A year after its successful “Rebirth” launch, DC has teased the return of the Justice Society of America.
In the just completed story arc “The Button,” a four-part crossover in issues of “Batman” and “The Flash,” two members of the legendary super-team missing for years make appearances.
“The Flash” No. 21 opens with Johnny Thunder on the edge of a rooftop, screaming into a driving rain for his thunderbolt.
Orderlies grab the feisty 90-year-old and drag him back down.
“We lost the Justice Society! It’s all my fault!” he cries.
Doubtful. But I feel your pain, Johnny.
Here’s what’s exciting: A member of the Justice Society exists in the DCU and he remembers the team.
That, my friends, is freaking huge.
But that’s all we get of Johnny Thunder, who probably is heavily medicated. For the moment.
In this crossover arc, Batman and the Flash try to follow the cosmic breadcrumbs surrounding the Watchmen button Batman found in the Batcave in the “DC Universe Rebirth” special last year that launched the reboot of the entire line. Our heroes run afoul of the Reverse-Flash, who thinks he sees the face of God before he’s killed. (Reverse-Flash dies a lot. That’s one of the drawbacks of being a time-traveling madman.)
In “The Flash” No. 22, the concluding chapter by Joshua Williamson and Howard Porter, the Flash and Batman are lost and trapped in the time stream. The cosmic treadmill is in bits. At their darkest moment, a voice calls out to Barry, begging him to say his name.
“We have no idea where it’s going to take us,” Flash protests.
“Right here! Just say my name … Jay.”
“Jay?” Flash says.
And with that, the Golden Age Flash, the Crimson Comet, the first and the brightest speedster breaks through the dimensions.
This panel. (Click on the thumbnail – or any others – for a better view). Oh. It gave me such a rush and joy. I need this as a poster. A pillowcase. Hell, give me a tattoo on my bum.
It’s really, truly Jay Garrick.
How I have missed you, Jay.
Jay grabs Batman and Barry and powers them back to their proper time and universe.
Barry doesn’t remember his old friend and mentor.
“They took everything from me, Barry. I don’t know how. I don’t know why.”
And just as Barry reaches out for Jay, Jay is ripped away, out of this universe …
… for the moment.
There have been a lot of clues as to what’s been going on and why nobody remembers the Justice Society. Best guess: The Watchmen’s Dr. Manhattan plucked much of the team out of the universe to weaken the heroes. Without the Justice Society serving as mentors and inspirations to so many of the heroes, including most of the Justice League, the Rebirth DCU is weakened.
The story will pick up this fall in “Doomsday Clock,” a miniseries starring Superman that promises to reveal Manhattan’s dark machinations.
Here’s a thought: What if the DC Universe Rebirth we think we’ve been watching for the last year hasn’t happened yet? What if this has all been a prelude to the DCU being restored to its pre-Crisis glory?
In a huge break from publishing norms, to take an event story and cross it over with every damn title in the line (I’m looking at you, Nazi-loving Marvel), “Doomsday Clock” will have no crossovers, no tie-ins, Johns told “The Hollywood Reporter” earlier this month. It’s a stand-alone mini-series.
This sounds like a true event. And given that it is being written by the guy who got his start and made his reputation on the great “JSA” title and was responsible for the team’s longest, most successful run, we should all be encouraged.
I’m all in. You?