Justice League Movies: What Stories From the Comics Could Work?

While Marvel’s The Avengers featured an entirely new story never before seen in the comic books, [...]

While Marvel's The Avengers featured an entirely new story never before seen in the comic books, its sequel appears poised to adapt Jim Starlin's Marvel Comics classic The Infinity Gauntlet. While that will leave moviegoers scrambling to pick up copies of the trade paperback to see who's who in the story they're about to view in 2015, there's another 2015 superhero film that's on everybody's mind. What will Justice League do? The smart money says they'll follow The Avengers' lead and do something that isn't too slavish to the source material. Then again, the smart money said they would have built to the film first, rather than trying to start their cinematic universe by looking at the competition and saying, "They just made the most ambitious, riskiest film ever made. I can top it." So if it were up to us, what stories would they consider as potential Justice League movies? New World Order Grant Morrison and Howard Porter crafted a run on JLA that's still the envy of nearly ever writer ever to work on the characters. Their first arc, in which Martian Manhunter led the League against a group of bloodthirsty, shape-shifting aliens from his own world, would probably work best as a sequel, since it relies on a basic understanding of the DC Universe and many of its characters…but there are a lot of people who aren't necessarily confident that a Justice League feature film can do what The Avengers did in terms of money, and that makes it tempting to go all-in on this one.

Origin Geoff Johns and Jim Lee's first arc aboard the relaunched, New 52 Justice League title was very clearly written with the idea in mind that it could be adapted to a feature film. With the world's greatest heroe facing down DC's most formidable villain and an army of his minions in the middle of a city, the story might not have the greatness of some of the others on this list but it did have important roles for characters like Cyborg and Batman who might easily get lost in the shuffle in the midst of a big superhero smackdown featuring Superman and Wonder Woman. World War III That's Grant Morrison's version, not the one that got tacked onto the end of 52. A massive alien invasion story again, this one has the extra added bonus of the League recruiting everyone—literally, everyone!--on the planet to help them at the end. It's a bit hokey to play on the big screen, probably, but if they could find a way to work it in the script, it could make for some amazing visuals.

Tower of Babel Wow, let's just get the obvious out of the way—this run on the series was something else, wasn't it? Warner Premiere already did a direct-to-video, animated feature film that played with this story a bit, but it was truncated for the DC Universe 70-minute format. Really exploring and fleshing out the story, including possibly incorporating the Brother Eye satellite into it as a way of keeping that possibility open for a sequel, would be a fascinating way of working around the fact that this movie will have to do so many things. For all intents and purposes, it would not only show why Batman is so formidable in a crowd of people with powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men—but it would all but eliminate the need for any "real" villain in the film, leaving more screen time for the League members who have to be introduced in this film since Warner Brothers doesn't appear as though they're using the Marvel method of building to the film with other, smaller films first. The Secret Society of Super-Villains This one's the obvious one, isn't it? It's almost impossible to do, in the sense that it's the opposite of Tower of Babel and you'd end up introducing 20 characters all in the same movie. Still, it's difficult to pitch for a Justice League movie and not at least briefly consider the idea of Cheetah, Joker, Luthor and Sinestro standing shoulder to shoulder, squaring off against the League. And…a bonus idea! A New Beginning This would never happen. I mean, the Legion of Doom idea is theoretically plausible as something that the studio might try and approach, but adapting the Giffen-DeMatteis Justice League to the big screen is (sadly) something we won't see in our lifetime. That said, can you imagine how much fun it would be to see the old "one punch" in a movie theater? I'd pay for that.