The Justice League or Justice League of America (JLA) is arguably the most well-known superhero team in comics next to Marvel’s Avengers and includes DC Comic’s most notable heroes among its roster. Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, The Flash…the Justice League‘s ranks are overflowing with comic icons. While the core group is about as great a team as you can get, they’ve also had a revolving door of team members over the years…and not all have been winners. Any superhero team that has counted well over 50 members among its ranks at one time or another is bound to have had some duds, but some are so unquestionably awful, it makes one wonder what DC writers were thinking when they approved some of these clunkers. The following 10 superheroes may have official Justice League status, but that doesn’t mean they deserve to stand alongside the likes of Batman. If anything, they belong on the superhero history scrap heap.
10. Tasmanian Devil
When your character is the subject of a popular fan-made origin meant to mock the ridiculousness of the character in question, you know you’re dealing with a subpar creation. The Tasmanian Devil, AKA Hugh Dawkins, is a metahuman with the ability to transform into a giant Tasmanian Devil, with all the powers that come along with such a superpower (basically super strength and having claws and teeth). Tasmanian Devil is just one of those characters that makes you scratch your head and assume that, during the character creation process, all of the good animal-themed superhero ideas were already taken. To be fair, Tasmanian Devil met one of the most fitting ends possible for such a character, as the villain Prometheus skinned him and made his pelt into a rug. In typical comic retcon fashion however, ‘Tas’ was later resurrected, causing all five Tasmanian Devil fans to collectively roar in approval.
9. Ambush Bug
If you’re trying to picture what DC’s version of Deadpool might look like, Ambush Bug is probably not what springs to mind (unless he does, in which case, you sure know your comic lore). Ambush Bug was apparently intentionally created to be ridiculous and it’s not hard to argue that creator Keith Giffen pulled this off. Whereas Deadpool can actually be cool when used properly and fits in aesthetically with Marvel’s other characters, Ambush Bug is somehow more annoying than a real bug. His limited abilities consist of poorly-explained teleportation powers and the not-so-super ability to annoy everyone around him. Nobody other than masochists want to see their favorite superheroes having to spend their time essentially swatting a man-sized bug away and overall, Ambush Bug ends up being one of those jokes that was funny at first, but becomes less so the more you see (and hear) it. Basically, Ambush Bug is the Be Sharps of the Justice League.
Look, we get that Vibe has been significantly improved lately thanks largely to the New 52 line and his prominent role on The Flash TV series, but it doesn’t change the fact that for most of his DC comics tenure, Vibe has been one of the universe’s worst characters and fittingly, one of the worst Justice League members. Vibe, AKA Francisco “Cisco” Ramon, was created in the 1980s as a thinly-veiled attempt to cash in on breakdancing and the growing interest surrounding Latin-American culture at the time. Vibe fit the bill, being a breakdancing Spanish superhero who hit upon pretty much every stereotype you could think of (former gang member, womanizer, club rat…the list goes on). While his sonic shockwave powers are admittedly pretty decent (and have been used well in recent comic arcs), it was more a blessing than anything when the original incarnation of Vibe was eventually killed off.
The blueprint for how not to write a superhero origin story, Bloodwynd is one of those superheroes that should have never made it past the conceptual stage. Bloodwynd’s origins start out promising enough, being descended from a group of African-American slaves, but things break down completely once old blood curses and demons are brought into the picture. When you need to start drawing a diagram to make sense of a character’s origins, you know something has gone wrong. Besides having an overly-complicated backstory, Bloodwynd suffers from just not being very interesting: he’s a necromancer who gains his powers from death energy, yet another in a long list of poorly-defined DC universe laws that hand powers out like they’re going out of style. Plus, nothing labels your character as obviously pandering to certain groups of readers than using the word ‘blood’ in the name (the blood magic/occult base is a pretty lucrative niche).
When critics point to comics as a misogynist medium, it’s characters like Maxima that help prove their point. Maxima is an alien who tries to seduce Earth’s mightiest heroes in order to mate with them and create strong genetic offspring. Her primary reason for joining the Justice League was to get it on with Superman and when she failed to do so, she joined a team literally called the “Superman Revenge Squad” to get back at him. For better or worse, Maxima was depicted as a homosexual in DC’s New 52 universe, having been exiled from her home world because she refused to copulate heterosexually. We’re not really sure if this is an improvement or not (although having an openly gay character is a plus), as her identity is still defined by her sexual orientation and desires, as she tries way too hard to seduce Supergirl. Either way, having no real purpose beyond trying to sexually ensnare various members of the Justice League is a pretty deplorable superpower and characterization in general.
