This international shadow group has caused more trouble in the DC Universe over the years than many other super-villains put together. Founded at an unknown date by none other than Ra’s Al Ghul (his Arabic name is supposed to translate into: Head of the Demon), this quasi-immortal terrorist and master tactician is the head of the League. Under his command, Ra’s league has collected some very dangerous members. Other than Ra’s himself, past members have included: Lady Shiva, Doctor Ebeenezer Darkk, David Cain, the archer Malcolm Merlyn, Bane, the Mad Dog, and Cassandra Cain, among others.
The League of Assassins is first mentioned in Strange Adventures #215. After that, the League became quickly associated with Batman, and has subsequently been inextricably tied to the Dark Knight Detective ever since – not in the least through the figure of Talia Ghul (daughter of Ra’s and mother to Damien Wayne).
Although the League has appeared most frequently in Batman and Detective Comics, at this point the group has a presence throughout the DC Universe. Here I will list the most important single issues connected to the League and its comic history.
Since the League has already appeared in movies and TV shows (the name is sometimes changed, for example, in the Christopher Nolan Batman trilogy, the League of Assassins is renamed the League of Shadows, but it’s effectively exactly the same organization), this group is not going to disappear anytime soon. In collectible comic book terms, this makes the League a classic fixture in the DC Universe and renders its key appearances valuable. What are the League’s key issues? Glad you asked:
Strange Adventures #215 (Nov. 1968) – First mention of the League of Assassins
This is an underappreciated comic. It contains the first mention of the League in the DC Universe. This occurs in a Deadman story, the League (here called the Society of Assassins) is also revealed to be responsible for the hiring of the hit man who murdered Boston Brand aka Deadman. The hit man’s name is Roy ‘the Hook’ Martin, and at this point the leader of the League is said to be ‘the Sensei’. A CGC 9.2 of this comic will currently set you back $400.00 Returns are up in all recorded grades sold in the last few years.
This comic not only features the League’s name on its cover, but is also the first time the group is called the League of Assassins and directly connected to the Batman. This comic also contains the first mention of Ebeenezer Darkk, but he only appears in the subsequent issue (Detective #406). This comic is heating up in higher grades, but currently relatively still affordable. A CGC 9.2 copy will set you back $475.00.
Ra’s Al Ghul is the heart of the League (literally). This classic marks his first appearance and it is the pick of the bunch. The story begins with the Brotherhood of the Demon kidnapping Robin, and, after a trip to the Himalayas, and a confrontation- first with Ra’s bodyguard Ubu and then with Ra’s Al Ghul himself – it’s revealed that the Demon’s daughter, Talia Al Ghul (first appearance: Detective Comics #411), is in love with Batman. Ra’s had been testing Batman to make sure he would make a worthy son-in-law. A classic Batman story and a major League of Assassins key. CGC 9.0 graded copies currently sit at around the $825.00 mark.