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Comic Book / Justice Society of America
aka: JSA

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Ain't no school like the old school.

"During the days of World War II, a group of costumed mystery men gathered together to form the first and greatest super-team of all time."

Once upon a time, comics had no such thing as continuity. Yes, read that sentence again. All those comics on the stands? They didn't intersect with one another. They were being read by Depression-era kids, who weren't going to write to the editor and complain about how the current issue of The Flash was at odds with a story written three years before. There were no message boards.

And then something wonderful happened.

The comic book All-Star Comics, in 1940, was introduced as a standard anthology title featuring characters from other anthologies. However in the third issue (Winter, 1940), writer Gardner Fox introduced the Justice Society of America, teaming up the characters. Thus was born the world's first superhero team. As the Trope Maker for Super Team, the Justice Society was mostly reserved for lesser-used characters and any character who got his own series would have minimal appearances, so Flash and Green Lantern left when they got solo comics, Superman and Batman rarely appearednote , and Wonder Woman was the JSA's secretary and didn't go on missions until late in the Golden Age All-Star run. The team had a roster that changed from time to time, with characters leaving the team and others replacing them, until finally the lineup stabilized for the last two years of the book's run. The comic was canceled with issue #57 (February-March, 1951) at the end of The Golden Age of Comic Books, with All-Star Western continuing the numbering.

Over a decade later, superheroes were on the rise again and The Flash (the Silver Age Flash, a totally different guy than the one in World War II) discovered another Earth inhabited by the older Golden Age characters. Continuity had been invented by this point, so the explanation was, "All those JSA stories took place on Earth-2, which has its own version of Superman, and everything from, uh, circa-1955 on is from Earth-1, which has the Justice League of America. Superman versus aliens? That was Earth-1. Superman versus Nazis? Earth-2". Thus, every summer, the JLA and the JSA would team up, in some of the few multi-part storylines of The Silver Age of Comic Books. These were often titled "Crisis on Earth-Something", and involved the two teams responding to multidimensional disasters.

The JSA's own series was briefly revived in the 1970s, with All-Star Comics returning with issue #58 (February 1976). Earth-2 was treated as having existed in real time, and all the characters had aged. New characters Huntress and Power Girl were introduced as younger superheroes, related to the early group. The series lasted to #74, and included the origin of the Justice Society (told in a special, not in the series itself). The comic was then canceled in the "DC Implosion" of 1978, and its six remaining stories were published in Adventure Comics; the last issue was #466 (December 1979).

The next JSA-associated series was All-Star Squadron, which started in 1981 and took place during the 1940s in the JSA's prime. It included all of DC's characters from that time period, focusing less on the Justice Society proper, and was followed by the post-Crisis Young All-Stars. Meanwhile, "modern" Earth-Two stories featuring the children and friends of the JSA, called Infinity, Inc., came into being, and lasted till the early 1990s.

The Crisis on Infinite Earths left the JSA relatively untouched (except that there was now only one Earth, where all the heroes lived), but DC Editorial wanted to get rid of the JSA. So, in the best tradition of the Ass Pull: "Suddenly, the JSA were attacked by a spell cast by Hitler in the last days of World War II, which summoned the demons of Ragnarok to destroy the world. The JSA had no choice but to create a hole in time and space, and all go through the hole to fight demons". The JSA were caught up in a time loop fighting demons from 1986 to 1992, when they were released during the Armageddon: Inferno crossover. They had a flashback miniseries in 1991 and a short series in 1992 that was cancelled even before its first issue by more Executive Meddling.

The Crisis Crossover Zero Hour: Crisis in Time! brutally killed off members Doctor Mid-Nite, Hourman, and the Atom (an act meant to both get rid of "embarrassing" older heroes and create some epic deaths for the big story), and wrote out Carter and Shiera Hall, the Golden Age Hawkman and Hawkgirl, by merging them with the Silver Age Hawkman, Katar Hol. Several other members were also aged to such an extent that they were forced to retire, most notably Doctor Fate (leading to the introduction of a new bearer of the mantle in the Fate series), Sandman and Johnny Thunder. The second revival, simply entitled JSA, brought the team back together with numerous new members, resurrected Hourman (who retired and entrusted the mantle to his son) and the Carter Hall version of Hawkman, and eventually fizzled after 87 issues and yet another Crisis Crossover. It was initially written by James Robinson (and included his Starman in the lineup) and David S. Goyer. Robinson was later replaced by Geoff Johns, whose run on the book is generally considered the team's peak and is regarded as one of his best works to this day.

The last series before the 2011 reboot, once again titled "Justice Society of America", attempted to take the best of all previous incarnations with the young-meets-old theme, Nazi supervillans, and a return to universe-hopping adventure. There was even a second ongoing, JSA Classified, which turned the Character Focus to individual members on their team.

The JSA, therefore, basically became a team of veterans and mentors for other heroes, as well as the starting point for many heroes in training. This gave the team excellent dynamics: young vs. old, cynical vs. idealist, etc. While its heroes were not as popular as those who form the Justice League, they were respected and admired by all proper heroes in The DCU as pioneers of the principles they stood for. After adding tons of characters in the form of other Legacy Heroes, Johns finalized his decade-long run on the book.

Following his departure, the writing chores were taken over by Fables scribes Bill Willingham and Lilah Sturges (credited as Matt Sturges), who split the massive roster in two. JSA All-Stars featured Sturges' team, led by Power Girl and Magog, while the original title held all of the important Golden Age characters. Sales suffered an expected drop-off with Johns leaving, but the book remained a major part of the DC Universe.

James Robinson wrote several issues during a crossover with the Justice League, and then Marc Guggenheim became the regular writer. Fan reaction to his take on the characters was mixed, to say the least. His run ended when the New 52 relaunch took place and the title was cancelled.

In the New 52, many of the major Golden Age characters were rebooted and re-imagined, with most once again operating on Earth-2, as they did pre-Crisis (in Earth 2), and some operating on Earth-0, the DCU's current main Earth. However, there was no official team operating under the JSA title until Geoff Johns' DC Universe: Rebirth revealed there had once been a Justice Society on Earth-0, a covert team of mystery men who helped win World War II, but they'd been forgotten by history, lost to time, and needed to be brought back. The team appeared in Scott Snyder's Justice League, where Barry Allen and John Stewart encountered them in the past, with the various JSA members young and in their prime; Snyder's story in Wonder Woman #750 indicated that in this timeline, the Golden Age began when Wonder Woman made her first public appearance by saving President Roosevelt from an assassination attempt (pre-Crisis, it had begun with Superman's first appearance). The team proper — seemingly the post-Crisis version — fully returned in Geoff Johns' Doomsday Clock, which acted as the conclusion to the Rebirth saga.

The Justice Society is mentioned by Rex Tyler in the first season finale of Legends of Tomorrow, and makes a full appearance in the second season. The JSA also plays a prominent role in Stargirl (2020) (which takes place on Earth-2).

