Justice League International was created by the powerhouse team of Keith Giffen, Kevin Maguire, and J.M. DeMatteis. They first appeared inside the pages of Justice League #1 back in 1987.
What made the team and book so successful was that it didn’t follow the trends of what was happening in the comic book industry. That is, rather than follow the dark undertones being set by books like The Dark Knight Returns, it presented itself as a comedy. Although this could’ve resulted in a huge flop for the comic book giant, Justice League International was a hit.
Over the years the team has undergone numerous lineup changes. Through all of the changes, however, one thing will never change… the original lineup. While we could’ve counted down the team from worst to best, we aren’t doing that. Instead, we are simply explaining each member with a little bit of detail. So, with that aside, here are all nine of the Original Justice League International members.
I suppose the reason that Batman is even a member of the Justice League International is that DC had pity on its creators. Let me explain. Around the time that the Justice League International was being created, many of the main roster characters (most notably Superman and Wonder Woman) were in heavy rotation on comic bookshelves. Because of this, the executives at DC refused to release them for the Justice League offshoot. They did, however, give them Batman as kind of a peace offering.
Until the book really took off Batman was its main draw. Thankfully, with or without Batman the book was a bonafide hit and its creators didn’t have to rely on him too heavily.
No matter who else was chosen as an original Justice League International member, the team was always going to succeed. And why? Simple. It had Dr. Fate. Dr. Fate is one of the premier magic users in not just DC Comics but all of comics. First appearing in More Fun Comics #55 back in May of 1940, Dr. Fate was created by the legendary Gardner Fox and Howard Sherman.
Although there have been various characters to take on the role, each has roughly the same power set. This is because to become Dr. Fate, one must possess and wear the Helmet of Fate. Once they have done both, they are given flight, telekinesis, superhuman strength, elemental and energy control, the ability to create forcefields, invulnerability, telepathy, intangibility, teleportation across dimensions, and spell-casting. In addition to being one of the greatest users of magic, he’s also one of DC’s most powerful.
Different from the villainous Arthur Light, Kimiyo Hoshi is a superhero that has appeared on multiple versions of the Justice League team.Kimiyo Hoshi was created by Marc Wolfman and George Pérez. She first appeared in the now-iconic Crisis on Infinite Earths crossover event.
As an astronomer during the continuity-altering event, Kimiyo Hoshi was focused on studying the event along with its ramifications of it. Although she wasn’t understood by those closest to her, she persisted in her work. When The Monitor learned of her, he imbued her with light-based powers. As a result, she took on and became the new Dr. Light.
As Dr. Light, she possesses the power of photokinesis. This means that she can do practically anything that she wants to with light. In addition, she can fly and create forcefields.
Dinah is the daughter of Larry Lance and Dinah Drake. Because her mother was the original Black Canary, Dinah grew up surrounded by various members of the Justice Society of America (J.S.A). Growing up in the presence of J.S.A. members had an effect on Dinah. That is, being around Superheroes made Dinah want to become one. Although her mother strongly disapproved, Dinah persisted. She sought out former members of the J.S.A. to teach and train her. After years of training with the likes of Wildcat, Lady Shiva, and Wonder Woman, Dinah took over the title of Black Canary. From there she took to the streets and began her assault on crime.
No different from her mother, Dinah also possesses the Canary Cry. Different from her mother (Silver Age version), Dinah is able to control it. When used, the Canary Cry is a devastating superpower. Not only can it destroy both organic and inorganic objects, but it can also cause death. More impressively, it can cause ears to bleed from over 600 miles away. The Canary Cry also gives Dinah the ability to fly.
Although he was created before Wonder Woman, Shazam isn’t nearly as well-known. This is mostly due to the decades that he spent in legal limbo. After letting the patent go on his name (Captain Marvel), DC’s rival Marvel Comics quickly scooped it up and trademarked it. This forced DC to act quickly (which they didn’t) and rebrand their character. The resulting rebrand gave the formerly named Captain Marvel the name Shazam. Unfortunately, at the time most were confused by the change and as such, the now-named Shazam fell deep into obscurity…which is a shame considering how powerful he is.
