- "Darkness, the truest darkness, is not the absence of light. It is the conviction that the light will never return. But the light always returns to show us things familiar. Home, family, and things entirely new, or long overlooked. It shows us new possibilities and challenges us to pursue them. This time, the light shone on the heroes coming out of the shadows to tell us we won't be alone again. Our darkness was deep and seemed to swallow all hope. But these heroes were here the whole time to remind us that hope is real, that you can see it. All you have to do is look up in the sky."
- ―Lois Lane[src]
The Justice League is a strike force comprised of Earth's mightiest heroes. They serve as stalwart protectors of life, dedicated to protecting the world as the first line of defense against terrestrial, extraterrestrial, inter-dimensional and supernatural threats.
Founded by Batman and Wonder Woman following the death of Superman, the Justice League was formed when Steppenwolf invaded Earth with his army of Parademons. Having lost the world's greatest protector, Batman and Diana set off to round up a team of powerful metahumans to confront the invaders and save Earth.
The Trinity Unites
After their standoff in Gotham City, Batman witnessed the birth of Doomsday in Metropolis as he flew overhead. Realizing the danger, Batman decided to lure the monster back to Gotham Port, where he'd left a Kryptonite spear during his fight with Superman. Within his personalized combat jet, Batman provided a distraction for the creature, gaining its attention as it leaped after him in pursuit. However, when the creature disabled his aircraft, Batman was left defenseless as it prepared to attack. As the creature released a powerful blast of heat vision on him, a woman dropped in between the two, blocking the attack.
With her Bracelets of Submission, Wonder Woman released a shockwave to drive the creature back. When asked why he brought Doomsday back to the city, Batman explained that the port was abandoned, so there wouldn't be any casualties and that the only weapon that could kill it was somewhere nearby. At that moment, Superman, having recovered from the creature's assault, arrived to send the monster flying into a nearby silo. Superman asked if Batman had found the spear, to which he remarked that he'd been busy distracting the deformed Kryptonian.
When Wonder Woman noticed the monster fed on the energy of their attacks, Superman stated that it was a creature from his world. When Diana dryly remarked that she'd killed creatures from other worlds in her life, Clark asked if she was a friend of Bruce's, to which Bruce, confused, said he assumed she was with Superman.
As Doomsday prepared another attack, Superman flew directly at it, attempting to subdue it with his heat vision, but was overpowered by the behemoth's forceful energy. As Wonder Woman managed to best it in combat, the creature swatted her away, turning to face Batman. As the creature charged him, Bruce managed to fire a grapple line moments before, quickly evading the pursuit, but injuring himself on the side of a building. Attempting to attack again, Clark heard the struggling Lois Lane nearby. Abandoning the battle, Clark dug through the rubble of a building to get to Lois, who discovered the Kryptonite spear at the bottom of a pool. Diving after it, Clark, weakened by the xenomineral, struggled to compose himself as he prepared to make his final assault.
Flying back to the battle, Superman managed to impale the monster with the spear after Wonder Woman bound him in her lasso, followed by Batman firing the last round of his Kryptonite smoke grenades into the creature's face, weakening its powers. However, as it died, Doomsday impaled Superman with a partially regenerated bone. With his last effort, Clark pierced the creature's heart, killing it moments before succumbing to his wound.
Assembling the League
- "The others like me, why did you say they'll have to fight?"
"Just a feeling."
- ―Diana and Bruce Wayne[src]
After Superman's death at the hands of Doomsday, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince set out to find various metahumans from the LexCorp files in hopes to combat Steppenwolf and his army. When asked by Prince about his reasons, Wayne merely commented, "Just a feeling", (in reality, he was heeding the words of the time traveler in his vision, as well as Lex Luthor's cryptic warning).
Assistance from Amanda Waller
- "That's the difference between us, Mr. Wayne - you believe in friendship, I believe in leverage."
