So with the past few Earth 2 issues being the introduction of Doctor Fate to the heroes, I thought I’d take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the Justice Society of America, or JSA for short. People that have only been reading comics since the reboot or are otherwise limited on comic book history may have no idea what the JSA is, so allow me to put it in very basic terms: The Justice Society of America is the original superhero team. Period. Before the Justice League, there was the JSA. As such, pretty much every single superhero team, be they the JLA, the Teen Titans, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, the Avengers, whomever, they all owe their existence to this team.
First appearing in All-Star Comics #3, the original founding members were Green Lantern (Alan Scott), The Flash (Jay Garrick), Hawkman (Carter Hall), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Spectre (Jim Corrigan), Doctor Fate (Kent Nelson), Hourman (Rex Tyler), and The Atom (Al Pratt). Notice something interesting about that team? No Superman, Batman, or Wonder Woman. Now, they joined eventually, but even then there were issues regarding their involvement and how much they could be shown.
As time went on and various changes were made to the backstories of DC characters, and the creation of characters like Hal Jordan and Barry Allen, it was eventually revealed that the JSA and the Golden Age heroes that made up the team were of Earth 2, an alternate Earth within the Multiverse. Meanwhile, the JLA was composed of heroes from Earth 1, then New Earth after Crisis on Infinite Earths, and now Prime Earth after Flashpoint. But through all that, the JSA has (for the most part) consisted of Earth 2 heroes.
With the reboot, much of DC’s past was altered or flat-out erased, meaning the Golden Age heroes and the JSA were no longer in canon…That is, until May 2012, where Earth 2 got its own book. The story has actually presented several interesting spins on previous stories. First off, Earth 2’s heroes were initially the Wonders of the World, made up of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Supergirl, Robin, Catwoman, an unnamed hero, and Mr. 8 (Terrance Sloan). However, as battles against the forces of Darkseid went on, Catwoman was murdered, and in the final battle, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman were all killed, with Supergirl and Robin getting lost in a boom tube and sent to Prime Earth, where they’ve since become Power Girl and Huntress. This massive sacrifice saved the world. A few years later, however, the world is threatened again, and now new heroes have to step up.
Apparently the group, when they finally become a group, will drop the America and just be known as the Justice Society, but like hell if I won’t call it the JSA for short anyway. So, with that said, let’s take a look at the heroes who have appeared so far who will likely form the JSA when the time comes.
Easily my favourite Green Lantern active currently, Alan Scott is an openly gay media mogul (and no, not in the I’m Super way, grow up) who dedicated his work to the Wonders. Like his Golden Age counterpart, Alan gains his powers following a train explosion. What’s different is that he himself was on the train with his fiancée, Sam. Also, in the original version, the power came from a green flame that fell to Earth as a meteor. In this version, the green flame is crafted from The Green, having chosen Alan to be The Green’s champion. The green flame can take any form that Alan can imagine, focused through the engagement ring he used to propose to Sam. In addition, his strength is heavily enhanced, and he is granted the power of flight.
Being a fan of the Justice League cartoon, it’s always a treat to see Hawkgirl. During an expedition to Egyptian ruins in search of Nabu’s tomb, an incident caused a pair of wings to be permanently grafted to her back. She is currently hunted by the World Army, who seek to capture her for…um, reasons. It’s not completely clear why. Anyway, she’s a master of various firearms, be they pistols, crossbows, or even rocket launchers. Personally, I prefer not to see my DC superheroes using guns, but considering the first major enemy of the group was Solomon Grundy, I’m not gonna make too big a deal.
No longer does he just resemble Mercury, the New 52 Jay Garrick was actually granted his speed by the Roman God, who was the last of the Gods to survive the battle against Darkseid’s forces. Jay lacks confidence and control of his powers, and thus occasionally makes mistakes. However, he nonetheless strives to be a hero, using his super speed to out-move his opponents, as well as enhanced speed healing to recover from wounds inflicted should he get careless.
The survivor of an atomic blast, Al Pratt has become The Atom, able to alter his size however he chooses. He is a sergeant in the World Army, and obviously one of their most dangerous soldiers. In addition to his size changing powers, he also comes complete with an atomic punch, effectively making his punches minor atomic blasts.
Not much is known about this version of Red Tornado, other than that she (yes, SHE) is an android that the government has yet to manage to get to work. If she functions anything like previous versions of the character, we can expect that this Red Tornado will have the ability to generate winds strong enough to get her flying, enhance speed, and create storms.
A close associate of Hawkgirl’s, Khalid Ben-Hassin was hired to find Nabu’s tomb. While Kendra was grafted with wings, Khalid found the Helmet of Fate, which houses the very essence of Nabu along with his powers. This has the backlash effect of leaving Khalid in temporary bouts of insanity after removing it, though. He sought to keep the helmet far away from anyone, sending it to the Tower of Fate, but was forced to find it again. Inspired by Flash’s actions, Khalid made the choice to use the helmet, becoming Doctor Fate. He now possesses Nabu’s mastery over magic, including astral projections, teleportation, telepathy, phasing, telekinesis, and MUCH more.
Again, not much known about the New 52 versions of these two. All that’s known is that they’re currently in the ruined city of Gotham, on the run from Steppenwolf. I do see that Big fucking Barda has her Mega-Rod, which packs enough power to leave even Superman reeling. Other than that, I would expect Big Barda to retain her superhuman strength and endurance, and Mister Miracle to keep his Batman-levels of equipment and gadgets and his escapology skills that even Calvin Rose can’t measure up to.
Now this guy is a HUGE mystery. NOBODY knows who the new Batman is. There has been speculation, though. We know that it’s someone important to the Batman mythos, but that it’s likely not anyone currently active on Prime Earth. So with that in mind, my guess is that it could only be…
Okay, for realsies, I’m thinking it’s Jean-Paul Valley. Think about it, when the mainstream Batman went down with a broken back and couldn’t continue as Batman for a while, he had already made plans for Valley to replace him. It only makes sense that the Earth 2 version of Batman would make similar plans should something happen to himself and to Helena.
Anyway, I think that covers everybody so far. Here’s hoping plenty more awesome heroes of the olden days show up to join the eventual reformed JSA. Ja né!
- ArtsBeat: Graphic Books Best Sellers: ‘Earth 2’ at No. 1 (artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com)
- NICOLA SCOTT Redesigning Superhero Life On EARTH 2 (newsarama.com)
- BREAKING NEWS – Green Lantern is Gay (costumesupercenter.com)
- Interview: James Robinson (Still Won’t Tell Us) Who Is The Batman Of ‘Earth 2’ (geek-news.mtv.com)
- ECCC: Secret Origins with James Robinson (comicbookresources.com)