The Justice League of America first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #28 in February 1960. Any storyline with a 50-plus year history will fall into a bout of lameness every now and again. Our job is to point out just how lame some of those “official” storylines were. Take with us a journey through the work of otherwise-brilliant comic book creators, writers, and artists, who just so happened to run out of Super Team ideas. Many thanks to Patrick Cervantez for the idea!
10. Tasmanian Devil
No, we are not talking about that Tasmanian Devil. The Warner Brothers guy, fighting alongside Superman, would be awesome in any universe. This Tasmanian Devil is a walking anthropomorphic fleabag with some sort of vague T-looking thing on his chest. Sometimes, the T is part of a costume. Other times, the “T” is actually a tuft of white fur that happens to be in the shape of a T. Recently, poor Tas was skinned by a villain named Prometheus… for his pelt.
Do you have any idea how messed up you have to look like in order for other Green Lanterns to make fun of your appearance? G’Nort is quite possibly where WCW’s Rick Steiner got the idea of being a “Dog-Faced Gremlin”. G’Nort is a Green Lantern, so he at least has the ring going for him. Of course, in the DC Universe these days, a colored ring of power just might be given to someone for putting 25 cents into a candy machine. Ultimately, G’Nort is known simply for having the face of a dog and dressing like one of Michael Jackson’s backup dancers.
8. The Wonder Twins (Zan and Jayna)
Yes, the same Wonder Twins from the Super Friends Saturday morning cartoons crossed over into the DC Universe. The Wonder Twins also have the same power they had in the television show. They brought over Wendy and Marvin as well, who sadly met an unspeakable fate at the hands, or rather paws, of their own dog. Anyway, apparently The Wonder Twins are real and powerful. They are almost as cool in the comics as they were in the animated show. Well, Zan is anyway, at least when he becomes something called the “Ice Golem.”
Zauriel was a member of the Eagle Order of Angels in Heaven. Apparently, the Eagle Angels are rivals with the Bull Angels. And in a shocking coincidence, you’re going to be thinking about the word “bull” a lot during this. Zauriel’s master plan was to fall to Earth and romance a woman in San Francisco, amazingly not named Meg Ryan. The Angel Kings cast him down for requesting to be cast down, and not because of his quest for true love. In short, they threw him out as a punishment for asking to be thrown out.
At some point, Zauriel engaged in combat with a fallen Bull Angel named Asmodel, who felt like Lucifer was a really poor planner, and attempted that “overthrowing Heaven’” thing that was documented in the Bible. Asmodel and the Bulls were thwarted by Zauriel and the Justice League, in ways that Michael Jordan never was. For all his trouble, Zauriel was invited to join the League. Things would have gone a lot smoother if Heaven had a texting plan, or maybe a Twitter account.
6. Super Chief
Super Chief…just the name evokes an image of a Top 40 Reservation Jive Funk hit sung by a Native American Rick James. “He’s a Super Chief! A Super Chief! He’s Super-Chiefing!!!” During the New 52 storyline, an ex-con named Jon Standing Bear gets into hard-core vigilante work, by exploiting a little known Metropolis law that allows you to throw known sex offenders into oncoming buses. Of course, the convicted rapist was threatening a woman, so everything was OK. Standing Bear had some sort of mystical tribal stone granting him superhuman abilities.
The hero Firestorm was trying to form a makeshift Justice League, because he had been a member once, and had never heard of copyright infringement. Super Chief accepted, because he had never been a member and had never heard of John Proudstar, AKA Thunderbird. Super Chief’s first fight as a Justice League member ended in his death, which is never the most promising way to begin a career.
In 1940, DC introduced a long-running adventure strip through many of its titles, focusing on the adventures of “Congo Bill.” This idea was in no way ridiculous, so the writers of Superman decided to change all of that. Congo Bill visited a dying witch doctor, who gave Bill a ring that would merge his consciousness with the mythic “Golden Gorilla.” As bad luck would have it, Bill got caught in an earthquake a short time later. Bill either had to rub the ring, or die. He rubbed the ring, and Congo Bill and the Golden Gorilla merged to form Congorilla.
One of Congorilla’s new powers was the ability to not die of shame. With few other career opportunities outside of “circus,” “Gorilla Grodd shock troops,” or “hibernation until kicking around spaceman Charlton Heston,” Congorilla joined the Justice League. This would last until Congorilla’s guilt reached a breaking point over not being able to focus on super-villainy in Africa. Somewhere, there should be a story of Congorilla boxing Idi Amin for the right to be called the “Last King of Scotland.”
Let’s review how doomed Godiva was from the moment of her creation. Godiva first appeared in the Super Friends…comic book. Godiva’s power is her super…hair. Godiva was mostly affiliated with international versions of the Justice League. At one point, she had an entire storyline about how her hair had been surgically removed and stored in a laboratory. Godiva has now been rejoined with her mojo hair, and uses her powers to help the international Justice League, as well as attempt to see how much super-stamina Booster Gold has in the bedroom. Well, that’s her plan anyway.
3. Plastic Man
Any superhero created by one of the first ever illustrators for Playboy magazine is going to have a few “issues.” When the Justice League was revived in the 1990’s, the plan was to feature only the Mount Olympus Gods of the DC Universe. Somehow, this came to include Plastic Man. And for good reason; what kid wants to be stinky old Superman for Halloween? Please, plastic is fantastic!
However, Plastic Man would soon discover that the League was teeming with monumental jerks. The team was transported back to pre-destruction Atlantis. There, Plastic Man was frozen and shattered into thousands of pieces. When the rest of the League returned to our time, they sort of left him there, picking up the pieces a few thousand years after the shattering. Plastic Man reformed, but was pretty traumatized by being left in pieces for several millennia. This would be when Plastic Man resigned from the Justice League…with cause.
2. Superman Red And Superman Blue
How Superman survived the 1990’s is beyond anyone’s rational belief. First, DC straight-up murdered the guy. Not content to let Supes lay low until the millennium though, he was brought back to confront the reign of four wannabe Supermen. Thank goodness fully 75 percent of those guys were somewhat noble. After they redid the death storyline in every possible way ( including the “Death of Clark Kent’” storyline,) DC decided to just embarrass Superman out of existence. They married Superman and Lois Lane because a television show needed ratings. Superman spent a rather significant portion of the decade sporting a Billy Ray Cyrus mullet. Finally, poor Kal-El was changed into a dynamic energy being. The being became derisively known as “Electric Superman Blue.” This might also forever be Superman’s pornstar nickname.
Electric Blue Superman was included in the Justice League at the time. At some point, Blue split into two, and now we had Superman Red as well. The dual membership in the League was commemorated by hideous Superman Blue and Superman Red action figures. Death was the merciful fate.
1. Lucas “Snapper” Carr
When your big scene in the DC/Marvel Universe crossover is an argument at a carnival with Rick Jones, you know your comic book life has gotten off on the wrong foot. Lucas “Snapper” Carr was the League’s “mascot” or “general lackey” since the moment of their creation. As such, Carr has been a stand-in doofus for decades now. He’s basically just a regular guy who is really susceptible to hero worship, mind control, and alien possession.
Carr’s main ability in the first adventure was smearing a whole mess of lime on his garden. This protected Carr from the effects of the mind-controlling Starro. Why? Because starfish apparently have some sort of aversion to lime. Guess floating around in space changes nothing about universal laws for starfish, even in a comic book universe. Some tell Spongebob to lay off the citrus from now on.
The accidental lime discovery was enough for the League to make home in Carr’s home town: Happy Harbor, Rhode Island. Why this has never been adequately parodied on Family Guy is beyond human belief.