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Off My Mind: What Was the Best Justice League of America Roster?

With DC's "The New 52" relaunch, how does the new team compare to past versions?

With the relaunch of the DC Universe in "The New 52," it's fitting that it all kicks off with the Justice League. If you have a bunch of heroes and the supervillain threats are getting out of hand, the world's greatest heroes would logically band together.

They made their original appearance in Brave and the Bold #28 in 1960. Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, Flash and Martian Manhunter worked together to fight Starro's plan to conquer Earth. This wasn't actually their first meeting. We later found out in Justice League of America #9 how exactly they first got together. A group of aliens from the planet Appellax began attacking and the heroes (along with Superman and Batman) joined forces to defeat them.

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They became known (to readers) as the Justice League of America's "Big Seven." This was DC's biggest heroes together. Green Arrow joined shortly after and over the years, there have been numerous members and different incarnations of the team. With the release of Justice League #1, we have a chance for a new original team. While the cover appears to show us the team, obviously things can change. The question is, what would be the best roster for the Justice League?

== TEASER ==
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Again, you cannot deny that the Big Seven is the premiere team. Adding Green Arrow served to give the team another street level hero (and of course to cause friction in the team). Former mascot, Snapper Carr betrayed the team during the time when the team was joined by Black Canary and Atom while Wonder Woman and Aquaman took some time off. Eventually others like Elongated Man, Zatanna and Firestorm joined.

The mixture we had here brought in some interesting changes. Each new member had something to add to the team, whether it was super-human abilities or a different way of approaching the team. Batman wasn't always around as part of the team, having his own responsibilities. Elongated Man is a detective in his own right, just not on the same level as Batman. Zatanna gave the team access to magic and a way be prepared for any mystical opponents.

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The team went through...big changes in the 80s, mainly when they relocated to Detroit. Vibe along with Vixen, Gypsy and Steel tried to carry on the team with Zatanna and Aquaman. This would be an example of what didn't work in a Justice League roster. Aquaman was the only Big Gun they had. This team was even responsible for the cancellation of the long running series. The team's roster needs the big heroes.

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In the mid-eighties we saw a return to a more traditional Justice League. And then later the Justice League International and Justice League Europe. Batman had returned. Along with new member, Captain Marvel as well as Martian Manhunter, things were looking up for the team.

Of course having a Green Lantern, even if it was Guy Gardner, also helped to increase the status of the team. With Black Canary back and Dr. Light, Mr. Miracle, Blue Beetle and Doctor Fate, the team was back to a powerful roster.

Unfortunately this team's origin also involved Maxwell Lord, who would lead to some dark times in the DC Universe years later.

Batman didn't stick around long but the team did add Booster Gold, Captain Atom and Fire and Ice. The roster had potential but whether it was the book's humorous tone, it didn't quite feel as if it quite made it to being considered a truly powerful roster. When you have Guy being Guy and Booster and Beetle joking around, it was hard to take them seriously (even if the series was entertaining.

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Later we saw the Justice League Task Force and the Extreme Justice Team but what did it really come down to? Grant Morrison and Howard Porter brought the return of the Big Seven...sort of.

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Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Aquaman, Martian Manhunter along with the current Flash (Wally West) and Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner). Other characters were added such as Plastic Man, Huntress, Oracle and Steel.

In other words, the Big Seven are the heart and soul of the team. They're the glue that keeps it together. They're the ones that can carry the team. Adding in the others and just having the majority of the originals makes for a strong roster.

There are others in the team's history worth mentioning. 2006's team consisted of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Hal Jordan, Black Canary, Roy Harper, Vixen, Black Lightning, Hawkgirl and Red Tornado. The Cry For Justice team of Hal Jordan, Green Arrow, Supergirl, Captain Marvel Jr., Congorilla, Starman wanted to be a more proactive team. But we know that didn't end well when faced against Prometheus. The last team was also brilliant with former side-kicks and b-list heroes graduating to the Justice League. The team included Dick Grayson as Batman, Donna Troy, Supergirl, Jesse Quick-Chambers, Jade, Starman and Congorilla.

And now we're going to see the team for the first time once again.

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From the looks of things, we can't be completely sure who will be on the final roster. The promotional image above shows other characters on the side besides the strange new addition of Cyborg. The cover to issue #1 also shows the main seven characters. We do have the original team except Martian Manhunter has been replaced (and will be seen in the pages of Stormwatch). If anything, at least we're off to a strong start. We'll have to see how this new team interacts with each other and if they even get along.

Who I would like to see on the team?

  • Batman
  • Hal Jordan
  • Barry Allen
  • Wonder Woman
  • Captain Marvel
  • Zatanna
  • Plastic Man

Batman of course to lead and strategize. Hal Jordan for cosmic problems. Barry, even though I love Wally, for his speed, experience and maturity. Wonder Woman for her nobility, strength and leadership. Captain Marvel for his strength and some magic. Zatanna for even more magical abilities and past experience. And Plastic Man because if you're read his Justice League appearances, you know some of the things he's capable of. I'd like to get Black Canary in there but we're going to limit it to seven.

What does the rest of Comic Vine think?

I asked my fellow writers who would be on their dream team of the Justice League.

Sara Lima

  • Wonder Woman
  • Wally West
  • Superman
  • Batman
  • Vixen
  • Hawkman
  • Hawkgirl
  • John Stewart

(It's only supposed to be SEVEN, Sara!)

OR her 'all girl dream team'

Mat Elfring

Explanation: As much as I love the original line-up, I'd like to see more of the successors of each original character come together and work as a team. Mainly Nightwing, John Steward, and Donna Troy. As for Dr Light and Mr Terrific, I just really like those characters.

Matt Demers

  • Batman (Grayson) - Leader, tactician, hand-to-hand, youth-to-adult transition
  • Captain Marvel (Batson) - Big gun, magic, speed, knowledge,
  • Green Arrow - Liberal, marksman, voice of reason
  • Black Canary - Hand to hand, tactician, martial arts
  • Blue Beetle (Reyes) - Tech, "the youth", reader analogue
  • Flash (West) - Speed, scouting, second-in-command
  • Green Lantern (Gardner) - Wildcard, mouthy, big gun

Corey Schroeder

  • Superman
  • Wonder Woman
  • Steel (daughter, not the original and as more of a Tony Stark Inventor-type than a Superman analog)
  • Kyle Rayner
  • Deathstroke (having a sort of redemptive arc. And as a stand-in for Batman since I never really felt like he fit on the team)
  • Big Barda (shamelessly stolen from Sara, but also because I needed someone cosmic)
  • Frankenstein's Monster

What do you think would be the best roster?

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