|JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA||BIOGRAPHY|
|Created by Gardner Fox and Sheldon Mayer|
Aliases: Justice Battalion (during WW II)
Former Members: Atom, Batman, Doctor Fate, Flash, Green Lantern, Hawkman, Hourman, Sandman, Spectre, Superman, Johnny Thunder, Starman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Wonder Woman, Black Canary, Mister Terrific, Wildcat, Robin, Red Tornado, Power Girl, Star-Spangled Kid I, Huntress,
Base of Operation: JSA Headquarters (Hotel) (former)
First Appearance: All-Star Comics #3 (winter 1940)
Creators: Gardner Fox and Sheldon Mayer
Initially a social club for super-heroes, the Justice Society realized the value of working as a group when they were able to foil Adolf Hitler's plans to invade England, after which they were encouraged by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to make the team official. As a group, they defended America from normal criminals and Nazi saboteurs alike from their headquarters in Gotham City. When America entered the Second World War, these heroes banded together with many other mystery men and women to form the All-Star Squadron. After the war ended, a number of the members of the JSA continued to work together until the rampant paranoia of the McCarthy era forced many of them into premature retirement. The JSA would only be seen together infrequently from this point until the dawn of the new heroic age, when, striking up a great friendship with the heroes of the Justice League of America, they regrouped officially once more, being joined by a handful of younger heroes. The elder statesmen of the group were suddenly snatched away from the world in the wake of the great Crisis to prevent god-like beings from ushering in Ragnarok, the end of the world. When eventually rescued from this, the Society encountered Extant in battle, who robbed them of the youth they had mystically acquired in their never-ending battle, killing Hourman, Doctor Mid-Nite and the Atom and forcing most of the rest to retire. Very few of the 'classic' Society members survive, but those that do now form the core of the new JSA, alongside the genetic and spiritual descendants of their old team-mates.
After agents for US Army Intelligence detected spy activity, the Police Commissioner of Gotham City was asked to contact any of the 'mystery men' that he could. Attracting the attention of the Flash and Green Lantern, they were sent by an Agent Smythe to investigate a castle in Scotland. Falling to the superior firepower, the two were taken to Berlin, Germany, to be executed by the Nazis. At the last moment, they were rescued by Doctor Fate and the Hourman. The four found that Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had acquired the legendary artifact Spear of Destiny and was using it to summon the Norse Valkyries to lead an armada against England. Doctor Fate used his mystical abilities to summon four others from America: The Atom, the Spectre, Hawkman and the Sandman to aid them in stopping the vessels from reaching England's shore.
After saving President Roosevelt from an attacking Valkyrie, it was suggested that they form a group or society to band together and defeat foes that might prove too powerful for any one hero. Later that same month, they met together with gate-crasher Johnny Thunder and assisted the FBI in rounding up fifth column spies in America. - DC Special #29
For the next few months, the teaming of the heroes would involve them doing work for the government, finding spies in America and the Western Hemisphere. The Flash left the group due to pressing business (even the World's Fastest Man can't be everywhere at once!) and his place at the Round Table was taken by Johnny Thunder. In late June, 1941, however, certain events unfolded leaving the team altered. During the defeat of scientist/wizard Ian Karkull, Green Lantern faced his first failure with his power ring and decided to leave the group for a while, turning over the chairmanship to Hawkman, who would hold it for the next ten years. Hourman became aware that the drug that he used to give him super-human abilities was becoming toxic to his system and he also left the group. Doctor Fate also noticed that the mystical helmet he wore was slowly becoming the dominant personality: he stopped wearing it and adopted a 'half-helmet' that granted him no great mystical powers, but allowed his mind to remain unclouded. Aided on this adventure by Starman, the entire group was bathed in 'chronal energies' that retarded their aging process, though this would not become evident for many years.
As Starman and Doctor Mid-Nite joined the group, replacing Hourman and Green Lantern, the team's adventures became more important to America's defense... traveling to the 25th century to gain a 'bomb defense formula' that later proved unusable and saving the greatest minds from Nazi espionage.
In early December, 1941, a time traveling villain from 1947 using advanced technology sought to defeat the US before it entered World War II. Per Degaton captured all the available JSA members (except Hourman) and was defeated by three members and several unaligned heroes. These heroes and the JSA formed the basis of the All-Star Squadron. Soon afterward, Miss America and a time-traveling Queen Hippolyta (adventuring under her daughter's nom du guerre as Wonder Woman) also joined the team, but spent more time with the Squadron than with the JSA.
During the War, the team members felt that since they could not devote a full amount of time as civilians in the Armed Forces, they put their services under the authority of the War Department. Through 1943, they were known alternately as The Justice Battalion. Why they stopped using this name is unknown, but after 1943, they reverted to their original name. During the war, under unknown circumstances, both Wildcat and Mister Terrific joined the team for brief periods, though their memberships were considered as temporary or associate memberships. After 1945, neither were active with the team. It was at this point that Green Lantern and the Flash rejoined the team on a full time basis. This also offset the retirement of Starman, the Spectre, Sandman and Doctor Fate by the war's end.
During the spring of 1947, the JSA once more battled Per Degaton, who had attempted to destroy the team six years earlier, but due to the vagaries of time travel, neither remembered the earlier meeting. It was at this time that a group of the villains that had battled the heroes separately gathered together to try and take over America. Self-dubbed 'The Injustice Society of the World', the group would team with different members to battle the JSA over and over again during the next 50 years. During the next battle with the group in the spring of 1948, The Injustice Gang (as it called itself then), was infiltrated by two heroines; Black Canary, a self-styled female 'Robin Hood' that had jousted with Johnny Thunder, and the Harlequin, who began as a Green Lantern villainess, but later reformed and worked for the FBI undercover. The Black Canary was invited to join the team, in a sense a replacement for the retiring Johnny Thunder.