The team made their cinematic debut in the Black Adam (2022) live action film set in the DC Extended Universe and starring Dwayne Johnson, with Aldis Hodge as Hawkman, Pierce Brosnan as Doctor Fate, Noah Centineo as Atom Smasher and Quintessa Swindell as Cyclone. The team had its own Animated Adaptation in the DC Universe Animated Original Movies line, Justice Society: World War II in 2021.

See Justice Society of America for the characters page.

Comic BooksFilm
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    Golden Age JSA 
  • Action Girl: Wonder Woman, when she was allowed to go on missions. Her participation was rare in the early years of the series, but around issue 38 Wonder Woman became an active member of the team out in the field as well as at headquarters. Black Canary was always an Action Girl who started as a guest character, also in issue 38, and then was officially invited to join after proving invaluable to the team on several cases.
  • Advanced Ancient Humans: In All-Star Comics #52, the JSA encounter four kings who are the last of a race of Advanced Ancient Humans that ruled the Earth 100,000 years ago. The kings are Sealed Evil in a Can, but naturally escape their prison and incapacitate the team before heading out to take over the world. In the end, they kill themselves when they're caught in a nuclear explosion of their own making.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Hawkman mainly, though Wildcat was briefly a member of the team. As an honorary member who participated in a single adventure, Batman also counts.
  • Anthology Comic: All-Star Comics began as an anthology book. Even when the JSA was introduced with issue 3, the book remained essentially an anthology consisting of the framing story in the opening and closing chapters, with the middle chapters linked to that story but drawn by different artists and featuring different characters. Later on the series would move to some longer stories that broke from the anthology format.
  • Badass Normal: Since they started out when LEGO Genetics was in the future, and even comic-book science was still in the Lightning Can Do Anything stages, most of the members had some variant of a Charles Atlas Superpower. The Atom, Wildcat, Sandman, Mr. Terrific and Dr. Mid-Nite all had no superpowers, despite Dr. Mid-Nite's Disability Superpower of being able to see in the dark. All of these characters got by on wits, determination, and a good solid punch to the jaw rather than superpowers. Even Black Canary lacked the sonic scream of her successor in the Golden Age and got by on fighting prowess and wits. There are a lot of street level heroes on this team.
  • Beneath the Earth: the realm of the Diamond Men, who break out and invade Civic City.
  • Blind Justice: Dr. Mid-Nite, whose Disability Superpower is that he is blind, but can still see in total darkness. Hence his "blackout bombs" that blind the bad guys, but allow him to function normally.
  • The Bus Came Back: After being gone for several years, both the Flash and the Green Lantern return for a visit in issue 24, and become full time members again in issue 25.
  • Butter Face: Way back in the early days of the JSA, Johnny Thunder was thrown back in time and was betrothed to a princess who always wore a veil...
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: What happened to Hourman? Why did he disappear between issues? What about Doctor Fate, the Spectre or Starman? The kids in the 1940s who wondered this were out of luck, because no explanation was offered. It took a retcon applied decades later to explain where these characters went.
  • Comedic Hero: Johnny Thunder and the Red Tornado.
  • Comic Books Are Real: Possibly. Johnny Thunder is seen in All-Star #3 looking at racks filled with Flash Comics, Adventure Comics, etc., which were the actual comics in which the individual JSA members appeared. It could be that fictionalized versions of the characters' exploits were published in their world, which would make sense given everyone's attempt to maintain a secret identity. Otherwise villains would just pick up the latest issue of All-American and learn all about how Alan Scott was Green Lantern. Both the Red Tornado and Wildcat were inspired by Green Lantern, and both learned about GL through kids who read about him in comics.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Johnny Thunder's genie, the Thunderbolt, who never hesitates to gripe about how dumb Johnny is and how he has to do all the work himself.
  • Diabolical Mastermind: Mister X, the unseen master of the underworld from All-Star #5. He's tired of the JSA putting his gangs out of action, so he puts plans into motion to destroy them once and for all. And despite the fact that the traps all fail, and despite the fact that he's fairly harmless in appearance, the man seems to have known all about the JSA, their identities and their weaknesses. He shows up in Jay Garrick's apartment, has secretly given an underling a ring that cancels out the Spectre's powers, knows who the Sandman's girlfriend is, etc. The JSA never catch him, but he turns himself in since they've shut down all his rackets, declaring that he will go to jail and "live off the state!"
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: The Wizard's first appearance. He'd been out of touch for years learning his magical powers. When he returned to civilization, he learned of the JSA. He could not conceive of intelligent super-powered people using their powers for altruistic reasons, and assumed the heroes were actually running an enormous scam, and he demanded to be cut in.
  • Evil Sorcerer: The Wizard (one of the JSA's longest-running villains), and others.
  • The Fool: Johnny Thunder.
  • Forgot About His Powers: More than once in All-Star Comics, chapters featuring Dr. Fate or Starman or Dr. Mid-Nite show those characters using nothing more than their fists to take on the villain, as opposed to the super-powers which should make such conflicts easy to win.
    • It also happens to the villains: Brain Wave never uses his image-projecting power after his first appearance and later has to use Super Science to achieve the same things, and the Wizard's magic is nowhere in evidence in his two subsequent appearances leading the Injustice Society.
  • Historical Domain Crossover: A comic has the JSA fighting what appears to be a band of villains out of history: Nero, Goliath, Captain Kidd, Cesare Borgia, Genghis Khan and Attila the Hun. It turns out to be one guy (a guard at a wax museum) masquerading as all these figures. However he succeeds in killing the entire male membership of the Society in that issue. They get better.
  • Idiot Hero: Johnny Thunder, a Golden Age doofus who had a genie that had to make his statements come true after he said "cei-u"—and he often prefaced his suggestions to others with "say, you...!" Hilarity Ensues.
  • I Minored in Tropology: In All-Star #2, Alan Scott suddenly has the medical knowledge to both perform an autopsy and fabricate a cure for a drug that is turning men into very strong and obedient soldiers for an (implied) Nazi agent. The explanation? He took a few years of pre-med in college.note 
  • Initiation Ceremony: Johnny Thunder is put through one of these as a joke, though in the end he's accepted by the team. When Jay Garrick becomes an honorary member and leaves full time participation, Johnny tries to get his Thunderbolt to make the others let him join. They're not happy, and decide to play a joke on him to teach him a lesson, sending him to capture "Killer McPanzee", a supposed dangerous criminal who is in reality nothing of the sort. Naturally Johnny gets mixed up with real crooks, and the whole team gets involved, eventually adding Johnny to the ranks due to his sheer determination and grit, even though he's a bit of a doofus.
  • Jekyll & Hyde: In All-Star #20, the JSA are helping industrialist Jason L. Rogers track down a criminal known as "The Monster", a hideous-looking man who follows Rogers around and has cost him his family and his business. It turns out that Rogers himself turns into "The Monster" and never knew it.
  • Joker Jury: The Injustice Society of the World subjects the JSA to one of these in All Star Comics #37.
  • Jumped at the Call: Every single one of the heroes. There are no reluctant warriors here.
  • Land of Faerie: Exists in another dimension apparently, and intersects with Earth every thousand years. Yep, the JSA really have been everywhere.
  • Legion of Doom: The Injustice Society of the World was the very second example in comics (after The Monster Society of Evil), consisting of many of the JSA's greatest enemies, including the Wizard, Vandal Savage, Solomon Grundy, and Per Degaton.
  • The Load: The Golden Age Red Tornado was part this, with a heaping dollop of comic relief. She was tough enough to at least hold her own in a fight against non-super-powered thugs, though.
  • Long-Runners: With the exception of DC's big three (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), All-Star was the longest lasting superhero comic of the 1940s. It ran from the first issue in summer 1940 until February 1951. The title became a western after that.
  • Knock Out Gas: Wesley Dodds, the Sandman, has no superpowers but uses Knock Out Gas to render his opponents unconscious. Hence the gas mask that he wears to protect himself from the effects.
  • Magical Seventh Son: Johnny Thunder got his powers from being the seventh son of a seventh son, born on the seventh hour of the seventh day of the seventh month of 1917.
  • Magic Versus Science: One issue had the team visiting the world where all the famous fairytale characters exist. Because magic's so powerful there, the team members who got their powers from scientific sources, like the Flash and the Atom, found themselves Brought Down to Normal. While the others whose powers had magical or other supernatural sources, like Green Lantern, Wonder Woman or Johnny Thunder, were fine.
  • The Man Behind the Curtain: In All-Star Comics #5, the JSA spends the entire story hunting for a mysterious crime lord known as 'Mr. X', whose underlings are terrified of him. At the end of the story, Mr. X shows up and politely turns himself in, as the JSA have now smashed his network. He is a completely innocuous milquetoast.
  • Mechanical Lifeforms: "Vampires of the Void" features the inhabitants of Jupiter, metallic life forms who come to Earth and actually consume metal as food. They end up taking on the characteristics of the metal they eat, which is how the various JSA members are able to defeat them.
  • Men Get Old, Women Get Replaced:
    • The original members of the Justice Society included Wonder Woman and Black Canary, but when the group reformed decades later, it included the daughters of both as replacements (Wonder Woman was retroactively stated to be Diana's mother, Hippolyta). Many of the men returned despite having aged (such as Jay Garrick, the original Flash). Some, like Alan Scott (Green Lantern) and Carter Hall (Hawkman) had either de-aged or were immortal.
    • Their counterparts, the All-Star Squadron, had Liberty Belle, who was later replaced by her daughter, Jesse Quick.
  • No Communities Were Harmed: The JSA operate out of Gotham City for a long time, and then in the late 1940s move to "Civic City", which at first appears to be a stand in for Washington DC, given the Atom's comments about it. But then All-Star #54 mentions that all police have an Empire State license plate on their cars, so Civic City must be in New York State. Oddly enough, it has a bottomless lake and a geyser similar to Old Faithful nearby.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Averted by Doctor Mid-Nite, and later Doctor Fate as well, once Kent Nelson decided to go to medical school and become an actual doctor in his own series, much to the approval of his fiancee Inza. He became an intern in a clinic once he graduated, and many of his stories involved mysteries requiring the use of his medical knowledge to solve.
  • Omnibus: The entire original All-Star run has been restored and collected in the DC Archives series. It's about the only affordable way to read these stories today, 70-80 years after they were published.
  • One-Shot Character: Mr. Terrific, Terry Sloane, only appeared in one All-Star issue (#24) despite often being associated with the JSA in modern retrospectives. Wildcat only appeared in two issues (#24 and #27).
    • Superman and Batman are honorary members, but aside from a one-panel cameo early on (and a few mugshots on the roll-call page), they only participate in one full adventure with the team.
  • Outdated Outfit: Johnny Thunder sported a green business suit and bow tie that would have been in fashion when the character was created in the 1940s, but he kept wearing it for decades afterwards. The narration in one story in the 1980s lampshades this by mentioning that his fashion sense went into a permanent stall sometimes in the 1950s.
  • Put on a Bus: During the Golden Age, members were routinely Put on a Bus when their solo series ended, or in the case of the Flash or Green Lantern, Put on a Bus because they got a solo series of their own. Characters would often disappear with no farewell scene. Hourman, Starman, and Doctor Fate are all examples of this. Johnny Thunder was put on a bus when he was replaced by Black Canary.
    • The entire team when All-Star Comics became a western in 1951.
  • Real Men Get Shot: Early on, the Sandman frequently gets shot and has to struggle against the injury through the remainder of his case, both in his solo and JSA adventures. Later on he manages to avoid this problem.
  • Science Is Bad: When Mr. Alpha uses it to commit crimes, it's bad. The guy apparently got his multi-disciplinary degree with the sole goal of becoming a master criminal.
  • Sdrawkcab Alias: It once took the JSA an entire issue of All-Star Comics to realise that evil Professor Elba and kindly Professor Able were one and the same. Not exactly their finest moment.
  • Sexy Secretary: Well, the team's secretary IS Wonder Woman...
  • Shown Their Work: Many, many times. In a story where the JSA members go to different countries in Central and South America to root out Nazis, the chapters will open with facts about each country as part of the opening narration. When the JSA fight metal invaders from Jupiter (go with it), each chapter opens with some facts about a different metal. When the various team members visit different years in a man's life, there's a list of facts about that particular year that open each chapter. There's a very clear attempt by Gardner Fox to add some educational value to these stories.
  • The Smurfette Principle: In the original All-Star Comics (predating the Justice League by decades), Wonder Woman was originally the only female character. She didn't go out on missions, but was in fact the team's secretary until around 1948, so JLA Wonder Woman actually came out ahead. That was in the 1940s however, and the reason she didn't take part in storylines was because she had her own book. As a rule the JSA active members were limited to popular characters who didn't support their own title, and even Superman and Batman were limited by it. The JSA did, eventually, get a second female character: Black Canary.
  • Solar System Neighbors: "Vampires of the Void" features the inhabitants of Jupiter, metallic life forms who come to Earth and actually consume metal as food. They end up taking on the characteristics of the metal they eat, which is how the various JSA members are able to defeat them.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: Dr. Mid-Nite used blackout bombs to get a drop on fighting his foes.
  • Stripping Snag: In the very first JSA story in All-Star Comics #3, Red Tornado gatecrashes the JSA meeting. The members invite her to come in and take a seat at the table, but she hurriedly makes excuses and leaves. As the others wander what was up with that, the Flash reveals that she has snagged her longjohns on a nail climbing in the window and ripped them off; leaving her naked from the waist down.
  • Stupid Jetpack Hitler: A Nazi scientist once came up with a plan to capture the JSA and shoot them off into space in rockets so they'd be no further problem to Hitler. Keep in mind this is the early 1940s. And yet, Germany had fully functional rockets that got the various JSA members to different planets in the solar system (and back) within what appears to be only days at most.
  • Super Team: The very first one in comics.
  • Time Master: JSA enemy Per Degaton, who can manipulate time to the point where he still has access to high tech weapons, even though he's altered history so that those things never developed, leaving the rest of the world in a much less advanced state.
  • To Know Him, I Must Become Him: In order to help a friend of Carter Hall understand why the US is fighting the Germans, the team take him on a guided tour of German history, with Carter's friend taking the role of various Germans in each time period. This story is probably one of the most blatant examples of anti-German propaganda in All-Star's original run, depicting the Germans as a continually warlike group of people who fight for any or no reason at all.
  • Two Girls to a Team: For the longest time, the only woman on the JSA was Wonder Woman, and she wasn't allowed (by her creator) to participate in any major way. In the later years of the 1940s, both Wonder Woman and Black Canary were active members of the JSA, making the ratio 5 men and 2 women.
  • Walking Shirtless Scene: Hawkman, every issue, since his design incorporates straps to hold his wings rather than a shirt.
  • War in Asia and the Pacific: After the attack on Pearl Harbor, every active member (except the Spectre) join the military to go fight the Japanese. They all end up fighting in the Pacific, or off the west coast, repelling (fictional) Japanese incursions. Even Wonder Woman gets a full adventure, even though she's not an official member at this point.

