The debut of “Justice League” #1 by Bryan Hitch and Tony S. Daniel showed readers what the next incarnation of the famed Justice League looks like during DC Comics’ Rebirth. The Justice League has been around for over 50 years now, and the team’s membership has been an interesting encapsulation of the history of the comic book industry itself.
When the League debuted at DC Comics in 1960, it had a constant membership and a constant creative team, with writer Gardner Fox writing the book for much of the 1960s. Even as Fox was succeeded by Denny O’Neil, Mike Friedrich, Len Wein, Steve Englehart and Gerry Conway during the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s, the book maintained a strong consistency. Heroes were added while others would take their leave (almost always temporarily, but some of the breaks were extended ones, like the Martian Manhunter missing out on much of the 1970s), but the League stayed basically the same. However, as the comic book market changed in the 1980s with the most popular team books being “New Teen Titans,” “Legion of Super-Heroes,” “Uncanny X-Men” and “New Mutants,” all books starring younger heroes, the Justice League responded with their first wholesale new lineup in nearly 25 years with the creation of a Justice League featuring a number of young heroes in it.
Since that point, the League has gone through a variety of different rosters, while also relaunching at #1 for the first time in 1987. Another first came in 1989, with the League getting its first spinoff “Justice League” series when “Justice League Europe” spun out of “Justice League International.” In the years since, rarely a month has gone by without at least two “Justice League” comic books released (in the early days of Grant Morrison’s “JLA,” these other series tended to be one-shots and miniseries), and quite often there have been three monthly “Justice League” titles.
As DC Rebirth continues to roll out, there will be one “Justice League” series shipping twice a month (Fernando Pasarin will share art duties with Daniel), while a second twice-monthly “Justice League of America” book looms in the future (with no creative team announced just yet). With so man incarnations of the Justice League over the years, we decided to rank them for you, from worst to best. In order to qualify, a roster has to exist for at least five issues (which eliminates one-issue joke lineups, like the “52” Justice League and Justice League Antarctica) and it has to be a distinct lineup (so Bryan Hitch’s current “Justice League of America” lineup doesn’t count).
Let’s dive in and declare one Justice League lineup the World’s Greatest Superheroes!
34. Justice League International (New 52)
Debuting as part of the DC’s 2011 “New 52” initiative, Justice League International was a United Nations alternative to the “regular” Justice League, featuring heroes from different countries, including classic members Fire (Brazil), Ice (Norway), Guy Gardner (United States) and Booster Gold. The book was short-lived, and many of the characters were given short shrift as a result, with characters shuffling in and out of the book during its short run (some of the members barely even had a single line per issue).
33. Justice League America (Post-“Zero Hour”)
The “main” Justice League book following Zero Hour splitting the Justice League titles up into three distinct series was perhaps the apex of the era where editors were very hesitant to let their characters actually be in the Justice League. As a result, this team was made up of some low level heroes that no one else was looking to use like Crimson Fox, Nuklon, Obdidian, Fire (but no Ice, as Ice was dead at the time), Blue Devil and Metamorpho, with Wonder Woman, Flash and Hawkman being the “big names” for the series (all three heroes appeared in books edited by the same editor of “Justice League America”). This League also had an odd “everyone can be a member!” approach, where the League was more of a hangout on their space station than anything.
32. Extreme Justice
Another one of the Justice League books spinning out of “Zero Hour” was “Extreme Justice,” which was DC’s answer to the edgy 1990s Image style of comic books (series like “Youngblood,” “WildC.A.T.s” and “Cyberforce”), only with very non-edgy characters like Blue Beetle and Booster Gold in the mix. The series went through three different writers in its 19-issue run and as a result, the book greatly lacked in purpose. Its original selling point was that it was a Justice League (they never actually called themselves “Extreme Justice” in the comic itself, thank goodness) that would work outside the law, but the biggest plot in the series was them reacting to the plots of Monarch, who turned out to be the original Nathaniel Adam (with Captain Atom being a clone of sorts).
31. Justice League America (Pre-“Zero Hour”)
Justice League America in the ten issues or so directly leading up to Zero Hour was a real mixed bag of superheroes, as incoming writer Dan Vado had basically two groups of superheroes to work with, the remnants of Dan Jurgens’ initial Justice League America team (Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire and Ice) plus the second group of heroes that Jurgens had added while the first group was out of the picture (Wonder Woman and Ray) with Maxima and Guy Gardner being constants between both teams. Vado then worked Captain Atom into the mix, as well, while also exploring Bloodwynd (who had been a team member, but only as a disguised Martian Manhunter — now the real magical hero was a member of the team for the first time). The resultant mixture wasn’t bad, per se, but it felt a bit like treading water.
