Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dream Team for the JLA

DC I have a request! A proposal! Please let me help you return the "ultimate" team back to the forefront of Super-hero Comics!

Step one: Take James Robinson off the book. Over the years, we get 2 versions of this great writer, but JLA and James have not gelled. I was hopeful when Robinson joined the book, that he'd pull it into his Starman talent pool and make the JLA a premier book. Instead I feel it has fallen even lower than when he took it over. He's just not the correct voice for the League. Brett Booth has a nice style and he could stay, but I think I have a better choice.

Step two: This step has already been set in motion. With the results of "Blackest Night & Brightest Day and the Return of Bruce Wayne" all the heavy hitters are back in DC proper... Alive.

Step three: Who will write this? Geoff Johns is the "no brainer"! He has written every major character in the DCU and also done many cross-over events. He knows how to pull teams together and write the group as a unit. But most importantly, He understands DC legacy. He made me love the Golden Age Heroes in JSA, and the Justice Society of America. He really has a way of making the old feel shiny and new.

Step four: Artist! Phil Jimenez... the heir to George Perez. The master of team books. The composer behind the Infinite Crisis. I first noticed Phil on Team Titans back in the early 90's. He was great at putting a lot of characters on a page and still having every detail crisp and tight. He has a realistic feel when rendering fantastic situations. To me, Phil Jimenez was the first choice to fill this role.

Step five: The line up. Lets start with a story that brings together the "Magnificent 7 ". It would actually be a great time for this to be a story/drama driven gathering. We don't need the world to be falling apart or Darkseid returning to ignite the reunion. Lets make it a wedding or a death of someone important in the DCU. Snapper Carr or I don't know. That will be the first 2 issues. We need a little action. But really make it story/character driven. Then in issue 3-4, the SH&T really hits the fan and the team finds itself in need of about 5-7 other big names. That is when Martian Manhunter suggests... lets reunite the "Satellite Era" JLA. "BOOM"!

Superman, Batman - Bruce Wayne, Wonder Woman - Non Pants wearing, Martian Manhunter - Newly formed avatar of Earth, Aquaman - No beard 2hands avatar of Water, Green Lantern - Hal Jordan, Flash - Barry Allen (Founding members)

Regular Members: Firestorm - Ronnie & Jason, Hawkman & Hawkwoman/girl - I still don't know, Zatanna, Green Arrow - Ollie, and Vixen

Reserve Members: The rest of the DCU. Do something along the lines of the Justice League cartoon. Add cameos and guests from time to time. Just make em special.

Step six: This is the most important step... DC you have to make this your "flag ship" book. What's that mean? It means this book is more the focus than their individual series. That doesn't mean the JLA title will be more important, but it will lead the way of the Universe. Marvel has subtly done this for years. ALL of the Avenger books were a great window into the Marvel Universe as a whole. The events that led to Civil War, Secret Invasion, and Seige... all had roots in the Avengers. The Illuminati, who are the "puppet masters" behind so many Marvel events... all based in Avengers. DC... you have to follow this template. Do it your way... but you have to make the JLA matter. Not be a book where it reflects what other books are doing... but where it is the lead. Its not a book in a void... It has to matter.

Ok, i'll get off my soap box. I am a die hard lover of DC. I've been collecting/reading comics for over 25 years. I loved the Detroit Era, The Blah ha ha ha Era, and the Magnificent 7 Era. Brad Meltzer's JLA started in the right direction... but it took a back seat to DC events, instead of making DC events. Honestly I'd argue this is the worst JLA Era ever. Please DC, fix your Flagship! Bring back my favorite Justice League.


  1. I appreciate that you included four women on the team. Though, I must admit, I got awfully tired of the Vixen storyline that had been running through JLA when I stopped reading. So anybody who picks her up has got to do a darn good job of making her interesting to me again.

    I never read the Vixen mini that G. Willow Wilson wrote, though, so maybe that would set me straight.

    I also appreciate Firestorm and Oliver Queen being members.

    I would honestly be okay if Wonder Woman kept some pants on. Or at least went the New Frontier route and did the armored pleat skirt thing.

    I mean, at least Zatanna gets to wear fishnet stockings. Heck, even Martian Manhunter has started to wear pants the last few years. Why's the most important female character in the DCU gotta be flashing her thighs all the time? No wonder no one will take her movie scripts or TV pilots seriously.

    (speaking of... HEY DC! When Avengers does big bank, remember that YOU OWN A WONDER WOMAN SCRIPT WRITTEN BY JOSS WHEDON)

  2. And I own a script of Avengers with Jack Nicholson as Thor. :)

    5 if you include Hawkwoman, Canary, WW, Vixen, Zatanna.

