Originally, the Silver Age Crime Syndicate of America formed on Earth-Three in a parallel universe. History was different on this world. It was a place where Columbus was an American who discovered Europe. George Washington became a traitor to the American Revolution, and Benedict Arnold was elected the first President of the United States. Actor Abraham Lincoln shot President John Wilkes Booth, etc., etc. Aside from differences in history, Earth-Three was no different in terms of right and wrong. Unlike the other earths, super-villains were the dominant power of Earth-Three and were the mirror images of super-heroes of other Earths. The Crime Syndicate of America was founded by Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring. From their perch atop the Eyrie of Evil, they began planning to take their world by storm.
Legendary writer Gardner Fox and artist Mike Sekowsky created the original Crime Syndicate of America and its five members and debuted them in Justice League of America vol 1 #29 (1964). Bernard Sachs was the inker for this issue.
In Justice League Quarterly #8 (1992), Mark Waid, Rod Whigham and Romeo Tanghal created the new Conglomerate. This team appeared to be emulating the JLA which resulted in referring to them as a post-Crisis Crime Syndicate, though they were Qwardians and not human beings. Also shown in that same issue is a Qwardian version of the original Syndicate members, who are seen on a computer monitor.
Popular writer Grant Morrison and artist Frank Quitely re-designed the original concept for these classic super-villains as the Crime Syndicate of Amerika in JLA: Earth-2 #1 (2000). The team name was the same except for a slight variation in the spelling. Morrison and Quitely updated the image and uniforms of the original members and revised their history.
The writing team and art teams of the 2006 maxiseries 52 created a new version called the Crime Society of America as inhabitants of the new Earth-3 in the 52-earth multiverse, and modeled them after the new version of the Earth-2 Justice Society of America. This team has also appeared in the 2007 maxiseries Countdown to Final Crisis.
In 2021, after Dark Nights: Death Metal, a miniseries exploring the origin of the Crime Syndicate on earth 3 was published.
Silver Age (1960s)
Much like Earths One and Two, Earth-Three had a variety of powerful men and women, but rather than justice and goodness, they were consumed with evil intent. Earth-Three is a world where super-villains are the majority of metahumans. In time, the Crime Syndicate's members become bored with how easy it has become to commit crimes. With no one to stand against them, they begin to search the earth for rivals worthy of their power. Finding none, they begin to look beyond the boundaries of the earth. Soon, they discover the multiverse, and the existence of Earth-One and Earth-Two.
The Crime Syndicate sets out to challenge both the Justice League Of America of Earth-One, and the Justice Society Of America of Earth-Two. After a protracted battle across the three dimensions, the Crime Syndicate is ultimately defeated, and placed inside an indestructible bubble (created by Green Lantern's ring) inside the limbo between the multiple Earths, with warning signs in multiple languages warning beings passing through the dimensional limbo not to free them.
Qwardian / Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths
Claire Montgomery (ex-wife of Maxwell Lord), seeking to rebuild the superhero team she founded, the Conglomerate, ends up hiring a metahuman named Norman the Doorman to open a portal to another dimension, where she sees what look to be heroes helping people out of natural disasters. After he brings them to the main universe, Claire convinces them to act as the "New Conglomerate" for her in a charity athletics competition with Justice League International. The team is made up of Deadeye (a counterpart of Green Arrow), Fiero (Fire), Frostbite (Ice), Elasti-Man (Elongated Man), Element Man (Metamorpho), Scarab (Blue Beetle Ted Kord), and Slipstream (the Wally West Flash).
During the course of each of the matches, the members of the New Conglomerate exhibit a little more brute force in what are supposed to be "friendly" skirmishes, which begins to worry Claire. At JLI HQ, Oberon and a visiting Hal Jordan are watching the events on TV when Hal suddenly recognizes the members of the New Conglomerate. Pulling up a JLA case file on the computer, he recounts to Oberon a time where the original Justice League of America and the Justice Society of America fought against the Crime Syndicate, a group of Qwardians who mimicked the looks and powers of five Leaguers. Oberon asks what the connection is, and Hal reveals that the Conglomerate members share certain features with the Qwardian Syndicate, such as pink skin and larger eyes. Hal flies off to warn the team about this, and manages to get there in time to help them against the Conglomerate, who reveal their true natures. Claire gets Norman to open another portal back to Qward and the League manages to get them back into the portal. This was the first post-Crisis mention and appearance of the Crime Syndicate, although in later stories the Qwardian versions were forgotten or never mentioned again.
