World's (Not So) Finest Hour1 of 12
It's not easy being a hero. First you've got to defeat the bad guys, then you've got to deal with the negative effects on your "day" job and home life.
The formation of the Justice League helps alleviate some of those tensions, with teammates helping each other stop villains while also usually becoming close friends. But even the powerful Justice League has faced its share of bad days.
Another bad day seems to be on the horizon in Heroes In Crisis, which centered around the Justice League's superhero recovery center Sanctuary - a murder inside it, with a long-time Leaguer as one of the suspects.
Will what happens in Heroes in Crisis make it to a future version of this list? Read on to find out the worst things that have ever happened to the Justice League.
Murder of J’onn J’onzz2 of 12
In Grant Morrison's Final Crisis, one of the first offenses against the Justice League was the death of Martian Manhunter at the hands of the Secret Society of Super Villains. The hero's final hours were him trying to mentally subdue his captors and, at the last second, transmitting his thoughts and life story to his friends in the Justice League.
The heart-breaking funeral followed, and J'onn was buried on Mars in a pyramid removed from Egypt and placed back in its original Martian location. Superman gave his eulogy. Only after an appearance as a Black Lantern did DC bring the hero back, giving him new life in Brightest Day.
Failure of Firestorm’s League3 of 12
After the conclusion of DC's Infinite Crisis event, its comic books jumped forward one year. But during that missing year, some pretty messed up things happened - all depicted in the weekly 52 series that ran exactly one year from 2006-2007.
Because the premise was to show what happened during a year without Wonder Woman, Superman, and Batman, the story showed how a new Justice League of lesser-known characters formed, all recruited by Firestorm. On one of their initial outings, the Firestorm team experienced a horrible failure (all staged by Skeets, it turns out). Included in the casualties were several civilians and superheroes (including Super-Chief), resulting in the disbanding of the only Justice League team during that era.
Aquaman Disbands the League4 of 12
In 1986, DC's writers tried to do something different with the Justice League that didn't exactly succeed in the comic books. The era began with Aquaman actually dissolving the Justice League, forming a new team of only heroes that could commit to the team full-time, and moving the headquarters from the Justice League satellite to inner-city Detroit.
During a part of the Justice League's history now known as the "Detroit era," the team was made up of what most fans would consider to be second-tier superheroes, including a breakdancing teen named Vibe and a supermodel-turned-crimefighter called Vixen. The effort soon resulted in the cancelation of the series because of low sales and has been regarded by fans as one of the League's lowest points (although many of the characters featured during that time are seeing a resurgence on DC's television shows).
Flashpoint5 of 12
After Barry Allen prevented his mother's death in the 2011 mini-series Flashpoint, a new timeline was created that seemed hunky-dory at first - after all, his mother Nora was still alive - but Barry soon realized the lives of the Justice League had been changed drastically. Wonder Woman and her Amazonians were at war with Aquaman and his Atlanteans, Superman was a de-powered lab-rat of the U.S. government, and Bruce Wayne was the one killed in the alleyway - his father becoming a cruel Batman and his mother becoming Joker. The story depicted how Barry Allen, now without his powers, had to sacrifice his own mother to set things right.
Destiny’s Hand6 of 12
In 1993, the "Destiny's Hand" story created an alternate universe were the Justice League had been encouraged by the people of Earth to play a bigger role in politics and world affairs. Unfortunately, the power went to their heads and readers saw some pretty awful things happen - from Martian Manhunter killing Star Sapphire to heroes scrubbing the brains of criminals, and even letting a nuclear bomb explode.
Eventually, the JLA of the main DCU enters the scene and figures out that Doctor Destiny is behind this horror, but not before readers saw versions of DC's heroes with lots of blood on their hands.
