web stats

CSBG Archive

Top Five Worst Justice League Members

1 2
Next »

Here is an archive of all the past top five lists I’ve done over the years.

For this top five, I’m only counting superheroes who were meant as legitimate members of the Justice League, not joke members like Ambush Bug or G’Nort or the members of Justice League Antarctica. So no INTENTIONALLY bad Justice League members.

5. Black Condor/Agent Liberty

I liked Black Condor and Agent Liberty in the pages of Black Condor’s own book and the Superman titles (where Agent Liberty was part of a group that turned out to be bad guys, he turned against them and brought them down, but became a fugitive because of his actions for the group), but they were kind of wastes as members of the Justice League, as Black Condor joined just to learn the mystery of who was Bloodwynd…

blackcondor1

blackcondor2

Said mystery was resolved, like, three issues into his stint, at which point he left the team.

Agent Liberty joined for, like, a place to hide out…

agentliberty1

agentliberty2

agentliberty3

And then left. I don’t even think we SAW Agent Liberty leave!

They were pretty much wastes as League members.

4. Vibe

As I wrote about in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed, Vibe was one of those rare characters intended to be modern but was viewed as out of place at the time, let alone now…

vibe1

vibe2

vibe3

vibe4

and soon joined the League. He was also quite the breakdancer…

vibe5

George Perez complained about the character at the time in an interview with Heidi MacDonald…

Pérez: Oh, I sincerely say he’s the one character who turned me off the JLA. If nothing else, every character that was introduced was an ethnic stereotype. I couldn’t believe it. I said, “Come on now!” These characters required no thinking at all to write. And being Puerto Rican myself, I found the fact that they could use a Puerto Rican character quite obviously favorable since the one Puerto Rican characters in comic that existed, the White Tiger, is no longer a viable character. But having him be a break dancer! I mean, come on now. It’s like if there were only one black character in all of comics, are you going to make him…

MacDonald: A tap dancer.

Pérez: A tap dancer, a shoeshine boy? Particularly when you’re picking a stereotype that’s also a fad. You’re taking a chance that this guy is going to become very passe, his costume becomes passe because it’s a breakdance costume, the minute the fad fades.

Perez’s complaints were compelling.

3. Commander Steel

However, at least Vibe stood out! His teammate, Commander Steel, didn’t even really stand out…

steel1

steel2

steel3

He more or less died at the end of his stint with the League, pretty much never to be seen again.

Go to the next page for the top two!

1 2
Next »

83 Comments

Didn’t Vibe get killed off too?

Hmm… according to Wikipedia he was actually the first Leaguer to die in the line of duty.

To a nicer guy, it couldn’t happen.

The Top Five archive seems to be broken. I’m using Google Chrome, and the page won’t scroll. It just kind of…twitches.

I might juggle the order around a bit, but overall it’s a hard list to argue with (though all of them had potential, except maybe Vibe). I imagine that, had this been a list of the five worst Avengers, I’d find more to disagree with- I actually liked Dr. Druid and Silverclaw as avengers, which no one else seems to…

I just noticed that this is a feature I haven’t read as much of as I should have. Guess I’ll have to dive into the archives…

Though it just occurred to me- Lobo really should have been on this list. Especially given the way he joined- “Some alien guy we know nothing about just appeared! Let’s make him a member!”

The worst thing about Vibe is they move the team to Detroit, add a black member and make her an import from New York. Vibe is the only native Detroiter and he’s Puerto Rican. There is a large Hispanic community in Detroit, but very few Puerto Ricans.

@Ted Craig
That fits with the general sense that the only research the writer did ahead of introducing an all new diverse Justice League was watch some breakdance videos and 10 minutes of Scarface.

Counterpoint:
Zauriel
Mark Antaeus
Faith
Power Ring
Lightray (I like him, but he was poorly and barely used during his very brief run with the team)

Ferb Morgendorffer

January 10, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Commander Steel showed up long enough for some insult to get added to injury when Despero returned to rip his comatose body apart.

