The Justice Society of America will return this fall in the pages of Scott Snyder’s Justice League, and the writer tells Newsarama that he has “really big plans” for them going forward.
According to Snyder, the Justice Society of America will be among the heroes from across space and time who fight beside the Justice League in the title’s upcoming event arc, "Justice: Doom War."
But their return in Justice League will is also feature what Snyder describes as the characters being “reintroduced to the Justice League members themselves, and they re-connect and form that thread across time of memory and of legacy and all that stuff.”
The JSA is a superhero team that populated DC during the Golden Age of comic books and were later the residents of Earth-2. But in more recent post-Crisis continuity, the Justice Society was brought forward in time to become a beloved team of seasoned heroes who mentored younger legacy characters.
The "New 52" reboot in 2011 caused the JSA characters to completely disappear from the DCU. But 2016's DC Universe: Rebirth #1 hinted at their return for the “Rebirth” era, as Wally West said of the team: "Their history may have been stolen, but your friends weren't completely lost."
Since then, Doomsday Clock has been exploring how Dr. Manhattan was behind their elimination from continuity, confirming that they were actually part of the current DCU’s history before Manhattan changed it.
Although Snyder isn’t revealing which issue brings back the JSA, the writer said he’s concentrating on the classic team of characters from the 1940s. The Justice League #31 cover features Hourman, Wildcat, Hawkman, Jay Garrick Flash, Ted Knight Starman, Alan Scott Green Lantern, Sandman, Dr. Fate and the original Atom.
Their reintroduction will be connected to Will Payton’s recent declaration that he wanted to unlock the secrets of his powers as Starman, and that will lead to a connection with Ted Knight Starman, as well as Starman One Million.
Newsarama talked to Snyder to find out more about the JSA’s reintroduction to the DCU, how this part of the story was teased in Justice League #1, and that personal connection the writer has to the era of the Justice Society of America.
Newsarama: Scott, in the last issue of Justice League, you established that heroes from across space and time were joining the League for the battle with the Legion of Doom. Is that what brings the Justice Society of America into the current DCU?
Scott Snyder: Yeah. The story is meant to be both a celebration and an activation of all characters across the DCU in service of this battle between good and evil, between doom and justice.
Luthor has expanded the Legion of Doom not to just include villains, but he’s made an appeal to the entire population of the world to be part of this, essentially. And people are starting to buy his argument, you know?
So the heroes have to expand as well.
And the only way that they’re going to be able to stop the Legion of Doom is to capture the same weapon Luthor has in that totality that he’s been carrying around.
And what they realize at the beginning of the story is that there might be the equivalent of a “justice” one.
And to find it, they need to unlock the secrets of Starman, Will Payton, but also Ted Knight. And also Starman One Million.
And so there’s a link over time, between these characters, that ultimately … the portal that opens between them, or that they’re able to open, allows the Justice League to go after the kind of totality they need to fight Luthor’s doom totality.
And if Luthor’s totality is able to channel the seven dark forces of the universe - you know, the Still Force and the Invisible Emotional Spectrum and all the things we’ve been mentioning - then this one is really attuned to the powers of the heroes, the to Speed Force, to the Emotional Spectrum, to all the things that they’ve been shepherds for without really understanding the tremendous weight of those forces. And the governing factors of those forces until now.
So it’s almost like they’re getting the object that’s going to soup up all their abilities, just as Luthor has one that soups up the abilities of the Legion of Doom.
And they’re going to battle over the fate of the whole universe in a massive war with all the characters across space and time to see who’s going to win - justice or doom.
Nrama: OK, you mentioned Ted Knight. But dude - the entire Justice Society of America is on this cover!
Snyder: I know! I know! I can’t tell you how honored and thrilled I am to be able to reintroduce them to mainline continuity. I’ve been waiting to do it for months and months and months and months and months - really, since we did Metal.
I have really big plans for them. I mean, they play a really crucial role in this story.
This story introduces them to the Justice League, and we really connect with generational legacy in it.
But I also have big plans for them in general. They’re characters that I’ve been dying to use for a very long time. I’m a big fan of what Geoff Johns did with them, and what James Robinson did with them.
Nrama: This looks like a classic line-up that you’re introducing. So these big plans you have for them going forward - it’s the original team?
Snyder: My sights are really set on the original team, their origins, what it meant to be the first superhero team in the 1940s. How morally ambiguous a time that was, as much as we think of it now, I think, as really black and white. How difficult it was to be a hero at a moment when the world was falling apart.
And so I have big plans to explore that. I can’t really give them away, like, with which artist or what I have. But I have a big story I want to do with the JSA in addition to what we’re doing with them here.
I’ve been dying to do it and pitching it to DC for a long time, because it touches on all the things I love about American history and super heroism and those kinds of sacrifices you see in other series that I’ve done in American Vampire and things like that.
It’s a passion project for me. My father was in the Air Force, and both my grandfathers were veterans. My maternal grandfather was in the Pacific theater from Pearl Harbor until pretty much the end of the war.
So getting to talk about heroism during that period is very important to me.
I’m very excited to reintroduce the characters here in this story, in a kind of big, bombastic way where they are reintroduced to the Justice League members themselves, and they re-connect and form that thread across time of memory and of legacy and all that stuff.
But I’m also really excited to use this as a springboard for much larger plans for these characters as well.
Nrama: So does this tie in to Doomsday Clock at all? Because we’ve seen the seeds of the Justice Society returning in Doomsday Clock.
Snyder: Not really. I mean, Doomsday Clock really is its own wonderful, incredible story. The kind of light connection between them is just that, what Geoff and I talked about was because Doomsday Clock is kind of running at its own pace, what I didn’t want to do was bring the JSA back before he had a chance to reintroduce them as a concept in issue #10.
I think that’s similar with other characters that he’s going to be using in Doomsday Clock as well.
So there’s a nod to each other in that regard. I wanted him to be able to have the JSA as an idea, and have that first appearance in Doomsday Clock.
But in terms of the continuities linking up, Doomsday Clock is a very special and inspirational book. We’re all amazed, I think, at how good it is. Hopefully fans will be happy with the way things are revealed to have bigger connections later on. *
Nrama: But the first time we’ll see them as part of the “Rebirth” DCU is in Justice League #31, since they’re on the cover? Or do they show up on the last page of issue #30?
Snyder: I don’t want to give it away how they show up.
But I promise you they will show up very early in the story.
What you see when they show up might not be what you expect. We didn’t just want to have the last page be the JSA. We want you to be even more surprised than that. So you’ll see.
Nrama: And they’ll stick around for "Justice: Doom War"?
Snyder: 100%, yes. They’re a big part of "Justice: Doom War," as are a lot of other character I don’t think you’ll expect to show up.
"Doom War" really is the culmination of everything we’ve been building on Justice League. It ends the whole story of Perpetua, the Totality, all of that, with the culmination of "Doom War," “Year of the Villain,” and sort of the cap of those things.
It has everything we’ve been building from issue #1, so characters we might have hinted at, mysteries that we’ve poked at…
Like Ted Knight appears in Justice League #1, if you look.
There’s also a smile on the sun in issue #1 of Justice League.
All that stuff is coming.
If you think we’ve gone big before, "Doom War" really is the crescendo of the giant, crazy symphony we’ve been trying to play all year long.
[* A brief portion of Scott Snyder’s responses have been edited at his request to better reflect Snyder’s thoughts.]