Warning: contains spoilers for Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #4!Even DC Comics knows the Justice Society Of America, first superhero team in comics, deserves better. The venerable team has been sidelined by more than one of the publisher’s line-wide reboots, including the New 52and it gets a sly scream in Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #4. The Justice Society recently made a comeback to the DC Universe over the past year infinite border event, and the editor hinted at more to come. The issue is on sale now.
The impact of the Justice Society first appeared in the 1940s All-Star Comics #3 cannot be underestimated; it was the first time a comic book publisher had combined its biggest guns into one team. As the Golden Age began to draw to a close, the various members of the Justice Society fell into limbo for the first time; they would return during the Silver Age, where the Society was revealed to live on Earth-2. The Society had annual teams with their Earth-1 counterparts in the Justice League. When the multiverse collapsed during Crisis on Infinite Earths, many of the Society found a place on New Earth, but soon fell back into Limbo – this time literally. The Society would return a few years later and remained a staple of the DC Universe until Breaking point and the New 52 era, which erased the Society from existence – and they remained so until infinite border. Now, with the Great Darkness besieging the Omniverse, the Society is back – but not before they call out how they were dealt with.
In the aftermath of the Great Darkness attack, the surviving heroes seek knowledge about their adversary. Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Jon Kent, and Green Lantern Alan Scott descend into the basement of the Hall of Justice, the headquarters of Justice League Dark. As they descend the steps, Green Lantern tells his young teammates about the Society’s history with the supernatural, mentioning his friends the Spectre, Johnny Thunder, and Hawkman. He goes on to say, “We were forced into limbo a few times by a maniac. It will probably happen again. The issue is written by Joshua Williamson, illustrated by Daniel Sampere, colored by Alejandro Sanchez, and lettered by Tom Napolitano.
Green Lantern’s commentary not only acknowledges the Society’s previous stays in Limbo, but also admits that they might end up there. The origins of the Justice Society are rooted in the Great Depression and World War II; as these events began to recede into history, it became increasingly difficult to justify the Society’s continued existence. DC’s first attempt to fix this, shortly after Crisis on Infinite Earths, sent the Justice Society into literal limbo. The team was too good to stay away for too long, and upon its announced return, became a mainstay, even rivaling the Justice League in popularity. However, it became apparent that the same issues that plagued the Society after the Crisis remained, and it was decided to wipe out the team all together. DC has now realized that was a mistake and has restored the team to their full glory, just in time to help Earth’s surviving heroes defeat the Great Darkness.
The Society is the first superhero team in history, and as such, it deserves a place in the DC Universe. Yet, due to various issues, the publisher struggled with these characters, choosing to send them to Limbo instead. Still, with the team set to make waves in the next black adam movie, it seems the justice society maybe come back to the fore once again.
Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 is available now from DC Comics.