Replacement Heroes: Justice Society of America
Replacement Heroes: JSA
For a while now, we’ve been looking at the concept of replacement heroes. This time out, we’re going to look at the particular strain known as The Legacy Hero. No team exemplifies this quite so much as the original super-team, the Justice Society of America. In the JSA, replacement and legacy is the way of life. We’re going to focus our attention on original members and a couple of later arrivals, and see how the heroic line shakes down.
The original: Flash I, Jay Garrick
Status: Still Active
Legacies: Flash II, Barry Allen (though not directly), Flash III, Wally West, and Flash IV, Bart Allen
The story: Founding JSAer, the original Flash, Jay Garrick, still operates as a member of the team. As covered in the previous Replacement Heroes: Flash feature, all four official Flashes once again operate, though Bart Allen is Kid Flash again.
The original: Green Lantern I, Alan Scott
Status: Still Active
Legacies: Though not a member of the Green Lantern Corps, and not part of THAT legacy, Alan can claim kinship and inspiration to Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Guy Gardner and Kyle Rayner.
Heroic Lineage: Alan’s children Jenny-Lynn and Todd became the heroes Jade and Obsidian. Both were members of JSA offshoot Infinity Inc., and Jade was a Green Lantern for a time. Jade died during Infinite Crisis, and Obsidian serves alongside his father in the present JSA.
The original: Hawkman I, Carter Hall
Status: Still Active (as of Blackest Night #0)
Legacies: Hawkman has a very complicated backstory. It’s sufficient to say that he has indeed inspired imitators and associated Hawkman that may presently be in flux due to changes in the timeline. One separate character that he indirectly inspired was Charlie Parker, the Golden Eagle; it turns out that Parker was actually the son of Fel Andar, a Thanagarian criminal that replaced Hawkman for a time during the Invasion! of Earth. Though he did some evil things while claiming the Hawkman legacy, Parker/Andar took a redemptive path back on Thanagar.
Heroic Lineage: Hawkman is the father of Hector Hall, who served as Silver Scarab in Infinity Inc., the successor of the Garrett Sandford Sandman, and a Dr. Fate. Hector and his wife Lyta (Fury) died and joined “their” son Daniel in the Dream Dimesnsion.
The original: Wesley Dodds
Legacies: Sandman’s partner, Sandy, took up the mantle of “Sand” and later, Sandman. Though there have been other Sandmans of other types (like Hector and Daniel above), Wesley to Sandy is the direct transition of this particular legacy.
The original: Jim Corrigan
Legacies: Jim Corrigan became the Spectre upon his death, and he served for many years. Eventually crossing into Afterlife, Corrigan vacated the role of the Spectre. The role was taken up during the Day of Judgment by Hal Jordan. After Jordan was cleansed of Parallax and revived, the Spectre tried to find a new host. Though diverted to do evil by Eclipso during the Infinite Crisis, the Spectre eventually bonded to slain Gotham City cop Crispus Allen. Allen has no present affiliation with the JSA.
The original: Kent Nelson
Legacies: There have been several holders of the Fate mantel. Apart from Nelson and his wife, there have been Eric and Linda Strauss, Hector Hall, and Jared Stevens (who operated with weapons made from the helmet rather than the helmet).
Heroic Lineage: Current Dr. Fate Kent V. Nelson is the grandnephew of the original Dr. Fate. The current Dr. Fate has no present affiliation with the JSA.
The original: Rex Tyler
Legacies: A third Hourman, an android created by technology from Rex Tyler’s company, appears in the future and eventually aids the JLA. After joining the current incarnation of the JSA, he helps rescue Rex Tyler from death in the past Zero Hour event and cures the cancer of Rick Tyler (Rex’s son). Though he’s destroyed for his heroism, Rex vows to rebuild him.
Heroic Lineage: Rick Tyler, Hourman II, is Rex’s son. He originally operated with Infinity Inc before retiring due to cancer. For a time, he took a wicked turn, but Hourman III helped cure him. Rick later joined the JSA, and is married to fellow member Liberty Belle II.
The original: Al Pratt
Legacies: Though the size-shifting heroes Ray Palmer and Ryan Choi have shared the name, they are not direct legacies of Al Pratt.
Heroic Lineage: Pratt’s godson is Albert Rothstein, Atom-Smasher. Albert served in Infinity Inc., the JLA and the current JSA. He recently rejoined the team after a long absence. Al’s son Grant Emerson, aka Damage, is also a member of the current JSA. Both Albert and Grant favor masks inspired by the “full-face wrestling mask” that Al Pratt wore.
Johnny Thunder and Thunderbolt
The original: Johnny Thunder
Legacies: Though adventurer Jonni Thunder, with her electrical powers, is a legacy of a sort, the present controller of the fabled Thunderbolt (now imprinted with the late Johnny’s personality) is Jakeem Thunder. Jakeem came to be connected to the T-Bolt when Qwsp menaced both the JLA and JSA. He eventually joined the JSA. Jakeem and the T-Bolt tried to save Johnny from death due to the machinations of the Ultra-Humanite; the best that they could do was essentially merge Johnny with the Bolt. Jakeem and his genie-esque pal are present members of the JSA.
Superman (of Earth-2)
The original: Kal-L of Krypton
Status: Deceased, but signs point to a disturbance in Blackest Night
Legacies: While we won’t get into a full-blown dissection of infinite earths, it’s safe to say that ALL super-heroes are the legacy of this one.
