You've just entered the DC Universe. Apart from either having ridiculously muscles or breasts (or in your case powergirl the glorious combination of both). You're about to face a world of might and magic but why fight alone?
Now there are admittably a number of different leagues. There's the popular International and America. The less favorable Europe and Task Force. And of course the pointless and totally irrelevant Antarctica (they probably clubbed more seals then they saved penguins).
The JLA (Justice League of America) is the most well known of the Leagues and also the one with the least number of dislikable characters (except you Aquaman, nobody likes you). This mass of super powers has taken on virtually all of the significant villains under the comic book line. The JLA are pretty much the pimps of the other Leagues causing the other groups to eventually fade away mysteriously without leaving any forensic evidence during the 1980s. But how did this bevy of awesome come to be?
Let's go from the start. Martian Manhunter has taken up a life on earth (he's a shape shifter so it's all cool) having been exiled from Mars, yeah, shit lives there. Unfortunately the ferocious albino giant Commander Blanx sought out Martian Manhunter. Hordes of super people came together to fight off Blanx and his invading army. This bevy of testosterone included Flash, Superman, Batman, Robin (who actually turned out to contribute estrogen more-so), Black Canary, and the fish fan Aquaman. After escorting Blanx back to Mars (so he can just kill the populace there) the group considered creating an official team. Batman stuck to his guns as teamwork being for pussies and went off to fight with Robin (because being hypocritical just makes you more of a badass). When the general populace voiced its racial hatred of the green Manhunter (what a horrible choice for a pseudonym) Superman suggested that the premise of a league be brought up again in six months after the Martian had a chance to show himself worthy of equal voting rights.
Fight the power.
A short amusing interlude before the formation was the fight against the fearsome plasma men. These buggers were popping up all over earth like acne but thanks to Green Lantern, Flash, Black Canary, Aquaman, Manhunter, and Superman the threat was quickly removed. In the outer space fray, however, their hirer superhero, Triumph (what an ego), not only got pulled into a time/space warp that removed him from reality but that also caused everyone to forget both him and their epic purple plasma battle. Good times.
The team ultimately forms when seven aliens turned the world into their battlefield as they contested for the grand title to become the Emporerer of their planet (disgustingly named Appellax, like a pre-anthrax). These aliens were sent down here each as a different part of mother earth (oh shit, metaphors). Each one is snuffed out with relative ease as Manhunter, Aquaman, Black Canary, Green Lantern, and the Flash, each defeat one (the Canary's was made of glass, her super power is a high pitched scream, coincidence? Yeah no). Wait, that's only five of the seven (oh shit, fractions). The superheroes all convene against an element more dangerous then the fire, glass, giant yellow bird, mercury (yeah, that's right, and it was liquid at room temperature), and rock monster. Tree monster (oh shit, photosynthesis).
Only with their unique powers combined could defeat Mr.Planet. But oh no one more meteor (the poorly financed transportation of the aliens) still exists. With reports of said meteor landing in antarctica the group heads off only to find Supes flying away leaving a pummeled alien in his kryptonian dust, not actual dust from Kry. It was there decided amongst penguins and shrunken testicles that the Appellax crushing crew should form a League. A league of justice. A Justice League.
After the dramatic formation the group would change sizes and members over and over until it became redundant to brag that you were in the League. Incase you really really really care here's the list of the all the Leaguers even in the order that they joined (relatively, you do realize how virtually impossible that would be I hope):
Flash (of the Barry Allen variety), Black Canary, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Green Arrow (Oliver Queen), Atom, Batman, Hawkman, Elongated man, Hawkwoman, Red Tornado, Firestorm, Zatanna, Vixen, Steel, Vibe, Gypsy, Blue Beetle, Captain Marvel, Dr.Fate, Guy Gardner, Mr.Miracle, Dr.Light (that was a bad idea), Booster Gold, Captain Atom, Rocket Red, Fire, Ice, Animal Man, Flash (Wally West), Wonder Woman, Metamorpho, Power Girl, Huntress, Crimson Fox, Orion, Lightray, Blue Jay, Silver Sorceress, General Glory, Superman (he had been on and off before this), Bloodwynd (actually the Manhunter), Maxima, The Ray, Maya, Tasmanian Devil, Hawkman (Thanagarian, aka normal, version), Nukon, Obsidian, Ice Maiden, Artemis, Blue Devil, Mystek, Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), Tomorrow Woman (for like, one comic, LAME), Green Arrow (Connor Hawke), Aztek, Oracle, Plastic Man, Zauriel, Wonder Woman (different female, same costume), Big Barda, Hourman, Antaeus, Jesse Quick, Dark Flash, Moon Maiden, Nightwing, Faith, Hawkgirl, Jason Blood/Etrigan (the rhyming couplets from hell), Green Lantern (John Stewart), and Manitou Raven.
