DC One Million (1998)
Written by Grant Morrison (with James Robinson, Ron Marz, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning)
Art by Val Semeiks (with Peter Snejbjerg, Howard Porter, Bryan Hitch, Butch Guice)
In a burst of power, the Justice Legion of the 853rd Century appears before the modern day JLA. This team of the future explains they have come to hold down the fort while Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, and the others travel into 853rd Century to herald the return of Superman Prime who has been in a self-imposed exile within the sun for millennia. The teams swap places with the JLA rookies (Steel, Zauriel, Plastic Man, Big Barda, Orion, and Huntress staying behind). As soon as the original team departs, all hell breaks loose. The android Hourman releases a nano-virus that was secretly programmed into him and Vandal Savage nukes Buenos Aires. It becomes clear this whole hero exchange was turned into a plan to destroy hope in the galaxy and transcends the present and future.
DC One Million was the second DC event I bought every issue of (Zero Hour being the first). I was in love with Grant Morrison’s JLA during high school, picking up the series in trade paperback format as the volumes dropped. The artwork and epic level storytelling was right in my wheelhouse, and I still have a deep fondness for everything Morrison does. He has such an esoteric way of thinking and loves grappling with the DC Universe concepts that the company shied away from post-Crisis. The whole premise of this crossover is a hell of a lot of fun and doesn’t seem to be too serious about the proceedings.
The core mini-series DC One Million doesn’t spend much time at all in the future, instead focusing on the Justice Legion and the JLA rookies as they deal with the global meltdown. Morrison understands that the JLA should be a blockbuster title, so there isn’t a single slow moment in the four issues. Val Semeiks’ art is incredibly dynamic and colorful, getting us caught up in a good old-fashioned superhero team-up story.
During the month DC One Million ran for all of the ongoing titles had a #1,000,000 tie-in issue which purported to show us a version of their featured hero or team in the 853rd Century. The majority was non-essential, and a fun laugh for the creative teams. The DC One Million collection does include four tie-ins that it deems required reading for the crossover: Starman, JLA, Green Lantern, and Resurrection Man. These tie-ins mainly focus on the traitor within the Justice Legion who is aligned with Solaris, the event’s main villain.
Solaris is an artificial intelligence turned into a living sun. The events of DC One Million present an incredibly fun time twisting paradox that leads to Solaris being responsible for his creation. Morrison writes these potentially confusing plots beats with such confidence that you don’t feel disoriented for a moment. He also brings in the return of the android Hourman, a character introduced in his Rock of Ages arc in JLA, helping to set up the Justice Society’s eventual return. Additionally, he makes John Fox the future Flash from Mark Waid’s run into a member of the Justice Legion, having stumbled across them on a time skipping mission.
DC One Million would end up having little to no long-lasting influence regarding its actual plot beats, Solaris and these events never really got mentioned again save in the DC One Million 80 Page Giant published a few years later. Hourman spun off into his own series which we will cover on the blog someday though. Unlike other vast universe spanning events, DC One Million doesn’t want to do anything more than be a fun, adventure story.