Modern Age / Post-Crisis on Infinite Earths
In the antimatter universe of Qward, its version of Earth, designated as Earth-1 by its Lex Luthor, is a much darker place than the previously known Earth-Three. This incarnation of the Syndicate is not content with oversight over crime, but seeks world (and later universal) domination. The Syndicate's own members now find themselves synchronized with other alternate version of themselves, and reverse-mirroring their positive universe counterparts.
As with the positive matter universe, the histories of some of the members are muddled and it is unclear what the truth of their lives might be. For an example, in the case of Owlman, Thomas Wayne, Jr. takes up the mantle to spite his father after his mother and younger brother, Bruce, were shot by a corrupt police officer. Ultraman is now a human astronaut named Lt. Clark Kent, who after getting blown into space in an experimental flight is rebuilt by an alien race with a superhuman body and a twisted mind. In addition, this new Earth possesses a quality which it had not previously, a growing crop of superheroes who rise up to stand against the Syndicate as best they can. Most of the time, however, they were out-gunned and out-classed, unable to turn the tide.
Ultraman, Superwoman and Owlman appear in the new Earth's revised history, early in the careers of Superman and Batman. Before Clark Kent and Bruce Wayne knew one another's secret identities, the two of them (along with Lois Lane) encounter the Crime Syndicate members while on a cruise ship. Along with a mirror copy of Deathstroke (who has been hired to kill Bruce Wayne), they defeat the Syndicate members and send them retreating back to their universe. This is related to Bizarro by Mr. Mxyzptlk in Superman/Batman Annual #1 (2006), so it may or may not be true.
While Alexander Luthor Jr. works with the Superman of the pre-Crisis Earth-Two and pre-Crisis Earth-Prime's Superboy Prime to "fix the multiverse," the Crime Syndicate becomes involved in a plot against Power Girl. Along with Psycho-Pirate, the Syndicate show up first in a series of psychotic episodes. While having a heart-to-heart conversation with Huntress, the Syndicate attacks the team. Since only Power Girl can see them, there is a question as to whether or not the Syndicate is actually there, or if she is completely hallucinating under the influence of Pyscho Pirate. Either way, the Syndicate believes that Power Girl is Ultraman's cousin and that she escaped to Earth-2 to get away from her murderous parents.
Otherwise, the Syndicate's participation during the Infinite Crisis is rather limited. At one point during the crisis, the Earth-Three Ultraman is nearly merged with Superman, Superwoman with Wonder Woman, and Alexander Luthor (Junior's father) with Earth-Two's Superman. Further knowledge of the Syndicate's fate (along with that of their universe) is unknown until a later date.
A recently unearthed code was deciphered which read, "THE SECRET OF FIFTY-TWO IS THAT THE MULTIVERSE STILL EXISTS." What this means for the future of the Crime Syndicate of America is unknown, but it does seem to confirm that future interaction between the universes is possible and likely.
The New 52
The Crime Syndicate make their debut in the New 52 at the end of the Trinity War event with The Outsider opened up Pandora's Box and creating a portal, where it was revealed that Pandora's Box was actually an object of science and originated from Earth-3, the earth where the Crime Syndicate originated from, as well as all of evil itself. The Crime Syndicate then defeat the entire Justice League team and wreak havoc upon the world. This version of the Crime Syndicate is similar to the previous versions with the roster consisting of Ultraman, Owlman, Superwoman, Power Ring, and Johnny Quick. Sea King was also originally apart of them team but did not survive the trip through Pandora's Box and collapsed dead. Three other members are also apart of the team who are named Grid, Deathstorm, and Atomica. Atomica was originally believed to be apart of the Justice Leage as well as a spy for the Justice League of America team but was revealed to be apart of the Crime Syndicate at the end of Trinity War.
