Stories I Never Told

Stories I Never Told: Future Justice

One weird element that keeps coming up as I look through my old files is that many of the ideas, notions, and “bits” that I developed actually ended up happening “for real” in later comics! Maybe it’s a weird coincidence or psychic thievery or maybe it’s just that — given time — sufficient permutations of comic book stuff will result in any possibility coming true.

Last week, for example, I mentioned my plan to use an obscure character called The Wrath…and years later The Wrath was, indeed, resurrected. Similarly, there are some strange coincidences between this week’s entry and what eventually happened in the actual comics. I’ll point them out when we get there, and will also point out such coincidences going forward. Because why not?

This particular Story I Never Told is similar to the last one in a couple of ways. For one thing, it’s of relatively early vintage — probably 1990 or 1991, making me a college freshman or sophomore. For another, it involves an alternate version of the Justice League.

Future Justice logo

Future Justice was a mini-series idea that would have been set some time in the 26th century, a period of DC’s future history that — as best I could tell — hadn’t been explored.1 It was a pretty simple story, really.

In a nutshell: Earth is on the precipice of a massive alien invasion. Four heroes come together when they learn of a prophecy, that in Earth’s most dire hour, the lost Tomb of Superman will be found…and the “ancient power” will be resurrected to save the world once more. Those heroes are:

Savior: Mysterious super-powered being who appeared from nowhere one day and just started saving lives. He has all of Superman’s powers, but no private life, no secret identity. He’s “on” 24/7.

Nightman: Will Kane, a professor at Yale Megaversity, after watching two of his students get murdered by a street gang, develops a suit of bioarmor, including a thought-sensitive cloak that can take any form. This was a very Silver Agey idea, I thought, harkening back to that time in comics when university professors apparently harbored secret desires to beat the crap out of bad guys. Fine by me.

Green Lantern: A.k.a. Charlie Vicker, a Green Lantern stand-in from the 20th century2 who, caught up in a time vortex, has ended up in the 26th century.

Skevil Kon: A Thanagarian hawk-police officer exiled to Earth after a diplomatic foul-up back home.

They would be joined their quest by The Troy, Donna Troy, still alive and ageless after all these years, having now evolved over the centuries from Wonder Girl to Troia to the real-life myth called simply The Troy. I imagined her wielding the Persuader’s Atomic Axe, which she would eventually lose (as predicted in the Legion’s time) during World War VII.3

Together, the five of them would find the Tomb…but it’s empty. Superman is not within. The prophecy is a lie.

Or is it? Because what is in the Tomb is a bunch of memorabilia, showing Superman with his pals in the Justice League. The “ancient power” to be resurrected isn’t Superman — it’s the idea of the Justice League. Which, as you’ve figured out by now, I’ve basically re-assembled here, with a Superman, a Batman, a Green Lantern, a Hawkman, and a Wonder Woman.

And so Future Justice is formed and the five of them go off together and kick alien butt.

Nice and simple, eh?

And of course I wanted to spin this off into an ongoing series, which is where the coincidences begin to pile up.

The first thing I would have done in the ongoing series is bring in a Flash.4 I would have used the then-recently-created John Fox, from the 27th century. He would have been “on the run” (sorry, no pun intended) from forces in his own time and have fled to the past. And, yes, of course I planned on a crossover with my Crime Syndicate of America series. Because clearly my talent was so massive that DC would have had me writing two series at once!

So, the first coincidence is using Fox at all. He was an obscure one-off character until years later, when Mark Waid used him in the Flash series…running from forces in his own century and fleeing to the past. Yikes!5

The second coincidence is the idea of having Fox join a super-hero team out of his own time period. Grant Morrison had him join Justice Legion A in the classic DC One Million series.

Speaking of Justice Legion A and DC One Million…a future version of the Justice League? Granted (no pun intended), Morrison’s idea blew mine the hell away, but still — vaguely similar notions.

All weird coincidences, right?

Oh, one more thing. I eventually would have explained how poor Charlie Vicker ended up time-tossed into the future (and why he had to stay there), but I never would have told Savior’s origin. That’s because my plan was that he was, in reality, the pre-Crisis Superman, trapped in a post-Crisis world he couldn’t understand. I would have dropped a few very oblique hints, but otherwise I would have been satisfied with knowing that I’d rescued one of my favorite characters from publishing oblivion.

My buddy Rich Bernatovech was kind enough to draw my characters for me over twenty years ago! We’ve both come a long way since then, but I have to admit — I still get a little shiver when I look at this artwork, bringing my team to life. (I “designed” the costumes for Nightman, Savior, and Green Lantern, such as they are.) Rich kept at his art, evolved his style, and now has his own comics in print. Be sure to check out his most excellent Tumblr!

Future Justice characters

From top, moving counterclockwise: Skevil Kon, Savior, John Fox/Flash, Donna Troy/The Troy, Will Kane/Nightman, Charlie Vicker/Green Lantern

  1. The Legion was in in the 30th century and Reverse-Flash came from the 25th.
  2. He was an actor who played GL on a TV show and then ended up with a ring… Oh, just click on the link.
  3. think it was WWVII. I can never get the future World Wars straight. But at any rate, the Axe had vanished during a previous World War and then re-appeared in the Persuader’s hands in the 30th century.
  4. You always need a Flash.
  5. This is hardly the last time Waid and I were on the same wavelength, as you’ll see in future installments of Stories I Never Told.

Leave a Comment