The Crime Society of America from 52 Week 52, art breakdowns by Keith Giffen.
|First appearance||Justice League of America #29 (1964)|
|Created by||Gardner Fox
|In story information|
|Notable people||Alexander Luthor, Jr.
Crime Syndicate of America
1964–1985: Original concept
Earth-Three was introduced by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky in a 1964 issue of Justice League of America. Earth-Three's history is depicted as a mirror image to that of the Earth we know. On Earth-Three, Christopher Columbus was an American who discovered Europe; England (a colony of America) won freedom in a reversed form of the Revolutionary War (with Washington surrendering his sword to Cornwallis); and President John Wilkes Booth was assassinated by actor Abraham Lincoln. Crucially, Earth-Three was home to an analogue to the Justice League, the Crime Syndicate of America.
The Crime Syndicate would recur as powerful enemies of the Justice League until DC's 1985 company-wide crossover, Crisis on Infinite Earths. Crisis revealed that Lex Luthor, here called Alexander Luthor, is the only superhero on an Earth otherwise occupied entirely by villains, most of whom are reversed analogues of heroes on other DC Earths. Earth-Three is destroyed by waves of antimatter in the opening scenes of the series. The sole survivor is the son of Alexander and Lois Lane Luthor, Alexander Luthor, Jr. At the conclusion of the series, all other worlds in the Multiverse were merged.
1992–2011: Anti-matter Earth, new Multiverse
DC used Crisis on Infinite Earths to simplify its complex continuity and multiverse into a single narrative set on a single universe, not counting the antimatter universe which was integral to the story of how the Green Lantern villain Sinestro acquired his powers. Editorial mandate initially meant stories featuring the Crime Syndicate were entirely unavailable to writers, but DC later attempted to reintroduce the Crime Syndicate without the setting of Earth-Three in 1992's Justice League Quarterly #8, which featured a group of aliens from the planet Qward (the antimatter counterpart of Oa) who functioned as "more powerful" Justice League analogues.
This first attempt at bringing back the Crime Syndicate did not stick, and the principle concept behind Earth-Three would be revisited in Grant Morrison's JLA: Earth 2. Morrison recast much of Earth-Three's history as that of the Antimatter Universe's own version of Earth, which is home to the Crime Syndicate of America. He makes notable departures to this formula however, by presenting this world as the product of an alternate history and by reimagining various Crime Syndicate members (for example, by recasting Owlman as Batman's brother Thomas Wayne, and by recasting Ultraman not as the alien Kal-El but a human astronaut who acquires Kryptonian abilities). At the end of JLA: Earth-2, Amerika had launched a nuclear strike on London, against Britain's independence movement.
In Superman/Batman Annual #1, three members of this Crime Syndicate of Amerika—Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman—appear on the main DC Earth, along with an unnamed antimatter doppelganger of Deathstroke (whose behavior, including humorous breaking of the fourth wall, and powers are exactly the same as Marvel Comics' Deathstroke parody Deadpool) hired to protect Bruce Wayne. The story supposedly takes place as the first time Superman and Batman figure out each other's identities and matches Batman, Superman, and Deathstroke against their respective antimatter selves. It should be noted, however, that the story is being told by Mr. Mxyzptlk, and may therefore be completely untrue.
In the final issue of the 52-issue weekly series 52 in 2007, a new Multiverse is revealed, originally consisting of 52 parallel realities. Among the parallel realities shown is one designated "Earth-3". As a result of Mister Mind "eating" aspects of this reality, it takes on visual aspects of the pre-Crisis Earth-Three. The Earth-3 concept was not heavily explored after this, but does figure in a couple of issues of 52's follow-up weekly series, Countdown to Final Crisis (2007–8). The name of the new Earth-3 team is revealed to be the Crime Society of America. The Crime Society are considered to be evil versions of the heroes of Earth-2, acting as a new Golden Age counterpart to the Antimatter Earth. A hero known as the Jokester operates in this universe, as later do the Riddler, Three-Face (Evelyn Dent), and Duela Dent. In Countdown #31 the version of Zatanna (Annataz Arataz) from this world was used by Superman-Prime to keep Mister Mxyzptlk in check. Based on comments by Grant Morrison, this alternate universe is not the pre-Crisis Earth-Three. Despite the return of the DC Multiverse and the creation of a new Earth-3, the Antimatter Earth still exists in Qward, acting as an inverted microcosm of New Earth. The pre-established Crime Syndicate of Amerika from the Antimatter Universe were then featured heavily in Trinity, DC's third year-long weekly series.
