The Justice League is my favorite concept/book/team in all of comics. The League is (theoretically) where DC Comics’ biggest and brightest heroes get together to battle gods, demons, aliens, monsters, super-villains, and continuity. Of course, since the group’s debut in The Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960, there’s been TONS of members coming and going in order to keep things fresh and fit whatever direction the editors felt the book should head off in (my personal favorite eras being Grant Morrison’s “Big Seven” and the Keith Giffen/J.M. DeMatteis JLI years).
Obviously, given nearly 50 years of history and an ever-changing roster, there’s bound to be a few mistakes as far as membership goes. Be it whether the character was just lame or the writing itself was. For the sake of simplicity, I will *not* be taking into account the rosters of spin offs like Justice League Europe, Extreme Justice, Justice League Elite or Justice League Task Force. I’ll be sticking with the “main” League that has been known as Justice League of America, Justice League, Justice League International and Justice League America throughout the years. It’s the only League that ever really mattered and I could easily fill this list with rejects from any ONE of those other teams.
The Detroit era gets a not-entirely-deserved bad rap. I’m not saying those issues are good, and I can easily admit the roster sucked because there just weren’t enough heavy hitters but I think Steel was an interesting character and Vibe was no more stereotypical than any other 1980s ethnic character. So yeah, while it wasn’t a strong JLA, I actually did like the characters. Except this one.
Gypsy takes the Jean Grey Award as the most useless/defenseless character ever on a team. I guess J’onn took pity on this gal, despite knowing her sole power was being able to blend in and turn invisible. Oh, and she also worked in her bare feet. She didn’t wear a costume, and would show up to JLA missions in her street clothes like a refugee villager from an early Universal Monster movie.
4. MOON MAIDEN
It’s never really a good idea to introduce a character by the way of a retcon. In JLA Giant Size Special #3 (2000), it was revealed that Moon Maiden had been an early member of the League and even hung around with the Teen Titans. The reason no one remembered her? Well, during a battle called ‘The Century War’, she sacrificed herself to destroy her arch-nemesis The Centurion, which caused both to be erased from history thanks to one of The Centurion’s weapons exploding.
If you want to say this character is part of the JLA, fine. Introduce them as a totally new character and let them in the club, but there’s really nothing to gain when you say “Oh, this character we just made up? She’s was a League member waaaaaaaay back in the day!”
What made this even more pointless is that since the DCU “remembering” her, she has yet to make another appearance!
3. TOMORROW WOMAN
While it’s not so uncommon to induct a member onto a team in their very first appearance (it happened alot in the Silver Age), is still always bugged me that she was plugged into the JLA within the first few pages of JLA #5 (1997). Then she died, doing the sacrifice thing, in this very same issue. Leave it to Morrison, I guess.
UGH! Another retcon member! Why do they do this? Who could possibly respect a character that has been shoehorned into something that happened decades ago? Get this: Triumph was a founding member of the original JLA and not only that, he was actually the leader! During battle, Triumph got thrown into another universe, causing history to change and thus everyone forgot Triumph ever existed. So yeah, DC couldn’t even make him just another member, at least that would’ve been slightly tolerable. No, they had to say he was ranked above Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman on the team. Kind of a hard pill of continuity to swallow.
The DCU (and us readers as well) were reminded of his existence during 1994’s Zero Hour (AKA – The Seinfeld of Comic Book Events) in Justice League America #92 (1994) when he came “back” to the DCU, got mad about being denied his right as Earth’s greatest hero, joined Justice League Task Force but didn’t get along with Martian Manhunter, and then eventually turned into a villain. He may or may not have been killed in an explosion of the JLA Watchtower.
Don’t even get me started on his 1990s extreme/attitude costume. Guy looks like a Rob Liefeld creation.
Another Tommorrow Woman-esque tale. Anateus popped up for his one and only appearance in JLA: Superpower (1999). After volunteering to allow STAR Labs to enhance him cybernetically (Wouldn’t YOU like to be larger?), the League was impressed enough to give him a spot on team. In the same issue, the JLA refuses to get involved in some Middle East issues, so Anateus takes matters into his own hands and thus comes into conflict with the League. His suits is damaged in battle and the man is so distraught over what he has done, he allows his power source to explode, thus committing suicide. What a hero!