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Justice League

Group of fictional superheros of DC Comics

Top 10 Justice League related articles

Justice League
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceThe Brave and the Bold #28 (March 1960)
Created byGardner Fox
In-story information
Base(s)The Hall
Watchtower
Satellite
Secret Sanctuary
Detroit Bunker
The Refuge
JLI Embassies
Roster
See: List of Justice League members

The Justice League is a team of fictional superheroes appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. The team was conceived by writer Gardner Fox during the Silver Age of Comic Books as a reimagining of the Golden Age's Justice Society of America. Originally consisting of Superman (Clark Kent), Batman (Bruce Wayne), Wonder Woman (Diana Prince), The Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Aquaman (Arthur Curry) and Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz), they first appeared together as the Justice League of America (JLA) in The Brave and the Bold #28 (March 1960).[1]

The Justice League's roster has rotated throughout the years, consisting of various superheroes from the DC Universe, such as The Atom (Ray Palmer), Big Barda (Barda Free), Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance), Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce), Captain Marvel/Shazam (Billy Batson), Cyborg (Victor Stone), Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny), The Flash (Wally West), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Green Lantern (John Stewart), Hawkgirl (Kendra Saunders), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Metamorpho (Rex Mason), Orion, Plastic Man (Eel O'Brian), Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), Power Girl (Kara Zor-L), Red Tornado, Stargirl (Courtney Whitmore), and Zatanna. In the continuity of DC's 2011 relaunch of all of this monthly titles, The New 52 reboot, Cyborg replaced Martian Manhunter as one of the seven founding members.

The team received its own comic book title called Justice League of America in November 1960. With The New 52 in 2011, DC Comics released a second volume of Justice League. In July 2016, the DC Rebirth initiative again relaunched DC's entire line of monthly books, including the Justice League titles, with the third volume of Justice League. Since its inception, the team has been featured in various films, television programs, and video games.

Justice League Intro articles: 28

Background

The seven original members of the Justice League pictured from left to right: Green Lantern, Flash, Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman and Martian Manhunter. Art by Alex Ross.

Various comic book series featuring the Justice League have remained generally popular with fans since inception and, in most incarnations, its roster includes DC's most popular characters. The Justice League concept has also been adapted into various other entertainment media, including various forms of television from the classic Saturday morning Super Friends animated series (1973–1986), a live-action series of specials Legends of the Superheroes (1979), an unproduced Justice League of America live-action series (for which the pilot film exists), the acclaimed Justice League animated series (2001–2004), its sequel Justice League Unlimited (2004–2006) and Justice League Action (2016–2018).

A live-action film was also in the works around 2008 before being shelved. On June 6, 2012, Warner Bros. announced a new live action Justice League film was in development with Will Beall hired as screenwriter. However, the project was scrapped again. After the success of the Superman reboot Man of Steel, a film titled Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was released in March 2016, directed by Zack Snyder. Batman v Superman script writer Chris Terrio also penned the script for Justice League.[2]

Various origins of the Justice League

In story told in flashback in Justice League of America #9 (February 1962), the Appellaxians infiltrated Earth.[3] Competing alien warriors were sent to see who could conquer Earth first, to determine who will become the new ruler of their home planet. The aliens' attacks drew the attention of Aquaman, Batman, Flash (Barry Allen), Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. While the superheroes individually defeated most of the invaders, the heroes fell prey to a single competitor's attack; only by working together were they able to defeat the competitor. For many years, the heroes heralded this adventure as the event that prompted them to agree to pool resources when confronted with similar menaces.

In Justice League of America #144 (July 1977), Green Arrow uncovered inconsistencies in the team's records[4] and extracted admissions from his colleagues that the seven founders had actually formed the League after Martian Manhunter was rescued from Martian forces by the other six founders, along with several other heroes including Robin, Robotman, Congorilla, Rex the Wonder Dog and even Lois Lane.

Green Lantern participated in this first adventure solely as Hal Jordan, as he had yet to become the costumed hero, the biggest inconsistency that Arrow found, as they celebrated the earlier incident's date, while recounting only the later one's events. When the group formalized their agreement, they suppressed news of it because of anti-Martian hysteria. Because the heroes had not revealed their identities to each other at the time, they did not realize that Jordan and Green Lantern were one and the same when he turned up in costume during the event described in #9. While most subsequent accounts of the League have made little mention of this first adventure, the animated Justice League series adapted this tale as the origin of the Justice League as well.

Secret Origins (vol. 2) #32 (Nov. 1988) updated Justice League of America #9's origin for Post-Crisis continuity. Differences included the inclusion of the Silver Age Black Canary as a founding member and the absence of Batman, Wonder Woman and Superman. The JLA: Year One limited series, by Mark Waid, Brian Augustyn and Barry Kitson, further expanded the Secret Origins depiction.[5]

In Justice League Task Force #16 (Sept. 1994), during the "Zero Hour" storyline, a then-unknown superhuman named Triumph appeared. Triumph was revealed to have been a founding member of the Justice League and was their leader. On his first mission with the Justice League, Triumph seemingly "saved the world" but was teleported into a dimensional limbo that also affected the timestream, erasing all memory of him.