Major Story Arcs
Secret Society of Super-Villains
During Captain Comet's fight against the Secret Society of Super-Villains (in issues 13 and 14 of the title), passing through the limbo between dimensions causes the bubble to momentarily break, and Super-Woman, Johnny Quick and Power Ring escape and return to Earth-Three, where the Society and Comet follow them. While there, a battle erupts between the Society and the three Syndicate members, while in the middle of it Power Ring's battery begins leaking energy, weakening the Syndicate members and mutating civilians. Captain Comet manages to stop this with help from the Earth-Three Lois Lane. He then returns the Syndicate members back to their bubble prison.
Per Degaton and Crisis On Earth-Prime
Despite being imprisoned by the JLA and the JSA, members of the Syndicate were able to periodically escape from their prison in limbo and pester the inhabitants of Earth-One and Earth-Two. Per Degaton released the Crime Syndicate from their prison in order to employ them in his quest for dominion of his world of Earth-Two by traveling through time. This led to a confrontation with the JLA and the JSA from the present and the All-Star Squadron from the 1940s.
In the course of their actions for world domination, Per Degaton and the Crime Syndicate were responsible for the destruction of Earth-Prime, a world with no costumed or super-powered beings. The JLA, the JSA and the All-Star Squadron followed Per Degaton and the Crime Syndicate through time. The combined efforts of these heroes defeated the Crime Syndicate before the completion of Per Degaton's plans. As a result, Per Degaton releasing the Crime Syndicate from their prison, the destruction of Earth-Prime and Per Degaton's dominion of Earth-Two never happened with no one having any memory of these events.
Around this time, Ultraman enlists the aid of Earth-One's Lex Luthor and Earth-Two's Alexei Luthor in conquest of Earth-Three. The Supermen of Earths One and Two come to stop them and end up inspiring Alexander Luthor to begin his career as Earth-Three's first and only superhero. The trio manages to defeat their foes. The remaining members of the Crime Syndicate lay low for a while after their heaviest hitter is taken down. The other two Luthors are returned home by the Superman of each respective Earth.
Crisis on Infinite Earths
The Anti-Monitor, in a bid to destroy the multiverse and recreate it in his own image, sweeps his power across the multiverse, destroying dimension after dimension in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Throughout the multiverse, the Anti-Monitor's anti-matter wave annihilates parallel universes, but lone individuals are saved and carried to safety inside the dimension of Earth-One. Among those saved from the wave is the son of Earth-Three's Alexander Luthor and Lois Lane, Alexander Luthor Jr. The Crime Syndicate and all other inhabitants of Earth-Three are destroyed in the Crisis.
After the Crisis was over, the Multiverse no longer existed (at least in the form that had been known before). The new Earth was a conglomerate of different Earths which had survived the crisis, and contained a mass of super-powered heroes and villains. The Justice League of Earth-One and the Justice Society of Earth-Two now fought side by side on the same earth. Other individuals, most notably Lady Quark, became the sole survivors of their Earths. Some, like Hawkman and Power Girl, now had a convoluted past, while others such as Donna Troy seemly now possessed multiple and incongruent pasts.
The Crime Syndicate faded from memory in the new scheme of things, as if they had never existed. In time, it is learned that the multiverse still existed, but in a different form, now connected together much more tenuously than before across Hypertime. It is unknown how the Earth-Three dimension either survived or reconstituted itself, or how the Crime Syndicate came back into existence with a new history just as had the new Earth.
The original Earth-Three Syndicate made a few post-Crisis appearances as in the first Animal Man series, in issues 23-25. Here, the Psycho-Pirate, insane since the original Crisis on Infinite Earths, uses his Medusa Mask to release all the characters eliminated in the Crisis. The Crime Syndicate is among them, and it is Ultraman who realizes that they are simply characters in a comic book. After Animal Man stops the larger menace, the Syndicate fades away along with the other eliminated characters.
As before the condensing of the multiverse, the Syndicate's greatest enemies were to be found in their polar opposites, the Justice League Of America. Ruling their Earth with an iron fist, this modern Syndicate operates under the motto "Cui Bono?" meaning "Who Profits?" in Latin. Most of society's structures have broken down, and nearly all countries on the earth have succumbed to the Syndicate's domination.
