What happens when a threat arises so great that a single hero can’t stop it alone? No, crying to their faithful Butler isn’t the answer, they need Super-Friends. Whether it’s Darkseid, Vandal Savage or the Anti-Monitor threatening the DC Universe, you can count on the Justice League to step up and save the day.
The original team of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter debuted together back in 1960. An editor at the time, Julius Schwartz, wanted to revive the team based adventures of the Justice Society, tasking writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky to bring the costumed team together. They appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28, before rightfully getting their own book; Justice League of America.
An Evolving Roster
The core members might stay the same, but the League adds new heroes faster than Batman can whip up new gadgets. Green Arrow, Black Canary, Nightwing, Hawkgirl and Firestorm have all been members. And with Justice League International, the JLA and Justice League Dark teams scattered across the globe, there’s a place for every hero. But there’s also been some surprising additions across the years. Lobo, Captain Cold and even Superman’s arch-nemesis Lex Luthor have all been Leaguers. Those group-texts must be wild.
The New 52
The classic look of the Justice League brought the colorful heroes together in all their spandex-clad glory. When Jim Lee began working with Geoff Johns in rebooting the DC Universe in The New 52, their costumes were given an overhaul. They said goodbye to trunks and tights, but said hello to tactical armor, belts and Superman’s collared suit.
Jim Lee’s cover for Justice League Volume 1: Origin has become iconic with the Justice League and The New 52. The team joined forces to fend off Parademons and Darkseid in their assault on Earth. Lee emphasized the olympian physique of each hero, giving their costumes a realistic style fit a grounded world. If you’re a fan of Jim Lee’s work, you need to get your hands on Justice League Unwrapped. It includes Justice League #1 – #6 and #9 – #12 with just his pencil work. There’s no color, but it’s fascinating to read!
After 2016’s Rebirth, the Justice League have increased their ranks to face the new threats plaguing them in a newly rebooted universe. The heroes have to face otherworldly forces, rogue technology and will even be facing off against Aquaman in the upcoming Drowned Earth.
During a monumental event in DC Rebirth, Jim Lee worked with artists like John Romita, Jr to bring the team to life in the nightmarish Dark Days: The Forge #1, Dark Days: The Casting #1 and Dark Days: The Road To Metal. This was before Dark Nights: Metal plunged the League into Bat-Hell when the Multiverse attacked. Luckily, the team bounced back stronger than ever, splintering off into several groups to combat a variety of different threats after No Justice #1. The series teamed heroes and villains together in mind-blowing combinations. Starro. Superman. It’s crazy.
Looking for some Justice League action away from comics? The team have been appearing on-screen for decades. Justice League and Justice League Unlimited were two animated television series that used a huge roster of heroes, bringing some incredible stories to life.
Young Justice showcased new characters in an animated series with a focus on the younger heroes and sidekicks. The animation style was awesome and we can’t wait for Season 3 when it begins streaming next year!
There’s even a whole series of Justice League animated movies based on The New 52 comics, starting when The Flash changed history in The Flashpoint Paradox. Justice League: War brought the team together against Darkseid and Justice League: The Throne of Atlantis introduced Arthur Curry as Aquaman. The series also introduced younger heroes during Justice League Vs. Teen Titans before killing off everyone’s favorite Kryptonian in The Death of Superman.
The Big Screen
But there’s nothing like seeing your favorite heroes battle for the fate of the world on the big screen. 2017’s Justice League brought the team together in the DCEU as they faced off against Steppenwolf and his army of Parademons. And Wonder Woman’s solo film saw Diana, Princess of the Amazons, caught up in the war to end all wars. Next, Aquaman takes us under the sea where we find the King of the Seven Seas, caught between a surface world constantly ravaging the oceans and Atlanteans looking to lash out in revolt.