In Infinite Crisis #7 (June 2006), the formation of "New Earth" (the new name for the Post-Crisis Earth) restored Wonder Woman as a founding member of the Justice League. In Brad Meltzer's Justice League of America (vol. 2) #0 (September 2006), it was revealed that Superman and Batman were again founding members as well. 52 #51 (June 2007) confirmed that the 1989 Secret Origins and JLA: Year One origins were still in continuity at that time, with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman joining the team with founding members' status shortly after the group's formation with Aquaman, Black Canary, Flash, Green Lantern and Martian Manhunter.[6] In Justice League of America #12 (October 2007), the founding members of the Justice League were shown to be Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, and the Martian Manhunter.

With DC's history rewritten due to the Flashpoint limited series, an entirely new origin for the Justice League appeared in the subsequent Justice League series which debuted with an October 2011 cover date as part of DC's company-wide relaunch of all of its monthly books, The New 52. Issue #1 portrayed the first meeting between Batman and Hal Jordan, with the two encountering each other during a battle against a Parademon in Gotham City. After realizing the creature is extraterrestrial in origin, the two heroes head to Metropolis to seek out Superman only to be attacked by him.[7] Later, after a brief fight in which the Flash arrives and Batman convinces Superman they are on the same side, they move to an abandoned building to work on analyzing a mysterious alien box, when it suddenly activates and more Parademons arrive.[8] While fighting the Parademons, Aquaman and Wonder Woman appear and join forces with the other heroes.[9] The mysterious box leads to Darkseid's arrival on Earth, and the heroes come together, along with the newcomer Cyborg, to defeat him. The public becomes enamored with the heroes, and a writer dubs the group the "Justice League", following the Flash's suggestion of "Super Seven".[10]

Justice League

Character Real name Joined in Notes
New 52 Justice League

The Justice League was rebooted in 2011.

Aquaman Arthur Curry Justice League Vol. 2 #6 Co-Founder of the Justice League; Currently missing but Later Return in # 32
Batman Bruce Wayne Co-Founder of the Justice League; Active; Former member of the Justice League of America II and Justice League International
Cyborg Victor Stone Co-Founder of the Justice League; Active
Flash Barry Allen Co-Founder of the Justice League; Active
Green Lantern Hal Jordan Co-Founder of the Justice League; Active as a reserve member, Active in the Green Lantern Corps
Superman Kal-El/Clark Kent Co-Founder of the Justice League; Active
Wonder Woman Princess Diana/Diana Prince Co-Founder of the Justice League; and leader of the Justice League Dark. Transcended into the heavens in "Dark Nights: Death Metal"
Martian Manhunter J'onn J'onzz/John Jones Between Justice League (vol. 2) #6 and Justice League (vol. 2) #7 Joined but later attacked the Justice League and left, as noted in Justice League (vol. 2) #8; Former member of Stormwatch, the Justice League of America, and Justice League United, Return a main member in vol 3
The Atom/Atomica Rhonda Pineda Justice League (vol. 2) #18 Revealed in Justice League (vol. 2) #23 to actually be a member of the Crime Syndicate of America and a spy posing as a member of the Justice League; Died in Forever Evil #7
Element Woman Emily Sung Left after Forever Evil #7; Joined the Doom Patrol
Firestorm Ronnie Raymond and Jason Rusch Left after Forever Evil #7
Shazam Billy Batson Justice League (vol. 2) #31 No longer a member after the DC Rebirth event
Lex Luthor Justice League (vol. 2) #33
Captain Cold Leonard Snart
Green Lantern Jessica Cruz Justice League (vol. 2) #35 Left the team in Justice League (vol. 3) #8, but returned in (vol. 3) #11
Simon Baz Green Lanterns: Rebirth #1 Former member of the Justice League of America
Mera Justice League (vol. 3) #24 Active; Former member of Justice League United
Green Arrow Oliver Queen Justice League: No Justice #4 Active as a reserve member and rogue agent of the League; Former member of Justice League United
Hawkgirl Kendra Saunders Dark Nights: Metal #6 Active; Former member of the BlackHawks
Green Lantern John Stewart Justice League (vol. 4) #1 Active; Active in the Green Lantern Corps
Vixen Mari McCabe Active as a reserve member; Former member of the Justice League of America II and Justice League International
Adam Strange Active as a reserve member; Former member of the Justice League United
Animal Man Bernhard Baker Active as a reserve member; Former member of the Justice League United
Hawkman Carter Hall Active as a reserve member
Mister Terrific Michael Holt Active as a reserve member; Also active in the Terrifics
Plastic Man Patrick "Eel" O'Brian
Swamp Thing Alec Holland Active as a reserve member; Also active in Justice League Dark
Atom Ray Palmer Active as a reserve member
Miss Martian M'gann M'orzz Active as a liaison of the League to the Titans
Firestorm Ronnie Raymond and Martin Stein Active as a reserve member
Green Lantern Guy Gardner Active as a reserve member; Also active in the Green Lantern Corps; Former member of Justice League International
Jarro Starro Justice League (vol. 4) #11 Active
Starman Will Payton Justice League Annual (vol. 4) #1 Deceased in #34
World Forger Alpheus Justice League (vol. 4) #25 Brother of the Over-Monitor and the Anti-Monitor; Active
Over-Monitor Mar Nova Justice League (vol. 4) #27 Brother of the World Forger and the Anti-Monitor; Active
Anti-Monitor Mobius Justice League (vol. 4) #32 Brother of the Over-Monitor and the World Forger; betrayed the League and joined Perpetua in #34

Antagonists

The Justice League often unite to face supervillains who pose catastrophic challenges to the world.

