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Comic Book / Justice League International

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Who let these guys in?note 

You say you've got a problem, and you tried the JLA, but it costs too much to phone the Moon, and your hair is turning gray. Just call us up...'cause we're the ones...'pon whom you can depend...we'll be your bestest super-buddies...'til the very end!
— Theme song for the Super-Buddies, by L-Ron (Extended dance mix)

The Justice League International (or "JLI") was the Post-Crisis version of the Justice League of America. Starting with Justice League #1 (May, 1987), it gained its more familiar title with issue #7 (November, 1987).

By that time, comic books were getting Darker and Edgier, and most of the "Big Seven" heroes of DC Comics were unavailable for varied reasons. So writers Keith Giffen and J.M. DeMatteis had to work with a cast of mostly minor characters, including such nonsuperpowered heroes as Blue Beetle and Mister Miracle. What to do then? Giffen had a great idea: instead of going Darker and Edgier, they went Lighter and Softer, turning the comic book into a super hero comedy. Yes, they get to fight against vampires, Mad Scientists, dictators, giant Nazi robots, alien invasions and the like, but most of their plots dealt with completely bizarre situations: Guy Gardner and Ice having a date at an ice show, the heroes go to school to learn French, Blue Beetle and Booster Gold build a casino at a paradise island, or the mayhem at both their embassies caused by... an alley cat (yes, they made a 2-issue crossover with that). They were also used to fight Harmless Villains and Ineffectual Sympathetic Villains, and had to deal with annoying "good guys" as G'Nort or The Beefeater. All that being said, the book could and did get quite dark, and these dark times were often more affecting, precisely because of the overall light tone of the book; also, the dark times were also often the funniest, at least to some readers.

The initial cast (Batman, Martian Manhunter, Guy Gardner, Blue Beetle, Black Canary, Doctor Fate, Captain Marvel, Mister Miracle and his sidekick Oberon) got new members afterwards, such as Booster Gold or Fire and Ice (from the Global Guardians, a Multinational Team that the United Nations disbanded to form the JLI). Following the events of Invasion! (DC Comics), a new Justice League title was launched, Justice League Europe (JLE), with Captain Atom, Power Girl, Metamorpho, The Flash, Ralph Dibny (Elongated Man) and his wife Sue, Rocket Red, and Animal Man, while the original JLI was renamed "Justice League America" (no "of" in there, oddly enough). All teams were managed by Maxwell Lord, a crooked but ultimately good-hearted man. (He was turned into an evil villain during the Countdown to Infinite Crisis, but was not a villain at all back then, except when controlled by an evil computer). During this time, another series launched, Justice League Quarterly, a four-issue-a-year series with extra pages to tell longer stories starring the heroes.

After nearly five years, Giffen and DeMatteis decided to do a Grand Finale to their run, entitled Breakdowns, which saw the two teams disband after a series of incidents. This was followed up by Justice League Spectacular, which set up the new status quo by introducing the new members of the League... which were the same as the old ones, except Superman was now on the America team replacing the Martian Manhunter and Hal Jordan on the Europe team replacing Captain Atom. Sadly, the America team wouldn't stay stable thanks to getting involved in The Death of Superman, leading to Wonder Woman leading a seemingly rotating team. In 1993, the Martian Manhunter headlined a fourth title, Justice League Task Force, which had the Martian creating teams for missions given by the United Nations, even getting involved in the KnightQuest: The Search storyline.

After a series events that included the death of Ice and the appearance of a mysterious hero called Triumph, the Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! event saw a massive shake-up. JLA became something of a clubhouse of sorts, letting anyone show up and take part in adventures while JLTF became a X-Men-style training team. The Justice League Europe title, which had been rebranded to another Justice League International, was cancelled and replaced with Extreme Justice, which saw Captain Atom creating his own rival Justice League as he felt Wonder Woman's team wasn't the "real" League. Sadly, the shake-ups weren't enough and all three titles were cancelled and soon, JLA (1997) was launched with Grant Morrison reuniting the Big Seven (or at the very least, the Big Five and Two Legacy Character replacements)

These folks returned in the Super Buddies duology, which consisted of the miniseries "Formerly Known as the Justice League" and "I Can't Believe It's Not the Justice League". As the "real" Justice League was now in operation, they were named "The Super Buddies" instead.

The team was reunited by Judd Winick in the well-received Justice League: Generation Lost maxi-series, albeit with the new Blue Beetle and Rocket Red filling in for their deceased predecessors. In 2011, DC's New 52 relaunch rebooted DC's continuity. The JLI's history was completely removed from continuity, but a new Justice League International series was launched. It featured many of the same characters, as well as Vixen, Godiva and August General in Iron. Despite decent sales, the series was cancelled in order to launch a new Justice League of America title, and ended with an Annual issue in September 2012 to finish the story. After the DC Rebirth crossover Superman Reborn, the original team's history was partly restored to canon.

