Over the years, the Justice League has defeated some of the most powerful threats in all of DC Comics. With some of the most powerful characters in all of comics commonly featured on the roster, it would make sense that the Justice League would be the planet’s greatest line of defense.
However, some of the Justice League’s biggest triumphs have been far more enjoyable than others. While every new universal threat seems to be bigger than the last, it doesn’t mean that the stories themselves are good. To look back at some of the best and the worst Justice League moments, here is our list of the team’s 5 best and 5 worst events in DC history.
10 BEST: Rock of Ages
When Grant Morrison first took the reigns of the JLA series, his most notable contribution is easily JLA: Rock of Ages. Essentially, in the future, Darkseid has successfully acquired the Anti-Life Equation and conquered virtually all of the DC Universe. Upon learning this, the Justice League of the present must find a way to prevent this future from happening.
With time travel, large stakes, and a great villain, it is easy to see why Rock of Ages is as big as it is. Despite this, some fans seem to overlook it on the shelves, making it far less popular than it deserves. Regardless, it doesn’t change the fact that it is easily one of the best Justice League events ever.
9 WORST: JLApe
While JLApe: Gorilla Warfare was never intended to be one of the greats, certain aspects of the story just make it exceptionally bad. The story itself takes place over several annuals from other titles, including the main Justice League, and follows the DC Universe after Gorilla Grodd and other apes find a way to build a machine that turns humans into monkeys.
After virtually every member of the League is transformed, it is up to Batman to find a way to reverse the process. Overall, the overly ridiculous nature of the story just makes it incredibly tedious to read through. While it is definitely one of the weirder stories featuring the superteam, it is also one of the worst.
8 BEST: Tower of Babel
Batman is known for always having some form of contingency plan in place for almost every possible scenario. However, no matter how great his paranoia may get at times, it was still shocking to learn that he had thought of ways to kill not only some of the most powerful heroes on the planet, but his closest allies as well. JLA: Tower of Babel shows exactly what happens when Batman’s plans are put into motion.
After everything had eventually been resolved, Batman was actually expelled from the Justice League. Though he didn’t enact the plans himself, the fact that his mistrust of the League’s other members almost got them all killed is still very extreme. However, Tower of Babel is easily one of the most celebrated Justice League stories of all time, even seeing an animated adaptation with Justice League: Doom (2012). Considering everything in the story, it is easy to see why it is so great.
7 WORST: Extreme Justice
During the 90s, Extreme Justice was launched to serve as a replacement to the Justice League: International series. Featuring some of the same members, the series aimed to appeal to a more “modern” audience while also differentiating itself from the main Justice League title. Unfortunately, the final product was simply very over the top, as well as just silly.
The 90s style artwork for characters like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold especially just didn’t fit. Furthermore, the series itself only ran for a total of 19 issues. While it didn’t totally flop, it was still one of the weaker Justice League titles then, as well as now.
6 BEST: Justice
Jim Kreuger’s phenomenal writing, combined with Alex Ross’ incredible art easily make Justice one of the best Justice League events of all time. The 12-issue limited series offers one of the most intriguing looks yet at some of the world’s greatest heroes. After several key DC villains band together, the massive group of evil-doers enact one of the most devastating attacks against the Justice League ever.
With several powerful heroes incapacitated or missing, the Justice League must find a way to bounce back before it is too late. Featuring an incredibly wide cast of both heroes and villains, on top of a lesser-known story, Justice is one Justice League event that fans won’t want to skip out on.
5 WORST: Cry For Justice
Following the events of Final Crisis, Cry For Justice saw certain members of the Justice League break off to form a small group who was out for revenge after the death of their friends. Considering how the Justice League has never been about ideals such as revenge, it is easy to see why this story upset some people.
It took some of DC’s greatest heroes way out of character, and was also needlessly dark and graphic. While it makes sense that characters would be impacted by such massive losses, the whole concept of Cry For Justice as a whole just simply didn’t need to happen.
4 BEST: Kingdom Come
Kingdom Come offers an incredibly intriguing look at the Justice League in a possible future. After Superman has been driven into retirement, he must reemerge several years later in order to save the world once again. However, Superman is returning to a world with far different views on heroism than he is used to.
Likewise, a lot of his closest friends and allies are far older as well. With many members of the Justice League coming back together, Kingdom Come offers a great discussion on what heroes can mean and accomplish in a world that isn’t as black and white as it used to be.
3 WORST: Act of God
Justice League: Act of God was a 3-part limited series that explored what the DC Universe would look like if everyone with a superhuman ability suddenly lost their powers. Flash could no longer travel at super speeds, Wonder Woman was no longer super strong, and Superman especially lost everything. While Act of God seems like an interesting concept on the surface, the actual story is very poorly executed.
Some characters play out exactly as one would expect and it is interesting to see how some characters continue to be heroes. However, in regards to Superman specifically, he and many other characters went in some weird directions. Clark not only got super dark, but lost his marriage to Lois as well. Perhaps, had the characters been a bit more true to themselves, Act of God wouldn’t have turned out so poorly.
2 BEST: The New Frontier
Darwyn Cooke’s DC: The New Frontier is one of the most touching and inspiring stories encompassing the entire DC Universe ever written. Strictly speaking, the story isn’t actually a Justice League specific event, but rather a celebration of DC’s silver age as a whole. However, due to the nature of the characters that The New Frontier chooses to focus on, many people consider it to be a Justice League story above all else.
Like Tower of Babel, The New Frontier has received an animated adaptation, in which it is included strictly under a Justice League banner. Likewise, some consider it to be one of the best DC stories ever published. With something for every type of DC fan to enjoy, The New Frontier is not a story to pass up on.
1 WORST: Justice League of America
In more recent memory, readers were unfortunately introduced to Bryan Hitch’s Justice League of America miniseries. What was supposed to be a 12 issue limited run ended up being cancelled after issue 10. The story itself follows the League as Ra, an ancient Kryptonian God, shows up to “help” the planet Earth.
Overall, the entire story is incredibly sloppy. Hitch’s art isn’t enough to make up for his storytelling, and it is surprising that he was moved from this series to the main Justice League book. Had the book actually concluded, then perhaps it would have been much better. Unfortunately, Justice League of America is easily one of the worst Justice League events in recent memory.