Follow TV Tropes


Comic Book / Last Days of the Justice Society

Go To
It's the final adventure of the Justice Society...for the time being.
Last Days of the Justice Society was a one-shot comic book special published by DC Comics in 1986. It was written by Roy Thomas, with art by David Ross and Mike Gustovich. It now has a trade paperback reprint with additional stories from the second Secret Origins series.

The story takes place sometime after the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and as the Justice Society of America mourns for the loss of both fallen heroes who have died during the Crisis (the Golden Age Robin and the Huntress) and those who have passed on from the new Post-Crisis reality (the Golden Age Superman and Wonder Woman), the Spectre appears unto the team to reveal that Adolf Hitler has used The Spear of Destiny to link the fate of the Norse gods' Ragnarök to that of the entire universe, with the Justice Society failing to stop Hitler from doing so in 1945 and leading to the end of the world. Traveling back in time to the point where the "rip in the sky" first took place, the modern Justice Society merges with the Norse gods in Asgard to change the outcome of the battle and ensure that the universe survives.

The story was briefly recapped in Armageddon: Inferno, although parts of the story were changed to fit the Post-Crisis timeline. In that story, the JSA was rescued, and another group consisting of Abraxis' "daemens" willingly took their place, to allow them to return to the Post-Crisis DCU safely. The story was also revisited in a Tales from the Dark Multiverse issue, where different heroes tried and failed to quell the threat.