A version of the team was also featured in Batman: The Brave and the Bold, brought together by Batman in the season 2 finale to combat Darkseid's invasion of Earth (the original League having broken up off screen). This version initially consists of Booster, Blue Beetle III, Fire, Ice, AQUAMAN, Martian Manhunter and Batman; subsequent episodes show that Captain Marvel, Captain Atom and Rocket Red joined too.

Who let these tropes in?:

  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: If you thought that Earth sewers were disgusting, then you have never been through Apokolips' sewers. And someone simply has to ask: why does the sewer system lead directly to Darkseid's private lair?
  • Adaptation Displacement: Lampshaded In-Universe by Metamorpho, during the "War of the Gods" crossover. The League fought against Thor, Loki and Balder, who were attacking Ice's homeland. Metamorpho pointed that he had thought that Thor was blonde...
  • A.I. Is a Crapshoot: The origin story of Maxwell Lord. He was a successful businessman, and found by chance the computer of Metron. Rather than using the computer for his purposes, the computer used Lord to Take Over the World (including his initial relations with the League). When he realized the true nature of the computer, Lord destroyed it, even if that meant that he would die afterwards because the computer was keeping him alive. The League found him and saved his life, and when the Martian Manhunter read Lord's mind and understood the things he did, J'onn left him with a JL card, as a token of his trust.
  • All Girls Want Bad Boys: Ice simply loves Guy Gardner, much to Fire's despair. Interestingly It's not Guy's "bad boy" personality that Ice likes, but the nice guy that occasionally shines through.
  • All Just a Dream: Most of one issue consists of Max dreaming about being the violent superhero "Maximum Force"; he's relieved to wake up and realize none of it happened.
  • America Saves the Day: Subverted. The suffix "International" instead of "Of America" is not just a name, but a plot element, as the team is endorsed by the UN, had a related team located in Europe and embassies in other countries. It is highly specific when the U.S. sends the supergroup "The Conglomerate" to depose a Latin American dictator, and the UN orders the JLI to stop the Conglomerate.
    • Deconstructed during JLE. The fact the team is made up of mostly Americans and one Russian at first is a bone of contention with the French, where the JLE's initial embassy is. The fact none of them outside The Elongated Man and Rocket Red 5 (Said Russian) know the language does not help.
  • Another Dimension: The destroyed Earth where the Justifiers came from. The Silver Sorceress could use her magic to move across dimensions at will; Dreamslayer could do the same as well when he took the info from her.
  • Anti-Climax: They are especially good at it. Blue Beetle always points out that there's nothing as good as humor to relax an otherwise conflicting situation.
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Power Girl eventually learns that the source of her violent mood swings is diet soda.
  • Arc Words: "Why does everybody in this group insist in questioning my orders?"
  • Audience Participation: The post-Breakdowns Leagues was decided by reader votes. However, people seemed not to understand what to do and somehow voted for virtually the same exact people on the same teams, with one notable exception being Superman on the JLA team... which lasts less than a year thanks to The Death of Superman.
  • Battle Cry: The JLI doesn't have one... because nobody paid attention to Blue Beetle's proposals.
  • Berserk Button: Most characters have one:
    • Guy Garder: Communism, Hal Jordan, not being the leader of the JLI, Batman, discipline, Hal Jordan, criticism, Hal Jordan, denial of his crazy ideas, Hal Jordan...
    • Fire: Guy Gardner
    • Flash: Comparisons with Barry Allen
    • Metamorpho: Being ten kilometers near Simon Stagg or Java
    • Martian Manhunter: Being the leader of the JLI
    • Captain Atom: Being the leader of the JLE.
    • Black Canary: Machismo
    • Hawkman: His teammates
    • Power Girl: Life itself
    • Everybody except Power Girl: That mangy cat
    • Maxwell Lord: Losing money
  • Betty and Veronica: When Superman joins the League, Ice almost immediately gets a crush on him, causing Guy to view Supes as a love rival. Superman, meanwhile, has no interest in Ice whatsoever.
  • BFG: General Glory's old enemy has several of these that you'd think he shouldn't be able to carry. They also have equally oversized names.
  • Big Eater: Blue Beetle constantly struggles with his weight.
  • Blessed with Suck: Metamorpho whines about this constantly.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy: Guy Gardner's combined willpower and imagination give him the potential to be one of the most powerful Green Lanterns ever. Too bad he doesn't really care to try that hard or he's usually too pissed off to think straight.
  • Butt-Monkey: Fans of Captain Marvel or Animal Man will not like this comic. The former's naive optimism is constantly joked about by the other team members, and the latter's powers are treated as completely useless.