So powerful are the Syndicate that riches and possessions no longer hold any meaning or value to them. Currency among these titans comes in the form of momentary power over one another in the form of favors. They have a system known as the "favor bank," and if you owe another member a favor, it must absolutely be repaid. Owlman, though living in fear of Ultraman's vast powers, seems to hold some sway over the Kryptonian, often reminding the alien that "he has the negatives."
A sort of perverse, twisted love triangle exists between Ultraman, Superwoman, and Owlman. Ultraman and Superwoman are a married couple, but Owlman and the Amazon are in an affair. Superwoman further proves her twisted nature by exhibiting her "special" relations with Jimmy Olsen. When an airliner crashes on the positive matter Earth, the JLA investigate the crash only to find several unexplainable phenomena. The passenger's bodies are reversed, their internal organs placed on the "wrong" side of their bodies. Money in the passenger's pockets display Benedict Arnold on the one-dollar bill, and the motto "In Mammon We Trust." Discovering that the wall between universes has broken down, their investigation eventually leads to the antimatter Lex Luthor.
Meanwhile, Lex Luthor has been kidnapped and replaced by his anti-matter counterpart. When the JLA confront Luthor, he reveals his true identity to them, and begs them to come to his universe for two days and help free mankind from the oppression of the Syndicate. All but Aquaman and Martian Manhunter agree to accompany Luthor back to his world. Back in the anti-matter universe, Luthor's absence is noted during a meeting of the CSA. Deducing the existence of a counter-universe with dopplegangers of themselves, Ultraman begins making plans for a takeover of the JLA's world. Unknown to them, Luthor and the JLA are already in their universe plotting against them. The first move is made when Green Lantern places a force field around their moon base, trapping them inside.
With the CSA out of the way, the JLA launch a blitzkrieg crusade to right the wrongs perpetrated on the people of the anti-matter earth. They are each bewildered by the history and society of the planet, slowly beginning to understand just how deep the corruption runs. In Gotham, Batman is faced with a version of his father, Thomas Wayne, and a corrupt crime boss Jim Gordon. While most members of the CSA are frantically utilizing their powers in an attempt to escape from Lantern's prison, Owlman uses his deductive mind to determine a universal truth. If the JLA were their equal and opposite counterparts, then the multiverse would balance itself out in 24 hours, and the CSA would be pulled into the positive matter universe as a result. Proven correct, the Syndicate launches an all-out attack on Washington, D.C., causing billions of dollars in damage, and utterly destroying the White House.
Aquaman and J'onn J'onnz appear on the scene and battle the CSA, defeating them quite easily to the surprise of all. Back in the Qwardian universe, the JLA's efforts beginning to fall apart. Batman and the others slowly begin to understand that the fundamental nature of the anti-matter universe is directly thwarting all of their efforts. All attempts to change society for the better are doomed to failure according to the very nature of the dimension. This revelation brings despair to the JLA, but a firm resolve that can furthermore be absolved of any notion of failure. Concurrently, this explains why the CSA was so handily defeated by only a pair of JLA members, their efforts were fated to fall flat on the positive matter Earth.
In short order, the truth of the entire matter is revealed, as it becomes known that Earth-2's Luthor has been manipulated by Ultraman's "robotic" servant Brainiac. When the JLA is lured into the anti-matter universe, thereby sending the CSA into the positive, and chain reaction is set in motion in the multiverse, which will eventually result in the two Earths attempting to merge in an effort to correct themselves. Since matter and anti-matter cannot exist in the same physical space, the two universes will collide in an unimaginably massive explosion.
Brainiac's plan is to set himself up in a position to be ready to absorb the energy released from this collision, thereby gaining enough power to evolve into an "Nth level intelligence." The JLA rush into action to prevent the collision, causing Superman to attempt the robot's destruction. Superman assumes wrongly that Earth-2's Brainiac is an artificial construct like the one in his own world, but when he learns that this incarnation of Brainiac is a biological organism, his personal oath against killing stays his hand.
Realizing finally that only evil can truly prevail on the dark mirrored version of Earth, knows the JLA could only prevail if they too chose a course of evil. They decide upon their own evil act, letting Brainiac win. Flash uses his powers to transfer them back to their own dimension, switching places with the CSA in the process. Incensed, Ultraman lobotomizes Brainiac to ensure he never again poses a threat to the CSA's dominance.
