By the mid 1990s, most comics sucked. Really. I’m sorry if you were growing up at the time and have pledged allegiance to overmuscled dudes with jeri curls and enormous weapons, but the books just weren’t good on the whole. Marvel was sick to its core, at it’s highest levels, and Justice League International had gone from great to meh to flat-out boring. It was time for a change.
So DC recruited Mark Waid to reboot their flagship team with a three-issue story called JLA–Justice League: A Midsummers’s Nightmare. He brought back the big 7 heroes who first formed the League—no more Captain Atom and Blue Beetle—and threw them into an adventure designed to spark a little nostalgia and also remind us why we loved that original team. The team was put into a fantasy world where they didn’t matter—they were just “normal”—and had to break out of the hallucination and be great a gain. Such a wonderful meta-story to revive a franchise.
And from there, we got Grant Morrison and Howard Porter’s phenomenal “JLA” comic. In the very first issue we get an unknown team of superpowered “Gods” who outpower the JLA in every way, so the team are the underdogs who must figure out their enemies’ weaknesses and overcome. At once current and retro, Morrison gives us everything we loved about the JLA back in the 1960s and updates it with modern sensibilities. And a big shocker!
I have no idea why, but in the above shot, he appears to be killing someone in an X-Man costume, and then, below, he clearly has just killed Wolverine…
…And Doctor Doom!