Last Days of the Justice Society of America Special – 1986 (DC Comics)

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TITLE: Last Days of the Justice Society of America Special

YEAR: 1986

COMPANY: DC Comics

Writer/Editor: Roy Thomas

Penciller: David Ross

Inker: Mike Gustovich

Co-Plotter: Dann Thomas

Letterer: David Cody Weiss

Colorist: Carl Gafford


With the success of the 1985 DC Comics mini-series “America vs. the Justice Society of America”, in 1986, Roy Thomas, David Ross and Mike Gustovich created the “Last Days of the Justice Society of America” Special.

Set in Earth-2, with the death of President Roosevelt, Adolf Hitler has become Powerful and wields the staff of destiny.  He vows that if Germany is to fall, the whole planet will also fall.

Gathered to pay homage to the fallen heroes are the Justice Society of America, led by Hawkman.

Batman and his wife, the Catwoman, Richard Grayson, Helena Wayne (The Huntress) have died.  As have Mr. Terrific, Superman, Lois Lane Kent and Superboy.  (Please note: A lot of the deaths took place during the “CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS” storyline)

Wonder Woman and General Steve Trevor have left back to Mount Olympus, a location that no cartographer will or have ever mapped.

And for the final meeting, Hawkman calls do dissolve the Justice Society of America as the group’s time has past.

But once they are to disband, out of nowhere, The Spectre comes to show Dr. Fate that there is a greater threat that will destroy the planet.

This gives Dr. Fate to show them a different past from 1945 when America’s heroes were killed by this greater threat but given a second chance and knowing what happens, can the Justice Society of America prevent this disaster from happening?

As a Justice Society of America longtime reader and also fan of many of DC Comics superheroes (even if they are from different alternative Earth timelines), this issue was quite bleak.  And it was a way to kill of the Justice Society of America minus three characters and then to promote the superhero group “Infinity Inc.”.  And it was agreed that with staff in DC Comics at the time that the deaths of key heroes of Earth-2 were killed off in “CRISES OF INFINITE EARTHS”, it was time for the JSA to be killed off.

And so, it was Roy Thomas and crew’s job to make it happen with this special issue.

While there is a greater threat other than Adolf Hitler and the Nazis that are shown in this issue and probably one of the few rare moments where you will see Thor (not Marvel’s Thor) appear in a DC Comics issue along with other Asgardians.  The threat takes a realistic look of what if the world’s greatest superheroes were put in the battlefield to fight the Nazi’s.

Knowing that most of the superheroes are not immortal or bulletproof, I think one can foresee how things will end for these superheroes.

For a lot of superheroes, we are used to seeing them dodging bullets or having some defensive capability.  But during a war when thousands of soldiers have machine guns, there really is not much that can be done.  And the Nazi soldiers are not the only major threat, as the superheroes must take on giant behemoths with great strength and power.

It’s really interesting how the writers planned this special, because it is no doubt dark and all the hope and happy endings you have come to find in a comic book, especially during the 1980’s, there is not too much hope in this issue.

You get a  good number of cameos in this issue especially from Infinity Inc. and a one page JSA story from the never published issue of the original “ALL-STAR COMICS” featuring the Justice Society vs. the Psycho-Pirate.  And for those who need more context, a lot of text is featured in the inside covers (front and back) of the storyline.

The issue was no doubt a shocker back then but at the same time I felt I had the rugged pulled right under from me.  This is not a way to kill off these DC superheroes…a special one-page issue.  But I knew in my heart that like many other superhero deaths in comic books, there will be a comeback someday.

And sure enough, the Justice Society of America came back stronger.


 

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