The release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League has revitalised interest in DC comics amongst cinemagoers and those that might not read comics much. With so much attention on the Justice League it might be a good time to check out some other DC hero teams, especially now thanks to the DC relaunch with Infinite Frontier, meaning that many of these teams have new #1 issues. Here are five worth checking out.
Chances are you might have heard of the Teen Titans, due in part to the popularity of the animated series from 2003, and the recent follow up series Teen Titans Go!. Despite receiving more popularity in recent years the team has been around for a long while, originally appearing in The Brave And The Bold #54 in 1964. This version of team had only a handful of members, the original Robin, Kid Flash, and Aqualad, with Wonder Girl joining them a few issues later
The original Teen Titans were very much the sidekicks of the heroes who were starring in the Justice League series, and it wasn’t until a revival in the 1980s, named The New Teen Titans, that the team began to introduce new, original members. This included characters like Cyborg, Starfire, Raven, and Beast Boy; characters that would become a mainstay of the title for decades.
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Over the years the team has been through a lot of changes, with dozens of members coming and going. But whatever changes they’ve been through they’ve been a consistent favourite, showcasing some of the best younger heroes DC has to offer.
Another name that people may be familiar with thanks to the film of 2016, with a sequel in the works at the moment. The original version of the team appeared way back in The Brave And The Bold #25 in 1959 for a single appearance, before being revived the miniseries Legends in 1987.
The Suicide Squad, also known as Task Force X, is a team made up of villains from across the DC universe. However, they’re not a group of villains out to do bad, but instead bad guys who’ve been been forced to take part in secret government created missions. Overseen by the fearsome Amanda Waller, the team are sent into dangerous places, controlled by bombs in their necks, and tasked with completing classified objectives in exchange to a reduction in their sentences.
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What makes the Suicide Squad stand out is that as well as being made up of villains, the team is also expendable, which has led to a number of members dying over the years. This means that there’s usually a good turnaround of members, even across a single volume. Over the years the team has included big named villains, as well as lesser know ones, including Harley Quinn, Captain Boomerang, King Shark, and Hawkman.
Justice League Dark
Whilst the main Justice League protects the world, a second league operates in the shadows, guarding the Earth from dark forces. One of the newer teams on this list, the JLD was formed in Justice League Dark in 2011, and saw a number of magical members of the DC universe coming together to face the kinds of threats that the regular League can’t. There have been two incarnations of the JLD so far, with a new run starting as a back-up feature in the new Justice League comic this month.
The first team came together in the wake of the defeat of the magical villain Enchantress, and included a number of characters over the course of its run, including the ghost Deadman, the shape-shifter Black Orchid, vampire Andrew Bennett, and magician and exorcist John Constantine as it’s leader for a while. The second incarnation featured a smaller roster, this time being lead by Wonder Woman, who discovered a deep connection to magic in her past. It also featured Zatana, Swamp Thing, and even the Batman villain Man-Bat.
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As well as their appearances in the comics the Justice League Dark have had a number of animated outings on the small screen, with straight-to-DVD movies like Justice League Dark: Apokolips War.
Justice Society of America
The original superhero team, the Justice Society of America have been around since 1940, when they debuted in All Star Comics #3. Like the modern day Justice League, the Society saw several heroes that had already been established in their own titles coming together to form a team to take on bigger threats.
The original team featured a number of heroes, including Doctor Fate, The Spectre, Flash, Green Lantern, The Atom, and Sandman. Some of these heroes heroes didn’t originate with DC, however, and this marked the first inter-company superhero title, and team-up. As the team became more popular other characters would join the line-up, including Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman.
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Over the decades, as continuity changed, the JSA would be relegated to another Earth (Earth-2), and when eventually it merged into the regular universe the inclusion of some characters, Batman, and Superman, were retconned out. The team remains a mainstay of the DC universe, and features the ‘first’ generation of heroes, characters that inspired those who came after, and help to guide and teach the newer generations of heroes.
One of the weirder groups in DC, the Doom Patrol are a group of super-powered misfits who sometimes view their powers as a curse. First appearing in My Greatest Adventure #80 in 1963, an anthology book that was at risk of cancellation. Writer Bob Haney created the team in an attempt to give readers something new and interesting to grab attention.
Over the years the team has gone through a number of changes, but the core theme of a group of misfits who argue, get on each other’s nerves, but ultimately love each other remained the same. Since their first appearance the team have featured characters like Elasti-Girl, Robotman, and Negative Woman, as well as being the first book to feature Beast Boy, who would go on to join the Teen Titans.
Despite being something of a niche comic the group have endured for decades, and have even received a live action television series on HBO Max, which includes Timothy Dalton, Alan Tudyk, and Brendan Fraser amongst the cast.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League is released on HBO Max on 18th March. In the UK you can watch it on Sky Cinema and NowTV.