By Alan Kistler, aka The Continuity Cop
Long ago, there was the Golden Age of super-heroes. It had spawned champions such as The Sandman (Wesley Dodds), the original Flash (Jay Garrick), the Crimson Avenger and the Golden Age Green Lantern (Alan Scott), among others. Eventually, many heroes began to form into their own teams, the first of which was the Justice Society of America (affectionately referred to as the "JSA"). The JSA fought criminals and super-villains, mystical foes and cosmic disasters for many years. After World War II, things seemed to die down a bit. And then during the red scare, Congress demanded that the JSA members reveal their identities to the world or be considered enemies of the state. Preferring to maintain their secrecy, almost all the heroes retired quietly. Some maintained their heroic careers, though in a less public manner.
Years later, many people who didn't understand the concept of pure heroism began to think that getting into a costume and fighting crime would be a lot of fun. Other people began to think that donning a costume and committing wacky crimes would also be fun. These "heroes" and "villains" soon began to war, some more seriously than others. A small collection of heroes, led by the adventurer called Acro-Bat, formed together as the Justice Experience. One member of the JE was a Martian adventurer named J'onn J'onzz who had recently been stranded on Earth. Under the name of the Bronze Wraith, he tried to be a hero amongst humanity.
Eventually, there came a true villain into the fold. Dr. Trapp investigated the heroes and villains of the time and learned their identities (not that difficult for a true detective, since these costumed adventurers were not as careful about secret identities). He then systematically hunted them each down and killed them all. J'onn J'onzz was the only one to escape death but the murder of all his teammates was a serious blow to him. Dr. Trapp was finally apprehended when a small number of JSA members came out of retirement to find him. His crimes however led to a massive fear for anyone who wished to don a cape and mask and thus, for many years afterwards, the world was without costumed heroes.
Decades later, Superman made his debut to the world and suddenly humanity was taken by storm. Here was a hero of power that no one had seen for almost half a century, who held a charisma about him that was unquestionably good and noble. Soon, other costumed heroes began emerging, some directly due to Superman's inspiration. Thus, as one might figure out, it wouldn't be too long until a new team would emerge as well.
THE FIRST WAVE
Billy McEntyre had been raised to be a hero. Wielding fantastic electro-magnetic energies, he decided after Superman's debut that the time was right. When a horde of aliens attempted to war on Earth, McEntyre contacted the current Flash, the current Green Lantern, Aquaman, the second Black Canary, Superman and the Martian Manhunter (who was actually J'onn J'onzz in another guise). Under the new name of "Triumph", McEntyre attempted to lead this group to victory. But he was too forceful and too arrogant, believing the heroes would immediately and unquestionably follow his lead as soldiers do for a general. And in the end, although they did win, his arrogance cost him. While trying to shut down the alien technology, Triumph ended up creating a time-warp that shot him headlong into the future and wiped out the memory of the last day from everyone's mind. Thus, the other heroes no longer remembered Triumph or that they'd even met to fight together that day.
On the planet Appellax, the king had died. Now, seven warlords wished to battle for the right to rule the planet. It was decreed by the law-giver that these seven would each be transplanted into a different battle form and that they would decide the victor through trial by combat. The battlefield would be the planet Earth.
The Appellaxian warlords went to Earth, each in a different battle form. One was a giant golden bird, one was a creature made of mercury, one was a plant-like creature, one was composed of fire, one was made of stone and one was made of glass. Each of the warlords was placed in a different city where they began using their powers to transform normal citizens into their personal soldiers. Five of the warlords were defeated individually by Green Lantern (Jordan), the Flash (Allen), the new Black Canary, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter. The five adventurers then teamed-up to take down the sixth warlord, whom they believed was the last. Unbeknownst to them, the seventh warlord was stationed in the antartic, slowly scheming as to how he would best his foes. But this warlord was found by Superman who made quick work of him and then left the scene.
After defeating the sixth warlord, the assembled heroes remarked upon how well they worked as a team. As each was new to this career and still somewhat alone, they began to ponder the possibility of forming together as a group. They decided they would sleep on it and meet again the next day when they would turn over the imprisoned warlords to the U.S. Army.
Things didn't work out quite as planned. The heroes were unaware that the Appellaxian law-giver had himself come to Earth in another guise and was now funding a group of geneticists called Locus. Locus wished to reshape the world for the Appellaxian invasion and the heroes were a big concern for them. Thus, they sent soldiers to grab the imprisoned aliens before the U.S. Army could get them. A battle ensued and Locus was beaten away. The heroes once again remarked on how capable they were as a team. It was finally decided that they would work together from now on.
