Robot 6

‘Justice League Canada’ to introduce young Cree superheroine

justice league canadaWhen DC Comics’ Justice League of America relaunches in April as Justice League Canada, it will introduce a young Cree superheroine inspired in part by Shannen Koostachin, a teenage activist who lobbied the federal government for a new school in Attawapiskat First Nation, on the James Bay Coast. Koostachin died in a car accident in 2010 at the age of 15.

“I think if I can capture some of that heart and some of that essence in this character,” writer Jeff Lemire told CBC News. “Perhaps she’ll almost be a guiding spirit in the creation of this character.”

Announced in August, the series will find the Justice League moving to Canada in the wake of “Trinity War.” Lemire had previously revealed the team lineup would include Adam Strange, reintroduced as a Canadian, as well as a Canadian teenager, but this interview provides more details.

For instance, we now know that Hawkman and Green Arrow — currently part of the Justice League of America roster — will remain, and that the initial storyline involves the infiltration of “a secret alien bunker” near James Bay. That’s where the new superheroine enters the picture, as two local teenagers sneak into the bunker once the Justice League leaves, and it’s learned one of them is part of a legacy of Cree heroes.

Lemire, who lives in Toronto, explained it was important to him to include a First Nations character in the book.

“I knew if I was moving the team here, I wanted to really reflect the country and not just have, you know, stereotypes and cliches of what people think of Canada,” he said. “I think to do that you have to reflect specific parts of the country, and so I chose a very distinct landscape, and the James Bay area is very isolated, and visually it gives us a lot to work with. I think our First Nations are an aspect of our identity that are often overlooked. If this can shine more light on their culture and their way of life, I think it’s a great opportunity.”

Although Lemire said the character’s powers will reflect her Cree culture, he remained tight-lipped about her name.The writer will travel in two weeks to Moosonee and Moose Factory in northern Ontario to talk to students; he’ll hold a contest in which they’ll suggest the character’s abilities.

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Comments

25 Comments

I guess I’m just dense, but I still can’t figure out if this is a new series (or mini series) that will run parallel to JLA, or is it a temporary name change?

Or in other words, is it gonna cost me *another* $3.99? ;-)

This sounds like a decent idea that will be completely mishandled based on DC’s track record. I hope it works, though!

@SJNEal: This is going to be a temporary name change to JLA to reflect the storyline. It will eventually be re-branded JLA.

@Darima80…that’s not until JLSEA (Justice League South East Asia) gets its chance.

Thank God she will not be written by Geoff Johns.

Justice League Hackney! Only a matter of time.

It’s just JLA’s new name between April and September, when their annual event resets things.

Now I’m really looking forward this. I wasn’t at first but after reading this article

PLEASE for the love of god, let martian manhunter say the hell away from this title, he already had to suffer the likes of brett booth on JLA, the canada artist aint that great ether.

he need to ether go back to the main Justice league team so he can be drawn by ivan reis (PLEASE GOD)

or he needs his own ongoing desperately.

@SJNeal

the early interviews suggested that tit was just a story with Justice League of America getting a temporary name change.

Mister Stockwell

October 31, 2013 at 6:04 pm

This is being reported like it is some thoroughly unheard of concept. The original Alpha Flight, written and drawn by John Byrne back in the early 80s (about 30 years ago) had TWO characters that were descended from Indiginous People (Shaman and Talisman). And Snowbird’s background and powers had strong links to that aspect of Canadian culture. That doesn’t mean it’s wrong for a DC book to introduce such a character. But CBR should be a bit more complete in its reporting.

lol they made a spelling mistake. it should be “Kree”

As long as they don’t call her Mary Mar-Vell they should be OK

Brian from Canada

October 31, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Stockwell: the three you identify are Marvel, not DC, and were NOT representatives of native culture in Canada or Canadian aboriginals. (Shaman and Talisman could have easily been symbols of southern American natives as well.)

What makes this character unique is that she’s (a) female, (b) native, and (c) based off a real world hero — something DC should be promoting because it makes them representative of the culture the book is set in.

Alpha Flight, for all its “Canadianism” lost it when Byrne left in issue 12. Trust me: as a Canadian, I find the majority of volume 1 completely generic, and volumes 2 onwards to be generic and/or insulting.

“Cree” is the correct spelling.

This article presumes we have any idea what “Cree” is…

You’d better ask somebody, Nada.

@Brian: John Byrne left after issue 28 of Alpha Flight…not 12

@Brian What’s unique about a female JL member?

Anyway, hope the new character goes down well.

Moosonee and Moose Factory eh? Where milk is $12 a bag, drug abuse rampant and the suicide rate among teens is skyrocketing? Damn right that place needs super heroes!

@Brian From Canada

Shaman & Talisman are Sarcee, which actually IS a true-to-life native culture in Canada. And, as someone else pointed out to you, Byrne didn’t leave the book at #12.

Brian from Canada

November 1, 2013 at 6:21 pm

@Martin: there is a loud call for diversity in comics. Having another female, and a native at that, is a good start.

@Nada: good point. The Cree are one of the largest native populations in North America. Though it’s the Ojibwe that are around Toronto.

@FromTheAshes: Sarcee or not, neither Shaman or Talisman are shown to have a strong connection socially to the native populations in Alpha Flight’s first volume — they are average Calgarians. There is no reservation, they are perfectly assimilated. And they never speak of native issues in the run except when it comes to “ancient traditions” like the medicine pouch that is in every tribe. (Conversely, Northstar’s FLQ past is definitively Quebecois.)

As for the Byrne run length… sorry. The series took a nosedive after issue 12, IMO, and I must have blocked out Byrne kept going another year. He’s certainly the best of the writers on Alpha Flight by far though (despite my favourite story being in Marvel Age and dealing with Northstar’s FLQ terrorist past).

I’m down for this as long as she isn’t written as a) Native Princess or b) Wise Tribal Person closer to Nature than White People. Both of which are awful and boring stereotypes.

So, I have a question…the bases of operations for the Justice League members are all over (Central City, Gotham Metropolis, etc), and the bases of operations for the JLA members are all over too (Detroit, Gotham, Star City, etc)…so, if the individual team members (for both the JL and JLA) are located all over the map, and then come together when summoned, why would the entire team need to move to Canada? It seems odd for the entire JLA to move to Canada, just to bunk together.

I am an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) young woman born in Canada, and I believe that having a superheroine based on the concept of someone of our sister tribes is wonderful, however I do agree with matthew and should not be written of as a Native Princess (there never was any concept of royalty in native culture), or the typical Shaman type that has no clear purpose or link to current isses. Someone that respects cultural traditions, inherent knowledge, follows the sacred teachings, as well as having her own amazing powers and talents are somethng I look forward to seeing unfold! Cant wait to hear more

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