DC Animated Universe
JL line-up

The founding members of the Justice League: (from left to right) J'onn J'onzz, Hawkgirl, John Stewart, Wonder Woman, Flash, Superman, and Batman

"I once thought I could protect the world by myself. But I was wrong. Working together, we saved the planet. And I believe that if we stay together, as a team, we would be a force that could truly work for the ideals of peace and justice."
"What, like a bunch of Super-Friends?"
"More like a Justice League."
"Do you have any idea how corny that sounds?

The Justice League was founded after the Imperium invasion by the seven heroes who responded to the crisis. The team was reformed after the Thanagarian invasion with an expanded roster of heroes. The team was originally headquartered in the Watchtower I, and after its destruction has given the same name to all of their subsequent bases. Sometime in the future, the Justice League became the Justice League Unlimited.


The Imperium invasion and formation

Following Darkseid's invasion of Earth,[2] Superman regained the majority of the world's trust after being brainwashed and used as a pawn. Though doubts remained regarding the Man of Steel's reliability, none put more faith in the hero than Senator J. Allen Carter. Carter proposed world peace through nuclear weapons disarmament, and nominated Superman for the job. Though skeptics aired their grievances, the World Assembly passed the motion and Superman set to work.[3]

As Superman finished disarming the weapons of destruction, meteors rained down upon Earth. From the wreckage, massive alien creatures appeared, and without hesitation made their intentions clear: conquest. Superman and Batman rushed to the scene, throwing everything within their arsenals at the creatures but their efforts seemed in vain.[3]

As the world panicked about the newest alien invasion, Superman fled the scene. Batman tracked the hero to a US Government base. Investigating further, the two discovered a different alien held prisoner there. Freeing him, the man introduced himself as J'onn J'onzz, but the newly formed trio quickly found themselves under attack by the Imperium.[3] The trio was still outnumbered, but not for long. At a critical moment, the Green Lantern John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman, and the Flash arrived on the scene. The Imperium forces fought back, but they lost; Earth's heroes had assembled.[4]

J'onn explained the Imperium invasion. The septet then broke into three groups, each set on destroying the Imperium factories created on Earth. The heroes fought valiantly, but to no avail. The Flash and Green Lantern made a hasty retreat, while Superman and Hawkgirl were captured. J'onn, Batman, and Diana discovered a method to defeat the Imperium, but in the end only Diana and J'onn escaped.[4] The four remaining heroes regrouped at Metropolis, and prepared to free Hawkgirl and Superman. Keeping a relatively low profile, the heroes managed to subdue the few Imperium forces to cross their path, but eventually were captured as well.[1]

Reunited with their friends (albeit via captivity), the heroes were shocked to discover the Imperium organizer to be none other than Senator Carter. The real J. Allen Carter had perished on Mars during a space expedition. Using his persona to their advantage, the Imperium tricked the world into disarming itself. The Earth disarmed, no obstacles remained to prevent their invasion. Earth's heroes, however, proved too resilient. Batman freed the other six, and the group destroyed factories and armada.[1]

In the aftermath of the invasion, the military placed it's doubts to rest sole responsibility on it's Hero populace and questioned the media what if an event like this happens again. Batman built and the activated Watchtower, set to orbit around the Earth to act as an early warning system. The heroes recognized the Earth's need for protection, and the Justice League formed, although Batman did not officially join the group claiming not to be "a people person" but offered to be of assistance if he was needed.[1]


From their outpost orbiting the Earth, the Justice League vigilantly guarded against threats.

The Justice League

For detailed accounts of the Justice League's adventures, please visit the episode list and choose a specific episode.

Though the team had formed, threats continued to face both the world and the galaxy. At each turn, the team faced greater and greater challenges; however, their combined strength continued to prevail.

Combining their strength, however, was no easy task. The team rarely worked as a collective group. Oftentimes members would place personal goals over those of the League and the Earth. Each member had his or her own method for dealing with criminal activity: Superman and Wonder Woman, for example, embodied a "shoot first, ask questions later" approach, while Batman and John Stewart preferred concrete evidence and planning to blindly throwing punches; Flash was immature and often did not take a lot of situations seriously, while Hawkgirl and J'onn J'onzz often had difficulty empathizing with humanity. At times, their differences caused the team great turmoil, and the group nearly split on several occasions (Gorilla Grodd having the most success with his Secret Society).

Despite their differences in approach and definition of heroism, they slowly learned to trust one another. For example, though Batman and Superman never completely saw eye to eye, in a small tribute to the (presumed) deceased Man of Steel, Batman admitted he had nothing but respect for the hero's approach and ideals. The two often bickered, but the interaction between John Stewart and Hawkgirl fostered a romantic relationship. Diana grew more accepting of "man's world" and had something of a romantic fling with Batman.

