The Justice Lords were an alternate universe version of the Justice League.
In a universe parallel to that of the Justice League's universe, President Lex Luthor's unjust execution of the Flash caused the super-hero team of that universe to go rogue. Though this team called itself the Justice Lords (rather than the Justice League) since its inception, it, too, was composed of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, John Stewart, Hawkgirl, and J'onn J'onzz, and (until Luthor became President) both teams apparently shared the same history.
After Superman killed President Luthor, the Justice Lords reorganized itself into a planet-wide ruling body, quickly beginning a program of protecting humanity from itself. Free speech was all but dead, elections were chosen only when the Lords said so and the slightest disturbance of the peace meant immediate arrest. Many of the rogues that the Lords had faced in the past were lobotomized by Superman's heat vision to make them peaceful and harmless. The rogues were then placed in an updated and pleasant-looking Arkham Asylum run by the Joker, who had become harmless after undergoing the "treatment" himself. Also during this period, the costumes of the Justice Lords underwent extensive changes.
The Justice Lords meet the Justice League
Once Earth was peaceful, Batman developed an interdimensional transport device which allowed him to view universes parallel to his own. The first universe he found was that of the Justice League, where his and the Lords' counterparts continued to battle Lex Luthor, the Flash was still alive, and they had not instilled order via harsh rule. Deciding to force their brand of order on the League's universe as well, the Justice Lords tricked and captured the League, imprisoning them in the Lords' universe while the Lords took their place, with the exception of Batman, who stayed behind to keep order.
Soon after their capture, the Justice League escaped and, with the help of Batman, who had been convinced of the wrongness of his and the Lords' actions, returned to their own universe. After gaining the assistance of Luthor in creating an energy disruptor, the five Justice Lords were stripped of their abilities and returned to their own universe.
Despite this victory, the actions of the Justice Lords continued to plague the Justice League in the years to come, serving as a constant reminder of what could happen if they went too far. The rampage of the Justice Lords precipitated the creation of Project Cadmus (although some of their projects had been in production even before the incident). The League also took great pains to recruit the politically-active Green Arrow when the Justice League expanded in the wake of the Thanagarian invasion. The League hoped he would serve as their political conscience and appropriately, he was instrumental in preventing a dangerous overreaction by the League when Cadmus captured and tortured the Question and tricked Captain Atom into serving them and thus fighting Superman, who was forced to beat Atom into unconsciousness to subdue him.
In the final hours of the Cadmus Crisis, the fused form of Lex Luthor and Brainiac created android replicas of the Justice Lords to battle the seven founding Justice League members. The androids were, however, destroyed in the ensuing battle.
Appearances and references
- "The Doomsday Sanction" (Mentioned Only)
- "Question Authority" (Mentioned Only)
- "Divided We Fall" (Android Replicas)