Related series

Justice League Alien Invasion

Throughout the years, various incarnations or subsections of the team have operated as Justice League Dark, Justice League Elite, Justice League Europe, Justice League International, Justice League Task Force, Justice League United, and Extreme Justice.

Formerly Known as the Justice League

In 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire returned with a separate limited series called Formerly Known as the Justice League[11] with the same humor as their Justice League run, and featuring some of the same characters in a team called the "Super Buddies" (a parody of the TV series Super Friends). A follow-up limited series, entitled I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, soon was prepared, although it was delayed due to the events shown in the Identity Crisis limited series, but was eventually released as the second arc in JLA: Classified. The Super Buddies consisted of Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire, Mary Marvel, the Elongated Man with his wife, Sue Dibny, Maxwell Lord, and L-Ron. The second story arc of JLA: Classified focuses on the Super Buddies in a humorous story that features Power Girl and Guy Gardner, with and assisted by Doctor Fate.

JLA/Avengers

In 2003–2004, George Pérez and Kurt Busiek produced a JLA/Avengers crossover,[12] an idea that had been delayed for 20 years for various reasons. In this limited series, the Justice League and Marvel Comics' superhero team the Avengers were forced to find key artifacts in one another's universe, as well as deal with the threats of villains Krona and the Grandmaster.

JLA: Classified

Cover of JLA: Classified #1 (January 2005). Art by Ed McGuinness

In 2004, DC began an anthology series titled JLA: Classified, which would feature rotating writers and artists producing self-contained story arcs and aborted miniseries projects that were reappropriated for publication within the pages of the series, starring the JLA. While the bulk of the stories took place within the continuity of the series (circa JLA #76–113) some of the stories take place outside of regular DC Universe canon. The series was canceled as of issue #54 (May 2008).

Justice

In October 2005, DC began publishing the 12-issue miniseries Justice by writer Jim Krueger, writer/illustrator Alex Ross, and artist Doug Braithwaite. The story, which takes place outside regular DC continuity, has Lex Luthor assembling the Legion of Doom after he and several other villains begin to have nightmares about the end of the world and the failure of the Justice League to prevent the apocalypse. As the Legion begins engaging in unprecedented humanitarian deeds throughout the world, they also launch a series of attacks on the Justice League and their families. The threat that the Legion was warned about destroying the Earth turns out to be caused by Brainiac, who seeks to destroy Earth during the chaos.

Justice League: Cry for Justice

Originally planned as an ongoing title, Justice League: Cry For Justice is a miniseries created by writer James Robinson and artist Mauro Cascioli. The miniseries, set after the events of Final Crisis, has Hal Jordan leaving the League following the deaths of Batman and Martian Manhunter, as their deaths have caused Hal to seek a more proactive manner of dealing with supervillains. Hal, along with Green Arrow, and later joined by Supergirl, Captain Marvel Jr., and Batwoman are then recruited by Ray Palmer to investigate a murder of a former colleague that had been carried out on orders from Prometheus. This ties into another string of murders, bringing Starman Mikaal Tomas and Congorilla together as their investigation of the murders of several European superheroes are also revealed to be the work of Prometheus.

With help from the Hawkman villain I.Q., Prometheus plans on creating the ultimate weapon in mass murder, a massive doomsday device which he plans on using to destroy entire cities, as part of his revenge scheme against the JLA for lobotomizing him. Disguised as Captain Marvel Jr., Prometheus maims Roy Harper and brutally injures JLA members Dr. Light II, Vixen, and Plastic Man while using the JLA Satellite to activate his doomsday device, which destroys Star City, killing 90,000 innocent civilians, including Roy Harper's young daughter Lian. Prometheus ultimately extorts his freedom from the League in exchange for the codes that will shut down his weapon, much to the horror of the JLA members. Green Arrow (with help from reformed supervillain the Shade), tracks Prometheus down and kills him by firing an arrow into his head.

The miniseries leads directly into the formation of a brand new JLA roster with Green Lantern Hal Jordan, Donna Troy, Dick Grayson as Batman, Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), Mon-El, Cyborg, Starfire, Congorilla, Guardian, and Mikaal Tomas.

JLA/The 99

Launching in October 2010, JLA/The 99 was a crossover mini-series featuring the Justice League teaming up with the heroes of Teshkeel Comics' The 99 series. The JLA consisted of Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (John Stewart), The Flash (Barry Allen), The Atom (Ray Palmer), Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), Hawkman, and Firestorm (Jason Rusch).

