Comic Book Resources today passed on the news that the Justice Society of America, the living symbol of the long and storied history of the DC Universe, will not be taking part in the new reboot of the DCU. The revered heroes of the World War II era are now likely not even going to exist, as Superman has been dubbed this new world's first superhero.
On his Facebook page, DC Co-Publisher Dan DiDio made this statement: “As for JSA, we have decided to rest this concept while we devote our attention on the launch of the three new Justice League series. As for other characters and series not part of the initial 52, there are plenty of stories to be told, and we’re just getting started.”
So they're "resting the concept" of the JSA. However, since Mr. Terrific and Hawkman are getting a revamped interpretation, it's certainly not impossible that other members of the team will show up in new and different forms, but if the JSA never existed, Michael Holt isn't going to be picking up the mantle of Mr. Terrific, he'll be cast as the originator. That's the kind of thing longtime fans get uptight about – even though the JSA has been put out to pasture several times in the past, only to return in some form, and that could very well happen again when some creator with a passion for them makes the right pitch. We need to calm down as a collective, fanfolk. Wait, it's the internet. It shall never be tamed.
From DC's perspective, it's understandable. The big names are holdovers from World War II and it gets harder to explain why they're still kicking it in their prime. It's tough to talk about the origins of the Green Lantern Corps without stopping to explain the separate and disconnected first Green Lantern Alan Scott, and it's hard to hype Barry Allen as the O.G. Flash when Jay Garrick is still zipping around. If the point of the reboot is to streamline continuity and make things seem fresh and new, they want to have the contemporary characters be the originators. It does put the proper weight and presence back onto Superman as the forerunner of all to follow.
From a fan's perspective, &$#%@#*$$@! HOW DARE YOU $@#$&@$@ CRAP ON THE LEGACY THAT WAS YOUR SELLING POINT FOR $@#$@*$@ DECADES AND RUIN MY LIFE BECAUSE MY LIFE DEPENDS ON FAMILIARITY IN COMIC BOOKS AND –
Ah, ahem. Okay. Let's try a different fan's perspective. That guy is a little worked up.
Sure, the Justice Society was a bit bloated in size – over 25 members at some point – to function as a standard superteam, and maybe they were too often perceived as the shiny happy team that didn't have any grit to it, but superheroes fighting Nazis is a staple, and good characters are good characters and the JSA is chock-full of men and women who are just fun to read about. Comic fans love their nostalgia, and the JSA was the "nostalgiaiest" nostalgia book possible. It's all the Golden Age heroes still doing their thing in sheer defiance of the march of time and the changes in the world around them, mixing in with plenty of young upstarts and legacy cases trying to live up to the example set by heroes gone by. It's a history book for the comic book world, and we could all stand to respect our own histories a bit more. The JSA was always a strong reminder of a time with a much more developed sense of duty and responsibility, and that no matter how bogged down the modern era gets with gray areas, moral quandaries and brutal shortcuts to justice, there's always been the JSA there to show us that we know the right thing to do, and we should stop looking for selfish ways around it and just do the right thing.
Ah, well. What can we do? Well, we can always engage in some idle speculation. Let's take a look at some of the Justice Society stalwarts and see who is likely to show up in a new and different form, and who is likely to be cast into the wind. Feel free to add your own suggestions.
FOLKS COMING BACK: Black Canary was seen on the cover of the new Birds of Prey, Mr. Terrific and Hawkman are getting their own #1 issues. We can probably lump Hawkgirl in here, too.
LIKELY GONE BUT NOT FORGOTTEN: Green Lantern Alan Scott, Flash Jay Garrick, The Atom Al Pratt, Johnny Thunder, Mr. America, Ma Hunkel, Lightning, Mr. Terrific Terry Sloan, Dr. Mid-Nite Charles McNider, Hourman Rex Tyler
LEGACY CHARACTERS SCREWED BY LACK OF JSA HISTORY: Stargirl, Jesse Quick, Atom Smasher, Cyclone, Citizen Steel, Sand, Damage, Obsidian, Jade, Tomcat
RIPE FOR REINVENTION: Wildcat, Captain Marvel, Hourman Rick Tyler, Dr. Mid-Nite Pieter Cross, Power Girl, Dr. Fate, Starman, Jakeem Thunder, Sandman, Judomaster
One more note: the Justice Society of America might be interesting if they were given an Elseworlds title, too – they get to have their own continuity without all the modern baggage they have to lead up to and risk irrelevance against. Who wouldn't buy a title featuring the JSA fighting Nazis back in World War II? Or Commies in the 50s? Just let them do their own thing. What's the harm?