Xtreme Justice

October 28, 2014

San Diego, United States 

By Mike Blake

This is a call to adventure. The Xtreme Justice League takes their inspiration from comic books and applies it to real-life situations. I followed them as they donned their superhero outfits and patrolled the streets of San Diego late at night. 

Lost Boy, Freedom Fighter, Mr. Xtreme and Vortex of the  Extreme Justice League post up on a street corner  during a late night patrol in down town San Diego ,California

 They gather on the steps of the city’s Hall of Justice at 11pm on a Saturday night. Dressed in their character’s costume, and serious about the task at hand, they are equipped with radios and first aid kits, some self-defense weapons, and an attitude of camaraderie. The dozen or so members split into two leader-guided groups and head off on their patrols. Around 2am they meet up with their founder Mr. Xtreme, who joins in his costume persona after working a late shift at his job. 

Mr. Xtreme goes over his notes before he and the Xtreme Justice League speak to a children's karate class about being bullied in San Diego

We walk along dark, empty streets. This is a bit of a worst-case scenario for a photographer. If it wasn’t for 1.2 lenses and newer, more light sensitive cameras, this would be impossible to record.

A couple kiss as Fallen Boy, Mr. Xtreme and Light Fish help a couple with direction during their patrol in down town San Diego, California

From empty alleys to sidewalks packed with people in the city’s Gaslamp Quarter they post up at each intersection and cover each other’s backs. They are a whimsical amusement to some, recognised from local media reports by others, and thanked by many along their patrol.

Lost Boy, Mr. Xtreme and Vortex come across an inebriated  woman in need of assistance during a late night patrol by the Extreme Justice League in down town San Diego, California

They pose for pictures, check on homeless and inebriated people, and in one case broke up a fight – which I was late arriving to as our patrol scrambled from a block away to help. The police were already on scene but a member of the group, “Silverlining,” had taken a solid punch to his mouth while breaking up the fracas.

Silver Lining  shows of his  swollen lip after breaking up a fight while on patrol with the Xtreme Justice League in San Diego, California

While heroes have existed in literature and mythology for thousands of years, the “superhero” really came to life in the 1940s with the popularity of comic books. In fact the terms “Superhero” and “Super Hero” are trademarks shared by Marvel Comics and DC Comics.

Grimm sends a text with his phone as he awaits the arrive of other Xtreme Justice League members outside the city's Hall Of Justice late Saturday night in San Diego

Mr. Xtreme founded the group in 2006, all members are volunteers and have to adhere to the group’s code of conduct and you won’t ever hear them swear. They aim to stop violent crime in the city and be positive role models. In a world with many shades of grey, they operate in a realm of back and white. Some are students, some work, some are in the military, but their identities remain private. I was only allowed to shoot pictures of them “in character,” while out on their patrols.

Freedom Fighter, Lost Boy and Vortex of the  Extreme Justice League make their way down a street during a late night patrol in down town San Diego, California   

The have a range of motivations, Vortex says “I do it for the people,” Mr. Xtreme does it, “to make a difference”. Fallen Boy wants “to help the community” and  Spartan does it “because I like helping people.” None of them have any special super hero powers, but they are all answering the call to adventure.

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