Justice League Background articles: 93

Publication history

Golden Age

Justice League of America
Cover for Justice League of America #1 (October 1960).
Art by Murphy Anderson
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
Schedule
List
  • (vol. 1)
    Bimonthly: #1–8; #105–116
    Eight times a year: #9–32; #96–104
    Nine times a year: #33–95
    Monthly: #117–261
    (vol. 2–5)
    Monthly
FormatOngoing
GenreSuperhero
Publication date
List
  • (vol. 1)
    November–December 1960 – April 1987
    (vol. 2)
    September 2006 – October 2011
    (vol. 3)
    April 2013 – July 2014
    (vol. 4)
    August 2015 – September 2016
    (vol. 5) April 2017 – present
No. of issues
List
  • (vol. 1)
    261 and 3 Annuals
    (vol. 2)
    61 (#1–60 plus #0)
    (vol. 3)
    14
    (vol. 4)
    9
    (vol. 5)
    17 (as of December 2017 cover date) 5 DC Rebirth one-shots and 1 Annual
Creative team
Created byGardner Fox
Mike Sekowsky
Written by
List
Penciller(s)
Inker(s)
List
Colorist(s)
List

Having successfully reintroduced a number of DC Comics' (then known as National Periodical Publications) Golden Age superhero characters (Flash, Green Lantern, etc.) during the late 1950s, editor Julius Schwartz asked writer Gardner Fox to reintroduce the Justice Society of America. Schwartz, influenced by the popularity of Major League Baseball's National League and American League, decided to change the name of the team from the Justice Society of America (JSA) to the Justice League of America (JLA).[13]

The Justice League of America debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 (March 1960),[14] and after two further appearances in that title, got its own series, which quickly became one of the company's best-selling titles.[15] Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky were the creative team for the title's first eight years. Sekowsky's last issue was #63 (June 1968) and Fox departed with #65 (September 1968). Schwartz was the new title's editor and oversaw it until 1979.[16]

Silver and Bronze Age

The Justice League's debut in The Brave and the Bold #28 (1960). Art by Mike Sekowsky and Murphy Anderson.

The initial Justice League lineup included seven of DC Comics' superheroes who were regularly published at that time: Superman, Batman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern, Martian Manhunter, and Wonder Woman. Rarely featured in most of the stories, Superman and Batman did not even appear on the cover most of the time. Three of DC's other surviving or revived characters, Green Arrow,[17] the Atom,[18] and Hawkman[19] were added to the roster over the next four years.

The Justice League operated from a secret cave outside of the small town of Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. A teenager named Lucas "Snapper" Carr tagged along on missions, becoming both the team's mascot and an official member. Snapper, noted for speaking in beatnik dialect and snapping his fingers, helped the group defeat the giant space starfish Starro the Conqueror in the team's first appearance.

The supervillain Doctor Light first battled the team in issue #12 (June 1962).[20] Justice League of America #21 and #22 (August–September 1963) saw the first team-up of the Justice League and the Justice Society of America as well as the first use of the term "Crisis" in reference to a crossover between the characters.[21] The following year's team-up with the Justice Society introduced the threat of the Crime Syndicate of America of Earth-Three.[22] The character Metamorpho was offered membership in the Justice League but declined.[23] Following the departures of Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, writer Denny O'Neil and artist Dick Dillin became the new creative team. Dillin would draw the title from issue #64 (August 1968) through #183 (October 1980).[24]

O'Neil reshaped the Justice League's membership by removing Wonder Woman in issue #69 and the Martian Manhunter in issue #71.[25] Following the JLA–JSA team-up in issues #73–74 and the death of her husband, the Black Canary decided to move from Earth-Two to Earth-One to make a fresh start, where she joins the Justice League.[26] The following issue saw the character develop the superpower known as her "canary cry".[27] In issue #77 (December 1969), Snapper Carr is tricked into betraying the cave headquarters' secret location to the Joker, resulting in his resignation from the team.[28]

Satellite years

In need of a new secure headquarters, the Justice League moved into an orbiting satellite headquarters in Justice League of America #78 (February 1970).[29] The Elongated Man,[30] the Red Tornado,[31] Hawkgirl,[32] Zatanna,[33] and Firestorm[34] joined the team, and Wonder Woman returned during this period.

Len Wein wrote issues #100–114, in which he and Dillin re-introduced the Seven Soldiers of Victory in issues #100–102[35] and the Freedom Fighters in issues #107–108.[36] In the fall of 1972, Wein and writers Gerry Conway and Steve Englehart crafted a metafictional unofficial crossover spanning titles from both Marvel and DC. Each comic featured Englehart, Conway, and Wein, as well as Wein's first wife Glynis, interacting with Marvel or DC characters at the Rutland Halloween Parade in Rutland, Vermont. Beginning in Amazing Adventures #16 (by Englehart with art by Bob Brown and Frank McLaughlin), the story continued in Justice League of America #103 (by Wein, Dillin and Dick Giordano), and concluded in Thor #207 (by Conway and penciler John Buscema). As Englehart explained in 2010, "It certainly seemed like a radical concept and we knew that we had to be subtle (laughs) and each story had to stand on its own, but we really worked it out. It's really worthwhile to read those stories back to back to back—it didn't matter to us that one was at DC and two were at Marvel—I think it was us being creative, thinking what would be really cool to do."[37][38][39] Justice League of America #103 also featured the Justice League offering membership to the Phantom Stranger. Len Wein commented on the Phantom Stranger's relationship with the JLA in a 2012 interview stating that the character "only sort of joined. He was offered membership but vanished, as per usual, without actually accepting the offer. Over the years, other writers have just assumed [he] was a member, but in my world, he never really said yes."[40] Issues #110 (March–April 1974) to #116 (March–April 1975) of the series were in the 100 Page Super Spectacular format.[41] Libra, a supervillain created by Wein and Dillin in Justice League of America #111 (May–June 1974),[42] would play a leading role in Grant Morrison's Final Crisis storyline in 2008.

