No, not the current incarnation. Not even the “classic” incarnation. I miss these guys:
Sometime in the mid-80’s, after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Justice League of America closed up shop. It returned under the shortened moniker of “The Justice League“. They were formed in the John Byrne penned Legends mini-series. It was written by Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis with art initially by Kevin Maguire.
The book was unique, as it was in the early days of the darker books. And yet, here was this super hero book that was light hearted and fun. We got to see the heroes hanging out and interacting while not fighting a grave danger. Not that they didn’t save the world every other issue, they did. But instead of A-Listers, we were given second stringers (with the exception of Black Canary, Batman, Captain Marvel and Martian Manhunter). The team remained in flux for the first dozen or so issues, and while Blue Beetle, Bats, Guy Gardner, Canary, Martian Manhunter and Mister Miracle stayed, Dr. Fate, Dr. Light and Captain Marvel took off from active duty.
They were replaced by Booster Gold, the Rocket Red, Captain Atom and Fire & Ice (of the Global Guardians). Booster and Beetle quickly became favorites of mine, as super hero best buddies seemed uncommon. This was not America’s Finest. This was two pals who liked hanging out together and had a blast poking fun at each other.
Batman and Guy Gardner were having spats, and while Guy Gardner (of the Green Lantern Corp) continually claimed he should be running the show and threatened Bats (as well as other team members)…Batman took him down with one punch. Best comic book fight ever.
We were also introduced to the wonderfully smarmy Maxwell Lord, who manipulated multiple events (including getting Booster Gold into the League) before finally being allowed to be a representative (against the better judgement of some of the team members) for the League. He ultimately needed the leagues help, as he had gotten himself into trouble years before when he stumbled on a sentient computer. Lord was a sleaze, but still likeable.
This lead to numerous spin-offs, as the League went international. This allowed for even more additions to the teams (Such as Power Girl and Ralph “the Elongated Man” and Sue Dibny) and more than one crossover. We were also introduced to the Martian Manhunter’s love of Oreos. These books gave us incite into the characters, focusing as much on the supporting cast (such as Sue Dibny, Oberon and Max Lord) as the main heroes. They were fun adventures. We even saw them deal with mundane things. Like Blue Beetle trying to get back in shape after putting on weight. Finally, both Giffen and DeMatteis decided it was time to move on after nearly a hundred issues between them (this was over the course of numberous spin-offs and both Justic League America and Justice League Europe). They had the climactic Breakdowns crossover. Then the books suffered. Without the watchful eyes of it’s creators, the writers who followed could not capture the same spirit. An the book floundered before being cancelled.
A couple years back, DC got the original creative team back together for “Formerly Known As the Justice League” and then “I Can’t Believe It’s Not the Justice League”. The old spirit was back, and was loving it. So, why do I miss them?
Well, systematically, DC has been destroying the Justice League I love. Sue Dibney was murdered. Soon after, Maxwell Lord went totally evil and murdered the Blue Beetle (his friend). Max Lord in turn was killed by WonderWoman. Booster Gold was killed in 52. So was Animal Man (a member of Justice League Europe). It’s like DC wanted to make sure that the League could never rear it’s fun and crazy head again.
One punch. Bats took out Guy Gardner with ONE punch!
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