Justice Society of America
by Dave Barnowski
The Justice Society of America’s annual Christmas tradition is to anonymously deliver gifts to the children of America. But even with all their power, they’ve never been unable to gift every child… until now.
Jim Corrigan decided to attend the December meeting of the Justice Society of America. It would be the first regularly scheduled meeting that he had attended since the 1940s. The Spectre had, of course, attended some meetings in the 1960s, but he and Corrigan had been separate beings then. Now Jim was once again the Spectre.
He appeared in the meeting hall and smiled when he saw how the empty room was decorated for the holidays. He sensed the other JSA members were in another part of the mansion. They were having a Christmas party. Jim briefly thought about leaving, but instead he walked to the lounge where the rest of the JSA was. He was greeted warmly by his teammates.
“‘Bout time you showed up, Spec,” said Wildcat.
“Want some eggnog?” asked the Flash. Jay Garrick looked tired, Jim noted. His run for the presidency had probably been the toughest race the fastest man alive had ever run. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: The Race, Book 4: Endgame.]
“Yes, thank you, Jay.”
“Say, you know, I’ve never known the Spectre to eat or drink anything before, him being a ghost and all,” Johnny Thunder remarked to the Atom.
“That’s because he’s no longer a ghost, you chucklehead,” said the pink Thunderbolt, who had appeared the moment that Johnny had said “say you,” which sounded exactly like his magic phrase of Cei-U, which gave him complete control over his longtime friend and servant, the Thunderbolt.
Johnny turned on his old pink friend and said, “Oh, that’s right. He’s even got a wife and two daughters.”
“Let’s get this meeting started,” said Hawkman.
Everyone found a seat on the padded couches in the lounge. “We should meet in here more often,” said David Knight, the second Starman, to his father Ted Knight, the original Starman.
“We did back in the ’60s, right after we became active again,” said Ted Knight, “but after Alan fell asleep during one of those meetings, we decided to always use the formal meeting room.”
Alan Scott, alias Green Lantern, smiled a whimsical smile and said, “I’d only had four hours of sleep the night before, and that particular meeting was boring as hell.”
“I don’t lead boring meetings,” said Hawkman.
“If I remember rightly, Carter, you were away, and Doctor Fate chaired the meeting. Nabu always was a bit of a bore,” said the elder Starman with a smile. “No offense, Kent,” he added to Kent and Inza Nelson, who together formed the present Doctor Fate.
“None taken,” said Doctor Fate.
Hawkman, wishing he had his gavel with him, rapped the coffee table in front of him with his closed hand. “Please, can we get this meeting started? We only have one item on the agenda.”
“What’s that?” asked the Spectre.
“Getting Christmas presents to poor children throughout the country,” said Red Robin. “Most of us are quite well off financially, so we buy toys and clothes for underprivileged kids. The hard part is distributing them.”
“That and finding all of them,” added Superman.
“My Thunderbolt and Doctor Fate find most of the kids, but it’s still too much for us,” said Johnny Thunder.
“We never have found them all,” Doctor Fate added sadly.
“How come I’ve never heard of this before?” asked the Spectre.
“We do it anonymously, so that the child will believe Santa brought it early,” said Wonder Woman, who briefly looked up from the list of names and addresses the JSA had compiled over the past month. “We started this tradition back in the ’60s, though most years only a handful of us usually participate.”
“When do you get these gifts out to the kids?” asked Johnny Quick.
“As soon as we can,” said the Atom. “It’s easier for the members with super-powers to do this work, but the Sandman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Wildcat, and I like to do our part by taking care of Calvin City and the surrounding area.”
“That’s not my normal stomping grounds, but Al couldn’t cover the entire area by himself,” said Wildcat.
“The Huntress, Red Robin, Power Girl, Green Lantern, and I cover both Gotham City and Metropolis, while Wonder Woman, the Hawks and Hourman attend to Washington, D.C., and its environs,” said Doctor Mid-Nite.
“Jay and I have been taking care of Opal City, and now David’s going to join us,” said the first Starman.
“Leaving the rest of the country to Johnny Thunder and I,” said Doctor Fate. “We accomplish it through our magic, but unfortunately some kids still don’t get any gifts.”
“Count me in,” said Johnny Quick. “I’d prefer to help out in Washington, but I’ll go wherever you want me.”
“I make a motion that we have the kids from the Junior JSA and our auxiliaries help this year as well,” said Hawkgirl.
“Can I add a friendly amendment that Infinity Inc. also helps out this year?” asked the Patriot, who had been invited to the Christmas party for his past membership in the JSA.
“Certainly, Sly,” said Shiera Sanders.
“Can I have a second to the amended motion?” asked Hawkman.
“Second,” said the Flash. And the motion was passed unanimously, except for the Spectre, who had remained silent.
“Are you going to join us, Spectre?” asked Hawkman.
“What…? Yes, yes,” said the Spectre, who had been deep in thought. “I believe we can find every child if I add my power to the Thunderbolt and Doctor Fate’s. I also think if we add Green Lantern’s power ring, we can create a spell so that the gifts will appear on Christmas morning, no matter when we place them with the children.”
“Fantastic,” said Wildcat.
“Too bad we couldn’t do it for the whole world,” said the Huntress.
The Spectre shook his head. “At one time, I… the Spectre probably could have, but he would never have thought of such a wonderful thing, and I’m nowhere near as powerful as I once was. Let’s do this first, Helena, and then we can try to expand it.”
That Christmas week, local newspapers and television news had hundreds of reports about a mysterious “Santa” who had delivered gifts to every needy child in the country. Each one received a toy and clothes. It didn’t matter what color or creed the child belonged to, he or she awoke to mysterious magical gifts.
Cynics scoffed, atheists sneered, and some claimed the presents must be something dangerous. Minerva Schuster, the new president-elect, went on national television and said she was going to order an investigation.
Outgoing President Ronald Reagan laughed at her comments when the press asked about them in his last press conference of the year. “It brought some happiness to the poorest of the poor in America, and I say God bless whoever did such a wonderful thing.”