Justice Society All-Stars: 1941-48

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The Justice Society has been home to both legends and future icons of the DC Universe. BF continues running down the list continuing from All-Star Comics #6.

Part One 





With their innovative way of gathering their masked "Mystery Men" into an anthology, DC (at the time, National) quickly found the Justice Society of America taking off. As characters gained in popularity from their exposure in All-Star Comics, many were promoted to their own books. In order to keep the focus on building their lesser-known characters, DC maintained a house-rule that as this happened, the characters would be moved to "honorary" status (cameo roles) and make way for other characters. The Justice Society’s line-up began to evolve with the release of All-Star Comics #6 (August/September 1941). Over the course of the next months, Flash, Hour-Man and Green Lantern all left the team or were promoted to honorary, leading to several new recruits;

Johnny Thunder – Another character that debuted in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940), Johnny was an ordinary young man with the extraordinary ability to summon a genie known as his "Thunderbolt." Together, Johnny Thunder and his Thunderbolt served as unofficial mascots through the first Justice Society stories, before being granted full membership in All-Star Comics #6 (August/September 1941). Although Johnny’s physical body is currently deceased, his spirit merged with the Thunderbolt, creating a new gestalt being nicknamed "Johnny Thunderbolt."

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Starman (Ted Knight) – Wealthy playboy/scientist Ted Knight first arrived as Starman in the pages of Adventure Comics #61 (April 1941). Wielding a gravity rod (later called the cosmic rod) that enabled him to fly and shoot beams of energy, Starman joined the Society in All-Star Comics #8, replacing Hour-Man. Although his aging was greatly decelerated, Ted was physically in his 60s when he took up the cosmic rod a final time to save his hometown from his arch-enemy, the Mist.

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Dr. Mid-Nite (Charles McNider) – Also briefly known (retroactively) as Starman II, McNider was a brilliant surgeon who had been blinded by the mob. Discovering that he could still see in the dark, McNider and his "sidekick", Hootie the Owl, joined the Society along with Starman in All-Star Comics #8. McNider’s career spanned from his debut in All-American Comics #25 (April 1941) until his death in Zero Hour #2 (September 1994). Several other heroes have carried on McNider’s legacies both as Mid-Nite and Starman.

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Wonder Woman (Diana Prince) – If Superman and Batman’s inclusion in the Justice Society are complicated, Wonder Woman moves the process to an entirely new level. The character who was first introduced in All-Star Comics #8 (December 1941) joined the Society in All-Star Comics #12 (August/September 1942) as the team’s secretary. As the Golden Age of comics ended, Wonder Woman took a more active role in the team’s adventures. Once the Silver Age began, this Wonder Woman was designated as the Earth-Two version of the character appearing in the Wonder Woman comics (just as had happened with Superman and Batman).

The two Wonder Women existed until Crisis on Infinite Earths (1985-86), when the Earth-Two version was removed from continuity. The major complication comes from the fact that in the post-Crisis history of the DC universe, two separate characters (Miss America and Hippolyta) retroactively replaced Wonder Woman in the early Justice Society. The final layer of confusion comes from the fact that following Infinite Crisis (2006/07), the Earth-Two Wonder Woman has apparently been restored to active continuity.

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Miss America (Joan Dale Trevor) – Created by Quality Comics for the pages of Military Comics #1 (August 1941), Miss America was a star-spangled heroine with the ability to transmute elements. When DC Comics purchased the Quality stable of characters, Miss America was retroactively plugged into the Golden Age Wonder Woman’s spot on the Justice Society roster (as of Young All-Stars Annual #1, 1988) for Post-Crisis continuity. Although the exact status for Miss America’s membership is muddied, it seems that it is still accepted that she did serve with the Justice Society, at least for a time.

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Wonder Woman (Hippolyta) – Yet another revision to Wonder Woman’s Golden Age membership occurred in Wonder Woman #133 (May 1998). At that point, the Modern Age Wonder Woman’s mother, Hippolyta (who debuted in Wonder Woman #1, February 1987) had taken up the mantle of "Wonder Woman." During a time travel adventure, she journeyed to the World War II era and was inducted into the Justice Society. Hippolyta is currently deceased, and it remains unclear if her World War II adventures are still consider official cannon with the return of the Earth-Two Wonder Woman.

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Mr. Terrific (Terry Sloane) – With one of the most distinctive costumes in all of comicdom, Mr. Terrific debuted in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942). A naturally gifted genius and athlete, Sloane embarked on a crime-fighting career as the embodiment of the spirit of "Fair Play." After joining the Justice Society in All-Star Comics #24 (Spring 1945), Sloane remained a fixture with the team until the character was murdered in Justice League of America #171 (November 1979).

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Wildcat (Ted Grant) – Although a relative late comer to the team, Ted’s decelerated aging has enabled him to remain a key member into the 21 century. Tough-as-nails boxer turned crime fighter Wildcat first appeared in Sensation Comics #1 (January 1942) and joined the Society in All-Star Comics #24 (Spring 1945).

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Black Canary (Dinah Drake) – Another latecomer to the Golden Age Justice Society, Black Canary (who first appeared in Flash Comics #86,August 1947) replaced Johnny Thunder in the pages of All-Star Comics #41 (June/July 1948). The expert in hand-to-hand combat appeared throughout the Society’s final Golden Age adventures as well as early in the Silver Age. DC retroactively established that there have are 2 Black Canaries – the Golden Age one (who is deceased) and her daughter, who carries on the legacy.

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Hawkgirl (Shiera Sanders) – Girlfriend, partner and later wife of Hawkman, Shiera first appeared in Flash Comics #1 (January 1940). Possessing the same weapons and skills as Hawkman, Shiera frequently adventured with the Justice Society. Although she was not officially a member during the publication of the Society’s early adventures, modern stories suggest that she was inducted as a full member at some point off-page. She died in a bizarre mishap (Zero Hour #3, September 1994), but has been reincarnated as the modern era Hawkgirl.

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