My Thoughts On The New 52 JLA Roster
So, as every comic book fan nowadays should know by now, the New 52‘s version of the Justice League of America is starting up this month. Once again, I’m still confused by the fact that there’s a Justice League AND a Justice League of America, but whatever, I’m gonna try and ignore that. Instead, I thought I’d give my thoughts on each individual member of this new team, whether I like their presence here, and how I think the team should do overall. With that said, let’s start off with one member who, as I understand it, was considered by many to be the WORST member of ANY incarnation of the Justice League…
I’ll admit right now, I know very little about Vibe other than what I’ve heard. I will say that one thing I’ve heard quite often was that a lot of people REALLY hated this guy when he was in the League. Something about his bad Mexican accent, that he was created to cash in on the appeal of break-dancing at the time, and also because he was formerly the leader of a street gang called Los Lobos. Personally, I’m just glad it wasn’t Los Locos.
…Never play that again. Anyway, his power is that he can create shock waves strong enough to destroy concrete. I seem to recall him cameoing a few times in Justice League Unlimited, where he also had the ability to fly, but hey, that was a tv show. Oh, and apparently he’s noteworthy of having been the first member of the Justice League to actually be killed in the line of duty, which I’m willing to bet is because people didn’t like him.
Maybe it’s just because I never read the stories involving him, but no major concerns from me. Heck, if anything, this is one of the advantages of the New 52: Characters like Vibe that weren’t well-received can be reworked (his new costume already looks a lot better than his old one). They might be rolling the dice a bit much with the solo title that’ll be starting soon too, but hey, I guess it helps develop this new version.
Again, haven’t read anything that had Stargirl in it, minus her appearance in Bryan Q. Miller‘s Batgirl. I have seen her in several episodes of Justice League Unlimited though, where she started off kinda jealous of Supergirl but eventually mellowed out. Apparently she was in Smallville too, which I didn’t really watch. I have heard that in the comics she comes off as a sweet and positive person and a strong heroine. I also hear that she’s notable as being one of few superheroes in DC that wears braces. Her powers come from her equipment, the Cosmic Converter Belt enhancing her strength, speed, stamina, durability, and agility, and her Cosmic Staff giving her the power of flight and energy projection.
As I understand it, she’s “the only one really excited to be there” in this new JLA. Something tells me that she will serve as the heart of the team, the one that keeps them on the good side. And let’s face it, given that she’s covered in stars, definitely makes for a good person to have on the Justice League of AMERICA.
This is one of the weird picks for me. Catwoman has never once served as a member of any form of the Justice League, though she has aided them. She’s always represented the grey area between hero and villain, meaning putting her on the Justice League is problematic. In fact, as I understand it, her reasons for joining are either a means to an end on some matter or possibly blackmail. Also, while I’ve always liked the character, I will say that her solo title in the New 52 has been weird at best. Just in case someone reads that isn’t too familiar with her or needs a refresher, Catwoman has no powers, and instead is a gifted acrobat, was trained in Dragon Style Kung Fu, is a master of stealth and disguise, and usually comes equipped with sharp retractable claws, a bitchin’ motorcycle, and a 12 foot long bullwhip that you do NOT want to be on the opposite side of.
My guess is that she’s there to be their stealth fighter to help round out the team. Also, I wouldn’t be surprised if she often-times acts as the long-range aide for the next of the roster…
If you haven’t been reading Birds of Prey lately, Katana recently left the team. Now it seems she’s to join the Justice League of America. Not really sure why, honestly. I like the idea that she too has her own solo title, but honestly, I would’ve just stuck with that instead of doing that AND putting her in another team book. Like Catwoman, Katana has no powers, instead being a master martial artist/swordsman, wielding a sword that she claims contains her husband’s soul inside, though no one knows whether this is true or if she’s just crazy…and honestly? I think it might be better if they kept that ambiguous for a while. It works better as a mystery.
Again, not completely sure why she’s on this team, but my guess is that her and Catwoman will act as the normies that’ll save the super-powered heroes’ asses where necessary…though I suppose that’s a roll for this next member…
Okay, here’s the part where I gotta confess to something: I don’t like Green Arrow. Admittedly, most of this is Cry For Justice and the books related to it colouring my judgement, and that story has been retconned in the New 52. Problem is, I found him to be a dick even before ‘Gay for Vengeance’, and I haven’t really seen much reason to check him out since. However, I would be an idiot if I didn’t note that he IS one of DC’s best heroes, and would function well on this new team. One odd thing about Green Arrow is that his classification of having powers or not has been left ambiguous on occasion, as he does have the strength to lift twice his body weight and has skill in archery that some would claim to be inhuman. It’s never really been proven one way or the other though, and much like with Katana, I think it works best if that question is never answered for certain.