Writers Cary Bates and Elliot S. Maggin wrote themselves into the 1975 JLA–JSA crossover in issues #123–124 with Bates becoming a supervillain.[43][44]

Wonder Woman rejoined the team following a major two-year story arc, largely written by Martin Pasko. To prove her worthiness to rejoin the JLA, Wonder Woman voluntarily underwent 12 trials analogous to the 12 labors of Hercules, each of which was monitored in secret by a member of the JLA.[45] After the conclusion of the storyline in Wonder Woman #222, the character's return to the JLA occurred in a two-part story in Justice League of America #128–129 (March–April 1976).[46]

Steve Englehart wrote the series beginning with issue #139 and provided another unofficial crossover with Marvel Comics in issue #142 by reworking his character Mantis into the DC Universe as a character named "Willow".[47] Englehart left the title with issue #150. From issue #139 to #157 on, the issues were giant-sized.

Writer Gerry Conway had a lengthy association with the title as well. His first JLA story appeared in issue #125 (December 1975) and he became the series' regular writer with issue #151 (February 1978). With a few exceptions, Conway would write the team's adventures until issue #255 (October 1986).[48] Julius Schwartz, who had edited the title since the first issue, left the series with issue #165 (April 1979).[16] The 1979 crossover with the Justice Society in issues #171 and 172 saw the death of the original Mister Terrific.[49] After Dick Dillin's death, George Pérez, Don Heck, and Rich Buckler would rotate as artist on the title. The double-sized anniversary issue #200 (March 1982) was a "jam" featuring a story written by Conway, a framing sequence drawn by Pérez, and chapters drawn by Pat Broderick, Jim Aparo, Dick Giordano, Gil Kane, Carmine Infantino, Brian Bolland, and Joe Kubert.[50] Bolland's chapter gave the artist his "first stab at drawing Batman."[51] Pérez would leave the title with issue #200[52] to concentrate on The New Teen Titans although he would contribute covers to the JLA through issue #220 (November 1983). The 1982 team-up with the Justice Society in issues #207–209 crossed over with All-Star Squadron #14–15.[53][54] A Justice League story by Gerry Conway and Rich Buckler originally intended for publication as an issue of All-New Collectors' Edition saw print in Justice League of America #210–212 (January–March 1983).[55][56][57]

Detroit

Seeking to capitalize on the popularity of their other team books, which focused upon heroes in their late teens/early 20s, Gerry Conway and artist Chuck Patton revamped the Justice League series. After most of the original heroes fail to help fend off an invasion of Martians, Aquaman dissolves the League and rewrites its charter to allow only heroes who will devote their full-time to the roster.[58] The new team initially consists of Aquaman, Zatanna, Martian Manhunter, Elongated Man, the Vixen, and a trio of teenage heroes Gypsy, Steel, and Vibe.[59] Aquaman leaves the team after a year, due to resolving marital problems, and his role as leader is assumed by the Martian Manhunter.

The final storyline for the original Justice League of America series (#258–261), by writer J. M. DeMatteis and artist Luke McDonnell,[60] concludes with the murders of Vibe and Steel at the hands of robots created by long-time League nemesis Professor Ivo, and the resignations of Vixen, Gypsy, and the Elongated Man during the events of DC's Legends miniseries, which sees the team disband.

Modern incarnations

Justice League International

The 1986 company-wide crossover "Legends" concluded with the formation of a new Justice League. The new team was dubbed "Justice League," then "Justice League International" (JLI) and was given a mandate with less of an American focus. The new series, written by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis with art initially by Kevin Maguire[61] and later by Adam Hughes, added quirky humor to the team's stories. In this incarnation, the membership consisted partly of heroes from Earths that, prior to their merging in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, were separate. The initial team included Batman, Black Canary, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Doctor Light (Kimiyo Hoshi), Doctor Fate, Martian Manhunter, Mister Miracle, and Guy Gardner; and soon after inception, adds Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Fire (then known as the Global Guardians' Green Flame), Ice (then known as the Global Guardians' Icemaiden), and two Rocket Reds (one was a Manhunter spy, the other was Dimitri Pushkin). The Giffen/DeMatteis team worked on Justice League for five years and closed out their run with the "Breakdowns" storyline in 1991 and 1992.[62] The series' humorous tone and high level of characterization proved very popular.

After Giffen and DeMatteis' departure DC created numerous spin-off titles. In 1996, the series was canceled, along with spinoffs Justice League Europe, Extreme Justice, and Justice League Task Force.

JLA

The low sales of the various Justice League spinoff books prompted DC to revamp the League as a single team (with all of the branch teams disbanded) in a single title. A Justice League of America formed in the September 1996 limited series Justice League: A Midsummer's Nightmare by Mark Waid and Fabian Nicieza, which reunited the "Original Seven" of the League for the first time since Crisis on Infinite Earths. In 1997, DC Comics launched a new Justice League series titled JLA, written by Grant Morrison with art by Howard Porter and inker John Dell.[63]

Morrison introduced the idea of the JLA allegorically representing a pantheon of gods, with their different powers and personalities, incorporating such characters as Zauriel, Big Barda, Orion, Huntress, Oracle (Barbara Gordon), Steel (John Henry Irons), and Plastic Man.[64] Aztek, Tomorrow Woman, and Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) were also added as temporary members.