30. Justice League Task Force (Pre-“Zero Hour”)
Launched in 1993, “Justice League Task Force” was the first time that there were three monthly “Justice League” titles (it joined “Justice League America,” “Justice League International” and “Justice League Quarterly” on the market). It was a unique roster in that there were only two official members of the team, the Martian Manhunter and his old Justice League teammate, Gypsy, now a little older and working alongside J’onn on a new government strike force where different superheroes would be chosen for different missions based on their skill sets. It was basically like “Mission: Impossible” for superheroes. There were different writers for each arc, so the book had its strong arcs and its weak ones.
29. Justice League America (Justice League Spectacular)
Following the departure of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis, DC was in a weird situation. The humorous approach of Giffen and DeMatteis was popular, but few writers could follow them in that vein. So they brought in Dan Jurgens to write and draw the series and added Superman (whose ongoing series Jurgens was also writing and drawing at the time) to the cast while keeping the most popular members of the previous series (Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Fire and Ice). The result was a clash in tones, as Jurgens tried to honor the fans of the previous League by doing as much humor as he could but also making the book more of a traditional superhero series. After just nine issues, Jurgens used Doomsday and the Death of Superman to weed out the roster, with Doomsday extinguishing Fire’s power, destroying Booster Gold’s costume and putting Blue Beetle into a coma (Ice then left, as well, due to the traumatic events).
28. Cry for Justice
Green Arrow and Green Lantern split from the Justice League to form their own, more proactive Justice League, in this miniseries written by James Robinson and drawn by Mauro Cascioli. However, they instead found themselves at the mercy of the evil Prometheus, who effectively declared open war on superheroes. Green Lantern and Green Arrow were joined by Congorilla and Starman (Mikaal Tomas) after they each lost someone close to them. They were also joined by both Atoms (Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi) and Supergirl. When Robinson took over the main “Justice League of America” title, he brought most of these characters with him.
27. Obsidian Age Justice League
We almost opted not include this League, as it is debatable whether it actually appeared in five issues, but since the “Obsidian Age” crossover itself lasted more than five issues, we figured we might as well count it. During “Obsidian Age,” the Justice League appeared to have been killed. Batman had a protocol put into place that would create a new Justice League team if the main team died. It consisted of Nightwing (as team leader), Green Arrow, Atom (Ray Palmer), Firestorm, Jason Blood, Hawkgirl, Faith and Major Disaster. This League disbanded when the main League was discovered to still be alive. However, a few of the members of this group stuck around.
26. Justice League Elite
Joe Kelly and Doug Mahnke had famously introduced a parody of the Authority known as The Elite in an issue of “Action Comics.” However, Kelly and Manhke then decided to try to redeem the Elite by having them come under the wing of the Justice League. This was handled in a twelve-issue maxi-series called “Justice League Elite,” where the sister of the original leader of the Elite formed a new Elite, with a few Justice League members joining in to keep an eye on the team as they do black ops that the main Justice League could never do themselves. Green Arrow, Flash, Major Disaster and Manitou Raven were the Justice League members who joined Elite members Sister Superior, Menagerie, Coldcast and Naif al-Sheikh (Cassandra Cain also secretly joined to keep an eye on the team).
25. JLA (Post-“Identity Crisis”)
The last ten issues of “JLA” had a strange roster, where heroes who had not been members of the Justice League in years suddenly were regular cast members in the book, as events during the “Identity Crisis” miniseries revealed secrets that occurred during the “Satellite Era” of the Justice League, and thus the members from that era were suddenly working together again, even as they bickered with each other over their respective roles in what had happened in the past (where the League had been using Zatanna’s magic to mess with the minds of some of their former villains, including making a few of them “decide” to become heroes themselves). So Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Hawkman, Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Black Canary, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Flash (Wally West) and Batman all had it out, with the League effectively disbanding. However, the individual heroes still remained in the title, even sometimes working together to fight crime. This lasted until Infinite Crisis, when “JLA” was finally canceled.
