Why the Justice League is the Best

Gods Among Us

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics

The Justice League of America was created by Gardner Fox in March 1960 (The Brave and the Bold #28). In that iconic first issue cover, the JLA goes against Starro the Conqueror.

However, the Justice League was nothing but a modernization of the 1940s Justice Society of America, which was the original superhero team. The premise was to bring together all the popular heroes into one single comic book.

Gardner Fox changed the team’s name from Society to League inspired by the baseball leagues and because it sounded more democratic (whereas society sounded uppity).

Unsurprisingly, the Justice League featured the seven most popular heroes of the 1940s still in publication, including the modern versions of Flash and Green Lantern, alongside a recent newcomer, J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, who debuted in 1955’s Detective Comics #225.

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics

The comic was so popular, that it made Marvel Comics return to publishing superhero comics (they were publishing romance and horror comics back then).

Indeed, Justice League is indirectly responsible for the creation of the Fantastic Four and the rest of the Marvel Universe.

If comic books are our modern myths, the Justice League are our modern gods.

More than any superhero team, even the Avengers, the Justice League represents this. There are so many archetypes within the JLA.

Even writer Grant Morrison in his iconic run embraces this by assigning each member a Greco-Roman god parallel (for example, Batman was Hades, Aquaman was Poseidon, Green Lantern was Apollo, etc.).

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics, wallpaper by Alpha Coders

In effect, the power levels of the Justice League are out of this world. Superman alone could beat most threats.

Back when I created my top ten superhero list, I place the Justice League at the top. Only the X-Men and the Avengers came close, and even those mutants cannot compete in power levels with the JLA.

Conversely, that is most fans’ complaint about the JLA. To use a Puerto Rican expression, “ese equipo está monta’o” (that team has too many star players).

JLA, Pinterest

In last May’s Justice League #75, the team is killed by Pariah and his dark army.

In June’s Dark Crisis #1, Jon Kent (Superman’s son) creates a new JLA mentored by Black Adam.

Can the new Justice League live up to the original’s legacy? We will see.

However, what better time to debate what makes the JLA special, and different from other teams?

So, what makes the JLA the best? It starts with its members.

The Top Ten Best Justice League Members

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics. Wallpaper by WallHere

The Justice League has featured A-listers from the beginning with the occasional B-lister rounding up the team. We will pretend the JLA: Detroit never happened.

Nevertheless, the Justice League‘s lineup is usually impressive, even when not including the Magnificent Seven.

Their dugout (to continue the baseball analogies) is one of the deepest in comics.

These are the top ten members of the JLA:

  1. Superman. The world’s first and greatest superhero.
  2. Batman. The world’s greatest detective and strategist.
  3. Wonder Woman. The Amazon warrior with her lasso of truth.
  4. Flash. The world’s fastest living being.

    The Justice League cartoon was the best. ©DC/Warner Bros

  5. Green Lantern. Imagine Alladin with a power ring that can build anything.
  6. Aquaman. The ruler of 75% of Earth and its creatures.
  7. J’onn J’onzz. The last of the green Martians is also a powerful telepath.
  8. Zatanna. The world’s greatest magician.
  9. Captain Marvel (Shazam). A kid in an adult body powered by five different Greco-Roman gods.
  10. Firestorm. A walking nuclear bomb.

What a lineup!

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics

By the way, the JLA’s B-listers are just as formidable.

  1. Hawkman and Hawkgirl. Thanagarian warriors powered by Nth metal weapons and armor.
  2. Vixen. She has the power of all living animals.
  3. The Atom. A physics professor who can shrink to subatomic levels.
  4. Black Canary. The world’s third greatest martial artist and sonic siren.
  5. Green Arrow. Every team needs a sniper and a moral conscience.
  6. Plastic Man. The funny and flexible rubber man.

    Congorilla, the Justice League’s most unlikely member

  7. Red Tornado. A sentient robot that is also a walking hurricane.
  8. Cyborg. The half-human, half-machine man. (Actually, Raven and Starfire should graduate to the JLA too).
  9. Mr. Miracle and Big Barda. Two New Gods for those times they must go against Darkseid.
  10. Booster Gold. The time traveler from the 25th century.
  11. Congorilla. Don’t laugh but this human trapped in a gorilla body can give the Hulk a run for his money.
  12. Blue Beetle. Age-wise, he belongs with the Teen Titans. But he does belong in the big leagues.
Of course, those are their best members. There are other heroes they can call for help, including the Titans, Outsiders, and JSA.

Still, what makes the Justice League of America the best superhero team?

The League is Here for You

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics. Wallpaper from Wallpaper Flare

The Justice League is like a modern pantheon of gods. They are mega-powerful, cool, sexy, etc. Yes, they are the good guys. Blah, blah, blah…

But so are the X-Men, the FF, the Teen Titans, and the Avengers. What sets them apart?

You could say they have two of the most iconic superhero headquarters on the Watchtower and the Hall of Justice. Indeed, most superhero headquarters feel pedestrian next to those two.

Likewise, you could say they have the best villains (when you are so overpowered as them, you need to out of necessity). Superman alone can defeat most of them.

In effect, would a team that has Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman need any other members?

DC’s Trinity: Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. ©DC Comics

You could say they are the modern legacy of the original superhero team, that they represent the superhero ideal best, or that they are the heroes we grew up watching and reading about.

And yet, none of those reasons matter.

What makes the Justice League the best is its professionalism.

Superfriends? Not quite. Batman and Superman respect each other but they do not see eye to eye.

Wonder Woman and Aquaman are royalty and understand each other but their more blue-collar teammates like Flash and Green Lantern do not.

Hawkman (a conservative) and Green Arrow (a liberal) dislike each other.

Black Canary, Batman, and Hawkgirl ©DC Comics

Batman dislikes Green Lantern‘s flashiness and cockiness. Booster Gold and Plastic Man get on everyone’s nerves with their pranks and antics.

Nevertheless, if Earth is in trouble or if the Multiverse is in danger, they put their differences aside and work together like the professionals they are.

Furthermore, they do it selflessly.

A Kryptonian from Kansas, a playboy billionaire, a Greek woman, an Atlantean, a space cop, a science cop, a Martian, an orphan, a Vegas performer, a black man, a second-generation heroine, an African fashion model, a rebel millionaire, an ex-con, a sentient robot, a con man, a college professor, and two Thanagarians, to name a few, together for the common good.

the Justice League of America ©DC Comics

The fact they can function as a team is a miracle.

People from different socio-economic, political, and racial backgrounds come together to fight for justice and make the world better. The league is certainly here for us.

Long live the JLA.

Reader, are you a fan of the Justice League? Who is your favorite member?

No Responses

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

May 2023