How I Would Have Done It: New 52 Justice League
How I Would Have Done It: New 52 Justice League by Jerry Whitworth
Previously on “How I Would Have Done It,” we discussed new 52 Superman and Batman and now it’s time for the rest of the Justice League of America. The Justice League dropped the America from its title for the new 52 and subbed out Martian Manhunter (often referred as the heart, or rock, of the Justice League) with Cyborg (former teenage superhero who formed arguably the most well-known iteration of the Teen Titans, which was largely a group of Justice League sidekicks originally). Aquaman obtained a big push as Geoff Johns continued work on the character from his Brightest Day event as Green Lantern largely went untouched and the Flash continued on from Flashpoint (seemingly with Wally West phased out). Lets examine how the new 52 could have been done differently.
When Starro destroyed Throneworld of The Infinite Realm, devastating that galactic empire, its hero Starman (secretly exiled prince Gavyn of the planet) became a herald of the creature warning worlds of their impending struggle to no avail. When Starro turns its eye to Earth, Starman assembled heroes from the world to face this new threat. Joined by Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern, Flash, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter, Sandman (Garrett Sanford), and Hourman (Matthew Tyler), the ten heroes banded together as Starro attached itself to the planet, draining it of its lifeforce and enslaving its populace. On the twelfth anniversary of the event, the founders of the Justice League of America come together on the satellite headquarters orbiting Earth known as the Watchtower to discuss the team’s future. Joining them are fellow members the Atom, Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Zatanna, Captain Marvel, Red Tornado, Dr. Fate, Plastic Man, Captain Atom, Black Lightning, Vixen, Mr. Miracle, Hardware, and Backlash. Operating as units specifically tailored to missions, they have to tackle elder threats like the Royal Flush Gang, Kanjar Ro, Despero, Queen Bee, Amazo, Felix Faust, Dr. Destiny, Epoch, Dr. Light, and the Crime Syndicate as well as the secret society known as the Light (and its vicious leader Vandal Savage). Their existence is complicated, however, when Light council member Lex Luthor is elected to President of the United States and brokers an alliance with Apokolips. Making matters worse is the emergence of Prometheus, the ultimate warrior born of the Light’s inner council.
The adventures of the Justice League’s legacy in the 853rd century, the future has a direct link to the past as Hourman and Vandal Savage maintain each other’s factions with the same names attached to new, young heroes and villains. Now spread across the United Planets, the Justice Legion also has to contend with other grave threats in Solaris, Pulsar Stargrave, Nekron, Doomsday, Monarch, and more. When the Black Lantern virus resurrects the Justice League of old, can the Justice Legion hope to defeat their ancestors and what part will Ion (Hal Jordan), Parallax (Sinestro), Predator (Carol Ferris), Butcher (Atrocitus), Adara (Saint Walker), Ophidian (Larfleeze), and Proselyte (Indigo-1) play in the conflict?
Describing the earliest adventures of Wonder Woman, we learn the journey of Princess Diana as she must come to Patriarch’s World to combat her grandfather, the god of war Ares, in his bid to begin World War III and gain enough power to usurp the Pantheon of the gods. As an agent of C.B.I., the Central Bureau of Investigation, Diana joins Steve Trevor and Etta Candy in uncovering Ares’ plots while as Wonder Woman can confront her relative directly. Combating the children and forces of Ares as well as unrelated foes like Cheetah, Giganta, and Dr. Psycho, Diana is joined by her sister Donna as Ares’ Wonder Woman Nubia emerges offering the heroine her greatest challenge. A story of love and loss with Diana’s marriage and divorce to longtime beau Steve Trevor, their daughter Lyta raised on Themyscira, and a war staged on mankind by the Amazon nation pitting mother against daughter, Wonder Woman walks a long road befitting one of history’s greatest champions. Only time will tell the parts of friends I Ching, Cassie Sandsmark, Artemis, Tom Tresser, and Tolifhar will play in the trials and tribulations of Wonder Woman.