24. Justice League of America (New 52 — United States government team)
Following the events of “Throne of the Atlantis,” which saw King Orm attack the surface world and forced Aquaman to choose between his loyalties to Atlantis and the League, the United States government decided that they needed their own Justice League team. Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor put together a squad of heroes who would work directly for them, with Trevor acting as their field leader. The membership included Hawkman, Martian Manhunter, Katana, Vibe, Stargirl, Green Lantern (Simon Baz — who had been in government custody, and this was the way he was able to get out of said custody), Green Arrow and Catwoman. The idea of the team was that if the main Justice League ever went rogue (which seemed to occur during “Throne of Atlantis,” with Aquaman’s people seeming to attack the surface-dwellers) this new League would have someone to counter each of the main Justice League members.
23. Justice League Europe/International
Gerard Jones had already been scripting “Justice League Europe” over Keith Giffen’s plots for over a year, so the transition following Giffen’s departure from Giffen to Jones went a lot smoother than the transition from Giffen/DeMatteis to Jurgens. Jones added Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman and Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi) to replace the outgoing Captain Atom, Rocket Red, Blue Jay and Silver Sorceress (Silver Sorceress had been killed during the “Breakdowns” crossover). Jones kept Power Girl, Flash, Metamorpho, Elongated Man and Crimson Fox. Jones maintained an offbeat approach for the series, which eventually evolved into the book changing its scope from just Europe to becoming the official international version of the Justice League after “Justice League Europe” #50, with the book becoming “Justice League International” for its final 18 issues.
22. Justice League Dark
Realizing that the regular Justice League was particularly vulnerable to magic (especially Superman), a special team was formed in the New 52 unofficially dubbed Justice League Dark. This group of characters would handle the supernatural threats that the main League weren’t suited to handle, plus certain darker things that the more heroic League members would perhaps find a bit distasteful. Originally led by John Constantine, Zatanna was a key player in the team and eventually took over the leadership of the team from Constantine. Regular members in the group over the years included Deadman (the steadiest member of the team), Madame Xanadu, Frankenstein, Shade the Changing Man, Nightmare Nurse, Black Orchid and, toward the end of the series’ run, Swamp Thing.
21. Justice League Generation Lost
Following the events of “Blackest Night,” Maxwell Lord was alive and well, but he had erased his existence from the minds of everyone in the world. Everyone, that is, except for those heroes who had worked closely with him in Justice League International. So Booster Gold, Fire, Ice and Captain Atom teamed up (along with the new Blue Beetle, Jaime Reyes, and a new Rocket Red) to bring Maxwell Lord to justice, while trying to convince their fellow superheroes that they have not simply gone insane themselves. It was a fine tribute by writer Judd Winick to the classic “Justice League International” years.
20. Justice League 3000
This future version of the Justice League by writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis and artist Howard Porter, saw the Justice League revived by Cadmus, a genetic engineering corporation. Specifically, the genetic coding of Superman, Green Lantern, Batman, Wonder Woman and The Flash were bonded with volunteers. The end result were mixtures of the original heroes and the people who the genetic material had been bonded with. The end result were heroes much different than the original Justice League, but they were at least going to try to still be heroes, even if it got them killed. Sadly for them, most of them did end up dying while trying to live up to their heroic genetic predecessors.
19. Justice League 3001
The sequel to “Justice League 3000” (with Giffen and DeMatteis now joined by Scott Kolins on art) saw a new League form from the ashes of the original squad, with Fire and Ice both joining the team (they both were able to survive into the future through very different means — Ice was a goddess, so she lived as a deity for centuries while Fire was stuck in hell during this time), a female clone of Guy Gardner, the new Batman, an orphaned descendant of Bruce Wayne who built a Batman suit of armor, and the 21st Century Supergirl (awakened in the future after being frozen in time), plus Wonder Woman and Flash (the second Flash) from the previous League. This League was almost more dysfunctional than their predecessors!
18. Justice League United
Following the disbanding of Justice League of America during the events of “Forever Evil,” the remaining members of the team (Stargirl, Green Arrow and Martian Manhunter) headed to Canada (along with new members Animal Man, Supergirl and new elemental Canadian hero, Equinox) where they got caught up in an interstellar adventure courtesy of Adam and Alanna Strange. There was a lot of turnover in Justice League United membership during the brief run of the series, with Stargirl, Equinox and Alanna Strange being the most consistent members of the team.