After World War II, America's energies turned on fighting the perceived Communist enemies abroad and at home. Anything not immediately identifiable as '100% American' was considered wrong and evil. The Justice Society, after escaping a trap of one of their enemies, was called into question due to the ties of one of their captors to an unfriendly foreign government. Called before a House of Representatives committee investigating 'Un-American Activities', the government asked the Justice Society to reveal their secret identities to the panel, to ensure their loyalty to America. The heroes refused, and all went into retirement, with the exception of Wonder Woman, who returned to her own time.
Most of them returned to their civilian lives, but several of the heroes continued to fight crime, at least locally. Starman and the Flash in their respective cities, Doctor Fate in distant magical realms. Several of them married their sweethearts, and began to raise families. On occasion, one or more would do covert work for the government.
As any group of friends would, they stayed in touch and had group meetings and parties in their civilian identities. Once, when Green Lantern was injured fighting a new vigilante in Gotham City named The Reaper, the team put on their costumes and covertly sought out the perpetrator, but did so without success. As the years wore on, a new group of heroes sprouted up, but were killed off by a psychotic named Doctor Traps, who was ultimately brought to justice by several members of the JSA. Even the disappearance of Keystone City and the Flash was not enough to bring out the entire group, though their memories may have been clouded by the villains responsible.
An invasion ten years ago, brought out most of the members, who retained their vitality 40 years later due to chronal radiation absorbed on one of their cases. After the second-generation Flash freed his elder counterpart and his city, the Flashes freed the captured JSA from Vandal Savage, an immortal villain who menaced Green Lantern and the JSA in the 1940s and '50s. Whether it was nostalgia or a sense that they could still contribute to the war on crime, several of the JSA members became at least semi-active; Hawkman (and later Hawkgirl) joined the Justice League of America and many of the cases that the JSA fought were in conjunction with the new group.
There were even new members, such as the android Red Tornado, named after the heroine who briefly appeared at their first meeting. After a case with the Justice League, a time-lost Seven Soldiers of Victory was returned to the present. Soon after this case, though, the Red Tornado joined the JLA as an active member. One SSoV member, the Star-Spangled Kid, joined the group with Power Girl, a young woman who believed herself to be Superman's cousin. It was during this period that the team became briefly more active, taking cases outside of their team-ups with the JLA.
It was during this period that the team suffered its first casualty as Mr. Terrific was killed during a battle with the Spirit King. It was also at this time that the Star-Spangled Kid stepped down as an active member to follow up on the remaining threads of his personal life. Through his soul-searching, the Star-Spangled Kid decided to form his own team on the West Coast, filled ultimately with the children and godchildren of the original JSA members. This group, called Infinity, Inc., saved several members of the Society after they had fallen under the will of the Ultra-Humanite.
Along with Infinity Inc, and nearly all of the heroes on Earth, the Justice Society saved the universe from the great Crisis, only to have several members gravely injured. Soon after, the group met to decide whether to retire when an injured Spectre drew them into a mock gotterdamerung, where they had to stay and battle the evil Norse gods for eternity. All save the Star-Spangled Kid, Power Girl, the Spectre and Doctor Fate were trapped, seemingly never to return.
After a year in that limbo, however, they were returned to earth. They resolved to stay at least semi-active until they met the Hypertime villain Extant, who acting as the unknowing puppet of Parallax robbed the JSA of their youthfulness and three members of their lives. Doctor Mid-Nite, The Atom and Hourman died of severe aging, and the others were severely affected. Doctor Fate was separated from his artifacts, which were picked up by Jared Stevens. Both Kent and Inza Nelson died soon afterward. Both Hawkman and Hawkgirl, as a side effect of the time-altering event known as Zero Hour, were drawn into Katar Hol, the modern day Hawkman and then-current Hawk Avatar. Starman retired, due to his old age and passed the Starman name onto his son David, and after his death, to his son Jack. Johnny Thunder, now elderly, was incapacitated by senile dementia, possibly brought on by Alzheimer's' Disease.
Recently, the team has gathered together only for either cases affecting its members personally or for the events that threaten the entire world, such as Final Night, the Genesis Godwave or the Day of Judgment. The surviving members gathered together to make sure that Kent and Inza Nelson's spirits were properly laid to rest, and to see Jim Corrigan, the Spectre's guiding soul, off to its final reward. Recently, the surviving members gathered together for the funeral of the Sandman and the rebirth of Doctor Fate, and the induction of Jack Knight (the modern day Starman), Sand (the grown-up Sandy the Golden Boy), Hourman III (the 853rd Century mechanical descendant of Rex Tyler), Black Canary II (the daughter of the original), Hawkgirl (a relation of the original Hawks), Atom Smasher (the godson of the Atom) and the Star-Spangled Kid/Stargirl (Stripesy's step-daughter) into a new multi-generational version of the team with The Flash, Sentinel, Wildcat and Doctor Fate.
Thus the legacy of the team lives on in the second JSA.
For a definitive list of appearances of Justice Society of America in chronological order click here
Who's Who: The Definitive Directory of the DC Universe #12 (February 1986)
Who's Who in the DC Universe Update 1993 #2 (January 1993)
JLA-Z #2 (December 2003)