Justice League International

Justice League International (JLI) is a fictional DC comics superhero team that succeeded the original Justice League from the late 80s to the early 2000s. The team enjoyed several comic books runs, the first being written by Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis, with art by Kevin Maguire, created in 1987.[1] The team's new makeup was based largely on recent acquisitions from other comic book companies, such as The Blue Beetle.

Justice League International
The Leaguers all standing closely together looking to the camera with Guy Gardner saying, "Wanna make something of it?"
Cover of Justice League #1 (May 1987) by Kevin Maguire and Terry Austin.
Group publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceJustice League #1 (May 1987)
Created byKeith Giffen
J. M. DeMatteis
In-story information
Type of organizationTeam
See: List of Justice League members
Justice League International
Series publication information
FormatOngoing series
Publication date
  • Justice League
    May – October 1987
    (#1-6) Justice League International (1987 series)
    November 1987 – April 1989 (#7-25)
    Justice League America
    May 1989 – August 1996 (#26-113)
    Justice League International (1993 series)
    June 1993 – September 1994 Justice League International (2011 series)
    September 2011 – August 2012
Number of issues
  • Justice League: 6
    Justice League International (1987 series): 19 (#7–25)
    Justice League America: 94 (#26–113)
    Justice League International (1993 series): 17
    Justice League International (2011 series): 12, plus 1 Annual
Creative team
  • (1987 series / JL America)
    Gene D'Angelo
    (2011 series)
Creator(s)Keith Giffen
J. M. DeMatteis
Collected editions
Volume 1ISBN 1-4012-1666-8
Volume 2ISBN 1-4012-1826-1
Volume 3ISBN 1-4012-1941-1
Volume 4ISBN 1-4012-2196-3

In 2010 and 2011, the team experienced a resurgence as part of the Blackest Night and New 52 comic runs.

Publication historyEdit

Following the events of the company-wide crossovers Crisis on Infinite Earths and Legends, Justice League of America writer J. M. DeMatteis was paired with writer Keith Giffen and artist Kevin Maguire on a new Justice League series. However, at the time, most of the core Justice League characters were unavailable. Superman was limited to John Byrne's reboot, George Pérez was relaunching Wonder Woman and Mike Baron was launching the Wally West version of the Flash.

As a result, the initial team consisted of:

The resulting comedic tone was Giffen's idea, introducing new characterizations to old characters: Guy Gardner was now a loutish hothead, Booster Gold was greedier and more inept than he had been in Dan Jurgens' series and Captain Marvel displayed a childlike personality.

The series was nominated as "Best New Series" in 1988 by the Harvey Awards, but lost to Paul Chadwick's Concrete.[5] It also featured Adam Hughes' first work for a major comic book publisher.

They fight the Champions of Angor, other-dimensional superheroes intent on destroying all nuclear weapons. Bialya's dictator Rumaan Harjavti takes advantage of the Champions to eliminate his rivals.[6] In Russia, the League fights the Rocket Red Brigade, until Mikhail Gorbachev allows them to help. Wandjina sacrifices himself to stop a nuclear meltdown and the League are sent home by international law.[7] Millionaire entrepreneur Maxwell Lord takes an interest in the team, breaching their security and suggesting Booster Gold as a new member.

Booster proves himself in combat against the Royal Flush Gang and Lord declares himself their press liaison.[8] The Martian Manhunter saves the world when they battle against a conscious psychic plague and he consumes it.[9] Gardner challenges Batman to a fight over leadership, but Batman knocks him out in one punch. Doctor Fate is captured by the Gray Man, a rogue servant to the Lords of Order.[10] Teaming up with the Creeper, they release Fate and stop the Gray Man from taking over the world.[11]

Earth is attacked by a mysterious satellite and the League travels into space. Miracle recognizes it as a modified New Genesis device and neutralizes it. They return home as heroes. Maxwell Lord introduces a proposal to get United Nations funding and they are given sponsorship in exchange for government regulation. This plan allows them to act as an independent city-state with worldwide embassies. Captain Atom and Rocket Red #7 are added to the team by the United States and Russia, respectively. Captain Marvel and Doctor Fate quit the team for personal reasons; Batman steps down as leader, appointing the Martian Manhunter to replace him. They are reintroduced to the world as Justice League International.[12] Despite a series of embarrassing accidents, they successfully move in to embassies around the world. This includes Moscow, New York City and Paris.

With issue #7, the series was renamed Justice League International to reflect the team's new international status. The name change spawned the term "JLI", which is used when referring to this period in Justice League history. The series was again renamed following the launch of Justice League Europe in 1989. The series was known as Justice League America until its cancellation in 1996.

