Comics / Spotlight

Why Is the Justice League's Top Seven Popular?

By Hervé St.Louis
October 22, 2005 - 23:44

People argue that the glorious seven members of the Justice League is passé, yet, the core roster of the team, consisting of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Flash, Green Lantern and the Martian Manhunter is very popular. Although Grant Morrison popularized this perspective of the Justice League, the appeal of that team is more profound. Let me give it a shot.

Superman - prima donna super hero. The basic model of the super hero.

Batman - ditto. He’s also the antithesis of Superman, being darker and powerless.

Wonder Woman - prima donna female. Please note that Wonder Woman got boosted after Crisis I. She wasn't a Superman clone in the past. She wasn't as strong, as fast, could not fly and had no supplemental powers as she does now. In the past Wonder Woman was also a symbol of the American flag. Although she's Greek, today, the flag bearer aspect still makes her iconic.

Aquaman - The most iconic of the second stringers, although his sales and actual popularity are weaker than many others. Visually, Aquaman brings something that no one else does. He's blond. Laugh as much as you want, but that plays a lot into Aquaman's favour. I think that if Aquaman had dark hair, or looked like Namor (The Submariner from Marvel), he would not be as memorable. Superman is the one with the black hair and a faceless mask. Aquaman rounds him up finely. Black Canary had a similar role in the Satellite JLA, countering Wonder Woman. The only way I can explain it in better terms is that Aquaman is to Superman what Reggie is to Archie, or what Betty is to Veronica. Remember. It’s a visual medium.

Of course, the other reasons he got in were the aquatic element that made him exotic. Aquaman is the one character that introduces the notion of a pantheon of Gods or super being, because of his proximity to the Roman and Greek Gods of the oceans, Neptune and Poseidon.

Flash - Flash is red. Prime colour at play here. Flash, like Aquaman has easy powers to understand, like flying or being super strong. It's a primal power.

Green Lantern - Any Green Lantern usually fits the bill. Once, it was Guy Gardner. John Stewart is in the cartoon without any problems. He even subed for Hal Jordan during the satellite years.

Finally, we have the Martian Manhunter. The most contested. He earned his stature during the Giffen and Detroit days. Like it or not, that counts for something. This character works best as the alien, loner who could betray us at anytime. The Justice League cartoon has played on that with great success. Nevertheless, they also cleaned the character by removing all the powers that made his a Superman clone and focusing on his unique abilities. Perhaps DC will clean him up in Crisis II.

The cartoon is a real proof that he works quite well with the team and really adds something. He's like what the Vision is to the Avengers. He's a guy that's completely linked to the team and works better as the glue behind the team, than as a solo star, which he is not.

Related Articles:

Membership in the League

Incarnations of the Justice League


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