A few days later, Black Canary called for a press conference in Gotham City in order to proclaim the formation of their new team. Black Canary had practically been raised by the JSA and so felt an obligation to honor them as much as possible, even having the press conference held in a hotel that had served as an occasional meeting place for the Justice Society. When the heroes were asked if they were indeed forming into a new Justice Society of America, Green Lantern responded "I like the Justice part, but perhaps something with a bit more punch. Justice . League?" Black Canary then jumped in with "Of America! The Justice League of America!"
And so, a team was born.
THE JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
Wealthy playboy Oliver Queen had recently become the original costumed adventurer known as the Green Arrow. Upon hearing about the formation of the new JLA, he decided such a group needed to be funded. After all, it wouldn't do for the world's protectors to be forced to pass around a hat when they needed funds. But at the same time, he wanted the funding to be anonymous. He set up his associate Simon Carr as his liaison and representative. Simon provided the team with equipment and resources, including their now-famous signal devices. The team decided to house all of this in their new headquarters, a cave that Aquaman had discovered early on. The cave was outside Happy Harbor, Rhode Island and was called the Secret Sanctuary. In later years, it was joking called the Justice Cave.
Joining the League was a hands-on mechanic Lucas Carr, Simon's nephew. Lucas went under the nickname of "Snapper" due to his habit of snapping whenever he got excited. Snapper became the League's resident engineer and repairman and was jokingly referred to as their mascot. He proved his value especially when he helped the League defeat the alien known as Starro the Conqueror.
The JLA gained world-wide fame as they battled various menaces and a horde of different disasters. They met several other heroes along the way. During one adventure against the time-travelling Xotar, the Weapons Master, the League was saved by Superman. The League had been meaning to offer Superman membership before, but all had been either ill at ease or star-struck about asking someone whom they saw as a perfect hero to join their team, when they all knew they were far too human. Superman was honored by the offer but reluctantly had to reject it. He explained that his time was not his own and he could not dedicate himself fully to being on the team. He did, however, make it clear that should the League ever need him, he would be ready to help. He stayed true to this claim several times over the next few years.
There was some tension in the League for a while. Green Lantern saw himself as the leader and ended up giving orders more often than not. Aquaman, a bitter and ill-tempered person by nature, did not immediately take to his teammates whom he sometimes believed still saw him as an outcast. Flash had to deal with Black Canary's attraction to him despite the fact that he was engaged. And tensions rose to an all-time high when it was discovered that J'onn J'onzz had secretly been spying on the Leaguers in their secret identities, as well as several other super-heroes. J'onn explained that he had been somewhat fearful at first, since he was still new to Earth and unsure whom to trust. Thus, he'd been trying to gain information on all the active heroes and villains in order to learn whether or not he could be open with them. Although they understood his intentions, the Leaguers didn't appreciate his tactics, especially when all the information gathered ended up in the hands of Locus.
As a result, Locus and the Appellaxian military attempted a take-over of Earth. All the heroes then active banded together. Even several retired Golden Agers came out to help save the day. Such a gathering would not be seen again until the CRISIS. By the time the dust had settled, the heroes had won, the Appellaxians were gone, J'onn had proven his trust again, and it was decided that The Flash was to be considered League Chairman.
SEND IN THE LEAGUERS
Soon after the Apellaxian invasion, Green Arrow was invited to join the team. Eventually, other members joined. The second Atom was brought on to the team and soon after him Hawkman joined as well. Batman joined on a part-time status, still preferring to work alone (this was some time before he took on a partner). Although his tactical genius helped the League on several occasions, The Batman still felt uncomfortable at times on a team that he felt concentrated too much on big-time catastrophes and not enough on helping the common man. Green Arrow echoed his feelings, especially since the Emerald Archer was becoming quite annoyed with Hawkman's by-the-book attitudes.
After discovering his long-time foe had joined the League, the Joker decided to attack the JLA through a weak spot. His target was Snapper Car. Under the alias of John Dough, the Joker approached Snapper on the street, followed by several henchmen who pretended to be his followers. The Joker spent several hours with Snapper, convincing him that the League was a symbol of how lowly the common man and his achievements were, something that was essential to American values. He convinced Snapper that the League needed to be shown that the common man was capable of taking care of themselves and didn't need super-powered protectors to be their parents. Reluctantly, but now believing he was doing the right thing, Snapper gave the Joker his key to the Secret Sanctuary, believing John Dough would use it in an effort to bring normalcy back to the world.
