Justice League: Last Ride Just Gave JLU a New Meaning

WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League: Last Ride #7, on sale now from DC Comics.

Though all seemed lost for the fractured League in the previous issue, the final issue of Justice League: Last Ride brings new life for this version of DC's premier superhero team. There have been many different versions of the League before, including Justice League International, Justice League Europe and Justice League Detroit. Now a new incarnation, the JLU, has been introduced, but the famed acronym holds a different meaning this time around.

The team's last fight on Apokolips fractured the team after stopping Darkseid's most destructive plan led to the death of Martian Manhunter. J'onn's death weighed heavily on the relationship between Superman and Batman, with both keeping their distance from each other and the other members of the League. However, a ruse by Darkseid brought them back to Apokolips and the team was able to resolve their differences and come back stronger than ever.

With the Green Lanterns turning Apokolips into New Oa, and the members of the reformed Justice League now spread across the universe, the Trinity of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman meet on the Watchtower to discuss the team's future in Justice League: Last Ride #7 (by Chip Zdarsky, Miguel Mendonça, Enrica Angiolini and AndWorld Design). They're telepathically joined by the Guardian of New Oa, J'onn J'onzz, who gives them the idea for what to call their new intergalactic team.

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Though J'onn now exists as a Lantern construct in the heart of New Oa, he tells the trio that his heart belongs with the League, and, with their trust in each other restored and stronger than ever, the Trinity realizes that they can endure anything as a team. After their final battle with Darkseid, they now see that evil and corruption are universal constants, bringing to light a need for the League must to evolve. In a moment of inspiration, the heroes decide to move past the constraints of labels such as "America" or even "International," finally deciding to call themselves the Justice League Universal.

The most famous use of JLU in the past comes from the classic DC Animated Universe show Justice League Unlimited. While the original Justice League animated series focused on a team of seven unchanging members, its sequel series was all about expanding that roster by bringing in heroes from other DCAU shows and even the comics. Some, such as Green Arrow, were obvious choices, but others were less so. At one point, the show even brought together the somewhat obscure Seven Soldiers of Victory.

After they faced the Justice Lords, there was an ongoing storyline about whether or not the League's unlimited expansion was a step towards the creation of a dictatorship. Although this fear threatened to break apart the alliance of heroes, in the end, it eventually brought them closer together. With the new Justice League Universal hoping to save those beyond Earth, it can be hoped that their bold new expansion will do the same.

RELATED: Shazam’s Justice League Dream Is Destined to Fail Horribly

Another lesser-known JLU was the Justice League United that existed in the New 52 era of the DC Universe. This team was a continuation of the Justice League of America set up by government operative Amanda Waller to be a foil to the main Justice League members. Originally conceived as a Canadian version of the team, this League also went beyond Earth in their quest for justice in a manner very similar to what has just been seen in Last Ride.

Although this series has given a new life and meaning to the JLU, it's not a deviation from what has already come before, but rather an expansion of previous iterations. Now the acronym stands for the heroes and their unending mission to expand and protect the entire universe from the threats that may come from beyond the earth.

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Andrew Herbison (195 Articles Published)

Andrew is a writer, artist and typical nerd based in Northern Ireland. With an MA in Creative Writing, they hope to one day combine these passions to form a creative endeavor that is not only enjoyable to produce but publishable too. Andrew can usually be found with a cup of Earl Grey in hand and an episode of Doctor Who on. Contact Email: [email protected]

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