JUSTICE LEAGUE OF AMERICA
TABLE OF CONTENTS
In post-Crisis continuity, secret identities were regarded as, well, secret. It took years of new stories for our heroes to reveal themselves to each other. With the Infinite Crisis, however, much of that was reverted to original, pre-Crisis Justice League sensibilities. The prevailing theory now is that if these heroes are putting their lives on the line with each other, of course they know each others' names.
In addition, many super-villains had discovered heroes' identities along the way. There are a few post-Infinite Crisis stories that demonstrate that such knowledge has been removed from the villains brains. Most significantly, Lex Luthor had learned of Superman's secret identity during his time as President. This has clearly been erased, as evidenced by Superman's first post-Infinite Crisis arc, "Up, Up and Away!" wherein Luthor hounds Kent and shows no knowledge of his double ID. The Riddler had also learned of Bruce Wayne before the Infinite Crisis, but in Detective #822 (2006), the Riddler mentions that Wayne's featuring "resemble someone elses." He has frequent contact with Batman afterwards and never plays the I.D. card.
The Superman/Batman co-revelations were retold in Superman/Batman Annual #1 (2006).
Essentially, one should assume that secret identities are once again reset following the Infinite Crisis. What follows are issues of secret identities that have happened only since the Infinite Crisis.
As far as whole-League revelations go...
- Pre-Crisis: the Silver Age League revealed their secret identities in Justice League of America #122 (9.75). This story may rule current continuity once again.
- Post-Crisis: the original five post-Crisis JLAers revealed their identities to each other in JLA: Year One #10 (10.98)
- Modern: the "Big Guns" let it all out in JLA #50 (3.01).
Some all-knowing individuals... know everything!
- Deadman. Can go anywhere. Visited the Batcave in Batman #530.
- Harbinger (Lyla). According to The History of the DC Universe, she knows pretty much everything about everything.
- Hourman II (and the Justice Legion). Heroes' identities are public knowledge in the 853rd century.
- The Manhunters. According to Millennium #2, the Manhunters intercepted Harbinger's transmission from The History of the DCU. Some of them posed as citizens of Smallville for many years, including a "Dr. Whitney", before finally revealing themselves during the "Millennium" crossover (Superman v.2 #13, Adventures #436 & Action #596).
- Neron. Can see anywhere. Visited the Batcave in Underworld Unleashed #2.
- Phantom Stranger. Can go anywhere. In Batman/Phantom Stranger (1997), he visited Bruce Wayne and reminded him of things he had previously talked to Batman about.
- Ra's a Ghul, Talia. Learned the JLA's identities and weaknesses from files stolen from Batman (JLA #43). They may have also known Batman's ID prior to this.
- Spectres. Near-omnipotent.
- White Martians. They're extremely powerful telepaths and in JLA #55-58 they were shown knowing at least the identities of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern and Plastic Man.
» SEE ALSO: Article from The Amazing World of DC Comics
Members with public identities:
- Atom (Ray Palmer). Revealed with the publication of his ex-wife's book (Sword of the Atom??). Shown in JLA #27.
- Black Canary (Dinah Laurel Lance). The public may have heard when, in JLA: Incarnations #1, her mother declared in front of everyone "My baby! Dinah!" She herself stopped hiding her ID in the Black Canary #10-12. Many villains have demonstrated this knowledge during her time partnered with Oracle (Birds of Prey series). Though some still do not know it (Birds of Prey #11). It's like, can you name the prime minister of Canada?
- Booster Gold (Michael Jon Carter). Pretty much public with the opening of Planet Krypton.
- Elongated Man (Ralph Dibny, deceased). Ralph has never hidden his identity. In Justice League Spectacular #1: "Wire services report that the Royal Flush Gang has taken over Funny Stuff Park in Florida! Ralph Dibny, a.k.a. Elongated Man of the now defunct Justice League, reportedly heads a list of illustrious hostages" (Fire, Ice, Booster, and Beetle).
- Guy Gardner. Name says it all.
- Hawkman III (Katar Hol). As a Thanagarian ambassador, he was a public figure.
