONG!
I take solace in that I’ll always have this Sneak Peek – a wonderful, exciting promise of a series that goes above and beyond anything my imagination could cook up. A series thats a huge love letter to all the characters in the DC Universe that deserve a turn in the sun. For one brief small moment I had a perfect comic series in my grasp. It had everyone. It was United.