Now back in their own respective universes, the two polar opposite teams wonder when they will next take up arms against one another.
A baby is born in Metropolis, New Earth, a few years later. As the expectant father and hospital staff wait for the baby, the unexpected happens. Immediately after the baby is born, he begins to glow brightly, and a huge burst of energy blows every window to shards. Energy lances from the top of the building, and the baby is seen flying away at high velocity. Waves of energy emanate from the baby and fill the Metropolis sky.
Superman rushes in to save a news helicopter from crashing after getting too close to the baby's power blasts, then zig zags through the air to claim the baby. After getting knocked to the ground, Superman finally successfully rescues the child from Air Force missiles and Lexcorp Team Luthor troopers by retrieving his Fortress of Solitude sphere. He encases the child in the sphere, which he hopes will protect the city from the infant's growing powers.
Superman gets the child to the Fortress of Solitude, and places the worn out infant in a stasis field for further study. He then hides the Fortress inside the globe on top of the Daily Planet. His sensor's readouts show that the infant's waves of energy contain anti-matter. Just after this discovery, the Fortress is rocked by an explosion. When he turns around to see the cause, Superman finds Ultraman hovering just over the Fortress walls.
As Superman and Ultraman battle, the anti-Kryptonian informs Kal-El that there's not much time, referring to the fact that if Ultraman remains in the positive matter universe for more than 24 hours, then Superman will be drawn into the Qwardian universe. After Ultraman knocks Superman into the baby's stasis field, causing significant damage, Superman states he knows who Ultraman is and what that stakes are.
The two are evenly matched, their battle raging through the Fortress, nearly destroying the tesseract mechanisms that allow entrance and egress to the Fortress. Superman soon realizes that Ultraman is out to kill the baby, his foe's viciousness seemingly beyond reason. Superman retrieves the baby from the stasis field and tries to think of a way to get away from Ultraman but is unable to escape before Owlman and Superwoman appear on the scene. Superwoman lassos the baby away and gives it to Owlman who holds it hostage.
Ultraman explains to them all that he traced a anomaly from the anti-matter universe through a connection between the anti-Phantom Zone and the Phantom Zone. His indication is that he believes the baby is the anomaly, but Superman pleads with his enemies that it is only a baby, though he himself begins to suspect something is amiss. It is at this point that the baby's true identity asserts itself, the Brainiac of Earth-2 "boots up" inside the baby's mind.
Brainiac takes over the Fortress tesseract forcing Ultraman and Superman away. Brainiac explains how he escaped destruction at the hands of Ultraman by transferring his consciousness into some of Ultraman's cells, initiate cell division, then escape to Earth-1 through the Phantom Zones. Finding a pregnant woman, he places himself in the womb and allows himself to be born. Exerting his control over the tesseract, he causes it to begin expanding in an attempt to destroy the Earth.
Owlman pulls what he calls a "white dwarf ingot" from a pouch (an element that works on Ultraman the way kryptonite does on Superman) to try and kill Brainiac. Ultraman launches himself at Owlman in a rage, over Owlman's assertion that he could kill the anti-Kryptonian. Superman stops Ultraman, and says that the sacrifice is necessary for the survival of both universes. No longer having the upper hand, Brainiac disappears into the Phantom Zone. Owlman reveals that the white dwarf ingot was in reality nothing more than common chewing gum.
With Brainiac gone, the tesseract is no longer under his control and reverts to normal. The Justice League is seen to have arrived on the scene to assert crowd control and help to contain the now gone tesseract. In the Phantom Zone viewer, Superwoman appears, gets her hands on the Brainiac baby and kills it. Holding his anger and horror in check, Superman orders the CSA trio back into their own universe and stay there.
JLA / Avengers
When Krona and the Grandmaster (along with help from Metron) trick the Justice League and the Avengers into battling one another in a search for certain mystical artifacts, their plan causes the merging of the two diverse universes. The heroes learn that Krona is forcing the universes to tear apart in mutual destruction, planning to rule over the new universe created as a result. The CSA's universe is destroying in Krona's rampage.