"Justice League: Breakdowns"Edit

"Breakdowns" was a 16-issue crossover between the Justice League America (#53–60) and Justice League Europe (#29–36) titles, changing the tone of both series from a humorous one to a more serious one and introducing new creative teams to both series. The major events that occurred were the following:

  • Maxwell Lord is initially in a coma from a failed assassination attempt. He is later possessed by JLE foe Dreamslayer of the Extremists. Following the end of the "Breakdowns" saga, Maxwell Lord has no more mental powers, apparently drained completely when possessed by Dreamslayer.
  • The Queen Bee, ruler of the country Bialya, is killed in a coup d'état led by Sumaan Harjavti, the twin brother of the original dictator, Rumaan.
  • Despero awakens and escapes Manga Khan's starship to wreak havoc on New York City, seeking vengeance against the Justice League. A force of the Justice League's best (the Martian Manhunter, Power Girl, Fire, Rocket Red, Metamorpho, the Flash, Guy Gardner, Major Disaster), along with the Conglomerate (led by Booster Gold) and Lobo, were unable to stop him. Ultimately, it was Kilowog and L-Ron who subdued Despero by transferring L-Ron's consciousness into the cybernetic control collar that remained around Despero's neck.
  • While possessing Maxwell Lord's body, Dreamslayer kidnaps and later murders Mitch Wacky on the island of KooeyKooeyKooey, where the Blue Beetle and Booster Gold previously attempted to open a resort called "Club JLI". Using Lord's persona, Dreamslayer lures a large portion of the Justice League to the island and takes mental control of them, making them the "new Extremists".
  • The Silver Sorceress, one of the former Champions of Angor and a Justice League member, dies defeating Dreamslayer. Her gravesite is on the island of KooeyKooeyKooey.
  • The U.N. withdraws its support from the Justice League and it disbands. The Martian Manhunter seemingly takes a leave of absence, although he later re-emerges under the persona of Bloodwynd.


The Justice League gets a larger roster as seen in Justice League International #24 (February 1989), cover art by Kevin Maguire and Josef Rubinstein.

The Justice League titles continued to expand into the early to mid-1990s. Titles included: Justice League America, Justice League Europe, Justice League Task Force, Extreme Justice and Justice League Quarterly. Justice League Europe was later retitled to become the second volume of Justice League International.

In the latter part of the series, more recognizable characters, including Superman, Wonder Woman, Green Lantern and Aquaman, joined, followed by lesser known characters such as Bloodwynd, Maya, Maxima, Nuklon, Obsidian, the Tasmanian Devil and Triumph. Longtime JLI-era characters such as Captain Atom, the Martian Manhunter and Power Girl were revised and revamped.

By 1996, with the commercial success of the series fading, each of the titles was eventually cancelled.


In 2003, Giffen, DeMatteis, and Maguire reunited for the six-issue miniseries Formerly Known as the Justice League. This depicted Maxwell Lord trying to get the gang back together as The Super Buddies – a hero-for-hire group that operated out of a strip mall. 2005 saw a second storyline, I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League, by the same creative team published in the pages of JLA Classified. This tale told a story of the characters attempt to rescue Ice from Hell.


Following Blackest Night, DC launched two alternating 24-issue bi-weekly comic book miniseries, Brightest Day and Justice League: Generation Lost, written by Keith Giffen and Judd Winick. This second series features Captain Atom, Booster Gold, the new Blue Beetle Jaime Reyes, Fire, Ice and a new Rocket Red (by the name of Gavril Ivanovich) and essentially saw the return of Justice League International, as explained by Giffen:[13]

In all of my years in comics, I have never experienced anything like the complete 180 this project took once the brainstorming kicked off. Like I said, when we started the writers' summit, the Justice League... hell, why mince words... Justice League International was not on the table. Then someone, and I really wish I remembered exactly who, stirred the JLI into the mix.

Over the course of the series, Power Girl and Batman joined the group as well, with Wonder Woman appearing in the book's final three issues. The title was heavily tied to Winick's run on Power Girl, which had the title character dealing with villains connected to Maxwell Lord's plans in Generation Lost, and eventually had her rejoin Justice League International after a crossover between the two titles. The title also indirectly tied into Odyssey, a storyline published in Wonder Woman that saw the title character being removed from history with her existence forgotten by most of her fellow heroes. This formed the basis of the book's finale, with the members of the Justice League International racing to track down Wonder Woman before Lord could find her and kill her.[14] Plot threads from Kingdom Come and The OMAC Project also appeared.

Generation Lost ended with a teaser that a new Justice League International series from The New 52 would be coming in a few months (with Booster Gold as leader).

