Justice League #31
Writers: Scott Snyder & James Tynion IV
Artists: Jorge Jiminez
The Justice Society of America is my favorite comic book team hands down. No team in the history of comics is more heroic and representative of everything I love about DC comics. While the Justice League feels like a group of friends, the Justice Society feels like a family. DC comics is first and foremost about legacy, and that legacy starts with the Justice Society. From its incredible roster of characters to its historic runs, nothing comes close to the Justice Society for me.
That’s why the death of the Justice Society at the beginning of the New 52 will always be one of DC’s greatest mistakes. For years, I’ve waited for the return of the superhero team that started it all. Fans speculated they would return here or there to no avail. And you’d be wrong to argue that Earth 2: Society is a proper reintroduction of the JSA.
Since their absence from continuity, the JSA has even shown up in popular media including DC’s Legends of Tomorrow and a likely inclusion in the upcoming Stargirl series. So now more than ever, it seems like the right time for the team to return. And Justice League #31 delivers on that.
I’ve criticized Scott Snyder’s Justice League for many of its faults, but I can’t help be feel like a kid again reading this issue. Not only are the Justice Society back in full force, they are written faithfully to their original interpretations. Jay Garrick is still a leader, Wildcat doesn’t hesitate to toss around a quip, and there’s even a reference to Sandman’s novels.
And unlike many other DC writers, Snyder doesn’t just ignore the continuity of these characters. He directly addresses the absence of the JSA in this issue. In fact, Justice League #31 actually makes Doomsday Clock feel somewhat relevant again. While this isn’t a triumphant return of the original team, it does offer hope for the JSA to return to the main universe in time.
But there is plenty to talk about in this issue besides just the Justice Society. First and foremost is the second story-line, taking place not in the past, but in the future. While the Trinity’s alliance with Kamandi isn’t nearly as exciting for me as the JSA, it’s a welcome inclusion for fans of the character. In fact, I love Snyder’s use of Brainiac in this future story.
On another note, for a story with such high ramifications for the DC Universe, there are some things that feel off, mostly Snyder’s use of the Monitors. Watching the Monitor and the World Forger co-pilot an aircraft together seemed somewhat awkward. These are multiversal gods after all, and it seems strange to see them tag along with the rest of the team. And in the same vein, the Anti-Monitor feels like a totally different character here. After the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, I’d expect the name Anti-Monitor to strike terror into the hearts of the Justice League. But instead, Mobius feels more like a plot device than a force to be reckoned with.
Finally, it would be wrong to finish this review without talking about the twist at the end of this issue. I for one, am very excited to see Aquaman back in action. I’m not quite sure what his role in this story is, but I am nonetheless looking forward to see what Snyder has in store.
Overall, Justice League #31 was a pleasant surprise. Snyder handled the Justice Society incredibly well while also setting up new twists for the rest of the arc. I’m hoping that this means the Justice Society will come out of the past and join the Justice League back home in the present.
Justice League #31
Justice League #31 is the long-awaited return of the Justice Society of America. It was worth the wait.