Justice Society Of America (JSA) Grows With Batman Inc. & Blue Beetle (Inc.?) Plus A New Artist

JSA writer Marc Guggenheim chatted about the changes coming to his book in the wake of its sister book, JSA All-Stars, being cancelled over at Newsarama.

The main JSA team and book grows with the All-Star cast and some newish characters. Check out the last page of JSA #48 below with the new cast members of Red Beetle, Darknight, and more. Writer Marc Guggenheim’s explanations and teases follow the image.

What was heard:

[Writer Marc] Guggenheim: Yes, they are. I had to be coy about it originally, because I had to wait for the announcement of JSA All-Stars’ cancelation. But now that the cat’s out of the bag, I can officially say that, with the exception of Power Girl, all the JSA All-Stars will move over to Justice Society….

Guggenheim: Yeah, I was actually very gratified to see that people recognized Ri [a Chinese heroine from Batman Confidential]. I have to give a shout out to Mike Carlin. That was his idea. He edited the Batman Confidential arc. Even though it was written five years ago, we were publishing it right when we were planning out these early issues of JSA. Mike suggested I bring Ri over from the Batman Confidential arc, and I thought that was a terrific idea. I certainly liked the synergy. And I’m glad people have recognized her from that story.

She plays a very large role in issue #51. A pretty pivotal role. But you really don’t need to have read Batman Confidential in order to get who she is. In that story, she’s the member of a Chinese superhero team that was responsible for adding to Bruce Wayne’s training, back when he was traveling around the Far East before he became Batman. And they may have influenced his decision to adopt the costume, or an iconic superhero outfit.

Ri brings along with her another character, who is spun off in a less direct way, from that superhero group. Before Bruce Wayne was Batman, he was given a new identity that was “Dark Knight” in Chinese. And he was given a costume, which you saw if you read the Batman Confidential arc, was the precursor for his Batman costume.

So Jerry Bingham designed this really cool “early” Batman costume. And I thought, what a shame to just let that beautiful costume design go to waste.

With issue #48, we get the first official appearance of Darknight, a new character wearing this sort of “proto-Batman” costume. And my hope is that I’ll have the opportunity to elaborate on who is in that costume and what his back-story is. But the chance to make use of this great costume design and introduce a new Chinese superhero into the DC Universe was just too great an opportunity to pass up.

Also, a Liberty Belle and a Jesse Quick appear???

Guggenheim: No, that’s not a mistake. Let me give a tip of the hat to James Robinson, who had suggested this to me. He pointed out that the original Liberty Belle from the Golden Age, Jesse’s mom, was still alive and kicking. We both thought, why not bring her back into the Liberty Belle costume, since that identity has been freed up by Jesse Quick being Jesse Quick? We might as well have a Liberty Belle running around the DC Universe. So we brought back the original.


And there’s a RED Beetle now too…

Guggenheim: I can’t really comment on who she is under the mask, but the character’s name is definitely Red Beetle. She is obviously using some Blue Beetle technology and gadgetry. And she continues to make use of it throughout the series.


And, over at CBR, Guggenheim indicates that artist Scott Kolins moves on from JSA to allow Tom Derenick to take over as regular artist on the book. Hopefully that means Scott has a post Flashpoint book on the way that we will both write and draw.

Guggenheim: And [the milestone JSA #50 has retro stories drawn by various artists that lead]… into the present day story that Tom Derenick is drawing. Tom is the series new regular artist, so in keeping the issue special, we had the debut of the book’s new regular artist who is going to be penciling and inking and doing a cool grey tone style. In that story, we have the JSA versus Per Degaton set against the backdrop of Jay Garrick being sworn in as Mayor of Monument Point.


Well, the Justice Society seems to be growing again. I like the large cast of JSA generally. The creation of new legacy heroes is interesting. That just means less face-time for other newer characters like Citizen Steel, etc., but let’s see how the post-50 issues go. What say you? Do these changes intrigue you?

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