The New 52Edit

As part of DC's 2011 New 52 relaunch of all of its monthly books, Justice League International was relaunched in September 2011, after the conclusion of the Flashpoint storyline, written by Dan Jurgens and drawn by Aaron Lopresti.[15][16][17]

This version of Justice League International is formed by United Nations director Andre Briggs as a U.N.-controlled counterpart to the original Justice League and is based out of the Hall of Justice. The founding members of the team consist of Booster Gold, Fire, Ice, Rocket Red (Gavril Ivanovich), Green Lantern (Guy Gardner), Vixen, August General in Iron and Godiva, who are recruited to the team due to having their identities publicly known. Batman is denied membership due to having a secret identity, but is allowed to accompany the group as part of an effort to foster good relations between the JLI and the original Justice League. The team goes on to defeat the Signal Men and the alien conqueror Peraxxus.[18]

During a press conference outside the Hall of Justice, Rocket Red is killed when a bomb explodes, while Fire, Ice and Vixen are hospitalized and become comatose. This leads Booster Gold to recruit Batwing, OMAC and Firehawk to the team.[19]

DC canceled Justice League International in 2012,[20] concluding with issue #12 and Justice League International Annual (vol. 2) #1 in August.[21][22]


  • Keith Giffen: Justice League / Justice League International / Justice League America #1–60, Justice League / Justice League International / Justice League America Annual #1–5, Justice League International Special #1
  • J.M. DeMatteis: Justice League / Justice League International / Justice League America #1–60, Justice League / Justice League International / Justice League America Annual #1–5
  • Dan Jurgens: Justice League America #61–77, Justice League Spectacular #1, Justice League International (vol. 3) #1–12
  • Dan Vado: Justice League America #78–91, Annual #8
  • Christopher Priest: Justice League America #92, Annual #10, Justice League International (vol. 2) #68
  • Gerard Jones: Justice League America #0, 93–113, Annual #9, Justice League Europe / Justice League International (vol. 2) #37–67, Annual #4–5, Justice League Spectacular #1

Collected editionsEdit

In 1989, the first seven issues of the original Justice League International series were collected in a trade paperback called Justice League: A New Beginning (ISBN 0930289404) and issues #8–12 and Justice League America Annual #1 in the follow-up Justice League International: The Secret Gospel of Maxwell Lord in 1992 (ISBN 1563890399).

In 2008, DC began to collect the early years of the JLI as individual volumes, initially as hardcovers and later on as trade paperbacks; starting with Volume 5 the books were released solely as trade paperbacks:

  • Justice League International Volume 1 (collects Justice League #1-6 and Justice League International #7, 192 pages, hardcover, March 2008, DC Comics, ISBN 1-4012-1666-8,[23] Titan Books, ISBN 1-84576-787-X; softcover, DC Comics, March 2009,[24] Titan Books, May 2009, ISBN 1-84576-788-8)
  • Justice League International Volume 2 (collects Justice League International #8–13, Justice League Annual #1 and Suicide Squad #13, 192 pages, hardcover, DC Comics, August 2008, ISBN 1-4012-1826-1,[25] Titan Books, September 2008, ISBN 1-84576-886-8; softcover, DC Comics, July 2009, ISBN 9781401220204[26])
  • Justice League International Volume 3 (collects Justice League International #14–22, 224 pages, hardcover, DC Comics, November 2008, ISBN 1-4012-1941-1,[27] Titan Books, January 2009, ISBN 1-84576-988-0; softcover, DC Comics, November 2009, ISBN 978-1-4012-1941-3[28])
  • Justice League International Volume 4 (collects Justice League International #23–25 and Justice League America #26–30, 192 pages, hardcover, DC Comics, March 2009, ISBN 1-4012-2196-3,[29] Titan Books, May 2009, ISBN 1-84856-183-0; softcover, DC Comics, March 2010[30])
  • Justice League International Volume 5 (collects Justice League International Annual #2–3 and Justice League Europe #1–6, 240 pages, softcover, DC Comics, January 2011, ISBN 978-1-4012-3010-4[31])
  • Justice League International Volume 6 (collects Justice League America #31–35 and Justice League Europe #7–11, 240 pages, softcover, DC Comics, May 2011, ISBN 978-1-4012-3119-4[32])
  • Superman & Justice League America Vol. 1 (collects Justice League America #60–68 and Justice League Spectacular #1, 240 pages, March 2016 978-1401260972)
  • Superman & Justice League America Vol. 2 (collects Justice League America #69–77, Annual #7, 200 pages, September 2016, 978-1401263843)
  • Wonder Woman & Justice League America (collects Justice League America #78–93, Annual #8, TBA pages, March 2017, 978-1401268343)
  • Formerly Known as the Justice League (collects #1–6)
  • I Can't Believe It's Not The Justice League (collects JLA: Classified #4–9)
  • Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 1 (collects Justice League: Generation Lost #1–12)
  • Justice League: Generation Lost Vol. 2 (collects Justice League: Generation Lost #13–24)
  • Justice League International Vol. 1: The Signal Masters (collects Justice League International (vol. 3) #1–6)
  • Justice League International Vol. 2: Breakdown (collects Justice League International (vol. 3) #7–12, Annual (vol. 2) #1 and The Fury of Firestorm: The Nuclear Men #9)

