Starro and Despero were two of the earliest threats ever faced by the Justice League of America. Starro was the first to take on the team in The Brave and the Bold #28, which was the first appearance of the Justice League. Despero later took on the League in the first issue of their ongoing series, Justice League of America #1. Both have returned several times over the years to plague the JLA again and again.
With both having claim to being the villain that made the team, we, the comic-reading public, are left to ask: which is the League’s greatest villain? Is it the inscrutable Starro or the devious Despero?
10 DESPERO: The Flame Of Pytar
As the Justice League has changed and evolved over the years, so has the villainous Despero. While he was originally a scrawny rogue who focused on his brain and telepathic powers, Despero is now a hulking beast thanks to the transformative powers of the Flame of Pytar.
Despero has changed his very being to suit his needs, and it is all intended to help him strike down the Justice League.
9 STARRO: True First Foe Of The Justice League
Starro was the foe that united the Justice League in their very first adventure. While Despero may have headlined their first issue, that isn’t quite the same as being the first true foe of the Justice League.
Starro is the centerpiece of the iconic Brave and the Bold #28 cover that sees Wonder Woman, the Flash, Green Lantern, Aquaman, and Martian Manhunter joining together for the first time to strike down a common foe.
8 DESPERO: Personal Grudge Against The League
The Starro invaded Earth as part of the species galactic mission of conquest, and the Starro has since continued that very mission.
Despero has spent every waking moment since his first encounter with the Justice League planning their demise. Despero hates the Justice League with every fiber of his being, and every decision he makes is made with their deaths in mind.
7 STARRO: Not One Enemy But An Entire Race
Even then, Despero is just one man. The Starro is an entire race of conquerors. Every Starro that attaches itself to a living being comes from a Mother Star, and the Mother Star itself is just one of countless.
The Starro is an overwhelming army of control, and their numbers outweigh even the vastest of Justice League teams.
6 DESPERO: Reborn By Sheer Hatred
Despero has actually died several times already, but his strength of will and need to see the Justice League die have kept him coming back every time. His sheer hatred allows him to resurrection each time and keeps his consciousness intact.
His hatred will last as long as the Justice League lives, and he will keep coming back until they have been destroyed.
5 STARRO: Already Conquered Earth Once
Starro has already conquered Earth on one occasion, though the action was undone. Starro took control of the time-traveling Rip Hunter and used him to go back to Avignon, France in the year 1348.
There was no one to stand against Starro in this year, so he was able to take over the world with ease. It took Booster Gold undoing the conquest before it even began to save humanity.
4 DESPERO: Took On Both The League And The Society
During one of the most popular Justice League/Justice Society crossovers, Despero and Johnny Sorrow teamed up to bring down both the JLA and the JSA. Despero was strong enough that, even without Johnny Sorrow immediately backing him up, he could battle both of Earth’s mightiest superteams.
Not only that, but the JLA and JSA also had to use wave attacks to wear down Despero before they could land the winning blow.
3 STARRO: Starro The Conqueror
While the Starro is a vast race of dangerous mind-controlling aliens, there is a singular Starro the Conqueror. He was once a member of the Hatorei species named Cobi, and he now works with the entire Starro race to conquer all life.
He is now their greatest warrior, and every Starro conquest adds to the Conqueror’s might. He can also communicate telepathically with each Starro and the species under their control to build a superpowered army that will bend to his will.
2 DESPERO: Identity Crisis And The Secret Society
After one of the Justice League’s greatest follies in Identity Crisis, Despero used his telepathic powers to inform the Secret Society of Supervillains the secret identities of the members of the Justice League.
The Secret Society once held this knowledge before having their minds wiped by the Justice League, and Despero returned that knowledge to the villains. Despero was still defeated in this encounter, but not before using the League’s greatest weakness to his advantage.
1 STARRO: Justice/Doom War And Jarro
If Dragon Ball Z has taught us anything, it’s that your greatest enemies will eventually become your best allies, and that is certainly the case with Starro. During the No Justice storyline, Starro gave his life to make sure that the Omega Titans could not end all life. However, being a starfish-like creature, a piece of Starro was able to survive and became known as “Jarro” (because he lived in a jar).
This youthful Jarro became to admire Batman and became an asset for the Justice League during their war with the Legion of Doom and Perpetua.
Between Despero and Starro, the JLA hasn't faced many villains more powerful and destructive than the two. But which one is the biggest threat?