Super Hero Bowl I: Justice League vs. The Defenders
Today, the Peyton Manning-led Denver Broncos will take on the Seattle Seahawks’ Legion of Boom defense in Super Bowl XLVIII. Taking inspiration from that match-up, we’ve set up the Superman-led Justice League against the aptly named Defenders in a knockdown drag-out fight in our first annual Super Hero Bowl.
The origins of the Justice League have differed through the years, with the most recent version appearing in the New 52 re-launch of the Justice League’s ongoing series. This latest genesis of the League came together slowly, as heroes gathered to investigate and fight off a Parademon invasion. The founders of this Justice League included Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Cyborg, and it would take the full force of their combined might to take down the alien army and their commander, Darkseid.
One of the most interesting Justice League stories, Tower of Babel, was adapted into the well-received animated film Justice League: Doom. In the movie, the immortal villain Vandal Savage manages to hack into the Batcomputer and steals the Dark Knight’s contingency plans for taking down the Leaguers in case they ever went rogue. Initially, Savage’s Legion of Doom proved successful, but Batman was eventually able to rescue the subdued members of the League with the aid of Cyborg, and the heroes defeated their nemeses.
“Founded” when Dr. Strange manipulated the Incredible Hulk and Atlantean Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner into helping him battle a legion of demons known as the Undying Ones, the Defenders were at first a very informal group of heroes that didn’t particularly care for one another. Over the years, the team would solidify and add mainstays including Silver Surfer, Nighthawk, Valkyrie, and Son of Satan. At one point Hulk, Strange, Namor, and the Silver Surfer were mystically bound to reunite to defend Earth whenever it was in danger.
After the super hero Civil War, a new team of Defenders led by Nighthawk was assigned to New Jersey as part of the 50-State Initiative. Comprising of an unusual lineup the initially had Blazing Skull and She-Hulk, the team clashed with strange and powerful foes including the Sons of the Serpent and U-Man in addition to their own dysfunction. In the end, the team was officially disbanded as part of the Initiative, but Nighthawk reformed the Defenders in his own way to better protect the people of the Garden State.
Who will win the battle between DC’s favorite sons and daughters and the underdog heroes of the Defenders? Vote in our poll to decide the outcome, and enjoy the Super Bowl!