Big news last week with the revelation of the new series slated to replace the six cancelled DC “New 52” series, two of which are books that have your humble professor excited to buy some DC Comics again: EARTH-TWO, from James Robinson and Nicola Scott, which will presumably feature the Justice Society of America in significant fashion, and WORLD’S FINEST from Paul Levitz and rotating artists George Perez and Kevin Maguire, the adventures of Earth-2 refugees Power Girl and Huntress in the mainstream “Earth-Nu52” world.
Well, obviously, this won’t be the JSA I know and love, but any version of the JSA by the creative talents mentioned above is reason enough to celebrate. So what am I hoping to see most in a “New 52” JSA revival? I thought you’d never ask…
1. Don’t be afraid of history.
Now, by that I don’t mean that I expect them to keep the old continuity. It’s pretty clear by now that that ship has sailed. But what I would like to see is a retention of the Justice Society’s historical placement.
The JSA works best as the founding fathers of the superhero community, and more to the point, when they stick close to their Golden Age roots. Specifically, World War II. The Justice Society is a product of World War II, and to arbitrarily jump them forward 50 years to make them seem young and relevant would be a real mistake.
2. A game for the young? Not necessarily.
Along those lines, I hope we don’t see a full Justice Society of twenty-nine-year-olds. Another big part of the JSA’s appeal is that sense of legacy, with the team being made up of both founding members and their children and protégés.
From the sound of WORLD’S FINEST, with the news getting out that the Huntress in question will indeed be Helena Wayne, that would suggest that we’ll be seeing at the very least a middle-aged Batman, with the rest of the JSA originals being of slightly advanced age as well.
3. Bring back “Times Past.”
Some of the best issues of James Robinson’s STARMAN run were the “Times Past” issues, which filled in some of the gaps in the various Starmen’s careers over the decades. Give us plenty of those, showing the JSA in their heyday and at various points in history in the decades following.
Speaking of which, what’s the status of Starman these days, anyway? The Shade’s series seems to imply that the Opal and its history are part of the current continuity, but does that mean no Starman in Earth-Two? But I digress…
4. Fill every seat at the table.
If you’re really starting from scratch with a new history, then don’t feel hidebound by the losses of the old JSA. Bring back fallen JSAers like Batman, Doc Mid-Nite, the Star-Spangled Kid and the original Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloane.
Start with a clean slate, and then you can truly surprise readers, and not simply reenact the old tales because “that’s the way it happened.”
5. Live up to the title.
When I think Earth-Two, I don’t just think Justice Society. You know what else comes to mind? The All-Star Squadron.
This team, invented by Roy Thomas as a wartime assemblage of every American mystery man and super-type at the behest of President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, was the backbone of the Earth-Two concept in the 1980s, and has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Bring back the All-Stars in both Times Past stories and a modern-day version, with characters like Robotman, Firebrand and Johnny Quick getting back in the spotlight.
6. Think infinite.
Speaking of long-overlooked characters, let’s see the return of the INFINITY, INC. kids. The notion of legacy characters used to be what made DC great for me, and here’s an opportunity to bring them back in a big way. The announcement of Huntress and Power Girl is a good start, but let’s see Jade, Obsidian, and Atom-Smasher back too (although there’s no need to rush Northwind back). And while we’re at it, any new JSA team had better include Stargirl, probably the breakout JSA character of the last 15 years.
7. Let him make it his own.
The reason STARMAN worked so well was that James Robinson had his own little corner of the DC Universe to with as he wanted, and he was able to not only take certain neglected characters under his wing and nurture them, like the Dibnys and Black Condor, but the whole enterprise had a certain elegant, literary tone that felt nothing like anything else DC was publishing at the time. Give Robinson the reins and let him run with them.
Scott Tipton is looking forward to the return of the JSA. If you have questions about the Justice Society or comics in general, send them here.