SPOILER WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Doomsday Clock #8, by Geoff Johns, Gary Frank, Brad Anderson and Rob Leigh, on sale now.
When the Rebirth era began in 2016 with the DC Universe Rebirth Special, a number of beloved, yet long-forgotten elements of the DC Universe reemerged, or at the very least, had their impending arrivals teased. For instance, Wally West and the romance between Green Arrow and Black Canary returned to the fold, while the Legion of Superheroes and the Justice Society of America were hinted at with appearances by Saturn Girl and Johnny Thunder, respectively.
Since then, the mysteries of Rebirth continue to unfold, largely in the pages of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank’s Doomsday Clock, and in Issue #8, one of the aforementioned superhero teams finally makes its DC Universe debut for the first time since the New 52.
In Doomsday Clock #7, a distressed Rorschach II placed an envelope addressed to Lois Lane at the Daily Planet into a mailbox. However, the contents of said envelope were unknown at the time. As we learn in Issue #8, though, what Rorschach sent to Lois was a USB thumb drive containing a video of a black-and-white news broadcast from the time of World War II.
“It’s April 2nd, 1941!” the broadcaster says as the footage begins. “And as the war rages on overseas, back home there’s trouble! Saboteurs! Spies! Fascists! And only the Justice Society of America can stop them!”
“Who the hell are the Justice Society of America?” Lois asks herself aloud. Meanwhile, we get a glimpse of several JSA mainstays, including The Flash (Jay Garrick), Green Lantern (Alan Scott), Sandman (Wesley Dodds), Hawkman, Hourman, The Spectre and Doctor Fate, all running into battle.
Of course, the return of the JSA, even if only in the form of a cameo, is interesting for a number of reasons. Outside of the obvious, there’s the fact the footage was provided to Lois by Rorschach of all people. And speaking of Lois, she appears to have no recollection of the JSA either, making Johnny Thunder seemingly the only one who remembers the Justice League predecessor.
Additionally, there’s the revelation from Doomsday Clock #7 that Doctor Manhattan appears to have erased Alan Scott (and subsequently, the JSA as a whole) from DC continuity, which would explain Lois’ obliviousness but doesn’t quite explain how this footage still exists.
Finally, it’s worth noting that Jay Garrick, Hawkman and Hourman have all made appearances in the post-Rebirth DCU. However, Jay has been trapped in the Speed Force (perhaps by Doctor Manhattan?), and the mystical and mythological aspects of the latter two heroes could easily explain away any potential plot holes.
Nevertheless, now that the JSA has made its long-awaited return as a fully assembled team in the form of archival footage, it should only be a matter of time before the fan-favorite team reemerges in the DCU proper.