Happy Justice League Day! Yes, you read correctly, today–November 18–is Justice League Day. In honor of the occasion, as well as the superhero team’s big screen debut, a few members of the AiPT! staff decided to share their favorite Justice League stories of all time.Eric Cline: My favorite iteration of the League is probably the Grant Morrison & Howard Porter/Mark Waid & Bryan Hitch era team. It’s really hard to narrow that long run down to one story, but if I had to pick one, it would be “Half a Mind to Save a World” from JLA #42. The League shrinks down with the Atom and enters the body of a citizen with a brain tumor, just to discover that the tumor is a bacterial civilization. The premise is really out there and perfect for a one-and-done story. It’s like something out of the Twilight Zone, with Superman and the like fighting for justice… against a body’s immune system.Connor Willesden: My favorite Justice League story is a tie between Forever Evil by Geoff Johns and “Rock of Ages” by Grant Morrison. While “Rock of Ages” has a real depth of storytelling with great art by Howard Porter and deals very well with the New Gods, Forever Evil showcases Johns at his best–with villains. Forever Evil felt like an action blockbuster where you followed a different group than usual as they fought their mirror selves, while “Rock of Ages” felt like a sci-fi epic with time travel and magic.
Also a shout-out to Justice League Unlimited, which showed that an expanded roster can really work well and is what also got me into comics. Its depiction of Green Arrow and many of the other characters is something that I don’t feel like a lot of other TV shows and even comics get right. The first episode, where Green Arrow, who doesn’t want to join the League, tells the main group why they can’t close down the League was perfect. It showed why the League should exist and how the expanded roster worked well.Rory Wilding: My favorite Justice League story is an episode of Bruce Timm’s Justice League animated series, which was my introduction to the wider DC universe. In the two-part episode “Injustice for All,” the terminally-ill Lex Luthor assembles a super villain team consisting of Cheetah, Star Sapphire, the Shade, Copperhead, Ultra-Humanite and Solomon Grundy to take on the Justice League.
Although the League saved the day, as always, it’s the villains that steal the spotlight. Clancy Brown’s Lex Luthor is constantly feeling frustrated by the incompetence from his allies who can’t even keep on an eye on Batman. Being his usual Bat-self, he deceives everyone while locked up for the majority of Part 2.
In fact, any scene with Mark Hamill’s Joker is a delight.
Cam Petti: I don’t know if it’s my absolute favorite, favorite JLA story, but one that deserves mention is the 2000s story “Tower of Babel” by Mark Waid, Howard Porter and Steve Scott. It’s one of the first stories to introduce Batman’s contingency plans to defeat each of the other JLA members if they ever go rogue. It’s a fascinating concept and one that has had lasting effects on Batman’s dynamic with any team he’s on. Pretty much every team Batman has ever been on since has had some version of “Batman knows how to beat us all” mentioned at some point.
That all said, though, what I find amazing about this story is not the lasting impact that it has, but the fact that everything I just said was merely a B plot in the story! Batman’s secret plans only come out because Ra’s Al Ghul steals them and enacts them as a distraction for one of the most super villain plots I have ever heard of: turns out, the titular “Tower of Babel” is a machine that scrambles everyone’s ability to understand language. Like, so you literally can’t speak to one another. And the ensuing chaos is supposed to… help… Al Ghul’s world conquest… somehow.
So, not only do you get an compelling examination of how much forethought and/or paranoia Batman puts into his everyday life, but you also get what’s basically a Silver Age story of the highest order. That, I think, is worthy of praise.Well, those are just a few of our favorite Justice League stories. What about you? Share your picks in the comment space below!