We’re just 10 days away from Christmas, so it’s the perfect time to unleash a new mailbag upon the world! That, and I really felt like I needed to post some content today… Do you have a question that anyone can answer but you, for reasons passing understanding, want to hear mine? Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org! Or hit us up on Twitter, @Casual_Geekery!
The last time we did this, it sent me spiraling into a deep dive of one of the worst incarnations of the JUSTICE LEAGUE ever (look for the next installment this week!), so hopefully we get something better this time around. The latest question comes to us from friend of the site, Jose.
Let’s say DC has given you reins to form a new JSA team, limiting you to 8 members. Who would be on your team? Keep up the great work!
It’s some great timing on this question, as I just finished the first season of the new DC series Stargirl, which features a radically new incarnation of the Justice Society of America. I think my version would probably skew a little more traditional than what the TV show did.
The Justice Society of America was the first real superteam from DC Comics, bringing together the heroes of the 1940s into a collective. Written by Gardener Fox in 1940’s All Star Comics No. 3, the original team included the Golden Age versions of Green Lantern (Alan Scott), the Flash (Jay Garrick), The Atom (Al Pratt) and Hawkman (Carter Hall), along with the Spectre, the Sandman and Hourman.
With the dawn of the Silver Age (which included new Green Lanterns, a new Flash and a new Atom), the Justice Society was replaced with a Justice League. The JSA languished in relative obscurity for a while until James Robinson and Geoff Johns gave them renewed vitality in 1999, though Johns is usually credited for their renaissance. The new-look JSA featured members of the old guard bringing in younger heroes (including Stargirl) to uphold the team’s legacy, a theme that runs through most incarnations.
There have been dozens of members of the group over the years (including the original versions of Wonder Woman, Superman and Batman). Since I can’t use them all (by virtue of Jose’s question), I guess I have to narrow it down.
Before we get into the team, we should probably have a concept. While the original team was active during World War 2, I would update the timeline to fit more into the modern age. So, instead of forming during the time when the United States was battling Nazis in Europe, I would place the formation of the JSA in the 1960s, while the U.S. was involved in Vietnam.
This is an entirely new world to explore for this generation of heroes and I think provides a wildly different environment for these individuals to come together.
Every supergroup does well to have a Big 3 at its heart. For me, the JSA’s “Big 3” are Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Flash (Jay Garrick) and Wildcat (Ted Grant). Lantern, Flash and Wildcat are the backbone of the Society and it would be tough to put a strong team together without their inclusion.
Joining the trio in their mission would be Mr. Terrific, though instead of the Golden Age version, I find the modern one (Michael Holt) far more of an interesting choice. A celebrated athlete and one of the smartest men in the world, Holt puts on a mask after the death of his wife drives him to the brink. To rebound, he puts his energy into trying to unite society.
The fifth member of my new JSA would be a Hawk. But I’ve never much been a fan of Carter Hall, so we’ll dip back into the 1999 version of the team and go with Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders. This version would be a former member of a religious sect led by Kent Nelson that believes in reincarnation and the valor of ancient Egyptian society, and Kendra was chosen as the avatar of the hawk. Her time as a hero, though, forces her to re-evaluate her time in the sect.
One character that’s always intrigued me has been the Golden Age Sandman, Wesley Dodds. A true mystery man, Dodds doesn’t have any powers, but uses his detective skills (and the fortune of his female companion, Dian Belmont) to fight crime and corruption. The trenchcoat and the gas mask and gun is such a great look.
To round out the new Justice Society, I’m choosing two of my favorite characters; one has ties to the JSA and the other is just tangentially connecter. Black Canary was one of the original members of the Society (at least, a version of the character was), and the idea of a popular singer, who just happened to be trained by an ancient guild of assassins to harness her inner power, would be a great addition to the team. And where Canary goes, her loud-mouthed, liberal boyfriend Green Arrow Oliver Queen follows. While Scott, Grant and Garrick may be the heart of the team, Canary and Arrow would be the soul, as we watch how their relationship evolves in the turbulent 1960s.
This version of the Justice Society would likely be a little bit more politically divided than the team has ever been portrayed, especially when you look at how turbulent the 1960s were. I imagine the book as being a bit more grounded into the culture wars instead of constant fights with costumed criminals. Though I’m sure a 1960s version of the Injustice Society would be a hoot.
That was a fun exercise! Let’s keep ’em coming!