Definitions

flash set

Crime Syndicate

The Crime Syndicate, is the base name of various fictional team of supervillains from one of DC Comics' parallel universes, and are the evil counterparts of the Justice League of America. The original team was specifically known as Crime Syndicate of America and is sometimes abbreviated as CSA. This first superpowered Crime Syndicate team appeared in Justice League of America #29 in August 1964. The primary successive incarnation, known as the Crime Syndicate of Amerika (with the variant spelling of America), first appears in the 2000 hardcover book JLA: Earth 2.

A related successive positive universe Earth-3 group called the Crime Society of America first appeared in 52 Week 52. Most of this team is missing and presumed dead.

Crime Syndicate of America

The Crime Syndicate originally lived on Earth-Three, a world where history was "reversed" from the world we knew (e.g. President John Wilkes Booth was assassinated by Abraham Lincoln). It initially had no superheroes, only the supervillains of the Crime Syndicate, though this changed with the advent of heroic Lex Luthor who used his vast intelligence for good.

In their first appearance, the Crime Syndicate, bored with the ease with which they were able to commit crimes on their Earth (and with no one to truly challenge them), discovered the existence of Earth-One and Earth-Two, and set out to challenge the JLA and JSA to a lengthy fight, after which the Syndicate was ultimately defeated. Following this defeat, they were imprisoned in an unbreakable bubble generated by Green Lantern's power ring, and placed in a "limbo" dimension between the Earths. Over the following years, the Syndicate or one of its members would occasionally escape and attempt to wreak havoc on Earth-One and/or Earth-Two.

Earth-Three and the original Crime Syndicate were destroyed along with the rest of DC's parallel worlds in the 1985 twelve-issue maxi-series Crisis on Infinite Earths. The inhabitants of that world were swallowed by an anti-matter wave, with the Crime Syndicate, having decided to be heroic for once, charged straight into the wave defiantly, although Lex Luthor and his wife Lois Luthor managed to send their infant son, Alexander Luthor, to the safety of Earth-One. This was the last appearance of the Crime Syndicate that decade until a new one appeared.

The duplicates of the original Earth-Three Syndicate members have made a few post-Crisis appearances as in Animal Man series and most recently in Infinite Crisis when Earth-Three was temporarily recreated, and models of the Earth-Three Ultraman, Superwoman, and Alexander Luthor, Sr. were almost merged with Superman, Wonder Woman, and Superman of Earth-2 and Wonder Woman of Earth-2 to create so called perfect beings.

Crime Syndicate of Amerika

A post-Crisis version of the team, simply known as the "Crime Syndicate" (no 'of America'), was eventually introduced. This post-Crisis version (revealed in 1992's Justice League Quarterly #8) was composed of Qwardians (residents of the antimatter counterpart of Oa) as well as being "more powerful than their counterparts" and "long gone" and shown to be different from the Earth-Three incarnation by their enlarged eyes reflective of the Weaponers of Qward. This version of the Crime Syndicate is never mentioned again, it is quite possible this version was wiped out by Zero Hour or suffered some other fate.

The first appearance of a Crime Syndicate Post-Zero Hour was in the 2000 graphic novel JLA: Earth 2 by Grant Morrison, which combined the Pre-Crisis parallel Earth idea with the Pre-Zero Hour antimatter universe concept. The Crime Syndicate's post-Zero Hour antimatter Earth possesses a "reversed" history similar to Earth-Three's, but with a much darker tone to both the team and its world. JLA Secret Files 2004 provided additional history of this team, showing that they did once resemble the Earth-Three Syndicate. Unlike the Crime Syndicate of Earth-Three, this Crime Syndicate of AmeriKa are able to rule their world (a change from their pre-Crisis counterparts, who were unsuccessful in conquering their world) though allow governments to continue operating and honest people are able to continue operating in pockets such as Gotham City Police Commissioner Thomas Wayne Sr. (father to Owlman and counterpart of the murdered father of Batman). The antimatter Crime Syndicate's motto is "Cui Bono?" ("Who profits?"). The only universally respected principle on their world is that of the "favor bank"—if someone does you a favor, you owe them a favor in return that must be repaid whenever the favor is called in.

