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Saturday, October 15, 2016

Justice Society of America on Legends of Tomorrow!

It was pretty much a no-brainer that the JSA would debut live-action when the season one finale of Legends of Tomorrow introduced Rex Tyler (Hourman) and then name-dropped the Justice Society of America. It was something I was excited about after the season one finale.

During the off-season, Stargirl was confirmed when news hit that Sarah Grey was cast to be the character for season two. Matthew MacCaull was also reportedly cast as Commander Steel. Both characters I wasn't particularly excited about after the casting news.

At the end of the premiere episode of season two last night, we finally got to see the JSA briefly, and I do admit that I thought it was pretty cool. So, as we already know, the Justice Society of America's line up in Legends are Commander Steel, Doctor Mid-Nite, Hourman, Stargirl, Vixen and Obsidian. 

In case you were wondering about Vixen, this new version on the show is the grandmother of the Vixen that showed up earlier in the Arrow TV series played by Megalyn Echikunwoke. In the comics, there is no World War II version yet, but in the TV series, this version is Amaya Jiwe and played by Maisie Richardson. Megalyn did not reprise the role due to prior commitments.


The regular and only comic version is Mari Jiwe McCabe and she debuted in Action Comics #521. The character originally was suppose to be DC's first African female superhero to debut in her own titled series, but the first issue was cancelled in the DC Implosion. 

The issue #1 story to her cancelled series was printed in Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #2. Although the show has her as a member of the Golden Age Justice Society of America, she is most notably affiliated with the Justice League in the comic books. Her character is also far removed from the Golden Age JSA, especially the original line up.

Actually, the only original comic book member in the show from the Golden Age Justice Society of America is Hourman. Hourman, the Rex Tyler and original version, first debuted in Adventure Comics #48 back in 1940.

Adventure Comics #48 | All-Star Comics #3
 
The character of Hourman first forms the Justice Society of America in All-Star Comics #3 a long with Doctor Fate, Hawkman, the Spectre, the Flash, Green Lantern, Sandman, and the Atom. This issue is widely known as the first inter-company crossover since members came from two different publishing companies - National Comics and All-American Publications.

No doubt that All-Star Comics #3 is one of the most historical key issues in comics. The Justice Society of America is one of the first superhero teams in comics, if not the first.

Hourman is actually a legacy character, and Rex Tyler has had descendants take up the mantle of the character. Rex's son Rick Tyler took up the mantle, but he first appeared as himself in Infinity, Inc. #20 and then as the 2nd Hourman in Infinity, Inc. #21. 

Infinity, Inc #20 | Infinity, Inc #21

Infinity, Inc #21 also saw the 1st appearance of Beth Chapel as the 2nd Dr. Mid-Nite, no blood relation to the original McNider character. Both issues were penciled by Todd McFarlane, and was both characters were co-created by the legendary artist a long with Roy and his wife Dannette Thomas.

Just like his father, Rick Tyler can experience visions of a future one hour ahead with the use of a special hour glass and a drug called drug Miraclo. This drug also gave him super strength, speed, agility, reflexes and durability for a full hour, but this drug also became habit-forming. Talk about the first superhero druggie, eh?

There is also a Matthew Tyler who took up the mantle of Hourman as well. This is an android based off the DNA of the original Hourman Rex Tyler. 


The android Hourman was also from the 853rd century and was created by comic creatives Grant Morrison and Howard Porter. This future Hourman 1st appeared in JLA #12 in 1997 and fought alongside both the JLA and the Justice Society of America.

With Legends of Tomorrow's whole time travel premise, it is not entirely implausible that other versions of the character could or might show up. After all, Commander Steel's descendant is in the show at the same point in time, and we'll see this reunion most likely in episode 2 of the second season.


Dr. Mid-Nite is considered a Golden Age member of the team, but he was not present in All-Star Comics #3. He 1st appeared in All-American Comics #25 in 1941 and joins the JSA in the quite famous and highly sought-out issue of All-Star Comics #8, which also holds the 1st appearance of Wonder Woman who was also a member of the Golden Age Justice Society of America.

Doctor Mid-Nite's character is played by Kwesi Ameyaw, and I believe it is the Charles McNider version in Legends. The costume for Mid-Nite actually resembles the comic character's garb from the comics to the show so kudos on that. 

Getting back to the 2nd Doctor Mid-Nite and Beth Chapel, the character 1st fully appeared in Infinity, Inc #19 as Dr. Beth Chapel. As mentioned before, the character became the 2nd Doctor Mid-Nite in issue #21 of the Infinity, Inc comic series. 

That issue would also be her 3rd appearance in comics as well, and her 2nd appearance is along side Rick Tyler's 1st appearance in issue #20 of the comic series. All three issues of #19, #20, and #21 were Crisis on Infinite Earths crossovers, the event that would establish the destruction of DC's multiverse and establish New-Earth in DC's continuity.

Just for the sake of it, Rick Tyler did end up marrying Jesse Quick, a comic character that is currently in the Flash TV series.
 
