I’m taking a break from my regular blog series to chronicle the other media history of the Justice Society of America, because DC Universe’s lack of trailer or promo images for Stargirl continues to drive me mad.
Despite debuting waaaay back in 1940 and having a 20 year history of crossovers with the Justice League of America, the JSA didn’t make their animated debut until 2002….sort of. What are collectors looking for.
Justice League (2001)
In “Legends”, the 8th/18-19th episode of the show’s first season, the League is shunted to another world where they encounter The Justice Guild of America! They help the JGA, who Green Lantern read comics about as a kid, battle their foes in the Injustice Guild before discovering there is a much darker secret at play in this reality…
The JGA are effectively a mash-up of the Justice Society and the Silver Age Justice League. While the JGA and their foes in the Injustice Guild closely resemble the Justice Society & their foes, the overall tone and some of the trappings (most notably having a teen mascot) more closely resemble the earliest Justice League stories. Still, the homage is clear and (as alluded to) the JSA had no shortage of Silver Age appearances.
A mixture of Golden Age (Doctor Mid-Nite, Doctor Fate, Johnny Thunder & Thunderbolt) and Modern Age (Atom Smasher, Hourman II, Stargirl, etc) JSA members would show up as members of the Justice League’s unlimited lineup. Unfortunately, most of them were restricted to cameos, though the modern Mr. Terrific had a key supporting role as the League’s mission control in the final season (earning him a spot in the quasi-DCAU flick Justice League vs. The Fatal Five).
Batman: The Brave & The Bold (2008)
The JSA’s is next showing in animation was significantly more pleasing to JSA diehards. The fith episode of the show’s second season, “The Golden Age of Justice”, showed The Justice Society of America having battled Per Degaton’s Nazi-esque Army of Evil at some undetermined the point in the past. More recently, they had trained Batman and the second Black Canary as junior members of the team before they became big name heroes in their own right. The JSA & their former proteges had to put aside their familial baggage to take down a returned Per Degaton in the present day.
Their next major appearance came near the end of the series in an episode entitled “Crisis 22,300 Miles Above Earth!”. The episode, which featured an expanded membership for the JSA, revolved around a disastrously comedic mixer between the JSA and their successors in the Justice League International, culminating in a pie fight. Starman is part of the team’s expanded line-up and is voiced in an impression of actor Ted Knight – easily one of the best in-jokes in the history of comics TV.
Young Justice (2010)
The most recent animated appearance of JSA comes from the series Young Justice. They don’t much appear in the present day, but they are a vital part of the universe’s history:
- Red Tornado & his android siblings’ origins were all part of a plot to destroy the JSA, most being members of it or the expanded All-Star Squadron at one time or another.
- Dr. Fate was a founding member of the JSA and is currently a member of the Justice League…though some controversial-within-the-hero-community switching of hosts happened to get there.
- Wonder Woman, in addition to being a founder of the modern Justice League, was a member of the JSA’s expanded wartime roster known as the All-Star Squadron.
- The Golden Age Flash was the direct inspiration for Barry Allen’s heroic career and, consequently, the entire Flash dynasty that resulted.
Despite the limited appearances, pains have been taken to show their influence.