I would love a Geoff Johns-ian reboot of Snapper Carr as a guy who snaps people’s necks. *SNAP!* *SNAP!*

Becca Danny's Wife

January 10, 2016 at 2:05 pm

Wasn’t he just Steel? I believe his grandfather was later revealed to be Commander Steel, who tricked Infinity, Inc. into attacking the JL Detroit during a crossover right before Crisis.

0. Cyborg.

Is Starro’s deputy swallowing Captain America’s shield?

Becca Danny’s Wife:
Yeah, he was _just_ Steel.

The efforts at diversity in the Detroit JLA are the result of someone who has little knowledge of people of other ethnicities. This is why advocates for diversity in comics (and tv and movies) push for better representation of LGBT people, women, and People of Color among creators. To get their viewpoints, which will be more informed (by virtue of living their lives as women or People of Color or LGBT people) to inform the characters. This is why many people consider a black director on the Black Panther movie (and yes, I know we have one now) is important. It’s not that a white (or male or hetero or cis) creator can’t do these things, but the people who belong to those groups are going to have a better idea of what a character of a similar background will be like and will be less likely to employ stereotypes in creating a new character.

Also wasn’t Steel basically just a thinly veiled ripoff of Captain America?

was going to say vibe like steel got killed off too. by amazo. and surprised vibe did not make the top spot . bloodwynd could have been an interesting character if dc had not done the oh he is martian manhunter in disquise. snapper carr surprised to see him on the list for think he was just a sidekick and never got even honoray membership.

How can Vibe NOT be #1??? Not only is he easily the worst JLA member ever, but he’s also one of the worst characters of all-time! Bloodwynd at least had a cool name and costume.

Also, I love how Vibe got accepted into the JLA. He gets totally dismissed by Aquaman, who was being portrayed as really arrogant at the time, until he knocks Aquaman on his butt. If that’s all it takes to qualify for membership in the JLA, how is it that Sugar & Spike never joined?

And Batman’s “physical prowess was due to LUCK more than skill”??

@lil
The original Steel/Commander Steel was a combination of Captain America and The Six Million Dollar Man, created by Gerry Conway and Don Heck. His series was one of the casualties of the DC Implosion. he then turned up in All-Star Squadron, from Conway’s friend, Roy Thomas. Conway brought the character back into the present in Justice League, via his grandson and his aged self. I always wanted to enjoy the character (I always liked the original costume); but, he never seemed to rise above a pastiche and I hated the Justice League version. The old Commander Steel had become a nasty figure and the grandson just seemed devoid of anything interesting, aside from, essentially, being tortured by his grandfather. I hated the new costume, though it was reworked into a much better version, just before he was killed off.

Gerry Conway did some excellent Justice League comics; but, by the Detroit era, he just seemed to be running on fumes.

Grant Morrison or no Grant Morrison, I never thought Plastic Man worked in a team environment or even a serious superhero world. He was best off in his own little world, same as the Marvel Family.

Reading the early JLA stories & Snapper’s guest appearance in an issue of the Atom, I got the feeling that Gardner Fox was building up to making Snapper a superhero himself, but somewhere that idea seemed to get derailed and then when Fox was gone O’Neil came along and performed his character assassination on him.

I wonder what would have happened had Snapper been allowed to keep Dr. Destiny’s anti-gravity discs he used in JLA #8 and started wearing a costume to become a more official hero-in-training than just a mascot?

So…. would the Yazz be on your list of intentionally bad League members? Because it would probably be at the top of my list otherwise.

Mainly what I get from this list is, man, they sure went through a lot of weak Captain America stand-ins over the years. Besides the two on this list, there was also General Glory and the Guardian.

Becca Danny's Wife

January 10, 2016 at 4:24 pm

Well, capaware, that WAS the Joker talking. Being able to sucker punch Batman AND mock him at the same time was too much to resist.

Not sure how I offended Tony, but yes, his name was JUST Steel, instead of Commander Steel. Unless you’re related to the guy — and if so, the child welfare authorities would like a word with you — why the sneering?