- ―Amanda Waller to Batman[src]
After the events in Midway City were successfully foiled by her Task Force X, Amanda Waller met up with Bruce Wayne to request that he protect her from rumors regarding the Midway City attack, which Wayne complied to in exchange for the metahuman files Waller was reported to have collected, with the files of Arthur Curry, Victor Stone, and Barry Allen among them. He then told her to shut down the Task Force X program, stating that he and his 'friends' would handle any future problems, before using the files to track down the metahumans he needed.
Over a year after the death of Superman, Batman had been tracking recent sightings of Parademons tied to cases involving missing scientists. Realizing that they are attracted to fear pheromones, Batman captures a criminal as bait, using his fear to attract any nearby Parademons, whom he swiftly subdued. However, before he can begin to interrogate one, it explodes. With this Bruce and Alfred decide that it is time to assemble the team.
Bruce and Diana meet up and Diana explains the history of the Mother boxes and the alliance thousands of years ago that repelled Steppenwolf's attempts to rule. Bruce tells Diana that he has decided to assemble the others to fight back. Diana points out that they are essentially asking people they don't know to risk their lives for a cause they know nothing about. Bruce agrees but points out that this “is how this works”.
Recruiting the Aquaman
- "There is a... stranger. He comes to this village from the sea. He comes in the winter when people are hungry and brings fish. Comes out of the King tide. That was last night."
- ―Bruce Wayne and Arthur Curry[src]
However, when Wayne states of the impending threat and offers Curry a place on the team, Curry initially wants nothing to do with them. Advising Bruce to give up on his recruitment, Arthur reacts with hostility when Wayne makes a quip about Atlantis, lifting and slamming him against a wall before releasing him once Wayne further explains himself. Calmed down, the two engaged in a conversation about the impending danger, though Curry still ultimately refused to join.
Locating the Flash
- "Well, we've had luck with one member on the list. Barry Allen of Central City. He's completely off the grid, squatting, I think. Moves suddenly, and often."
"But he does visit his father... in prison, for murdering his mother."
- ―Alfred Pennyworth and Bruce Wayne[src]
Bruce Wayne also tracks down Barry Allen to his home in Central City, were he breaks into and waits in Allen's "second favorite chair" until he gets home. He introduces himself to a dismayed and confused Allen (whom Wayne recognizes as the past version of the scarlet time-traveler that appeared in his "dream"), promptly handing him a printout of the security camera footage he found on the LexCorp files. Barry instantly recognizes himself in the photo and tries, unsuccessfully, to dismiss the person as someone who merely looks like him, is Jewish, and points out that the person drinks milk, claiming that he himself does not do so. Wayne ignores Barry's failed attempts at deflecting, surveying his apartment, where he noticed the speedster's scarlet suit, and informed Allen that he already knows the latter has abilities, but just needs to know what they are.
As Allen nervously rambles about his personal skills, including competitive ice dancing, Wayne suddenly hurls a batarang at him as hard as possible, but Allen uses his speed to effortlessly dodge and catch it. Recognizing it, an awed Barry deduces that Wayne is the Batman. Wayne, in turn, responds by stating that Barry is 'fast', to which Barry calls an oversimplification. Wayne then begins to tells Barry about the "team" he is putting together to face a possible threat he believes to be headed to Earth, but before he finishes, Barry accepts, stating his answer for "needing friends". Wayne, momentarily confused, accepts his decision. Allen, who up until this point had been admiring the batarang, then asks Wayne if he can keep it.
As the two are preparing to leave in Bruce's car, Barry asks what Bruce's superpowers were, to which Bruce jokingly states that his power was his wealth.
With Bruce Wayne having taken charge of recruiting Barry Allen and Arthur Curry, Diana Prince took the lead on recruiting Victor Stone, with her approach being less direct and blunt than Bruce with the others, as Stone's recruitment was a delicate matter, likely due to the seeming loss of his humanity upon his transformation. Meeting with Victor in an abandoned alleyway, Diana attempted to convince Victor that the team needed him and that he in some way also needed them; however, Victor still not wanting to be a part of the group flew away.