  • By the Power of Grayskull!: Joseph Jones transformed into General Glory by shouting "Lady Liberty hear my plea! For the land of the brave and the home of the free!"
  • Came Back Strong: Prior to the Dominator invasion, Fire could only launch her signature green flame from her mouth. After surviving the Gene Bomb, her powers get a massive boost, effectively turning her into a Brazillian female Human Torch that she's more well-known as now.
  • Captain Ersatz: There were many characters modeled after others from Marvel Comics. First, the Justifiers (The Avengers), who were Silver Sorceress, Blue Jay and Wandjina (Scarlet Witch, Yellowjacket and Thor; other Avengers appeared in backstories). The Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay even became members of the JLE. Their enemies were the Extremists (no specific Marvel group), composed of Lord Havoc (Doctor Doom), Dreamslayer (Dormammu), Gorgon (Doctor Octopus), Tracer (Sabretooth) and Dr. Diehard (Magneto). Then the Scarlet Skier (Silver Surfer) and his master Mr. Nebula (Galactus). And, finally, General Glory (Captain America).
    • The Rocket Reds are Russian, mass-produced imitations of Iron Man.
    • Blue Beetle was one for Spider-Man. The artist would even draw him crouching, running on all fours, and hanging upside-down for no reason.
  • Casanova Wannabe:
    • Booster Gold in France, in his civilian clothing, tries to seduce a random French woman... and fails in 46 seconds, with Ted Kord laughing loudly. Even worse, that random woman was Catherine, but she doesn't recognize Gold in his super hero suit... until she passes by Blue Beetle, who's still laughing.
    • Beetle himself is no slouch in this department, failing to pick up a woman even in costume at his own resort.
    • The Flash when it comes to his fellow superheroes. Power Girl just tended to either be annoyed by it or ignore it while Fire threatened him.
  • Catchphrase
    • Hawkman: "...because in the old League..."
    • Rocket Red: "It was just a little joke"
      • "Hokey Smoke" (A borrowed one.)
    • Everyone: "So you keep telling me."
    • Also Everyone: "Get that camera out of my face!"
  • The Cavalry: Double subverted in the first JLI-JLE crossover. Overwhelmed by vampires, Rocket Red tells Captain Atom that it would be a good moment for the arrival of the cavalry. Atom says he's seen too many American films, and that no cavalry's coming because This Is Reality. And then... the JLI arrive, with Blue Beetle even saying "the cavalry is here!"
  • Chekhov's Gun(wo)man: When Queen Bee first appears, she's just Harjavti's assistant, and her role is just to provide dialogue to hear Harjavti's Evil Plan. Later, she unexpectedly kills him, and suddenly becomes the new dictator of Bialya.
  • Comic Books Are Real: General Glory is Guy Gardner's favourite comic book character. That's a real American, not that flying boy scout who isn't even from this planet! And one day, he got the last remaining comic book of General Glory. Some old folk was annoying him to let him have a brief look at it, and Gardner finally let him. He located the magic words, which he had forgot during years of amnesia, and turned into General Glory!
  • The Comically Serious: Batman, Martian Manhunter, Hawkman (Katar Hol) and, to a lesser extent, Captain Atom. Although both Batman and J‘onn do engage in humour here and there. (Especially J‘onn after he gets hooked on caviar and Oreos.)
  • Continuity Nod: In an early comic the League is engaged by a squadron of Rocket Reds, ending with Black Canary kicking one in the face through his mask. A few months later when a Rocket Red is assigned to the league, it's revealed to be the same guy, now sporting a missing tooth thanks to the kick.
  • Continuity Snarl: The first annual does not fit in the timeline of the ongoing regular issues. It can't be before #14, because Fire and Ice are already members. It can't be between #14 and #15, because the action continues right away, and the JLI cann't be having a barbecue at Mister Miracle's garden while there is an alien invasion going on (we hope). And it can't be after #15, because there Mister Miracle is captured and sent to Apokolips.
  • Cool and Unusual Punishment: Max punished Beetle and Booster for spending and nearly losing all of the League's funds for Club Justice League by making them clean the embassy, starting with Guy's room.
  • Corrupted Character Copy: The miniseries Lord Havok and the Extremists, to make a version of DC's Marvel-villain expies appear as almost the good guys, presents the Meta-Militia as every negative aspect of The Avengers, and especially The Ultimates, turned up to eleven. Tin Man (Iron Man) pushes a version of the Superhuman Registration Act that puts all metas in interment camps unless they join the Militia, then uses this to get elected President. Americommando (Captain America) is a former black ops agent, who succeeds Tin Man and takes advantage of the positon, while secretly still controlled by his military handlers. Blue Jay (Ant-Man) is almost completely crippled with self-doubt except when the Raven armor turns him psychotic. Wandajina (Thor) is probably the most stable, with his supposed affair with Gorgon's lab assistant being entirely in the Doc Ock expy's paranoid mind, so naturally he gets killed. Gorgon himself is the "purer(?)" character copy of Doc Ock, as he still immoral but hasn't been driven so mad an accident with his equipment as to commit mass murder to prove his superiority, as Doc Ock sought to do in his first issue of Spider-Man.
