Part of the fun of being a JLA fan is dreaming up your own potential line-up. The League’s in a state of flux at the moment so here’s what I think they would do.
Justice League characters should be node characters, central figures who link into wider groups of heroes. That automatically means Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman no matter who is now inside those costumes. Beyond them you always need a centre of classic, recognisable Leaguers…
- Green Arrow (Queen) – Roy is good, but he ain’t Queen. The reason Oliver Queen belongs in the Justice League more than any other similar character is personality. The bombastic, moral centre of the League is pivotal to keeping them on the straight and narrow. We’re starting to see that again in Cry For Justice, but the League appears to desperately need Oliver Queen to kick some sense into them.
- Atom (Choi) – Don’t get me wrong, Ray Palmer is a great character, but the Atom should be fun and he just isn’t a fun character any more. Ryan Choi on the other hand has got all that uberweirdness from Ivy Town and the slight inexperience that would make him the team’s rookie. He also fills the “science guy” slot. I think that weirdness element would play well with the Bride and Metamorpho (see below).
- Hawkman (Carter) and Hawkgirl (Kendra) – Winged barbarians with honking great maces! What’s not to like? Carter always rubs GA the wrong way and I can’t imagine him getting on that well with the “not-Ray” Atom. Kendra otherwise would flirt with GA and I imagine she’d probably get on quite well with the Bride. If they’re both dead again in Blackest Night then there is the possibility of completely redesigning their alter egos. They need not be white Americans any more, they could revert to being true Egyptians, or even Kahndaq refugees – that’d play interesting against Black Adam.
- A “Flash” and “Green Lantern”. The quartet of GA, Atom, and the Hawks is going to give you the recognisable centre to the League. The League has to look like a Justice League otherwise it might as well be the Outsiders or some other random team. I’d also add two rotating chairs one labelled “Flash” and the other labelled “Green Lantern”. The real identity of those characters would be left open to the individual story, but theoretically Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner, Kyle Rayner, Barry Allen, and Wally West would all be members. Personally I’d like to see Guy Gardner and Wally West back in the League. They’d connect with the 1980s/90s League history and Guy would work great character wise against the more straight-laced Leaguers.
- Mera – I’ve been impressed with the way the character has been handled in Blackest Night. Aquaman may be King of Atlantis, but that comes with too many responsibilities for him to be running around as an adventurer. It would be better to have his Queen running around on the surface with Neptune’s Trident. She knows Carter and Olly from the old days, but I’d suggest that they probably don’t know her very well at all. She’d also up the international quotient of the League.
- The Bride – The four arms, eight foot tall undead Bride has been married to Ra’s Al Ghul and presumably also Frankenstein’s Monster. She green, mean, and is the coolest undead damsel in DC’s line up. She met Green Arrow and Firestorm whilst they were lost in the 1940s (JLA 80-Page Giant #1). You never know, maybe the Bride’s left arm comes from one of Hawkgirl’s former incarnations.
- Metamorpho (Rex Mason) – I thought about Plastic Man or the Elongated Man, but neither of them is as versatile as Rex. He’s an experienced hero, a family man, and has been described as one of the post powerful men on the planet. Not only that, but before he was transformed into the Element Man he was an adventurer/archaeologist of the Lara Croft school. Choi would be sat on Rex’s shoulder suggesting new and exotic compounds for him to transform himself into.
- Vixen – An internationally recognised supermodel with animal powers. She has so much untouched potential as a character. She isn’t American and, by her secret origin, English probably isn’t even her first language. She is a true African hero and that is too often forgotten. Not only that, but she is probably an international celebratory on a scale to match Iman or Grace Jones.
I’ve tried to avoid any of the franchise characters that DC has been renting/buying up (Red Circle, Milestone, etc) as I’m not so familiar with them and many of them wouldn’t really fit into a classic Justice League. Static is too young, Icon replicates Superman, the Shield is too much like Capt America (this is the JLA not the Avengers), etc.