In the early days of the Justice League of America, while membership wasn’t necessarily difficult to qualify for (they let Green Arrow join, after all), it was still a big deal when you were made a member. They would even often do a fancy scroll and everything, like “We hereby announce Hero X is now a member of the Justice League!” Then the League went on a period where they decided to eschew the bigger name heroes for heroes more willing to commit to the League full-time. When they went “International” in a deal with the United Nations, they expanded membership and this was something that has continued in the years since. It has gotten to the point where most notable DC superheroes have, at one point or another, been members of the Justice League.
With that many members, you’re bound to have some strange additions to the team. Here, we’ll list (in chronological order) 10 heroes that you might be surprised to know were members of the Justice League, plus five heroes that we can’t believe have somehow never been members of the Justice League.
15. JOINED: ROCKET RED #7
When the Justice League first decided to become an international organization, they had to cut a deal with the United Nations where both the United States and the Soviet Union got to place one hero of their choosing on the team. The United States chose Captain Atom and the Soviet Union chose Rocket Red #7 of the Rocket Red Brigade (armored Soviet heroes equipped by Kilowog).
However, as it turned out, of all the possible members of the Rocket Red Brigade to choose, the Justice League just happened to select the guy who was secretly an android working for the Manhunters as part of the Millennium crossover event. He tried to kill his teammates but was destroyed himself instead. He was replaced by Rocket Red #4, who turned out to be a great guy.
14. JOINED: THE HAWKS
This one is a bit tricky. After a retcon at the time, it became clear that the Justice League were awfully gullible when it came to new members. Initially, the Justice League decided to add some new members and convinced former Justice League members Katar and Shayera Hol to return to the League as Hawkman and Hawkwoman. Katar constantly complained about the new League before quitting in a fit of rage.
The Hawkman’s continuity was completely messed up, though, so now “Hawkman” was Fel Andarr, a Thanagarian spy who told everyone he was Carter Hall’s son, Carter Hall Jr. and everyone just believed him and let him on the Justice League. When his wife (an unwilling accomplice) found out, he murdered her and went on the run. The Justice League just said that he quit.
13. JOINED: G’NORT
In the history of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ Justice League, there doesn’t seem to be any character who has given more fits to other writers than their creation of G’Nort. During the Millennium event, a group of heroes turned up on a planet that was supposedly devoid of life but actually turned out to be a Manhunter production base. The Green Lantern assigned to the lifeless planet was an inept dog-like being named G’Nort.
The problem with G’Nort (who joined the Justice League in their Antarctica branch) was that he was totally silly character, but he was also a Green Lantern Corps member and other writers couldn’t reconcile the two very well. Eventually, it was explained that he was part of a fake Green Lantern Corps before finally getting admitted into the real one, as well.
12. JOINED: THE INJUSTICE LEAGUE
During the Invasion! crossover event, a group of low-level supervillains (Multi-Man, Cluemaster, Big Sir, Clock King, Major Disaster and Major Disaster’s former prison cellmate, Bruce) banded together to form the Injustice League! However, despite the group actually having some useful powers (especially their leader, Major Disaster, who could control the earth itself!), they were more nuisances than anything else. Hilarious nuisances, though.
Ultimately, just to get them off of the streets, Justice League head Maxwell Lord gave them their own Justice League branch in Antarctica. Somehow, they still managed to screw things up there, as well (it involved killer penguins — yes, you read that right — killer penguins)! Writer Keith Giffen interestingly enough later revisited these characters on a short-lived Suicide Squad reboot where he killed off most of the team in the first issue.
11. JOINED: THE SCARLET SKIER
There are certain comic book characters that, when you describe them, they might sound ridiculous despite them actually being really cool. Heck, when you boil down “Teen gets bitten by spider and begins to dress in red and blue tights and stick to walls,” it sounds pretty silly itself). The Scarlet Skier, though, was not that type of character. He really was ridiculous!
A clear riff on the Silver Surfer, the Scarlet Skier served as the herald for Mister Nebula, a powerful cosmic force who went from planet to planet redecorating the planet in gaudy designs. However, in a battle with G’Nort (who thought that they were good friends, despite the Skier thinking that they were mortal enemies), his cosmic skis were broken, stranding him on Earth. While here, he briefly joined the Antarctica branch of the Justice League along with G’Nort.
10. JOINED: GENERAL GLORY
The core members of the Justice League under Giffen and DeMatteis were Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Martian Manhunter and Guy Gardner. There were other members, but they really took a backseat to those main six heroes. So when Booster Gold abruptly left the team to form a new corporate-sponsored superhero group, the Conglomerate (with Maxwell Lord’s ex-wife, Claire Montgomery), they had to add a new member.
Their choice was, of all things, a Captain America parody named General Glory, who was a World War II hero who had forgotten his magic word for 40 years before finding it again. Guy Gardner grew up idolizing General Glory, so that led to an amusing dynamic where Glory was the only person who could tell Guy what to do and Guy would gladly agree.
9. JOINED: BLOODWYND
After the Giffen/DeMatteis Justice League broke up, they reformed with mostly the same membership as before, only with Superman now taking the place of Martian Manhunter, who had seemingly left Earth for some time off by himself. One new member on the team, though, was the mystical hero known as Bloodwynd (“We got it, your name is Bloodwind.” “No, you’re not pronouncing the Y correctly!”). The twist with Bloodwynd, though, was that he was secretly the Martian Manhunter in disguise!