Now able to access the Sanctuary, the Joker stole several weapons from the JLA trophy room and used them against the Leaguers. He then left a small bomb there and when it went off, Snapper was injured by shrapnel and taken to the hospital. The League tracked down the Joker and was shocked to learn that Snapper had given him his key to their lair.
Humiliated and ashamed, Snapper turned in his resignation from his hospital bed, not allowing any of the Leaguers to visit him. Believing he was now looked upon as a traitor, Snapper left the city and went to work in S.T.A.R. Labs under his real name of Luke Carr. It would be years later that he'd find out the League had never wanted him to leave in the first place, still considering him their friend.
TO ALL THINGS, AN ENDING
Oliver Queen's fortune was in danger. Afraid that the League's funding might be at risk, he turned to the only person he could think of. He'd met billionaire playboy Bruce Wayne on a few occasions before and the two had quickly realized that neither one was the boring snob they pretended to be (Queen was unaware that Wayne was actually The Batman, nor did he realize Wayne knew of his own secret identity). Queen explained to Wayne that he'd been secretly funding the League and now with his fortune in danger he needed someone else to do it, someone no one would suspect. Wayne accepted and from then on anonymously funded the JLA. It was a good thing too, as Oliver lost his fortune soon afterwards. Now forced to live in the slums, Ollie began to believe that perhaps his place wasn't with the League but should be concentrated on helping with everyday problems instead. He left the League soon afterwards.
As time went on, more and more heroes filled the ranks of the League. The Elongated Man, a long-time friend of Barry Allen's, joined up. Later, so did the android known as the Red Tornado, a former villain-turned hero. They even moved to a new satellite HQ that was in geo-synchronous orbit above the world, coupled with their new status with the UN.
When Baron Bedlam attacked the nation of Markovia, he took several people hostage. One of those people was Bruce Wayne's right hand man and friend Lucius Fox. As Batman, he approached the League and asked that they take on Baron Bedlam. But he was informed that the United Nations had decreed that the League was not to interfere in this international affair. Fed up that the League felt itself bound by UN charters, Batman quit and went to tackled Bedlam on his own. During the battle, he met up with many other adventurers, some of whom he'd recruited personally. The group decided to form into a new team themselves. As they would work outside the law, unlike the JLA, the team dubbed itself The Outsiders.
More Leaguers entered the fold, including Zatanna, Hawkgirl and eventually the new teenage hero called Firestorm. Firestorm wasn't on the team for long when an adventure happened that ended up turning most of the JLA into giants. During this adventure, S.T.A.R. Labs was hit and Lucas Carr found himself once again in the midst of a Justice League battle. The Batman, Superman and Green Arrow were also forced to join forces to ensure the safety of the JLA. By the end of the venture, Green Arrow rejoined the team, feeling they needed his presence so that they didn't become too "fascist."
Soon after that, Barry Allen's nemesis Professor Zoom, the self-styled "Reverse Flash", returned to kill Barry's fiancÚ. The Flash battled his nemesis until finally, in a desperate attempt to save his fiance's life, the Flash snapped Zoom's neck. The Flash was now on trial for manslaughter, and this event sent shockwaves through the media. A super-hero on trial was unheard of and soon the League was pressured into being asked whether or not he would remain a member as a result. The Flash was voted to stay on the team, but it was a narrow vote and in the end didn't matter. After the trial, the Flash left to live in the 30th century.
The Atom also decided to leave the team. After handling a messy divorce, he found a tribe of six-inch humanoids living in South America. He left the League to join them and would not be seen again for some time.
Eventually, various disasters happened during which only a few Leaguers showed up. Aquaman began to become annoyed that the Leaguers weren't taking their responsibilities seriously, thinking that there were enough of them all around they could afford to focus on their own fights now and then. He enacted a charter as founding member that enabled him to disband the League, to be reformed with only core members who would dedicate themselves fully to serving with the JLA. Thus, the Justice League of America as the world knew it finally broke up.
THE NEW LEAGUE
The new team of core members formed soon after the disbandment of the old League. The new JLA consisted of Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Zatanna, the Elongated Man, and several new members, including: Vixen, Gypsy, Vibe and Steel I (Hank Heywood III). The team then moved out of its satellite headquarters and into a Detroit Bunker. Aquaman soon had to leave however due to personal matters and the League was left in the hands of the Manhunter.
