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Geoff Johns Talks Exploring Legacy in Justice Society of America #1 (Exclusive)

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DC is about to return to the Golden Age with the arrival of three new titles from writer Geoff Johns, each taking on the Justice Society of America, one of the DC Universe’s most important, but perhaps most unexplored superhero teams. The adventure kicks off on November 18th with the one-shot, The New Golden Age, and leads directly into Justice Society of America, an ongoing monthly title from Johns with art by Mikel Janin, the first issue of that series going on sale November 22nd. Now, in an exclusive interview with ComicBook.com, Johns talks about Justice Society of America #1, the importance of exploring the team and telling untold stories as well as why the story is very much Helena Wayne’s story — and one of legacy.

Nicole Drum, ComicBook.com: Tell me a little bit about the new Justice Society of America, #1.

Geoff Johns: It’s really exploring the Justice Society in a very different way than it has been explored before. And I don’t completely want to blow it, but I think it’s going to surprise a lot of people, the way The New Golden Age really sets up our main character. And it revolves around our main character, and it’s going to introduce a lot of… JSA number one has a lot of new characters in there too, a lot of new heroes, new villains, and a new purpose to the JSA. So, you’ll see what they evolve into at one point in their long legacy.

And one of the things that has been interesting to explore this new Justice Society that is every era, every generation has its own unique team, and that the great thing about these generations of JSA teams is that it’s going to keep continuing on, next generation and next generation, next generation. And you’ll see the differences in the generations and the differences in the teams and the legacies and everything else. When we come into the JSA, Justice Society of America, in issue one, it’s at a very specific time in its existence, a time that it is going through an iteration of itself that it never has done before. And so, you’ll see why that is and what that means, and how it’s going to affect both the future of the JSA and the past at the same time.

Something you told me before about just dealing with the JSA again, especially when we talked at the end of Flashpoint Beyond, was that you’re not reinventing the JSA, you’re going back and finding places and pockets and corners where you can expand that story, but not change it in a way. So, we’re expanding and we’re developing new things. I like to think about it, I was explaining it to one of my colleagues, we’re not reinventing the wheel, We’re finding those places of untold stories in a lot of ways. Does that feel accurate to you?

Yeah, it does when we look at the past. One of my goals, always when I take on a big, longstanding character team, is not to… I don’t necessarily think the JSA needs to be changed. Its origin doesn’t need to be altered. It is what it is. But I love expanding on it, both back then and today and in the future, is expanding that legacy of the JSA. Is that they had other stories we have not yet read about in the past. There are other characters we have not yet met that they interacted with in the past. Just because they weren’t published in 1940 doesn’t mean they didn’t exist. Every character has stories to be told in their past, present, and future. And the JSA, to me, it has more than any of them.

And one of the goals of The New Golden Age is to expand that out and to create even a more unique, mysterious, unknown, diverse group of characters and stories that we can explore with the Justice Society. And you saw some of those in the Golden Age, and you saw some hinted at in Stargirl #1. And those aren’t the only ones that we’ll see. You’ll see other ones, as well.

Why do you feel now is the right time to go back and explore the JSA? Because it’s one of those things, when I talk to fans and they’ll be like, “Oh, what’s your favorite DC comics team?” And I’ll say, “The JSA.” They’ll be like, “Why the JSA?” And I’ll be like, “Dude, do you not know the JSA?” Why do you feel like now is a good time to be diving back into that world that I think a lot of people don’t appreciate maybe as much as they should?

Well, they haven’t had their own title for a long, long time, so I think it’s overdue. But also, for me, the core thematic or the core element of JSA is generations, legacies, is different generations and passing on legacies. And I feel like we’re at a real important time now where there’s a shift and a changeover and a new generation that’s going to come in. And it just felt like, for me, a great time to explore the next generation of the JSA, is introducing this next group that’s going to be made of characters that we know and characters that we’ve never met before. That’s the whole point is that the generations help each other as they continue on.

I like that it’s so intertwined. And even just looking at The New Golden Age and looking at the Stargirl comic, just all the different characters and the connections and the moving between the different eras and parts and the different iterations of the teams. I was just so taken by how it’s the same team and the same soul, but it works in different ways. It is so complex but also just so fascinating and easy to follow at the same time. And I’m just excited to see how it plays out in JSA, as a reader. But for you as the person who’s creating what feels like is going to be a monster story with so many facets, what are you most excited about for this first issue of JSA?

Well, you’re going to meet a Justice Society you’ve never met before. You’re going to see a mystery kickoff that… Justice Society of America #1, you don’t have to have read any book ever to get on board. For those who’ve read it a long time, there’s a lot in there. For those who have never read a Justice Society of America book, it’s an entry level book to the team, the core of the who they are, what they are, how they change, where they’re going.

And it’s a character story focused on our main character, Helena Wayne. It really is her story. And who she is, why is she different than the Huntress we all know? Why is this Huntress different? It’s not just because she’s the daughter of Batman and Catwoman; there’s a lot more to it. And what her specific personal reason to be, reason to exist, reason to become a part of the JSA, it’s all in there. It’s not just, “Oh, she was on the team before in an old comic.” This is all exploring about who she really is and what she represents. And it’s a very interesting take on what the legacy of Batman could mean in the context of dealing with Helena Wayne. She’s taking on the legacy of Batman, and what she’s doing with it and why with the Justice Society is what the story’s all about.

You can find out more about Justice Society of America # 1 below and more information about The New Golden Age and Stargirl: The Lost Children here.

JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA #1

After making their long awaited return in the pages of Dark Crisis on Infinite Earths #3, the Justice Society of America (JSA) are back in “Justice Society of America: The New Golden Age Part One.” Or are they? A long-lost hero from the JSA crashes into our era with a grave warning…but it’s too late. A mysterious and malevolent enemy has invaded the entire history of the JSA, and an all-new team must come together to defeat it. But what deadly secret does this messenger from beyond keep? Where are they from? And why is all of this happening now? Only the Time Masters know…

“There will be familiar faces re-joining the team, like Jay Garrick and Alan Scott, as well as long-lost members returning, like Beth Chapel and Yolanda Montez, and a new Golden Age legacy hero first hinted at in the end of Flashpoint Beyond. Mikel Janin is doing the work of his career on this,” added Johns.

Written by GEOFF JOHNS

Art and cover by MIKEL JANÍN

Variant cover by YANICK PAQUETTE

’90s Cover Month variant cover by JOE QUINONES

1:25 variant cover by JERRY ORDWAY

1:50 variant cover by STEVE LIEBER

$3.99 US | 32 pages | Variant $4.99 US (card stock)

ON SALE 11/22/22

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