I’ve long been a fan of the Justice League of America, dating back to the days when Aquaman, Zatanna and a bunch of new kids lived in a bunker in Detroit.  (*Editor’s note: Do not denigrate the Detroit League.  It will only end badly…)  The Bwah-Ha-Haaaaa JLI is another favorite, and even Grant Morrison’s trippy relaunch at the end of the 1990s, leading to the weird “Pantheon” League that welcomed Plastic Man, Steel and Hawkgirl into their ranks.  For me, though, the Justice League is more fun as a larger group, especially one where the lineup changes and fluctuates, bringing in weirdo characters like Zauriel or Captain Marvel as necessary.  One of my former coworkers, however, refused to read a JLA book that didn’t have Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern in it, idealizing the idea of the core seven heroes even as he mocked Aquaman.  The difference in those takes leads us to today’s brave and bold query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) is actually okay with Cyborg in the big leagues, but wishes it hadn’t been at the expense of Martian Manhunter, asking: Do you prefer your Justice League as just the Big Seven heroes or a larger agglomeration of super-folk?


About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. Doctor Dinosaur on


    Group of 7 as the core.
    With a larger “agglomeration” as the periphery.

    Think; Justice League Unlimited or even the Star Trek crews. You have your main people, but then a large crowd as supporting characters who once in a while also get their own solo stories to keep it fresh.

    If it’s supposed to be the premier super-team of the DCU you can’t just have 7 people. Especially if you call it a “league”.
    But at the same time, and as much as I love the JLI, at this point it’s not quite the JL( A, U or otherwise) without Wonder Woman, Batman and Superman.. at least in cameo. It feels like watering down the concept to put the name on other teams. Marvel have also been stretching their -Avengers Brand- quite a bit by calling every book the -Something-Avengers- (secret, undercover, world, mighty, new, uncanny, AI) in an effort to boost sales.

  2. Personally, while I do enjoy both, I’m rather fond of the larger League thanks to the animated series Justice League Unlimited. While I have enjoyed plenty of incarnations of the JL (including back int he 80’s/90’s when there were multiple branch-offs like JLI, JL Europe, the humorous JL Antarctica, etc.), the idea of a much larger Justice League full of a variety of characters leads to more story opportunities. While I don’t mind if the focus is on the core League to some degree, it is nice to see something a little different once in a while and see characters working together that might otherwise not interact.

    And just for the record, I liked when Plastic Man was part of the League. After all, he is responsible for my all-time favorite scene in the history of all JL media:

    • Doctor Dinosaur on

      I knew it was the dress scene before even clicking it.
      I also cannot picture the league without Plas, I blame Frank Miller and Grant Morrison who both include him, for obscure reasons I am sure.

  3. First off, I must admit that I am not a great fan of “team” books with the exception of the Legion of Super Hero comics I read as a kid in the early sixties. Team books generally, over the decades, have featured second string writers and artists so you’re not buying top line books here. When I was a kid, they used to sell poly-bagged comics in the stores in sets of three – with the covers of first string characters like Superman or Batman facing outwards, while the hidden comic inside was usually not a best seller – a Aquaman, Lois Lane or Jimmy Olsen or BatMan Family Summer Fun Special or, more often than not, a JLA book. On the Marvel front, Dr. Dinosaur has it right – Marvel is guilty of creating a plethora of new “team” books by adding a Thrilling Adjective in front of the name in cynical effort to sucker people into buying another book.
    It’s very difficult to write a team book – usually all but the top three characters are severely neglected to simple walk-on roles – or else the characters lose most of their personality and become interchangeable. But the thing that annoys me most about team books is that at the same time the JLA or Avengers are supposedly off planet dealing with some supreme threat that none of the heroes can handle by themselves, they are also waltzing around their digs in their main comics, doing their daily deeds (even though they are supposedly off planet, or captured by the Big Bad, or dead or something in the team or event title) and very rarely do the events in the team book ever get mentioned in the main books – the only exception I can think of being SpiderMan’s black costume.
    Now that I’ve done slagging on team comics, I prefer the team with the Core Group, be it Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman, or Iron Man, The Hulk, and Thor, or Lightning Lad, Saturn Girl and Sun Boy. I mean, let’s face it… Plastic Man? Arm Fall Off Boy? The universe is facing a threat that Superman, Captain Mar-Vel, or Iron Man can’t handle alone, and you’re going to send in Shrinking Violet or Squirrel Girl??? There’s a recipe for disaster…

  4. Larger amalgamation of heroes 100%, because 9/10 we know how the big 7 are going to react to something. If you have a team made up of Superman, The Flash, Big Barda, Captain Atom, Nightshade, Mr. Terrific, and Platinum, there’s going to be a different team dynamic than you’d get with just the big seven. To paraphrase the Martian Manhunter from JLU, the Justice League is more about ideals; it shouldn’t matter who’s a founder, who’s most powerful, or who’s most popular. Plus showcase the B&C-listers that’s where the true strength of the DCU is at.

  5. The way I see it, the Justice League is for the heavy hitters to deal with issues of planetary scope. I think that means that the Big 7 should be part of that. I don’t have any issue with including more than 7 other than I think the 7 should be able to handle almost anything. One of the issues with the Big 7 is these writers that DC have can’t handle Superman. Which is silly because they seem to have issue writing for Captain Marvel. (haven’t liked those stories either)I haven’t liked the New 52 JL much like most of their comics though especially with this Lex Luthor garbage. I also feel like Martian Manhunter should be part of the League. Way more so than Captain Marvel.

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