A month after the Flash had vanished, Earth's heroes found themselves engaged in a war with the Anti-Monitor, a being of immense power who wished to destroy the entire multiverse in order that his own anti-matter universe would grow. This war was so great that the heroes would later refer to it only as "The Crisis." During the Crisis, the Atom was brought out of retirement, the Red Tornado was nearly forced to destroy the League, and Barry Allen gave his life to save the universe and the heroes deeply mourned his passing. His former sidekick Wally West aka Kid Flash took on his mantle and became the third Flash. However, Wally did not immediately join the League.
Soon after the Crisis, J'onn felt that this group of novices was perhaps beyond his reach and so he turned to The Batman for aid. The Batman had parted company with the Outsiders by this point and was not too keen on joining yet another team of heroes. However, the Martian Manhunter convinced him to join as a team trainer and advisor. Batman agreed and went to work training the new heroes in combat.
It wasn't long after that Darkseid decided to conquer the Earth by first attacking its heroes. But attacking them physically was not good enough. He had to destroy their reputations, he had to bring down their status as legends. Thus, he sent his soldier Glorious Godfrey to start a sever smear campaign against the costumed heroes. During this whole affair, the League was targeted by the villainous Professor Ivo and his killer androids. Gypsy, Vibe and Steel were all murdered. In the aftermath, the Elongated Man and Vixen decided to go their separate ways and the League was thus disbanded once more.
The heroes finally proved their innocence and defeated Darkseid's plan. However, the public now had doubts. They needed more proof. Upon the urging of Dr. Fate (Kent Nelson), Earth's mightiest sorcerer, Batman and the Martian Manhunter formed a new League under the Dark Knight's leadership. This League consisted of Dr. Fate, Guy Gardner (recently made a Green Lantern), the Black Canary, Captain Marvel, the second Blue Beetle (Ted Kord), and the New God named Mr. Miracle. The JLA was now once again based in the Secret Sanctuary, even though the cave's location was now basically a matter of public record. Since Batman led the team, the new League kept a very low-profile as it fought its enemies. It also renamed itself the Justice League, ignoring the "of America" to show that its focus was now world wide.
There were some tensions in this new League. Blue Beetle was a novice and a joker who got on some people's nerves from time to time. Black Canary couldn't help but compare this team to her fond memories of the original League. And Captain Marvel's naivete often made him the butt of a joke. Most of all, Guy Gardner made it a point to voice his opinion that he would make a much better leader than Batman. One day, during one of his rants, Batman decided he'd had enough and offered Guy the chance to take him. Throwing off his ring, Guy Gardner prepared himself for an all-out fist brawl. One second and one punch later, Guy was unconscious on the floor and the Batman stood victorious, having barely tried. This brought a smile and a laugh to the other Leaguers, but it had an unforeseen repercussion. Upon waking up later, Guy was looking for his ring underneath the computer console. Startled by a mouse, he jumped and hit his head hard on the console, receiving a concussion in the process. This injury affected his already somewhat damaged brain and he had a new cheery personality for a couple months afterwards.
Almost since the beginning, the League was being manipulated by Maxwell Lord IV of Innovation Technologies. Maxwell Lord had been fascinated by the League ever since its early days and now that it was a new team, he believed the time was riped. He did everything he could to counter Batman's efforts and get the League world-wide fame again. He even heralded himself as League representative, speaking at press conferences and attempting to recruit the new heroes Booster Gold and Dr. Light II (Kimiyo Hoshi). The League became very suspicious of Lord and his meddling, but they couldn't fault his results. Soon, the Justice League gained the recognition of the UN and was asked to be their unofficial peace-keeping force. The League agreed and were thus also asked to accept two new members. The American government agent called Captain Atom (who had recently gained quite a rep for himself) and the Russian super-soldier known as Rocket Red 4. Soon before this, Dr. Fate departed, concentrating on his own mystical agenda.
Uncomfortable with the new international spotlight, Batman decided to retreat to the shadows and turned leadership over to J'onn. At the same time, Captain Marvel decided he wasn't right for the League and took off on his own.
Now that the League was funded by the UN, they were given several embassies around the world. Thus, they were redubbed as Justice League International.
The JLI soon found out that appearances were not all that they seemed. Rocket Red 4 turned out to be a traitor and was later replaced by Russia's Rocket Red 7. And Maxwell Lord turned out to be in cahoots with a sentient computer that had once belonged to the New God Metron. The computer, named Kilg%re, tried to control the League but was defeated by the combined efforts of Metron and Maxwell Lord, who now realized the computer's evil intentions.
