Warning: SPOILERS for Justice League #33
The Batman Beyond animated show introduced a wildly popular superhero team when they created the future Justice League Unlimited for the DC Universe. While this next generation Justice League has only made a few appearances since, that could be changing soon in the world of DC Comics.
The modern-day heroes of DC's Justice League are currently traveling through time and space seeking allies to stop Lex Luthor and the cosmic goddess Perpetua from remaking the multiverse into her own dark image. So far their search has reintroduced many fan-favorite characters to the DC Rebirth Universe – including Beyond heroes in the final pages of Justice League #33.
The story finds Justice League members Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman travelling to the future to retrieve a fragment of the Totality, a shard from Perpetua’s former prison that can be used to contain the cosmic being. Their journey takes them to several alternate DC futures, beginning with the post-apocalyptic era of Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth. Discovering Kamandi’s world is just one of many future timelines trapped inside the containment bottles of Brainiac One Million, the Justice League and Kamandi split up. When Kamandi ventures into other trapped futures to find reinforcements, he winds up in the future neo-Gotham world of Batman Beyond (roughly fifty years from the modern Justice League’s time frame) and encounters the Justice League... Beyond.
It’s a startling reintroduction, as the JLU made its debut in the two-part story “The Call” from the third season of the Batman Beyond animated series. With a roster that includes an older Superman, next generation Batman Terry McGinnis, New God Big Barda, Green Lantern monk Kai-Ro, Aquaman’s daughter Aquagirl, size-shifting Micron, and Warhawk, son of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern John Stewart – the Justice League Unlimited boasts some impressive firepower. Later appearances in the DC Animated Universe reveal a sixty-year old Static is also a League member, while the Justice League Beyond comic book series added Flash successor Danica Williams and a still-teenage Billy Batson (now able to switch places with all members of the Shazam family) to the lineup.
Past Justice League Unlimited stories tend to be epic in scope, with their debut in Batman Beyond showing the team repelling a planet-wide invasion from the DC Animated Universe’s version of Starro the Conqueror, the mind-controlling alien starfish (who, ironically, is now an ally of the modern-day Justice League and Batman’s current sidekick). Other storylines had the team battling time traveling overlords, the universe-conquering Brainiac, and even the Justice Lords, a corrupt alternate version of the Justice League. That said, the stories never sacrificed humor or heart, with one subplot showing an elderly Superman getting dating advice from the JLU.
With the final page of Justice League #33 showing only Superman, Batman, Big Barda, Micron, Warhawk, Aquagirl, and Green Lantern, it is unknown if any additional JLU members will be reintroduced in subsequent issues. It is also unknown if the Batman of this future is Terry McGinnis (the animated universe’s Batman) or Tim Drake (a former Robin who temporarily took up the Batman Beyond mantle in the comics). Given that Terry McGinnis is Batman again in the Batman Beyond comic book, however, readers may enjoy seeing a version of the Justice League Unlimited that is a close approximation of the original team first introduced in the Batman Beyond animated series.
Regardless, given the enduring popularity of Batman Beyond and the under-utilized Justice League Unlimited, fans have a lot to anticipate when the JLU joins the war against Perpetua and Lex Luthor’s Legion of Doom. As the Justice/Doom War storyline serves not only as an epic crossover event for DC Comics but also a way to reintroduce popular characters and have them interact with the main cast, one can only hope the JLU will get plenty of space to shine. And considering their track record of battling threats on a universal scale, there’s an excellent chance the Justice League Unlimited will play a major role in the climactic battle.
- JUSTICE LEAGUE #34
- Released on: October 16th, 2019
- Written by James Tynion IV
- Art by Jim Cheung
- Cover by Francis Manapul
- "The Justice Doom War" part five! All Hypertime is breaking! If it blows, all of reality will follow after-which would be just fine for Lex Luthor, who is ready to prove to the evil goddess Perpetua that he's the bad man for her. The Justice League is attempting to do what they can, chasing the Legion of Doom across the time-sphere. If the Totality is put back together, the whole Multiverse will tip toward Doom...and have consequences that reverberate throughout the DC Universe-assuming it's not destroyed in the process.