This article was originally published at DC Infinite on May 13, 2014.
With special contributions from DCI Staff members Ray, Dan, Chase, Tim and Jay!
To celebrate this years NFL draft the staff at DC Infinite got together and drafted our own Justice Leagues! The order was chosen at random and went Ray, Dan, Ed, Chase, and Tim. A snake style draft was used and they were 6 rounds. Stay tuned below where Jay will break down the teams and pick a favorite!
Round One #1 Pick – Batwoman
Ray – “She’s a tactical pro with a soldier’s training and an awesome toolkit. She can think the team out of any complicated situation that may come at hand.”
Round One # 2 Pick – The Flash – Barry Allen
Dan –“Besides providing the team with the ultimate deus ex machina (Speed Force), Barry is the team’s beacon of hope and one of the most powerful beings in the DCU. He also posesses a brilliant scientific mind. Having proven to be one to make do whatever it takes, including the ultimate sacrifice, this Scarlett Speedster tips the scales in every battle. “
Round One #3 Pick – Batman (Bruce Wayne)
Ed – “There was no way that I was not going to take him as my #1 pick. Every team needs a leader and a strategist and with Batman, I was getting both”
Round One #4 Pick – Mister Miracle
Chase – “Mister Miracle and my next pick are the core of this team. Miracle, a tortured fugitive from Apokolips (literally the worst place in the universe), chose to be a hero and entertainer, dressed in bright colors, rather than dwell on his past. Mother Box technology and Fourth World connection provide plenty of potential conflicts. Alongside his wife, another victim of Apokolips, he represents that there is always hope for a better tomorrow.”
Round One #5 Pick – Swamp Thing
Tim – “Swampy not only controls all plant life on earth, but he’s also a very viable utility player, with his wide scope of power allowing him to do more than just beat on people. The avatar of the green can cover crowd control, grow multiple bodies, and shape the very landscape of the battle. Whether he’s fighting one powerful foe or thousands of insignificant ones, his incredible power offers the dexterity to deal with almost any earthy threat. Plus, if including Alan Moore’s saga, Swamp Thing can actually control plant life on any planet he inhabits, making his only true weakness the vacuum of space, if only because there’s nothing for him to use there.”
Round Two #1 Pick – Martian Manhunter
Tim – “What really needs to be said about my favourite Martian? Aside from being able to contend with the likes of Superman (a considerable benchmark in strength levels), Martian Manhunter has so much more to offer. Shape shifting and a detective’s wit makes him a viable spy and analyst. His telepathy can handle any non-physical attacks against the team, not to mention linking them together to communicate during combat. His only true weakness is fire, which would be hard, if not impossible to come by in space, his primary area of deployment for this team. “
Round Two #2 Pick – Big Barda
Chase – “Barda provides an excellent balance to Mister Miracle. While Miracle is a diplomat by nature, Barda is a warrior. When the time for words has passed, she barrels into action, using her great strength and tactical cunning to stop villains and save lives. Her past with the Female Furies of Apokolips will help her to connect to one other team member and provide some nice villains. Together, Miracle and Bard provide a full package of leadership wrapped in a loving marriage.”
Round Two #3 Pick – Superman
Ed – “Although Batman is a great leader his lack of powers can be a problem so I decided to go with the most powerful character I could. You also get strong ethics from him as well. I felt like he was steal here in the 2nd round so I jumped at the chance to have the Man of Steel on my team”
Round Two #4 Pick – Wonder Woman
Dan – “She is not only the underrated member of DC’s Trinity, but she is the most capable in combat. She’s bested Batman (see: The Hiketeia) and can match Superman blow for blow, edging him out on raw combat skills. In additon, as the new God of War, she can conjure up nearly infinite reinforcements. Aside from that, she has proven time and again to be a leader, which is what this team needs.”
Round Two #5 Pick – Vibe
Ray – “Cisco Ramon is the youngest, but most powerful member of the team with his power to create and manipulate various types of vibrations, including those between realities. Not only are his attacks dangerous, he can also see villains coming through from other universes and bring battles to inter-dimensional levels.”
Round Three #1 Pick – Steel
Ray – “Where Batwoman uses the tools, Steel makes and masters them (including his hammer). His suit gives him super strength and the power of flight while he himself stands as the heart of the team, following Superman’s example.”
Round Three #2 Pick – Zatanna
Dan – “Another DCU veteran that provides leadership to the team, Zatanna is only one of the premier masters of backwards magic. She has proven to be one of the strongest characters, with regard to personality and development, in the DCU.”
Round Three #3 Pick – Kyle Rayner (White Lantern)
Ed – “Being a big fan of the Green Lantern universe, I knew I wanted to get some ring power on to my team. Besides the fact that Kyle is my favorite Lantern, as the White Lantern he has access to all of the powers of the emotional spectrum. It tough to argue having someone with that type of firepower on the team. Plus his attitude should fit in well with the rest of my squad “
Round Three #4 Pick – Stargirl
Chase – “Stargirl will be the youngest member of the team, the only one under twenty. However, she has always played best with an older crowd like the Justice Society of America. Her energy and optimism provides any team she is on with the same sensibility along with some great opportunities for humor. Her inexperience also makes her the perfect reader surrogate, as she learns how to be a superhero from some of the best in the business.”