I liked the goofy Cartoon Network version of Vibe. He’s an okay character if you’re not trying to take him seriously (and if you don’t give him appallingly racist, Cheech & Chong-meets-Amos & Andy dialogue). Plus a breakdancer in 2015 is more interesting than a breakdancer in 1985.

I liked Agent Liberty and Bloodwynd, at least visually. Dan Jurgens was always great at traditional superhero costume design. But Grant Morrison saying Bloodwynd sounded like a horrible digestive disorder has kind of ruined the character for me.

In any case, I don’t think any character is irredeemable, really — some fairly lame characters like J’onn J’onzz, Red Tornado, and Firestorm made great Leaguers (and by turn, grew into more interesting characters). While some potentially interesting and visually arresting characters, like the female Dr. Light, were never used very well. I sometimes wonder why every Japanese superhero created between 1960s-80s was so angry (not that they were many: Sunfire, Dr. Light II, Silver Samurai, that’s about it). The only explanation I can think for it is that the creators knew little about Japan or Japanese culture, and fell back on WW2 propaganda — and that Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s interest in Japanese comics and movies changed all that.

“How can Vibe NOT be #1??? Not only is he easily the worst JLA member ever, but he’s also one of the worst characters of all-time! Bloodwynd at least had a cool name and costume.”

The thing that keeps Vibe from clinching the top spot for me is that the version of him on the Flash TV show is very endearing and awesome.

Between “John Dough” using laughing gas and his speech about how luck as always favored the Batman and now it’s his turn, I can’t belive Snapper wasn’t suspicious. I’m surprised the Joker didn’t try wearing an “I’m the Joker” shirt to see if Snapper noticed.

Has it ever worked out when a character is given a phonetic ethnic dialect in comics?

@Jeff Nettleton

I totally forgot Plastic Man. Great choice.

Wasn’t there a new Commander Steel (with a different “rank” before Steel, iirc) in the Justice Society of America book from 6-8-or so years ago? His grandfather or whatever was related to this guy, or something?

Hey, several of these ones are from the Jurgens era of the League, and guess what era is getting reprinted this year?

Am I missing something with the Bloodwynd entry? How are there 2 Martian Manhunters there?

What the hell is going on with Bloodwynd’s legs in that first comic?

His left leg looks like it is engorged AND dislocated at the hip, and his right leg looks like he hyper-extended it (or tore the MCL/ACL). It’s CURVED!

Yeah, he was Hank Heywood IV, or something. He survives an attack by a group of neo-Nazi supervillains and becomes the new Steel. It was okay. It just kind of struck me as DC trying to keep the trademark going, though legacies were a big theme of that run. I didn’t warm to him much. That was one of the few superhero books I was reading, at that point (in trade format). Maybe I developed a short attention span; but, a lot of material in that era seemed to start with a bang, then fizzle out rather quickly.

It’s really impressive what the CW’s Flash has been able to do in reinventing Cisco given how ridiculous the Source material was.

Tony –

Getting a more diverse range of people working on entertainment and art is always good, for many reasons. But I do believe this particular argument is a sad one – what about imagination and empathy, that should be in every writer’s toolbox?

No doubt, the creators of Vibe (and many other stereotypical characters) failed big time. But I prefer to believe they failed not because they were white, but because they were lazy, unimaginative bums.

But I do feel your pain. The few Brazilian characters that I have seen in comics do not feel very Brazilian to me. Sunspot and Lord Fanny seem like they’re Mexican – it doesn’t help that Claremont used Spanish expressions for Sunspot, and Morrison inserted the Aztec Gods into Fanny’s backstory. Morrison at least tried to salvage it by revealing that Fanny’s family is of Mexican origin. I never met a Mexican here in Brazil, but I suppose there are some. Fire from JLI was a little bit better.

This list needs more Mystek, which is probably the first time anyone has requested more of that character. I’d probably put Icemaiden on here, too.

how about congorilla, faith and red arrow?

@Grum- well, J’onn CAN change shape.

Commander Benson

January 10, 2016 at 7:52 pm

snapper carr surprised to see him on the list for think he was just a sidekick and never got even honoray membership.

