WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League #44, by Robert Venditti, Xermanico, Romulo Fajardo Jr. and Tom Napolitano, available now.
Almost every major member of the Justice League could lead the team. Most recently, the Martian Manhunter served as the official chairman, but the role of leader is admittedly fluid according to who is in the field at any given moment. We’ve seen Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman taking charge at times, but interestingly enough, Justice League#44 doesn’t focus on the Trinity calling the shots.
After officially taking over as the team leader in Justice League #40, Green Lantern John Stewart just proved who his efficient, effective leadership style makes him the best person to spearhead the team.
After the team receives a distress call from Aquaman, John runs point as their jet arrives in Antarctica. They’re coming to an Atlantean outpost, but when Wonder Woman insists that they keep calling Arthur Curry, John belays that plan. He says that Arthur’s on another call, but the military man in him intuitively knows Aquaman’s busy, which he is, fighting a Greek monster called the Scylla.
When the heroes’ jet is then attacked by a Manticore and Griffin, John quickly orders Superman and Wonder Woman to head out with him. While Batman indicates what he needs the fliers to do, John’s tactics and overall strategy lead the way. This also allows the Flash to provide support to Batman as he pilots the jet and coordinated things as the League strings together an attack. Meanwhile, John is in the field, advising Wonder Woman and Superman on what to do.
With the possible exception of Batman, all of these heroes show John the respect that he’s earned on Oa, various Green Lantern comics and in the Justice League cartoons. And after rounding up the flying beasts in one of his ring constructs, John gets the hero moment and interrogates Diana about the monsters who’ve apparently escaped from Tartarus. His role is to extract information and provide the Dark Knight with enough data to piece together what’s happening.
With the way John takes command, he shows that he knows how to lead a team, even when it includes the greatest heroes of the DC Universe. With his military precision, Stewart gives order to the team as he calls out plays that keep everyone in the group from jumping into situations on their own.
Unfortunately, it comes to a head when the Spectre appears and amplifies their natural, buried resentments towards each other. As they turn against one another, their grudges come out — with John calling out Bruce on always wanting to be the center of attention. Batman retorts by saying he’s tired of the Lantern questioning him so clearly, and both have had issues with each other wanting to lead and the way it’s done.
Objectively, John stands out as the team’s best leader because he’s mostly kept his personal life in check. While the heroes of the Trinity always have personal issues bleeding over into the League, John’s isolated from all this, and he’s disciplined enough to know to keep a clear-headed team for the missions ahead. He can assess, delegate and marshal the right troops for the right time, which is why he fits so seamlessly in the front of DC’s mightiest squad.
The Justice League's new leader has proven why they're the best hero for the job, and they know how to order Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman around.