The Justice League and the Justice Society of America are two of the top teams within DC Comics. They both represent truth, honor and of course, justice as their titles suggest, but that has also sparked a bit of friendly competition between the two groups, who have been allies on plenty of occasions.
It’s fair to say that the Justice League have become more established within general media and is the far more successful of the two teams. That isn’t to say that the JSA doesn’t have something to bring to the table though, but the popularity of the JLA is definitely a contributing factor to how this competition between the two has been portrayed.
They Still Team Up
Although there may be a bit of a friendly rivalry between the two groups, that has never stopped them from teaming up in the past. The eras of thir heydays are slightly different, yet thanks to some comic book wizardry there’s always a way to bring them together again.
As they team up there’s definitely a bit of sportsmanship between these top-tier teams, but when their backs are up against the wall they come back swinging together. The Aquarius Saga, Murder Of Mister Terrific, and Return Of Darkseid are three great stories featuring their partnership.
The JSA Were The First
Comic book fans will be very aware that the Justice Society of America was actually the first major DC Comics team. While the Justice League is perhaps the one that made the most impact in regards to its long-term narrative, it could never have existed without the formation of the JSA.
Original members included Hawkman, the Jay Garrick Flash alongside other Golden Age heroes like the earlier iteration of Green Lantern. The fact that they were the first definitely hasn’t been forgotten, as the Justice League tries to live up to the original group while the JSA continues to add to the rivalry by reminding the world of their role.
While a friendly rivalry might exist, there have been a lot of crossovers in regards to the roster. There are heroes who absolutely define each team, whether it’s the trinity of Batman, Wonder Woman, and Superman for the JLA or the original Flash, Green Lantern, and Hawkman for the JSA.
But, there are of course those who have served on both groups, which fuels the need for some friendly competition. It’s a bit like professional athletes jumping between teams, and facing their previous squad. Of course, there’s far too much diplomacy between the groups for any individuals to truly choose between the two.
The Hall Of Justice Is Superior
The Justice Society of America simply doesn’t have an impressive or even iconic headquarters in the same way the Justice League does. The Hall of Justice has become a symbol unto itself, a museum of superhero history, and also a state-of-the-art base for DC’s heroes to operate from.
In comparison, the JSA has operated from various buildings, including old apartments and less than imposing structures. Their current home in New York is slightly more worthy of the team, but it’s clear that their continued bid for a better HQ is driven by a jealousy and indeed inspiration for what the Justice League has.
Taking A Step Back
The Justice League has a friendly rivalry with plenty of teams, from the Avengers over at Marvel to the Teen Titans. As the world of superheroes continues to evolve, the older style of the Justice Society of America continues to become less relevant for modern times.
Although there may be a continued rivalry with the JSA, for a long time the team actually takes a step back as they can no longer keep up with the current DC Universe. It’s not an admission of defeat of course but an acknowledgment that sometimes things have to come to an end for a new generation.
The JSA never faded fully into the background though but instead took on a new role. Regardless of any competition there is a mutual respect between the two teams and the Justice League completely understands the role the JSA has played in the history of superheroes.
They were thus encouraged to try to protect that history and legacy. The Justice Society became the gatekeepers of DC, holding the knowledge of the timeline of heroes for everyone to learn from and therefore aiding the Justice League in a rather different way. This allowed the Justice League to really step forward as the premium team.
A New Generation
The Justice Society has always been very aware of the future though and it’s a theme that has played into some of their best comics. By acting as keepers of the past, they are also laying the groundwork for the future. The team has often represented the need to evolve even as it became outdated in its methods; its values were always forward-thinking.
The Justice League is sometimes criticized for how little it lets younger members in. Fresh blood is probably needed within the group. The JSA conversely took on the role of training the next generation wholeheartedly. But there are further complexities to this dynamic.
The Justice League Encouraged Its Reformation
After the JSA has largely disbanded in order to protect the history of heroes, it was the Justice League that encouraged them to return in some capacity to the forefront of the nation’s defense. Part of their reasoning was because of their duty to train a new generation.
This adds to the rivalry, as the Justice League almost passes on the responsibility to a different group, as if they feel it’s beneath them. But then there’s also a layer of respect there, understanding that there’s perhaps no one better for the job and thus working in tandem.
The JSA Split
Although there are plenty of Justice League teams which will be expanded upon further, the JSA actually went through its own split, with the creation of a spin-off team known as the Justice Society All-Stars. A huge reason behind this chasm was partially fuelled by the Justice League.
The team is the measuring stick for all others in DC, and in comparison, the Justice Society really did look outdated. This friendly competition, therefore, had negative connotations, as the parallels led to some members leaving in order to create the All-Stars which might have a hope of competing against what the JLA can achieve.
Justice League Spin-Offs
When comparing the two teams, it’s hard to ignore the fact that the Justice League’s influence is far more wide-reaching. There are countless spin-off teams that are designed to back up the main unit, rather than a split like the JSA went through.
For instance, the Justice League have their own magic experts like the Dark faction, who are there to deal with all manner of sinister and supernatural threats. The JSA in comparison doesn’t have the capacity to face something of that scale outside of heroes like Doctor Fate and therefore try to stay very much in their lane. That isn’t to ignore how powerful members of the team are, but with some leaving the roster, there isn’t the range of specialties in the way the JLA spin-offs boast.
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