365 Reasons to Love Comics #288
Some villains pose massive threats to their heroic adversaries, constantly challenging them physically and intellectually. Sometimes, though, the bad guys suck at being bad guys. Within is a group of my favorite knuckleheaded baddies. (Archive.)
288. The Injustice League
Now, when I say “the Injustice League,” your mind probably wanders to a line-up of classic baddies including Lex Luthor, the Joker, and others. Or maybe your mind wanders to the Golden Age Injustice Society, or perhaps the Injustice Gang, or even the Legion of Doom. All of them have the same basic idea behind them– they’re a gathering of the JLA’s archenemies.
When I hear “Injustice League,” though, I can only think of one thing, their best line-up ever, the team of bumbling oafs that didn’t battle so much as annoy the Justice League International during the “Bwahaha” era of Keith Giffen, J.M. DeMatteis, Kevin Maguire, and friends. Major Disaster! Big Sir! Clock King! Cluemaster! Multi-Man! And last, and most certainly least, the Mighty Bruce! Apart, they are mediocre– together, they are incompetent!
Yes, they were stooges, but they were extremely likeable and had a lot of heart. From the Major’s frustrated attempts to make something of himself and his team to Multi-Man’s multiple personalities, most of them surly, to Big Sir’s indefatigable cheeriness and childlike view of the world, this was a team you actually gave a crap about, even after they messed up time and again.
This image by Robert SolanoviÄ‡ is just damn adorable, and sums the team up excellently:
All of them had appeared as bad guys throughout a bunch of DC titles in the past, but Giffen and DeMatteis brought them together with a bit of a revamp– only this time, to make them all lamers. Every time they crossed paths with an iteration of the Justice League, they fouled up. In their first teaming-up, the JLI stumbled across them by accident. Later, they ended up in the same French class with the Justice League Europe; naturally, it ended in a major disaster. I loved how the Major’s life was the biggest disaster he ever caused, powers be damned. After this, Big Sir and the Major swindled Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, and the rest of the JLI out of all their money during the KooeyKooeyKooey Casino debacle, in which Big Sir revealed he was an idiot savant at counting cards. They lost it all in the end, however.
After a while, the Injustice League came to understand that they were terrible villains, and figured that they should try out the hero game. They tried to join the Justice League International and ended up founding Justice League Antarctica, joined by G’Nort and the Scarlet Skier. It quickly ended in, you guessed it, disaster. Their base was attacked by man-eating penguins and all hell broke loose. It was, without a doubt, one of the best stories from the JLI era.
They showed up a few more times after this, unsure of whether to be heroes or villains, having proven themselves to be bad at both. Most recently, the team (sans Bruce) was reunited in the first issue of the last Suicide Squad series, written by Keith Giffen. I remember being extremely excited to read this, even though I knew the inevitable was coming. It’d prove to be the team’s last hurrah, as everyone but the Major wound up dead by the end of the mission. Honestly, it was heartbreaking. Since then, I believe Cluemaster’s turned up alive, and we all know Multi-Man has some weird coming-back-from-the-dead power, so you never know… maybe the Injustice League will rise again. Although, wait, didn’t they kill off Major Disaster? I know he ended up joining the JLA under Joe Kelly, but… Eh, I can never keep these things straight.
I’ll miss these guys. It isn’t often that lame villains get to team up and steal the spotlight in their own bumbling adventures– the only other guys I can think of are the League of Losers over in the Spider-Man universe, and Mr. DeMatteis was responsible for that one, too– so it was good to see these lovely bad guys get the chance to suck in front of thousands of readers. The Injustice League became the best bad guys in the best Justice League run ever, and always appeared in good stories. Most villains never get that opportunity.