When a character has been imbued with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury, there are very few others that can stand up to them.
Mister Miracle is the son of the ruler of New Genesis, Izaya Highfather. In an attempt to end the years-long war with Apokolips, it was decided that the two rulers, Highfather of New Genesis and Darkseid of Apokolips, would exchange heirs. With the agreement in place, the eventually named Scott Free was sent to Apokolips to live in the Terror Orphanage with Granny Goodness.
Under the watchful eye of Granny Goodness, Mister Miracle was put through incomprehensible torture. The torture, designed to break the will and spirit of those it’s inflicted on, didn’t work on him and as a consequence, he found that he could never really fit in on the planet. This was because, unlike the others in the orphanage who were forced to conform to Apokolips rule, his indomitable will prevented him from conforming. Frustrated by his own refusal to fit in, Mister Miracle was advised by Metron to see a future outside of Apokolips.
Scott, along with a small band of others living on Apokolips, was then secretly tortured by the leader of the Resistance Movement on Apokolips, Himon. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Big Barda. With Metron’s guidance in mind, he fled Apokolips and made his way to Earth. Although most would think that Scott’s departure would’ve been a blow to Darkseid, it wasn’t. Darkseid had long anticipated that Scott would leave and, in fact, hoped he would.
And why? Scott’s departure signified a breach of contract between New Genesis and Apokolips. With the contract nullified, Darkseid was free to wage war against New Genesis.
J’onn J’onzz or Martian Manhunter made his comic book debut back in 1955. During that time, it was explained that he was inadvertently brought to Earth after the scientist, Dr. Erdel accidentally teleported him from Mars. Once on Earth, he identified himself
as J’onn J’onzz and explained that he too, was a scientist. While Erdel worked at sending him back, J’onn J’onzz used his shapeshifting abilities to take the form of a human. The shock of his transformation caused Erdel to have a heart attack. Now stuck as a refugee on another planet, he decided that he would await the completion of Project Star Ride, a rocket that would allow his race to visit other worlds.
While he waited, he took the more human name of John Jones and applied to become a police officer. As a way of making himself more appealing to law enforcement, he molded himself into a “do whatever it takes” detective.
As an alien, Martian Manhunter can phase through just about anything, has superhuman speed, durability, strength, and stamina, become invisible, possesses regenerative power, is able to fly and use telepathy, and has enhanced senses.
If all this makes it sound like he can go toe-to-toe with Superman, it’s because he can. Martian Manhunter is one of the most feared superheroes alive and one of the most invaluable Justice League International members.
What makes Blue Beetle stand out from the other original Justice League International members is that different from them, he doesn’t actually possess a superpower… unless being extremely intelligent is considered one. He’s so intelligent, in fact, that Guy Gardner has gone on record saying that he was smarter than Batman. In addition to his natural intelligence, this version of the Blue Beetle is also a skilled combatant, an above-average acrobat, and a world-class spy.
As one of the original Justice League International members, Blue Beetle was mainly responsible for chauffeuring the team to and from their various missions.
There may not be a more divisive Green Lantern in existence. Love him or hate him, Guy Gardner belongs on the Justice League International. Guy Gardner was created in Green Lantern #59 by John Broome and Gil Kane. While this version of the character sold reasonably well, it isn’t the version that would define him. That’s version was created in the 1980s by Steve Englehart and Joe Staton.
Guy Gardner is arrogant, cocky, acts before thinking, and at times, is difficult to be around. None of these detract from the fact that he’s one of Earth’s greatest heroes. What made him a lock as one of the original Justice League International members is not that he’s big, strong, and does whatever it takes to defeat his enemy. What made him a lock is that he possesses exactly what makes a Green Lantern a Green Lantern… unbreakable will.