DC's New Justice League Inspired By Super Friends Cartoon?

The comics building up to Scott Snyder's new Justice League series seem more than a little similar to stories of the cartoon Super Friends.

Super Friends Cartoon Art

Warning: SPOILERS For Justice League: No Justice #4 and Green Arrow Annual #2.

It seems that legendary writer Scott Snyder is drawing heavily off of the classic Super Friends cartoon in developing his new Justice League. This may not seem to be much of a revelation, given previous reports that Snyder would be bringing The Legion of Doom (the group of villains led by Lex Luthor who were the main antagonists of the Super Friends in later seasons) into the mainstream DC Comics universe.

But recent events suggest Snyder has been drawing far more deeply from this well of inspiration than was previously apparent.

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The first hint of the influence came in Justice League: No Justice #1, where the villain Brainiac gathered a collection of the universe's most powerful heroes and villains (including members of the Justice League, Titans and Teen Titans) to face a new threat known as The Omega Titans. Brainiac described the Omega Titans as beings of legend, born of the four fundamental energies that built the universe.

The wording is different, but the description is quite similar to the introduction of the first season of Super Friends"created from the cosmic legends of the universe."

The second issue of Justice League: No Justice saw Green Arrow as the last hero on Earth, or at least the only one capable of responding after most of Earth's superheroes left behind by Brainiac were placed into comas. Green Arrow Annual #2 explores this story in more detail, showing how Oliver Queen stood his ground against one of Brainiac's drone ships and tracked down those responsible for the psychic attack that left Earth defenseless.

The idea of Green Arrow as the last hero on Earth when The Justice League is sidelined resembles a first season episode of Super Friends, "Gulliver's Gigantic Goof." Notable as the only episode of Super Friends in which The Emerald Archer made an appearance, the story involved a well-meaning but overenthusiastic scientist named Dr. Gulliver, who attempted to solve the problems of overpopulation with a shrink ray that reduced adult humans to a height of two inches. When all of the core Superfriends were captured by Dr. Gulliver, Green Arrow was summoned by the junior Super Friends, Wendy and Marvin, to come to their rescue.

But perhaps the most overt tribute to Super Friends yet came in the conclusions of both Justice League: No Justice #4 and Green Arrow Annual #2. Both books feature a scene in which Martian Manhunter entrusts Oliver Queen with the ownership of a box. The contents of the box are not described, beyond J'onn J'onzz saying it contains "the key to destroying The Justice League should the need arise."

The idea of a box containing something that could destroy the entire Justice League lay at the heart of the Challenge Of The Super Friends episode "Super Friends: Rest In Peace." The episode introduced Noxium - a crystalline element similar to Kryptonite, composed of all of the elements which weakened the members of The Justice League. The Legion of Doom was able to acquire the last Noxium crystal on Earth, but found their plans to destroy The Super Friends thwarted after they mistakenly used the crystal on a series of robot doubles.

While it may seem far-fetched that Scott Snyder might go so far as to introduce something like Noxium into the mainstream DC Comics continuity, his previous mini-series - Dark Nights: Metal - was entirely built around the strange elements unique to the DC Comics Universe, such as Nth Metal and Prometheium. That series also included a rather indirect reference to Teen Titans Go!, with Cyborg drawing inspiration from "a certain song" to psych himself up during a key battle.

The one certainty is that Justice League fans everywhere will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of Justice League #1 in a few weeks.

Justice League: No Justice #4 and Green Arrow Annual #2 are now available from DC Comics.

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