- Power Girl (Karen Starr). She was announced at a charity event (in costume) by her real name. JSA #39 (2002)
- Steel (John Henry Irons). Steel's identity is public knowledge. In Supergirl # 23 he appeared as a guest speaker on a college campus with reporters present. He first makes his appearance as Steel. Then he removes his mask and reveals himself as John Henry Irons.
- Wonder Woman. The public knows her as Diana of Themyscira, but she now keeps a truly secret identity of Diana Prince.
- Zatanna. She performs her magic act using her real name and other stage names; "Ms. Katonic" is publicly known as Zatanna's alias (Fate #10 and Underworld Unleashed: Abyss: Hell's Sentinel). There are also other names (Books of Magic #29). Some individuals do not realize that she is a superheroine, e.g., GL's date in GL 80-Page Giant #2, Tim Hunter in Books of Magic v.1 and a whole lot of people in Zatanna: Everyday Magic.
- Jonathan and Martha Kent. Both Clark and Bruce have dinner at the Kent farm in Smallville in Superman/Batman. Bruce says "if you can't trust the people who raised Superman, who can you trust?"
- Catwoman (Selina Kyle). They have been at least semi-romantic. Confirmed in Detective #846-850.
- Hush (Tommy Elliot, possibly deceased). Learned from Harold Allnut, revealed in Batman #619. Still valid, per the story in Detective #846-850.
- The Joker's does not know (anymore, at least). of Jason Todd as Robin could have led him to others' identities, but he didn't know Batgirl's secret identity when he shot Barbara Gordon. Following Todd's death, though, there was an increased sense of urgency for keeping the Joker imprisoned, specifically because of this threath. One could argue that the Joker knows, but doesn't act on it because he enjoys keeping Batman as his sparring partner. During Joker: Last Laugh, he said to Batman "After all, even a madman can put two and two together." In Batman #429, the Joker posed as Iran's ambassador at the UN. When seeing Bruce Wayne, he suddenly bursted out laughing. The only question is whether he also identified him as Batman. Robin #81 would seem to refute the Joker's knowledge. In that story, the Joker realizes that Robin III was a different person than Robin II (although he does not actually know who these people are). This is also one of the few stories told from the Joker's point of view so probably not close to reality. If he knows, he seems not to care, since he never attacked Batman as Bruce Wayne. Also, during the "Emporer Joker story," he gained much of Mxyzptlk's (immense) power.
- Ra's Al Ghul and Talia (and servant Ubu): While Talia actually found out in Detective #411, Ra's and Ubu first turned up in the Batcave in Batman #232. Ra's exhumed Bruce Wayne's parents in JLA #43. They learned his identity in Detective Comics #411, when Talia sees Batman unmasked.
Wally originally revealed his identity to the public gradually, beginning with Flash, v.2 #1; he rather stopped hiding it. In the Annual #8, Mark Waid wrote a flashback story in which Dr. Alchemy dissolved his costume while he was fighting in public and everyone watching saw his face.
But recently, after losing his unborn child to Professor Zoom, Wally accepted the Spectre's offer to make the entire world forget that the Flash was Wally West. (Flash v.2 #200) It worked for a while, even on Wally himself! However, those who are closest to him (Linda Park, the JLA) have shaken off the brainwashing. In time, it is conceiveable that anyone could again remember the truth. Thanks to Kelson Vibber, the Flash Man.
His identity has been restored to secret. His friends Carol Ferris and Tom Kalmaku are in on it.
- Jon and Martha Kent (his parents).
- Lois Lane (his wife), Lana Lang and Lori Lemaris (former girlfriends)
- Lex Luthor does (once again) not know. He pretended not to know for many years. He was initially told this by Dr. Amanda McCoy (see above) who investigated Superman's identity (Superman v.2 #2). At the time, he pretended not to believe her, but recent events have revealed that Luthor has known the truth for some time. He also learned it from Manchester Black in Superman #178 (3.02). But Black supposedly removed that knowledge in Action #796, just before committing suicide. Now one year after the Infinite Crisis, Lex is again ignorant of it.