    Silver and Bronze Age JSA 
  • The Bus Came Back: The original run of All-Star comics and the JSA made their last appearance in issue 57, 1951. Thanks to the success of Jay Garrick's return in "Flash of Two Worlds", the entire team made a cameo appearance a few issues later in Flash #129 in 1962, and then returned as full guest stars in Justice League of America #21 and 22 in 1963. They appeared in that book all through the 1960s, and then finally All-Star itself was revived with issue 58 in 1976. That bus was gone for 25 years!
  • Clip Show: The mini-series "America Vs. the Justice Society" has a plot, but it's largely an excuse to recap the entire printed history of the Justice Society up to that point, right before the Crisis. Many pages are recreations of old All-Star panels or covers as members of the JSA related the storyline in question.
  • Comic-Book Time: Doesn't exist for the Earth 2 characters. Just to pick a few examples, Dick Grayson is in his 40s and is the US ambassador to South Africa. Bruce Wayne has retired as Batman and is Gotham police commissioner. Most of the superheroes are in their 50s, at least during the revived All-Star series. Earth 1 may be in the eternal present, but time marches on for pre-Crisis Earth 2.
  • Heroes Unlimited: All-Star Squadron was basically this for the team, set in the 1940s.
  • Lethally Expensive: In DC Special #29, the origin of the Justice Society of America, a British agent tells the President: "We have received information—very reliable information, obtained at the cost of many lives—and it is now clear that Hitler plans to invade England—within weeks!"
  • The Load: Johnny Thunder in the silver age, modern comics have managed to avert this by making him a hero in his own right.
  • Put on a Bus: The team was Put on a Bus following the Crisis on Infinite Earths, when in Last Days of the Justice Society they decided to disband after the merging of the Earths but were called to alter the outcome of the Norse gods' Ragnarok in order to prevent Adolf Hitler from retroactively destroying the universe in 1945, which caused the team to remain trapped in a never-ending fight cycle until several years later in Armageddon: Inferno.
  • Straw Feminist: Power Girl in the 70s All-Star revival series.

