JSA Legacies: Introduction


JSA-010

From Jay Garrick to Bart Allen, and back to Barry Allen.
From Alan Scott to Kyle Rayner and back to Hal Jordan.
Terry Sloane and Michael Holt.
Rex Tyler and Rick Tyler.
Dinah Drake and Dinah Lance.
In 1999, DC’s summer crossover series, Day of Judgement completed a cycle begun almost forty-five years earlier that, I doubt, anyone was conscious of being open-ended.
The previous year, writer John Ostrander and artist Tom Mandrake had brought their very successful series featuring The Spectre to a planned end by allowing the late Jim Corrigan, after all these years, to go to his rest. Their series has established that the Spectre-Force was God’s Angel of Vengeance, sent to be melded to a deceased human’s soul, through whom it would act to avenge murder. Abandoned by Corrigan, the Spectre-Force became vulnerable to attempts by the demons Etrigan and Neron to take control of its almost limitless power. The only way to prevent this was for another soul to accept the Spectre.
Somewhat improbably, given that the Spectre was a supernatural force, and the man chosen came from a solidly scientific background, the mantle of the Spectre went to Hal Jordan, the former Silver Age Green Lantern, the former villain Parallax. Under Jordan, the Spectre’s raison d’être would be re-purposed, from Angel of Vengeance to Angel of Redemption, though it wouldn’t work.
What’s important for our purposes is that, once Hal Jordan accepted the Spectre and became his ‘secret identity’, what was begun by Showcase 4 in 1956, the first appearance of the Silver Age Flash, came to an end. The last member of the Justice Society of America of the Golden Age had a successor. For the first time, an entire ‘shadow’ Justice Society could have been composed of successors to the names of the originals.
Which seems to me to be a good enough excuse for a more in-depth series on the Golden Age Justice Society, profiling the fifteen original Golden Age members and their legatees, starting with their first Chairman and first member to receive a legacy, the guy who started it all off, The Flash.
Be warned that some of the mythos’s created on the legacy of certain characters are far longer and more involved than others – The Flash has had four incarnations and Starman no less than eight, whilst Mr Terrific and Black Canary have been restricted to only two each. Accordingly, some posts will be longer than others, but, unlike the Justice Society series or the current look at Green Arrow, I don’t intend to break these down into parts: you’ll have to read them in one go or not at all, but don’t worry, there’ll be plenty of illustrations to break up the dull text.

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