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Your probably someone who has only ever heard a little here and there about this superhero team, or a steady fan. And if you are just dipping your toes into the expanse that is the Justice League, then this a great place to get started.
Let me start off by explaining my first introduction to the Justice League.
Truth be told, I can’t really recall the age, only that I was very young and the adults and teenagers around me would watch this cartoon series that I wasn’t really allowed to see at the time. I still remember being little and hearing the Justice League Unlimited theme song, and seeing images of heroes such as Wonder Woman, the Flash, Hawkgirl, and Superman on the television screen. It awed me then as it still does now. And as the years went by, I learned more and more about them. Now I’m here to save you the time of finding a good starting place to learn about these characters!
Firstly, you must understand that the Justice League is a team that millions adore. And the reasons why aren’t as simple as they may seem to be at a first glance. “Well their popular because they’re all overpowered,” or “Because Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman are working together (with some other guys).” If you were thinking anything along those lines, then you were completely wrong. It may be the reason that some people look into the Justice League, but it is not why they become fans.
Let’s start with the founding members of the league. In many different incarnations of the league the founding members have changed, though not entirely. In every incarnation, there is always Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Flash, and a Green Lantern. The first incarnation of the League’s seven founding members (then called the Justice League of America) were: Aquaman, Batman, the Flash, Green Lantern(Hal Jordan), Martian Manhunter, Superman and Wonder Woman. They debuted in The Brave and the Bold #28 the year March 1960 and were created by Gardner Fox.
'Justice League of America'
The team soon received its own comic book title called Justice League of America in November 1960, and ran until 1987 with 261 issues before its relaunch (Volume 2) much later in the 2000s. Now, remember that the league is a large group of superheroes who operate together as a team, with the founding members (whatever their incarnation) as the seniority, respectfully. After four issues in 1961, the JLA’s first new member was introduced: Oliver Queen aka Green Arrow. The various other superheroes from the DC Universe who join the league will from incarnation to incarnation include heroes such as The Atom, Big Barda, Black Canary, Cyborg, Green Arrow, Elongated Man, The Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkgirl, Hawkman, Metamorpho, Plastic Man, Power Girl, Orion, Red Tornado, Stargirl, Captain Marvel/Shazam, and Zatanna, among many others.
In the year 1973, ABC aired the Super Friends cartoon series featuring the original members of the Justice League (mind Martian Manhunter) along with the addition of Robin. Running until 1986 and featuring a trio of sidekicks, each of whom were new characters not drawn from the comic books: Wendy Harris, Marvin White, and Wonderdog.
ABC Presents the 'Super Friends'
Many other comic series were created after the JLA, featuring them in different lights. But what was it that kept readers hooked? One of the most simplest answer is: character.
Each of the members of the league have personalities that are different, yet complimentary to the other. They united as a team to save the world, and stayed together to seek justice and peace in the DC Universe. That is not to say that they all had the same mindset. A very interesting thing about the members is that they have their own ideologies. Their own reason for seeking justice, and their own meaning of the word. The most obvious is the contrast of Batman and Superman. But they are not the only ones who have clashed verbally with one another over their beliefs. But the thing is that at the end of they day, they all respect the other’s individuality. That is what makes them such a strong team in my opinion. That when faced with certain problems that are not so clear-cut—the usual beat the bad guy and save the day—they each come at it with their own ideas and debates on what is best for the people that they protect, and for each other.
Because of their individuality, you’d think that they would have issues being a team. And it is true that sometimes their different opinions and attitudes have caused them to take some breathers. But it also created something that I found really pleasing. Respect. The respect that the members of the league have for one another has survived decades of incarnations, and that is what makes them such a powerful team. Not only are they strong because of their respect for one another, but they are also (as noted by many government entities) DANGEROUS.
Yes, it may seem somewhat extreme to say that they may one day go crazy and with their power and suddenly loose interest in the people they are protecting and instead become a league of dictators gracing themselves as gods. But in a few incarnations, it is realized by Batman that in a way, this does have the possibility of happening. He noted that he and the other founding members of the league had grown very close. So close that when one of them is nearly killed or harmed it would not feel unnatural for them to enact revenge, crossing the line that they always said that they would not do. There have been cases where founding members of the league were willing to kill for one another. So Batman, upon realizing this, comes up with a contingency plan for if they ever cross that line. Ways for someone to take down each of the founding members, including himself.
There is so much more about their characteristics that really make you feel as if you could meet one of them on the street and wave a friendly hello. But the main point is, that the Justice League is not just a group of heroes working together. Over time, they’ve become like family to one another.
Now, I would also like to point out that Batman is the only founding member without any powers, but is not the only one in the entirety of the league. There are plenty of superheroes without powers, and many have made their marks as forces to be reckoned with. This goes to show that even though there are members with unbelievable abilities, it isn’t the powers that make them powerful, it’s their mentality.
Fast forward to recent years and there has been a featured film of the Justice League that did not turn out well. Considering that there have been several successful animated series and films about the Justice League, the fact a live action movie failed was baffling to many DC comics fans. I, of course, have my own ideas as to why this happened, but maybe—after having had read all this and perhaps digging for more info on the league—you will make conclusions of your own.