The Justice League of America has always been known as the premiere superhero team of the DC Comics Universe. Since the founding of the JLA, when Green Lantern, Flash, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter came together to face Starro in “The Brave and the Bold” #28, there has always been a team ready to protect the innocent and fight for — what else — justice.
Members have come and gone, but there has always been a Justice League to champion the fight for the good guys. However, did you know that there have been many different versions of the team over the years? Not just new lineups, but new teams, using the Justice League identity, to fight the Justice League fight. Here are 15 other Justice League teams that you need to know.
15. JUSTICE LEAGUE EUROPE
The Justice League’s roster eventually grew to be so large that it was deemed necessary to split them into two teams. The JLI book took on the “Justice League America” name to bring back a more traditional Justice League title. To replace the team, a new series was spun off called “Justice League Europe,” which continued the JLI’s international flair. The team was headquartered in Paris before moving to England later on.
Justice League Europe was initially made up of Captain Atom, Elongated Man, Power Girl, Flash, Rocket Red, Animal Man and Metamorpho. Following the “Breakdowns” crossover, the UN withdrew their support of the team and membership changed to include Green Lantern Hal Jordan as leader, alongside Aquaman, Dr. Light, Power Girl, Crimson Fox and Elongated Man. This was the team that first went up against the Extremists, interdimensional criminals who were based on Marvel Comics villains, like Doctor Doom and Magneto.
14. JUSTICE INCARNATE
Think of Justice Incarnate as the Justice League of the multiverse, watching over the cosmos of the DC Universe. The team was created by Grant Morrison within the pages of “The Multiversity.” After all of reality was attacked by The Gentry, heroes from across the multiverse come together to create a team to watch out for interdimensional threats. The team recently made an appearance in “Superman” 14-16 to help combat the entity that has been snatching up Supermen from across the multiverse.
All the familiar members of the Justice League are there, but they are just a little different than you might remember. The Superman of the team hails from Earth-23, where he is the President of the United States. The Flash analogue is known as Red Racer. Atomic Knight Batman is the protector of a post-apocalyptic world. Green Lantern Abin Sur is from a pulp hero-inspired world. Aquawoman is a gender-reversed Aquaman from her Earth. They may look different, but this Justice League is just as heroic.
13. JUSTICE LEAGUE 3000
Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis were given free reign over the Justice League in the 31st century, and “Justice League 3000” was the result. The concept was that, far in the future, Cadmus had developed cloning technology that could recreate the Justice League’s powers and memories from simple DNA samples. It sounded like a good idea, but the process wasn’t perfect and it created unstable versions of the heroes we know; it was also revealed that these powers and memories would overwrite the “volunteers” who would serve as hosts for the past leaguers, giving the concept a dark undertone.
Superman has no memory of his life as Clark Kent and only some of his powers work. Batman doesn’t remember losing his parents. Wonder Woman is a warrior first and shows little in the way of compassion. As clones, the team of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Green Lantern could be killed over and over again, and Cadmus could just reapply their templates to new hosts. The series is continued in “Justice League 3001,” with new members including Supergirl, a new Flash and Batman, and Guy Gardner recreated as a woman. It was a weird one.
12. JUSTICE LEAGUE DETROIT
Not all incarnations of the Justice League are remembered fondly. Looking to invigorate the Justice League franchise in the 1980s, Gerry Conway and Chuck Patton came together to drastically change the roster. While the team is supposed to be the authentic Justice League, fans often refer to this team as Justice League Detroit, based on their move to the city during this time period.
Citing the need for a team with full-time members, Aquaman dissolves the original Justice League and brings in new recruits to fill the ranks. He and Martian Manhunter lead a group of younger heroes that consisted of Zatanna, Elongated Man, Vixen and new heroes Gypsy, Steel and Vibe. While the concept may have been worth exploring, the readers were left uninterested in the new team. Within a year, Aquaman left and the “JLD” disbanded not long after with the deaths of Steel and Vibe.
11. JUSTICE LEAGUE TASK FORCE
In the early 1990s, the Justice League brand was split into several different versions with multiple titles to contain them all. Spinning out of “Justice League Europe,” “Justice League Task Force” was created as a special strike-force to the United Nations and was led by Martian Manhunter. The title included short story arcs with new team members and different creative teams shuffling in every few issues. It was an odd concept, and one that likely wasn’t sustainable.