With Ares defeated and his children scrambling to scoop up the remnants of his empire, Wonder Woman has little time to rest as her greatest foes are assembled under brilliant, malevolent scientist Veronica Cale. Combining elements of her various enemies, Cale creates the monstrous Devastation with her science and Circe’s magic. To stand against this threat, Wonder Woman will be forced to seek the aid of Hercules, destroyer of the Amazon empire, and Otrera, the long deceased matriarch of the Amazons (and Diana’s grandmother). Speaking to the dead will pay a terrible cost when Diana must strike a bargain with the lord of the Underworld, Hades. If Wonder Woman survives her conflict with Cale, her rogues, and Devastation, her next battle will be with Darkseid and the New Gods of Apokolips. Can Diana defeat Darkseid or will she become his bride and lead the Female Furies against the Earth?
A team-up title for the Wonder family, it could feature adventures like Wonder Woman and Aquaman or Hawkwoman, Troia and Mary Marvel or Lagoon Boy, Wonder Girl and Blue Beetle or Static, Nubia and Mister Terrific or Sandman, Princess Lyta and Damian Wayne or Chris Kent, and many more. The series offers an opportunity to give a look at the new and revised heroes of Earth as well as test the waters for new series based upon them. It also offers creators the opportunity to work on characters they otherwise didn’t yet have a chance to play with or produce another chapter for characters they’re known for their work upon.
I wouldn’t change anything (except elements of Emerald Twilight). Well done.
The only living person to still have memories of the time before and during Flashpoint, Barry Allen must adjust to a world both familiar and yet new to him. However, Allen has little time to deal with this complication when the spirit of the Reverse-Flash returns desperate to come back to the world of the living. While Zoom is trying to drive Allen mad in every aspect of his life, the villain is trying to recruit crippled and incarcerated Hunter Zolomon to his cause. While the Flash has to deal with the Rogues as he often has in his career, Allen must deal with a much more personal issue of seeing his protege Wally West becoming a father to his infant children Jai and Iris and being introduced to a teenage son from the future in Bart Allen. A man of many lives, be it past, present, or future, can Barry Allen adjust to having a normal life or will Zoom drive him insane? When the mysterious Power Girl emerges in Central City, what discoveries will Barry Allen make of the multiverse and what is the Flash Corps?
While the life of Arthur, king of Atlantis, has been filled with tragedy, for once it seemed to be that of hope as the states of Atlantis are finally at peace with each other (as well as the surface world) as Aquaman’s family of Mera, Koryak, Aqualad (Kaldur’ahm), Aquagirl (Lorena Marquez), and Tempest with wife and son Dolphin and Cerdian are by his side. However, everything is again threatened when his son Arthur, Jr. returns from the dead, now a teenager claiming to have been imprisoned by his father to protect his throne (an ongoing history of children taking a parent’s crown in Atlantis) only to break free and demand his father abdicate. In reality a plot by Ocean Master and sorcerer Garn Daanuth to resurrect the child and use him to take Atlantis, Aquaman knows this boy to be his son and must now weigh his heart between his family and his crown. Meanwhile, other dangers like Black Manta, his wife Hila and their kingdom of Sub Diego, ancient evil Kordax, and the otherworldly Thanatos remain on the horizon to challenge the king of the seven seas.
Finally committing to Black Canary and marrying his longtime on-again/off-again love, Green Arrow comes full circle with his family accepting the role of father to Red Arrow, Arsenal (Connor Hawke), Speedy (Mia Dearden), Robert, and Sin (as well as grandfather to Lian Harper). However, Green Arrow is going to need all the help he can get when Brick returns to take control of the still rebuilding Star City with a crew of old enemies of the hero in Red Dart, Blue Lancer, Roper, Slingshot, and Barricade led by old time nemesis the Rainbow Archer. Brick isn’t the only game in town, though, as Steelclaw seems to have returned from the grave along with armored bodyguard Champion (who seeks revenge against Arrow for ruining his career as a hero). Along with assorted psychotics like Bull’s Eye, Greenface, and Printer’s Devil, the assistance of the mysterious vigilante Artemis seems welcomed until she’s revealed to be the daughter of assassins Sportsmaster and Tigress. Can the teenage heroine be trusted and what connection does she have to the assassin Constantine Drakon? And what will Red Arrow do when the Suicide Squad comes calling for his help in taking down his love Cheshire (and can Clock King and Count Vertigo be trusted beside the partner of their greatest enemy)?