    Post-Crisis JSA 
  • Aborted Arc: This is a bit subjective, but Johns and Goyer were clearly planning a major dust-up between the Department of Extranormal Affairs and the JSA. The Black Reign arc probably overtook it. Also, there's the business with the Council, which again was overtaken by Black Reign when Black Adam slaughtered them off-panel to court the support of Nemesis.
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: Damage, after Gog fixes up his face. He becomes incapable of crowing about it, assumes Stargirl is hitting on him (she's really not), and when Atom Smasher tries talking to him he spends the entire conversation not listening because he's too busy stealing glances at a mirror. Al even accuses him of having "turned into Vanity Smurf".
  • A Day in the Limelight: One story arc in All-Stars has Cyclone, after being injured in the last arc, deal with a group of clones and someone stealing her powers at her school, while the rest of the team are away on a mission in space. The story focuses on Maxine just happily dealing with the situation on her own, while the rest of the team's epic space adventure is limited to several random snippets of different stages. For what it's worth, it seems they're having a pretty epic adventure.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: An interesting case. Hawkgirl kissed Sand, but mainly to go against the idea that she has to end up with Hawkman, who came back to life and just assumes that he'll have Kendra. Sand later pulls a Heroic Sacrifice, and when he's found, he says he wanted Kendra to be more than a friend.
  • And I Must Scream: Obsidian is forced into the form of an egg made of darkness by Kid Karnevil. In this form he's compressed into a small black hole, where he's both aware yet immobile as well as in a time bubble so the day or two he's been stuck in it felt like much longer to him.
  • Animal-Themed Superbeing: Both Wildcats, Hawkman, and Hawkgirl.
  • Apron Matron: Abigail "Ma" "the Red Tornado" Hunkel, which back in the 40s was combined with Sweet Polly Oliver.
  • Arms Dealer: The Elseworlds miniseries JSA: The Liberty Files (featuring Batman and the JSA) featured the Joker as an arms dealer selling weapons to the Nazis.
  • Art Shift: The end of "Thy Kingdom Come" has the art change to Alex Ross's art whenever it depicts Earth-22.
  • The Atoner: Black Adam, a former super-villain. Later reverted to form. Later, Atom-Smasher, who followed Adam in his descent back into villainy, fills this role.
  • Author Filibuster: In issue 50, Jay Garrick is being interviewed prior to being sworn in as mayor. One of the questions involves the way in which the JSA has abandoned the whole "legacy" concept, where the younger generation is trained by the older generation, despite the fact that this is not something that's really happened yet in the actual storylines. Jay's response of "I see no reason that JSA membership should be restricted to a certain pedigree" could easily be read as author Marc Guggenheim responding to reader complaints. It certainly breaks the fourth wall.
  • Back from the Dead:
    • Hector Hall is reincarnated in a newborn infant at the beginning of JSA.
    • Extant resurrects the Dawn Granger Dove, she of Hawk and Dove fame.
  • Badass Normal:
    • Mister Terrific, the third-smartest man in the world (and therefore smart enough to know that "Working Out = Good")
    • Hawkman (who graduated to Conan the Barbarian with wings)
    • Wildcat, advertised as the man who taught self-defense classes to the JLA.
    • Black Canary at the beginning of JSA, since she'd been depowered at the time. Since she's Black Canary, this means she's Brought Down to Badass.
  • Bad Future: Involving Those Wacky Nazis of course.
  • Bad Powers, Good People: Obsidian gets here... eventually. Decidedly not the case the first time he appears, though.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: The "Thy Kingdom Come" had Doctor Mid-Nite regain his eyesight at the cost of being able to diagnosis medical conditions at a glance, Starman regained his sanity when he needed to be crazy, Power Girl learned the hard way that the Infinite Crisis had caused her to be replaced with a double on Earth 2, and Damage's face was fixed and he became increasingly vain. Luckily because Status Quo Is God most of those issues were resolved.
  • Better to Die than Be Killed: Wesley Dodds commits suicide rather than let Mordru kill him (or worse). He also figures wherever he ends up, Dian Belmont will be waiting for him.
  • Big Bad: Mordru in the first half of the JSA series, and Black Adam in the second. Johnny Sorrow also takes a turn as this on-and-off throughout the run.
  • Big, Screwed-Up Family: Most of the inner turmoil in the JSA was caused by the original Atom, Al Pratt's, kids. Atom-Smasher was Pratt's godchild, and later, Pratt's son Damage (it's a complicated story) betrays the team by siding with Gog.
  • Blessed with Suck: Citizen Steel has superhuman strength... he also can't feel anything, and has to wear a special suit because he can't control his strength.
  • Canon Immigrant: Vol 3 introduces Magog from Kingdom Come into regular continuity.
  • Came Back Strong: Lance-Corporal David Reid had some mild superpowers, but nothing flashy. After Gog resurrects him, he gets super-strength strong enough to send Superman flying, and the ability to teleport.
  • Clothing Damage: Power Girl frequently suffers this, being Ms. Fanservice. Atom Smasher's mask is also unusually fragile, often tearing from a flung bottle or somesuch object.
  • Comic-Book Time: The JSA characters have an odd relationship with this trope. The surviving Golden Age characters generally avert it, having aged in real time despite being well-preserved for their age. The younger members of the modern day team mostly adhere to Comic-Book Time (though quite a few of them do age, just far slower than in real life), meaning aging characters exist right alongside unaging characters. The book avoided the problems this caused by generally ignoring it.
  • Cool Big Sis: Kendra to Courtney. Courtney herself is described as this to most of the younger generation who joined after her, despite being younger than most of them. Jesse also tries to be this for Grant, due to them having been on the Titans together and her knowing about his tragic backstory making her more forgiving of his outbursts than others.
  • Cool Old Guy: What, you can't see it? The original members pantsed Hitler, for crying out loud. The whole flying, bend-steel-with-their-bare-hands thing is a bonus.
  • Cool Ship:
    • Following the return of their ace pilot Atom Smasher, the All-Stars gained one in the form of the appropriately named Star Eagle.
    • The android Hourman's time-ship.
  • Darker and Edgier: Mark Guggenheim's run had all the hallmarks of this, with plenty of violence, destruction, and the normally polite and in-control Jay Garrick (who used to tell Jakeem Thunder to “watch his language”) referring to the villain as a "bastard". There was also a strange attempt at "dark realism" by having a "Super-terrorist", though what exactly made him different than any other supervillain (which quite often would more than qualify as a terrorist with superpowers) with a high bodycount is never really stressed beyond everyone's shock at the idea of a terrorist having superpowers.
  • The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Hank Hall went mad and became Monarch and then Extant because his soul mate Holly Granger died. He does eventually get the power to revive Holly, and then does just that... only to immediately lock her up in a dungeon and then accidentally kill her all over again, thanks to several billion years of being alone and insane.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Power Girl on occasion.
  • Demoted to Extra: Reading this series can be a bit jarring if you're a fan of Sandman Mystery Theatre. After the Golden Age Sandman spent years as the hero of his own cult classic series, he dies in the first issue of JSA.
  • Depending on the Artist: Cyclone's costume is pretty hard to draw, so various artists raise or lower the slit on the side (or remove it entirely), alter the amount of strips on the leggings, change the size or colour of her emblem, and change how baggy or large the overhanging pouch is. Even her hair is subject to this, either having long bangs, or none at all.