In other mediaEdit


  • Justice League International appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Darkseid Descending!". Here, the team consists of the Blue Beetle, Booster Gold, Guy Gardner, Aquaman, the Martian Manhunter, Fire and Ice.[33] They are assembled by Batman to fight the incoming invasion of Earth by Darkseid.[34] In a departure from the comic book origin of the team, this iteration of the JLI is put together by Batman, Aquaman and the Martian Manhunter following an unspecified incident which led to the original Justice League disbanding. The team is also stationed in the orbiting Justice League Satellite, rather than the JLI Embassy in New York. The team reappeared in "Shadow of the Bat!", where Batman attacked the League after being transformed into a vampire. In "Time Out for Vengeance!", the JLI try to save past incarnations of Batman from the minions of Equinox, with the help of Rip Hunter, Time Master, who appears to be a part-time team member. In "Triumvirate of Terror!", Robin, Kid Flash, Superman, Wonder Woman, Plastic Man, and the Green Arrow were seen with the JLI when it came to a baseball game against the Legion of Doom. They are joined by Captain Atom in "Powerless!" when it comes to them fighting Major Force. In "Crisis: 22,300 Miles Above Earth!", Captain Marvel and Rocket Red are also shown to be on the team, though the latter does not have a speaking role. All of the JLI's founding members have been seen teamed up with Batman before the team was created.


Martin A. Stever reviewed Justice League International Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer No. 83.[35] Stever commented that "thanks to clever characterization and wit, this creative team makes team moving day as exciting and as much fun as a brush with Armageddon".[35]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Manning, Matthew K. (2010). "1980s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 228. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. It was clear that the [Justice League] needed a major overhaul. But no one quite expected how drastic the transformation would truly be in the hands of writers Keith Giffen and J. M. DeMatteis and artist Kevin Maguire.
  2. ^ "On the First Year of Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis' Justice League International". Sequart Organization. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  3. ^ "Doctor Fate (Volume) – Comic Vine". Comic Vine. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  4. ^ "Chocos". DC Database. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  5. ^ "1988 Harvey Award Nominees and Winners". www.hahnlibrary.net. Retrieved 2017-03-02.
  6. ^ Justice League #2
  7. ^ Justice League #3
  8. ^ Justice League #4
  9. ^ Justice League Annual #1
  10. ^ Justice League #5
  11. ^ Justice League #6
  12. ^ Justice League International #7
  13. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (January 12, 2010). "JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL Returns in "GENERATION LOST"". Newsarama. Retrieved January 12, 2010.
  14. ^ Newsarama.com : Generation Lost | Judd Winick | JUDD WINICK: The Future of MAX LORD & the GEN LOST GANG, p.2
  15. ^ Hyde, David. "The New Justice". DC Comics. Retrieved 2 June 2011.
  16. ^ Live From The DC New 52 Panel… Updating | Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors
  17. ^ Rogers, Vaneta (August 17, 2011). "The DCnU Take 2: Justice League International". Newsarama. Archived from the original on February 1, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  18. ^ Justice League International (vol. 2) #1–6 (Sept. 2011 – March 2012)
  19. ^ Justice League International (vol. 3) #7 (April 2012)
  20. ^ Langshaw, Mark (May 15, 2012). "Justice League International to end with issue #12". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on May 19, 2012. Retrieved June 12, 2012.
  21. ^ Justice League International (vol. 3) #12 (August 2012)
  22. ^ Justice League International Annual (vol. 2) #1 (August 2012)
  23. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 1 | DC Comics (hardcover)
  24. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 1 | DC Comics (softcover)
  25. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 2 | DC Comics (hardcover)
  26. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 2 | DC Comics (softcover)
  27. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 3 | DC Comics (hardcover)
  28. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 3 | DC Comics (softcover)
  29. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 4 | DC Comics (hardcover)
  30. ^ JUSTICE LEAGUE INTERNATIONAL VOL. 4 | DC Comics (softcover)
  31. ^ VOL. 5 | DC Comics (softcover)
  32. ^ Justice League International Val. 5 | DC Comics (softcover)
  33. ^ Who's News | ‘Batman: The Brave and the Bold’ returns tonight, prepares for the coming of Justice League International Archived 2012-07-16 at archive.today
  34. ^ TV Schedule | Cartoon Network South East Asia Archived 2010-11-20 at the Wayback Machine
  35. ^ a b Stever, Martin A. (October–November 1988). "The Ruler". Space Gamer/Fantasy Gamer. World Wide Wargames (#83): 28.

External linksEdit