The ultimate creation of reclusive genius Rex Tyler, Hourman is a synthetic android with a mechanical biology based on Tyler’s son Rick who died as a child. Named Matthew by his creator, Rex would die a short while later leaving Matthew to impersonate him on occasion in order to maintain his legacy at his company Tylerco. Unsure what his purpose was, Hourman was discovered by the alien Starman and drafted into the Justice League of America. Dealing with a newfound exposure of celebrity while still trying to make sense of humans (and the traits he shares with them), Hourman became close friends with the League’s PR rep “Snapper” Carr and his ex-wife Bethany Lee (the latter growing to have romantic feelings toward each other). When Hourman isn’t being sought by residents of Oolong Island like doctors Darkk, Iker, and Togg to be studied, he’s dealing with calamities in time caused by the likes of the Time Stealers, Epoch, Alexis Luthor, Extant, and the Time Trapper. Hourman’s adventures take him across the various time periods of Earth, interacting with characters including Anthro, Prince Khufu, Silent Knight, Dragon Lord, Black Pirate, Tomahawk, Enemy Ace, Jonah Hex, Sgt. Rock, Renegades, Kamandi, Legion of Super-Heroes, and Justice Legion A.
Selected by Morpheus, the embodiment of Dream, comatose physicist Garrett Sanford became the guardian of sleep Sandman staving off otherworldly entities that seek to feed upon or enslave humanity through the Dreaming (Morpheus’ realm where people go when they sleep). Able to manifest in the real world as a dream of someone given form (including his own dreams), the Sandman was enlisted by the alien Starman to join the Justice League of America. Battling foes like Ramulus, the Mist, the Phantom of the Fair, the Corinthian, Azazel, and Johnny Sorrow, the Sandman is joined by allies minor nightmares Brute and Glob and has developed a fatherly attachment to the young man Jed Walker (who has dreamed of being Sandman’s partner Sandy the Golden Boy). When Sorrow enters a campaign to resurrect the King of Tears and most of the Justice League offworld, the Sandman maybe forced to bring together his own superteam.
Best friends alien peacekeeper Katar Hol and adventuring physicist/professor Ray Palmer first met as members of the Justice League of America in their guises of Hawkman and the Atom. Since then, Palmer has endured many struggles especially with longtime love Jean Loring (today institutionalized at Arkham Asylum) leading the hero to lean on Hawkman to get him through his trials. Cast in two separate locations (Hawkman in St. Roch, Louisiana and the Atom in Ivy Town, Connecticut), the pair will at times work on cases together or separately with their own extended families. For Hawkman, that’s with wife Hawkwoman and son Golden Eagle and for the Atom proteges (and former students) Bumblebee, Molecule (Adam Cray), and Micron (Ryan Choi). Palmer is placed in another trial when Hawkman’s enemy the Headhunter comes to Ivy Town to capture the Atom in order to consume his knowledge and soul to break Hawkman and learn his greatest secrets. Following this, the pair go on adventures like battling the time thief Chronos in ancient Egypt, Gentleman Ghost raising the dead of New Orleans, fighting for survival against the Bat-Knights of Elvaran, the resurrection of Onimar Synn on Thanagar, the Floronic Man leading an invasion against Earth by Floria, and the return of Humbug the Reusable Man.
Homeless orphan Billy Batson was granted the powers of Shazam, becoming the hero Captain Marvel forming the Marvel Family with long-lost sister Mary and their friend Freddy Freeman. Watched over by former conman Uncle Dudley and totem tiger spirit Tawky Tawny, the group has defended Fawcett City against all manner of evil like the Monster Society of Evil, the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man, Three Faces of Evil, and Prince Lucifer (while helping form the Squadron of Justice with fellow heroes of the city). When ancient deities, spirits, and demons who empower those like Black Adam, Ibac, and Sabbac grow weary of the progress their avatars made on Earth, they strike a bargain with the entity Eclipso to enslave the people of Fawcett to overpower the Marvel Family and Squadron of Justice. When all hope seems lost, can Kid Eternity and the Lieutenant Marvels save the day? Should the heroes triumph, can they hope to stand against Mr. Mind’s alliance of eighty-seven worlds and King Kull’s Submen? When all hope seems lost, could the Sivana and Black Marvel Families turn the tide?
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