    • Quite common for some other members of the team. Power Girl's costume is explained in-universe as having multiple variations after years of varying Boob-Window-sizes, and Stargirl is often shown looking more or less young and busty.
  • Divergent Character Evolution: Even though the Justice Society came first and the Justice League of America was just a Silver Age update of the Justice Society, because the Justice League was more popular, it was decided that the Justice Society needed to find a new core concept to differentiate it from the Justice League. Several different ideas were tried such as being an Alternate Universe equivalent to the Justice League, being a group of middle-aged superheroes, and being a group of senior citizen superheroes, until finally, they found a concept that worked sales-wise: a multigenerational family of superheroes training the next generation. This concept behind the team was explicitly abandoned by Marc Guggenheim.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!: Damage is quite belligerent about his scarred face.
  • Elseworld: There have been two notable JSA stories published under the Elseworlds imprint...
    • In The Golden Age, America's mystery men, including the JSA, return home after World War II and find themselves obsolete, unable to go back to catching bank robbers after spending years fighting Those Wacky Nazis. Unfortunately for everyone, though, the Nazi menace isn't quite finished...
    • In The Liberty Files, the Golden Age superheroes are reinvented as super-spies who fight arms dealers, Nazis, and aliens in the '30s through the '50s.
  • Energy Being: Although he was unaware of this at first, Alan Scott's body is now composed entirely of the green energy he's channeled through his ring for 70 years.
  • Everyone's Baby Sister: Funnily enough, this is something of a subtle Legacy Character on it's own. Since the modern age, the older members of the JSA have looked at a younger Legacy Character of one of their members as something of a collective surrogate daughter figure, who they are exceptionally protective of. Said character is the daughter of one of them, so this makes sense.
    • Per their new backstory, Dinah Laurel Lance/Black Canary II was this growing up, with all of them treating her as their niece growing up. As an adult, she's still fairly close with all of them.
    • Jesse Chambers/Jesse Quick, the daughter of Johnny Quick and Liberty Belle, was introduced this way in the 90s miniseries. Jay and Alan are especially close to Jesse, considering her like a daughter to them.
    • Courtney Whitmore/Stargirl, is the most notable example both because she's had the longest on-screen tenure in the role. Unlike the previous two, her stepdad, Pat Dugan, wasn't a formal member of the team exactly, but he's retroactively considered an honorary member, and they didn't watch Courtney grow up since she was 15 when she first met any of them and is still quite young.
  • Expy:
    • When teen supervillain Kid Karnevil attempts to infiltrate the Justice Society Of America, he does so by posing as a patriotic superhero named the All-American Kid. All-American Kid's costume and backstory were extremely similar to those of Bucky, the sidekick of Captain America.
    • Magog is one of Cable.
  • Eye Scream: During a fight with Eclipso, Hawkgirl gets fed up of her monologuing and stabs her through the eye with an arrow. Doesn't shut her up, though.
  • Face–Heel Turn and Heel–Face Turn: Atom Smasher does both over the course of the series, quitting the team for glad-handling super-villains and going easy on them (he'd murdered a villain to save his mother's life), then asking to rejoin them after realizing the life of a killer wasn't for him.
  • Family Extermination: The first arc of Justice Society vol 3 has Vandal Savage sending killers after the families of heroes. He succeeds in a few cases.
  • Fanservice: Power Girl's huge bustline makes her a recurring subject of "focus on bustline while she's flying towards us" angled shots, and she often suffers Clothing Damage. Kendra tends to get lots of ass shots and rocks a midriff-exposing outfit and pants with a plunging waistline. Unusually, however, the entire rest of the female cast tends to be either modestly-endowed (the teenage characters) and/or full-clothed without even the form-fitting wardrobe normal for comics (Cyclone and Liberty Belle).
  • Flanderization:
    • Hourman was initially an action-loving hero with many aspects, who took major issue with Atom Smasher's betrayal, and had feelings for Jesse Chambers. Fast-forward one year, and his entire personality seemed based around fawning over his wife Jesse, or screaming at Atom Smasher for betraying the team. Thanks to a large cast, his few appearances in the book could only consist of just that.
    • Under Geoff Johns, Magog is an anti-hero, but is respectful and polite towards the JSA. It's just his enemies he's not nice toward. Once Willingham takes over, he becomes a total arsehole who attacks his teammates by mistake and refuses to admit fault, and never stops talking about how he was a US marine.
  • Forced Prize Fight: Roulette's arena.
  • Foreshadowing: During a time-travel jaunt, Power Girl runs afoul of an anomaly in time, one Rip Hunter hadn't seen coming. One centred on Nineteen Eighty-Five. In the following storyline, Kara's true Kryptonian nature starts violently reasserting itself, leading to her own identity crisis at the beginning of Infinite Crisis.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The Michael Holt on the new Earth-2 isn't a superhero, but a college professor, and a devout Christian, unlike regular Michael, who's completely atheist. Also, his wife is still alive.
  • Future Badass: One story-arc has Stargirl meeting the future Starwoman, an older version of her baby sister Patricia. Who, at the beginning of the story, had just been killed by time-travelling assassins.
  • The Gambler: Roulette
  • Genki Girl: Cyclone, possibly the biggest example in DC Comics. Generally just a hyperactive, over-talkative motor-mouth who ends up with her mouth finally covered by another character at least twice.
  • Goggles Do Something Unusual: Doctor Midnight's special goggles give him x-ray vision when he's normally blind.
  • Handwraps of Awesome: Hawkgirl, except in her case they go halfway up her arms to hide the cuts on her wrists.
  • Hero with an F in Good: Magog exemplifies this in his modern incarnation.
  • Heroes Unlimited: The final pre-New 52 JSA run went this route, adding in a ton of new heroes in addition to bringing back all of the teen JSA members who had left to join the ill-fated All-Stars title.
  • Heroic Sacrifice:
    • This one doesn't get used as often, but we've seen a few. Wesley Dodds committed suicide because his long-time girlfriend Dianne had died the year before, and because he knew that with the knowledge he had obtained, he was as good as dead anyway. Worse than dead, if Mordru's threats to him carried any weight. Before the end, he sent a warning to his old teammates about Mordru.
    • And Mister America, after his entire family was murdered. He beats up the killer, stakes out the mastermind, loses (hard), and then runs from the Boston dockyards to Battery Park with an arrow in his lungs, jumps through a skylight and lands back first on the JSA's round table. His final words? "I can't let justice die."
  • Holier Than Thou and Hollywood Atheist: Both averted with Doctor Mid-Nite, a devout Catholic, and Mister Terrific, a staunch atheist, who are both heroically upstanding and BFFs. Score one for tolerance!
  • Honorary Uncle: Ted, Alan, and Jay are this to most of the legacies of their friends, since none of them raised any kids themselves (both Alan and Ted have kids, but they didn't know they existed until they were adults), and so put a lot of paternal effort into the others' kids. Special mention goes to Ted and Black Canary I's daughter, whom Ted trained and treated like his own daughter, though Dinah Jr often refers to all of them as 'Uncle' sometimes.
  • Humanoid Abomination: Johnny Sorrow and the King of Tears (which would make a great name for a rock duo, but I digress).
  • I Am Not Pretty: Damage, to the point that he never takes his mask off, and initially is very bitter about the scars Zoom left on him (its implied that the burns aren't as bad as he thinks they are, but he's so self-conscious about it he refuses to even hear that he's not as ugly as he believes he is). He gets better thanks to his romance with Judomaster.