Well, not purely in disguise. The blood gem on his chest forced the Manhunter to take Bloodwynd’s form. The Justice League helped free Manhunter from the control of the gem, which, in turn, released the real Bloodwynd! Now, due note that no one actually knew the real Bloodwynd. They still just let him join up. He served only briefly. He’ll always have the fact that he was there for the Death of Superman!
8. JOINED: L-RON
One of the recurring gags that Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis have used a lot over the years is having an over-the-top, megalomaniacal villain but then having that villain have an assistant who snidely puts down his/her boss with under the breath style insults. That was the case with the intergalactic trader, Manga Khan, and his robot assistant, L-Ron. Years later, when in need of something to trade for Despero, Khan traded the Justice League L-Ron himself.
L-Ron soon became Maxwell Lord’s right hand robot, but when Despero returned to cause havoc, L-Ron’s mind was sent in to take control of Despero. The now controlled by L-Ron Despero ultimately joined up with Martian Manhunter’s Justice League training team, Justice League Task Force. Watching the meek L-Ron try to control the vicious Despero was interesting, but it’s still a weird hook — evil supervillain controlled by robot’s mind.
7. JOINED: AMBUSH BUG
Following the events of Infinite Crisis, DC’s biggest superheroes, Superman, Wonder Woman and Batman (plus Batman’s sidekicks) all took a year off from superheroing. The Justice League, too, remained broken up after the events leading up to Infinite Crisis. DC did a “One Year Later” event where each title picked up a year later, with the heroes all returning back to duty. In addition, though, DC released a weekly comic book series called 52, which would show what happened in that missing year.
At one point in the series, the writers of the book (Grant Morrison, Mark Waid, Geoff Johns and Greg Rucka) introduced a fill-in Justice League that was basically a joke (Firestorm, Firehawk, Super-Chief, Bulleteer and Ambush Bug). Keith Giffen’s joke character, Ambush Bug, actually being on the Justice League at any point is hilarious.
6. JOINED: ATOM
In 2011, DC rebooted their continuity with the New 52, which showed that the Justice League was formed five years earlier and consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Green Lantern, Flash and Cyborg (now taking the place of Martian Manhunter). In a quick return to the present day, their membership had generally remained at seven. Eventually, they decided to expand, adding three new members (Firestorm, Element Woman and the Atom)
The problem is that they did not really vet their new members, and one of the heroes, the Atom (Rhonda Pineda) was actually a spy for the Crime Syndicate of America the whole time that she was on the team! It goes to show you, no matter what era they’re in, the Justice League likes to let traitors join the team.
5. NEVER: MERA
Up until now, Mera’s involvement in Justice League history mostly boils down to the hilarious moment where Aquaman disbanded the Justice League and only let heroes rejoin if they could commit to the League full-time, but then had to quit himself when Mera showed up again soon after (the perils of having to deal with the solo titles of Justice League members).
However, she would be a perfect member for the team, especially with Mera set to play a major role in the Justice League movie. Her powers are unique (she can control water and make it into hard weapons), she has a cool costume and she is enough of a mystery that she would be a mystery to see how she would interact with different heroes.
4. MISTER TERRIFIC
When the Justice Society of America was part of the DC continuity, it made sense to have Mister Terrific be part of that team and not the Justice League (since his namesake was in the JSA), but the Justice Society hasn’t been part of the DC continuity since the New 52, and yet Mister Terrific still hasn’t made his way into the Justice League!
Not only is he a great character, but due to his regular role on the Arrow TV series, he’s even a lot more famous than most other DC superheroes. More people know who Mister Terrific is nowadays than know the Elongated Man! It would be particularly interesting to see him work on the League alongside Batman, to see if dueling geniuses who always think that their way is the right way can interact without driving each other nuts.
3. NEVER: RAVEN
One of the big changes in the New 52 was that Cyborg is now a founding member of the Justice League. Him being a founding member, however, meant that the New Teen Titans did not form in the way that they formed in the previous continuity. Eventually, though, they have slowly come together anyway (sans Cyborg, of course). However, even before this change to the Titans, most of them ended up joining the Justice League already, from Wally West to Roy Harper to Donna Troy to Dick Grayson to Koriand’r.
The notable exception? The telekinetic empath known as Raven. The daughter of the demon Trigon, Raven is certainly powerful enough to merit inclusion on the League, and she has an interesting personality, so it is interesting that she never got the call unlike all of her teammates.
2. NEVER: BATWOMAN
Of the five heroes on this list, the one who came the closest to being a member of the Justice League was Batwoman, who seemed set to join the offshoot Justice League created by Green Lantern and Green Arrow (who wanted justice so badly that they kept screaming, “Justice!) in the miniseries Justice League: Cry for Justice.
However, she never actually joined the team and hasn’t joined a Justice League since, despite her being basically Batman, and Batman has been on roughly a dozen different Justice League teams in the years since Cry for Justice. In fact, while she has many of the same skills as Batman, Batwoman’s unique abilities are actually particularly distinct with the Justice League, as she is well-trained in military combat form her time in the United States Marines.
When he was first introduced in the pages of the short-lived Stormwatch series that followed the original Stormwatch, Midnighter was actually part of a team of heroes that were based on the Justice League, with the only survivors of the team being Midnighter (the Batman of the group) and Apollo (the Superman of the group). Midnight and Apollo eventually became a couple.
Midnighter has served on the Authority (the team that succeeded Stormwatch when most of the heroes in Stormwatch were killed) in both the Wildstorm Universe and the Post-New 52 DC Universe (where the Wildstorm characters had been merged into), so he has plenty of experience working on teams. He deserves a chance at a promotion to the big leagues with the Justice League.
What other DC superheroes that have never been members of the Justice League would you like to see join the team? Let us know in the comments section!
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