The Legion of Doom assembles in the alternate cover art for Justice League #5.
Image: Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza (DC Comics)

The Legion of Doom might be one of the most beloved DC villain teams around thanks to their place in Superfriends and other myriad tie-ins, but they’ve never really been a thing in the comics, beyond references here and there. But in the wake of the Justice League’s recent shakeups, Lex Luthor is bringing the Legion to life.

Revealed through an interview with Comic Book Resources today, writer Scott Snyder confirmed that the events of No Justice—which has seen the Justice League itself broken up and expanded into four unlikely individual teams to combat a grave new cosmic threat to the universe—will see Lex Luthor become unconvinced that being a hero is worth a damn any more. So he leaves the League’s latest incarnation and decides it’s up to a legion of villains to safeguard humanity’s future.

The full cover for Justice League #5.
Image: Doug Mahnke and Jaime Mendoza (DC Comics)

Although not as immediately expansive as the Legion of Doom seen in the beloved Superfriends cartoons, Lex’s new Legion will include some familiar faces from the animated line up. Aside from Lex himself, there’ll be Black Manta, Cheetah, Gorilla Grodd, and Sinestro, who all featured in the classic cartoon version of the Legion. But they’ll be joined by an intriguing and infamous figure on top of that—the Joker, who, according to Snyder, will be Lex’s direct partner in running the Legion of Doom:

He’s got a very dark role, but as the series goes on, he actually becomes more and more important to the Legion, and Luthor’s reasons for picking him become more and more apparent. But! I didn’t want to sort of put him out there and have him be doing everything and use him really quickly in a big way, because Joker is an extremely special character to me. If I’m gonna put him on a team, I need him to have a very specific role.

Honestly, Luthor sees him as his partner on the team. Luthor has this vision all of a sudden of what we’re supposed to be as a species, what humans are supposed to be, what people are supposed to evolve to — and he sees Joker as a great inspiration in the story. Joker is almost a touchstone for him to go back and say, “Am I doing this right? Does this bring us closer to what we’re supposed to be?” Joker gleefully plays that role.

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Lex has been on a path toward a more heroic self in recent years—he was a member of the League pretty regularly even before he got roped into the events of No Justice—even if it was more anti-hero than anything else. To see him reverting back to his old ways and almost completely refuting the idea of what a hero can be in the wake of the League’s actions in Dark Nights: Metal and No Justice is an interesting twist... and a fun one, especially with a big Justice League vs. Legion of Doom brawl on the way as Snyder promises.

The Legion of Doom makes its arrival in the new Justice League ongoing series, which begins June 6.