Along with the heroic analogue Alexander Luthor, other opponents include the heroic "H.I.V.E." (Hierarchy for International Virtuous Empowerment), the Missile Men and the "Justice Underground", a reversed analog of the Legion of Doom and Secret Society of Super-Villains consisting of General Grodd, Lady Sonar, Quizmaster, Q-Ranger, Sir Solomon Grundy and Star Sapphire.

In an early 2000s issue of Superman, Ultraman and Superwoman appear to have had a child together, but the child actually turns out to be a rogue Brainiac.

2003's JLA/Avengers crossover written by Kurt Busiek seemed to involve the destruction of the Crime Syndicate's universe, but this was later reversed when the special's villain, Krona, was defeated. The Crime Syndicate later reappeared in the Syndicate Rules arc where they learn of the 'reboot' of their universe which shows the blonde haired Power Ring being succeeded by a John Stewart space marine counterpart.

Other criminal organizations on the Crime Syndicate's Earth include the Crime Lodge (anti-matter analogues to the Justice Society) and Young Offenders (anti-matter analogues of the Teen Titans/Young Justice). They are mentioned at the end of the Syndicate Rules arc as prepared to take advantage of the Crime Syndicate's weakness, but are not shown.

The antimatter Crime Syndicate of Amerika members next appear in the "Mirror, Mirror" story arc (Adventures of Superman 604-606) as the antimatter Brainiac uses the child of Ultraman (antimatter Clark Kent) and Superwoman (antimatter Lois Lane-Kent) in his plan to destroy both Ultraman and Super-woman for his enslavement. Brainiac in the boy's body arrives in the JLA universe and brings Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman in pursuit to destroy him. The Crime Syndicate members apparently succeed in that destruction and return to their source universe.

Superman/Batman Annual #1 (2006) details Superman and Batman's first encounter with Ultraman and Owlman. Set years ago, before Superman and Batman knew each other's identities, a vacationing Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne and Lois Lane meet Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman when their antimatter counterparts appear on a cruise ship. This story also features the first appearance of Deathstroke's unnamed antimatter doppelganger. The Ultraman and Owlman presented in the story have the same costumes as the anti-matter universe version of the Syndicate (however, it should be noted that this tale is being told by Mister Mxyzptlk and as such, may not actually be canonical).

The antimatter Clark Kent, the Ultraman of this team appears in Kandor, posing as Superman. Saturn Queen, last seen in the "Absolute Power" arc of Superman/Batman, explains how Ultraman and herself arrive in the city. When Alexander Luthor, Jr. brought the multiverse back in Infinite Crisis, her alternate reality (the Earth featuring the original Legion of Super-Villains) was recreated briefly. When the Multiverse collapsed, she found herself stranded in the Phantom Zone, where she found Ultraman. She viewed Ultraman as a suitable replacement for the version of Superman who was her son in her reality and placed him under mind control so that he would believe her to be his mother. She was also able to put Supergirl under her control and initiated plans for the two to marry, but Supergirl was able to break free of her control and viciously beat Ultraman. Saturn Queen gave information regarding Argo City to Supergirl in exchange for Ultraman's life. Ultraman and Saturn Queen remain in Kandor.

The full five base members of the antimatter Crime Syndicate, including the aforementioned Kent (his return to his source reality is unrevealed at this point along with the mentioned Justice League team up with the antimatter Crime Syndicate to drive off the Weaponers of Qwards attack) next appear in Trinity #9. It is revealed that their world was badly damaged by an attack from the Weaponers of Qward. The antimatter Crime Syndicate have adopted open active control of their Earth and have been abducting people from throughout all of the individual 52 universes in the current positive matter multiverse to use as slave labor in their source Earth's repair.

Crime Society of America

In 52 Week 52, an alternate version of Earth-Three is shown as a part of the new Multiverse. In the depiction are characters that are altered versions of the original Justice League of America, plus the Martian Manhunter. The names of the characters and the team are not mentioned in the two panels in which they appear.

Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-Three, making these new characters unrelated to previous versions. In Countdown #31, the name of this team is revealed to be the Crime Society of America. The Society are said to be evil dopplegangers of the heroes of Earth-2, and make their first solo appearance in Countdown Presents The Search for Ray Palmer: Crime Society #1 written by Sean McKeever and illustrated by Jamal Igle, Appearing in Countdown, the Crime Society's greatest parallel to the Justice Society is their larger roster (which is not strictly limited to Justice Society counterparts), featuring evil versions of Green Arrow, Wildcat, Black Canary, Hawkwoman, Dr. Fate, Stargirl, and The Spectre alongside better-known CSA members Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring and Johnny Quick. Later issues introduce Annataz Arataz, the evil counterpart of Zatanna, and counterparts of Supergirl (Kara Zor-El), Wonder Girl (Donna Troy) and Booster Gold. However, although villains are the majority of Earth-3, there are a few heroes that are active on this earth as well. Most of the heroes revealed-to-date are good versions of Batman's famous enemies such as The Joker (known as The Jokester), The Riddler, and Two-Face (Three-Face, a woman named Evelyn Dent).

Shortly after the Crime Society's introduction, they are offered a place among Monarch's army. Already recruited into Monarch's army, Johnny Quick wins a place in Monarch's elite squad when he defeats his Earth-9 and Earth-2 counterparts in the Countdown: Arena miniseries.

After the first destruction of Earth-51, it is unknown if any of the CSA somehow survived.

Members

In both the Crime Syndicate and Crime Society, the five permanent members are:

  • Ultraman: the counterpart of Superman. Pre-Crisis, the Earth-Three Ultraman came from a Krypton that hadn't exploded. This Ultraman also depended on kryptonite to maintain his superpowers, rather than draining them (originally receiving a new power through each exposure to kryptonite). Post-Crisis, the antimatter Earth's Ultraman was a human astronaut (Lieutenant Clark Kent) given Anti-Kryptonite-based superpowers after an encounter with aliens. If he is separated from Anti-Kryptonite long enough, his powers fade away; Ultraman combats this by inserting Anti-Kryptonite capsules under his skin which are released gradually over time. This version of Clark Kent has an unhealthy obsession with his universe's Lois Lane, having forced her to marry him and bear him a child, who was then possessed by their version of Brainiac.
  • Superwoman: the counterpart of Wonder Woman. Pre-Crisis, Superwoman gained her powers from her world's Amazons, and thus has similar powers to Wonder Woman. Post-Crisis, she is the antimatter Earth's version of Lois Lane, though she looks like Wonder Woman's alter-ego of Diana Prince. It is not revealed how she got her powers. Her lasso does not compel others to tell the truth, but instead releases inhibitions and forces a victim to reveal secrets which they find especially humiliating. The Post-Crisis Superwoman also has heat vision and continues a furtive relationship with Owlman, much to the anger of her husband Ultraman.
  • Owlman: the counterpart of Batman. Pre-Crisis, Owlman possessed a limited range of mind control powers. Post-Crisis, Owlman's origin was fleshed out with his powers enhanced by a range of technological and physical skills, much like Batman. He is the brother of his Earth's Bruce Wayne who was killed along with his mother. Owlman blamed his father, Police Commissioner Thomas Wayne Sr. which since started a personal conflict between them to the point that Thomas Sr. is determined to kill his own son. Owlman also increased his IQ with a drug-enhancer for his cerebral cortex. He openly possesses plans to counter his teammates' powers. Owlman uses these counterattacks whenever he chooses, as he causes Quick to have a minor heart attack at the beginning of the "Syndicate Rules" storyline. He has a number of illicit liaisons with Superwoman, though it's not clear whether this is a genuine attraction or just another way of showing her independence from the obsessively jealous and ever-watchful Ultraman.
  • Johnny Quick: the counterpart of the Flash. In post-Crisis continuity, Quick maintains his superpowers with the use of "Speed Juice," a powerful narcotic stimulant. Grant Morrison stated in an interview that the Speed Juice was derived from the blood of Quick's murdered predecessor. Not to be confused with the Golden-Age/Earth-Two hero of the same name.
  • Power Ring: the counterpart of Green Lantern. Pre-Crisis, Power Ring gained his magical ring of power from a Tibetan monk named Volthoom, and has powers similar to the Silver Age Green Lantern. Post-Crisis, the original Power Ring (who still got the ring from a Tibetan monk named Volthoom) was an American named Harrolds, but JLA: Earth 2 established that the original Power Ring later gave the ring to a young blond man, the counterpart to Kyle Rayner. His ring was inhabited by the spirit of Volthoom who often spoke on his own, making inane observations and taking up residence in the ring wielder's mind; all of which is considered a curse to the ring's wielder. The blond Power Ring's favorite tactic in battle was to use the ring to create living Boschian monstrosities capable of destroying whole city blocks. The "Syndicate Rules" series showed that after the anti-matter Universe was destroyed by Krona and recreated, certain elements of history had been changed, and now the second Power Ring was a black man and a counterpart to John Stewart. This Power Ring was a Slave Marine for many years. He was tricked by Harrolds into taking the ring by telling him he was the chosen substitute to wield the ring when Harrolds couldn't.