Heroic Lineage: Kal-L, who died during the Infinite Crisis, is the cousin of Power Girl. PeeGee is the current chairperson of the JSA.
Batman (of Earth-2)
The original: Bruce Wayne
Legacies: Bruce’s partner Dick Grayson took his JSA roster spot as an adult Robin.
Heroic Lineage: Bruce’s daughter with Catwoman, Helena, became the first Huntress. Huntress joined both the JSA and Infinity Inc. before she and Dick were killed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Close approximations of Dick and Helena appear to be alive on a post-Infinite Crisis Earth-2.
The original: Charles McNider
Legacies: The second doctor (who spelled it “Dr. Midnight”) was Beth Chapel, a protégé of McNider. She adopted the guise during the original Crisis and joined Infinity Inc. She and Wildcat II both later died in battle with Eclipso. The present Dr. Mid-Nite, Dr. Pieter Cross, was actually delivered by McNider. A brilliant surgeon, Cross joined the current JSA early in its run and remains a member. All three Doctors have been at least partially blind and only able to see either in darkness or via special goggles.
The original: Ted Knight
Legacies: Many heroes have borne the name Starman, including aliens Mikaal Thomas (joining a Justice League near you) and Prince Gavyn, Earthman Will Payton (who died and had his body taken over by the spirit of Gavyn), and Thom Kallor/Danny Blaine, the Starboy of the Legion of Super-Heroes (original version) that came back in time on a mission. It can be generally assumed that Courtney Whitmore, Stargirl, is a product of the legacy of both Starman and Star-Spangled Kid (who used some of Ted’s equipment).
Heroic Lineage: Though Ted’s elder son, David, attempted to carry on as Starman, he was killed almost immediately by the children of Ted’s enemy The Mist. Younger son Jack became Starman; he killed the Mist’s son and later (unwittingly) fathered a son by the Mist’s daughter (Mist II). The original Mist and Ted died in battle in Opal City, and Jack, a founder of the present JSA, retired to care for his child. The current Starman of the JSA is Thom Kallor.
Wonder Woman (of Earth 2)
The original: Diana, no wait, Hippolyta, no, Diana, arg!
Grab a Drink: The original Wonder Woman of the JSA was simply Princess Diana. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Diana ascended to Olympus and history was rewritten so that the first and only Wonder Woman was the current Diana. Continuity headaches abounded, and one fix was to have her mother, Hippolyta (then serving as Wonder Woman while Diana was temporarily dead and the goddess of truth) be stuck in the 1940s for a while and become the original Wonder Woman of the JSA. In present continuity, the Wonder Woman of the JSA was always Hippolyta. Diana later came to “Man’s World”, and joined the JLA. Hippolyta also served with the JLA, and was killed during the Imperiex War. Hippolyta recently returned. Neither she nor Diana have JSA affiliation at present.
The original: Terry Sloane
Legacy: The name of Mr. Terrific is carried on by Mr. Terrific II, aka Michael Holt, who is a) invisible to machines, and b) good at everything. The two have met during time traveling adventures.
Villainous Lineage: Sloane’s grand-niece is the villain Roulette.
The original: Ted Grant
Status: Active member of the JSA
Legacy: Grant was seriously injured during Crisis on Infinite Earths, and his mantle was taken up by Yolanda Montez, Wildcat II. Unfortunately, she and Dr. Midnight (Beth Chapel) died fighting Eclipso. Ted began adventuring again, and recently discovered that he has a son, Tommy Bronson.
Heroic Lineage: Tommy, Wildcat III, can change shape into a were-panther type being. Ted, whose only offensive power is his two fists, brought his son into the JSA. Both currently serve.
The original: Dinah Drake-Lance
Heroic Lineage: Though there has been some prestidigitation around the Black Canary continuity, describing it in current post-Crisis terms is simplest. Dinah Drake was the original BC of the JSA. Her daughter, Dinah Laurel Lance, becomes the second Black Canary. Dinah Laurel joins the JLA and, after her mother’s death, eventually joins the JSA as well. Dinah left the JSA after a break-up with Pieter Cross, Dr. Mid-Nite IIIish. Now married to Oliver Queen, the Green Arrow, Dinah is the chairperson of the JLA.
The original: Ma Hunkel
Status: Workin’ for the JSA in a support position
Legacy: Though really unrelated by all but name, the second Red Tornado is the android member of the JLA. He once belonged to the JSA in the pre-Crisis period.
Heroic Lineage: Ma’s daughter Sisty was one of the original Red Tornado’s sidekicks, the Cyclone Kids. Ma’s granddaughter Maxine, aka Cyclone, is a member of the current JSA; Maxine has a legacy connection the android Red Tornado, as it was the machinations of his creator, T.O. Morrow, that gave her super-powers.
There you have it, a tour of the Replacement situation of the JSA from their bow in All-Star Comics #3 in 1940 to approximately prior to the return of All-Star Comics in the 1970s. Perhaps we’ll return to the JSA at a later date, taking a look at the legacies of the Bronze and Modern Age interpretations. Until then, I feel the pull of two distinct threads . . . one being the fairer incarnations of arachnids in the 616, and the other getting ready to face a very black night indeed. We’ll see you soon.Related: Replacement Heroes: Spider-Man Replacement Heroes: Thor Replacement Heroes: Superman Replacement Heroes: Flash