  • Covers Always Lie: Going by the comic cover pictured above you'd think Wonder Woman was a significant character in the series. You'd be very, very wrong.
  • Creator Cameo: The League complained several times about a bizarre comic book about them that was published. Gardner even destroyed their office, after feeling insulted.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Everybody, even Max.
    • Special mention goes to Blue Beetle. While in Bialya, he was unknowingly brainwashed into becoming a sleeper agent. Some time later, he gets activated and nearly takes out the entire League single-handedly. Even Batman admits that Beetle gave him a run for his money, impressing Beetle himself.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: During The Death of Superman event, Doomsday runs roughshod over the entire team, most of the time with one hand tied behind his back.
  • Cursed with Awesome: The Grey Man was a sorcerer of the middle ages, who managed to see the Lords of Order. He was cursed to live forever on a lonely island, doing mystical maintenance for the world... until he finds out that, in their weird logic, the Lords of Order thought they were blessing him.
  • Damsel in Distress: Black Canary really hates to be one of those. Mr. Miracle even had to negotiate with her to save her life.
  • Death Glare: All that Batman needs to force Guy Gardner out of his tantrum and sit down.
  • The Door Slams You: John suffers one of those when searching for the League across several embassies.
  • Dramatic Pause: Lampshaded when L-Ron performs one, and Khan asks why he's suddenly stopped talking. L-Ron says he's making a dramatic pause.
  • Europeans Are Kinky: Crimson Fox more exactly, Vivian D'Aramis, not Constance was always trying to seduce Captain Atom. Captain Atom replied with the "American military are stoic" trope.
  • Exact Words: During a membership drive for the League, The Creeper ponders the question of whether he'd ever been convicted of a crime.
  • Fiery Redhead: Guy, though just how red his hair was depended on the artist.
  • Fighter, Mage, Thief: The Justifiers: Wandjina, Silver Sorceress and Blue Jay.
  • Flanderization: Most mainstays of the Giffen-era suffered heavy Flanderization; that was sort of the whole point of the books.
    • A notable aversion occurs with, of all people, Guy Gardner. Giffen and DeMatteis were concerned with how much Flanderization had already occurred with the character, who initially was more intelligent than Hal Jordan, but by the time of joining the JLI was mostly famous as a Jerkass with severe brain damage. A punch from Batman sends Guy into an alternate, hyper-sensitive persona, eventually revealed to be a total con, as Guy enjoyed screwing with his teammates. His girlfriend, Ice, sees through it.
    • In a surprising moment of Self-Deprecation, the original writing team actually addressed their Flanderization in the reunion mini-series Formerly Known as the Justice League. In one of the more memorable moments, Blue Beetle actually calls out Booster Gold by claiming that he used to be competent and heroic before joining the JLI, and accuses him of acting stupid and childish on purpose.
  • Frankenstein's Monster: When Wandjina dies, Harvjati brings him back as a mindless zombie.
  • Get-Rich-Quick Scheme: Beetle and Booster had several; the best-remembered is probably "Club JLI", where they stole Justice League funds to start up a casino resort on what turned out to be a living island.
  • Goldfish Poop Gang: The Injustice League
  • Good Ol' Boy: Hawkman. The perfect Thanagarian republican... even if there are no republicans on Thanagar.
    Hawkman: "Hell?!" Did you just say "Hell?!" Never in my life did I hear Hal Jordan say "Hell!"
  • Headbutting Heroes: What happened when the League had their first meeting? A head to head fight! Oh, sorry if I broke the surprise.
  • He's Back!: And how! Guy Gardner, after some months of Identity Amnesia, was so calm, reading the poetry of Leonard Nimoy... then, with a new Tap on the Head, he returns to being the Guy Gardner we all love and enjoy (well, he returns to his usual self, period) and gets into a fight against Lobo. This is lampshaded on the cover of said issue, which shows him grabbing Lobo by the collar, looming over him with a Slasher Smile saying "I'm Back..."
  • Head Desk: How some of the characters deal with the goofiness around them, especially Oberon.
  • Hero with Bad Publicity: The League is constantly insulted by Jack Ryder on TV. Max Lord knew he had to counter this publicity to have the League go international as planned.
  • Humanoid Aliens: Occasionally Martian Manhunter would walk around in his true Martian appearance, usually freaking out anyone who sees him.