Mr. Cronin put Snapper Carr on the list because he was, indeed, an honorary member of the Justice League of America. Snap was awarded honorary membership in the first printed story of the JLA—“Starro the Conqueror”, from The Brave and the Bold # 28 (Feb.-Mar., 1960). And he was listed in the next sixty-odd JLA stories as its honorary member (the only one during the Silver Age). That usually included his name showing up in the roll call on the splash pages.

Then, in JLA # 77, Denny O’Neil suddenly reclassified Snapper as the League’s “mascot”, and the fans have been getting it wrong ever since—despite the eight years before, when the Snapster was unequivocably an honorary Justice Leaguer. Of all the sins Mr. O’Neil committed against the Justice League’s history during his tenure on the title, sticking Snapper with the label “mascot” was the worst.

Sorry, I like Vibe a whole lot. Of course, I also found Gerardo amusing.

I was probably at the right age, but I love Steel, who then became Commander Steel in All Star Squadron. Imagine my delight when he showed up in the Justice League Unlimited cartoon. IMO if Bruce Timm likes you, you’re alright. Of course then DC decided to turn him into a psycho-nut bag before redeeming him slightly by going up against Eclipso and dying ( somehow he had become a coward in the interim )
I saw they recently brought him back in Earth 2 but he was barely recognisable.

how about congorilla, faith and red arrow?

It’s funny, it just occurred to me that there are a few notable ones that I should have pointed out why they DIDN’T make the list, so I’ll point them out…

Gypsy – They did a lot more character development with her than her fellow Detroit Leaguers (although Vixen eventually got some years later)
Faith – Faith wasn’t a great character, but I think she stood out well enough during her stint
Congorilla – Is awesome
Red Arrow – He didn’t stand out to me as being much of a problem. And he was part of Meltzer’s best issue of Justice League of America (damning with faint praise, but the Gene Ha art was excellent on that issue)
Maya – She almost made the list, but I think they did a deeeeeeeeeecent job of making her a sort of Kitty Pryde type
Blue Jay – Is awesome
Silver Sorceress – She was handled well, I thought
General Glory – Intentional joke character
Lightray – Almost made the list.
Maxima – Almost made the list, but Jurgens developed her enough for her to sneak by

Am I missing something with the Bloodwynd entry? How are there 2 Martian Manhunters there?

Alternate reality created by the Atom’s dreams. The Justice League of that reality are basically fascists. So the real Martian Manhunter (who had been disguised as Bloodwynd) confronts the evil Martian Manhunter.

Alaric Shapli:
“I actually liked Dr. Druid and Silverclaw as avengers, which no one else seems to…”

Silverclaw always struck me as a knock-off of Alpha Flight’s Snowbird.

Jason Grote:
“Japanese superhero created between 1960s-80s was so angry (not that they were many: Sunfire, Dr. Light II, Silver Samurai, that’s about it”
Wasn’t the Silver Samurai a villain that whole time? And Sunfire half of it?

Thanks for the answer.

Now, who the hell is Faith and when was she a member? Was she in the Joe Kelly run of JLA?

Aztek, easily.

I think Snapper’s long history as an honorary member—including saving the League several times—should outweigh one stupid issue from Denny O’Neill enough to keep him off the list.

The original Steel could have been interesting, as he was set so early in Earth 2 history that there were almost no heroes but Superman and Batman. Conway could have had some fun playing around with a world that’s not super-hero savvy yet, but instead we got stock super-hero adventures that could happen any time.

I don’t know when Lobo became a member but yeah, he should be on the list.

Steel should not be in this list at all. He was a great character in an unfairly maligned League. And he was at the very least used. The first JLA isue I ever bought was in fact his spotlight, when he changed costumes and met the Lord of Time.

Blood who?

Sounds like a job for “I Love Ya but You’re Strange”

Lobo was a member for 10 seconds in the JLI era, but it was sort of a comedy plot of the League being so short-handed that they accepted anyone who came to their door and looked powerful.

The JL Detroit was an awful attempt of trying to replicate the Teen Titans success. No surprise that two of their members make this list.