The JLA: Earth 2 graphic novel featured several costumes in the CSA Watchtower, three of them labeled Doctor Noon (Doctor Mid-Nite's counterpart), White Cat (Black Canary's counterpart) and Spaceman (Starman's counterpart).

The Crime Syndicate's universe also included counterparts of J'onn J'onzz, Aquaman and Hawkman, known as:

  • White Martian: J'onn J'onnz's antimatter counterpart. After arriving on Earth, he became Ultraman's chief rival. Ultraman eventually killed him.
  • Barracuda: Aquaman's counterpart. Last seen leading the armies of Atlantis against the surface world in Florida.
  • Blood Eagle: Hawkman's counterpart. Killed by the Crime Syndicate.

The CSA's Post-Crisis world is primarily governed by the "favor bank"; unofficial but ironically the only rule that is not consistently broken. If any person should grant a favor for someone else, that person is entitled to compensation whenever they see fit, no matter what the cost or hardship to the latter. Failure to pay back a favor results in inordinately harsh consequences; as seen in the beginning of "Syndicate Rules". A mobster, Jackson "Rat-Eyes" Drake, who failed to follow up on a favor owed was put on "trial" by Owlman, who then had him incinerated by Ultraman as a favor.

A team of Qwardians based on the then-current Justice League International roster appeared on the Post-Crisis Pre-Zero Hour Earth, although they did not call themselves the Crime Syndicate. Its members were:

It is not clear if any of these characters exist in Post-Zero Hour or Post-Infinite Crisis continuity.

Other versions

  • In the Elseworlds series JLA: Another Nail, the Flash and Atom accidentally teleport to an alternate Earth. They are subsequently captured and questioned by the Crime Syndicate who believe them both to be the cause of the temporal disruptions affecting the Syndicate's Earth. This Earth is presumed to be a variation of Earth-Three since the villains wore their pre-Crisis costumes.

Similar groups in other media

  • "Universe of Evil", an episode of the 1970s animated series The World's Greatest Super Friends features Superman encountering evil versions of the rest of the team from an alternate universe, called the "Super Enemies" (he temporarily swapped places with his own evil counterpart, who wrought havoc and almost defeated the rest of the Super Friends until they swapped back just in time) when trying to stop Mount Vesuvius from erupting (which their Superman was causing). This universe's version of the Hall Of Justice is called the Hall Of Evil, and a demonic-looking face is on the outside of the building. The Super Enemies themselves appear almost identical to the Super Friends, although their version of Aquaman has an eyepatch, Batman's costume is red rather than blue, and Robin has a moustache.
  • In the animated series Justice League, a team called the Justice Lords, who combine elements of the Crime Syndicate and Wildstorm Comics' the Authority (a morally-ambiguous take on the Justice League concept), appears as the League's counterparts from an alternate universe. They first appeared in the two-part Justice League episode "A Better World", which was originally to feature the Crime Syndicate. Unlike the Crime Syndicate though, the Justice Lords are not simply evil opposites of their good counterparts; rather, they rule their world with an iron fist in order to end war and crime. The death of their Flash set a chain of events in motion that ended with the death of the alternate Lex Luthor at the hands of the alternate Superman. It was the government's fears that the Justice League might one day become like the Justice Lords that sparked Project Cadmus. Robotic doubles of the Justice Lords are created as a diversion by the newly combined Lex Luthor/Brainiac in the Justice League Unlimited episode "Divided We Fall".
  • A Justice League DTV was planned, called Justice League: Worlds Collide, in which the Crime Syndicate would have been the main villains and which would have taken place during the gap between seasons 2 and 3.

References

Search another word or see flash seton Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature
FAVORITES
RECENT

;