The Justice League isn't the only super-sized superhero group in the DC Universe. As a matter of fact, they aren't even the first! The Justice Society of America predates the Justice League by about twenty years or so. The JSA also predates the Avengers by about twenty-three years, making the Justice Society the first superhero group in comic book history!
Legendary comic book writer Gardner Fox created the team in 1941 alongside artist Everett E. Hibbard and editor Sheldon Mayer. As time progressed, the JL gradually overshadowed the JSA. However, the Justice Society is making a comeback via Legends of Tomorrow. You could probably name ten of the Justice League's strongest members in your sleep, but could you do the same for the Justice Society? Fret not dear reader - that's what this article's here for.
For as long as he could remember, Albert Rothstein had dreams of joining the JSA. Albert's Godfather, Al Pratt, was an original member of the Justice Society - fighting alongside Hawkman, Hourman, The Spectre, and Doctor Fate against the Third Reich! Hearing tales of his Godfather's exploits only added fuel to Albert's fire.
When Albert was a man, he gained superpowers after being exposed to rare, radioactive materials. Rothstein first named himself Nuklon and then Atom-Smasher, after his unique suite of powers. Atom-Smasher can increase his size, density, and mass by rearranging his molecules. These abilities allow Atom-Smasher to effortlessly deflect bullets and fight the likes of Black Adam and OMAC with ease.
Bear with us, as we're about to revisit the bizarre world of Golden Age Era stories. So back in 1963, Sheldon Mayer created a character called Red Tornado. No, we're not talking about the battle-hardened android with the power to control the wind. We're referring to a woman named Abigail 'Ma' Hunkel - who'd wear a cooking pot as a helmet as she fought crime in her pajamas!
Maxine Hunkel, aka Cyclone, is Abigail's granddaughter and a member of the JSA. After being experimented on by T.O. Morrow, Maxine gained Aerokinesis. With her powers, Maxine can blow armies away with massive cyclones and gale force winds. In a way, Maxine is a bridge between both Red Tornados - carrying on the legacy of two drastically different heroes.
Just like Atom-Smasher and Cyclone, Obsidian hails from a family of crimefighters as well. While Albert's and Maxine's powers are evolutions of their predecessors' gifts, Todd Rice's abilities deviate from the norm. You see, Todd is the son of Alan Scott - the bearer of the Starheart and the original Green Lantern!
You'd expect Todd to possess powers similar to his father or even his sister Jade. However, Obsidian takes his name from his ability to manipulate shadows and darkness. Todd can increase his strength, become intangible, and attain a two-dimensional form! Unfortunately, Obsidian's Kryptonite comes in the form of light sources of any kind. An infant with a nightlight could be a threat to Obsidian's wellbeing.
Continuing the tradition of, well, continuing traditions is Stargirl. In the not too distant past, Courtney Whitmore used to be an average girl with an unaverage thirst for adventure. To sate her curiosities, Courtney would sift through her parents' belongings hoping to find something interesting. Eventually, she got her hands on the Cosmic Converter Belt - a tool used by a famous hero known as the Star-Spangled Kid!
Belt in tow, Courtney began fighting crime under the Star-Spangled Kid alias. Whitmore's exploits gained the attention of Jack Knight, aka Starman. Looking to retire, Jack gave Courtney his Cosmic Staff. Whitmore renamed herself Stargirl and used her predecessors' prized-possessions to take on foes like Amazo and Clayface regularly.
6 Mister Terrific
Michael Holt is one of the only characters in this article that doesn't have superpowers in the traditional sense. Much like Batman and Iron Man, Holt's 'superpower' is his incredible intellect. Michael's always had an uncanny ability to pick up, retain and apply information. When Holt came of age, he decided to use his natural gifts to fight crime under the Mister Terrific moniker.
True to his name, Terrific can effectively invent a solution to any problem. At all times, Micheal's accompanied by his T-Spheres; pieces of incredibly sophisticated technology that can perform all sorts of feats. As it stands, Holt is considered the third smartest man in the DC Universe.
5 The Flash
Do you what they say about classics? They never go out of style. Jay Garrick, the original Flash, is living proof of that. There are dozens of young and powerful Speedsters running around the DC Universe, yet Jay manages to outclass most of them! Garrick's background in science also gives him an edge on the battlefield.
The DC Universe's Speedforce Conduits have a vast array of powers beyond running quickly. As the original Flash, Garrick possesses all of those abilities as well as decades of experience. In the blink of an eye, Garrick could speed blitz a foe before they're able to react! Jay could also create massive tornados and air vacuums with ease.
4 Green Lantern
The father of Todd Rice and Jennifer-Lynn Hayden may be an old-timer, but he's by no means a slouch in combat. Since 1940, Alan Scott's faithfully served the public as the Green Lantern. Later in his career, Alan would join the JSA under his Sentinel moniker.
While he isn't a member of the Green Lantern Corps, Scott does possess an arsenal of abilities that would make you think otherwise. Alan can create energy constructs, fly, and travel through space just like Hal Jordan or Guy Gardner! Whereas the GL Corps use willpower to empower themselves, Scott uses the Starheart - an ancient and magical artifact from the dawn of time!
3 Citizen Steel
Citizen Steel might sound like a bit of a random name, but it's a tribute to Commander Steel - a cybernetic hero from the late 1970s. Nathan Heywood came up with the Citizen Steel alias to honor his Grandfather, Henry Haywood. Nathan also gained a bit of inspiration when he developed a unique set of superpowers.
With conscious effort, Nate can transform into an organic steel state. Heywood's durability flies of charts in this form, as well as his physical strength. To date, Citizen Steel is one of the few heroes that's managed to hurt Gog the Old God! Even heroes like Superman struggled to pull off such a feat!
2 Power Girl
Speaking of Superman, let's give it up for Superman's cousin from an alternate reality! Well, at least that was her origin story the last time we checked. Powergirl's backstory tends to change like the seasons, making it difficult to explain her history to new fans. Suffice it to say that she's like Superman, but with different chromosomes and a less flattering costume.
Don't let her outfit fool you, however; Kara Zor-L is an absolute powerhouse! Over the years, she's made a habit of molly-whopping major bad guys like Despero, Magog, and an evil version of Superman. Kara's also insanely fast, incredibly durable, and devilishly clever. There's a reason that she's the leader of the JSA at the moment.
1 Doctor Fate
Aside from Obsidian, Green Lantern, and possibly Mister Terrific, most of the other heroes on this list are immense physical threats. Atom-Smasher and Power Girl could pound foes into dust, while Flash and Cyclone could turn the very air that we breathe into a weapon! However, most of the members of the JSA are limited in terms of magical might.
That's where Doctor Fate comes in. The Lord of Order isn't just a powerful magician either - he's a divine force of nature that's older than time! Most of the time, Fate has to hold back to ensure that he doesn't destroy the universe on accident. Doctor Fate only intervenes when things become utterly dire.