Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Justice League

I had been waiting to do this one until I rebooted all the players involved, but with leak of the DCnU's Justice League membership, I figured I'd bump up my version.

So let's take a look at what DC's doing:
Working from the front, no huge surprises. Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman are all automatic includes. Same goes for Flash and Green Lantern. Aquaman? Yeah, I guess so, but as I mentioned in my previous entry on the character, he has way too many Superfriends connotations to be an automatic lock. Cyborg? Ungh. I can see why DC put him in, but it's a really cynical move that ends up highlighting the lack minorities rather than doing something about it.

Then we have the side characters: Deadman, Atom, Element Woman (from Flashpoint, so, yay?), Firestorm, Green Arrow, Hawkman, some woman with a mystery haircut (rebooted Power Girl?), and Meera, Aquaman's wife. I guess Meera gave her husband a ride to the photoshoot and the photographer was all like "I have some extra film left and you guys paid me for the entire hour, so..."

The part of Sir Not Appearing In This Film will be played by Martian Manhunter.

Not a great team. Not a horrible one, mind you. There were some dark days in the 80s.

Casting the Justice League is not an easy task. Not only are they the premier team in the DC universe, but they sort of represent the entirety of the setting. This is why people are so watchful regarding the inclusion of women and minorities. Otherwise, you end up with a poster that essentially reads: DC Comics: By White Dudes, For White Dudes.

It's also why I'm dropping the "of America" part of the team's title. I think DC is doing the same, or at least I hope they are or the ruling monarchs of Atlantis got some 'splainin to do to their subjects.

So who's in my League? Well, keeping to the DC set format of seven primaries and eight alternates, here we go:

  • Superman - Auto-include. As mentioned in his entry, the Justice League was essentially Lois Lane's idea. After a few team ups with other heroes, she suggested that maybe Clark can find a way to get some of the other heroes to cover for him? Maybe she pulled some strings with Batman and Wonder Woman just to be sure, "You know how he is. He'll never willingly take a break himself."
  • Batman - Another auto-include, even though membership in the League is sort of outside his purview and maybe even a few punches above his weight class. It was mentioned in the comments section (hee, people comment here now. You have no idea how giddy that makes me) that Batman's role in Justice League One Million is to keep an eye on the rest of the heroes for the same of humanity. I suspect he'll be performing a similar role here, maybe even to the point of forming his own side team to keep in reserve just in case.
  • Wonder Woman - Not only is Diana individually powerful, she has the most tactical and team-based experience of the group. Hell, she should probably be the leader.
  • Green Lantern - John Stewart version, as you recall. Given the sort of loose guidelines the Corps operate under, it makes sense that a well-meaning John would sign up with a bunch of other heroes. The Council of Oa is probably not too thrilled at his membership as it does divide his loyalties a bit and encourages the use of non-Ring powers to solve problems, but they can't really say anything, can they?
  • Flash - Barry was probably guilted into joining. Fighting world-threatening foes is probably a bit more than he wants to do, but he can't just say no.
  • Captain Atom - Starting to get into my reboots now. Captain Atom is a heavy weight power, plus since she has ties to the US government, her presence would go a long way towards calming the fears of the world's one remaining superpower.
  • Dr. Light - The Kimiyo Hoshi version, obviously, not the rapist. She's one of those characters I had hoped to get into later, so I'll leave this brief. She has a heavyweight powerset and a top notch scientific mind.
So there's the core seven. If demographics matter, that's four men, three women, three minorities, and only four Americans.

Before we get into the eight alternates, a few words on the criteria I have for League membership. First, the Justice League should only consist of heavyweight powers. The general rule of thumb I'm using to see if someone is tall enough to ride this ride is the Godzilla Test. Basically, if Godzilla wandered into a city, could a given lone hero stand a chance of stopping him? If yes, then you're eligible for League membership. If no and your name is not Batman, then sorry, the Justice Society, Outsiders, Secret Six, Titans, and Suicide Squad recruiting booths are down the hall. The arrival of any four core members of the Justice League to a conflict should be a "this shit just got real" moment. 

This leaves out a bunch of heroes from the DC version: Deadman and Green Arrow to start with. Given that I have other plans for these two, that suits me fine.

