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The Justice League Once Embraced the Power of Darkness

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When an ancient god of chaos attacked Earth with an army of ghosts, the JLA made a terrible decision that nearly cost them their souls.

The Justice League of America is DC’s premiere superhero team. Comprised of the greatest heroes on Earth, there are few threats that can manage to halt the efforts of Superman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, and more. But when an ancient force of evil proved itself so powerful that not even the entire JLA could defeat it, Earth’s most powerful heroes were forced to do the unthinkable: embrace the powers of darkness to gain untold strength.

2000’s JLA: Seven Caskets (by Dan Brereton) is a one-shot comic that put the Justice League through one of their most difficult battles of all time. It isn’t often that every single member of the JLA is defeated simultaneously, but Seven Caskets presented the JLA with enemies far greater than their standard foes. With the entire fate of the universe on the line, the stakes were incredibly high for the JLA.

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The Justice League was Defeated by an Eldritch God of Chaos

JLA Evil Transformation

All was well on Earth until ghosts appeared without warning all across the globe, their spectral hate terrifying the living. The JLA were at a loss as to why the spirits were suffering such unrest and also how to confront such an issue. As the heroes deliberated on the Watchtower, twin spectres appeared, offering cryptic clues as to what the source of the hauntings was. Disturbed by what he learned, Aquaman led the JLA to the deepest depths of the ocean where an ancient god slumbered. Awakened by the JLA, the Lovecraftian horror sent forth the souls of its seven generals to attack Earth. Each member of the JLA battled the generals but each was defeated handidly. As the heroes felt evil incarnate begin to weigh down their very souls, Superman makes a deal with the twin spectres: the JLA would become imbued with their dark power in order to defeat the ancient god of chaos.

The JLA became transformed instantly into gross caricatures of themselves. Gone was their shining positivity and gleaming auras of justice, replaced instead with distorted costumes that oozed black smoke and tendrils. Their countenances weren’t the only things that were altered by the spirits evil powers as JLA defeated the incurring ghosts with ease. Terrified that they would find themselves trapped as thralls to the chaos god for all time, Superman was able to find a loophole in their service that so enraged the god that it reclaimed its power from them, thus reverting them back to their original selves.

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The Justice League Could Have Become DC’s Most Powerful Villains

JLA Trick

JLA: Seven Caskets is a simple story: the JLA face a tough opponent and find a smart means at defeating them non-violently. What makes Seven Caskets such an interesting read, though, is how the JLA decided to become the very things they have always fought against. This wasn’t a simple act of wielding an opponents physical weapon or using a more aggressive strategy to incapacitate a foe; the JLA literally became imbued with an ancient cosmic force of darkness and evil to become stronger. This decision was so alarming as there was a very real possibility that they might have succumbed to the powers of death.

Superman himself is the living ideal of what a superhero should be. Truth and justice are paramount to him, so it goes to show how desperate he was to make such a bold decision. Somewhere deep with the DC Multiverse there exists an Earth where the JLA didn’t lose their dark powers and instead became the new seven generals of the chaos god. With such power it’s possible that nothing in the universe could have stopped them. It’s terrifying to think what would happen if that alternate timeline were ever to be discovered. With the power of an eldritch being backing them, the corrupted JLA could be unstoppable.

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