DC Comics is one of the oldest and best known comic book publishers. Their Justice League series is also an American tradition. This super team of crime-fighters launched with seven original members. And all are now household names modern culture.
DC launched the Justice League with its first team comic book, Justice League of America in November 1960. Since then, DC Comics has relaunched the comics several times, including 2011 and 2016. The 2016 release is part of the company’s DC Rebirth. Which added a third volume to the comic book series.
You’ll find the Justice League and most of its members featured in movies, comics, and TV shows. You’ll even find lines of merchandise and collectibles, from action figures to costumes and housewares.
The Original Justice League Team
Made up of seven DC Comics superheroes, the original team had some of the most iconic comic book characters ever.
Called the man of steel, this super-strong alien from Krypton who could see through walls has been around since 1938. Superman works as a journalist disguised as his alter ego, Clark Kent. He uses his job to keep tabs on where he might be needed.
This comic first appeared in 1941. Aquaman uses his mind (telepathy) to control creatures from under the sea. His ability to high-pressure underwater depths makes him impervious to attacks on land.
Originally a forensic scientist, the Flash is now the fastest man on earth. He has reflexes to match, and a smart-alec personality. He can also affect the molecular vibration of objects.
The Green Lantern
Also known as Hal Jordan, this airplane pilot fights evil with a ring that harnesses his willpower. The ring also gives him the power of flight and the ability to produce “constructs.” Real, tangible objects out of thin air that he can control telekinetically.
Also known as J’onn J’onzz, this character debuted in 1955. He’s an alien from Mars who fights evil with super-powered strength. He also has a shape-shifting ability and telepathy.
Bruce Wayne is one of DC’s most popular superheroes. Of the entire Justice League, he’s probably the most relatable character. Unlike Superman or The Flash, Batman is just a normal human being from Earth. He has no physical or mental superhuman powers. He fights evil with his wits, using his intellect, science, and technology to save the day.
Wonder Woman works for the U.S. government under the name Diana Prince. She’s one of DC’s most regenerated superheroes. One of the first female comic book heroes, she debuted in 1941. Inspired by the works of early feminists, the character hails from the fictional island of Themyscira. Based loosely on legends of Amazon warriors, Wonder Woman embodies ancient Greek ideals. As such, she is an exceptional athlete and trained fighter.
Revolving Justice League Members
DC Comics has added a number of their other superheroes to the roster over the years. This has created a unique group of characters with diverse talents and superpowers. Some other DC heroes that have served on the Justice League have included: Green Arrow, Hawkman, Stargirl, and Shazam.
Animated Justice League TV Shows
The DC Comics superhero team has come to life on televisions in several iterations over the last 20 years. The first show, titled Justice League, originally aired on Cartoon Network from 2001 to 2004. This back-to-basics version featured iconic characters. The cast included: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Green Lantern, Flash, Martian Manhunter, and Hawkgirl.
Later revised to Justice League Unlimited in 2004, with an expanded team. Additional characters included Black Canary, Atom, Green Arrow, and a host of others. Notable voice actors for the series included Ed Asner, Arte Johnson, Michael York, Bud Cort, Michael Dorn, Nathan Fillion, Mark Hamill, and Jeremy Piven. The show wrapped in 2006.
Justice League Action rejuvenated the franchise with a Cartoon Network series in 2016. Featuring the founding superhero members, it also boasts important voice actors from previous shows and movies. Mark Hamill voices The Joker; he has been considered by many fans the ultimate voice talent for the role. Other well-known Hollywood actors have contributed their skills as well. Including Sean Astin, Gary Cole, Michael Dorn, Patton Oswalt, Carl Reiner, Andy Richter, James Woods and Cloris Leachman.
Along with the new television show, a new web series kicked off on Kids’ YouTube in June 2017 called Justice League Action Shorts. Producers provided the following highlight reel for fans during Comic-Con 2016.