  • In the Blood: Obsidian's mother was a schizophrenic with a split personality. Poor Todd's inherited some of the madness, though Ian Karkull's powers and a hideously abusive foster father did a lot of the work as well. Funnily, no-one treats his sister Jade like a ticking timebomb...
  • I Will Wait for You: Stargirl promises this to Atom Smasher during an interview with a reporter, as he goes away to prison for his war crimes. "No matter how long it takes".
  • Jerkass: Hawkman turned into this after a while, being grouchy and yelling at the younger members, then demanding leadership of the team during "Black Reign". Magog completely took this role later, suddenly developing an asshole streak a mile wide. He's an order-barking, gruff, grim, "killing the bad guys is OK" type who disrespects the entire team in his own inner monologues.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: King Chimera. He's an Insufferable Genius who clashes with everyone, but mellows out thanks to his crush on Cyclone. He's still abrasive, but he's very protective of others, especially Maxine, and has a lot of Pet the Dog moments where he demonstrates surprising insight into others' problems and feelings.
  • Legacy Character: The raison d'etre for the modern team.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: When your team is composed of 90-year-old superheroes, backed up by the teen heroes too lippy for the Teen Titans, you're going to use this trope a lot.
    • An example: In the first issue of the pre-New 52 series, we are introduced to Mister America, a legacy hero whose gear consists of nothing but a Domino Mask, a cape, and a silly little whip (and clothing!). A Golden Age villain tries to destroy his legacy by killing his family. When he finds out, he strangles the assassin with the silly little whip... which suddenly no longer looks silly.
    • An even better example: The JSA got side-swiped by an evil wizard, who stole two characters' superpowers, brainwashed a third guy, and put two superheroes in the hospital. Thus, the team that eventually took him down consisted of an octogenarian super-speedster, three people with the power of flight (not fast or high, either—just flight), a gang of college students taking orders from a recruitment poster, a guy whose powers were related to drug abuse, two superpowered teenage girls, a boy recovering from major surgery, a boxer in a catsuit, a mechanic in homemade Powered Armor, and a cowboy on a motorcycle.
      • OK, and Captain Marvel helped some too.
      • And don't forget that two of the team's strongest members (Black Adam and Atom Smasher) had just undergone Face Heel Turns and left the moment before the wizard arrived.
  • Loves My Alter Ego: A strange inverted version between Courtney Whitmore and Billy Batson. She strikes up a relationship with Billy but is rather put off by his Captain Marvel form, him being around twice her age in appearance.
  • Male Gaze: Less than most comic books, but Power Girl's chest, Cyclone's legs, and Jesse Quick's ass tend to get a touch more panel focus then anything of the guys. The latter case's ironically was more prominent when she was wearing her Liberty Belle costume with the baggy pants; to compensate for the looser material, her backside became notably larger.
  • Mama Bear: Power Girl starts to become this to Stargirl sometimes, once absolutely snapping at Captain Marvel for butting in on their conversation about Atom Smasher's potential defection, coldly telling him "Whatever it is, Big Red. I think you better save it".
  • Married in the Future: In the final issue of the Extant saga, the narration is provided by a future Stargirl who implies she is married to Atom Smasher.
  • Mood Whiplash: One issue begins with Stargirl having breakfast after a hard night's crime fighting, talking with her step-dad, arguing with her brother and saying hi to her little sister. Then a bunch of assassins burst into the room and kill everyone but Courtney.
  • More Hero than Thou: The Hourmen fought over who got to die to produce a Stable Time Loop.
  • Never Found the Body: Alan Scott in the final issue of Guggenheim's run. A funeral was held and Jay seemed to think he was dead, but since the issue even states outright that no body was found, is anyone buying it? Thanks to the new 52 rebooting everything, that story effectively served as the final one for the original Justice Society of America.
  • The Night That Never Ends: Obsidian and Ian Karkull attempted to do this to the Earth in one arc.
  • Not That Kind of Doctor: Hector Hall, the modern-day Doctor Fate for most of the JSA series. Averted by the third Doctor Mid-Nite, who actually is a medical doctor, to the surprise of other heroes.
  • Off with His Head!: How Gog is defeated, with the extra measure of flying his head all the way to the Source Wall.
  • Opposites Attract: Cyclone and King Chimera. They're both geniuses with No Social Skills, but Cyclone is a Humble Hero Genki Girl and King is an Insufferable Genius Jerk with a Heart of Gold.
  • Other Me Annoys Me: "Thy Kingdom Come" has PG run into another version of her who believes our Karen is an impostor out to perform Kill and Replace, and nothing Karen can say will convince her otherwise. She even goes as far as to torture Karen to get her to "confess". And she never apologizes for it, even after the truth is revealed.
  • Outdated Outfit: An accusation sometimes leveled at the Golden Age heroes who still wear costumes designed in the 1940s, particularly Alan Scott. A lot of fans consider the dated outfits part of the charm of these characters. It helps that many of them employ Civvie Spandex (with Jay seemingly wearing a sweater and jeans), which in recent years became quite popular despite that.
  • Out of Focus: Happened a lot considering there's so many members of the team. Dr. Fate and Jakeem Thunder would be gone for arcs at a time in the JSA run, and the next run features about 20-odd characters, about 10 of whom get to say something once an issue, and even fewer who get major parts. This led to some bizarre situations where characters were introduced and then put Out of Focus, not saying or doing anything for another few issues!
    • With the team split, Atom Smasher disappeared for over six months real-time, and Jakeem has been mentioned as not being on either team.
  • Passing the Torch: Hourman
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: Atom-Smasher and Metron dump Extant in a plane blown up by King Cobra in place of Al's mom. It's hinted the entire JSA know full well what they did, but aren't doing anything because Extant has tried to destroy the universe and killed several of their friends by that point.
    • Obsidian's first act on going evil and nuts is to go after his foster father for those years of drunken abuse.
  • Politically Correct History: Averted in a storyline where the JSA go back to the fifties. Michael Holt, a black man, runs into serious issues just for being black, and that's before he runs into some of the KKK by accident.
  • The Power of Legacy: A major theme. The opening storyline of Vol 3 is all about the villain targeting the families of heroes specifically because of this.
  • The Power of Love: What Johnny Sorrow was using Stargirl and Atom Smasher's love for — a magic spell to free him from the King of Tears.
  • Power Incontinence: During "Black Reign", Power Girl's heat vision reasserts itself in the middle of a fight. Karen didn't even remember she had heat vision, and spends several minutes stumbling around blind. Not a good mix with a city of panicking Khandaqi seeing one of the hated JSA in their midst.
  • Power Trio
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Doctor Fate would vanish constantly searching for his wife, both to reduce the ponderous roster and to bring a major powerhouse out of the fight. Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Amazing Man, Magog and others have all done the same over time.
    • Starman (Jack Knight, that is) is part of the team in the first few issues, but soon leaves for reasons related to his own retirement over in his title. He stays gone, because James Robinson asked DC nicely not to use him again, and they actually stuck to it.
    • Amazing Man left after Geoff Johns' run.
