Formation and War Years

The Justice Society as drawn by George Perez for "History of the DC Universe" The Justice Society was America's original team of super-heroes, forged in the fires of the World War II. The origin of this team lies in the days before America had entered that war. In the autumn of 1940, Adolph Hitler planned the Nazi invasion of the British Islands. Unbeknownst to the world at large, Hitler had acquired the Spear of Destiny, an ancient artifact once used to pierce the side of Christ. Hitler planned to use the Spear to summon magical powers to help him conquer the English forces who thus far had resisted him. The United States government obtained intelligence reports of the Spear and in consultation with British, dispatched an elite strike force comprised of three super-powered champions or "mystery men": Batman, Green Lantern and the Flash. The three heroes traveled to Glasgow, Scotland to conduct surveillance and potentially capture underground aides in planning the invasion. Confronted with superior robotics from Nazi Germany however, the three heroes were defeated and sent to Berlin as trophies of war. In Salem, Massachusetts, Dr. Fate observed these portents with grim resolve. 
After recruiting another fledgling mystery-man, Hourman, he flew to Berlin to rescue the three American heroes. Once there, they were confronted by Norse Valkyries summoned by Hitler and the Spear of Destiny. While the five heroes struggled against the Valkyries, Fate summoned four more heroes, Sandman, Hawkman, the Atom and the Spectre and sent them to Dover, England to shore up the defense of the British Coast against the invading German hordes. The tide of the battle turned with the arrival of the Spectre who smashed most of the German invasion fleet single-handedly. With the repulsion of the Nazi invasion and the losing battle against the mystery-men in Berlin, most of the Valkyries fled with only small contingent left to guard an experimental Nazi bomber en route to the American capital. The heroes in Berlin joined those on the shores of Dover, a meeting which foreshadowed the formation of the greatest super-team in American history.

The heroes then followed the Nazi bomber to Washington, DC, battling the Valkyries along the way. When the bomber entered the skies over the capitol, the tides of battle turned when Superman rose into the morning skies and destroyed the bomber and captured it's cargo. While most of the Valkyries engaged that remaining heroes, a single goddess slipped past the White House guard in an attempt to assassinate President Roosevelt. The Atom followed the Valkyrie and when she attempted to slay the President with a blast of mystic energy, the Atom flung himself in her path and saved the President. The timely arrival of Superman prevented a second attack by the Valkyrie, who vanished when failure of her mission was unavoidable. Roosevelt was impressed by the actions of these heroes and encouraged them to continue to act as a group. This suggestion led to a formal organization and the formal formation of the Justice Society of America (DC Special #29).

The Justice Society then began regular meetings which often resulted in the exchange of information regarding their own affairs (All-Star Comics #3). Their first official team effort was a mission under the direction of J. Edgar Hoover. Under sealed orders, the JSA smashed a ring of 5th columnists under the direction of Fritz Klaver (All-Star Comics #4). The JSA fought mainly common criminals such as Mr. X (All-Star Comics #5) and Professor Elba (All-Star Comics #8) for the first 2 years after their formation. Johnny Thunder, a tagalong since the first meeting, joined when the Flash left in early 1941 (All-Star Comics #6).

In mid-1941, the Justice Society investigated the activities of Ian Karkull, an adversary of Dr. Fate. Karkull had obtained the names of the next 8 men destined to sit in the Oval Office and planned to kill each one, thus creating a disruption in the fabric of American history which he believed would work to his advantage. He selected several agents, criminals experienced in dealing with the members of the Justice Society, to act as his agents in this task. Each agent encountered a different member and were defeated, with the exception of Wotan who slew a young boy despite the intervention of Green Lantern. When the assembled JSAers returned to battle Karkull, his defeat was accompanied by a radiation of the temporal energy stored in his body. The radiation took hold in the bodies of the assembled JSA members along with Starman, Lois Lane, Robin (Dick Grayson) and Joan Williams. The result of this exposure was to extend the lives and vitality of the each one, giving them vigor much later into their active years. Starman replaced Hourman at the end of this case (All-Star Squadron Annual #3) and Dr. Mid-Nite replaced Green Lantern shortly thereafter (All-Star Comics #8).

In December of 1941, Pearl Harbor was devastated by a Japanese surprise attack. Roosevelt called not only on the Justice Society but all costumed heroes of the day to form a broader group known as the All-Star Squadron. Upon witnessing the destruction at Pearl Harbor, the heroes were inflamed and launched an assault on the fleet that had launched the Pearl Harbor attack. Unbeknownst to the heroes, a Japanese agent known as the Dragon King had acquired a powerful mystical artifact, the Holy Grail. In conjunction with Adolph Hitler and the Spear of Destiny, the Dragon King generated a "sphere of influence" on the Axis-held lands in the Orient. As the All-Star Squadron bore down on the Japanese fleet, many of the members fell victim to strange compulsions. Without warning, Superman, Wonder Woman, the Spectre, Green Lantern, Dr. Fate and Johnny Thunder turned against the other members. The "sphere" generated by Hitler and the Dragon King forced heroes that were susceptible to magic to change their allegiance and develop strong anti-American sentiments. Once the heroes left the "sphere", they reverted to normal. This situation persisted in Asia and Europe through the war, preventing America's most powerful heroes from taking part in the front lines of World War II (All-Star Squadron #4).