Like I said. Very inclusive membership. I mean, Vibe? That's some well known funk right there.
He's like the Fonz but not funny.
Now obviously this is a ridiculously long list but it is missing some characters. Thanks to some of the fools in the DC office the JLA has so many side stories, mini-parts, crisises, and general death that many members appear and instantly disappear only a couple of issues later because they died under some other story line (the Infinite Crisis alone killed a ridiculous amount). Regardless the retinue should give you an idea of the JLA's "whoring" so to speak. They don't mind letting almost anybody into them. Except you G'nort, they will never accept you, nor will I.
"Please kill me"
The Justice League fights a slew of bad guys but most of these threats turn out to be one trick ponies. These ponies, however, are worth riding for a while to eventually reach the giant rock worms that ride fire rainbows into Fantastica and eat Falkor the luck dragon (that's pretty much my dream horse, a worm). These are the bad guys worth waiting for and they're dependent coming back time and time again. There's a hell of a lot of them but here are some personal favorites.
This fearsome mind predator would plague the Justice League for years never surrendering and constantly humiliating them with pink finned ugliness. Defeated continuously the pink shark would make a name for himself not just through repatition but by killing Steel (ending Justice League Detroit, so short this sentence probably took up more space then they ever got) and Gypsy's parents (which is reasonably fair seeing as they killed him first, not the parents, Gypsy). Nevertheless Manhunter's better trained psycosis would again win out saving Gypsy's poor stereotyped life and the pink shark would come back for blood another day looking much less ridiculous and with a lot more disgustingly well musceled power.
This is the old Despero. And I'm gonna pass, I don't swing that way.
One of the oddest and perhaps stupidest villains I've seen pop up again and again against the Justice League is the fearsome alien starfish Starro. These original face huggers not only turn your brain to their every tentacly whim but turn you into a cyclops minus having a herd of goats (Homer references rule). These guys are far from easily beaten however as they multiply faster then horny rabbits (also known as Jackalopes) with the ultimate goal to take over the universe.
Not pictured above: Anything slightly threatening
The Injustice Gang
Much like the Justice League the Injustice Gang has had several remakes (though not nearly as many) over the years from the brilliant Lex Luthor to the "what the hell are you wearing" Chronos. Libra was the name of the villain that started the crew but the douche bag Luthor would buy it out like everything else in life. The Injustice Gang has accepted the best and the worst of the criminal world, I mean, I already mentioned Chronos right? His superpower was to travel through time but at the cost of his age. Many face-offs eventually bare down to one to one hero vs. villian (always good for a read). Or in the case of the ridiculously over-powered indestructable general, everyone vs. the general, I mean, really.
Guess which one is the general. I'll give you a hint: it's not Lex Luthor.
Yeah the name's lame and so is the character look but the profile for this android is cooler then the terminator (though that's not exactly difficult). Amazo was created by Professor Ivo (at least this guy killed our old friend Vibe, you know, the Fonz). Amazo was created with absorption cells allowing him to replicate the superpowers of the JLA yet somehow he was defeated time and time again. His powers change along with the lineup of the League so when Superman disbanded the League Amazo failed once again. There's a good lesson kids, if your loss causes the other team to lose you win.
Yeah, we'll just stick with might. Idiot.
It's another horrible name but this time the team is pretty awesome. Reigning from the antimatter (yeah, that's right, what's the opposite of matter, answer: nothing) the team is comprised of opposites of the central powers of the Justice League. Ultraman is a megolomaniac, Power Ring is schizophrenic, Owlman is traumatized by the murder of his parents and brother, Superwoman is really hot, and Johnny Quick II is addicted to drugs that make him fast. See, that's a team.