This comic book story provides examples of

  • Anyone Can Die: The initial 1945 siege sees many of the heroes shot dead before Hitler uses the Spear to destroy the world in a planet-sized fireball.
  • Apocalypse How: The complete destruction of the universe.
  • Artistic License – Religion: This version of the Ragnarök leaves nothing and nobody left in creation, whereas in the actual story two people will survive to repopulate the world.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: The 1945 flashback ends with Hitler succeeding in destroying the universe, with only time travel and interdimensional battles being able to set things right.
  • Because Destiny Says So: The Justice Society members that die in the battle of Ragnarök are the ones whose gods they merged with were fated to die. Fortunately, they don't stay dead, as they are resurrected for the final fight with Surtur.
  • Big "NO!": The Spectre to the modern Justice League when he appears at the funeral service at the point where Hawkman is ready to officially disband the team.
  • Book Ends:
    • Ignoring the prologue, the story begins and ends at the grounds of Hall Manor, where fallen Justice Society members have been buried.
    • The story itself serves as a book end to the Justice Society's origin story, as how they were chosen to end their careers (for the time being) is still linked to World War II, though at the end of it.
  • Breath Weapon: The Midgard Serpent kills Green Lantern with poison fumes that he exhales with his last breath.
  • The Cameo: Infinity, Inc. makes a brief appearance in this special.
  • Child Soldier: The Flash gets killed by a child soldier working for the Nazis in 1945 during the fall of Berlin.
  • Death from Above: A firestorm strikes the Earth as the hour of its destruction approaches in 1945, killing both soldiers and civilians alike.
  • Decomposite Character: Thor's aspect is seen both in Johnny Thunder's lightning bolt and Green Lantern's magic ring, particularly when Alan Scott uses the ring to become Thor.
  • Delayed Ripple Effect:
    • The destruction of the universe in 1945 takes its time having its full effect, as the modern Justice Society sees the "rip in the sky" taking place right after Doctor Fate has shown it happening in the past.
    • Of course, the fact that the Golden Age Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman still exist in the past means that this story takes place before the sweeping changes caused by the Crisis have their full effect, starting from All-Star Squadron issue 60.
  • Disney Death: The Justice Society members who were killed in the Ragnarök battle are resurrected for the final fight with Surtur the fire giant.
  • Driven to Suicide: Failing to destroy the universe as a result of the Justice Society changing the outcome of the Ragnarök, Adolf Hitler kills himself immediately after his wedding to Eva Braun.
  • Due to the Dead: In the present, the Justice Society pay their respects to their fallen comrades, including the presently-killed Dick Grayson (Robin) and Helena Wayne (Huntress), while in 1945, they pay their respects at the funeral of President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
  • Dwindling Party: The Justice Society members of 1945 who aren't affected by the Spear of Destiny become this as they get closer and closer to Adolf Hitler in their attempt to stop him from using the Spear to destroy the universe. By the time they get to Hitler, only Batman, Wildcat, and Hawkman are left before Hitler destroys the world in a giant inferno.
  • End of an Age: This story would mark the (temporary) end of the Justice Society's active role in stories of the present era, as well as the end of the pre-Crisis era. The modern version of the team would not reappear until several years later, when another universe-threatening situation would bring them back home.
  • "Everybody Dies" Ending: The 1945 flashback ends with everyone in the JSA dying via magical fire, with the Earth itself being destroyed shortly after. Stopping this from happening is the goal of the comic.
  • Everything's Better with Rainbows: Asgard, complete with Bifrost.
  • Face on the Cover: Hawkman, Power Girl, Spectre, Star-Spangled Kid, and Dr. Fate looking at the fallen bodies of the Justice Society members in a ruined landscape circa 1945.
  • The Fellowship Has Ended: The Spectre walks in on the JSA just as they're about to disband for good.
  • Flaming Sword: Surtur the fire giant wields a sword made of literal fire, which he uses to kill the Flash upon their initial encounter. He is also impaled with his own sword at the final fight the Justice Society has with him.
  • Flashback: Dr. Fate shows the Justice Society what took place in 1945 following the funeral of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, to show them how history has been altered when Adolf Hitler used the Spear Of Destiny to destroy the universe.
  • Fusion Dance: The Justice Society members get a Power Boost when they merge with the Norse gods to fight the Ragnarök. Some of them even get miraculous healings, such as with Sandman's heart problems and Wildcat being unable to use his legs.
  • God Help Us All: Said by President-Elect Harry S. Truman in regards to the Justice Society in 1945 being unable to penetrate the "rip in the sky".
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: One of the Allied forces soldiers says "holy spit" when he sees fire raining from the sky in 1945.
  • Götterdämmerung: What takes place in the story, and what the Justice Society is trying to change the outcome of.
  • "Groundhog Day" Loop: The battle of Ragnarök repeats itself every time the Justice Society succeeds in winning it, leaving them trapped in an eternal duel.
  • Hearing Voices: As Ragnarok commences, the JSA hears the epic poem narration in their minds and attempt to defy their chosen fates at times.
  • Hellhound: Fenrir, who kills Hawkman and Hawkgirl, and then immediately afterward is killed by Atom and Power Girl. Also Garmr, whom Wildcat kills before he too dies.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: The modern members of the JSA sans Power Girl, Star-Spangled Kid, and Dr. Fate make the choice to stay perpetually in battle with the forces of Ragnarok to keep the world from dying.
  • Horn Attack: Loki's head horns stab Starman In the Back after he has been decapitated by Starman's cosmic rod.
  • I Am the Noun: The Spectre: "I am the universe...and I am dying!"
  • Killed Offscreen: Wildcat isn't shown dying on-panel and is last seen trying to fight his impending doom, but he apparently died as he's resurrected with the others in the finale.
  • Legacy Character: Discussed in-universe, as the JSA members feel that with younger heroes taking old mantles they're irrelevant now.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Johnny Thunder, who just rushes into combat with the Midgard Serpent with his Thunderbolt and gets killed.
  • The Legions of Hell: Surtur, Loki, Garmr, Fenrir, the Midgard Serpent, and a bunch of nameless mooks make up the hellish army that the Justice Society must fight while merged with the Norse gods.
  • No Place for Me There: The surviving senior Justice Society members felt they had no place among the modern-day heroes after the Crisis and decided to retire and disband the group, until the Spectre makes them aware of the story's impending disaster.
  • Off with His Head!: Starman uses his cosmic rod to decapitate Loki, whose horned head then kills Starman.
  • Omnicidal Maniac: Adolf Hitler graduates to becoming this, deciding to destroy the world rather than lose the war.
  • "Open!" Says Me: In the 1945 flashback where history ends up changing, Hourman rips open a huge door leading into a Nazi military bunker, only to soon be shot down by a machine gun nest waiting behind the door. Hourman hurls the door right at them as he is gunned down, killing his assailants in the process.
  • Poison Is Corrosive: The Midgard Serpent spews powerful venom which kills Johnny Thunder on contact.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The Spear Of Destiny was somehow able to retroactively tap into the Spectre's magical power in order to make Adolf Hitler's wish of destroying the universe a reality.
  • Put on a Bus: The Justice Society, as a result of their having to repeat the same battle over and over. They would not be released from this battle until 1992 during Armageddon: Inferno, when Waverider and the Spectre swapped out the Justice Society for Abraxis' "daemen" as their replacements. Dr. Fate spares Power Girl and Star-Spangled Kid from joining them, and then the Spectre himself spares Dr. Fate as well.
    • Most of the high-powered heroes (Superman, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate, and Wonder Woman) are sidelined from the inital 1945 battle because they're the most vulnerable to the Spear of Destiny's influence. This also keeps them from easily stopping Hitler before the plot can start.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: The Spectre in 1945 has red eyes with skulls as pupils when he tells Harry S. Truman that what's going on with the "rip in the sky" may affect the whole universe.
  • Sealed Evil in a Duel: The Justice Society are locked in a duel against the evil gods of Valhalla that they must repeat indefinitely to save the universe.
  • Sea Monster: The Midgard Serpent, which Johnny Thunder and Green Lantern fight to the death.
  • Set the World on Fire: What Adolf Hitler does to the world and the whole universe in 1945.
  • The Spear of Destiny: The Spear gets used here.
  • Step into the Blinding Fight: Dr. Mid-Nite uses his blackout bombs to help the Justice Society fight their way into Adolf Hitler's bunker in their attempt to stop him from destroying the universe in 1945.
  • Swallowed Whole: Hawkman and Hawkgirl meet their (temporary) end inside the gaping jaws of Fenrir.
  • Taking You with Me: Adolf Hitler to the entire world on a grand scale, as he unleashes the power of The Spear of Destiny when he and his Nazi forces are so close to defeat. Also a few instances in the battle of Ragnarok itself, such as the Midgard Serpent killing Green Lantern as Thor upon his death and Loki's head killing Starman after its decapitation.
  • Thunder Hammer: Green Lantern as Thor lays the smackdown on the Midgard Serpent before he dies by the toxic fumes of the serpent.
  • Time Travel: Used in this story by the current-day members of the Justice Society.
  • Transferable Memory: The Spectre instantly transfers the memories of what he had witnessed to Dr. Fate, who then shares them with the rest of the Justice Society so that they may act upon them before it's too late.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Hitler panics when it turns out that his ritual to destroy the world is not working.
    Hitler: Why is the magic not working? Why??
  • Wartime Wedding: Adolf Hitler and Eva Braun, though it lasted only until they both killed themselves.
  • World-Wrecking Wave: The Justice Society heroes left outside the range of the Spear Of Destiny's influence are unable to stop the wall of fire approaching them and consuming everything in 1945.
  • You Can't Fight Fate: Wildcat realizes that he as Tyr is supposed to die in his fight with Garmr and tries to change that fate, but he still succumbs anyway.

Alternative Title(s): The Last Days Of The Justice Society