Morrison revamped the League's Rogues Gallery by introducing new powerful adversaries for them to face, including: White Martians, Renegade Angels, a new incarnation of the Injustice Gang led by Lex Luthor and the Key. Other foes introduced were the new villain Prometheus, the existing JLA villain Starro the Conqueror, "The Ultra-Marines" and a futuristic Darkseid.

During the 2005–2006 event Infinite Crisis, the series ended as Green Arrow struggled in vain to keep the League afloat (JLA #120–125).

52

In 52 Week 24, Firestorm recruited a group to reform the Justice League. It consisted of Firehawk, Super-Chief, Bulleteer and Ambush Bug. The team fought a deranged Skeets, who takes Super-Chief's powers, killing him and numerous people who had received powers through Lex Luthor's Everyman Project. Afterward, Firestorm broke up the team. Also in the series, Luthor's new Infinity, Inc. was informally referred to as a "Justice League" in solicitations and on covers.

Justice League of America (vol. 2)

Variant cover of Justice League of America (vol. 2) #1. Art by Michael Turner.

One year after the events of Infinite Crisis, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman reunite in the Batcave to re-form the League in Justice League of America #0, the kick-off for a new series by Brad Meltzer and Ed Benes.[65] The series featured a roster which included Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Black Canary, Red Arrow (Green Arrow's former sidekick), Red Tornado, Vixen, Black Lightning, and Hawkgirl. The first arc of the series focused upon Red Tornado and pitted the team against a new intelligent incarnation of Solomon Grundy and the rebuilt Amazo. The new incarnation of the team has two main headquarters, linked by a transporter. At the first site is the Hall, which in the mainstream DC Universe is a refurbished version of the Justice Society of America and the All-Star Squadron's former headquarters located in Washington, D.C.. Black Canary is elected as the first official Chairperson after the fight against Amazo and Solomon Grundy, and led both the Justice League and Justice Society in a complex quest to reunite time-lost members of the pre-Crisis Legion of Super-Heroes, who had been sent back in time to free both Bart Allen and Flash from the other-dimensional realm of the Speed Force. Meltzer left the series at the end of issue #12, with one of his subplots (Per Degaton, a pre-nuclear fire mutation version of Despero, and a circa 1948 version of the Ultra-Humanite gathering for an unknown plot) resolved in the pages of Booster Gold.

Dwayne McDuffie took over the writing job with the Justice League Wedding Special and the main book with issue #13. Due to DC Comics seeking to launch a spin-off Justice League book led by Hal Jordan, the character was removed from the main League series and replaced by John Stewart. Firestorm also joined the roster, with the series entering into a series of tie-in storylines towards Countdown to Final Crisis, with the arrest of a large number of supervillains (gathered by Lex Luthor and Deathstroke to attack the League on the eve of the wedding of Black Canary and Green Arrow) setting up the Salvation Run tie-in miniseries. Also, roster members Red Tornado and Geo-Force were written out. Jordan was restored to the roster by issue #19 of the series, only to be removed once again by issue #31.

Issue #21 saw the return of Libra and the Human Flame, setting up their appearances in Final Crisis. Later issues would resolve issues involving Vixen's power level increase and see the integration of the Milestone Comics characters the Shadow Cabinet and Icon, who fought the Justice League over the remains of the villainous Doctor Light. The group suffered greater losses during Final Crisis with the deaths of Martian Manhunter and Batman, as well as the resignations of Superman and Wonder Woman, who could no longer devote themselves full-time to the League due to the events of the New Krypton and Rise of the Olympian storylines in their respective titles. Hal Jordan would resign as well, clearing the way for John Stewart's return to the team. Black Canary found herself declaring the League no more, though the group would continue with Canary taking a secondary role. Her last act as leader was to assign John Stewart and Firestorm the task of hunting down the Human Flame, for his part in the murder of Martian Manhunter, as seen in the Final Crisis Aftermath: Run! miniseries.

Vixen would take over the team, with Plastic Man rejoining the group. Len Wein wrote a three-part fill-in story for Justice League of America[66] that ran from #35 to #37. McDuffie was fired from the title before he could return, after discussion postings to the DC Comics message board, detailing behind-the-scenes creative decisions on his run, which were republished in the rumor column "Lying In The Gutter".[67] James Robinson was announced as the new Justice League of America writer.[68]

Wein's fill-in run would be published as Justice League: Cry For Justice neared its conclusion, as Vixen and Black Canary's group (san Stewart) confronted Hal Jordan and Green Arrow's makeshift Justice League group, which had stumbled upon a plot by the villain Prometheus that had resulted in much death and carnage. During the confrontation over Jordan's group using torture to extract information from the villains being blackmailed into carrying out Prometheus' plan, both Roy Harper and Supergirl would discover that one of Jordan's heroes, Captain Marvel Jr., was really Prometheus in disguise. In the ensuing battle, the League would suffer horrible losses: Roy Harper was maimed and his daughter Lian and hundreds of thousands of people in Star City would be killed by a doomsday device that Prometheus had activated. Vixen had her leg broken and Plastic Man had his powers permanently scrambled, making him a slowly-disintegrating puddle creature. To save other cities from being destroyed like Star City, the League reluctantly allowed Prometheus to go free; Green Arrow (with help from the Shade) would later track down and kill Prometheus.