When Mark Waid and Christopher Priest came on board, they changed the purpose of the team, cemented down a cast, and focused on the training of young heroes. The team would eventually include Martian Manhunter, Gypsy, The Ray, Triumph, Mystek, and long-time robot friend of the Justice League L-Ron in the body of the villain Despero. It was a weird mix of characters but somehow the title went on for 37 issues before cancellation.
10. EXTREME JUSTICE
As part of the crazy consortium of Justice League titles in the ‘90s, DC released “Extreme Justice” in order to replace the recently cancelled “Justice League International.” At this time, each Justice League team felt that they were the true Justice League and saw the others as rivals. As the name suggests, “Extreme Justice” embraced the darker grittiness that was prevalent in the industry at the time.
Sick of being connected to the United Nations, Captain Atom decided to break off and form his own version of the team, one that believed in a more proactive form of fighting for justice. He was joined by former JLI members Booster Gold and Blue Beetle, with Amazing Man and Maxima joining as well. The team eventually added Firestorm, Plastique, and the Wonder Twins. Atom’s decision to invade the country of Bialya is what led to all the Justice League teams being disbanded and a new team coming together in the pages of “JLA.”
9. JUSTICE LEAGUE BEYOND
The team known colloquially as Justice League Beyond is introduced in the “Batman Beyond” animated series as the Justice League of the future. They are first seen in the two-part episode “The Call” when they offer Terry McGinnis membership. In this iteration of the League, many of the team’s founding members from the DC Animated Universe were killed at some point. Others, like Bruce Wayne, grow old and retire. Through all this, Superman continues to lead the team in his older age.
Alongside Superman, the group includes Warhawk, who is the son of Hawkgirl and Green Lantern John Stewart. Aquagirl is the daughter of Aquaman and Kai-Ro is the new Green Lantern of Earth. Also on the team is New God Big Barda and the shrinking hero Micron. They later recruit Danica Williams as the new Flash and Mr. Miracle. The team has been featured in Batman Beyond comics, as well as digital-first comics “Justice League Beyond” and “Justice League Beyond 2.0.”
8. JUSTICE LEGION ALPHA
Justice Legion Alpha was created by Grant Morrison in the pages of his “JLA” run for the DC One Million crossover storyline. In the 853rd century, the Justice League and Legion of Super-Heroes have merged to create a roster of superheroes who watch over the galaxy. Each member of the team is a future analogue of a modern hero and they each inhabit a different planet of the solar system.
Superman represents Earth, Batman is from Pluto, Wonder Woman is from Venus, Flash is from Mercury and Aquaman is from Neptune. In the future, Uranus has been destroyed and replaced by Solaris the artificial sun, where Starman of the 853rd century is stationed. Since this crossover, Superman Kal Kent has been seen in Morrison’s “All-Star Superman” and he co-starred in a 2011 “Superman/Batman” story arc a few years back alongside Batman 1,000,000. The team also makes an appearances during the “Convergence” event from 2015.
7. JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL
The team of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis first came together in 1987 to launch a new Justice League book, which would soon come to be known as “Justice League International.” The problem was that, at this time, many of DC’s biggest heroes were unavailable to them for various reasons. As a result, the writers introduced a more lighthearted and comical team with lesser-known characters, but it was still a hit.
The team initially featured Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Dr. Fate, Dr. Light, Guy Gardner, Martian Manhunter and Mister Miracle. They would gain United Nations sponsorship under the leadership of Maxwell Lord and the roster expanded to include Wonder Woman, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and many other characters who have become associated with the “Bwa-ha-ha” era of the Justice League. They tried to reintroduce the JLI during the New 52, but it was just never the same.
6. JUSTICE LEAGUE ELITE
Introduced in “Action Comics” #775, the Elite was DC’s response to tougher and more violent heroes, as were seen in “The Authority.” Joe Kelly, Doug Mahnke and Lee Bermejo told the story “What’s So Funny About Truth, Justice & the American Way?,” which saw Manchester Black and his team take on Superman’s principals regarding fighting crime. In the end, Black realized he had become everything he had tried to fight. DC even made an animated movie about it called “Superman vs. The Elite.”
Several years later, Sister Superior — the sister of Manchester Black — showed up in the pages of “JLA.” She had put together a new Elite and was able to recruit several Justice League members to form Justice League Elite. The 12-issue series followed the team as a black ops arm of the JLA that could go into a situation and help prevent disaster before the threat became public. While Sister Superior’s intentions were true, the team did not go out on a high note.