- Mr. Mxyzptlk. He's magic.
- Ruin (Emil Hamilton) did not know. He was being fed clues from another source, but never found out.
Yes. See Section 9.4: JLA on TV: Challenge of the Superheroes.
Your best opportunity to view the original pencilled pages is to buy the collected hardcover Collector's Edition of JLA/Avengers (2004). It includes reprints of the 21 pages of original art by George Pérez. He also provides annotations. Rob Liefeld owns some of the originals. See low resolution scans here.
Of course, the dream finally came to fruition in 2003: "Needless to say, after nearly two decades, I'm ecstatic and grateful beyond words that I'm finally getting to realize a lifelong fanboy dream," said George Pérez, "I know that expectations are going to be very high and I will work like a demon to meet them. With the help of such incredible talents as Kurt Busiek, (colorist) Tom Smith, Tom Brevoort and Dan Raspler, I think that Earth's Greatest and Mightiest Heroes are in capable, loving hands."
"I've got two great challenges here," said Kurt Busiek, "The first is to put these two incredible teams to the test by pitting them against impossible odds, and the second is to give George loads of characters doing as many things as possible. And I'm not sure which will be more fun! "
Now, about the original crossover:
After the success of other crossovers, DC and Marvel began producing a Justice League/Avengers crossover special. Drawn by George Pérez, this was one of the most eagerly anticipated comic book events of the '80s. It was ultimately abandoned. Why? Stubbornness and ego. Wizard #35 (7.94) tells the whole story. There are essentially three perspectives:
George Pérez (Artist): Pérez believes he was given the go-ahead by DC Editor Len Wein (when in fact it had been Dick Giordano). He eventually became so frustrated with the editors that he refused to finish it even if the script was finalized. He was never paid for the 20+ pages he completed, but still owns the original art, some of which has been reproduced in the fan press. Wizard #35 shows a Batman/Captain Marvel panel. Some other artwork can be found in the portfolio, "George Pérez: Accent on the e." The cover was printed in the first Wizard JLA Special. You can even see some of the artwork online. Wizard #116 reported that Rob Liefeld bought the pages and is itching for people to see them.
Jim Shooter (Marvel Editor): Shooter rejected the first draft of the script, asking that several errors be fixed. He eventually heard the Pérez had already begun drawing the book, and asked that the work stop pending the script revisions. He claims that he reviewed the completed pages and thought they were good; he wanted to change only a few small things. Dick Giordano, citing "internal politics" responded asking that the project be allowed to continue as-is. Shooter refused, as DC never did submit the revised script for his approval.
- Dick Giordano (DC Editor): Giordano's explanation can be found in the "Meanwhile..." column from DC's January 1985 books. He admits to being the one to allow Pérez to begin drawing the script, thinking Shooter's approval was merely a formality. Having fixed many of the story problems, he believed Shooter was stalling on approval. Giordano doesn't say, however, if he specifically submitted a formal revised plot to Shooter; I'm guessing not.
Few subjects comprise more Net frequency than the time-worn "Is so-and-so gay?" argument. The JLA holds no exception. It's always a sticky subject, in part because the writers are either too afraid or too mysterious to say for sure. In addition, despite overwhelming evidence, some fans simply will not accept as truth anything short of the character declaring: "I'm here, I'm queer, get used to it!" (and even then they'll bicker).
Personally, I don't need a brick to the brain. Below are excerpts which I hope will lend some concrete evidence to the subject. Draw your own conclusions like big boys and girls.
Joe Palmer has taken action on the subject: Visit The Gay League of America
Sexuality never explicitly stated.
The whole deal with this began in the letter column of Justice League Europe #31 (10.91). Dominic Sheehan wrote: "Is BlueJay gay or what? I won't let up until I get an answer, preferably in the form of complying with my demand."
The editor replied: "If BlueJay were gay, it would be up to him to say so, not us."
Over this, people continue to rage.