17. Justice League America (Post-“Death of Superman”)
After the death of Superman and the loss of Fire, Ice, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, the Justice League needed new members, and “Justice League America” writer Dan Jurgens and editor Brian Augustyn went to familiar spots, bringing in Agent Liberty (who Jurgens had created over in the pages of “Superman), Black Condor (whose series Augustyn wrote) and Wonder Woman and the Ray (whose series Augustyn edited). This was the lineup that was present for Jurgens’ best arc during his time as the writer of Justice League, as the old Justice League enemy Doctor Destiny had created a nightmare world where the Justice League acted as tyrants. The dream world was beginning to interact with our world, so the newly formed League had to enter this world to stop things before they went too far. The new League took out the nightmare League, while in the process discovering that their teammate Bloodwynd was actually the Martian Manhunter in disguise! Jurgens ended his run on “Justice League America” by bringing the Martian Manhunter back (while keeping Bloodwynd in play as a separate character).
16. Justice League of America (Post-“Infinite Crisis”)
Following the events of “Infinite Crisis,” in “Justice League of America” #1 (by Brad Meltzer, Ed Benes and Sandra Hope), Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman sat down to select a brand-new Justice League team. However, as is often the case, their original plans were thrown out as circumstances ended up dictating the membership of the new League, with Red Tornado, Red Arrow (the hero formerly known as Arsenal), Black Canary, Vixen, Geo-Force, Hawkgirl, Black Lightning and Green Lantern (Hal Jordan) joining the team. In an early storyline, Flash (Wally West) returned to the team, as well. It was a nice mixture of classic Justice League heroes with some relatively newer characters mixed in who had never gotten the chance to be League members before. Black Canary became the leader of the team and eventually John Stewart joined as a second Green Lantern. Dwayne McDuffie inherited this team, but slowly had heroes taken away from him as time went by.
15. JLA (Post-“Obsidian Age”)
After the “Obdidian Age” storyline ended, Joe Kelly added a few members of the temporary Justice League, namely Faith and Major Disaster, to the reformed Justice League. In addition, Kyle Rayner had left Earth in the hands of John Stewart, so Stewart joined the Justice League in Kyle’s place. Plus, the shaman Manitou Raven, who had aided the League during the Obsidian Age, joined the team, as well. It was a nice mixture between the classic League and Kelly’s off-beat sensibilities.
14. Justice League of America (Post-“Blackest Night”)
When James Robinson first took over “Justice League of America” with artist Mark Bagley, he planned to have a large League. However, of the new members he added in “Justice League of America” #41, he soon lost of most of them due to various editorial issues. Robinson rebounded with a very clever approach. While keeping Congorilla and Starman (partially because no one else needed them anywhere else), Robinson reformulated the rest of the League as basically a second (sometimes third) generation version of the original Justice League. Instead of Superman, he had Supergirl. Instead of Batman (Bruce Wayne), he had Batman (Dick Grayson). Instead of Wonder Woman, he had Donna Troy. Instead of Flash, he had Jessie Quick. Instead of Green Lantern, he had Jade. The new approach worked really well, as the heroes all had strong chemistry with each other, which made sense considering so many of them were contemporaries.
13. Justice League of America (JLA Detroit)
The Justice League had been very consistent for a number of years, but writer Gerry Conway believed that that consistency was hurting it when compared to books like “New Teen Titans” and “Uncanny X-Men.” The casts in those books were younger and hipper and, perhaps more importantly, fans knew that things could actually happen to the heroes in those titles. Everyone knows that nothing major is going to happen to Superman or Batman. So Conway and artist Chuck Patton had Aquaman disband the League and re-form it only with heroes who could dedicate all of their time to the League. Leaguers Martian Manhunter, Zatanna and Elongated Man agreed to answer the call. Conway and Patton then added younger heroes Vibe, Gypsy and Steel, along with an older creation of Conway’s, Vixen. The new League was based in Detroit. The young, ethnically diverse League was a bold move by DC, but it never quite caught on with fans. Following “Crisis on Infinite Earths,” Vibe and Steel were killed and the League disbanded once again.
12. Justice League (Post-“Forever Evil”)
After the events of “Forever Evil,” Lex Luthor basically bluffed his way on to the Justice League. Joining him were new members Power Ring (a young woman who was selected by the ring of Power Ring of the Crime Syndicate based on how weak she appeared) and Captain Cold. While that trio is more than a little underwhelming when it comes to being called the world’s greatest superheroes — or just heroes in general — Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Cyborg, Aquaman and Shazam remained from the previous League (with Hal Jordan eventually rejoining, as well). This was the League that took part in Geoff Johns and Jason Fabok’s classic “The Darkseid War” epic that helped close out the team’s New 52 journey. The mixture of characters actually worked really well, with Power Ring’s journey from patsy to hero being particularly enjoyable.
