The Justice Society of America (often abbreviated as JSA) was an organization of meta-human heroes operating in 1942. According to Nate Heywood, they are the greatest secret force the United States has ever known. As of 1942, the JSA had a training academy in D.C. Their emergence was an influence to the Dominators' arrival on Earth in 1951 for reconnaissance in order to determine if meta-humans would be considered a threat.
- "I don't understand why they were tracking us in the first place."
"Because they're the Justice Society of America, the single greatest secret force this country has ever known."
- —Ray Palmer and Nate Heywood[src]
The Justice Society of America was formed by the United States as a top-secret organization comprised of various individuals with unique abilities, ranging from meta-humans to sorcerers, to fight the Nazis during World War II. They would be sent to fight battles that regular soldiers could not and would be regarded as the single greatest fighting force the country had ever known. They operated in a headquarters where they would receive orders by phone by the President of the United States himself. They also possessed a training facility in Washington, D.C. disguised as an abandoned warehouse. The original known roster of members included Henry Heywood/Commander Steel, Todd Rice/Obsidian, Courtney/Stargirl, Charles/Dr. Mid-Nite and Rex Tyler/Hourman; the latter served as the team's leader. At some point during the war, Amaya Jiwe/Vixen was also recruited into the JSA.
World War II
Original timeline: At some point during 1942 The Justice Society of America, or at least Rex Tyler, encountered a group of time travelers known as the Legends and became a trusted ally. Together they also had frequent encounters with rogue time traveler Eobard Thawne/Reverse-Flash. After a fatal encounter that saw all the Legends killed except for Mick Rory/Heat Wave at the hands of Reverse-Flash, Hourman discovered the speedster's plan. Following instructions from Heat Wave, Hourman took their ship and traveled to 2016 to stop their initial arrival in 1942.
Current timeline: The Justice Society of America first encountered the Legends after the latter team impersonated OSS agents in 1942. When Nate Heywood attempted to explain the situation he was knocked out by Commander Steel. A fight then broke out between the JSA and the Legends in which the latter were defeated due to their inability to function as a team. The group later watched the imprisoned Legends argue among themselves. Vixen suggested getting rid of them, but Rex believed they might as well try to get some answers out of them. Henry questioned the group with Nate Heywood (Commander Steel's grandson) volunteering himself to explain everything, explaining to the JSA that they are time travelers and that his dog tags (handed down from Steel to his father to Nate himself) alongside personal events in Commander Steel's life that only he would know, to serve as proof.
The JSA released them and they explained that a future version of Rex himself told them that something bad was going to happen in 1942. Rex explained their mission to them which was stopping the plans of Baron Krieger. They then allowed the Legends to leave 1942. Later at a bar in Germany, Vixen, who had scouted ahead, had her cover blown when the Legends attacked. The rest of the JSA arrived and together the groups managed to fight off the Nazis. Claiming that they were there to rescue the JSA on the Waverider the group decided to work together to retrieve an artifact which Hitler desired called the Askaran Amulet: an item possessing great power that could possibly win him the war. Krieger was planning to attain the amulet during an exchange in the Fontainebleau Forest. The two groups then decided to attack the exchange and retrieve the amulet. During the battle however Krieger, using a special serum given to him by Eobard Thawne which turned him into a hulking beast, managed to defeat both the JSA and Legends and capture Ray and Vixen.
On board the Waverider, the Legends argued with the JSA on what to do next to save their teammates. Sara and Rex in particular debated on how best to move forward: Rex wanted to go all in and strike to finish the mission, but Sara wanted to focus on saving Vixen and Ray properly. Stein (who had appointed himself the leader of the Legends) conceded and agreed with Sara's plan. He passed the title of captain to her, allowing her to guide the teams.
The groups attacked the location where Vixen and Ray were being held and managed to rescue Vixen and Ray. Meanwhile, Commander Steel and Nate managed to kill Krieger with an Allied artillery strike. Nate however was severely injured as the two were caught in the strike zone and due to his hemophilia Nate was unable to heal from his wounds as well as others. Fortunately, Ray managed to save Heywood by giving him an injection of the serum that Krieger had used, which he had modified, saving Nate's life and giving him powers similar to his grandfather's. The two then departed. Sometime later Reverse-Flash attacked and mortally wounded Rex before taking the Amulet. Vixen found him with Rex's last words being, "Time traveler" as a devastated Vixen grieved. Amaya later channeled her grief into revenge and anger as she joined the Legends to find Rex's killer.
Despite Rex's death and Amaya's disappearance, the JSA continued to exist.
After the second world war concluded, the Justice Society of America, and America overall, lost friendship with the Soviet Union. The Justice Society continued to fight the Iron Curtain over central and eastern Europe.
In 1951, due to being comprised primarily of meta-humans, the actions of the Justice Society of America drew the attention of the "Dominators" a race of extraterrestrials who feared meta-humans as a threat to their own kind. They visited Earth and began abducting and experimenting on people to see into their memories, and deduce if meta-humans were indeed a threat. While they did perceive them as a threat they worked out a truce with the humans that if the meta-humans didn't do anything they considered hostile, the Justice Society of America included, they would leave humanity alone.