Snapper… blergh. Stan Lee was right that this kind of kid sidekick is annoying and nonsensical. Reader identification? No thanks, just give me the superheroes. And I know, it’s ironic that Stan ended up creating Rick Jones, perhaps the only character of this kind that ended up working great, because he was often paired with outcast or time-displaced superheroes that really needed his help.

And Bloodwynd is what happens when a writer that is deep down a traditionalist tries to go the grim and gritty route. Just like Tom de Falco’s FF. The worst of both worlds.

Oh, Amazo did not kill either Vibe or Steel, either. Both were killed by Profesor Ivo’s doppelganger androids.

Ivo created Amazo as well and Amazo did face the JL Detroit once, but not in their swan song.

A Horde of Evil Hipsters

January 11, 2016 at 5:27 am

I notice people keep listing pretty much every not-white character as their suggestion for “worst”… kind of creepy, that.

But what actually offends me is that you suggest that G’nort was “intentionally bad”. Nonsense. He was the hero we all deserve, and certainly the greatest of Green Lanterns. If you want to nominate an intentionally bad Green Lantern, try Ryan Reynolds. (Okay, so I still get a chuckle out of G’nort even though I’m otherwise ambivalent at best about the classic JLI series. Sue me.)

Horde –

“I notice people keep listing pretty much every not-white character as their suggestion for “worst”… kind of creepy, that.”

Nah. All the non-white characters mentioned in this thread were sort of awful. Not on account of their race obviously, but because they were stereotypical and/or underdeveloped. And there are non-white Leaguers that are good characters, like Vixen, Fire, Black Lightning, and Doctor Light.

Horde –

I don’t know, there are non-white characters that are pretty great and no one has suggested them as “worst” Leaguers. Black Lightning, Vixen, Doctor Light, Fire.

The characters suggested were indeed awful, but that is because most of them are stereotypical or underdeveloped.

I was never really a DC guy, and didn’t regularly read JLA (except for the Giffen DeMattis run later on), but I did get that annual the new league was introduced in. I remember really liking that issue, reading it several times. That issue is really my only experience with Vibe, but he didn’t seem so bad to me, even the break dancing seemed fine, sure, it was a fad, but teens are into fads, doesn’t seem like a problem to me.

Captain Librarian

January 11, 2016 at 10:15 am

The fun part is that Bloodwynd’s prominent place in the death of Superman arc insures that he will always be around to confuse new and casual comic book fans.

“The fun part is that Bloodwynd’s prominent place in the death of Superman arc insures that he will always be around to confuse new and casual comic book fans.”

And long-standing, really-into-the-hobby comic book fans who haven’t read much Justice League.
(That’s what happened to me.)

Aw, Snapper was the only member of the Fox JLA who had a unique personality.

(In Justice League itself. All the Julie Scwartz heroes were pretty well defined in their own books.)

That should be enough to elevate him above Maxima.

Mark –

“Aw, Snapper was the only member of the Fox JLA who had a unique personality. ”

Off topic comment of mine, but it’s interesting that the sameness of the early JLA had the unexpected benefit of depicting Wonder Woman as equal to the other heroes. Marvel had the advantage for giving their heroes contrasting personalities in the team books, but all the girls were… well, Stan Lee was no champion of women’s liberation in the 1960s.

Rene: I suspect that was more than coincidence – it was both political and intentional.

The Schwarz edited DC books were always quite progressive in their treatment of female characters: Carrol Ferris was Green Lantern’s boss, Jean Loring wasn’t going to marry the Atom because she wanted to focus on her career, Hawkgirl was a superhero and Hawkman’s equal.

Other DC editors were (Weisinger/Kashdan) were a little (lot) more retrograde in their treatment of female characters, but Schwartz was always ahead of the curve.

Ironic that one of the grossest, exploitative dudes in comics would treat the female characters better than actual women.

Every time…EVERY…TIME…someone puts one of these lists together, they forget about the alien in the Justice League Computer

When they first installed the teleporters, some un-named and mysterious alien being got mixed with the teleport beam, and as a result the bodies of several Leaguers got mixed up and went crazy all over the satellite. Once they got it sorted, the alien somehow got teleported into the JLA computer, and somehow his presence fixed the glitch in the teleporters, so they just let him stay there.