Afterwards, the League brought in more international members such as two former Global Guardians called Green Flame and Ice Maiden I. These two adventurers soon changed their names to Fire and Ice respectively. Batman also recruited Hawkman and Hawkwoman back to the team, feeling the League needed their experience. But the two didn't stay very long, not liking the team members that much or their attitudes.
The JLI eventually decided to split into two full teams. Justice League America consisted of the Martian Manhunter, Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Blue Beetle, Guy Gardner and Mr. Miracle. Justice League Europe consisted of Wonder Woman (who left after a few missions), Elongated Man, Animal Man, Rocket Red 7, Metamorpho, Captain Atom, Power Girl and Flash (Wally West). At this point, Batman just about stepped out of the picture, preferring to return to his private war on crime.
Sometime later, Lord was shot and hospitalized. Without him as a liaison, the United Nations revoked their charters from the Leagues and things began to break down. Under the control of the villain Dreamslayer, Lord brought in a new team called the Extremists, who battled the Leagues. The Dreamslayer was defeated and Lord recovered, but both teams were highly demoralized. Gardner and Blue Beetle quit, J'onn apparently left for outer space, and others started to drift away.
Soon afterwards, Superman and Green Lantern (now Hal Jordan again) brought two new teams under their direction. Superman created the new Justice League America, consisting of Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, the former villain Maxima, Fire, Ice, Guy Gardner (who soon had his GL status revoked and had to use a yellow-based energy ring), and the mysterious sorcerer known as Bloodwynd. Green Lantern's Justice League Europe consisted of the Crimson Fox, Flash, Elongated Man, Power Girl, Aquaman, Dr. Light II, Metamorpho and Rocket Red 7. The Atom eventually joined up with the JLA as well.
But it wasn't long before the new JLA suffered a crushing defeat. A monster called Doomsday appeared and tore through several states, severely defeating the League. In the end, all the members were seriously injured, Booster Gold's future-made exoskeleton was destroyed, Blue Beetle was in a coma and Superman was apparently dead. A great funeral was held for the Man of Steel and the team looked to new members. They soon recruited Agent Liberty, the second Black Condor, Wonder Woman and the second Ray.
Later, the dream-based villain named Dr. Destiny made a new move against the JLA. Using Blue Beetle's coma induced state, and drawing from a dream by Ray Palmer, Dr. Destiny transported the Leaguers into a dreamworld where their predecessors had gone to far and plunged the world into a fascist rule under their control. During this caper, it was revealed that the sorcerer Bloodwynd was actually none other than the Martian Manhunter. Apparently, soon after leaving for space, J'onn had found the sorcerer Bloodwynd in turmoil. Trying to help him, J'onn inadvertently caused a feedback with Bloodwynd's mystical bloodgem. The result was that Bloodwynd's spirit was trapped within the gem, while J'onn was forced to take on his personality and appearance. Now free to be his old self again, J'onn rejoined the team and Bloodwynd (now separated) left for parts unknown.
The teams suffered some more changes and a new Justice League International was formed, consisting of Crimson Fox, Green Lantern, Flash, Metamorpho, Tasmanian Devil, the Elongated Man and Maya.
A couple of weeks later, four different Supermen emerged, each claiming their own right to the mantle. It was eventually revealed that one of them was in fact a villain named Hank Henshaw and before anyone could stop him, Henshaw nuked Coast City, home of Hal Jordan. But he was stopped when a month after his "death", the true Superman re-emerged, rejuvenated by Kryptonian technology. Superman came back into action but did not immediately rejoin the League.
Distraught by the loss of his home, Hal Jordan quit the League. Driven desperate by his grief, he attempted to recreate Coast City with his power ring. And when that wasn't enough, he attacked the Green Lantern Corps itself in an effort to achieve near-ultimate power. After killing his former mentor Kilowog and his worst enemy Sinestro, Hal absorbed the energies of the Central GL Battery. All power rings were rendered useless as a result and Hal was now fantastically powerful. He went off on his own, determined to correct the past. Ganthet, the sole remaining Guardian, created a new ring out of the life energies of his dead brothers. This new, slightly different power ring, was given to a young man named Kyle Rayner, now the last of the Green Lanterns.
Soon afterwards, the catastrophe known as Zero Hour occurred. Hal, now working under the name of Parallax, had decided it wasn't enough to change the fate of Coast City. He needed to recreate the universe from scratch and make sure that everything went right. But to do so, he first needed to destroy the known universe and all alternate timelines. Nearly succeeding, Parallax was only defeated by the Spectre, his former JLA teammates, Oliver Queen (once one of his best friends), and Kyle, the New Green Lantern.