In 1956, the Justice Society of America were sent by President Eisenhower on a mission in Leipzig. Obsidian, however, wasn't trusted due to the charged times and his homosexuality, and so was left behind. In Leipzig, the JSA was joined by Rip Hunter and found the Spear of Destiny, after which they broke it into four fragments. Rip split them among the four, keeping one and sending the other three to different time periods for safekeeping. As a result, the JSA was disbanded and Todd was left the sole remaining member who retired.
In 1987 when the Legends were tracking an aberration caused by Thawne and Damien Darhk, Nate and Amaya visited the training facility only to find it abandoned. There, Amaya also found a photograph of the original team, herself included. When an elderly Obsidian confronted them both he revealed the fate of the JSA to them before helping them on their mission.
Growing up Dr. Nate Heywood would hear bedtime stories of the JSA's actions from his father, including his grandfather Henry Heywood/Commander Steel, who became one of his idols. Nate became quite knowledgeable of their activities after studying government leaks and recorded eyewitnesses accounts, as well as information from his father's stories of his own father's actions during the war. Nate would use this knowledge while a member of the Legends.
Spear of Destiny
Dr. Mid-Nite was sent to Chicago in 3000 A.D. where he worked as a researcher for cybernetic implants. He was even able to use the advanced healing technology of the time to restore his vision. He was found by Rip Hunter who had been turned evil by the Legion of Doom. At first, Rip pretended to seek out the fragments per a claim that a sinister group was after it. Dr. Mid-Nite insisted that the spear was safer apart and in pieces though Rip said that the Vanishing point would be best though was caught in his lie as he had before claimed the Time Masters couldn't be trusted. Rip then dropped his charade and attacked Dr. Mid-Nite and demanded his piece though Mid-Nite refused and claimed he wouldn't find it. However, Rip correctly deduced that he had hidden the fragment inside himself due to his new field of work before tearing him open, killing him, and taking the fragment. He was then found by the Legends when they detected the fragment's location, and they found that he managed to write "Rip" on the ground in his own blood before he died, letting them know who was responsible.
Stargirl had been taken to 507 A.D. where she settled in Britannia but found the land to be a savage one. To better protect her fragment of the spear, she took on the persona of the legendary wizard Merlin and then fashioned the land into the legendary Court of Camelot with King Arthur and Guinevere using the spear fragment's reality-altering power. Over time, she had fallen in love with Arthur. The Legends arrived as they tracked the spear which she had hidden inside the fabled Sword in the Stone. They told her of Dr. Mid-Nite's death and she told them about the JSA's final mission when they located the spear and went off to three different times with Rip Hunter's help. However, Damien Darhk and Rip Hunter arrived to try and steal it. They held Camelot and Arthur for ransom if she didn't surrender the spear to them. The Legends decided to stay and help fight off Darhk and Rip, who they captured, and saved Arthur and Camelot from their grasp. Courtney gave the fragment to the Legends for safekeeping but chose to stay in Camelot as there she found a new home and she loved Arthur.
Commander Steel had been sent to 1965 Manhattan where Rip told him that he had to assume a new identity to protect the spear. He gave Rip his dogtags and asked him to make sure they found their way to his son. He went and worked his way to NASA where he hid his fragment of the spear in the flag Neil Armstrong planted on the moon in order to insure that it remained safe. However, Eobard Thawne learned of this and infiltrated the Apollo-13 crew in 1970. Commander Steel re-met Rip and the Legends and they worked together to try and keep the spear from falling into Thawne's hands. He considered using the time ship to take him back to 1956 and make it so he never left his wife and son but Amaya told him that doing that could change his son's fate and possibly threaten Nate's existence. When the ship had to be angled a certain way to re-enter the atmosphere, he sacrificed himself to have the Waverider and the crew get back to Earth safely.
The team later attempted to destroy the Spear but Mick betrayed them and the Legion got the staff and created a new reality where they were in power and the legends work for them. But Mick manages to get the legends memory and they fight the Legion of Doom with Amaya being killed by Leonard Snart and the Spear being destroyed.
Rex Tyler, Charles/Dr. Mid-Nite and Henry Heywood are finally avenged when Legends erased the alternate timeline, destroyed the Spear of Destiny then defeated and disbanded the Legion of Doom in the final battle, leading to Eobard Thawne and Damien Darhk's deaths.
- Rex Tyler/Hourman (leader; deceased)
- Amaya Jiwe/Vixen (left to join the Legends; later returned to Zambesi)
- Todd Rice/Obsidian (retired as of 1987)
- Henry Heywood/Commander Steel (operating in 1970; deceased)
- Courtney/Stargirl (operating in 507)
- Charles/Dr. Mid-Nite (operating in 3000; deceased)
- Legion of Doom (inactive)
- Nazi Germany
- Krieger (deceased)
DC's Legends of Tomorrow
- The JSA likely have the same history on Earth-Prime, as Charlie still used Amaya's appearance Post-Crisis.
- However this could simply mean the Legends ran into Amaya instead of the JSA itself.
Behind the scenes
- In the DC comics, the Justice Society is the world's first superhero team and the predecessor to the Justice League.
- The group was renamed to Wonders of the World in the New 52.