11. Justice League Task Force (Post-“Zero Hour”)
Christopher Priest inherited an absolutely bizarre team when he took over “Justice League Task Force” following “Zero Hour.” The concept was that Martian Manhunter decided to build a team of young heroes that he could train into becoming the heroes of tomorrow. He was joined on this journey by Gyspy, Ray, Despero (the former Justice League villain now controlled by the mind of the robot L-Ron) and Triumph. Triumph was an especially odd candidate for the team, because he had actually helped the original Justice League years earlier but had then been trapped in time and forgotten by everyone. So he was now a young man while his former peers were all established heroes. Priest made “Justice League Task Force” a complicated but rewarding read. With these low-level character, Priest could do pretty much whatever he wanted and that allowed him to take some surprisingly dark turns with the characters, especially Triumph.
10. Justice League (Post-“Crisis”)
Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis and Kevin Maguire relaunched the Justice League following “Crisis on Infinite Earths.” The initial story arc was a bit different from what the book eventually became, as initially they were working with whatever major characters DC would allow them to use, which meant Batman, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Booster Gold and Guy Gardner (the Green Lantern that they were given). Thusly, their initial approach was a bit more of a traditional superhero team, with an impressive mixture of real world politics of the era, though. However, after an excellent fight sequence between Batman and Guy Gardner in “Justice League” #5, you could see the writers realize that the better approach with this book was going to be as a more comedic book, especially as they soon lost Captain Marvel and Doctor Fate.
9. Justice League Europe
The very first “Justice League” spinoff book, “Justice League Europe” saw Captain Atom and Rocket Red leave the League to form a new branch of the League in Europe. Joining them were Flash (Wally West), Power Girl, Elongated Man and Metamorpho (plus Wonder Woman and Animal Man, but they both left very soon after joining). Much of the humor by writers Keith Giffen and J.M DeMatteis was contrasting the mostly American League members against their now European surroundings. Bart Sears was the original artist on the series, and his style was well-suited to action pieces, so Giffen (working later with scripters William Messner-Loebs and Gerard Jones) embraced the action approach with the classic Extremists Vector storyline, where the League fought against the Extremists (based on versions of famous Marvel villains) who had destroyed their own world and were now trying to conquer this one. Eventually a European hero, the Crimson Fox, joined the team.
8. Justice League (New 52)
Geoff Johns and Jim Lee launched the New 52 in bold style with their new “Justice League” series, which introduced the new original lineup for the Justice League in this continuity, with Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash and Aquaman being joined by Cyborg. This is the team that will be adapted into the DC movie universe. Johns decided to take a more humanistic approach to these characters, as the series opened with the origin of the League and initially, the various heroes had a hard time trusting each other. However, when faced against the forces of Darkseid, all they could do is band together. Jim Lee is one of the greatest action artists of all-time, so he handled the over-the-top nature of their initial conflict well. Johns was then joined by longtime collaborator Ivan Reis on future stories, with Shazam becoming part of the team, as well. Johns’ initial lineup (plus Shazam) has basically become the definitive Justice League lineup in the New 52.
7. JLA (Post-“JLA” #100)
While you might remember Kurt Busiek’s run during this era, you probably don’t remember that writer Chuck Austen was the first scribe to steer “JLA” after the book hit the landmark Issue #100. After the brief John Byrne/Chris Claremont/Terry Austin reunion on “JLA,” the membership for Austen’s brief run and Busiek’s tenure (both joined by star artist Ron Garney) was a streamlined Justice League roster that returned basically to the Mark Waid and early Joe Kelly Justice League roster. The big change was John Stewart in place of Kyle Rayner as the team’s Green Lantern (which makes sense when you consider that the “Justice League Unlimited” cartoon began in 2004 and both helped make Stewart more prominent than ever and define him as the Green Lantern of the time for many DC fans). This group was about as close to the classic “Big Seven” as you could get.