During their investigation into the kidnappings of S.T.A.R. Labs scientists, the Flash, Batman, and Wonder Woman meet with Commissioner James Gordon in Gotham, where they are soon joined by Victor, who has decided to join the team in order to rescue his father Silas Stone who was one of the many scientists recently kidnapped by the Parademons. Tracking them down to Gotham Harbor, the group arrives just in time to save the remaining scientist including Silas Stone. As the group battles Steppenwolf, he causes a flood in the tunnel of Gotham Harbor. However, before they can be drowned, Arthur comes to their aid and manages to hold the flood long enough to allow the others to get to higher ground.
Stone retrieves the last Mother Box, which he had hidden, for the group to analyze. Stone reveals that his father used the Mother Box to rebuild Stone's body after an accident almost cost him his life. Wayne decides to use the Mother Box to resurrect Superman, not only to help them fight off Steppenwolf's army, but also to restore hope to mankind. Prince and Curry are hesitant about the idea, but Wayne forms a secret contingency plan in the case Superman returns as a threat instead of an ally.
Clark's body is exhumed and the League places it in the incubation waters of the Kryptonian ship alongside the Mother Box, which in turn activates and successfully resurrects Superman. However, Superman's memories have not returned, and he attacks the group after Stone accidentally launches a projectile at him. On the verge of being killed by Superman, Batman enacts his contingency plan: Lois Lane. Superman calms down and leaves with Lois to his family home in Smallville, where he reflects and tries to recover his memories. With the final Mother Box unguarded, Steppenwolf retrieves it with ease.
- "This isn't the plan."
"No, Master Wayne. This is the team."
"Hey, blame the lady. We would've left you, but she didn't ask for a vote."
- ―Batman, Alfred Pennyworth and Cyborg[src]
Back at the Batcave, the team works out their next move without the assistance of Superman following his retreat with Lois Lane. Discovering that Steppenwolf plans on combining the Mother Boxes near a village located in Russia, the five heroes go to stop him.
Arriving, the Justice League fights their way through the Parademons to reach Steppenwolf, although they are unable to distract him enough for Cyborg to separate the boxes. Superman, fortunately, arrives and assists Flash in evacuating the city, followed by helping Wonder Woman and Aquaman beat Steppenwolf, and as well as assisting Cyborg in separating the Mother Boxes. Defeated, Steppenwolf, overcome with fear, is attacked by his own Parademons before they all teleport away.
In the aftermath, the heroes watch in awe as life now returned to the decrepit landscape upon the retreat of alien threat. Villagers returned to witness their saved home as the sun shone on the world's saviors.
Following the victory of the Justice League, various merchandise was created in their honor. The bedroom of Freddy Freeman contained a Superman hat, while Batman and Wonder Woman action figures were seen on display. Taped to the bedroom wall is a page from the newspaper heralding Superman's return, while another byline stated Batman and Wonder Woman helped combat the plans of Lex Luthor.
- Bruce Wayne/Batman - Founder and Leader
- Diana/Diana Prince/Wonder Woman - Founder and Co-Leader
- Barry Allen/The Flash
- Victor Stone/Cyborg
- Arthur Curry/Aquaman
- Kal-El/Clark Kent/Superman
- Unlike most versions of the Justice League, this roster is only made up of six members.
- Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and Cyborg are the only members of the Justice League with their 1 parent alive. The Flash only lost his mother, but his father has been imprisoned since his childhood, and Batman's parents were murdered when he was 9. Superman is also an odd exception, as he's lost both his biological parents, though he was adopted by the Kents.
- This represents an ongoing trope with DC Comics, in that their character roster is largely comprised of orphaned heroes.
- The correct members of the Justice League can be counted as the modern version of the original unity that was formed to fight the Apokolian invasion of Earth: Diana represents both the Amazons and the Old Gods, Bruce, Barry and Victor represent the different tribes of men, Arthur represents the Atlanteans, and Clark represents the aid from other worlds.