In the long and bizarre history of human-animal hybrid superheroes, G’nort might actually be worse than Marvel’s Squirrel Girl, which should give you a good indication of how far down the superhero totem pole this humanoid dog sits. Originally a member of the Green Lantern Corps. (gee, they’ll take anyone, won’t they?), G’nort eventually became a member of Justice League Antarctica, which by name alone indicates how meaningless it is in the overall JL hierarchy. G’nort was clearly created as a joke character, as his overall inepitude and stupidity are his primary character traits. Unsurprisingly, G’nort’s gross incompetence as both a superhero and living being have endeared him to certain subsets of comic readers, but that doesn’t change the fact that he’s still a pretty terrible member of the Justice League.
At first glance, Faith looks very similar to Marvel’s Jean Grey, as both characters have powerful telekinetic and psychic abilities. Unfortunately for Faith, that’s where the comparison to the much better developed X-Men team member end, as she is undermined by arguably one of the most laughable superpowers imaginable. You see, Faith has what is called the “confidence aura” at her disposal, which allows her to boost the confidence of those around her. Essentially, Faith has the power of teamwork. Where other heroes such as Captain American can inspire his teammates through his natural leadership abilities, Faith has to rely on a flimsy psychic ability to have the same result. This has the surely unintentional (?) effect of making Faith a weak female character, something that comic books and fiction in general already have too much of. No matter how much Batman seems to respect her, it doesn’t mean she’s any less unfit to be a part of the Justice League.
3. Blue Jay
The DC universe has no shortage of bird-themed crime fighters; unfortunately, Blue Jay is so woefully useless he actually makes Robin seem cool by comparison. Blue Jay (or Jay Abrams) first appeared in Justice League of America #87 (February 1971). Creators Mike Driedrich and Dick Dillin allegedly created him as a homage to Marvel character Yellowjacket, which would explain their similarities in powers and abilities. Whereas Yellowjacket’s powers actually have a decently developed explanation, no matter the incarnation (Yellowjacket in his current form is a villain, as seen in this summer’s Ant-Man film), Blue Jay is not given the same level of care. He can shrink to seven inches tall and grow a pair of wings, for…reasons (seriously, it’s not really explained). Dumb abilities aside, Blue Jay deserves to be remembered as an awful member of the JLA, as he spent most of his tenure with the team impotent with self-doubt.
If you’re wondering how long hair could be considered a legitimate superpower, join the club. Godiva, which inexplicably is the name of three separate characters all with the same terrible superpower, literally has the power to maker her hair do things: it can grow, grab objects, harden into a blunt object, and turn into wings, among other silly uses. Godiva is such a poorly-conceived superhero that even her story arcs are half-baked. For evidence of just how low Godiva has sank in terms of storytelling, a recent run actually saw her hair surgically removed as part of a pop star’s devious scheme to have the hair transplanted to her scalp, in order to inherit its abilities. No wonder Godiva’s actually been known to question why the Justice League would even bother to employ her, given that she can’t exactly contribute much to a team that has Superman on its roster.
Continuing the trend of awful female comic characters, Mystek is arguably the worst thing to ever happen to the Justice League (at least in terms of membership). Seong, AKA Mystek, was a Korean-American who had the unfortunate distinction of having one of the shortest tenures as a member of the JLA. As if giving her character unheroic traits such as claustrophobia and anxiety weren’t bad enough, Mystek’s creators also saw fit to essentially eliminate her femininity completely by having her costume resemble a male physique. You know, because nothing screams “strong female” like having any semblance of that identity swept under the rug. Adding insult to injury, Mystek was also given one of the most humiliating deaths possible: while travelling through space on a mission with the JLA, Mystek’s claustrophobia got the better of her. She panicked and threw herself out of the ship’s airlock, only to suffocate and die. If that’s not definitive proof of Mystek’s status as the worst Justice League member ever, we’re not sure what to think.