Banding together, the teams fight and ultimately prevail over Krona. The fallen Guardian Of The Universe is turned into a "cosmic egg" that will be born into a new universe in a trillion years. The two separate universe are set to right, but the anti-matter universe is "reborn" in the backwash. (Multiple theories exist as to the true results of the event. It is possible that this cosmic event is what caused the Earth-Three universe to be reborn as the anti-matter universe post-Crisis. Others suggest that the anti-matter universe was already in "re-existence," and that the ripples of the Krona debacle explain the circumstances of the near future.)
The Fall of Modora
Back in the anti-matter universe, the Crime Syndicate finally solidifies their hold over the Earth by breaking into the shielded country of Modora (covered by a sonic dome), and defeating their last super-powered enemy, Lady Sonar. Sonar, who had once been a member of the Justice Underground (a group of superpowered beings organized by the Quizmaster, a good version of the Riddler, to stand against the CSA), is the last obstacle to the Syndicate's world domination. When Johnny Quick takes the point against her, Sonar uses her cybernetically enhanced powers to disintegrate the speedster by hyper-increasing his body's vibrations. Owlman, having planned ahead, is the only one able to stand against Sonor's sonics, and literally blows her up. Sonar is defeated and horribly maimed, but not killed.
Back in the Panopticon, Sonar is put into cryogenic storage while the CSA ponders what to do now that they rule the world. Suddenly, Johnny Quick reappears in a state of extreme panic. He informs the CSA that he was sent one year into the future, and what he saw there was nightmare-inspiring: nothing. In a year or less, the CSA and their entire future ceases to exist.
The new world order set in place by the Syndicate has left them bored, their day to day existence closer to that of policemen than overlords. Johnny Quick dismantles a rebellion in China, causing fury in Owlman, who had been funding it in the hopes that it would give them a few moments of enjoyment in putting it down. Power Ring strides into the middle of the argument to announce he's found the perfect target for the CSA.
On the planet Qward, the planet's ruler is overseeing his tedious responsibilities, when explosions are heard around the city. Qward is being annihilated by by the Crime Syndicate, the greatest Qwardian Weaponers Of Qward and Thunderers Of Qward are being killed, unable to stand against the Syndicate's might. Then suddenly, the entire universe falls apart.
When the universe reboots, Owlman and Johnny Quick are back in their headquarters arguing over China again. As before, Power Ring walks in, but he is no longer a Kyle Rayner doppelganger, but a counterpart to John Stewart. Soon, the CSA discover chronal anomalies which lead them to believe their entire universe is only a few months old. Though they remember a history, they subconsciously sense something in not right. Tracing the disturbance to the matter universe, the CSA mistakenly assumes the Justice League is responsible, and make plans to enact their revenge.
While the JSA is busy cleaning up yet another mess caused by the universe reasserting itself after the Krona affair, the CSA enter the matter universe and take up residence in the Metropolitan Hotel. Knowing their time is short, and that the nature of the matter universe would never allow them to prevail in an assault against the JLA, Owlman hatches a plan that will allow them to ultimately prevail. Quick procures some JLA costumes, and the evil doubles begin enacting their plans in the guise of the Justice League. Unknown to all, Qwardians have also discovered and investigated their universe's restart. Having traced the cause to the matter universe, they are on their way to destroy the source, and the CSA as well.
The Syndicate travels the world posing as the Justice League. This time around, they have 36 hours before the balance of thing are upset, so they try to hold things together by "doing good" like the Justice League. Though repugnant to them, they grit their teeth and help people and save lives. Meanwhile, Owlman has hacked the Internet and set up twelve computer hubs in cities around the world, his master plan put into motion.
As the secret tryst between Owlman and Superwoman heats up, Power Ring and Johnny Quick are roped into helping take down a group of super villains who've attacked a Star Labs facility. After being soundly defeated, the citizens standing by risk their own lives to save the duo. Catching a second wind, and using the crowd as a distraction, they finally defeat the attackers, but remain incredulous at the common people being willing to risk their lives for the heroes.
Outside the UN building, Ultraman arrives and is overwhelmed by onlookers who want an autograph from Superman. Ultraman loses it, kills over 200 people with his heat vision, rips his Superman costume off (which he said "itches") and flies away. When he contacts Owlman, he learns that Power Ring and Quick have discovered more about the source of their universe's scrambling.