    Fire: Was that Gumby?
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Fire and Crimson Fox do this from time to time. Despite her potential advantage in this sort of behavior, Power Girl is disgusted by the very thought of acting like this.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: During a membership drive, all applicants (or at least alien ones) had to answer a question on whether they've ever eaten a human. Kilowog comments "That's ridiculous! Humans taste terrible!"
  • Identity Amnesia: Tired of having Batman in command, Guy Gardner challenges him to a fight. Batman knocks him out with a single punch. When Guy wakes up, he tries to retrieve his ring from beneath a desk, and gets a second Tap on the Head. When he wakes up from that, he's a new Guy Gardner, interested in poetry, good feelings, friendship, being respectful and nice to everyone... in short, everything that Guy Gardner is not. He stays that way for several months (even across the ''Millennium (1988) crossover), and then returned to his true self against Lobo.
  • Incredible Shrinking Aliens: During Invasion!, Booster Gold was left on monitor duty with Oberon, while the others got all the fun against the aliens. And then, the embassy is attacked by a band of Khunds... smurf-sized Khunds, because of Phlebotinum Breakdown, but still, smurf-sized Khunds with laser weapons. Booster Gold, so eager to crush some aliens, is defeated off-screen in a single panel, and it's Oberon who manages to defeat them. The Khunds are contained by placing them inside cockroach traps.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The Injustice League, to the point they later took a stab at being heroes.
  • Instant Awesome: Just Add Mecha!: What can a very old Nazi, who can barely stand up without breaking his bones, do against the Justice League? Of course! Unleash the giant Nazi robot, with the face of Hitler! Sure, those youngsters will complain that nobody fights against giant Nazi robots anymore, that they are old-fashioned... What do they know about the good stuff?
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: Guy Gardner, eventually. Early on, he's a complete asshole, though.
  • King Incognito: The League makes a stealth mission into Bialya, dressed as common random people. To do so, Batman impersonates a millionaire: Bruce Wayne (the thing is that none of his teammates was aware that he is Bruce Wayne They think it's a lousy impersonation).
  • Kneel Before Zod: The Gray Man tries to force Dr. Fate to do this. By the end of the story, he's been reduced to a pile of dust.
  • Leader Wannabe: Guy Gardner. He will do it better than any of those girls! Or perhaps not.
  • Loving Details: Trying to avenge an old friend, John is in the middle of a Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique, and using a human disguise. Oh, look, here comes his Heterosexual Life Partner, Batman. He will surely tell him to stop, and to hold it.
    Batman: STOP! Hold it, or I'll...
  • Love the Product, Hate the Producer: JLI Team Member Red Rocket aka Gavril Ivanovich plays this trope straight. He was a captain in the Rocket Red Brigade, but resigned out of disgust with Russia's continuing Westernization and took to becoming a revolutionary bent on destroying "all the corporate cancer and traitors" that had rotted his nation: western influences such as fast food chains and corporate businesses. Despite this, he is a long-standing admirer of the American-formed JLI and their merchandise and jumped with glee at the chance to team up with them.
  • Malicious Misnaming: Captain Whitebread is always called "Captain Marvel" by Guy Gardner. Or was it the other way?
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Mr. Miracle and Big Barda. Gardner was lucky that she did not join the JLI herself, or she would have broken him in half at the first insult.
  • The McCoy: Captain Atom, while a member of Justice League Europe.
  • Me's a Crowd: A potential power of Lobo's, leading to an Oh, Crap! from Martian Manhunter.
    Big Barda: Try not to hit him too hard.
    Martian Manhunter: Excuse me?
    Barda: If he bleeds, every single drop will create another one of him.
    Manhunter: Every. Single. Drop?
    Barda: Just stall him.
  • Meaningful Name: The JLI comics reveal that Lobo's name is Thusly for "He who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it."
  • Me's a Crowd: the Gray Man
  • Mood Whiplash: While the majority of the series tends to be more like a Superhero sitcom then a traditional comic, the series could still pull the rug right out from under you from time to time.
    • Case in point; when Despero, the first villain of the original League's first issue, comes back to Earth with a vengeance. There's still a funny line here and there, but for the most part, it's a very serious arc, with the League only managing to survive due to J'onn using a martian technique that had only just been revealed in that story.
    • The Extremists arc is another contender, with 5 expies of well-known Marvel supervillains from another dimension coming to the main DC universe, hell-bent on killing as many people as possible and holding the entire Earth under the threat of a barrage of nukes just to get their kicks. Like with the Despero arc, the League can't even beat them on their own, only saving the day with the help of a Walt Disney expy, (yes, seriously,) and new Leaguer, Silver Sorceress, though she had technically been in JLI since its earliest days, if not as a Leaguer. There a few other such stories aside from those two, and when these types of stories occurred, the general light & silly tone that the rest of the series exuded made the more serious tales all the more shocking.
