Mat ‘Inferiorego’ Elfring attended the Justice League/Green Lantern panel earlier today at SDCC ’12, and he was kind enough to transcribe the more interesting and entertaining parts for those of us unable to attend. We thank him kindly for this. There were three things that Geoff Johns said according to Mat’s transcription that got me thinking:
1) Members of the Justice League will have quit by the end of the title’s first year.
2) That Captain Marvel (who is featured on the cover of Justice League’s September issue #0) will be a member of the Justice League next year.
3) And, finally, that the Martian Manhunter will be in Justice League next year.
Assuming that Johns wasn’t misleading, wasn’t lying, and that the Martian Manhunter’s appearance won’t be part of a flashback, these three revelations lead me to believe that Superman might be exiting the Justice League before the next year of the book. Captain Marvel’s powers and power levels have historically been identical to Superman’s. The same can be said of the Martian Manhunter who is a shape-shifting psychic on top of having super strength, speed, and flight. If Billy Batson and J’onn J’onzz do join the team then most would consider it overkill to also have Superman. The Justice League is powerful enough without three nearly indestructible strong men flying around at the speed of light. Conventional wisdom has always held true to the notion that three characters cast in the Superman mold cannot occupy the same team at once. A team has been able to support two at once, but they only use three during major events and crises.
We also may have been given a hint as to what causes Superman to break from the Justice League a month ago. In Action Comics #10, Superman met with the rest of the League and pitched the idea of taking a more proactive stance in handling the world’s problems. The rest of the team shot him down feeling uncomfortable with taking that kind of authority over the rest of mankind. Superman left visibly disappointed and after he was gone Batman said: “One of these days, we’ll all have to go after him.” Nothing more has been said about that meeting since then, and Batman has seemed pretty buddy-buddy with Superman. In Justice League #10, they admitted to the rest of the League that they work together outside of the team. We got to see a good example of that in Action Comics #11 when Superman goes to Bats for advice over having just staged Clark Kent’s death. However, it’s clear that Superman’s ambitions are a bit more far-reaching than the rest of the Justice League, and not everyone will sit easy with that. Could this lead to Superman breaking from the team?
This wouldn’t be the first time the Justice League would be without Superman. Most notably, Superman was absent from the Justice League’s roster during Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis’ International run in the late ‘80’s/early ‘90’s. The creators were told they couldn’t use Superman as he was still being developed by John Byrne and company in his solo titles following Crisis on Infinite Earths. Giffen and DeMatteis made up for big blue’s absence by using characters like the aforementioned Captain Marvel and Captain Atom who matched Superman’s powers if not his personality. In fact, Superman was not a member of the Justice League for a majority of the 1990’s with the brief exception of the early issues of Dan Jurgens’ run (Justice League of America vol. 2 #61-69) where he led the team before his death and, of course, Grant Morrison’s JLA run which started in ’97. Otherwise the DC editorial staff made it a point to keep Superman separate from the Justice League of the 1990’s. Could we be headed for a similar era of the Justice League in the second year of the New 52?
It’s been said that Superman doesn’t need to belong to a team since anyone with his power levels could solve most problems by his or herself. If you think that’s true then I can only imagine what you would think about a line-up that contained Superman, Captain Marvel, and the Martian Manhunter all at once. Of course, it’s still not a given that J’onn J’onzz will be part of the team again or if his appearance in the book will be a flashback to the time when he was a member. You also can’t rule out the possibility of Captain Marvel and Martian Manhunter joining the group at different times with one of them having a short stint. And, yes, it is possible that Geoff Johns might try something as ambitious as having all three characters in the League at once. However, from the evidence presented, it looks like a distinct possibility that Superman’s days in the Justice League are numbered. I’m eagerly waiting for the New 52’s second year.http://www.comicvine.com/news/sdcc-2012-dc-comics-justice-league-and-green-lantern-panel/144933/