Alexandre Julião

January 11, 2016 at 1:03 pm

Rene-

The depiction of Brazil in comics sometimes makes me wonder if some writers or editors have Internet access!
That country called “Brazil” that appeared in Batman Eternal was so awfully full of lame stereotypes, that I felt personally offended!
On the other hand, in his Avengers run, Jonathan Hickman knew that Portuguese is the language of Brazil.
Actually, there are some people from Mexico living here. The actress Giselle Itié is half mexican and was born in Mexico City. She came to Brazil when she was four years old.

Alexandre –

I didn’t read Batman Eternal. That bad, huh?

Let me guess? Carnaval going on the whole year and people dancing samba on the streets? Or the more recent City of God stereotype of the whole of Brazil covered by hellish slums and everybody living in fear of dangerous drug dealers? Or both stereotypes? The Amazon Jungle in Rio de Janeiro?

And they also are incapable of getting Brazil’s racial diversity right. Either they depict Brazil as inhabited by people that are all of them brown as the stereotype of the “Latino” (often speaking Spanish to add offense to injury) or they make it like an US-style segregated society where blacks and whites don’t mix and the white folks all speak with accents from Portugal.

Vinnie, probably because the dharlu only appeared in 2 issues (130 & 141) and she (not he) was never officially a member, more of a prisoner really.

And I forgot all about her until reading your comment, then the memory came back & I checked the GCD for what I couldn’t remember.

Admittedly the whole “we’re keeping the alien a prisoner because it benefits us” really flies in the face of justice so it’s understandable that people tend to forget/ignore the poor dharlu.

Dejion McIntosh

January 11, 2016 at 4:58 pm

Vibe had some interesting powers. I wonder which characters are dead and which ones are alive.

@Tony

I get your point. However, with that logic, shouldn’t Black Panther’s director be African?

The positive portrayal of Cisco on THE FLASH TV Series does not alter the negative portrayal of Vibe in the JLA comics. We’re talking about the five worst members of the JLA in the comics, not TV adaptations.

@Le Messor: yeah, Sunfire was a Namor type hero-villain, and Silver Samurai was a straight-up bad guy. I’ve probably forgotten some other Silver and Bronze age Japanese characters too. But the point is the same — comics depicted young Japanese people as full of rage, especially at the West, when nothing I’ve seen justifies that. There were protests against the American military presence in Okinawa in the late 60s, but those weren’t all that unlike protest movements anywhere else in the world at that time.

@Joe Rice: was Schwartz gross to women? I always suspected the “B.O.: Be Original” joke when they showed Schwartz, Cary Bates, and Elliot S! Maggin on Earth Prime was an in-joke about his hygiene, but I don’t know much about his personal conduct.

Both the JL: Detroit characters get a pass from me for being part of the amazing arc with which JM DeMatties and Luke McDonnell closed that series. Both went out like heroes.

I’d substitute Zauriel (who did nothing much in Morrison’s JLA) and Cyborg (who upends the team dynamic of the Teen Titans by being on the nu52 Justice League).

was Schwartz gross to women? I always suspected the “B.O.: Be Original” joke when they showed Schwartz, Cary Bates, and Elliot S! Maggin on Earth Prime was an in-joke about his hygiene, but I don’t know much about his personal conduct.

Colleen Doran has revealed some disturbing instances of Schwartz being lecherous towards her.

I believe Colleen Doran, but the whole thing makes me a little sad.

From the standpoint of the fifties and early sixties, Julie Schwartz was producing feminist comics. DC, in general, was more female-friendly than Marvel. Silver Age DC really was looking forward to second wave feminism in a lot of ways. Jean Loring, Carol Ferris, Shayera Hol and even Iris West were multi-dimensional characters. Loring, Ferris, Lois Lane and Diana Prince all had their own career ambitions that played key roles in the on-going titles. Prince, Hol and Dinah Lance were all competent superheroes who were fully co-equal members of the JLA. The more romance-marriage obsessed women of DC tended to be comedic foils for the female leads (i.e. Lana Lang, Mavis Trent).

