Books Articles

Let’s all get really into the Justice League

Want to get into the series but don't know where to start? Our favourite experts select one for each member


For Cyborg…

Let’s all get really into the Justice League

New Teen Titans Vol. 1

The expert take: “Through his history Cyborg has matured from an isolated teen in conflict with his nature and relationships to a natural leader, and one of the few Titans to graduate to the Justice League,” says Forbidden Planet’s George Barnes. “This early take explores Vic Stone’s struggle for identity and belonging, as well as his complex relationship with his father. Want something more recent? Justice League Vol. 1: Origin reimagines Cyborg as a founding member of the Justice League, his cybernetic enhancements becoming key to combatting villainous tyrant Darkseid.”

Most bizarre part of backstory: After a missile crash, Cyborg’s mind was repaired by an alien race created when Swamp Thing had sex with a machine planet. He’ll go with anything, that lad!

For Batman… 

Let’s all get really into the Justice League 1

Batman: The Long Halloween

The expert take: “The best Batman books are the ones where he is, as his creators intended, more a detective than a superhero,” explains Mega City Comics’ Arron Ferguson. “And the very best is The Long Halloween. Set in the early days of Bruce Wayne’s career as Batman, a serial killer strikes every national holiday for 13 months. Batman, Harvey Dent and Commissioner Gordon work together to try and deduce the identity of the killer before he or she strikes again. The tone and structure of this book was the inspiration for the hit film The Dark Knight – Christopher Nolan just replaced the mystery serial killer with the Joker.”

Most bizarre part of backstory: The brilliantly ridiculous aliases Batman uses: Matches Malone, Thomas Quigley, Sir Hemingford Grey, Lester Krutz… Mr Fledermaus. “Mister Fledermaus… no!

For Wonder Woman… 

Let’s all get really into the Justice League 2

Wonder Woman: Earth One Vol. 1

The expert take: “This is a poppy, self-contained showcase for Diana of Themyscria,” says Tom Oldham from Gosh Comics. “Highlighting writer Grant Morrison’s eye for utilising a character’s essential mythos in service of a good story and artist Yanick Paquette’s clear and expressive lines. It attempts to marry Wonder Woman’s lengthy continuity with more than 100 years of feminist theory – with, uh, debatable success – in a satisfying, accessible narrative.”

Most bizarre part of backstory: She became immune to electric shocks – fair enough, yeah – by having her spirit stripped of atoms – wait, what? – by Dr Psycho’s Electro Atomizer. Hmmmm.

For The Flash… 

Let’s all get really into the Justice League 3

The Flash: Rebirth

The expert take: “Writer Geoff Johns’ love of DC’s history is well documented, so it was little wonder that after resurrecting Hal Jordan’s Green Lantern and giving readers a brilliantly re-tooled Justice League, he’d set his sights on Barry Allen’s deceased Flash,” says Orbital Comics’ Paul Dunne. “Bringing beloved characters back from beyond is nothing new in comics, but Johns has loftier goals than just returning someone from the dead: he wants to look at the cosmic ties that bind the DCU together. This story has dimensions – time and space being the two explored to their limits in this amazing book. Oh, and it’s a kick-ass superhero story as well, dynamically pencilled by fan-favourite Ethan Van Sciver.”

Most bizarre part of backstory: The original Flash, Jay Garrick, retired after being investigated by the House Un-American Activities Committee for being a potential Commie. Like the song says, nothing topples a super-speed crime freak like an alleged affinity to the ol’ hammer and sickle.

For Aquaman… 

Let’s all get really into the Justice League 4

The Trench

The expert take: “This was actually part of the New 52, the DC comics reboot before the one they’re currently doing,” says Mitch McArdle, resident comic expert at Waterstones Tottenham Court Road. “But it’s the version that dives deepest into the Aquaman mythos, going back to basics with a take on the ruler of Atlantis that sees him making some difficult choices and shows some different facets to a character who’s traditionally seen as the most boring Leaguer. It’s also a great jumping-off point for getting into Aquaman’s whole relationship with the rest of his royal family in other books, which the Justice League film’s likely to deal with in the run-up to the standalone film. [Jason] Momoa’s a great cast for the character.”

Most bizarre part of backstory: Raised by a dolphin called Porm – OK! – who named him “Swimmer”. Clearly inheriting her towering imagination, Aquaman took on a sidekick known as… Aqualad.