2013–present: The New 52
DC again rebooted its continuity in 2011 as part of The New 52. In 2013, the "Trinity War" crossover event reintroduces Earth-3. It is mentioned as the home of true evil and of the Crime Syndicate. The Crime Syndicate is largely modeled after Morrison's, with the introduction of new characters, and by re-envisioning Ultraman once again as an alien with an origin story which more closely parallels Superman's. In the closing scenes of "Trinity War", Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, Johnny Quick, Power Ring, Deathstorm, Alfred Pennyworth and Atomica reveal themselves to the Justice League of Earth Prime. Sea King also inhabited Earth-3, but quickly died after passing through the gateway to Prime Earth. Martian Manhunter is also an inhabitant of Earth-3. Alexander Luthor, who can become Mazahs, is also from Earth-3, and an enemy of the Crime Syndicate.
|New Earth / Prime Earth||Earth-Three
The New 52
|Superman||Ultraman||Similar to the story of Superman, the son of Jur-Ul was sent from the planet Krypton to Earth-Three where he first encountered Kryptonite in outer space which began to change him into a super-powerhouse possessing vast powers and abilities. Upon his arrival on Earth-Three, the boy grew up developing new powers every time he encountered Kryptonite. Upon reaching adulthood, he renamed himself Ultraman and began a life of conquest and destruction. It would be during his conquering that he encountered four other superpowered beings who would all loosely gather together in various schemes to overtake their world and become the Crime Syndicate of America.|
|Batman||Owlman||Thomas Wayne Jr. was born with an enhanced intelligence and low level superhuman mental abilities. He would develop artificial devices to enhance these mental abilities, most notably the large reflective owl eyes in his helmet which he uses as a focusing transmitter onto his target.|
|Wonder Woman||Superwoman||Similar to the story of Wonder Woman, Super-Woman was a known Amazon and has all the powers and abilities of the Amazons. But unlike Princess Diana who was a recognized leader of the Amazons, this Amazon was a renegade who left Paradise Island on her own accord after finding out about the outside world. It was also known that the Amazons of Earth 3 never tried to recall her back from the outside world despite all the intervening years Super-Woman was active. However, it has been assumed that like the Earth-Two Wonder Woman, she was stripped of her immortality by the Amazons for breaking their rules and laws, as she is usually shown with a white streak of hair in her later appearances, indicating that she was aging in later stories.|
|The Flash||Johnny Quick||Most of the Earth-Three Johnny Quick's history is unrevealed. What is known is that the person who would assume the identity of Johnny Quick is that he was born with an enhanced speed and later found a helmet that allowed him to focus his considerable speed into far greater levels. With the extra speed granted by the use of the helmet and adopting the name of "Johnny Quick" he began his lifelong career of criminal conquest. It would be during his attacks that he joined in the loose partnership with the other four super-powered beings on Earth-Three and founded the organization known as the Crime Syndicate of America.|
|Green Lantern||Power Ring||He was actively seeking out mystical power for some reason and found it when a mad monk gave him a lamp and a matching ring of unlimited power. Accepting the lamp and ring this man would begin his career as Power Ring. Over the years of his many criminal exploits, he joined in the loose partnership with the other four super-powered beings on Earth-Three and founded the organization known as the Crime Syndicate of America.|
|Aquaman||N/A||Sea King||Introduced in The New 52 version of the Crime Syndicate. He died shortly after exiting the gateway from Earth-3 to Prime Earth.|
|Atom||N/A||Atomica||Introduced in The New 52 version of the Crime Syndicate. She is in a relationship with Johnny Quick.|
|Firestorm||N/A||Deathstorm||Introduced in The New 52 version of the Crime Syndicate.|
|Cyborg||N/A||Grid||Introduced in The New 52 version of the Crime Syndicate. A sentient computer virus in a robot body made from Cyborg's old prosthetic parts.|
|Joker||The Jokester||The Joker||Bullied and abused for much of his life, Jackie found happiness with the beautiful, loving Evelyn Dent, only to lose her when her split personalities developed. He became a struggling comedian at the Last Laugh comedy club, but then witnessed the club's owner being murdered by the vicious Owlman. Sick of being bullied, Jackie redesigned his act, focusing all his jokes on Owlman. Aided by manager Harley Quinn, he became a kind of hero to the frustrated Gotham populace for boldly ridiculing every aspect of the thuggish villain. Owlman's retribution, however, was deadly. Harley was murdered and Jackie's mouth was sliced open, leaving him with an unusually wide grin. Whatever sanity he'd possessed vanished in that moment as he became the Jokester, dedicating his life to ruining and humiliating Owlman and his sidekick Talon.