    • While the comics was kind of halfway between goofy and serious by that point, the crossover with The Death of Superman was pretty damn dark, with most of the League left injured or powerless.
  • Moral Guardians: General Glory tries to be one, but it doesn't work too well given the rest of the team. Spending most of his time with Guy Gardner really didn't help.
    *General Glory gets visibly flustered when some woman mentions being naked.*
    Fire: Are you embarrassed? General, we're all naked under our clothes.
    General Glory: Yes, but does everyone have to know about it?
  • Ms. Fanservice:
    • Fire, with her second clothing set.
    • Power Girl, contrary to her usual role in modern DC comics, was not Ms. Fanservice back then: first she had the physique of a bodybuilder rather than of a supermodel, and then she changed to the white-and-yellow costume with no Cleavage Window.
  • Navel-Deep Neckline: Fire's and Ice's first outfit (seen in the above group shot), and Owlwoman.
  • Not Me This Time
    • After a battle during the Invasion! crossover, Mr. Miracle is cleaning the debris of a fallen alien starship, while Guy Gardner is kicking things around, with no regards for the possible consequences. Mr. Miracle tells him that if he's not careful he can make a big disaster, kicking things like that... and, suddenly, the world turns black & white. Not because of Gardner, just another attack of the aliens, which was happening worldwide.
    • Nemesis is captured and jailed by the Soviets, and Batman wants the League to invade Russia, go to that prison and free Nemesis. Everyone else says "no", and then, Oberon announces that the president has called: a group of villains is going to attack that very same prison, and the League has been summoned to provide protection. Exactly what Batman wanted to do in the first place. Contrary to the rumors started by Blue Beetle, Batman didn't pay those villains to do this.
  • Oblivious to His Own Description: The Joker instructs to kill Rocket Red, but he's at a party. An angry Joker refuses to kill that many people just to get Rocket Red, and asks if the guy thinks he's a mass killer.
    Mook: Well... yes.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Ambassador Heimlich, who fired many members of both teams and intended to rule the League with an iron fist. He was outed as a spy of the Queen Bee.
  • Oh, No... Not Again!:
    • No, Ice, you will not be going on a date with Guy Gardner... again!
    • No, Batman, we won't send the League uninvited to Soviet airspace... again!
    • No, villains, you won't turn the League into wood... again!
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: If someone has to go through some embarrassing situation, be sure that someone will bring it up afterwards.
  • One-Hit KO: In Justice League #5, Guy Gardner challenges Batman for leadership of the League. Bats ends it with ONE PUNCH, to the delight of the other Leaguers.
  • Only Sane Man: Batman originally, followed by Martian Manhunter once Bats started appearing less frequently. Captain Atom filled this role once the League split and he went to Europe. Hawkman as well.
  • People Puppets: Happened several times.
    • The Grey Man controlled Captain Marvel and fought against the Martian Manhunter, who took him down hard (not realizing that Marvel was freed seconds ago).
    • Starro, of course, is a JLA classic, and controlled the JLE, the Martian Manhunter and all of Britain (except the Clash and the Sex Pistols), before being defeated by Ice.
    • Dreamslayer controls Maxwell Lord and many members of both Leagues, until his spirit is killed by the Silver Sorceress.
    • Queen Bee uses this on many Bialyans, the Global Guardians and other influential people she could capture.
    • And yes, Maxwell Lord had this power. But, contrary to the Maxwell Lord seen in DC since Countdown to Infinite Crisis, he hardly ever used it (especially since it's really difficult for him). The first time, he manipulated Blue Beetle without even being aware he had such power. He used it to make the Huntress join the League (which was indeed wrong, but he realized it himself and let her go). He used it on a girl he liked to begin talking (just that). And hardly anything else (the things done under the control of Dreamslayer don't count).
  • Played for Laughs: Manga Khan plays most tropes associated with megalomaniac villains for laughs: pompous speeches, unneeded shouts, monologuing, stock phrases...
    L-Ron: Sir, the shields have fallen.
    Manga Khan: WHAT?!
    L-Ron: I said that the shields have fallen.
    Manga Khan: I heard you! It was a rhetoric 'what', stupid!
  • Playing with Fire: Green fire, at that. Fire became a feminine expy of the Human Torch.
  • Powered Armor: The Rocket Reds are Soviet soldiers equipped with power armor
  • President Evil: A recurring enemy was Rumaan Harjavti, dictator of the Fictional Country of Bialya. Harjavti was killed by Queen Bee, who became the new dictator, and Arch-Enemy of the JLE. She was killed at the Grand Finale by Rumaan's identical twin brother, Sumaan.
