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10 Most Controversial Justice Society Comics

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Before the Justice League became the most essential super group in DC Comics, the Justice Society of America charmed 1940s comic readers with crossovers of their favorite characters. Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Flash, and even Green Lantern teamed up against all kinds of threats while also keeping their individual stories. Fans reacted positively to most of the JSA’s stories, but, as always, not everything was great.


RELATED: The 10 Best JSA Members, Ranked

The Justice Society of America’s history includes some questionable storylines. Some of these arcs aged poorly, becoming culturally obsolete in the 21st century, but others simply caused controversy from the moment they were published. Regardless, they all have given the fans something to talk about.

10/10 Batman Accused The Justice Society Of Treason

America VS. The Justice Society Written By Roy and Dan Thomas With Art By Rafael Kayanan, Rich Buckler, Jerry Ordway, Michael Bair, and Howard Bender

A newspaper headline stating that the JSA are Traitors

In America vs. the Justice Society, Earth-2 Batman died of cancer. But before he died, the Dark Knight left behind a diary where he accused the Justice Society of America of working for the Axis powers during World War II. This led to a formal trial against the super team.

America vs. the Justice Society isn’t controversial just because Batman dies of cancer. In the end, it was revealed that the diary was a ploy by to ensure that the JSA could defeat Per Degaton. This makes much more sense than believing Batman or the JSA were actual villains. What made this series controversial was the introduction of the idea that the US Government would so quickly turn on the JSA.

9/10 Earth-2 Made Green Lantern Gay

Earth-2 #2 By James Robinson And Nicola Scott

DC Comics Green Lantern Alan Scott Earth

Born out of the New 52, Earth-2 rewrote Alan Scott’s story as the first Green Lantern. In this version, Alan Scott, who debuted in 1940, is openly gay. This isn’t part of a bigger storyline, it’s just how things are, and that’s it.

Alan Scott’s homosexuality is one of the first queer comic book storylines of the 21st century. When he first debuted, many fans didn’t agree with this radical change, while others loved the modification. This caused the comic to have very mixed reviews. As of 2022, this kind of controversy is less and less common, which is great news.

8/10 Hitler Controlled The Justice Society By Using The Spear Of Destiny

America VS. The Justice Society Written By Roy and Dan Thomas With Art By Rafael Kayanan, Rich Buckler, ​​​​​​​Jerry Ordway, Michael Bair, and Howard Bender

Hitler holds the Spear of Destiny as the JSA fight behind him

One of the most powerful weapons in DC, the Spear of Destiny could influence others. In All-Star Comics #11, the Justice Society became the Justice Battalion, working together with the United States of America during World War II. Given how powerful the Justice Battalion was, it made no sense that the war didn’t end immediately.

Later stories, including America vs the Justice Society, revealed that the Justice Battalion didn’t finish the war because they were controlled by Hitler using the Spear of Destiny. This revelation actively shocked the fandom, which felt that the reasoning was a weak answer to the question of why the JSA didn’t end the war earlier.

7/10 The JSA Asked Wonder Woman To Be Their Secretary

All-Star Comics #12 By Gardner Fox And Jack Burnley

All-Star Comics Issue 12 - Wonder Woman becomes the team's secretary

When it first debuted in All-Star Comics #3, the JSA only included Doctor Fate, Hourman, the Spectre, Hawkman, Green Lantern, the Atom, the Sandman, and the Flash. Later, others heroes appeared, like Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman. As the only woman on the team, Wonder Woman wasn’t accepted as an actual member in the beginning.

RELATED: 10 Times The Justice Society Lost

Instead, in All-Star Comics #11, the other members of the JSA asked Wonder Woman to be their secretary, which she loved. Even at the time, this felt odd, but now, fans are horrified to see such a display of sexism. Now that Wonder Woman is a paragon of feminism in the comics, it’s out of character for her to embrace a subordinate role so easily.

6/10 Ultra-Humanite Tricked Miss America Into Having Sex

The Golden Age By James Robinson And Paul Smith

Ultra-Humanite in his white ape body in DC Comics

One of the most dangerous Superman villains, Ultra-Humanite was also a key enemy of the JSA. In The Golden Age, this villain put his own brain in the body of Tex “Americommando” Thompson. By doing this, he managed to fool everyone, including Joan Dale, aka Miss America, who had sex with him thinking it was Tex.