Though not a JLA member, it's worth addressing here. The following comment (penned by Roy Thomas) was a pretty strong (and thus, misconstrued) statement. It concerns Charles McNider's relationship with his nurse/assistant Myra Mason:
Secret Origins #20
Charles McNider: "It was a love doomed from the start. I could never quite bring myself to tell her. I guess I should have... even before [the accident]..."
You can't argue that their love was "doomed" because of the blindness or his career as Dr. Mid-Nite, because the last part of the statment. What else can you conclude? Impotence? A secret love? An "old friend," Miss Alice King appeared in All-American #90 (10.47). In Flash #161 (a flashback to 1947), he had an unnamed girlfriend who may have been Alice. His Golden Age features left little room for the exploration of his love life. And finally...
JSA #40 (11.02)
Dr. Mid-Nite II (Pieter Cross) : "McNider loved [Myra]... more than he was ever willing to admit to her."
BUT! Mr. John Moores got word from Roy Thomas (the writer) himself. Thomas said "I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual. I'll have to do what I always do in such a case, which is to quote William Butler Yeats when he was asked about the meaning of a line in one of his poems. He said, 'When I wrote that line, only God and I knew what it meant. Now, only God knows.' But I don't believe I meant that Doc was homosexual."
It was hyperbole. No other incidents can be cited which suggest he was gay.
Dr. Light I & II (Jacob Finlay & Arthur Light)
Suggested as gay. Dr. Light is not a JLA member, but has been a frequent foe. In Secret Origins v.2 #37 Light's costume and technology are revealed as the work of his research "partner" and fellow scientist, Finlay. Speculation arose from the two comments below...
Suicide Squad #33
Dr. McCoy: "This apparition appears to you only when the lights are out?"
Dr. Light: "Yeah. He was the original Dr. Light, ysee. He was my partner and he always wanted to be a super-hero, which I thought was stupid."
In Suicide Squad #52, he also refers to Jacob Finlay as his "partner."
These may have led to the comment in...
The Silver Age: JLA #1
Dr. Light (to Catwoman): "You're wasting your time, my amorous companion. [I've] always been more interested in test tubes and Bunsen burners than the fair sex."
One might presume to put this issue to rest with the revelation in Identity Crisis that Dr. Light raped Sue Dibny.
Green Arrow v.3 #15
Ollie (in response to Mia's advances on Connor): "That is, if the boy's even interested."
Connor: "Look, I like girls, all right? Jeez. Just 'cause a guy ain't you."
He has never demonstrated any attraction towards men. Speculation about Connor Hawke arose from his inexperience with women, his monastic upbringing and his desire not to use women as callously as his father:
Green Arrow #111
Connor comes face-to-face with a hitwoman called Crackshot who'd rather kiss him than kill him; he responds positively. She remarks, "I know you like girls, Connor. Believe me, a woman knows these things."
Green Lantern #76-77, Green Arrow #110-111
In this Green Lantern/Arrow crossover Kyle Rayner notices that Conner is completely oblivious to a flirtatious waitress when she makes a pass at him. Kyle tells Connor that if he's gay it's all right, he could tell him. Conner admits he's never kissed a girl, nor given women much thought at all (he lived in a monastery from age 15-20). "I'm just... uncomfortable with women. Maybe I have noticed them noticing me, but I never did anything about it."
Green Arrow #137
Conner reminisces about his days in a private all-boys school; he remembers being branded a "sissy" by the bullies. He also makes out with supposed love interest, Mia.
Here's a nice essay: Unofficial Green Arrow Fansite: Is Connor Gay?
Bisexual, at least.
Ice Maiden and Olivia Reynolds exchange pleasant glances, both thinking "Hmm..."
Ice Maiden: Well, yeah. We do have one big thing in common.
Nuklon: We do? What's that?
Ice Maiden: We both like girls.
Ice Maiden: Yes, I've dated men, and been attracted to them... fell in love with one once... but I'm more than attracted to women. I feel such community with women, such validation...
Nuklon: Then you're really bisexual...?
Ice Maiden: Do you have to put me in a box, Albert? People like nice, neat boxes in confusing times. But the truth is, you just are who you are and you like who you like.
