The Justice League is one of the most famous superhero groups ever and the most important one in DC Comics’ fictional universe. Present in the world of comics since 1960. The Justice League has included a diversified roster that has saved the world numerous times. Still, despite knowing about the League’s exploits, people tend to wonder about the group’s leadership, asking themselves this: who is the actual leader of the Justice League? Well, I’m going to answer that question for you.
The leader(s) of the Justice League
There is no official act that defines the leader of the Justice League, so – theoretically – the issue is an open one and is debatable. Still, based on the history of the group and the franchise, it is difficult to determine the character(s) that have most often been in charge of the group.
We have to state that the leader’s status doesn’t bring any specific benefits within the League. The leader doesn’t control the other members; he is mostly in charge of organization, tactics, and motivation, but all of the members have an equal say in the decisions, with the leader making the final call if the members cannot agree. So, who is the leader?
As you can see from the gallery above, the leader of the Justice League is usually depicted as being in the center. This gallery shows us how the leadership has changed over the years and how different members have led the League at different times. We are almost certain that each of the members led the League at one point in time.
The most common leader, though, is Superman. The Man of Steel was usually the founder of the Justice League, and due to being its most powerful member and most noble (in the sense that he embodies what traditional heroism is considered to be), he has most often led the League both in times of peace and war. Today, though, Superman is considered to be the leader of the Justice League in times of peace, mostly because Batman – who takes up the position in times of war – is a better tactician than the Last Son of Krypton.
The last sentence brings us to Batman, who is the second most common leader of the League. Batman is an excellent tactician and is by far the most intelligent core member of the League. Still, Batman is – due to his secluded, introverted nature – not a natural leader, and he is usually unwilling to do it. He usually takes up the leadership during times of war since he’s the most skilled in planning and tactics. Batman is rarely depicted as the founder of the League (usually, he reluctantly joins at a later point). Still, in the DCEU, he is shown to have founded the organization alongside Wonder Woman.
Other leaders of Justice League
The other core members have also led the League at one point in time, but each of them has some flaw that makes them less capable of the title of leader.
As for Wonder Woman and Aquaman, they are royalty and are natural-born leaders. In that aspect, they have excellent leadership skills and are great candidates for the leadership position (even if we disregard the fact that Aquaman has been a mock character for most of his comic book history). Still, both of them have severe anger management issues and are prone to outbursts that could cause problems for the group.
Flash and Green Lantern (the Hal Jordan iteration of the character) are extremely powerful but are exceptionally reckless and immature. They are both very childish and tend to reckless behavior that often endangers them, which are not great leadership qualities. This is why they are not great candidates for the leadership of the League.
As for Cyborg, he does have both the powers and the intelligence, but he lacks the experience. He is younger than the other members and often associated with the Teen Titans, where he’s also not the leader. So, despite his qualities, the lack of experience does disqualify him from being the leader of such an important group.
Finally, Martian Manhunter also has the necessary qualities and is, in many ways, the best candidate for the job. He is extremely powerful and highly intelligent. He lives in the Tower and considers the League to be his family. He is also quite calm and a great tactician, which puts him on par with Superman and Batman.
So, why is Martian Manhunter not the leader? Well, you’ll have to ask the writers about that, but it’s most likely because he’s not as famous as either Superman or Batman, and such an important group needs to have a popular and well-known leader.
Have anything to add? I would like to hear your thoughts in the comments below!