Here’s the image, courtesy of Newsarama (click on it for a larger view):
And here’s the money quote from the DCU panel and Meltzer:
“He went on that he ‘hated the league when there were lower members that didn’t belong.’ He praised Geoff Johns’ use of the JSA’s history and hopes to embrace the JLA’s history in a similar fashion, while still finding something new.
Meltzer final tease was, again referring to the image, that viewers can pick ten members who will be on it, adding that there is one character who will be on the team that is not in the collection of heroes, ‘So you can all go through your Who's Who and figure out who's missing.’"
I don’t generally engage in too much of the type of idle speculation this kind of thing drags out (and when I do I’m generally wrong), but the JLA is near and dear to my heart, so I’m going to take a stab at this.
There will be 10 members, nine of which are in this picture. The tenth is the mystery member. Meltzer clearly loves the silver age JLA so expect a huge tilt in that direction.
Okay, first off, there’s got to be a Flash. Period, end of conversation. We don’t know who the new Flash is going to be, but he’s in, red costume and all. And you know there will a Green Lantern. There are four in this picture, only one gets the nod. I’m making Hal Jordan the odds on favorite, although John Stewart may get the call as sort of a hat tip to Justice League Unlimited. There’s two.
I figure one of the Hawks gets in – probably Hawkgirl to reinforce her own title. She also fills that impetuous, act-without-thinking role that’s so important to good team storytelling. Taking Hawkgirl also leaves Hawkman for the JSA. (I’m operating under the assumption that there will only be one universe after INFINITE CRISIS plays out.)
Superman and Batman are kind of obvious and I don’t see DC launching this thing anew without their big guns in it. However, I won’t be surprised if Wonder Woman is the odd big gun out – remember how she sat out for a long stint back in the late seventies? I think Meltzer may be channeling that roster, so I’m putting her on the bubble for now, leaving us with five Leaguers and five to go.
There are eight other characters in this picture with pre-crisis JLA ties: Green Arrow, Black Canary, Aquaman, Zatanna, Red Tornado, Firestorm, Elongated Man and Phantom Stranger. The Aquaman of old seems to be on ice while Kurt Busiek plays around with the sword thing; Phantom Stranger is slated for a role in Shadowpact; Firestorm is a different character altogether and seems an unlikely choice; Zatanna’s an intriguing character but she’s a living plot hammer (“ekam dab syug esol!”) and probably isn’t in too big a hurry for an encore mindwipe performance; we haven’t heard from Red Tornado or Elongated Man in a while and I’m thinking one of these two will be back, but not both, so I’m choosing Reddy, cause I like him better; and we know Green Arrow will be busy as Star City’s mayor – too busy for the JLA? I think so, but not Black Canary, who I’m predicting makes the cut. So Black Canary and Red Tornado make seven.
Two slots from the picture to go. A couple of interesting characters jump out at me: The Question, Dr. Mid-Nite and Cyborg, none of whom -- to the best of my knowledge -- have actually been JLA members in the past, although The Question has appeared on JLU. Dr. Mid-Nite is tied pretty closely to the JSA, so I’m ruling him out. Cyborg is interesting. His profile has been raised a bit by the TEEN TITANS cartoon and an appearance on SMALLVILLE and he’s probably ready to grow up a bit, but from the sounds of things he’s still a Titan for a while, which leaves The Question. I don't think of The Question as much of a team player, but he’s an exceptionally cool character and I think DC has been chomping at the bit to find a place for him. It might very well be here -- every team needs an outsider and he fits the bill -- although I have seen nothing to set this up.
I’m kind of assuming the JLI/JLE rosters will be largely ignored, but we can’t automatically eliminate everyone who was in some version of the League during those various incarnations so let’s pick one. Hmmm…if it were up to me it would be Captain Atom -- the League needs one more powerhouse and he provides somewhat of a military/tactical point of view -- I’m just not sure if his little WildStorm excursion will wrap up in time. Hey wait, is that Donna Troy next to The Question? The group needs another female and it seems likely she’ll be the next Wonder Woman – so there you go. I don’t believe she was ever in the League before either, so that might explain her presence here (unless that’s not her – feel free to straighten me out on that). Donna Troy, ladies and gentlemen.
Which leaves us with the one member not pictured. There are two very notable Leaguers not shown. Did you spot their absence? J’onn J’onzz is one and the other is, drumroll please…the Atom. My logic here is that since it was Meltzer who sent him away, he’ll be the one to bring him back.
So the list I came up with is Superman, Batman, Flash, Green Lantern (Hal Jordan), Black Canary, Hawkgirl, Wonder Woman (Donna Troy), Red Tornado, The Question and the Atom.
I’ll be amazed if I get more than seven of these right but surprised if it’s less than six. I could easily see Green Arrow in and Batman out (but always around somehow) or the Elongated Man back simply to create that awkwardness between he and Ray Palmer. I could even see Meltzer throwing curve and putting in two Green Lanterns. Red Tornado doesn’t excite me much either, but there’s always a plot or two to be found with an android and with the Martian Manhunter gone someone has to fill the detached, analytical role.
Whatever the cast may be, my only real hope is that the stories are better than the last year or so of the latest run. In retrospect, it wouldn’t take much to achieve that.