The greatest heroes of Earth 2.5, the Justice Guild of America sacrificed themselves in a futile attempt to save Seaboard City, and their world, from a nuclear war. In the aftermath of the holocaust Ray Thompson, a mutated boy who gained phenomenal powers from the ambient radiation, used his newfound abilities to recreate the Seaboard City of his youth, right down to his favorite heroes. Forcing the survivors to play along in his fantasies, Ray Thompson spent over forty years reliving the Justice Guild's exploits, posing as their youthful sidekick. However, this golden age was not to last, as the Justice League's interference led to the Guild realizing the truth and turning against him, the stress of this conflict resulting in his death.
Bruce Timm on the Justice Guild of America: “We went back and forth on names for our pseudo-JSA—‘Justice Battalion,’ ‘Justice Squadron,’ etc., before settling on ‘Justice Guild’ as sounding closest to the original, while making it different enough to keep the folks at DC Comics happy.
“What happened was this: from the very beginning, we intended our ‘JSA crossover’ to be a modern-day spin on those old Gardner Fox ‘Earth II’ stories. We wanted to use the Golden Age JSA, rather than the more recent incarnation, to contrast the ‘old school’ superheroes with a more contemporary take on the characters. Teaming up our guys with the current JSA just didn’t seem to make much sense, somehow—what we’d end up with would be just a mega-sized Justice League, with twice as many heroes to deal with. Now, taking this course with the story meant that we ended up gently (but affectionately!) spoofing the Golden Age guys with their old-fashioned primary-colored costumes, their roll call, their teen mascot, their too-good-to-be-true personalities, etc. The fun in the story comes from seeing how the Justice League react not only to the Golden Age heroes, but also to the wild Golden Age villains and the whole Golden Age-styled world they live in, like an incredibly romanticized version of the late 1940s…all well and good, we thought we were on to something. The script turned out well, exciting, funny, charming, and oddly moving in its own way.
“However, DC Comics publisher Paul Levitz had some concerns with the story. He felt the story as written disrespected the JSA and was overall an inappropriate use of the characters. We pleaded our case, but we could clearly see his point, too: the DC guys have spent a lot of time and effort in revitalizing the JSA recently (to the point here it's now one of their most popular titles) we certainly didn’t want it to seem as if we were saying the JSA was a joke. No disrespect was intended on our end—quite the opposite! We wanted the story to be a love letter to the original JSA and a bittersweet nod to simpler times. [However], Paul saw our point and quickly agreed to a compromise: we’d change the names and designs just enough to make them not quite the JSA, but still get the point across. They’re now the superheroes of ‘Earth Two-and-a-half’, if you will…kinda similar to what Alan Moore was doing in his Supreme run.
“It did give us a few hairy moments, as all this stuff was happening at literally the eleventh hour. [We] were actually on the phone with the legal department, awaiting clearances on our new JGA characters’ names, at the voice-recording session. We started recording not knowing what some of the character’s names were going to be!
“It’s funny how things work out: at first, we were still kinda disappointed that we couldn’t use the ‘real’ JSA, but we’ve come to realize that the story actually works better this way. The ‘Green Lantern,’ ‘Flash,’ and ‘Black Canary’ doppelgangers are fairly close to the originals, but the ‘Wildcat’ clone is almost a Batman / Wildcat hybrid and the ‘Atom’ character has quite a bit of classic ‘Superman’ in him as well. So, in effect, we’re not just spoofing / paying homage to the JSA, but also to the Fox-era Silver Age JLA, too…sweet!
“So, I know there’s been a bit of grumbling about DC Comics not letting us ‘do’ the JSA, but you won’t hear any complaints from us—the folks at DC have been an absolute joy to work with. They’ve given us an enormous amount of leeway while letting us play with their toys, stepping in only when it looks like we’re gonna break ‘em.
“All of us on the Justice League crew have high hopes for Legends. If all goes well, it has the potential to be one of our best shows ever (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
DarkLantern on the Justice Guild of America: “The Justice Guild are too goody-goody—to the point of being a little ridiculous and campy. One would think [that] DC doesn’t want to be reminded of this ‘old’ version of the JSA now that they’ve made the group cool and hip again—if one didn’t know better. Them DC guys actually like to reminisce about the old days of daring-do (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Real Name: The Streak / ???
Voiced by David Naughton
Blessed with the gift of super-speed, the Streak also acts as the leader of the Justice Guild.
Real Name: Tom Turbine
Voiced by Ted McGinley
The Guild's resident scientific expert, Tom Turbine's created the energy belt that granted him his super-strength, as well as dimensional portal that allowed the Justice League to return to their home.
Bruce Timm on the Atom: “We don’t have any plans for the Atom at the moment, although he might show up in the JSA crossover. We might do the Earth-2 Atom…we’re thinking about it (courtesy of [website name removed]).”