In 1942, the JSA encountered two foes who would become long-standing enemies: the Ultra-Humanite and the Brain Wave. Several JSA members encountered the Ultra-Humanite in early 1942 when he (in the body of Dolores Winters, see also Superman, Atom) attempted to extort money from the federal government using the Powerstone and the Hammer of Thor. The Ultra-Humanite was ultimately defeated and believed destroyed by Terry Curtis, a pawn of the Humanite's known as Cyclotron (All-Star Squadron #21 -25, Annual #2). The second major adversary encountered as psychiatrist Dr. Henry King, known as the Brain Wave. King had been manipulating the JSA prior to the original meeting through his agent Dr. Elba (All-Star Comics #8, revealed in All-Star Squadron #19) and behind the scenes after capturing the JSA and the All-Star Squadron (All-Star Squadron #19-20). King's first direct confrontation with the JSA occurred in late 1942, during which he captured the members of the JSA enrolled in the armed forces and manipulated their dreams through a device he had invented to directly access their psyches. He later captured the All-Star Squadron as well but was ultimately thwarted by the arrival of Green Lantern, who defeated the Axis forces conjured by the Brain Wave's device. With their defeat, the feedback destroyed the machine and the Brain Wave escaped. Since he had spoken via speakerphone, the JSA never knew the identity of their captor. Shortly after this case, Wonder Woman joined the JSA as it's secretary (All-Star Comics #12).

In 1943, the JSA again encountered Brain Wave, this time using mental projections to commit thefts for him. He was ultimately defeated by Wonder Woman and the Justice Society, who ended the case believing he had plunged to his death (All-Star Comics #15). He appeared later than year and had developed a method a shrink ray which he used to reduce the JSAers to a few inches in size. They escaped and Brain Wave was again believed killed by an explosion in his hideout (All-Star Comics #17). Two lesser adversaries, the King Bee (All-Star Comics #18) and the Mad Maestro (All-Star Comics #19) were also defeated that year.

In 1944, the tide of war began to turn and America's role in world affairs swelled in the coming tide of victory. Early in 1944, the JSA met and defeated a Jekyll & Hyde type known as the Monster (All-Star Comics #20) and again assisted Professor Everson later that year (All-Star Comics #21). Late in 1944, the Justice Society encountered another significant adversary in the form of Charley Halstead, a linotyper for the Daily Courier newspaper. Halstead adopted the identity of the Psycho-Pirate and committed a series of crime based on emotions. Ultimately, he was exposed by the Atom, who he subsequently shot. He was shortly arrested by the Justice Society and sent to prison (All-Star Comics #23).

Early in 1945, Mr. Terrific and Wildcat joined the Justice Society for a special case involving Richard Amber, a young man troubled by America's involvement in World War II (All-Star #24). The two became reserve members at some point explaining their full membership in later years. Shortly thereafter, the JSA encountered the extra-dimensional being known only as The Stalker, who sought to decimate the Earth. The full might of the JSA, several junior associates and members of the All-Star Squadron were needed to fend off this menace (All-Star Comics vol. 2 #1-2). The JSA shared a prophetic experience in April of that year, shortly after the death of President Franklin Roosevelt. While attending a memorial service for the President, the JSA was startled by a disturbance which seemed to rip the sky asunder. Adolph Hitler, using the Spear of Destiny, attempted to destroy the Earth by initiating Ragnarok, the "Twilight of the Gods" predicted by Norse myth. The JSA tracked the disturbance to Germany and many of the JSA were killed in attempting to reach Hitler. The JSA failed to defeat Hitler and he managed to destroy the world in 1945, a feat which flung the Spectre 40 years into the future. The Spectre then sent the JSA from 1985 into the past, and they prevented the destruction of the earth, at the cost of imprisoning themselves in Limbo. The JSA (in 1945) then proceeded with no knowledge that Ragnarok had been imminent in the first place.

The role of the Justice Society during the end of World War II has never been revealed. The Sphere of Influence presumably fell sometime after or shortly before the end of the war. The fate of the Dragon King who aided Hitler in initating thet field is also unknown. It is known that all war-time members of the JSA survived World War II, though several went into semi-retirement shortly thereafter.

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