6. Justice League America (Post-“Invasion!”)
Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis basically continued their strong work from their “Justice League International” days, as the loss of Captain Atom and Rocket Red did not significantly impact the League, as they began to more heavily spotlight the antics of Blue Beetle and Booster Gold, including their failed attempt to license the Justice League name to a casino. In addition, Ice Maiden and Green Flame became more integrated into the team, with Green Flame gaining new and improved superpowers and the two re-naming themselves Fire and Ice. The banter between the two male/female couples with Martian Manhunter as their straight man and Guy Gardner as the wild card made for an entertaining batch of issues. When Giffen and DeMatteis were joined by a young Adam Hughes on pencils, they also delivered perhaps their most serious arc, as well, in which Despero returned to Earth to exact his revenge and the League can barely contain his rage. Booster Gold would eventually grow tired of the hi-jinx and leave the team, with General Glory (a riff on Captain America) taking his place.
5. JLA (Post-Morrison)
By the time Grant Morrison’s seminal run on “JLA” came to an end, his roster was greatly expanded from the heavy hitters it started with. Mark Waid smartly pulled back the reins on the roster when he took over, concentrating on the “Big Seven” heroes along with Plastic Man. When Joe Kelly took over the book after Waid left DC to write for CrossGen Comics, Kelly stuck with that lineup, as well. Plastic Man’s comic relief worked well with the more serious main heroes in the book. This was the lineup that decided whether to vote Batman out following the events of “Tower of Babel” (where Ra’s Al Ghul had stolen Batman’s plans on how to take out each of his fellow Justice League members if they had turned evil and used them on the League). Batman was only absent a single story arc, though. He’s too important to the team to stay gone for long.
4. Justice League of America (the original)
Debuting in “Brave and the Bold” #28 (by Gardner Fox, Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs), the original Justice League of America was an interesting team. You see, while Batman and Superman were original founding members of the Justice League, along with Flash, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman, those latter five heroes were the main focus of the early years of the Justice League, as Batman and Superman were allowed in the title almost as a courtesy by their respective editors. So the early days of the Justice League mostly followed the adventures of Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman. They were then joined by Green Arrow, Atom and Hawkman in short order. As the 1960s progressed, the popularity of Batman from his TV series led to Batman playing a bigger role in “Justice League” stories, and Superman became a more regular member, as well. Dick Dillin eventually succeeded Mike Sekowsky as the artist on the series with “Justice League of America” #64.
3. Justice League International
As the Justice League went international with the seventh issue of their series, Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis soon found a niche that they could excel at with this new League. In “Justice League International” #8, they had the heroes move into their new United Nations-sponsored embassies around the globe. The issue just focused on the heroes in their downtime, and it included for the first time one of their heroes bursting out laughing using the now classic “Bwah Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha” (after Blue Beetle discovered that Booster Gold had tried to hit on a woman that turned out to be the League’s Parisian embassy chief). Giffen and DeMatteis introduced more and more comedic plot lines for the series as it got more and more popular. Original artist Kevin Maguire was soon succeeded by Ty Templeton. Both artists excelled at the facial expressions key to the humorous approach of the book.
2. Justice League of America (the Satellite Era)
By far the longest-lasting incarnation of the Justice League, the satellite era began in the late 1960s when Denny O’Neil took over writing duties on “Justice League of America” from Gardner Fox. O’Neill soon had the League driven out of their base and forced to establish a satellite headquarters in the sky. O’Neil also developed Green Arrow and Black Canary as a romantic couple during this time (a pairing whose rocky history you can read all about right here). O’Neil was succeeded by Mike Friedrich, Len Wein, Steve Englehart and Gerry Conway. Dick Dillin remained as the artist all throughout the 1970s, drawing the book right up until his death in 1980. George Perez was his initial successor. During the Satellite era, the League added members like Red Tornado, Hawkgirl, Zatanna, Elongated Man and Firestorm. The Satellite Era is perhaps the most recognizable era of the Justice League.
1. JLA (original)
By the time that Grant Morrison launched “JLA” with artist Howard Porter and John Dell, the Justice League had fallen on some hard times. You’ve seen those hard times by looking at this countdown. The League was no longer the place for the best of DC’s superheroes. Morrison changed that with his new series, where the original members of the Justice League of America were now the League once more. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter and Aquaman were together again. However, in the ensuing years, new younger heroes had taken over from Barry Allen and Hal Jordan as the Flash and Green Lantern, and this allowed for Morrison to contrast these younger heroes, Wally West and Kyle Rayner, against their more experienced teammates. Eventually, Morrison expanded the JLA’s roster to make it almost like a Pantheon of the Gods, adding Green Arrow, Oracle, Steel, Big Barda, Plastic Man, Orion, Lightray, Aztek, Zauriel and Huntress to the original “Big Seven” heroes.
Which incarnation of the Justice League was your favorite? Let us know in the comments!
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