It appears as though Green Arrow might actually serve as one of the higher ranked members of the team, as he is actually one of the two possibly behind its formation (as suggested in the backstory of an issue of Justice League), along with this man…
Okay, I gotta ask: Why so many non-powered members of this team? Is it just to make Vibe more useful by comparison? I dunno, but Steve Trevor is another odd pick. Other than being a liaison for the Justice League until recently, I don’t think he’s ever been an official member of a superhero team. Then again, I don’t really know for a fact that he IS a member, he could just be their back-up. Whatever the case, Steve is a skilled hand-to-hand fighter and an advanced marksman. This is my only real concern with him being on the team, though, as I don’t believe in superheroes using guns. Just my own personal preference on the matter.
Like I said, it was hinted that Steve and Green Arrow are actually going to be the ones putting together this team, and I would imagine they’ll be high-ranking members within it. However, if I had to pick out who I believe to be the leader, that’d be…
NOW we’re getting into some awesome heroes. The Martian Manhunter has had a kinda weird time in the New 52, what with his position as a founding member of the Justice League being given to Cyborg, having apparently been a member (or close to one) before a massive fight broke out between him and the other members (yes, all seven members were required to bring him down), and he joined a covert group called Stormwatch before he had to leave and erase his presence on the team from its other members. So yeah, glad to see him on this team. I’d list his powers, but they are SO numerous, I’m gonna do the lazy thing and instead opt to let you read his Wikipedia entry.
So yeah, expect him to either be the leader of the team or simply the most powerful of the group. Heck, there’s really only one other member that could touch him, if not for his weakness to fire…
Admittedly, I’m not sure how this is gonna connect to the Green Lantern comics, but I do like Simon Baz being on this team. For those that don’t know, Simon Baz is a Lebanese-American who suffered prejudice due to the events of September 11th and recently was put through a major misunderstanding where people thought he was a terrorist and was only saved from being killed by corrupt government agents when Hal Jordan and Sinestro’s malfunctioning Green Lantern Ring went to him, the ring believing that Hal and Sinestro were dead. Since then, he’s been training to master the ring’s powers while trying to clear his name. I’m guessing he does so since he joins the JLA. Anyway, his powers are typical of a Green Lantern: Indomitable will, flight, and able to create constructs of whatever he can imagine, which he’s actually picked up on pretty quick.
I expect Simon to be another of the heaviest hitters along with Martian Manhunter, and may also be one of the more interesting characters to read about. And that just leaves the final member…
This is kind of embarrassing, but I actually know more about HawkGIRL than HawkMAN. It’s made no better by the fact that there have apparently been several heroes that answered to the name Hawkman and that, following the reboot, Hawkman now answers to the name of TWO of those individuals. All I know is that he uses Thanagarian technology and armaments to fight crime with. I also know that he’s served with various incarnations of the Justice League before, so I’m sure he’ll be a welcome member here.
However, this brings me to something that I’ve been meaning to talk about. As I’ve mentioned before, it was originally slated that at some point, the Justice League would be expanded with the addition of The Atom, Deadman, Element Woman, Mera, Hawkman, Firestorm, Lady Luck, and Green Arrow. I had said at the end of my review of Justice League Origins that it hadn’t happened yet. I WAS going to suggest that DC had simply changed their minds, and it’s fortunate I didn’t because guess what happened at the end of Justice League #16?
So here’s where things get even MORE confusing, folks. Now, Shazam (AKA Mr. Don’t Call Me Captain Marvel) doesn’t surprise me. They’ve been building toward him joining at some point for a while now in the back stories for Justice League (that I absolutely HATE, btw). Also, Firestorm doesn’t surprise me either, Vixen and Black Lightning aren’t really doing anything right now, so it makes sense to add them, and Element Woman was already slated to join. But, AGAIN, Zatanna is already a member of Justice League Dark, Black Canary is with the Birds of Prey, Hawkman and Green Arrow are joining this new team, I still don’t see the others that were originally planned to join, and who in the hell is Goldrush? I think it’s hinted she’s a New 52 version of the Metal Men, but that’s all I have to go on. So how is this gonna work? Are they unofficial affiliates that join in when the main team is in over their heads? Is this a one-time thing? Is Geoff Johns even thinking about all this at all? I’m sorry if these questions are too numerous, but I only ask because I’m naturally curious and nitpicky and I have no idea what’s going on!
…Anyway, rant over. Bottom line, I think this team, while a bit odd and perhaps a little too stacked up on members, should work well enough to get a following from buyers. My nitpicking aside, I actually kinda like that a lot of these members aren’t necessarily A-Leaguers. Gives more of the smaller names a chance to get over. Will I buy it?…Well, I’ve been kinda flip-floppy on this, but considering it comes out on a week where there’s only one other comic I buy (Nightwing), I’m thinking I might just pick it up, so I’ll let’cha know how it goes in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, tomorrow is Wednesday, and you know what that means!
…See ya then. Ja ne!
Posted on February 5, 2013, in Comic Books and tagged Catwoman, DC Comics, Geoff Johns, Green Arrow, Hawkman, Justice League, Justice League of America, Katana, Martian Manhunter, Simon Baz, Stargirl, Steve Trevor, The New 52, Vibe. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.