The Justice League lives … in essence

The Justice League is dead… or are they? The official line from DC and Dark Crisis writer Joshua Williamson is that there is no Justice League, but certain characters in the DC Universe – mainly Nightwing – aren’t so convinced. And in a new interview with Newsarama, Williamson reveals that the Justice League are technically dead, but their essences live on thanks to Pariah’s under-construction multiverse.

Worlds Without a Justice League #1-5 comprise a series of one-shots that take place on alternate worlds where the dead Justice League members are being held hostage in what Williamson describes as “happiness prisons.” Each hero has a different experience on their particular world, but one thing remains true for them all: Their essence is the core of their world, which means they’ll be trapped forever – or at least as long as Pariah wants to keep them in his clutches. 

Worlds Without a Justice League: Wonder Woman # cover

Worlds Without a Justice League: Wonder Woman # cover (Image credit: DC Comics)

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Williamson began laying the groundwork for Worlds Without a Justice League in Infinite Frontier #6, wherein Barry Allen meets Pariah and is consequently killed. Pariah uses Barry’s essence to create a Silver Age-like world, and during Dark Crisis, Wally West will take the entire Flash family to attempt to rescue Barry. According to Williamson, all members of the dead Justice League now have their own worlds – but escape or rescue won’t be so easy.

“[Pariah is] warned that Justice League Incarnate is going to bring back heroes from Earth-0 to fight him, and he says that’s what he wants. He basically Crisis’ed out the Justice League, so he killed them but then he takes their essences to build all these new worlds. That’s what all these one-shots are,” Williamson explains. 

“You have Superman’s world, Batman’s world, Wonder Woman’s, Green Lantern’s, and so on and so forth. Everyone has these fully fleshed-out worlds and it allows us to tell stories on those worlds, like: Do some of them realize they’re trapped there? What happens when they realize it? Are some so happy there they never want to leave? There are some who realize what’s going on and they remember dying, so they’re like, ‘Is this heaven for me?’ All the characters explore in different ways.

“I told all the [Worlds Without a Justice League anthology] writers, ‘Just have fun. Don’t be sad. Have fun and maybe put some new toys in there and explore some stuff.'” Williamson continues, “They’re happiness prisons, so there’s a twist to it, right? It can’t just be simple. It can’t be easy. In some cases, they’re trying to escape them, so when they try to escape, those worlds turn on them. … They are the world. It’s not just a matter of grabbing and yanking them and dropping them someplace.”

Worlds Without a Justice League: Wonder Woman #1 variant cover

Worlds Without a Justice League: Wonder Woman #1 variant cover (Image credit: DC Comics)

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So on a surface level, the Justice League is dead. But in actuality, their essences are being used to power entire worlds, where some version of them also exists, and can potentially escape or be rescued. Williamson says readers will be surprised by where the Justice League ends up at the end of Dark Crisis, but it seems likely the team will be returned to Earth-0 – older and more traumatized, to be sure, but likely whole.

Worlds Without a Justice League: Superman #1 kicks off the one-shot anthology series in July. Stay tuned for more coverage of Dark Crisis and what really happened to the Justice League.

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