The League, however, would not face its greatest challenge until the invasion of the Thanagarian military; not only was another alien force threatening Earth, but the League was also betrayed by one of their own.

The Thanagarian invasion

The Thanagarians came to Earth claiming to be there to defend it from the Gordanians, who had seemingly just attacked Washington D.C. It was revealed at this time that Hawkgirl, who had previously claimed to be on Earth by accident, was sent here by the Thanagarian government as an advanced scout. She also revealed to GL that she was engaged to Hro Talak, the leader of the Thanagarian forces on Earth.

Batman soon discovered that Hro Talak and the Thanagarian army staged the Gordanian attack. Shayera was torn between her loyalties to the League, and to her people. Not knowing what her people were truly up to, she betrayed the League and used her knowledge of their weaknesses to help her people imprison them.

After the League escaped, Shayera learned that the Thanagaians' plan would lead the Earth's destruction. She again switched sides and aided her former teammates in stopping Hro from completing his mission. At the cost of the Watchtower, Batman destroyed the Thanagarian machinery.

Filled with self-doubt and knowing many people would never trust her again, Shayera resigned from the Justice League, despite Superman, Flash and J'onn voting in favor of her remaining in the League.

The reformed League

JL expanded

The expanded Justice League.

With the loss of the Watchtower and a founding member, the League underwent major changes: A new Watchtower was built as replacement, along with an entire fleet of Javelins. The biggest change, however, was the expanded roster of superheroes, both from Earth and some alien worlds. J'onn no longer actively participated in missions, but served as the League's field coordinator who carefully gathers the best heroes to send into missions based on their abilities. The remaining founding members now serve as an inner leadership council, with Superman being regarded as first among equals. Shayera Hol later returned to the League, but not without a slight resentment from her former colleagues, particularly Wonder Woman.

In addition, the team made particular efforts to recruit Green Arrow not just as a new member, but as the League's political conscience, especially in anticipation of the team facing temptations that could corrupt them into an equivalent of the Justice Lords.

After the Justice League attempted to neutralize a potentially global threat in the form of the Dark Heart through the use of its Binary Fusion Generator, the United States government was secretly concerned of the League's might and the possibility of them to go rogue. Amanda Waller was made head of Project Cadmus, an agency designed to make counter measures in the event the Justice League went rogue. To avoid any scandal, the agency was formed without Congressional approval and secretly funded by Lex Luthor. Unknown to anyone, however, Brainiac was manipulating Lex Luthor to use Cadmus as a distraction while he attempted to build himself an android body that he could inhabit. Eventually, Luthor, Waller and General Wade Eiling shifted Cadmus's agenda from counter measure to provoking the League into a confrontation.

The Cadmus crisis

Upon learning of Project Cadmus, Batman had the Question try to find the link between Luthor and Cadmus. Question was captured by Cadmus, but rescued by Superman which required using force against US military personnel, including Captain Atom. Afterward, the League debated directly attacking Cadmus, but Green Arrow was arguing effectively that option was excessive and the government had the right in principle to have countermeasures in case the team went rogue like the Justice Lords did. Before a consensus could be reached, Luthor then secretly seized control of and fired the Watchtower's Binary Fusion Generator at the Cadmus base, making it appear to be retaliation, causing massive collateral damage to the surrounding city. To ease tensions, the original members of the Justice League (minus Batman) surrendered themselves to the United States government. At the same time, Cadmus launched an unauthorized assault against the Watchtower, while Batman persuaded Waller to investigate Lex Luthor. Discovering that Luthor had fired the weapon, Waller and the original seven members of the Justice League went to confront Luthor and destroyed the android he had been making.

Out of options, Brainiac emerged from within Luthor and managed to escape. Luthor proposed an agreement, where by they would merge and share the best of each other: Brainiac's knowledge and Luthor's imagination. The Luthor/Brainiac hybrid was defeated and Brainiac destroyed by the Flash. In response, Project Cadmus was terminated.[5]

The Legion of Doom

Following the Cadmus incidents, the League also built the Metro Tower in an effort to bring themselves down-to-Earth. A new monitor duty rotation was also instituted, consisting of a single shift per week, with no overnight hours unless it was specifically requested.[6]

At the same time, Gorilla Grodd formed a new Secret Society to help supervillains counter the "threat" of the Justice League. Unfortunately for Grodd, he brought Lex Luthor into the group.[6] Luthor usurped command from Grodd and used the group's resources to try and resurrect Brainiac, accidentally resurrecting Darkseid, Lord of Apokolips,[7] who launched an invasion of Earth in revenge against Superman. Facing a full-scale invasion, the Justice League mobilized its entire roster and allied with the Secret Society. Lex Luthor managed to stop Darkseid with the Anti-Life Equation, and the remaining supervillains were allowed a five-minute head start before the League went after them.[8]

Sometime later, the Justice League would be reorganized into the Justice League Unlimited.[9]


Extended Team
Notable Members Other Members


Background information

Pre-production League


A Warner Bros. Studio Store Serigraph featuring popular DC Comics characters illustrated by Tommy Tejeda, based on Bruce Timm's production art from Superman: the Animated Series.

