The League Stands!

I like how plastic Red Tornado looks in this Alex Ross image. But someone’s not in Markovia any more!

With the imminent arrival in town of the Avengers movie, I thought it was time to explore my favourite rosters in the history of the Justice League, in the vein of my ” I am an Avenger” post.

Let’s look at my Top Five line-ups  of The World’s Greatest Super- Heroes!

Number 5)  Bicentennial Men

Gerry Conway, Power Girl’s godfather, featured Supergirl as a guest star and I rather like that idea for cosmic JLA sagas. I’d swap Hawkman ( Katar)  for Hawkgirl (Shayera) to have a gender-balanced team for the Swingin’ 70s. The elegant quirkiness of Elongated Man also appeals.

Number 4)  Classic Satellite Era

The quintessential 70s team, with an interesting mix of relationships . There is one cool cat from the Silver Age whose inclusion would make this the best-dressed super-team on Earth-1: Deadman

Aquaman should be a reserve member at best; his limitations don’t make him the most effective “lifer” on the team.

Number 3) The Wizard JLA

This roster was inspired (like Whedon’s movie) by The Ultimates. I like the presence and drama and the recollection of the cover of New Avengers issue 1.

In the iconic group shot, You can just make out a new female Atom perched on GL’s shoulder and the dwarfish figure is a radical reworking of The Martian Manhunter. I’d add the working -class mage Constantine here as the Anti- Snapper Carr.

Number 2) Re-Animated

I  prefer  John Stewart to Hal and I thought his romance with Hawkgirl made sense. There are too many extra-terrestrial heroes on this team and I’d be inclined to substitute Red Tornado for J’onn.

Number 1) Ten Years After

This line-up is all marquee names and features one of Grant Morrison’s inspired picks:  the legendary Plastic Man. This is how I would cast the JLA, with one exception. If I could trade one member, it would be J’onn for The Original Captain Marvel.

Runners-up: Baker’s dozen

In terms of dynamics, this roster is too unwieldy, although I was pleased to see Reddy, Zatanna and Vixen. As much as Speedy’s graduation appealed, I’d rather have Green Arrow. I’d also drop Hal, Firestorm and Black Lightning.  John Stewart would be my preferred GL; Firestorm is a transplanted Marvel character and BL is an Outsider, period.

Booby Prize:Batman and the Outsiders?

This one-off assemblage in the all-ages Johnny DC title tickled my fancy: two members of JLA Detroit , two members of the Meltzer League and Ragman. Not a bad line-up for urban crime stories but Vibe and Canary cancel each other out.  I might substitute Dinah with Vixen or one of the Batgirls. Batman’s  hand-picked strike force should feature those heroes who are on the fringes: the Creeper, the Thorn, Metamorpho and so on.

Fundamentally, the League is not your typical role-playing game line-up: a brick, a flier, a telepath and so on. It’s meant to be a pantheon. That’s why cybernetic sad sack Vic Stone is the sore thumb in the current Johns/Lee team. My iconic team would be this Big Seven: “Lifers” Supes, Bats, Flash, GL John Stewart. Plastic Man, Capt. Marvel and Diana Prince as military intelligence handler.  Reserve members- “temps”-  include Constantine, Vixen, Supergirl and the modern-day Batwoman.

But what’s your  ideal League? Something traditional , like this:

Or something more iconoclastic like this?

Next:  Requiem for a Deadman

All images copyright of their respective owners


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