A full page advert (above) in this week’s Blackest Night #3 revealed the JLA roster that had previously been blanked out on preview images. The advert proclaims “October 2009. James Robinson. Mark Bagley. Justice League of America. Issue 38. A new era begins.” It also features a copy of the preview artwork with the full cast revealed (shown below).
There are three distinct groups of overlapping characters in that picture. The first group is Green Lantern (Hal), Green Arrow (Ollie) and the Atom were members of the original League and are the feature characters in Robinson’s current JLA: Cry For Justice mini-series. Congorilla is also featured in Cry, but this is his debut as a proper Justice Leaguer.
The second group is what I’d called the “Conway members”, those members of the League added to the rollcall because the writer happens to also be writing their solo title, i.e., in the way that Gerry Conway brought his Firestorm into the satellite era League or Grant Morrison brought Aztek into the Big 7 run. In this case Robinson is currently writing Superman featuring Mon-El. The Guardian is a major supporting character in Superman and he’s been flirting with his neighbour, Doctor Light. Mon-El, Guardian, and Light are all in the above image. She’s also important as she’s the only member shown who survives from the end of Dwayne McDuffie’s League.
The third group, and in some ways the most surprising, is the Titans. Donna Troy is appearing for Wonder Woman and Dick Grayson is there as he’s currently Batman. I suspect there is a major event building for Wonder Woman in Blackest Night – she’s in the final wave of BN DC Direct figures, but nobody knows why. We knew Dick and Donna already, but they’re now joined by Starfire and Cyborg. She had recently refused Doctor Light’s offer of League membership. Where this leaves the currently meandering Titans title is unknown, but we had been warned the two teams would be coming closer together.
When Brad Meltzer relaunched this title he included Arsenal as the Titan who steps up to take his mentor’s place as Red Arrow. Former Titan Wally West eventually rejoined the group as the Flash, but he’s been a JLA member since his time with Justice League Europe. And while I’m on this divergence – notice that there is no Flash in the image, neither Barry Allen or Wally West appear, but that stop any Flash Rebirth spoilers.
It’s an interesting roster and at eleven members one of the larger we’ve seen recently. I wouldn’t be too surprised if that image changed slightly when the issue actually ships (its something they did with the last comparable image). I certainly expect that Mon-El, Dick, and maybe Donna will make way for the real Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman once their individual plot-lines are tied up. That wouldn’t make the line-up look so radical – you’d then have six original members and only two former Titans.