The Qwardians, having found and retrieved a doomsday weapon, cut a swath across their universe on their way to the positive matter universe, destroying planet after planet along the way. Finally coming to blows, the Justice League believe they have the upper hand, but soon learn that whatever has altered the multiverse has changed the fundamental outcome of things as well. The 36 hour deadline passes during the battle with nothing happening. The two teams regroup after the JLA retreats, allowing the Syndicate to fortify their growing hold over the Earth.
Owlman correctly deduces that the universe reconstruction has changed the rules, and begins to plan how to use it to their advantage. In the Watchtower, Batman comes to the same deduction and formulates his own plan. The League activates the reserves, and calls in the Justice League Elite. Not all those called up can make it right away, but the League works with who they have. Splitting into three teams, they go after separate targets. The big hitters go after the newly arrived Qwardians, and their doomsday weapon the Void Hound; the Elite and a few others head to China to attack the CSA at their new headquarters; and Batman leads a contingent into the anti-matter universe to find something that will help them defeat the CSA.
Nearly down for the count, the League's big hitters are saved by the sudden arrival of the New Gods via Boom Tube, who crack open the Void Hound. Batman's group meet with little success as the Syndicate easily defeats the Elite group. Moved to action, the Syndicate arrives on the battlefield and attack the Martian Manhunter.
After a series of unexpected events and double-crossings, the Qwardians are convinced of the Earth's innocence in their universe's reconstruction. He takes his fleet back to the anti-matter universe, informing the CSA he means to destroy their world in retribution for what they desired to do to Qward. In the Watchtower, the Flash has made contact with the Contruct, a sentient colony of hyper-advanced digital life being held by the JLA. The Contruct sees the JLA as their deities, and offer to give Flash the solution to all their problems with the CSA.
The JLA, Elite and reserves enter the anti-matter universe to protect Earth-2 from the Qwardians. Having learned of the favor bank, J'onn and Superman devise a plan. They refuse to help the CSA against the Qwardians unless they ask it as a favor. Superwoman capitulates, and the CSA now owe the JLA a favor.
Green Lantern John Stewart uses his ring to isolate the what they have discovered is powering the Void Hound, another Contruct. Bringing their own Contruct close enough to communicate, and it tries to convince it to stop fighting because it is no longer alone. However, the Qwardian construct evolved as a single entity and not a colony, and therefore cannot understand its positive counterpart. With the Construct's help, Lantern absorbs the anti-construct into his ring, depriving the Qwardians of a power source. The battle is over and the Qwardians retreat.
Superman confronts Ultraman about the murders outside the UN, but Owlman uses a "cosmic balance device" to send the JLA home. Down on Earth-2, the populace, having witness the favor of the JLA to the CSA, begin to revolt en masse against their opressors. The Syndicate once again have their hands full.
The Syndicate later appears in the 2010 Justice League of America (vol. 2) story arc "Omega" (issues 50-53), which has roots in a subplot from issue 43 of the title in which Dr. Impossible and his cohorts (who resemble Metron, Orion, and Big Barda) use a device powered by former JLI member Blue Jay (an analogue of Marvel's Hank Pym) to open a doorway to the Multiverse. Here, it is revealed that, like in the 2004 Syndicate Rules story arc from JLA that the membership of the Syndicate has changed again, with Power Ring and Johnny Quick now being based on the original pre-Crisis versions and replacing the counterparts to Kyle Rayner/John Stewart and Wally West, respectively, corresponding to the events of Green Lantern: Rebirth and The Flash: Rebirth. Arriving on New Earth following the destruction of their world at the hands of Alexander Luthor (who had built a weapon of mass destruction that detonated following his demise), the Syndicate attacks the Hall of Justice, where Luthor's corpse was interred after his murder at the hands of the Joker during the finale of Infinite Crisis.
