by Matthew Yapp
With the Justice League movie descending on us like an almost-certainly disappointing comet, it makes one sit back and reflect. No, not on the shortcomings this movie is sure to have, but on all the lesser known Justice League members. Everyone knows all the classic members of the League from Wonder Woman to Batman. However, there are quite a few members of the league who don’t exactly seem like they deserve to a part of the team. Aquaman, obviously. But also, quite a few lesser known names. Over the many years that the Justice League has existed in the comics it has had over one hundred members coming in for varying amounts of time, and honestly some of them probably could have just stayed out.
Yep, that’s a choice. So a grand adventurer named William Glenmorgan exploring the Congo was given a magic golden ring by his dying friend, and when he rubbed it he found himself in the body of a magical golden gorilla. Oh yeah, he’s also immortal. It’s comics guys suspend your disbelief and roll with it. In theory it’s really cool to have this giant ape with super strength, super stamina, and shiny golden fur that could put Fabio to shame but in execution… not so much. Besides the awful name, like seriously Congorilla is just the country he was in combined with the animal he became. Congorilla just feels out of place. Every time he was in the comics there wasn’t really anything interesting done with the character, and even with his powers he wasn’t all that useful. Despite being a literal magical gorilla, DC somehow managed to make this character forgettable earning him a spot on this list.
Mystek, more like Mystake. Get it? It’s like mistake, because the character is bad… anyway. Joining the team in Justice League Task Force #26 in 1995, Seong Barclay is a Korean Woman who wore her father’s tech that made her look like a man, but hey I’ll take representation where I can get it. Having started out as a villain in The Ray comics Mystek was recruited by Martian Manhunter to join the League. She was a pretty cool character, having the ability to manipulate energy at a subatomic level and starting out as a villain leaving room for tons of character development. “So what went wrong?” you may ask. The complex answer is a tendency for comics to kill off women of color in favor of continuing the same old stories of white male protagonists, which you can hear more about in our episode of The Coven. The simple answer is in Justice League Task Force #32, just six issues after joining the team, the claustrophobic hero was in a cramped space craft, freaked out, and blew a hole in the ship thus being sucked out into space, and dying there. Equal parts comical and pathetic, it put a literal nail in the coffin for this underwhelming character. I will say though, I would love nothing more than to see Mystek blow herself into space on the big screen in a future Justice League movie.
Maxima is an alien warrior with super strength, speed, durability, telekinetic abilities, and she can fly. Despite what her outfit would imply she is ready to take down any villain in her path. In fact, early on in her comic run she helped the Justice League take down one of their most formidable foes: Braniac. Unfortunately, she ran into a similar problem of Mystek. No, she didn’t blow herself into space, she just didn’t have writers who knew how to create a female character. Pretty much the entire reason that she joined the Justice League and her entire plot line revolved around the fact that she wanted to sleep with Superman. Of course when Superman denied her advances she accepted that graciously and went on to be a badass superhero, right? No, actually she just got really angry and bitter about it. But hey, she died by flying a ship in front of a death ray that would’ve destroyed the entire universe in Superman: Man of Steel #117 so… redemption, kind of?
Dating all the way back to 1940 Rex Tyler, AKA Hourman, premiered in Adventure Comics #48. Rex was a biologist who discovered the super-serum Miraclo. This formula gave him unprecedented strength, speed, and vitality. But the catch here that makes him one of the worst of this list in my eyes is that as his name implies, he only has his powers for an hour. I mean honestly, think about how bad that could go. When our old buddy Doomsday is about to destroy the planet and the battle goes on for 61 minutes, suddenly Hourman is the reason for Earth’s downfall. I just think that compared to any other Justice League member, Hourman just can’t keep up. That being said he was featured on an episode of CW’s DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, however he was killed off by the Reverse-Flash in that same episode. Kind of runs my point home.
There is a part of me that feels bad adding G’Nort onto this list. I mean first of all he’s a sweet guy… dog… dog-guy. But beyond that a big point of his character is that he is kind of loser. A founder of Justice League Antarctica he has all the same powers that the other Green Lanterns have. His willpower gives him the ability to create anything his mind can imagine. Despite all his power, no one really takes him seriously. Hal Jordan had to give him a pity plea to allow him into the Lantern Corps. As a Justice League member, he is constantly begging to fight a real threat, and just wants to contribute in some way. Spoiler alert, he doesn’t. He’s been absent from the comics for a while now and rightfully so. Joke character or not it’s undeniable that G’Nort was one of the worst Justice League members of all time.
So there you have it, a collection of the worst of the best. While none of these characters are going to be getting into any Justice League movies in the future they sure made an impact. Kind of like how Mount Vesuvius made an impact on Pompeii. Regardless, they’re all heroes nonetheless.
Sources: Wikipedia, Comic Vine
Matt is a Communications Major and the Managing Editor (2018-2019) of Byte.