    I struggled with putting in other DC women. I don't want Supergirl, we have Superman already. I don't want Powergirl..same reason and she belongs to the JSA (in my opinion). Huntress was a good choice, but shes a Batman character... I wanted stand alone Females... So in addition to the Satellite females of Canary, Wonder Woman, and Zantana... maybe Manhunter?

    I agree, DC needs to showcase some other women. But Dove needs Hawk... and I dont want Hawk in the JLA. Jade... eh, Donna Troy... no. DC needs to create some from scratch.

    Whats your take Tracie... who should I include?

  3. crap, i meant to include Black Canary... guess I didn't... Well I meant to.

  4. I agree with Supergirl and Power Girl unnecessarily doubling up the Kryptonian presence on the team. And PG totally belongs to the JSA.

    I never read any of the Morrison JLA with Huntress. She strikes me as an odd choice as she's really more lonery than the loner Batman pretends to be. Though I did love her appearances on the JLU cartoon. And she, of course, was made for Birds of Prey.

    I almost wouldn't even need Canary in JLA just because she's so perfect as part of Birds of Prey. ...But I do still really like Carary in the JLA.

    Manhunter is really not the JLA type either. It just seems like they would only have her on the team to butt heads with everyone and I think that would leave her feeling too one-note. I'd love Manhunter to be seen more often (and I dunno how she's utilized in JSA) but I don't think the League is the place for her.

    I liked Hawk and Dove as BoP members, too.

    I like Jade (just not what's being done with her lately) but she should be a Titan or JSA member or something.

    I like the line-up you picked.

  5. You know what would be neat to see, a Wonder Woman lead League. Of the big three she seems like to bets one to lead a large group, since you know she has had command training. Plus I am probably in a minority here but I think it does a great disservice to the League for them to always fall back on the big 7 or the satellite era members. I mean it would be nice to see Steel on the team instead some of the other stalwarts. Also even though I like Zatanna I think maybe she needs some time away from League, why not have someone like Traci 13 be the resident magical person.

    You said you felt that the JLA should be flagship title for the DCU, and I agree for the most part. But if they do this and just fill to book with the usual members it will set the wrong mood for the DCU. The League needs to grow beyond what it was in the past just like the rest of DCU does, and with this in mind I think it is wrongheaded to have big 7 headline.

    DC and the fans need to grow beyond nostalgia, which I get the feeling Flashpoint is going to do. I mean we are getting strong hints that both of Johns big Silver Age revives are going to be sidelined, along with new status quo for the entire Trinity. And honestly our own nostalgia is warped since we just choose to remember certain aspects over others. DC is even pointing this out to us with their Retro-Active books. All I am saying instead of having a dream line-up full of old favorites we should all keep a some spots open for some new blood, either new to the team or an actual new character.

  6. Wonder Woman leading the team is a long overdue idea.

    And I really don't care who's in the line-up so long as they're written well. The League has been a snoozefest for far too long and I like the characters too much to blame them.

    I don't think it's Donna Troy, Supergirl, Jade, or Dick Grayson's fault.

    When I think of other characters, though, I generally think of them as part of teams other than the League. Or at least part of a different faction of the League. I'm very happy that the JLI will be making a return, hopefully with Jaime's Blue Beetle still in tow.

    I would love to have Barda and Mister Miracle back alive and part of one of the Leagues.

  7. uh hmmm. If I could add. Wonder Woman did lead a Justice League team. She was the leader of the first issue and a half of Justice League Europe, as it spun out of the DC Invasion mini series around 1989-ish. Drawn by Bart Sears and literally last an issue and a half... Guess Metamorpho and Powergirl and Elongated Man didn't want no Amazon on their team. Actually I remember it being very odd that she helped form the team, stayed on for 2 issues and just left. Captain Atom took over and that turned out to be the right choice... but still odd.

    As for Tracie pointing out that its not the fault of Dick, Donna, or Jade that the teams sucks... I agree. And I also agree that I migrate to another team when I think of those names. The purpose of this "article" was to make my dream team... both on the pages and behind the creative scene. And when I think perfect JLA... I think of the big 7 with an awesome supporting cast... that the supporting cast is showcased more, since the big 7 usually has other books to shine in. Any character will rock with the right creative team... but I want JLA to be to DC what the Avengers are to Marvel. Is that too much to ask?

  8. I was just countering with how I think the JLA should be handled. In my view a flagship title needs reflect the a good part of the line, and frankly if the book features the big 7 it casts a rather big pall over everything. For the most part DC is seen as the old man of the industry, always behind the times and sticking to the past. To be honest it's not really true though. If DC wants to shake this then their flagship needs champion it.

