Warning: The following contains spoilers for the new golden age #1, on sale now from DC Comics.
The Justice Society of America has been around since the Golden Age, but it has been defined primarily by the work of three men: James Robinson, David Goyer, and Geoff Johns. In the case of the latter, he has been writing the adventures of the team more than any other writer. Now, Johns has finally returned to the Society’s pages, and he does so with a familiar punch.
As with any great event story, death and upheaval are part of the equation, and these issues take place in a futuristic version of the Justice Society. With Dr. Fate being the first to fall, Johns’ story pays homage to the start of the team’s first new Golden Age in the ’90s. This is how Dr. Fate’s death has become a JSA trope.
The new golden age quickly kills Dr. Fate, again
The story of the new golden age (by Geoff Johns, Jerry Ordway, Steve Lieber, Todd Nauk, Scott Kolins, Victor Bogdanovic, Brandon Peterson, Gary Frank, Diego Olortegui, JP Mayer, and Scott Hanna) jumps through various time periods, including the original setting of the Golden Age of Justice The origin of the society. From there, it cuts to the Bronze Age formation of Infinity Inc., as well as the childhood of Helena Wayne, the daughter of Batman and Catwoman. The last time period is in the era of the Legion of Super-Heroes, in which a new Justice Society began to form.
Their ranks included a futuristic version of Alan Scott, a Green Lantern powered by Starheart, a successor to the legacy Atom/Atom Smasher, and a female version of Dr. Fate. Unfortunately for the new members of the JSA, their days are short and numbered. The time-traveling villain Per Degaton attacks them and the Justice Society as a whole, his first victim in the future being Dr. Fate. He points out that it always begins with Dr. Fate’s death, and this is more than just an idle statement.
Dr. Fate is always the first JSA member to die.
The death of Dr. Fate, or at least, a Dr. Fate, is what started the JSA ran from Robinson and Goyer in 1999. In this version, it was the rather infamous Jared Stevens Fate, who embodied the grim, dark excess of the early ’90s. He was unceremoniously murdered in the first issue of 1999. JSA series, with this murder showing how little of a mark he had left. However, this was not the last time that Dr. Fate would be targeted amongst other JSA members. The Kent Nelson version of the character died in the first season of the animated series. Young Justicewith other JSA members living long after.
in the recent movie black adam, Nelson’s Dr. Fate is the only member of the Justice Society to die, furthering this strange trend. Therefore, having Per Degaton noticing that Fate is always the first to fall is unprecedented, and perhaps has become what now makes the good doctor more well-known. Geoff Johns paying homage to that run JSA It also makes sense, as he would later take over writing duties and make the book and its cast his own. Since then, he has been the true god of writing for various DC properties, chief among them being the JSA. Unfortunately for Dr. Fate, however, Nabu’s Helmet would seem to put a target on the back of anyone who wears it, whether Geoff Johns is writing the story or not.