It isn’t an accident that The WB/CW has been able to find so many female roles on Smallville, Arrow and The Flash.

However, it is also hard to deny that the ladies of the DCU were also G-Rated sexual playthings of the male protagonists. Hal Jordan pretty routinely sexually harassed Carol Ferris. Silver Age DC occurred in that “Playboy Gap” between the birth of the sexual revolution and the start of 2nd Wave feminism. Schwartz was born in 1915 and was expressing some ideas about women that are not modern.

I think you could have throw Maxima and Ray from just that era and saved us the effort of even going through different eras. You can’t do that with Detroit. Vixen was too good and Gypsy is worth it for her relationship with J’onn alone. Though Steel was bad…how many characters are killed and never come back? (Figures that would be the one comic character Luis likes). Vibe is practically exempt with the Flash now. How many of any of the suggestions are appearing in major tv shows? Though really, Aztek and Antaeus keeps you from having to go past the A’s to make the list up. Then the weird ones like Moon Maiden and Golden Eagle. I’m still not sure who Faith is, and I think I read those issues.

but the people who belong to those groups are going to have a better idea of what a character of a similar background will be like and will be less likely to employ stereotypes in creating a new character.

I’m glad Black Panther got the director it did because he seems to be able to make great movies, and movies that can be great with action too. But this mentality if reversed would be kinda scary. Because he couldn’t be hired to direct the Spider-Man movie, because how could he relate to lily white Peter Parker’s life? Or they HAD to get a new director for Thor 2, because there’s no way a woman could relate enough to direct a movie starring and mostly filled with men. Seems like you’re ghetto-izing directors subject matter, or being completely unfair and picking and choosing who gets to understand who. I’d like to think Shakespeare can write Romeo and Juliet even though he wasn’t a teenage girl, and a woman could direct a Superman movie.

I rather liked Bloodwynd. He was visually striking with mysterious powerset.

Vibe – lame sterotype, lame accent, lame breakdancing, lame costume. But cool power, and I liked the way he used his hands and arms to “shape” the flow of the power, it made for some nice visuals.

Snapper Carr was a product of his time, lame that they threw him under the bus when he was no longer relevant.

Steel. Yeah.

I never even heard of Black Condor and Agent Liberty. The league must have been pretty hard up having to invite C-list characters (and even they would refuse membership!)

Oneminutemonkey

January 12, 2016 at 5:33 pm

That brief time when Black Condor, Agent Liberty, and Bloodwynd were all members is only good because of that storyline involving the alternate world with the fascist League. At least that’s what I remember… it was a strange and interesting story.

Oneminutemonkey

January 12, 2016 at 5:40 pm

Adding: they really WERE hard-up. As I just doublechecked in my collected, this was immediately post-Doomsday, and the League got creamed in the process. Beetle was in a coma, Booster’s suit was trashed, and Superman was dead. Apparently, the only people they could scrounge up were newbies and lesser-knowns like Condor, Ray, and Agent Liberty, with Wonder Woman to ride herd over the pack.

Dark times.

Interesting enough, Black Condor makes a rather large appearance in Starman, Interesting that a C-lister that I barely knew and almost never saw in other comics is a character in one of my favorite DC comics of all time. That is the beauty of shared universes.

Well, Black Condor isn’t all that obscure. This version of the Black Condor had his own series in the 1990s, and he’s a legacy character. The first Black Condor was one of members of the Freedom Fighters, the team of old Quality Comics characters like Uncle Sam, the Ray and Phantom Lady.

In fact, this was the second of three different Black Condors that DC published over the years. There was yet another one in the 2006 Freedom Fighters series.

Agent Liberty, though–that guy’s pretty obscure.

Hey, Agent Liberty had his own one shot! That totally has to count for something, right?

No, no it doesn’t.

I’ve often heard about Snapper Carr betraying the Justice League but have never seen it. All I can say is — seriously? That’s how it played out?