    • The team was Put on a Bus again when the DC universe rebooted in August 2011, before reappearing in Earth-2 as part of the second wave of new titles. Of course the new JSA seen in that title starts from the beginning and portrays the founders as young men and women, meaning most of the younger legacy heroes (especially those who joined recently) are likely out of luck. Want to see Cyclone, Jade, Obsidian, Atom-Smasher, Damage, Liberty Belle or Hourman III? Too bad, none of them exist any more in the New 52. Stargirl is still around, but has been reinvented entirely since she's no longer tied to any legacies.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Atom Smasher, to make good for all the people he'd killed and the dark path his life had taken, offers his own life to the Spectre so that he'll leave a city full of people alone. He dies of a heart attack, but is brought back thanks to magic lightning by his older-brother-figure, Black Adam.
  • Retcon: The team's various changes inflicted on it after Crisis on Infinite Earths forced the removal of the Earth-2 Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman from the roster retroactively, among other changes.
    • There was an instance where Jakeem Thunder, trapped in the spirit world, wished for help and his genie summoned the ghosts of dead JSA members. Amongst them was the Earth-Two Batman, who was a member of the original JSA. It has been established that the Golden Age JSA was still formed in the original Earth-Two. Not to mention Golden Age Wonder Woman and Kal-L...
      • The JSA then got completely removed from the history of DC's main Earth with the New 52, with it being established that Superman was the first superhero to appear. When DC decided to set up their return, they said the JSA had been lost to time, forgotten by history.
    • Judomaster's fluency with English. In her first appearance in Birds of Prey, she was perfectly fluent. Come her appearance here, she suddenly knows no English whatsoever.
  • Retired Badass: All of them, except for the "retired" part.
    • Special honors must go to retired non-powered superheroine Abigail "Ma" "The Red Tornado" Hunkel, who despite being in her '80s and considerably overweight, ably fights off supervillains with a frying pan.
  • Retool: The series went from a pretty standard superhero series with a "Golden Age heroes and legacy characters" theme into a massive line-up of dozens of legacy characters, with the entire point now being to teach the new generation, rather than that being a side goal.
  • Rogues Gallery: The Injustice Society of the World, as well as a few other recurring foes like Roulette.
  • Rule of Funny: Everything that Roxy says or does seems to be based on what would be funniest and/or most socially inappropriate at the time.
  • Sequel Series: Justice Society of America is basically just an excuse for Johns to give a time skip and bring some new blood to the team. You can basically read it as part of JSA if you wanted to, given how JSA ended.
  • Shout-Out:
    • When the JSA All-Stars were looking for a team name, Judomaster suggested Kagaku Ninja Tai Gatchaman, to which one of her teammates even mention G-Force (Americanized version of the anime).
    • In the first storyline for JSA, the team goes up against Mordru and begin shifting into different realities. One of them is an anthropomorphic animal world home to the "Justice Critters". Starman in this world is a fox, making him "Star Fox".
    • In one issue, a parallel universe Joker was shown as very old and decrepit, sporting a smiley pin with a splatter of blood - just like the one in Watchmen.
    • In another issue of the same arc, there is a crowd of heroes in an outpost at the border of the universe which includes Owl Man.
  • Stalker with a Crush: In one issue of JSA, Power Girl beats the stuffing out of a super-powered stalker named "D-Bomb".
  • Stalking is Love: In the first issue of JSA All-Stars, Johnny Sorrow seemed to have this for Stargirl. Eventually, it turned out to be B.S., and he was using her for a magic spell.
  • Starter Villain: Fritz Klaver, a Nazi spymaster plotting to subvert various elements of the US war effort, and is captured by the end of his issue.
  • Stripperific: Played straight with Power Girl, but utterly averted by the rest of the female cast. In fact, the JSA may be the least Stripperific team around (the worst you get is Cyclone's long socks - and possible lack of underwear - and Stargirl's bare midriff, and later Jesse Quick's short-shorts).
  • Super Family Team: Various with the many founding members' families.
  • Superhero Insurance: One arc had some drama when a conflict between the JSA and a super terrorist caused a huge crater in a city. A lot of the civilians lost their homes and gave Jay Garrick a piece of their mind about it.
  • Superhuman Trafficking: By Roulette.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: The original Red Tornado, Abigail "Ma" Hunkel, was a hefty housewife with a mean uppercut who dressed up as a male superhero to clean up her neighborhood and keep her kids safe. She's still around as the JSA's museum curator, though she doesn't do the crossdressing bit any longer (except when she plays Santa).
  • Take Up My Sword: Mr. America.
  • Temporal Abortion: Per Degaton once went back in time and killed Rex Tyler's best friend in his crib, just so that Rex would have a lonely childhood.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: It sure is a good thing that Dr. Mid-Nite, a licensed physician, is on the team, because they seem to be the only team in comics that regularly has somebody suffer a near-fatal injury in every event. Averted with the Retool with numerous characters later.
  • Time Crash: Mildly. Due to Extant's meddling with time, Star-Spangled Kid (who's been dead since the end of Infinity, Inc.) gets brought to the future.
  • True Companions: Due to blood ties, legacies, life-long friendships, and the various generation gaps, the JSA is one big family.
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: During a time-travel story, Stargirl's locked up in a mental asylum. None of the staff seem particularly alarmed by her tech, and just confiscate it from her.
  • Will They or Won't They?: Atom Smasher and Stargirl appeared to be Like Brother and Sister at first, with him playing the older hero she looked up to. Other stories have shown them as married in the future, and she showed tremendous amounts of grief towards his betrayal and temporary death. Recent comics flat-out state that they're in love with each other, but the elders forced them to call it off. Then they announced their love, but need time apart after a mess with Johnny Sorrow. Just call them "Colossus and Kitty, Version 2.0".
  • The Worf Effect: Green Lantern Alan Scott became a regular victim of this. Happened at least once in JSA's run when Blackbriar Thorn stabbed him through the heart and almost killed him. Happened again in two consecutive storylines when the Nazis killed him (sending Jay Garrick into a rage) and again in Marc Guggenheim's first issue as writer when the unknown super-terrorist broke Alan's neck in five seconds flat (sending Jay Garrick into a rage).
  • Working with the Ex: Black Canary II and Dr Mid-Nite had a very brief relationship (one on-screen date) before they broke up because Dinah briefly rekindled her relationship with the recently-resurrected Green Arrow (per-dialogue, Dinah also felt that Pieter was way more into the relationship than she was and moved too fast, while she didn't want anything exclusive). Dinah left the team to focus on the her work with Oracle, but a few times they've ended up working together and lampshaded the awkwardness.
  • Wrongfully Committed: One arc sees the team go back in time to the 1950s in order to stop a plot to prevent them from re-forming in the modern age. While there, Stargirl breaks into a mental hospital to meet the original Starman, which results in her being committed herself.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: During the "Thy Kingdom Come" arc, Gog seemingly granted Power Girl's wish to be returned to Earth-2. Karen was reunited with Helena Wayne and introduced to a modified Infinity Inc./Justice Society amalgam, the Justice Society Infinity. While her cousin is still dead, Karen gradually comes to accept that she has finally returned home. And then she meets her Earth-2 doppelganger, learning that when Earth-2 was recreated in Infinite Crisis, it was recreated with a new Power Girl. Karen spends the rest of the arc hunted by the JSI as they try to determine why she "impersonated" Power Girl.
  • Younger and Hipper: In the New 52, where their Earth-2 versions are once again counterparts of the Justice League and their members are the same age as the League's members.