Obsidian has been seen with his first known boyfriend, Damon Matthews on several occasions in the pages of Manhunter. He and Damon were first shwon kissing in Manhunter v.4 #18.
Prior to this, writers tended to treat the issue as a mystery, defaulting on the side of hetersexuality. In Infinity, Inc., Todd's sexuality was explored somewhat. He expressed romantic interest in Raven and, most notably, Marcie "Harlequin" Cooper. It was implied that he'd had a sexual relationship with Marcie before she went evil. Also, Todd seemed enthusiastic about dating a lady therapist in JLA, though there was no indication of things getting serious there before he broke it off. Regardless, his sexuality is complex, and JLA brought some issues to light:
Obsidian (to Nuklon): "I'm sorry, Albert--I can't! Not with.. not with a woman! Everything in my life with women has been... bad. My real mother dumped me on that drunk... my stepmother didn't care... when I finally found my sister and she loved me... I suffocated her emotionally and she had to reject me!"
Obsidian (to Nuklon): "There's nothing the JLA can call me to that could be as bad as my luck with women." Obsidian goes on, ultimately, to have a rather enjoyable blind date with a woman named Karen (arranged by Nuklon; JLA #107). "I just want to thank you for setting me up with Karen! It was great! In fact, I'm off to see her now!"
Obsidian: "What do you care what 'the others' think? I've had problems with women--that doesn't mean I 'want' men! Karen makes me feel comfortable--that doesn't mean I 'want' her! I have a shadow-body! I'm not even physical! why do I have to have a sexuality? Why do I have to have a label? What I have albert--is love! And the only two people I've even really loved are my sister--and you! Yes, Albert, I love you. Do you need a to put a label on that?
Crimson Fox: Albert, are you... are you fine with this? With Todd dating?
Nuklon: Fine? I'm thrilled for him! Why wouldn't I be?
Crimson Fox: "Oh, It's just... you know... you and Todd have always been so close, most of us just assumed... well... that you were a couple!"
Tasmanian Devil made an "out" comment in Justice League Quarterly #8 (Autumn 92). This story was written by Kevin Dooley, who was not the regular JLE writer at the time:
Justice League Quarterly #8
Seraph: How are you, Hugh?
Tas: Better, Chaim. Things aren't as hateful for gays in some places. The Justice League are great. I guess being a hero means setting yourelf above prejudices.
The team is turned into robots and forced to do things against their nature. Kimi (Dr Light) appears in TD's bedroom in rather slinky attire and TD lets out a shocked "AAAAA!!"
Seeing Kimi running down the hallway in a subsequent panel Metamorpho remarks "Kimi and Tas? There's something definitely wrong here!"
JLI Annual #3 (1989)
There was also some confusion caused by the Who's Who entry in JLI Annual #3 (1989) wherein Tas's fellow Austrialian embassy associate Joshua Barbazon was listed as having a "spouse" named Arthur. Tas' entry itself made no such suggestion.
Several issues of Wonder Woman have confirmed that as in the world at large some (though by no means all) Amazons take each other for romantic partners, either from inclination or need. Diana herself has shown no such inclination. In fact, she has had strong attractions at times for Superman, Batman, and a brief love affair with Trevor Barnes (deceased). She has also asked Tom Tressor (Nemesis) to begin a courtship with her.
The following issue (written by Peter David) touched on the subject:
Justice League Task Force #8
Maxima: "Amazons had no men around for centuries. How did you handle that?"
Wonder Woman: [pause] "All I'll say is... we don't call it 'Paradise Island' for nothing."
Once, officially. The Legion of Doom originally debuted on television as part of the from the "Challenge of the Superheroes." They were assembled in the comics by Christopher Priest at the end of the Extreme Justice title. It was comprised of Brainwave II, Gorilla Grodd, Houngan, Killer Frost II, Major Force and the Madmen. Also, Alex Ross adapted the design of the cartoon Legion of Doom headquarters for the Gulag in Kingdom Come. Later, Ross also modeled his villains after the Legion of Doom in the limited series Justice.
The team never appeared in the Super Friends comic, though some of the villains did individually.