  • Rambling Old Man Monologue: General Glory spends most of his time narrating his old anecdotes with FDR and in World War II. J'onn suggested he write a book of his memoirs... and save those memories for the book.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Cap Atom. Early, Power Girl was injured fighting the Grey Man. Catherine, who at that point was still Cap's secretary, decided to go over his head and order a very dangerous surgery performed, as that was the only way to save Power Girl's life; Cap had been unable to bring himself to give the order because he was afraid it would kill her. She assumed that Cap would be furious and was prepared to tender her resignation. Instead, he just told her that she had made the right call and thanked her for doing it.
  • Remember the New Guy?: General Glory, a Captain America parody. Justified since knowledge of his existence was actively suppressed by the government, leading most people to assume he was just a comic book character.
  • The Resenter: When Superman is revived and back to full power, the League immediately runs to him and asks him to return to the team. However, when Superman turned them down due to being occupied with the state of things during his supposed death, they took it quite hard. Maxima snaps at him when he comes running for help in Superman/Doomsday: Hunter/Prey.
  • Running Gag: Had its share:
    • Animal Man could never find a useful animal to use with his powers.
    • Batman always seemed to disappear when the group acted really crazy/immature. In one case, he left after just having the day's events described to him.
    • Martian Manhunter became addicted to caviar and Oreos, using the Oreos to dip into the caviar.
  • Reassigned to Antarctica: The Injustice League, after trying for One Last Job only to end up foiling a robbery by a group of terrorists at the same location, decide to go straight and turn to the JLI for help. Max decides that since things tend to go insane when they get involved, he would bring them on using this trope, literally reassigning them to Antarctica and packing G'nort away. This goes about as well as you'd expect, with mutant penguins attacking within days of the new branch starting, though Major Disaster does end up beating them with an avalanche when both branches of the JLI couldn't... albeit destroying JLAntarctica's headquarters in the process
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Quite a few moments:
    • Batman would leave the team after issue #13 due to their fight with the Suicide Squad. He'd come back briefly (unexplained), then leave again.
    • Hawkman and Hawkwoman would leave after issue #24 due to how annoying the team is.
    • Booster Gold would quit the team to start up the Conglomerate.
  • Sickening Sweethearts: Scott and Barda would often engage in this, along with frequent allusions to their active and healthy sex life.
  • Shoo Out the New Guy:
    • Dr. Light (the female one, from Crisis on Infinite Earths) was supposed to be a member of the team, being featured at the front page of the first issue and all. But she played a very minor role, wasn't even in costume, and left at the beginning of the 4th issue. Then, she returned at the Grand Finale... only to play an even smaller role and leave again. (She got slightly more to do when she joined the JLE.)
    • Dr. Fate does this twice. He's also on the cover of the first issue and barely appears after that. About half an issue is dedicated to Fate (now with a female body) rejoining the League, but again, she almost never shows up after that.
  • Shout-Out: During the stealth mission in Bialya, Blue Beetle is given the civilian name George Bailey. Doubles as a Stealth Pun, since this would make him Beetle Bailey.
  • Signature Laugh: Both heroes and villains would let out a loud "BWA-HA-HA-HA-HA!"
  • Slice of Life: Often a source of humor in the series: it treated its characters as real people with quirks and flaws that we don't associate with superheroes. Even Martian Manhunter gained an addiction for... Oreos. (especially with caviar.)
    • Another recurring subplot was Blue Beetle and Booster Gold constantly being broke. The two would either do freelance hero jobs or attempt grand get-rich-quick schemes to make money.
    • As noted under Big Eater, Beetle constantly struggled with his weight.
  • Small Role, Big Impact: Not intentional from the JLI, but Hawkman and Hawkgirl made just a brief cameo, and it later become the main source of the convoluted Hawk-snarl of the nineties.
  • Smash the Symbol: So, first issue of a comic book making fun out of comic book tropes... who should they fight first? What about a terrorist threatening to blow up the United Nations? Nobody did that the previous three months...
  • The Spock: First Batman, and then the Martian Manhunter for the most time. Did you think that the Vulcan Tuvok from Star Trek: Voyager had a difficult time dealing with Neelix? He did not endure a small fraction of the things that J'onn had to endure.
  • Spoiler Opening: Max Lord had suddenly woken up from the coma. Someone has stolen the robots of the Extremists. At the end of the comic book, we find out that Lord has awakened because Dreamslayer has possessed his body. This should have been a huge reveal... if it wasn't openly announced on the comic book cover.
  • Start My Own: At one point, Booster Gold gets tired of being the butt of jokes and allies himself with the ex-wife of Max Lord to start The Conglomerate. The team falls apart during the Breakdowns storyline, but the ex-wife goes on to create two other teams.
