The other day, the following image was released, depicting the current Justice League battling the evil Crime Syndicate from Earth 3. Despite the beautiful rendering by the always stellar Ethan Van Sciver, I realized... this is the worst JLA line up in like... ever.
It doesn't help matters one bit that last time I picked up comics, I noticed that Justice League costs a dollar more than most other comics! I'm paying extra for a book I kinda hate and just buy out of habit and because in my head, it'll always be the central book in all of DC Comics!?
Here's the problem. Batman's "dead." Not really. He got flung backward in time and is somehow working his way forward to the present. Maybe he built a Bat Deloreon. But everyone in the present thinks he's dead. Superman is walking (literally) across America to get in touch with the heartland. (Next stop, Cincinnati!) Wonder Woman lives in a parallel world where she's a 21 year-old fashion victim. The Flash recently came back from the dead, so he's... y'know, readjusting. Green Lantern has like 27 different monthly comics, so he's occupied. Aquaman, Firestorm, Hawkman and Hawkgirl and the Martian Manhunter also, even more recently came back from the dead and are, like The Flash, readjusting. So who does that leave to star in the illustrious Justice League comic book?
Let's start with Batman. I know what you're thinking. "Batman's a big name!" But this isn't Bruce Wayne. It's Dick Grayson. Nightwing. The original Robin. Like I mentioned, the "real" Batman is believed to be dead. I know some people are enjoying Dick's run as a lighter, better adjusted Batman. And having him step up into the big leagues (no pun intended) isn't a bad idea, if only he weren't surrounded by other stand-ins.Donna Troy (getting clocked) is my NUMBER ONE FAVORITE SUPER HERO EVER! She's Wonder Woman's sister and used to be known as Wonder Girl. She was the heart and backbone of the Teen Titans and is a natural leader. But she's also got Amazonian abilities, bullet-proof bracelets and a magic lasso, so... she's basically a knock off of her older, more famous sister. She also, much to my chagrin, doesn't even have a code name, making her like DC's Jean Grey.
To extra shit on her, Mark Bagely, the regular illustrator of JLA keeps drawing her in these stomach-churning Ugg Boots! Uggs got their name from the fact that they're UGG-ly! It's true! Look it up! No one should wear Uggs, least of all a gorgeous, fabulous super hero! If I were to ever encounter Mr. Bagely, I would have to break it down. Next up... Supergirl. Yeah, basically, insert everything I just said about Dick and Donna above and just sub "Supergirl" being the substitute for "Superman." And sub "belly tee" for "Ugg Boots."
Also, months ago, this image was released, depicting what I think was planned to be the new Justice League, but I guess plans change and this lineup never actually materialized. But as you can see, towards the top, in between Donna and Nightw... um Batman, you see a gentleman in what appears to be an inverted-color-scheme Superman suit. His name is Mon-El and he comes from the planet Daxam, which is very similar to Krypton, so like Superman and Supergirl, he has the same powers as they do on Earth due to the Earth's yellow sun and lesser gravity. In the first issue featuring this new team, HE was offered Superman's spot on the team... but then I guess Supergirl came along and Donna and Dick were all like, "Yoink! Nevermind! Don't call us, we'll call you!" This also makes Supergirl a substitute for a substitute.
Moving on, I'm sure you also noticed Green Lantern and Green Arrow in that image, but like I said, Green Lantern is busy starring in lots o' books and Green Arrow put a green arrow between a villain named Prometheus' eyes, so I don't know how welcome he is at the table. Replacing Green Lantern is Jade, the daughter of the 1940s Green Lantern Alan Scott. Unlike the Green Lanterns (all of 'em), Jade doesn't need a power ring. Her body is infused with green energy, giving her the powers of a Green Lantern, without a lot of the limitations. (She doesn't need to recharge, for one thing.)
Finally, standing in for The Flash, Jessie Quick, the daughter of two Golden Age heroes, the original Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle. In fact, sometimes, Jessie goes by Liberty Belle and wears her mom's costume. Overly convoluted. But the Liberty Belle costume is way cuter and preferable to the Jesse Quick costume:
I'm a sucker for riding breeches. Yellow ones, at that!
Maybe if the entire cast of the Justice League weren't OBVIOUSLY "Well, we can't get the big name, so let's use someone with the exact same powers that no one that's never read a comic has ever heard of" it wouldn't be so bad. There are a couple more members:There's a giant golden gorilla named Congorilla, but he prefers to go by "Bill" and a blue-skinned alien that can fly and fire energy from his chest, who used to be known as Starman, but prefers to go by "Mikaal" (Mik for short). Along with Donna, they form the "We Don't Need No Stinking Code Names Club." Hell, technically, neither wears a costume either. Mik wears street clothes (LOOK, if you don't want to be a super hero... DON'T BE A SUPER HERO!) and... well, Congorilla... I mean Bill, is... nekkid.
I mentioned a bunch of folks who just returned from the dead, including Aquaman, the Hawks, Firestorm and Martian Manhunter. Their stories are currently being chronicled in a separate series called Brightest Day. Why didn't they just call this series Justice League of America? Why not just stick this story, which has been selling fantastically and generating loads of buzz, in the JLA book and spare us the League of Substitutes, a gorilla named Bill and an alien named Mik?!
Also, the writer of Justice League, James Robinson LOVES killing off characters. He can't NOT kill characters off! Prior to taking over the regular series, he did a JLA miniseries and killed off a bunch of international characters called The Global Guardians, including a character called the Tasmanian Devil, who was in the very first comic I ever owned. (AND skinned him and turned him into a rug!) He also killed off three Justice Leaguers years ago in his Starman series, the Crimson Fox, Blue Devil and Amazing Man. (Blue Devil, at least, came back, no thanks to Mr. Robinson.) In his first issue of the regular JLA book, he killed off a character called Blue Jay. I just have this sick feeling in my stomach that the League of Substitutes does not have a bright future. If he touches a hair on Donna Troy's head, I will kill him. Not really, but I will want to. First Ugg Boots and then that?! NUH UH!!!
So... maybe this isn't the lowest point in the Justice League's history...But that's really not saying very much! Let's get this ship back on course! This should be DC's flagship comic, not Green Lantern! (Which rules, but still... no one guy's book should so dramatically outsell the Justice League's!) Someone do something!