For the first several decades of its existence, the Justice League was associated with America, that’s why it was called the Justice League of America for so long. However, there are some places in the multiverse where the heroes of the DC Universe didn’t first appear in modern America. Instead, in these universes introduced as a part of the Elseworlds line of stories, the heroes were defined by their own unique times and places.
Now, we’re diving into the DC multiverse to take a closer look at what happaned when the Justice League formed in other historical eras in the DC multiverse.
JLA: Shogun of Steel by Ben Raab and Justiniano imagines a world where the rocket containing Kal-El landed in 14th century Japan. In this time period, the dread Lord Zunou, the Shogun of Steel, became a powerful and deadly ruler. After Lord Zunou has a farm burned, a mysterious ronin appears and takes back a sword stolen from the old man who owned the farm, Toshiro. This man, Hoshi, displays amazing abilities, which attracts the attention of a brewing resistance against the Shogun. When soldiers for the Shogun raid a village, Hoshi saves the life of Komori — Hana, the leader of the rebels — who is the Batman figure of this reality. Her compatriots included the widower Poisoned Arrow (Green Arrow), Inazuma (the Flash), Taka (Hawkman) and the hard-drinking Rikichi.
As the Shogun searched for Hoshi, he trained and became a valuable warrior and protector for Japan, eventually earning the name Tekhohito – Superman. However, even after the death of his father, Hoshi refuses to kill anyone. When the Shogun’s attendant betrays the Shogun and provides the rebels a map to his castle, the group decides to attack the Shogun directly. Before the battle, Hoshi and Komori share a passionate kiss. The battle begins, and the Shogun reveals his ultimate weapon – an army of autonomous warriors and a sword forged with kryptonite and capable of shooting energy blasts.
Zunou quickly kills Taka and Inazuma. Discovering that the Shogun is actually Brainiac, Hoshi and the android have a sword duel, and Brainiac’s kryptonite blade slowly weakens Hoshi. But Hana throws herself in front of the killing blow, saving Hoshi at the cost of her own life. This gives Poisoned Arrow the chance to shoot Brainiac with an arrow, allowing Superman to attack him fully and plunge the villain into the sun. In the aftermath, Hoshi and his remaining allies decide to protect Japan from any threats external or internal.
In Justice Riders by Chuck Dixon and JH Williams III, the Justice League forms in the American Old West. After carving out a life for herself as a US Marshall in the town of Paradise, Diana Prince is horrified when she returns from catching a pair of criminals to find that Felix Faust has destroyed the town and killed her mentor, Oberon. Vowing revenge, Diana recruits a group to take the fight to Faust and his employer, the wealthy landowner Maxwell Lord.
Diana allies herself with the speedy gunslinger known as Kid Flash, a Cheyanne warrior with artificial wings that make him Hawkman, a wandering grifter calling himself Booster Gold, a kooky but gifted inventor called the Beetle and Diana’s old mysterious friend, J’onn Jones. They are also followed by the Pinkerman agent Guy Gardner, who’s trying to bring Kid Flash to justice for the death of Barry Allen. The group ends up reaching the town of El Inferno, where Lord is set up with his inventions.
The team first takes down the Lord’s robotic soldiers, then discover Lord had constructed the Lordevastor, a terrifying war machine. Diana is eventually able to turn the tide of the battle and kill Lord, stopping his plans for domination of the United States. Meanwhile, Gardner and Kid Flash work together to bring down Faust, and when the Riders turn on him Gardner decides to give Kid Flash a running start. The Justice Riders disband almost as quickly as they came together, with the heroes going their separate ways. Diana returned to Paradise to try and rebuild the town and Beetle sold the story of the conflict to a writer named Clark Kent.
On some of DC's infinite Earths, the Justice League formed long before their modern incarnation, and these DC heroes became a different kind of team.