Round Three #5 Pick – Aquaman
Tim -”Next on the Earth-based squad is the another third of the natural equation, with Aquaman. His control of sea life will cover any “ground” that Swampy may be unable to influence – that being over 70 % of the earth. For this team, he would undoubtedly lead due to his experience as King of the Seas. “
Round Four #1 Pick – Animal Man
Tim – “Finishing off the Earthly-powered trifecta is Animal Man, covering anything not already addressed by Swampy or Aquaguy. He would most likely be on the front line as a bruiser with a lot to offer, whereas Swamp Thing and Aquaman would be getting things done on a larger scale. Although he is arguably the least powerful of the three, together they would dominate the Earth as a battlefield.
The other half of the team covers the rest of the bases and operates well in space. While as a whole, the team would be immensely powerful, the two smaller squads offer the option to split into, say, two lines of defense for the Earth against invasion.”
Round Four #2 Pick – Elongated Man with Sue Dibny
Chase – “Speaking of loving marriages, if Miracle and Barda are the head of this team, then Ralph and Sue Dibny are its heart. Ralph, in addition to being one of the world’s greatest detectives and a stretchy superhero, is an excellent listener and friend. His wife Sue is perhaps one of the most loving people to ever visit the Watchtower. Together, this duo makes everyone around them better and provides an emotional center for the team.”
Round Four #3 Pick – Power Girl – #18 Pick
Ed – “Adding Power Girl into the mix gave me a solid one-two punch with both her and Superman. Add the fact that she comes from Earth 2, which could be a big asset if we ever need intelligence from the alternate universe or travel to other dimensions. She also owns her company which could become useful from time to time.
Round Four #4 Pick – Guy Gardner (Red Lantern)
Dan – “Before just a fan-favorite due to his hot-headed personality, Guy has now become one of the true power-players in the Green Lantern universe. Gardner is the current leader of the Red Lanterns, and has proven his mettle against galactic foes time and time again. Also, he has probably the sweetest ‘stache in all of comics.”
Round Four #5 Pick – Madame Zanadu
Ray – “Madame Xanadu provides the magical component the team needs to fight the paranormal, which is especially interesting given the fantastical villains Batwoman tends to attract. With her history as the advisor to many kings, she has also the good sense of judgment that the team will need in making difficult decisions.”
Round Five #1 Pick – Mera
Rae – “Hot-tempered Mera will be the team’s driving force, making sure they kick ass. Her powers in manipulating water can be lethal and she would not allow her teammates to get pushed around.”
Round Five #2 Pick – Orion
Dan – “A god himself, Orion’s access to New Genesis technology and brute strength make him an asset. His personality makes him the team’s true wild card, but his loyalty to Diana has established him as a team asset. Also, Boom Tubes.”
Round Five #3 Pick – Starfire
Ed – “With both Aquaman and Mera snatched up I wanted to get a member of royalty on to my team. Besides the royal blood, Starfire also has a high end power set. With her recent work with The Outlaws, she is becoming more of a team player.
Round Five #4 Pick – The Atom (Ryan Choi)
Chase – “Miracle and Barda have tech, Ralph and Sue have wits, but The Atom is the true brains of this team. Ryan Choi is a scientist and adventurer cut from the same cloth as Reed Richards or the Challengers of the Unknown. His shrinking technology and experiments have the ability to bring the team on all sorts of intriguing adventures. He’s also another great example of a brightly clad superhero who wears his heart on his sleeve. “
Round Five #5 Pick – The Engineer
Tim – “Angela Spica is a jack (or jane) of all trades for this team. Her nanotech allows her to customize her offensive and defensive capabilities to suit any battle, earthly or otherwise. Furthermore, they allow her a nearly universal ability to interface with technology, filling the token computer-savvy role on this team. Lastly, her experience with Stormwatch and The Authority makes her a good choice for squad leader, as well as team coordinator for both squads from their HQ. “
Round Six #1 Pick – Shazam!
Tim – “Billy Batson covers the last omission from the team so far: magic. Even Superman has trouble dealing with it, so it should not be overlooked. Beyond that, Shazam is a formidable power house, and varied team player due to his myriad of godly endowments (e.g. Wisdom of Solomon). On a side note, Shazam would no doubt make this squad the most entertaining to read, with his childish demeanor clashing with J’onn’s serious and Angela’s pragmatic on their outer-space squad. “
Round Six #2 Pick – Jason Blood (The Demon)
Chase – “The Demon stands in stark opposition to all of the other picks on this team. Both Jason Blood and his nefarious alter-ego are tragic figures with plenty of demons (literal and metaphorical) in their closets. They bring a supernatural sensibility to the team and some very intense threats. This contrasts against the optimism of this league and provides a great source of conflict, perhaps giving Blood the chance to grow beyond his dark past.”
