The Justice League is DC’s premier superteam. Consisting of the publisher’s greatest heroes, the Justice League is an important DC institution and the team’s adventures have long defined the publisher’s universe. Over the years, the Justice League’s stories have been chronicled by some of the greatest creators in comic history, and those stories have changed the way the Justice League is perceived by readers.
While DC can often seem like a changeless monolith, there have been some Justice League stories that put the lie to this assumption. These tales have taken the team and transformed it into something new, proving they are one of comics’ greatest teams.
10 Justice League: Rebirth #1 Charted A New Course For The Team
The Rebirth era of DC ended the New 52, bringing things more in line with the pre-flash point DC Universe. Justice League: Rebirth #1, by writer/artist Bryan Hitch began Hitch’s run on the title and set the mission statement for his time as the book’s writer. Hitch’s Justice League eschewed the traditional hero/villain narratives of the past, pitting the League against new threats from space and beyond.
While one can argue about whether they enjoy Hitch’s run on the book, it was different than what came before. He brought Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz onto the team as the group’s Green Lanterns, combining them with the New 52 team and beginning a new era for the group.
9 Justice League Of America (Vol. 1) #21 Was The First Crossover Between The League And The Justice Society
The Justice Society was DC’s original superteam. Flash #123 established that the team resided on Earth-Two, setting the stage for the next crossover between the two worlds. That came in Justice League Of America (Vol. 1) #21, by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky, when the two teams teamed up to battle villains from both Earths.
This first crossover was wildly popular and led to not only annual crossovers between the two teams but also would lead to the Justice Society being brought back to prominence. It also started the team on its multiversal adventures, something that would become a hallmark of the Silver Age.
8 Justice League Of America (Vol. 1) #29-30 Introduced Earth-Three’s Crime Syndicate
Earth-Three is one of the most iconic worlds in the DC Multiverse; a world where evil always won. Instead of the Justice League, there was the Crime Syndicate. They were a twisted mirror inverse of the League and the two teams battled it out for years. Their war started in Justice League Of America (Vol. 1) #29-30, by writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky.
The Crime Syndicate would become one of the greatest threats to the League over the years. Their clashes were always a big deal and their place in the team’s mythos is undeniable. They’re one of the League’s most enduring foes and seeing their evil was a great juxtaposition with the team’s good.
7 Justice League: The Totality Began A New Justice League Epic
Writer Scott Snyder became a superstar on Batman. Afterwriting Dark Knights: Metal and Justice League: Not Justice, I have relaunched Justice League. Joined by artists Jim Cheung and Jorge Jimenez, Snyder’s inaugural story arc was “The Totality”, pitting a new DCAU-influenced Justice League roster against their foes in the Legion of Doom.
This story launched an epic that had a massive effect on the League. Their war with the Legion of Doom kept escalating and eventually led to DeathMetal. Snyder’s Justice League was one of the best team books on the market during its run and represented a new day for the League.
6 JLA: Tower Of Babel Changed The Way The Team Looked At Batman
Writer Mark Waid took over JLA after Grant Morrison left and his opening story was a doozy, to say the least. “Tower Of Babel,” where Waid was joined by artist Howard Porter, pit the League against Ra’s al Ghul, a fight that shouldn’t have been too hard for them. Ra’s had a hole card, though, and it was Batman’s anti-Justice League plans.
“Tower Of Babel” changed the relationship between Batman and the League for years to come. It also changed the way readers looked at Batman and his role on the team. On top of that, it helped solidify the vaunted prep time myth that Batman fans have used as a cudgel for years.
5 Justice League Of America: The Tornado’s Path Brought A Satellite League Feel To The Team
Post-InfiniteCrisis, many aspects of the DC Universe were changing and the Justice League was one of the biggest. Justice League Of America: The Tornado’s Path, by writer Brad Meltzer and artist Ed Benes, redefined the League for the new era. Seeing as how much of the post-CI DCU used the past as inspiration, this book used the Satellite League incarnation of the team as its basis.
Bringing together a team of A-listers, League mainstays, and new members, it was a potent team. Meltzer and Benes’s run was only twelve issues long, but the team stayed DC’s premiere group for several years after. Their first story is a must-read for League fans, a testament to the power and grandeur of the group.
4 Justice League #1 Gave The Team Its New 52 Origin
The New 52 brought a lot of changes to the DC Multiverse. Many heroes’ origins were changed and the Justice League’s story was massively different from what came before. The saga of the beginning of the Justice League began in JusticeLeague #1, by writer Geoff Johns and artist Jim Lee. Revealing the origins of not only the team but the superhero community of the New 52 was a big change.
The New 52 Justice League’s reception was mixed, which fits the publishing initiative like a glove. It’s not as beloved as Morrison’s Action Comics or Batman but it’s not as hated as teen titans or Fury Of Firestorm. However, it set the tenor for the League for five years.
3 Justice League Of America (Vol. 1) #78 Introduced The Justice League Satellite
The Justice League has had a lot of great headquarters. One of the most iconic is the Justice League Satellite and its first appearance was in Justice League Of America (Vol 1.) #78, by writer Denny O’Neil and artist Dick Dillin. The Justice League Satellite’s first appearance kicked off what was known as the Satellite League era when the team grew and gained many fan-favorite members.
This era of the team was one of the most fruitful. The League became the home to all kinds of heroes, with future League mainstays like Zatanna, Elongated Man, Firestorm, and more coming aboard. It’s a beloved time in League history and a status quo that lasted for years.
two Justice League (1987) #1 Introduced Readers To The Justice League International
Fans had a certain conception of what the Justice League was, a conception that changed with 1987’s JusticeLeague #1. Written by JM DeMatteis and Keith Giffen with art by Kevin Maguire, it introduced readers to the League roster that would eventually become the Justice League International, a powerful group of heroes that was as funny as they were anything else.
The JLI was very different from its predecessor Leagues and even all these decades later it still finds new fans. It’s an iconic group and its adventures were very different from what came before. It brought a new approach to creating a Justice League, birthing new DC icons.
1 JLA: New World Order Saw The League Return To Prominence After The Doldrums Of The ’90s
Grant Morrison is one of DC’s greatest writers. One of their biggest books for the publisher was JLA and their opening story with artist Howard Porter was “New World World.” The ’90s were a bad time for the League, and Morrison fixed it in the easiest possible way- they pitted the Big Seven League of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter against the biggest threats imaginable .
their JLA set the tone for the team for the rest of the ’90s and the book’s success lasted long after that. It’s one of the most important runs in Justice League history, one that has stood the test of time. Morrison’s big concept superheroics combined with Porter’s bombastic art to create something special and lasting.
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