Legends of Tomorrow introduced the Justice Society of America. We look at the comic book history of those characters.
The JSA, as presented in Legends of Tomorrow, consists of Rex Tyler (Hourman), Amaya Jiwe (Vixen), Stargirl, Commander Steel, Obsidian and Doctor Mid-Nite. We only focus on a few of the characters in “The Justice Society of America,” but each member has a rich comic book history. We look at those characters below.
Rex Tyler (Hourman)
A brilliant chemist, Rex Tyler discovered the chemical Miraclo, which granted him superhuman abilities for an hour at a time. He continued using Miraclo to become a masked hero and eventually became a charter member of the Justice Society of America. However, he also became addicted to Miraclo. At one point, his heart gave out from the strain of the drug. Doctor Fate cleansed him, and he retired from crime fighting.
After his retirement from active crime fighting, he continued assisting the JSA for a couple of years but eventually turned his focus to work on biochemicals. He later married and had a son, Rick, who would go on to use a genetically-engineered version of Miraclo to take up the mantle of Hourman.
Amaya Jiwe (Vixen)
Amaya is a construction of the Legends of Tomorrow writers to expand the Vixen mythos. She is Mari McCabe’s (whose full name is Mari Jiwe McCabe) grandmother, and she wields the same totem as Mari.
In the DC Comics, Mari was raised in the fictional African nation of Zambesi and was a descendant of the great warrior Tantu, who asked Anansi the Spider to create a totem that would grant him the abilities of the animal kingdom in order to protect the innocent. Tantu went on to become a hero, and the totem was passed down to his descendants.
Mari was raised by her parents, but after their deaths, she moved to America and became a model. She used the money earned from this job to travel the world, including back to Zambesi. It was during this trip she recovered the totem and returned to the US where she became Vixen.
Stargirl is an alias for Courtney Whitmore. Courtney’s stepfather, Pat Dugan, was an adult sidekick to a young hero named the Star-Spangled Kid; he went by the name Stripesy. After finding the gear of the original Star-Spangled Kid among Dugan’s belongings, Courtney initially put on the costume to mock him but soon became a hero herself, operating as the second Star-Spangled Kid.
Dugan then built a robotic suit, S.T.R.I.P.E., to wear while accompanying her in the field. Eventually, Starman, Jack Knight, decided to retire and gave his Star Rod to Courtney, who had impressed him. She renamed herself Stargirl to honor his legacy.
Henry Heywood was a biology student who enrolled in the Marines prior to U.S. involvement in World War II. He was mortally wounded in an attack on his base by the man who would become Baron Blitzkrieg, so his biology mentor performed surgery on him, using steel devices to give him superhuman abilities.
He then adopted the name Steel and was eventually sent to Europe on secret missions. In 1941, he saved Winston Churchill from being assassinated. He was named Commander Steel by President Roosevelt.
Todd Rice was the biological son of Green Lantern Alan Scott, though he was raised in an abusive adoptive home. He and his twin sister, Jennie-Lynn Hayden (aka Jade), became a crime-fighting duo and were founding members of Infinity, Inc., a group of heroes who continued the legacy of the JSA.
He inherited schizophrenia from his biological mother, the villain Thorn. This, alongside his ability to see the blackness within others’ souls, drove him insane. He sought to cover the world in darkness but his father defeated him and he was eventually cured.
Todd had a connection to the Shadowlands, a dimension of ancient, sentient darkness. This connection gave him his shadow powers, including being able to turn into a shadow and possess others’ shadows.
Dr. Charles McNider was blinded in an explosion caused by the mob. He put himself through an extensive recovery regimen and eventually discovered that he could see — but only at night. He developed a pair of goggles that let him temporarily see during the day, as well as Blackout Bombs that secreted darkness only he could see through.
With this development, he decided to bring down the mobster who blinded him. After bringing him to justice, he continued to fight organized crime and other forms of corruption. He went on to join the JSA and the war-time team All-Star Squadron.
One of McNider’s medical students, Pieter Cross, had a similar accident as his mentor and took on the mantle of Doctor Mid-Nite to fight crime.