The History of the Justice Society of America
Way back in the Winter of 1940 the third issue of a comic book called All Star Comics was released. This comic book was published by All-American Publications who later merged with National Periodical Publications and became DC Comics. The book was meant to be a variety comic, featuring various characters and their adventures.
All Star Comics #3
After the third issue however, things changed. This issue featured a group called the Justice Society of America (JSA). It was a success and the variety concept was dropped. Heroes were no longer solo, were teaming up.
Eventually the JSA wasn’t as popular and was dropped. Years later DC modernized a few of the JSA characters (including Flash and the Green Lantern) and teamed them up with a few “new” faces such as Batman and Superman (who were only honorary members of the JSA). This new team formed the Justice League of America. In 1963 the Multi-Earth concept was introduced, (JSA existed on Earth-Two, JLA on Earth-One), which allowed for the original Justice Society to exist once more and even team up with the Justice League.
Fast forward to 1985. DC changes the multiple Earth concept to infinite Earths with the series Crisis on Infinite Earths, sparking a series that would change the DC Universe forever. These infinite Earths were eventually merged in to one Earth, allowing the original Justice Society of America characters to exist in the same dimension as the Justice League of America. In 1999 DC launched a series entitled JSA which ran until 2006 when the Infinite Crisis series hit.
In December of 2006 Justice Society of America was released. The following is it’s review.
Justice Society of America #1: a review
I sat on the couch staring at the stack of comics in front of me. A backlog of titles built of procrastination. Justice Society of America #1 was there at the top begging to be read, but I passed it up. I wanted to read about Batman instead. The JSA doesn’t have Batman. They don’t have Superman. they don’t even have the cool looking flash and green lantern. Instead they’re made up of characters who look nearly old enough to be my father. The Flash wears a British World War 2 helmet. Green Lantern wears a cape with a popped collar. Geoff Johns is the writer and from that I knew the issue had potential, but I just couldn’t force myself to pick it up. Until last night. Justice Society of America is now on my list permanently.
Although most of the issue is basically a reintroduction to the JSA and it’s members, it managed to be very entertaining. From the beginning of the issue where Mr. America finds his entire family murdered, to the cliffhanger conclusion, I was hooked. The dialogue is exquisite, each character truly has his own voice and the direction the story seems to be heading is exciting.
The art is well done also. Although I’m more of an Ed Benes fan, Dale Eaglesham’s style isn’t half bad either.
The Justice Society decides that they will be acting as just that, a Society, recruiting new members to train and mold them. At one point Batman describes the Justice League as a task force and the JSA as a family.
Throughout this issue a few different threads were being followed. The story of Mr. America, the story of the JSA being reshaped, and a surprise ending involving Wildcat. These all tie together quite nicely and jumping between these various issues makes for a fast paced exciting story.
The characters are shaping up to be pretty involving. I particularly like Starman, one of the new recruits, who spouts out several non-sequiturs to a news reporter after saving their helicopter. It turns out he’s a borderline schizophrenic who lives in the Sunshine Sanatarium. This makes for some funny (and ominous) dialogue. I suspect we’ll soon discover that Starman’s insanity is actually part of a bigger picture.
I would have to say that the most exciting part of the comic was the very last page where we get a preview of things to come in JSA this year. The last two panels were the most intriguing. first, a picture of Kal-L (the Kryptonian name of the Superman from Earth-Two) bursting his hand out of his grave (he was killed at the end of the Infinite Crisis). The following panel shows Kal-L talking. The best part of this panel is the way he’s drawn… looks like Alex Ross will be painting some issues.
As a side note, the first page of the comic is rather odd as it alludes to World War 3… apparently an upcoming DC Comics event. This is the second time I’ve seen this mentioned as of late (the first being by Dan Dido in the DC Nation panel in the back of Supergirl #13
This was an excellent comic book. If you haven’t read it yet, be sure to pick up the first issue.