Round Six #3 Pick – John Constantine
Ed – “It really came down to potion scarcity for me here. I needed some magic on the team and with the ethics of Superman and Batman on the team hopefully nothing will get out of control. At the very least the interactions between Constantine and Superman should be interesting to see.”
Round Six #4 Pick – Black Adam
Dan – “Characterized as a villain, but really an antihero, Black Adam has shown time and again to be not only a powerful alley, but one that will fight for just causes. “
Round Six #5 Pick – Zealot
Ray – “Where Batwoman and Steel make up 2/3 of the Trinity, Zealot fills in for Wonder Woman as the third member. She is, by far, the best in combat, her sword can slice apart atoms, and she is merciless in her approach to any conflict.”
Justice League Ray!
Batwoman, Vibe, Steel, Madame Xanadu, Mera, Zealot
Justice League Dan!
The Flash, Wonder Woman, Zatanna, Guy Gardner (Red Lantern), Orion, Black Adam
Justice League Ed!
Batman, Superman, Kyle Rayner (White Lantern),Power Girl, Starfire, Constantine
Justice League Chase!
Mister Miracle, Big Barda, Stargirl, Elongated Man, The Atom (Choi), Jason Blood
Justice League Tim!
Swamp Thing, Martian Manhunter, Animal Man, Aquaman, The Engineer, Shazam!
(by Editor in Chief, Jay Mattson)
Each team member has given heartfelt, logical reasoning for how and why they’ve built their respective Leagues. I’ve spent a good deal of time reading everyone’s reasoning, as well as contemplating my own opinions when it comes to these characters. This decision isn’t as simple as “Who do I like the most?” There are factors that come into play with every team, positive and negative, that affect the potential of said team to thrive and/or fail. Here’s how I’ve broken it down:
5th Place – Justice League Ray
As much as I like the dynamic of Batwoman, Vibe, and Mera on a team together, Rae’s team has too many wild cards! Batwoman is notorious for not working well with other heroes, Vibe’s inexperience usually works against rather than for him, the only thing that tempers Mera’s ego is her husband, and Madame Xanadu has been the cause of more magical disasters than I can count. Zealot is a solid choice, as she’s the most clear-cut in terms of battle; she sees an enemy, she takes said enemy down.
4th Place – Justice League Ed
Ed’s got the big guns. Superman, Batman, White Lantern Kyle Rayner, Starfire, Power Girl: those five would be enough to stand up against nearly any villain in the known DC universe. Heck, their personalities would also probably balance each other out, as well (Batman tempering Superman, Kyle Rayner reining in Starfire, etc.). There’s just one catch to this team: Constantine! John Constantine is a true jerk who wouldn’t give a second thought to pitting these ultra-powerful heroes against one another in hopes of reaping some sort of reward or power when it was all over. There’s no doubt in my mind that Constantine would cause this League to be at each others’ throats before too long.
3rd Place – Justice League Tim
Although I like nearly every hero on Tim’s team, most of them are loner-types who would have some difficulty working together. Aquaman has the most team experience, but it’s tepid at best (even with a team of his own design like The Others). Martian Manhunter (in the New 52, at least) has too many secrets that get in the way of him playing with others. Animal Man, while a solid fighter with a great power set, has a family: his wife and kids will always be in the line of fire. The Engineer is a great choice for team leader, but as we saw in the New 52 Stormwatch, being able to connect with any technology also leaves her vulnerable to being controlled by any number of tech-based enemies. Shazam! is great, but he’s also young and very impressionable.
2nd Place – Justice League Chase
I had to tell myself not to outright pick this team as the winner because it includes one of my favorite DC characters ever: Mister Miracle. Beyond that, I’m taking Chase’s decision to include Sue Dibny to heart with this critique; as much as Elongated Man’s wife would provide a much needed ethical foundation for the team, she’s also a major liability for Ralph and, by proxy, the rest of the team. Plus, putting Big Barda and The Demon Etrigan on a team together is a just a recipe for a constant battle of egos that not even the venerable Mister Miracle could quell. All that being said, the pick of Ryan Choi is one of the better ones in this draft!
1st Place – Justice League Dan
Justice League Dan has all the bases covered! Zatanna is a formidable magic user who isn’t full of herself like Constantine and can make the hard decisions because she doesn’t have anything to lose. Black Adam is the powerhouse anti-hero that can be checked by the equally powerful Wonder Woman. Red Lantern Guy Gardner provides the ring-slinging power set needed for any and all battles outside the realm of Earth-based enemies (as well as the berserker attitude if the need arises). Orion’s Fourth World powers give this team a distinct advantage (not unlike Chase’s choices of Mister Miracle and Big Barda). And the Flash, well, he’s the best choice for an emotional and ethical core to a team; Barry Allen is one of the best heroes of all time and I have no doubt he could lead this chosen team to victory time and time again.