Bruce Timm on Tom Turbine: “Our ‘Atom’ analogue will not look anything like [the Justice League Unlimited’s] Micron. Remember: Golden Age Atom—Micron was a futurized version of the Silver Age Atom. His actual look is kinda hard to describe…you’ll just have to wait and see (courtesy of Toon Zone)!”
Real Name: Green Guardsman /
Voiced by William Katt
The Justice Guild's ring-wielding powerhouse, his perfect gentleman demeanor aggravated Hawkgirl to no end, as did the fact that his godlike powers were useless against aluminum.
nothing on Green Guardsman: “Sheesh, wait until [Legends]…then you'll see some fancy-schmancy power ring tricks [as opposed to Green Lantern's use of the ring]…(courtesy of Toon Zone).”
Real Name: Cat Man / ???
Voiced by Stephen Root
Although lacking in superpowers, Cat Man more than makes up for this using his fighting prowess and skill with a motorcycle.
Real Name: Black Siren / Donna Vance
Voiced by Jennifer Hale
Although lacking in superpowers, Black Siren more than makes up for this with her baking skills, her secretarial duties...oh, and her fighting prowess.
Real Name: Ray Thompson
Voiced by Neil Patrick Harris
A victim of the nuclear holocaust, Ray Thompson was horribly mutated, but gave him the incredible mental powers, such as hypnotism, the ability to project realistic, tangible illusions; and the ability to project destructive laser-like beams of energy from his forehead. Emotionally unhinged by his experiences, he longed for a simpler time, and created it using his powers. Using his power of illusion, he recreated Seaboard City and his childhood heroes, the Justice Guild of America, and then used his hypnotic powers to enslave the surviving population. Setting himself up as the Justice Guild's sidekick, Thompson forced them to play along in his never-ending, comic book fantasies for over forty years.
The above is an image of what Ray Thompson made himself look like using his powers of illusion. To see his true form, see The Villains of Seaboard City entry.
DarkLantern on Ray Thompson: “Ray Thompson is loosely based on Roy Thomas, the JSA fan that eventually became a writer of the JSA’s wartime exploits in All-Star Squadron. But there is more to Ray Thompson than it appears, that’s for sure (courtesy of Toon Zone).”
The Streak Image | Tom Turbine Image
Green Guardsman Image | Cat Man Image | Black Siren Image
Justice Guild of America Image
In retrospect, Bruce Timm was right: Legends does work better with the Justice Guild rather than the Justice Society. By using these characters, who resemble the Justice Society, the creative team was able to get away with much more than they could have if they used the real DC icons. For example, DC Comics would never let the creative team get away with having the Golden Age Flash tell Green Lantern that he was a credit to his race, a thinly-veiled racist comment that was considered acceptable fifty years ago. Just as writer Alan Moore utilizes Superman analogues to tell decidedly non-Superman stories—a recent example would be the character Atoman from his recent Top 10 mini-series, who resembled Superman, but was a child molester—the creative team was able to tell the story that they wanted to tell by using these analogues over the real thing.
Filling in for the Golden Age Flash, the Streak keeps the classic color scheme of the classic hero, but trades in the Mercury helmet for a more sensible crash helmet-and-goggles combo. In addition, his demeanor in the episode makes him appear to be the Justice Guild's leader.
An adaptation of the Golden Age Atom, Tom Turbine also possesses a bit of the Golden Age Superman, which is mainly present in his face—his hair, squinting eyes, chin, and serious expression call to mind Max Fleischer's take on the character from the old Superman animated serials. In addition, there is also a bit of the classic Reed Richards as well, as he is the resident scientist.
Ever the gentleman, the Green Guardsman serves as the replacement for Golden Age Green Lantern Alan Scott. To contrast against John Stewart's "conservative" use of this ring, the Guardsman has no problem using his ring’s power to create giant boxing gloves and anvils, but the emerald energy he wields trades its Golden Age vulnerability to plant life for a vulnerability to aluminum.
As for Cat Man, Bruce Timm was partially right—he was a hybrid between the Golden Age Wildcat and Batman, but the Batman half harkens back to the Adam West version from the campy Batman television series of the 1960s. In the absence of a Robin, team mascot Ray Thompson served as Cat Man’s sidekick, riding in the sidecar alongside his hero and looking upon him in idol-like wonder.
Mainly an homage to the Golden Age Black Canary, Black Siren probably also possesses a bit of the classic Wonder Woman, Phantom Lady, and virtually every other female superhero from the Golden and Silver Ages. Barely-competent, she mainly served as the team secretary, the resident eye candy, and the one who always was kidnapped and needed to be rescued by the male members of the team.
Finally, Ray Thompson takes elements of the Golden Age Robin, the Silver Age Snapper Carr, and even Wendy and Marvin from Superfriends to create the ultimate annoying, “gee-whiz” kid mascot. As for his other persona, please read The Villains of Seaboard City entry.
Images courtesy of Cartoon Network, Bat313, Toon Zone, and The World's Finest.
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