In The New 52, after killing Talon, the Joker is killed by Owlman.
|Lex Luthor||Alexander Luthor, Jr.||see next entry||Alexander and his wife were able only to save their son, Alexander, Jr. ("Alex") from the complete destruction of their reality, by placing him in a capsule which would take him to Earth-One. Alexander Luthor, along with everyone else native to his universe, died in the Anti-Monitor's attack. The existence of the Earth-Three reality was ultimately erased from all history. Alexander Luthor, Jr. survived not only the demise of his native reality, but also the collapse of the Multiverse. He alone maintained memories of Alexander Luthor, Sr. and his world.|
|Lex Luther / Shazam||N/A||Alexander Luthor / Mazahs||In The New 52, Alexander Luthor has the power of the dark lightning to become Mazahs.|
|Lois Lane||Lois Lane-Luthor||Unknown||In the parallel reality known as Earth-Three, Lois Lane married Earth's greatest champion, Alexander Luthor. Shortly before the event known as the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Luthors gave birth to a baby boy, Alex, Jr. When the Anti-Monitor, released a wave of Antimatter energy that swept across the Multiverse, Lois and Alex placed their son inside of a specially designed module and launched him away from the beleaguered planet. Alex, Sr. and Lois Lane died in each other's arms as the Antimatter swept across their world.|
|Martian Manhunter||N/A||unnamed||In The New 52, Martian Manhunter's counterpart is left on Earth-3 during its destruction and eventually dies there.|
|Riddler||Quizmaster||Unknown||Edward Nashton was fascinated by puzzles and games from an early age. He was academically active - at one point considered one of the smartest men on his Earth - and naturally inclined to altruism. He married and had children. He also operated as a crimefighter under the moniker "the Quizmaster", eventually becoming a founding member of the Justice Underground. He was a thorn in the side of Owlman and the Crime Syndicate of Amerika for many years.|
|Robin||Talon||The apprentice of Owlman. There have been several Talons, corresponding to the Robins of New Earth. One of the Talons (supposedly the Jason Todd or Tim Drake version) had a romantic relationship with Jokester's daughter, Duela Dent, and was willing to betray Owlman to be with her. Unfortunately, the truth caused Jokester to disown Duela. Somehow, Duela and one of the Talons ended up on New Earth, where both spent time as temporary members of the Teen Titans.
In The New 52, Talon is the Dick Grayson of Earth-3. He is killed by the Joker.
|Alfred Pennyworth||N/A||Alfred Pennyworth / The Outsider||Introduced in The New 52 as the butler to Owlman. He killed Owlman's parents and forms a relationship with him. He is killed by Black Manta in Forever Evil #6.|
|Two-Face||Three-Face||Unknown||Evelyn Dent was a native of Earth-3 until her death at the hands of Superwoman. Evelyn had three personalities and no scars like her counterpart Harvey Dent but had a cybernetic arm. She was involved with both the Riddler and Jokester of Earth-3. She had a daughter Duela Dent for the latter. The four of them formed the Riddler Family and opposed the criminal activities of Owlman and Talon in Gotham City. Riddler was later killed by Ultraman and Jokester thought that Three Face was killed by Superwoman but at the end of the Crime Society issue, she was shown using some kind of cybernetic implants.|
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- 52 Week 52 (2007)
- Comic Book Resources - CBR News: CCI: DC New World Order
- Brady, Matt (May 8, 2007). "The 52 Exit Interviews: Grant Morrison". Newsarama. Retrieved May 12, 2007.
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