    Also honestly I don't see the Avengers as Marvel's flagship. It is obviously their biggest franchise at the moment but that has more to do with the fact Bendis writing so much at Marvel. The problem with the Avengers is that it isn't really that inclusive. I mean Wolverine and Spider-Man may be on the Avengers but they are never going to be seen as Avengers. The problem is the Avengers was never meant to be anything more than a storage shed for characters that wouldn't be featured on a regular basis elsewhere. I mean that was how Cap's Kooky Quartet came about which had more issues about them then the founding members.

  9. I'm genuinely curious who you would prefer to see on the Justice League.

    And if Avengers isn't the flagship at Marvel, what is?

    The FF?

  10. The answer to the last part first, I don't think Marvel has had a real flagship in decades. Despite my love for the X-Men it was never a real flagship. It is in the same boat as Avengers, it may be the biggest title/franchise but it really isn't representative of the entire line. Ideally the FF would be Marvel's flagship but to be honest it hasn't been since the 70's at the latest. Part of the problem is the lines are just so vast and varied now having a flagship is rather tall order.

    As for my team... Hmmm... Wonder Woman as the leader to start. Then Steel, in the role usually occupied by Batman. Traci 13 as the magical person. As for the Speedster I would go with Blizten who would bring Donner along as representative of Milestone. And finally Spartan if they ever get to integrating Wildstorm. This is just off the top of my head though.

  11. I feel like, by virtue of the fact that the last 7 years worth of major events in the Marvel Universe have spun from The Avengers titles, that makes them the flagship, being as they have been setting the course of much of the line.

    I agree, though, that the line is so varied that the other corners of the line vie for that spot here and there. The X-Books do it every few years. Hulk did it for a bit. Spider-Man's aiming for it with Spider-Island. They can't all keep their hands to themselves all the time or follow the lead of Avengers. Nor should they. But Avengers, just by virtue of what the team is, it represents more of a crossection of the line than any other team. Especially with Wolverine and Spider-Man on board.

    Justice League is traditionally viewed as a crossection of the DC Universe. I'm all for the oddball choice here and there but at the end of the day, it seems, to me, that the name "Justice League" should mean something. There should be a difference between calling yourself The Justice League of America and calling yourself The Outsiders or The Titans.

    That's why any time you deviate too far from the League ideal, you wind up with qualifiers in the title to set them apart. They're the Justice League International or Justice League Europe or Detroit or Elite. They're offshoots or they're viewed, perhaps unfairly, as lesser versions.

    I love the JLI and I loved JL Elite. (actually, the Joe Kelly run on those books was maybe the last time I truly loved the Justice League) Ultimately, though, the name as to mean something. The best of the best. You shake it up from time to time, you bring in replacements, give other characters the chance to shine here or there, but eventually you come back to the top tier guys.

    I'm more than okay for there to be multiple Leagues, just as there are multiple Avengers titles. And I dig every character you've mentioned. But when it comes down to just the JLA and what it means to call yourself that, I can't see those characters being that level or representation for the DC superhero community. In an offshoot capacity or another team name altogether? Absolutely.

    Really, though, line-ups don't matter near as much as the stories that are told. It doesn't matter a lick who's in your comic if the creative team isn't making their best effort.

    But Robb, I'm sorry, but I just noticed an appalling lack of Plastic Man on your line-up.

  12. The one thing I'll give the Avengers over other Marvel teams is that their isn't a set criteria for membership. Every other team in the Marvel has some kind of "requirement" for membership. That said for me I always felt it still has more to do with Bendis just happening to be the writer on Avengers and the big events than the Avengers suddenly becoming the flagship. Though I admit it becomes more a matter of semantics at this point.

    The last bit I want to bring up is how you called the Justice League a cross section of the DCU. Which is something I agree with and is a reason I think the team needs to move away for the big 7.

    When the League started up the 7 were the cross section of DC's superhero books and as the line expanded so did the team adding members in the Satellite era. It was following CoIE (and Legends) when we go the revised cross section with representatives of the two companies DC absorbed over since the start of the Silver Age, Fawcett and Charlton, along with the first major post-Crisis hero.

    This is kind of thinking that influences my view of the League. I really think the League needs to be a showcase all the various aspects of the DCU superhero community, and should give attention to the latest additions so as to make their integration more seamless. I mean the various Charlton characters are now seen as vital to the greater DCU than one would think, the same for the Quality and a lesser extant the Fawcett characters.

  13. Tracie...As much as I like Plastic Man....

    In my Ideal JLA... I don't want him. I know that will not sit well with you, but I don't want Plas in my JLA. I think he was a great character and I really do like him in other Justice League incarnations... but I want a more serious focus. I don't want the JLI element of BWAA HA AH AHA... of Heckler, Creeper, Lobo, Plastic Man, or Ambush Bug. I suspect a good writer would be able to make a nice blend of serious with comedy... but just not in my ideal.



  15. I think we should be more concerned that someone thinks the Heckler should be part of an incarnation of the Justice League...