Animated Justice League Movies
DC Comics created a portfolio of animated movies featuring the Justice League. Labeled “DC Universe Original Movies,” these films appeal to adult comic book fans. They feature strong language, more violence, sexual situations, and more mature themes. Most are rated PG to PG-13, while a few have received R ratings, such as Justice League Dark. Most have gone straight to video for immediate purchase, while two of the Batman titles appeared in theatres.
Justice League: The New Frontier
Released in February 2008, this animated feature had the superheroes taking on an evil entity called the “Centre.” Voice actors cast included some big names. David Boreanaz as the Green Lantern. Lucy Lawless played Wonder Woman, Neil Patrick Harris played The Flash, and Brooke Shields had a small part.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
This 2010 feature film explores an alternate universe where the Justice League fights their evil counterparts. Notable voice actors in the film include Mark Harmon as Superman, Gina Torres as Superwoman, and Chris Noth as Lex Luthor.
Justice League: Doom
Released in 2012, Doom serves as a sequel to Crisis on Two Earths. Voice actors from DC Comics superhero television shows reprised their roles for this film. Well-known talents were involved in this offering as well. They include Tim Daly voicing Superman and Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern.
Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox
This 2013 film brings back Nathan Fillion as the Green Lantern. Ron Perlman stars as Deathstroke and Cary Elwes (The Princess Bride) as Aquaman. The Flash teams, along with the rest of the Justice League, keep his archenemy from destroying Central City.
Justice League: War
War is first of the DC Comics animated movies based on “The New 52” storyline. The movie features Alan Tudyk as Superman and Sean Astin as Shazam. They based the story on the first one in the 2011 DC Universe relaunch. And its is the first to follow the new continuity. DC Comics remade the entire lineup, from format to storylines. DC Comics planned 52 ongoing monthly series, hence the name “The New 52.”
Justice League: Throne of Atlantis
The sequel to War, Nathan Fillion and Sean Astin reprise their roles for this 2015 release. In this installment, a half-Atlantean prince helps the Justice League fight his brother. Known as the Ocean Master, the villain attempts to conquer Metropolis.
Justice League: Gods and Monsters
The first of the DC Universe Original Movies with an original script, Gods and Monsters (GM) released in July 2015. All earlier movies in the series retold storylines from comic books until this one. GM was the opposite, having an all original script. DC released a companion web series, titled Justice League: Gods and Monsters Chronicles. Airing on Machinima network, the three-episode show aired in June 2015. It helped to increase interest in the movie. Voice actors include Michael C. Hall as Batman and Jason Isaacs as Lex Luthor.
Justice League vs. Teen Titans
Sean Maher (Nightwing) and Rosario Dawson (Wonder Woman) starred in this 2016 release. This one stands out, especially since it also had an original script. While the Justice League battles the Legion of Doom, Robin eventually crashes the Batmobile while defying orders. Consequently, Batman sends him off to join the Teen Titans, a strategy that devolves into chaos.
Justice League Dark
The League battles what appear to be magical forces in this not-for-kids movie. JLD is the only DC Universe Justice League Original Movie with an R rating. Released in February of 2017, our heroes fight against supernatural forces behind a wave of violent crimes.
Live Action Justice League Movies
The DC Extended Universe (DCEU) features live-action movies which star their universe of characters. Released in November 2017, Justice League is the fifth installment in the series. It is the first to feature the entire team. Hollywood heavy hitters like Ben Affleck and Jeremy Irons play key roles. They helping to make it one of the most expensive movies ever made. A sequel is already planned. More than one, because of a live-action version of Justice League Dark, also in the works.
Comic-Con attendees got the following sneak peek at the action in July 2017.
With its range of over-the-top villains, alien heroes, and creative storylines, DC Comics is a now a cornerstone in the entertainment industry. For films, graphic novels, animation, even video games, DC creates beloved characters that have stood the test of time.
From its introduction over five decades ago, the Justice League has been able to adjust to a changing world. Batman, with his growing host of technological gadgets, ushered the series into the digital age. Wonder Woman has inspired generations of feminists. This makes the Justice League as relevant to modern comic book fans as ever.
Featured image: Promotional movie poster via IMDB