When Miss America learned the truth and finally exposed him for his actions, Ultra-Humanite had Robotman kill her. In the end, Ultra-Humanite was defeated, but the implications of rape against Miss America weren’t discussed at all. As of 2022, this is a controversial arc, which DC wants fans to forget.

5/10 Superman & Batman Were Just Honorary Members Of The JSA

All-Star Comics #3 By Gardner Fox And Everett E. Hibbard

superman-batman-wonder-woman-header

When the JSA debuted in 1940, its most important members were Doctor Fate, Hourman, Flash, and Atom. Contrary to the Justice League, Superman and Batman didn’t have a place in this supergroup because the JSA was a part of All-American Publications while the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight belonged to All-American’s sister publisher, National Periodical Publications. However, the duo teamed up with the JSA sporadically, considered only “honorary members.”

Superman and Batman have been two of the greatest Justice League members since it debuted. As two-thirds of the DC trinity, it’s impossible to imagine an important group of superheroes that doesn’t include them. Contemporary readers would have a hard time accepting that the Man of Steel and the Dark Knight have no space in such a big story.

4/10 Most Of The JSA Suffered Gruesome Deaths In Zero Hour: Crisis In Time

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time By Dan Jurgens And Jerry Ordway

Zero Hour JSA

The 1994 crossover Zero Hour: Crisis in Time had all the members of the JSA killed or incapacitated. During their battle against Extant (formerly known as the hero Hawk), the Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Hourman died within seconds, Hawkman and Hawkgirl merged into a Hawkgod, and Doctor Fate died of old age.

Zero Hour: Crisis in Time is one of the biggest massacres in DC Comics. It was a watershed moment for the JSA and its members. It can be compared to other radical stories, like Kingdom Come. However, since it happens in the main continuity, it’s even harder to digest.

3/10 The JSA Was One Of The First Teams To Age In Comics

The Flash #123 By Gardner Fox And Carmine Infantino

Silver Age meets Golden Age in "Flash" 121.

During the Silver Age, certain JSA members from Earth-Two appeared as middle-aged versions of their younger Earth-One counterparts. This age gap was often central to their character development and left a lot of space to play with the dichotomy of fate and free will.

RELATED: 10 Most Underrated Members Of The Justice Society

Currently, mature middle-aged superheroes are common. However, during the Silver Age, heroes were mostly younglings, so revealing an older version of the Justice Society completely modified the history of comics and opened the door to more serious stories. As happens with change, fans had a hard time accepting it initially.

2/10 The JSA Only Had Two Women Members In The Beginning

All-Star Comics #41 By John Broome, Alex Toth, And Carmine Infantino

Black Canary joins the JSA

The JSA asking Wonder Woman to be their secretary instead of their peer is just a small glimpse into how sexist comics were at the time. For example, their original rooster has aged poorly due to its lack of diversity. For many years, there were mostly men as members (especially white men).

The Justice Society of America debuted in 1940, but Wonder Woman didn’t become an active member until two years later in 1942. After her, Black Canary became a full member in 1948. For many years they were the only two women on the team. This would be unacceptable in the 21st century.

1/10 Some Justice Society Members Supported Hitler Without Knowing It

The Golden Age By James Robinson And Paul Smith

DC Comics The Golden Age

In The Golden Age, the Ultra-Humanite posed as Tex Thompson to create a new group of superheroes that would eventually turn against America. As part of his plan, Ultra-Humanite invited sidekick Dan the Dyna-Mite to join the team, only to replace Dan’s brain with that of Hitler’s and revealing the new version of the D-list hero to the world as Dynaman.

For a while, many of the heroes of the Justice Society of America worked with Dynaman’s without knowing his real identity. After years of fighting against Nazism, this was a difficult hit for the JSA ideology. For some fans, seeing members of the JSA fighting alongside Hitler, even if they didn’t know it, was a hard pill to swallow.

NEXT: 10 Forgotten Members Of The Justice Society Of America

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