The original Golden Age Dr. Mid-Nite is not the only character that also joined the JSA in issue #8 of All-Star Comics way back in the day. Starman also joined the team in that issue and the character is somewhat associated with Stargirl. Well, she wields Starman's cosmic staff, which she seemingly obtained pretty early in her actual comic timeline. The original Starman was Ted Knight, and it's that character who joined the original Golden Age JSA. 

Stargirl, Courtney Whitmore, has no blood relation to either Ted Knight or his son and the second Starman, Jack Knight. The character started her superhero career as the Star Spangled Kid and debuted in the comic Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. # 0. 

Courtney then debuted as Stargirl in JSA All-Stars #4 after she received the cosmic staff. Despite debuting in 1999, Stargirl is a known member of the Justice Society of America unlike Vixen in the actual comics.

Stars & Stripes #0 (1st as 2nd Star Spangled Kid) | JSA All-Stars #4 (1st as Stargirl)

As the 2nd Star Spangled Kid, Courtney is seen as a member of the team as early as JSA #1 volume 1, a comic also published back in 1999. In the show, it was pretty cool to see that her costume is  authentic to the actual comics.
 
Just when I thought we were getting closer to seeing some Green Lantern in DC's TV realm, we do get a nod in the form of Obsidian. It's been confirmed that Obsidian in the Legends show is still the son of Alan Scott, the original Green Lantern, and I do hope they do some Flash stuff like with Jay Garrick.


Obsidian doesn't have the same powers though. Instead, Obsidian is kind of like Marvel's Cloak, in which he is connected to some sort of Shadow domain. He can merge with his own shadow and others, and in this type of shadow form, he is stronger than when in human form.

Obsidian is a character was a member of the JSA in the comics. He was also was part of Infinity, Inc. Infinity was a team that comprised of mainly the children, grandchildren, and protégés of members of the Justice Society of America.

The character debuted in All-Star Squadron #25 back in 1983 and was created by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway. The issue also holds the first appearance of the team Infinity, Inc. Since they kept Obsidian's ancestry from the comics, I wonder where, how or even if Alan Scott might appear on the show.


Commander Steel is a known Justice Society of America member, but is a Modern member for the team even though the character 1st debuted in Steel, The Indestructible Man # 1 back in 1978. Henry Heywood is the version of this character on the show set in 1942.

Commander Steel or the original Henry Heywood was retroactively included as a member of the JSA in the All-Star Squadron comic series. Although a comic series published in the 1980s, the series told stories retroactively of the JSA during World War II. 

Steel's original comic series was set in World War II on Earth-2 as well, but did not connect to the JSA in the initial 5 issue run. Like many comic titles during 1978, Steel was cancelled during the DC Implosion.

Henry "Hank" Heywood as Commander Steel would be revived in All-Star Squadron #8 in 1982 and would become part of the team in the comic series. Commander Steel is a cyborg that obtained mechanical enhancements and has enhanced strength, speed and durability. 

The same was done to his grandson Hank Heywood III, and his lineage also took up the mantle of Commander Steel in DC continuity. Hank Heywood III first debuted in Justice League of America Annual #2 back in 1984.


A character on the Legends show is Nate Heywood or Nathan Heywood. He is based off a comic character and is also the grandson of the original Commander Steel. 

Nate is the cousin of Hank Heywood III, and would suit up as the superhero Citizen Steel in the comics. Created by Geoff Johns and Alex Ross, Nate Heywood debuted in Justice Society of America #2 volume 3

In the comics, he's a character strung out on pain meds as he had one of his legs amputated when we first meet him in issue #2. In issue #3, some villain named Reichsmark infects Nate with some type of metallic blood. 

Aghhh...I'll just show you the page.

From Justice Society of America #3 volume 3

In issues afterward, it slowly shows how this metallic blood is affecting Nate Heywood. He first appears as Citizen Steel in Justice Society of America #7 volume 3. Power Girl christens him with the name and he does suit up in that issue. Cover is by Alex Ross and is, of course, bad ass.


In the show, it seems that Nate Heywood is a Dr. and time travel historian so far and is played by Nick Zano. In the comics, he is a star quarterback that had to have his leg amputated.

Not sure if Nick Zano will ever suit up. The team is in 1942, and his grandpa is Commander Steel. Will be interesting if Nate Heywood becomes the present-day Commander Steel or Citizen Steel in the Legends team.

While the premiere episode of season two for Legends of Tomorrow was entertaining and left me wanting to find out what happens next, I can't help but nit-pick at it a bit. With the Flash in the same universe as these characters and the Legion of Doom already hinted at with Damien Darhk and Reverse Flash, I can't help but wonder why Flash's time travel and the Legend's time travel aren't affecting the stories of the two shows.

In the Flash show, it's apparent that Barry Allen is messing up his world, but this hasn't spilled over into the Legends show and vice versa. I figure since the Legends are bouncing around from time to time constantly, their actions would at least have some impact on Barry Allen and his compatriots.

Anyway, things are getting interesting in DC's TV world, and there is a rich comic history that the show is drawing from. I am impressed how the shows are linking all these characters together. 






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