5. THE A.R.G.U.S. LEAGUE
In 2013, DC introduced a new Justice League of America team during the New 52. This group was the United States government’s direct response to the Justice League. Hoping to create their own superhero team under the guidance and control of A.R.G.U.S., Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor bring in a group of heroes that includes Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern Simon Baz, Green Arrow, Stargirl, Catwoman, Hawkman, Katana and Vibe.
While the idea was intriguing, the execution of such a series was lacking from the beginning. The eclectic characters never gelled, and thus didn’t resonate with readers; and while the title was launched by Geoff Johns, it became clear that it only existed to serve as the third book in the “Trinity War” crossover storyline that saw three versions of the Justice League fight each other. Following the event, Johns abandoned the book; there was a tie-in to the “Forever Evil” event and by issue #14, the series was cancelled. What a mess.
4. JUSTICE LEAGUE UNITED
After Justice League of America disbanded, several of the team’s members came together to form a new team that was free from A.R.G.U.S. control. Out of the ashes of the old team came “Justice League United,” by Jeff Lemire and Mike McKone. With the team operating in Canada, Lemire had originally intended to name the book Justice League Canada before DC Comics changed directions. Stargirl, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow and Hawkman were brought over from the old team with Supergirl, Adam Strange, Animal Man and a new Cree superhero known as Equinox joining them.
Under Lemire, the team faced off against Thanagarian criminal Byth, Lobo and they even came into conflict with the Legion of Super-Heroes. Jeff Parker took over writing duties with issue #11, drastically altering the concept of the series to transform it into a team-up book that saw the likes of Swamp Thing, Mera, Batgirl, and others join the team. Like “Justice League of America” before it, “Justice League United” didn’t last very long and was cancelled by issue #16.
3. JUSTICE LEAGUE (CRY FOR JUSTICE)
“Justice League: Cry for Justice” by James Robinson should always be a reminder that any attempt to form a team of proactive heroes is destined to fail. In the wake of “Final Crisis,” Martian Manhunter has been murdered and his killers are still at large. Sick of waiting around for conflicts that the Justice League will respond to, Green Lantern Hal Jordan and Green Arrow form a team of heroes that are willing to do whatever is necessary to attain justice.
They recruit Supergirl, Freddy Freeman, the Atom, Starman Mikaal Tomas, and Congorilla and go after the former members of the Secret Society. The plan goes awry when the villain Prometheus gets the upper hand over them. James Robinson intended the series to be an ongoing, but DC limited it to a miniseries, probably because they saw what was happening here. Aside from Mauro Cascioli’s amazing art, the series was very poorly received and effectively destroyed the life of Roy Harper. Many of the members, however, would soon be folded into “Justice League of America.”
2. JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK
Perhaps one of the more successful “other” Justice League teams, “Justice League Dark” was created by Peter Milligan and Mikel Janin as a means to introduce Vertigo characters into the DC Universe. As a team formed to handle supernatural and magical threats that the Justice League could not handle, their roster included John Constantine, Zatanna, Madame Xanadu, Enchantress, Deadman, Andrew Bennett and Shade the Changing Man.
Jeff Lemire took over the title with issue #9 and added Swamp Thing, Black Orchid, Frankenstein, Amethyst and even Timothy Hunter from “The Books of Magic.” The title served as a connecting tissue for DC’s lineup of supernatural books while also allowing the more obscure members to get the recognition they never had by putting them in the Justice League. The series went on for 40 issues before finally coming to an end. The concept seemed to be popular enough that DC Comics released a “Justice League Dark” animated movie just this year.
1. BATMAN’S JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
Following the events of “Justice League vs. Suicide Squad,” Batman learns to understand the usefulness of a team like Task Force X. The recently launched title from Steve Orlando and Ivan Reis promises to change the way superheroes operate as a team. Batman decides to create his own team of young heroes and former villains looking to do some good, and he establishes them as the public facing arm of the Justice League.
He recruits Black Canary, Vixen, the Ray and Ryan Choi as the Atom. He also gives Killer Frost and Lobo a chance to reform and do what is right. In the first storyline of the title, they will be going up against the Extremists, frequent foes of the Justice League. Can Batman and his team be successful, and can he keep Lobo in line long enough for him to help save the day? We’re going to find out.
Who is your favorite “other” Justice League team? Let us know in the comments!
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