Society problems

The Justice Society of America joined the DC Universe 30 years ago

Today, we go back 30 years to see when the Justice Society of America was finally allowed to join the post-Crisis DC Universe.

It’s “Look Back,” where every four weeks of a month, I’ll highlight a single issue of a comic that’s appeared in the past and talk about that issue (often on a larger scale, like the series in as a whole, etc.). Each spotlight will be a preview of a comic from a different year that was released in the same month X years ago. The first spotlight of the month takes a look at a book released this month ten years ago. The second spotlight is on a book released this month 25 years ago. The third spotlight looks at a book that came out this month 50 years ago. The fourth spotlight looks at a book released this month 75 years ago. The occasional fifth week (we’re looking at weeks in a broad sense, so if a month has five Sundays or five Saturdays, that counts as having a fifth week) look at books from 20/30/40/60/70/ 80 years old.


It’s a fifth week, so I’ll go back thirty years to May 1992 and see how the Justice Society of America was finally allowed to join the DC Universe after Crisis on Infinite Earths in Armageddon Inferno #4 ( by John Ostrander, Dick Giordano, Luke McDonnell, Frank McLaughlin, Bruce Soltoff and a host of other artists).

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HOW DID THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA END UP IN LIMB?

As you probably know, after Crisis on Infinite Earths, DC merged all of its continuity into one Earth, and as a result, the Justice Society of America, instead of existing on an alternate Earth, was now just on the Earth of DC in the past. . The problem with that is that (and you’ll be SHOCKED that this same thing happened in 2011 with The New 52) DC decided it really didn’t want to spotlight those older heroes (especially more that since their origins were now tied to WWII on OUR Earth they were going to get damn old), so that wrote them off, but DC didn’t want to KILL them either, so in The Last Days of Justice Sociey of America by Roy and Dann Thomas, David Ross and Mike Gustovich, the Justice Society sacrificed themselves to essentially endlessly fight the Norse end times, Ragnarok, into limbo…


This battle would be an endless cycle, with the Justice Society dying, but coming back to life to complete the cycle again. Doctor Fate felt that this fate was too hard for the two youngest members of the team, so he rescued Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid (then Specter forced Doctor Fate back to Earth as well. Basically, all characters who had roles in other titles).

So that was the fate of the Justice Society for a number of years. Not dead, but not around.

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HOW WAS THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA FINALLY RELEASED FROM LIMB?

In 1991, DC tested the waters with a miniseries set in the past featuring the Justice Society (written by Len Straszewski and drawn by Grant Miehm and Rick Burchett)…


Then, in 1992, Armageddon: Inferno #1 came out (written by John Ostrander)…

It was in a series of miniseries that followed the 1991 crossover, Armageddon 2001, which introduced a time-traveling character known as the Waverider. In this series, Waverider had to fight against this powerful villain known as Abraxis at four different times, so Waverider gathered superheroes to fight Abraxis at those four times.

This, really, was just an excuse to bring disparate characters together and have them work together and be drawn by notable artists, as seen in the splash pages featuring the teams, drawn by Mike Netzer for Hawkman, Hawkwoman and Sgt. Rock and his Easy Company…


more Arthur Adams drawing a bunch of different heroes…

Walter Simonson also draws a bunch of different heroes…

and Tom Mandrake drawing a bunch of other heroes…

It’s so funny how this miniseries has seemingly randomly eight pages of Arthur Adams…

Either way, Abraxis won and Waverider was stuck. He needed a fifth group so he could attack Abraxis, but Waverider couldn’t bring anyone else from Earth, so Specter suggested using the Justice Society, which was in limbo. Waverider agreed and temporarily suspended Ragnarok so the Justice Society could take on Abraxis…

The JSA defeated the villain…


And then they went back to limbo and everyone was disgusted…

But then Waverider revealed that he simply swapped Abraxis with the Justice Society in Limbo and the JSA are now back in the DC Universe!

They would soon have their own title, which I could write about in the future. I absolutely loved seeing the JSA return to the DC Universe, even though this miniseries was a bit of a mess overall (Ostrander did his best to make it make sense, but it was definitely a kinda like, “Hey, awesome artists, want to draw some superheroes you fancy?).

I also love how Mike Netzer’s coverage of the JSA’s return issue makes them all look like jerks to modern superheroes. “FINE, we’re going to save your ass. GOD, we HATE you! You’re such a LOSER!”

If you have any suggestions for comics for June (or other later months) 2012, 1997, 1972, and 1947, message me at brianc@cbr.com! Here’s the guide, though, to book cover dates so you can make suggestions for books that actually came out in the correct month. Generally speaking, the traditional time lag between cover date and release date of a comic for most of comic book history has been two months (sometimes it was three months, but not during the periods we discuss here). So the comics will have a cover date that is two months before the actual release date (so October for a book released in August). Obviously, it’s easier to tell when a book from 10 years ago came out, because there was internet coverage of the books at the time.