After having its UN charter revoked again, the JLI soon disbanded.
The world began to suffer from Justice League over-saturation. After Zero Hour, Wonder Woman reformed her own Justice League of America, now housed in the orbital station that once belonged to the villain Overmaster. Meanwhile, J'onn J'onzz was asked to head a new Justice League Task Force. And elsewhere, Captain Atom, no longer trusting the government and believing the JLA had become too soft, now led his own team of adventurers which was dubbed Extreme Justice.
With so many different teams vying for credibility, things began to get a little out of hand. Eventually, the JLA was all that remained. But even that began to fall into disarray and the various heroes went their separate ways, with only a few members still bothering to meet regularly.
THE WORLD'S GREATEST HEROES
For the last several millennia, a man called Know-Man had stalked the Earth. Know-Man had seen a harbinger of doom that convinced him a thing called the war-bringer would come to bring Armageddon to Earth. Believing humanity needed to be equipped to defend itself, Know Man used Dr. Destiny and his own immense power to give everyone on Earth superhuman powers. On the flipside, he caused amnesia in all of Earth's protectors and villains, causing them to forget their costumed lives and true power.
The Batman and Superman both individually realized the reality of the situation and soon got to work on fixing things. The Batman tracked down several heroes whom he had worked with before, who were experience and whom he believed he could trust with his life. These heroes were: The Martian Manhunter, Aquaman, Wonder Woman and the Flash. He and Superman then began hunting down their comrades.
Along the way, Kyle Rayner also realized that reality was askew and joined the collection of heroes in his guise as the new Green Lantern. Seeing that the seven of them were a collection of the most famous heroes around, the icons, he jokingly referred to them as "the Magnificient Seven."
This group of heroes banded together and just barely were able to restore order to the planet and change things back to the status quo. But not before Know-Man could leave with a warning of the coming Armageddon, saying that the seven of them would be the last to stand before it and humanity.
The heroes were left to question whether they should stay together due to this prediction. To everyone's surprise, Batman of all people suggested that they form as a new team. He mentioned that they worked surprisingly well together and that, while he wouldn't want to get caught up in it too often, he believed they would make an effective team. The others agreed and Superman proclaimed them as the new Justice League of America.
The new JLA set-up shop on the moon, in a base called The Watchtower, built by STAR Labs and WayneTech and using recovered Thanagarian and Martian technology. The new JLA gained quick acclaim, saving the world from the hordes of Hell and renegade armies from Heaven, fighting menaces such as the Star Conqueror, the Key, the Hyperclan and the new Injustice Gang.
Eventually, the League decided it needed new members and held a small membership drive. The newcomers included: Oracle, Steel II (John Henry Irons), Plastic Man and the Huntress. The New Gods known as Orion and Barda also arrived, saying that they would remain on Earth until the coming of Mageddon, the bringer of war.
The League continued a stellar career of battling various foes and halting many disasters. Eventually, the prophecy of Know-Man came true and the world was attacked by Mageddon, a thing older than the known universe itself. Marshalling the forces of all superhumans on Earth, the JLA led the world to a barely-realized victory over the great warbringer.
After the disaster was averted, Orion and Barda left. Soon after that, Oracle and Steel took a leave of absence. The Huntress was kicked out by Batman after he caught her about to kill a criminal in cold blood. Thus, the team was now down to eight members. Aquaman, Batman, Flash, Green Lanter, Martian Manhunter, Plastic Man, Superman and Wonder Woman.
Not too long afterwards, the Leaguers were attacked by the eco-terrorist Ra's al Ghul. Ra's attacked each of the members with weapons that were specifically designed to counteract their powers and abilities. Nearly all the Leaguers were faced with almost certain death and just barely escaped. But the biggest blow came when it was discovered that the Batman himself had designed the weapons. For years, Batman had been preparing for the event of any hero going rogue, as Hal had once. He had been collecting information on everyone and catalogued weaknesses, even designing the weapons. Ra's had somehow stolen these files and thus used them against the JLA. The team members were all shocked and insulted by this. A vote was held as to whether or not the Dark Knight should stay in the League. The vote was even and it was left to Superman to be the tie-breaker. But before he could voice his decision, the League found out it wasn't necessary. The Batman had left the Watchtower, even taking away his chair from the JLA meeting table. For the first time since the new League had formed, the Batman was nowhere to be found.
This article is © 2000 Alan Kistler.
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