So who else?

  • The Atom - Another superscientist never hurt. Ray Palmer could pass the Godzilla Test, either by pulling a Jean Loring or just making the beast Fun Sized.
  • The Red Tornado - Pretty good powerset, plus as a robot it lets someone else be the Worf who gets the crap beat out of him whenever a new badass shows up. I see Tornado filling the role that Martian Manhunter did in Justice League: coordination and communication. My version of Tornado is akin to Moore's Swamp Thing (a robot that dreamed it was a man) so when times get really tough, we could see a few dozen of them deployed at once.
  • Stargirl - Take Courtney Whitmore, add a dash of Booster Gold, and you have our Stargirl. She's from the future where she is just one member of a large-ish superhero family. So she came back in time to when she could do some good on her own. The fact that she's joined up with a team means that she might be in a bit over her head, something that Rocket Red never fails to point out.
  • Black Adam - Yes, he's a supervillain, but so what? Does that mean he can't be interested in saving the world? Kahndaq is part of the world, after all. He just has a bad reputation in the West is all. Besides, I'd rather a thousands of years old supervillain be saving my planet than some pre-teen with a magic word.
  • August General In Iron - I just love the dude's name. Plus, as a rising power, we need to get at least one Chinese hero up ins. A super-strong, nigh-indestructible soldier with a bladed staff that can cut through almost anything would make short work of Godzilla, plus he has that all important tactical experience that's needed in these team efforts.
  • Vixen - We're ramping up her powers somewhat, but as a hero with innate access to the abilities of all animal life on the planet, I think Mari can make the cut. Plus I want another "punching hero" as opposed to a "blasting hero" like Light or Stargirl.
  • Rocket Red - When Dmitri Pushkin saw what his country was using the supersuits he designed for, he was aghast. When attempted to withhold his final design, agents of the Russian government, corrupted by the mafia, threatened his family. He died defending them, giving his wife and daughter time to escape with his notes. Now his daughter Galina has rebuilt and improved upon her father's design. She pretty much showed up when the Justice League was founded and demanded membership, not taking no for an answer.
  • Aztek - The Ultimate Man, fuck yeah! Sure, he might have been grown in a vat in Mexico somewhere, but the jury is still out as to whether or not he's actually the champion of the god Quetzalcoatl or some human-alien hybrid wielding fantastic technology. Think Ultimate Thor here.
And there we go. You'll notice a few missing people from the roster, namely Supergirl, Cyborg, Power Girl, Firestorm, and Martian Manhunter. They all will make the cut later on in the series, but some of them, like Firestorm, don't even have their powers yet. Supergirl is still getting her grounding in the Justice Society, which I'm keeping around as the "so you grew up with superpowers and we want to make sure you learn to use them responsibly" group. Cyborg I'm keeping a teen with the Titans (who are led/guided by Mr. Terrific, another notable name missing from the list). Given the names above, it's pretty clear there will be some vacancies opening up in the future, especially following Black Adam's sudden if inevitable betrayal. I'm also enamored with the idea of a Stargirl/Rocket Red spin-off. Maybe a new Birds of Prey?

Title-wise, Justice League gets two. Justice League (17/52) and Justice League Task Force (18/52). The former will focus on the Big Seven (or Five) dealing with world-shaking events, while Task Force is more for the alternates plus a few of the A-List in "remember that one time..." style adventures. There will be a Justice League International-style title, but it will be different in scope and probably name (The United?) featuring heroes who work under the sanction of the United Nations rather than ones who just sanctioned themselves.

How they interact with the Justice League will be interesting to see.


  1. You'll notice a few missing people from the roster, namely... Martian Manhunter

    Et tu, Drew? (ok, ok, later on in the series, I'll wait.)

  2. Heh, touche. For my birthday one year, my wife set me up on the back patio with a hammock, a case of beer, and the two Showcase Presents: Martian Manhunter collections.

    So to me, J'onn is more about fighting the Idol Head of Diabolu than standing around on a space station while the rest of the League does stuff. He deserves his own title where he fights crime, cultists, and the Lovecraftian worms that are burrowing their way into the Earth's tender heart.