The Snapper Carr betrayal tale seemed to be another excuse to do a ‘Relevance’ story which O’Neil and then Mike Friedrich were steering JLA stories towards – and which DC did a lot of during that time period until about 1973: Hard Travelling Heroes GL/GA; Teen Titans; even the Flash got the treatment briefly with human interest stuff!

The ‘John Dough/Mr Average/we don’t need superheroes’ angle to me seems a distant precursor to distrust of superheroes themes played out in modern day stuff like Watchmen/DKR/grim ‘n’ gritty, all the way to Civil War.

I know it’s wrong, but I laughed so hard at Vibe’s death. For those of you who haven’t seen it, he’s fighting an android designed to kill him, and he’s on the verge of giving up when he realizes…he’s a Justice Leaguer! A real hero! He’s faced worse than this, and he’s prevailed! He’s not going to lay down and die, he’s going to FIGHT!

…and then the android kills him anyway, because a can-do spirit really doesn’t do all that much against a killer robot. It’s hilariously bleak.

Alexandre Julião

January 15, 2016 at 7:26 am

Rene-

Actually they used all of those stereotypes, and on top of that named a few characters with pseudo-Spanish names, like Gonzolo and Pimento.

And to add insult to injury, an Argentinian superhero showed up to save the day.

The irony of it was that the Cluemaster is one of the villains in that series, but the writer was completely clueless.

M-Wolverine –

I never liked this mentality that only somebody who is X gets to tell a story about X. It seems to go counter a belief in empathy and the commonality of all mankind that I always considered to be basic tenets of the Left. When you say that straight people will never understand what it’s like to be gay, or white people will never understand the black experience… if you carry this pessimism to it’s logical conclusion then it makes one ask what’s even the point of making movies or writing books and comics about anybody’s experience, since human beings are fated to never really be able to understand those who are different?

That is not to say that diversity of voices in art and entertainment isn’t a good thing. It very much is, for many reasons. Also, if you’re a writer, research is your friend. The only people I think shoud not write stories about X are people who are shamefully uninformed about X.

Also, British guys have been writing comics about American characters for ages, and they’ve written some of the best comics in existence.

Interesting that you basically stuck with two JLA “eras” for this: Conway’s JLDetroit and Dan Jurgens’ mercifully brief run. These are probably the two worst eras for the comic, though, so it’s certainly appropriate. Still need an explanation as to why the Yazz isn’t on here.

Hank Heywood III was NOT “Commander Steel” as you mentioned.. he was simply Steel. Commander Steel was the original character who had the 1970’s comic book named, aptly enough Steel. He appeared in the All-Star Squadron comic where FDR gave him the additional designation of Commander.

Vibe was the first Hispanic and the first JLA’er to die in the line of duty, Vixen was the first black heroine to join the League and at one time was going to be the first black heroine to have her own comic until “The DC Implosion” in the 70’s.

I LOVED the Detroit League and to this day still think it is one of the BEST incarnations of the League ever…light years better than Giffen’s “Bwa-ha-ha League” that formed after the Legends mini.

The problem with the Detroit League is that NONE of the fans wanted the roster shaken up..and the format changed.. but SOMETHING had to be done to try and boost sales. DC opted for a “younger League” based on the success of the Titans and younger characters over in Marvel.

Re-reading Annual #2 (I have a few copies of it) Aquaman’s reasoning makes perfect sense, the League NEEDED to be “rebooted”… and instead of using characters that either had ties elsewhere or their own monthly comics.. they used 2nd and 3rd string characters.

I thought it was a BRILLIANT idea, and I LOVED the new additions to the team… unfortunately, I am in the minority on that subject.

It seemed to me that the fans turned on the book, and the writers/creative team just gave up on it

Also, he other Steel from the JSA comic a few years back was Citizen Steel…Hank’s cousin who had his leg amputated. During a family picnic/gathering some new incarnation of an axis villain team attacked and he ingested some sort of liquid metal intended to kill him. It instead mended his injuries and formed new metallic limbs for him

Leave a Comment

 

Categories

Review Copies

Comics Should Be Good accepts review copies. Anything sent to us will (for better or for worse) end up reviewed on the blog. See where to send the review copies.

Browse the Archives