  • Starter Villain: John Charles Collins, a terrorist leading an attack on the United Nations, who kills himself upon being thwarted in the first issue.
  • Straw Fan: Hawkman when he was part of the team. Sometimes he would complain about how goofy his teammates were and talk about how the old Justice League was nothing like them.
  • Straw Feminist: Black Canary. To some degree, Power Girl as well, though she would be just as pissed at the women for letting themselves be victimized.
  • Super Zeroes: Played with.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Deconstructed. A secret villain organization captures the ugly cat, installs a camera in his eye, and returns him to the embassy, so that they can learn the secrets of the Justice League Europe! Or not. After that expensive operation, they spent months watching the cat drinking water from the toilet, playing in the garbage, sleeping at weird places, trying to eat Blue Jay, etc, etc.
  • Take Over the World: That's what Rumaan Harjavti wants to do... or, at least, take over half the world, and work from that point.
  • Take That!:
    • One of the Manhunter robots try to crash the ship at an oil refinery, but the Rocket Reds stop him and he crashes on the oil refinery alone. Then, his basic frame gets out of the explosion, same as the Terminator. Booster Gold blows him into pieces.
    • Hawkman was one toward the Silver Age in general. He became so disgusted with the brash, crude nature of his teammates that he quit the League in a matter of days.
      Hawkman: "Hell"?! Did you just say "hell"?! In all my life, I've never heard Hal Jordan say "hell"!
    • Dr. Fate's jab about SoCal being made up of mindless drones with no free will like the zombie-like people he was attacked by.
  • Talking Is a Free Action: General Glory is capable of giving a speech about the value of the American three powers while falling to his death.
  • Ugly Guy, Hot Wife: Fire is shown going out with Oberon occasionally.
  • Would Hit a Girl: When he met the League, time-traveler Booster Gold defeated the Royal Flush Gang all by himself. When only Ten remains, she asks if he would dare hit a girl.
    Booster Gold: Well... You see, it's like this... *decks her* Where I come from equality of the sexes is a given, so we can hit anyone.

Tropes applying to the 2011 series:

  • Aborted Arc:
    • While investigating one of the Signalmen, Gavril is zapped by it, but doesn't seem to remember. An issue later, he's killed and this never comes up again.
    • The annual that closes the issue has a Future Booster Gold tell Present Booster Gold that the remnants of the JLI will reform into the Global Guardians and be better than the JLI ever were. As of 2021, the Global Guardians have not made any appearance.
  • Abusive Precursors: The now-gone alien race who made the Signalmen designed them to destroy any planet they didn't find met their standards.
  • Arc Villain: Peraxxus, the Starter Villain for the team.
  • Cassandra Truth: Nobody believes Booster's claim he's from the future.
  • Cowardly Lion: Godiva, whose experience prior to joining the team was taking down extremely low-level street threats. She's massively out of her depths with giant alien killer robots.
  • Darker and Edgier: It's the New 52. No "Bwa-ha-ha"ing to be found here.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: At the end of issue 6, Breakdown has his people set off a bomb right underneath the JLI, killing Gavril, Emerson Briggs and Emerson Esposito all at once.
  • Gainax Ending: The annual. Just after Brother Eye is driven off, time suddenly stops as a future Booster Gold appears to tell his present self something bad is coming, apparently to do with Superman and Wonder Woman kissing. He suddenly vanishes from existence, followed by regular Booster.
  • Game-Breaking Injury: Vixen's injuries in the bombing are supposedly so bad she may never recover. She did, in fact, recover.
  • Headbutting Heroes:
    • Rocket Red and August General in Iron have some mutual bickering, thanks to the bad blood between their countries.
    • Guy Gardner really doesn't like Booster Gold, and makes sure everyone knows as such at least once or twice an issue.
  • Hope Spot: The annual. After the metric crap-ton the team goes through it looks like everything's on the up. Then OMAC is taken over by Brother Eye, and badly injures August General. Booster admits he was lying, and there's no-one supporting the team at all.
  • Let's You and Him Fight: OMAC attacks the JLI because Interjek scrambles with his head.
  • Mood Whiplash: The end of issue 6. It looks like the team have managed to scrape together some approval from the UN, and have a moderately successful press conference. Then the issue ends with a bomb going off beneath their feet.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Chairman Bao of the UN is completely opposed to the idea of the JLI at all, but after issue 6 she really steps it up a notch, forbidding the team via legal writ from operating again and declaring that if they try to do so anything, she will personally ruin them.
  • Planet Looters: Peraxxus goes around finding planets seeded with Signalmen, then destroying them to sell the remains on the intergalactic market.
  • Villain: Exit, Stage Left: Peraxxus flees when the JLI defeat him, vowing to return. He hasn't so far.