Following the events of the "Blackest Night" storyline, a reluctant Donna Troy began the task of rebuilding the League, with Hal Jordan, Green Arrow, the Atom, Batman, Mon-El, Donna, Cyborg, Doctor Light, Starfire, Congorilla, and the Guardian.

At the end of issue #43, the majority of the new members left. Mon-El and the Guardian leave after Mon-El returns to the future, Black Canary returns to the Birds of Prey, Starfire leaves to join the R.E.B.E.L.S., Green Lantern leaves to locate the other Lantern Corps entities and Green Arrow is forced to leave due to his fugitive status. James Robinson said this was due to having second thoughts about his decision to use so many characters and that the team would have a different roster in the coming months.[69] To replace the departed members, Jade, Supergirl, and Jesse Quick were added to the team. Cyborg remained with the team in a reduced capacity and was eventually given his own co-feature storyline for issues #48–50.[70]

DC announced that Saint Walker of the Blue Lantern Corps would be joining the Justice League during a tie-in to the Reign of Doomsday crossover, but the character did not become a full member due to the cancellation of the title.[71]

The series ended with issue #60 (October 2011), the title being one of the numerous DC books canceled after the "Flashpoint" crossover. The finale issue was set one year after the events of #59 and saw Batman disbanding the League due to most of the individual members becoming preoccupied with personal commitments. The final storyline recounted the League's activities during the year-long gap, summarizing story arcs that had been planned for upcoming JLA issues but abandoned due to the transition to the New 52 continuity.

The New 52

Justice League
Cover for Justice League (vol. 2) #1 (Aug. 2011)
Art by Jim Lee and Scott Williams
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
ScheduleMonthly
FormatOngoing
Publication date
List
  • (vol. 1)
    May – October 1987
    (vol. 2)
    August 2011 – June 2016
    (vol. 3)
    September 2016 – June 2018
    (vol. 4)
    August 2018 – present
No. of issues
List
  • (vol. 2)
    57 (#1–52 plus #0 and #23.1 & 23.4)
    (vol. 3)
    43
    (vol. 4)
    55 (as of October 2020)
Main character(s)Justice League
Creative team
Created byGeoff Johns
Jim Lee
Written by
List
Penciller(s)
List
Inker(s)
List
  • (vol. 2)
    Scott Williams
    Keith Champagne
    (vol. 3)
    Sandu Florea
    Daniel Henriques
    Matt Ryan
    (vol. 4)
    Mark Morales
Colorist(s)
List
  • (vol. 2)
    Alex Sinclair
    Brad Anderson
    (vol. 3)
    Tomeu Morey
    Brad Anderson
    (vol. 4)
    Tomeu Morey

In September 2011, following the conclusion of the Flashpoint miniseries, all DC titles were canceled, and replaced with 52 monthly titles that each debuted with an issue #1, as part of DC's New 52 initiative, which rebooted DC's fictional continuity. Justice League of America was relaunched as Justice League, written by Geoff Johns and drawn by Jim Lee, and was the first of the new titles released, coming out the same day as the final issue of Flashpoint.[72] The first six-issue storyline is set five years in the past and features a new origin for the team.[73] The series then shifted to the present in issue #7.[74] After the first 12 issues, Jim Lee was succeeded as artist by Ivan Reis.[75] Subsequently, Jason Fabok succeeded Reis as the book's regular penciller.

The initial roster of the team consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan; who has since left the team), Aquaman, the Flash (Barry Allen), and Cyborg,[76][77] while the Atom (Rhonda Pineda), Firestorm (Ronnie Raymond), and Element Woman join as additional members.[78]

In addition to this series, two other Justice League-related titles were launched during the same month: a new Justice League International; written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Aaron Lopresti;[79] featuring an initial roster of Batman, Booster Gold, Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich), Vixen, Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Fire, Ice, August General in Iron,[80] and Godiva, and Justice League Dark; written by Peter Milligan and drawn by Mikel Janin; featuring an initial roster consisting of John Constantine, Shade, the Changing Man, Madame Xanadu, Deadman, Zatanna, and a new character called Mindwarp.[81] In May 2012, DC announced the cancellation of Justice League International with issue #12 and an Annual.[82]

The cancellation of Justice League International led into the launch of a new Justice League of America title (volume 3). The new Justice League of America is entirely separate from the main Justice League as the new team was formed by Amanda Waller and consists of Steve Trevor, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Catwoman, the new Green Lantern Simon Baz, Stargirl, Katana, and Vibe.[83] Katana and Vibe later received their own ongoing titles, although both were cancelled after 10 issues.[84] The new Atom, Rhonda Pineda, is also a member of the Justice League of America. She works as a spy to gain intel on the Justice League, reporting to Amanda Waller and Steve Trevor.[85] It is later revealed that, unknown to the members of either team, she is actually a member of Earth-3's Crime Syndicate, and is betraying both teams. Each member of the Justice League of America is intended to be a counterpart to the members of the Justice League, in case the Justice League would ever go rogue.[86] Catwoman and Green Arrow both serve as counterparts for Batman.[87]

The Justice League, Justice League of America and Justice League Dark clash in the "Trinity War" storyline, and Shazam (whose origin was told in a back-up feature in Justice League) joins the Justice League. Atom is revealed to be from a parallel universe; she is, in fact, a mole spying on both teams for the evil Crime Syndicate of Earth-3. The Syndicate roundly defeats the assembled Leagues, triggering the "Forever Evil" crossover storyline. In the aftermath of "Forever Evil", following their crucial and public role in defeating the Crime Syndicate, Lex Luthor and Captain Cold join the Justice League. A young woman named Jessica Cruz joins the team after becoming attached to the Crime Syndicate's sentient Power Ring and gaining control of its Green Lantern-like abilities.