Like the JLA but Wonder Woman is actually attractive.
International. It doesn't look so bad. Wait, is that a communist? COMMUNIST! GRAAAAA.
The Justice League of America has established itself as something of a force not only in the comic book universe but in sales as well (leading the DC line for many years). America isn't the only area graced by a Justice League however, the other ones just kinda, you know, aren't as good.
Justice League International
As pictured above. This crew actually formed out of the JLA after the original team became recognized by the UN (good people those United Nations) thus forming the JLI, Justice League International. This team would bring the freaks of the US and USSR together in peace efforts allowing Rocket Red and Captain Atom to enter the scene. Cue the exit of Batman, Dr.Fate, and Captain Marvel (because true Americans won't tolerate this). After another alien invasion (why Earth? It's like, the only defended planet, I thought Mars was capable of holding life) the team was broken into two different sections: the Justice League of America and Justice League Europe to better protect the planet.
Justice League Europe
Based out of Paris the team boasted a pretty awesome line with Animal man, Wonder Woman, Power Girl (oh Power Girl), Metamorpho, plus others (it was by no means a small team). Embassies were established worldwide in UN member states (oh shit, actual learning, that's just not okay). Such brutally horrible generalizations such as Beef Eater represented each area. After another crisis the League reformed in London and became led by no other then Green Lantern Hal Jordan (who's probably the most kick ass superhero, turned super villain, turned omnipresent uberpower). Later they would rename themselves the JLI again and begin taking on religious cults (anything more fun?).
Justice League Task Force
After the 'death' of Superman (isn't that a paradox?) Wonder Woman took over the JLA and Martian Manhunter went off to form his own group with Gypsy. The Task Force became a tool of the UN being sent to end specific conflicts but when the team decided to act independently the UN, like any cool headed parental unit, ditched them. Now three rival leagues existed, the JLA would eventually devour the other two them.
Justice League Antarctica
A third team was created (presumably for kicks) after the breakdown of the original JLI. The Justice League Antarctica was made out of some of the old members of the injustice Gang plus G'Nort (yes, him again) and the Scarlet Skier. They were the Justice League Antarctica and wouldn't last more then a couple of short painful issues.
Really? Honestly? HAHAHAHAHAHA. Oh my God. This doesn't even need a caption.
The Justice League has made guest appearances in many of the old superhero cartoons as well as many modern ones but it has also twice held the reigns of its own series. The first was the titled Super Friends and ran during the mid-seventies and early-eighties featuring that awesome old school animation and seisure inducing fight scenes of the time. The newer creation Justice League was created by Cartoon Network and lasted two whole seasons. It was then retitled for the third season as Justice League Unlimited because it sounds "hip" and "jiving" and would get the kind of youth support it "dug".
Also in television were some dangerous live action stints the first being the doomed Legends of the Super Heroes during the seventies. Featuring all the best acting of the time (even Adam West continued his damned Batman legacy) the series somehow stumbled along for a while before eventually falling short. This is one hell of a step up on the Justice League of America tv pilot that failed to gain any popularity (I blame Guy Gardener. ALWAYS blame Guy Gardener) and never developed into a full scale show. Finally is the Leagues formation in the hit Superman drama Smallville where the team is a bunch of hot young superpowered males and some constantly emotional females.
Like I said. Those explosions are hot. At least they remembered the ethnic minority.
Because experimenting can be cool and stimulating. The Justice League Task Force for the Sega Genesis (really bad) and Super Nintendo Entertainment System (pretty good) was released in 1995. Justice League Heroes was released in 2006 as a cross platform game as well. Let's just say it certainly had its predecessor's genes with the DS providing to be the runt of the litter. The DS would repeat this failure by carrying Justice League: Chronicles. Damn the youth.
Because beating the money cow always works. There is 'supposedly' a movie in the works though judging by a couple of coverages I've read its been having some serious issues and the JLA probably won't see the big silver screen during the next couple of years. That being said there is a script out there and it certainly has been in development before, I wouldn't put it down as dead...yet. It's like Superman, it's a powerful entity and you kinda want to see it die, but you know that it comes back no matter how bad. Also like Superman this article is off to fight villains in an American owned location and probably will get beaten to a bloody pulp before triumphing.