The Warner Brothers Animation team had considered the idea of a Justice League show as early as the brainstorming sessions of Superman: The Animated Series. Over the course of a week, Bruce Timm came up with designs for league members including Green Arrow, Black Canary, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Flash, John Stewart, Superman, Orion, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, Lightray, Black Lightning, Question, Doctor Fate, Mr. Miracle, Supergirl,Nightshade, and Vixen. The concept was intended to exclude Batman as Bruce Timm noted "He already had his own show." However, the concept was ultimately shot down by DC president and Editor-in-Chief, Jenette Kahn. "She thought it was not a good idea", Timm would recall. "Since we were just reintroducing Superman to the audience, she thought teaming him up with the JLA would be diminishing to him."[16] Despite this idea being placed to the wayside, there were still discussions revolving the use of the JLA in Superman: The Animated Series, particularly in an unproduced episode that would have featured Captain Marvel.[17]

Another version of the team that was in brief consideration can be seen in the Justice League: The First Mission pitch reel, and included 6 of the TV show's final line-up; Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, Hawkgirl, Martian Manhunter with the additions of younger characters meant to appeal to a Kids' WB audience; Robin, Impulse, and what appears to be a gender-swapped version of Cyborg.


Justice League

Static Shock

Justice League Unlimited

Batman Beyond

External links


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Fogel, Rich (writer) & Riba, Dan, Lukic, Butch (directors) (November 17, 2001). "Secret Origins, Part III". Justice League. Season 1. Episode 3 (airdate). Episode 3 (production). Cartoon Network.
  2. Dini, Paul, Fogel, Rich (writers) & Riba, Dan (director)). (February 12, 2000). "Legacy, Part II". Superman: The Animated Series. Season 4. Episode 3 (airdate). Episode 50 (production). Kids WB!.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Fogel, Rich (writer) & Riba, Dan, Lukic, Butch (directors) (November 17, 2001). "Secret Origins, Part I". Justice League. Season 1. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 1 (production). Cartoon Network.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Fogel, Rich (writer) & Riba, Dan, Lukic, Butch (directors) (November 17, 2001). "Secret Origins, Part II". Justice League. Season 1. Episode 2 (airdate). Episode 2 (production). Cartoon Network.
  5. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 16, 2005). "Divided We Fall". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 25 (airdate). Episode 25 (production). Cartoon Network.
  6. 6.0 6.1 McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (September 17, 2005). "I Am Legion". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 1 (airdate). Episode 27 (production). Cartoon Network.
  7. Wayne, Matt (writer) & Riba, Dan (director) (May 6, 2006). "Alive!". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 12 (airdate). Episode 38 (production). Cartoon Network.
  8. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (May 13, 2006). "Destroyer". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 13 (airdate). Episode 39 (production). Cartoon Network.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dini, Paul, Burnett, Alan (story) & Berkowitz, Stan (teleplay) & Lukic, Butch (director) (November 11, 2000). "The Call, Part I". Batman Beyond. Season 3. Episode 7 (airdate). Episode 50 (production). Kids WB!.
  10. Dini, Paul, Burnett, Alan (story) & Berkowitz, Stan (teleplay) & Lukic, Butch (director) (November 18, 2000). "The Call, Part II". Batman Beyond. Season 3. Episode 8 (airdate). Episode 51 (production). Kids WB!.
  11. McDuffie, Dwayne (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (July 9, 2005). "Panic in the Sky". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 24 (airdate). Episode 24 (production). Cartoon Network.
  12. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & DeMatteis, J.M. (teleplay) & Riba, Dan (director) (June 11, 2005). "Clash". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 20 (airdate). Episode 20 (production). Cartoon Network.
  13. Simone, Gail (writer) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (June 4, 2005). "Double Date". Justice League Unlimited. Season 1. Episode 19 (airdate). Episode 19 (production). Cartoon Network.
  14. Wayne, Matt (story) & DeMatteis, J.M. (teleplay) & Dos Santos, Joaquim (director) (March 11, 2006). "Grudge Match". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 9 (airdate). Episode 35 (production). Cartoon Network.
  15. McDuffie, Dwayne (story) & Dini, Paul (teleplay) & Riba, Dan (director) (April 15, 2006). "Far From Home". Justice League Unlimited. Season 2. Episode 10 (airdate). Episode 36 (production). Cartoon Network.
  16. "Tooned Out?" by Scott Brick, Wizard JLA Special (1998)
  17. Wizard Magazine #92