In August 2013, it was announced that Justice League of America would be retitled Justice League Canada following "Forever Evil",[88][89] with the team relocating to Canada, although in the end it launched as a new series, Justice League United in January 2014. Its team members are Animal Man, Martian Manhunter, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Stargirl, Supergirl, Adam Strange and his wife Alanna,[90] along with new Canadian superhero Equinox, a 16-year-old Cree teenager from Moose Factory whose civilian name is Miiyahbin and whose powers change with the seasons.[91] The series, written by Lemire and drawn by Mike McKone. This new team has taken part in mostly space-faring adventures and its adventures have not involved the other Justice League.

In April 2015, DC began "Justice League: The Darkseid War", which would be the final installment in Geoff Johns' five-year run of Justice League. The event consisted of 10 Justice League issues, six one-shots and one Special. The story took hidden elements from Johns' run, as well as answering all questions posed since the beginning.

In June 2015, DC launched Justice League of America (vol. 4), written and illustrated by Bryan Hitch. It features the same members from Justice League. In this 10-issue run, the Justice League fights the Kryptonian deity Rao.

DC Rebirth

Cover of Justice League (vol. 3) #1 (Sept. 2016). Art by Tony Daniel and Tomeu Morey.

In February 2016, DC announced a follow-up to The New 52 called DC Rebirth, which would again involve a relaunch of books and a change in their fictional continuity,[92] which would restore aspects of DC's pre-"Flashpoint" continuity with elements from the New 52 storylines that came after it.[93] In March, DC announced a new line of books, including a Justice League series written by Bryan Hitch and drawn by Tony Daniel and Fernando Pasarin, which debuted in June 2016.[94][95] The team consisted of Superman (pre-Flashpoint version, prior to the Superman Reborn event), Batman, Wonder Woman, the Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, Cyborg, and two Green Lanterns, Jessica Cruz and Simon Baz & Mera.

Starting in February 2017 as part of DC Rebirth 's second wave, a new Justice League of America series was released. The team consisted of the Atom, Vixen, the Ray and Killer Frost. In the month prior to this, each of these members received a one-shot issue. On October 28, it was revealed that Batman, the Black Canary and Lobo would be joining the team as well;[96] Batman had dual membership in both Justice League teams. This series ended in April 2018 with the release of issue #29.[97]

During the events of Justice League vs. Suicide Squad, Maxwell Lord used the Heart of Darkness to infect Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, the Flash, Cyborg and the two Green Lanterns. In order to stop Lord and the infected League members, Batman recruited and temporarily inducted Suicide Squad members: Deadshot, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc, Captain Boomerang, Killer Frost and Lobo (a member of Waller's first Suicide Squad) into the Justice League.[98] Following this crisis, Batman, concluding that the world needed more human, relatable heroes to prepare for a new threat, assembled his new Justice League, selecting Killer Frost due to her actions in the battle with Lord, the Black Canary to act as the team's conscience, Lobo in return for a favor that he owes Batman after beating Lord, the Atom and the Ray as he sees their potential, and Vixen to act as the team's core due to her ability to coordinate so much in her life.

In Justice League #24, Mera joined the team, but left in issue #34.

In the Dark Nights: Metal crossover event series written by Scott Snyder and Greg Capullo, the League roster reverted to Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern Hal Jordan, the Flash, Cyborg and Aquaman. In the event, the League fought against the Dark Knights with the assistance of Mr. Terrific, Hawkgirl and Doctor Fate.

DC Universe

DC Comics ended the Rebirth branding in December 2017, opting to include everything under a larger DC Universe banner and naming. The continuity established by Rebirth continued across DC's comic book titles.[99][100] In March 2018, it was announced that the Justice League series was going to be relaunched, written by Scott Snyder. The new roster consists of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash (Barry Allen), Aquaman, Hawkgirl, Cyborg, Martian Manhunter, and Green Lantern (John Stewart). The first issue was released on June 6, 2018.[101] Following the Justice League/Aquaman crossover event Drowned Earth, with Aquaman missing/presumed dead, Mera takes his place as a member of the Justice League.[102] In 2019, Robert Venditti took over from Snyder, relaunching the title, taking place before Snyder's run and after Metal.

In addition, two more Justice League titles were released. A new volume of Justice League Dark featuring a team led by Wonder Woman and John Constantine. The other, Justice League Odyssey, features Cyborg, Starfire, Green Lantern (Jessica Cruz), Azrael, and Darkseid as they search for answers in the Ghost Sector in one of Brainiac's old starships.[103]

Following Dark Nights: Death Metal, Endless Winter and the beginning of Infinite Frontier, Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez took over the reins of Justice League from Issue 59. While Superman, Batman, Aquaman, and Hawkgirl remained on the team, the team also includes Green Arrow, Black Canary, Black Adam, Queen Hippolyta and Naomi. It also include a Backstory for Justice League Dark.

Justice League Publication history articles: 190