Boycott Hollywood reports that things have changed in the Justice League:

AOL Time Warner, via its subsidiary D.C. Comics, has issued a comic book called ‘Justice League of America.’ The thing has a less than comical, eerily familiar plot.

Somehow the villain, Lex Luthor, has snagged the job of president of the United States. And President Luthor plans to pre-emptively strike a country called Qurac. Hmmm, wonder which country that̢۪s supposed to make us think of.

Superheroes, including the venerable Batman and Superman, oppose the military action.

In the comic book, Superman launches into the following Sean Penn-like oration: “We exist . . . because those with the power to stop injustice simply must. With clarity, compassion, and truth as their most powerful weapons. We can show them a better way, I know we can. Armed conflict may be an option, and I will support it . . . if the truth is clear, and the cause is just. But I will know the truth, and I will not feel ashamed or be called un-American for demanding it.”

Oh, boy.

The amusing thing is that this makes J. Jonah Jameson, General “Thunderbolt” Ross, and the other standard “superheroes are vigilantes” characters right.* Whether one’s view of war in “Quarac,” the last thing we’d want is to have superheroes come in and decide for us? Indeed, wouldn’t the way to prevent war be to, oh, I dunno, send Superman out to capture the DC universe’s Saddam Hussein? To join the UN inspectors with his mighty X-ray vision and help look for hidden WMD?

Yes, I know I’m switching from DC to Marvel. I can’t think of any comparable characters in the DC universe, although the vigilante theme was always prevalent in the Batman books.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Kevin Drum says:

    This doesn’t affect your basic comment, but just so that everyone knows the background here, Lex Luthor has been president for a couple of years now in comic book land.

    Needless to say, Superman is not amused.

  2. James Joyner says:

    Man, how out of touch am I?

    I haven’t really read comics for the past five or six years. I know Marvel has started from scratch a couple of times but don’t know much more than that.

  3. John Lemon says:

    They made Captain America into a total wus too.

    What happened to the comic industry? Don’t they know who their marketing base are?

  4. Matthew says:

    Present-day comic book writers are, with a few exceptions, a cohort who went through high school hating Reagan and “traditional America.” It used to be that a comic anti-hero was someone who went outside the law to deal with those villains the law lacked sufficient means or the will to deal with. (Hmm, sounds like Bush removing Saddam.) Nowadays, however, the anti-heroes (and heroes, too) deny there are villains at all — we’ve seen the Chomsky-fication of comics, and it’s sad.

  5. Leroy says:

    If that is so, then I am surely glad I stopped collecting comics when the Crisis on Infinite Earths was finally shaking itself out. From the little bit that I have read about the industry lately, I suspect that the overwhelming cost of following DC and Marvel is certainly not worth the money spent.

    I know it is all fiction, but given that, if you think we have problems, try imagining living in a comic book universe. Makes our reality downright pleasant in comparison. I would really really hate to be a resident of say Gotham or even Metropolis.