    Post-Rebirth JSA 
  • Alternate Timeline: Doctor Fate indicates that the timeline has been changed many times, perhaps explaining why the JSA lineup does not exactly match the lineup around the time of the Pearl Harbor attack. Sandman should be in his purple and gold costume, for example, and Wildcat is on the team too early. There's no sign of the Spectre, and both Flash and Green Lantern were honorary members at that point. And where's Johnny Thunder?
  • The Bus Came Back: The JSA were written out of DC continuity after Flashpoint, and never existed in the New 52, with the characters revised as younger, modern-day versions and placed on the new version of Earth 2. Eight years later, the original JSA appeared as guest stars in an arc of Justice League and then officially returned to the DC universe in the pages of Doomsday Clock, with a roster lining up with the Post-Crisis incarnation. Infinite Frontier #0 revealed the Broad Strokes of their Post-Crisis history had been restored as well, including the disbanding of their Golden Age incarnation thanks to the US government and the existence of Infinity Inc.
  • Dawn of an Era: In this timeline, the Golden Age began with Wonder Woman — Diana, not Hippolyta — becoming the first superhero in 1939, inspiring the other heroes of the era.
  • For Want Of A Nail: Doctor Manhattan prevented the formation of the JSA by moving Alan Scott's lantern six inches away while he was on the fateful train ride. Rather than the lantern saving his life, Alan died in the crash, preventing the formation of the Justice Society in the new timeline. Since the team exists again in the pages of Justice League, it's almost certain that this action will be undone by the end of Doomsday Clock. Not only was Alan's death by Manhattan indeed undone, so was his death when fighting against D'arken period, as seemingly were the deaths of Damage, the Yolanda Montez Wildcat, and Beth Chapel/Dr. Midnight.
  • Retcon: Post-Infinite Crisis, Alan Scott has been retconned as a closeted gay man all his life. A number of kid sidekicks have been retconned into the 1940s, including a daughter, Judy, that Jay and Joan Garrick did not know they had. Prior to this, Jay and Joan had always been childless, and Alan was straight. An opposite number to the Green Lantern, the Red Lantern, powered by the Crimson Flame, has also been retconned in as Alan's main rival.

Alternative Title(s): JSA