Cry For Justice7 of 12
In 2010, the mini-series Justice League: Cry for Justice deconstructed the League pretty mercilessly and resulted in the death of Lian Harper, the loss of Roy Harper's arm, and a scene that showed Green Arrow killing a villain. The story's "Cry for Justice" title referred to how Green Arrow and Green Lantern decide to basically take justice into their own hands, hunting down bad guys, but the villain Prometheus ends up outsmarting and outfighting the Justice League.
Most of the events in the title were erased from continuity a year later when DC rebooted their universe to launch the “New 52,” but for a little over a year, some vocal fans weren't thrilled with the story's in-continuity ramifications and it was one of the darker chapters in the League's recent history.
Tower of Babel8 of 12
In the 2000 JLA storyline "Tower of Babel," the members of the Justice League were suddenly taken out of commission, one-by-one, through horribly customized attacks. The painful, near-death circumstances of the attacks from Ra's Al Ghul were bad enough - as was the attack on humanity completed while the JLA was distracted - but even worse was the discovery by the Justice League that Batman was the one who came up with the ideas for the attacks. It turned out that Ra's Al Ghul stole his customized plans for the JLA's demise from Batman - the hero had created fail-safes to take out his teammates if necessary.
But then Ra's didn't spare Batman some pain of his own, stealing Bruce's parents' coffins from their graves and, when cornered by Batman, offering to revive his parents in the Lazarus Pit. Batman refused. But after the League stopped Ra's plans and recovered from their injuries, they voted Batman out of the League.
Death of Superman9 of 12
Running through DC comics in 1992, the "Death of Superman" storyline gained international attention and successful sales because of one hero's death. Yet the story also depicted the near-death of several other Justice League characters at the hands of Doomsday. In fact, when the creature first encountered the Justice League, he defeated them in a matter of minutes - with one of his arms literally tied behind his back (because of the cables from his ancient prison).
Of course, the funeral that followed Superman's death was also one of the worst moments in the league's history as they must bury one of their own. Heroes wore black arm bands with the S-shield symbol, and several comic book stories after his death dealt with the emotional aftermath among his colleagues.
Max Lord10 of 12
Max Lord, the businessman who worked with (and sometimes even controlled) the Justice League during the years after the first Crisis, was always a little bit untrustworthy. First, Lord had to escape the influence of a villainous computer that had been controlling him, then after years of being portrayed as an amoral businessman, gained mind control powers and had his consciousness stolen by a cyborg. Still, the character's less-than-moral actions were usually depicted as a distraction at best, part of a humorous era in the Justice League where he was part of the team.
But in 2005 during the lead-up to Infinite Crisis, DC revealed that Max Lord was actually a criminal mastermind. The humorous years of screw-ups were just a cover for his diabolical plans to take out all metahumans.
In a tragic moment that would have been previously uncharacteristic of the character, Max Lord shot beloved hero Ted Kord in the head. Eventually, Lord started using his mind control powers on Superman and, to prevent the destruction, Wonder Woman killed Lord. His death was fairly short-lived, however, and he's since been an adversary to teams like the JLA, the JLI, and Suicide Squad.
Identity Crisis11 of 12
The 2004 mini-series Identity Crisis was an ongoing murder mystery that took the heroes and villains of the DCU into a darker and more realistic world. And this time, DC declared that the brutally realistic events were in-continuity.
For example, when a villain happened upon the identity of a hero's wife, he didn't just tie her up and threaten her (like in past comic book stories). The villain raped her. League members were so angry that they decided to have Zatanna use her powers to mind-wipe the sexual assault from the criminal's brain.
Things just got darker from there, as the mysterious murders began targeting the League's own family members and other past mind-wipes were exposed - including a few details being erased from Batman's brain. By the end of the story, the murders had all been perpetrated by a hero's angry ex-wife, and although the art and story were critically acclaimed - and the books sold huge numbers - Identity Crisis took the League to a place so dark that some fans felt it went too far. In the "Rebirth" era, although DC has brought back much of the continuity of the years surrounding Identity Crisis, the events of this story are still noticeably gone.
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