It is revealed that the Syndicate members were working with Doctor Impossible in order to create a machine that could resurrect the dead, hoping that they could revive Luthor and force him to undo the damage he had dealt to the Crime Syndicate's world. However, just as the machine is to be activated, Doctor Impossible double-crosses the Syndicate and attempts to resurrect Darkseid rather than Luthor, using Hunter (his answer to Orion) as a host body, but the machine malfunctions and instead creates an immensely powerful villain called the Omega Man. In the ensuing battle, Power Ring is killed (with his ring going to seek out a new host), and the members of the Justice League and the Crime Syndicate are forced to work together to stop Omega Man. Realizing that the situation is hopeless, Owlman betrays the League and turns them over to Omega Man, figuring that the Syndicate could take over the League's Earth after Omega Man kills off most of the heroes for them. At the last second, Batman (Dick Grayson) reveals that he anticipated the Syndicate's betrayal, and had used the Tangent Universe's version of Green Lantern (who had appeared earlier on the Watchtower to warn the League of the incoming danger) to resurrect Luthor behind the Syndicate's back. Though his resurrection is short-lived, a regretful Luthor builds a machine that ultimately sends the Syndicate back to their own ravaged world and seemingly destroys Omega Man.
52 Weeks / Countdown
During Rip Hunter and Booster Gold's jaunt through the newly formed multiverse, a new version of Earth-Three was stumbled upon. This new "Earth-3" at first had a carbon copy of Earth-One's Justice League (from one year before), and an exact identical history. When the highly-evolved Mr. Mind showed up and began devouring parts of that universe's history, the Justice League was turned into a new rendition of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, known as the Crime Society of America. Ultraman, Superwoman, Owlman, and Johnny Quick seems mostly unchanged except for costume/cosmetic differences, but not so with Power Ring. Power Ring is no longer an African-American, but has been changed back into a man of European descent, along with a costume change that is somewhat like the costume of New Earth's Kyle Rayner. In addition, this version of the Crime Syndicate has a doppelganger of Martian Manhunter, a personage which no incarnation of the Syndicate has ever possessed before (as with Aquaman, though not shown).
While taking a sabbatical alongside Power Girl, Supergirl encounters Ultraman in the bottle city of Kandor. Ultraman is posing as Kal-El, and has become a god-like emperor of the bottle city. The Saturn Girl of yet another alternate reality (called Saturn Queen here) has used her mental powers to brainwash Ultraman into thinking he's her son. Saturn Queen reveals that when Alexander Luthor Jr. recreated the multiverse, her reality was recreated as well. When the recreated multiverse collapsed on itself, she wound up in the Phantom Zone, and it is there she found Ultraman. It is assumed at this point the the remainder of the Syndicate (along with their universe?) is in the Phantom Zone as well. At this point, Ultraman remains in the bottle city along with Saturn Queen.
New Earth 3
After the events of Dark Night and the rebirth of the multiverse, a new Earth 3 was born with a similar Crime Syndicate to the New 52 version.
In JLA: Earth-2, there is a brief glimpse into the operations of the Panopticon, where three other individuals are seen to be hard at work. It is not known if these three are full CSA members, reservists, or servants who have been pressed into service by the CSA. It would not be a stretch of the imagination to think the latter since the CSA's members have a fundamental mistrust of anyone and everyone around them. Only the "favor bank" and the long standing relationships of the core keep their tenuous alliance alive.
The three potential reservists are:
Spaceman: an antimatter version of Starman.
White Cat: an antimatter version of Black Canary.
Doctor Noon: an antimatter version of Doctor Mid-Nite.
There are also other members mentioned in the story and in the Syndicate Rules story arc from 2004, in the form of White Martian (J'onn J'onnz's counterpart), who is killed by Ultraman; Blood Eagle (Hawkman), killed by the Syndicate; and Barracuda (Aquaman), who looks less human and leads the armies of Atlantis against the surface world.
More members of the Crime Society appear in Countdown to Final Crisis when Donna Troy, Kyle Rayner, and Jason Todd end up on the new Earth-3 looking for Ray Palmer. These include (aside from the founding members) evil versions of the Spectre (with a high-collared cape), Stargirl (in a red costume with a high collar and twin pistols), Green Arrow, Wildcat, Hawkgirl, and a version of the antimatter White Cat (a black woman wearing a white costume and mask). More heroes are shown as well, including the Jokester (a good version of the Joker), the Riddler, and Three-Face (a female version of Two-Face with three personalities).
Incongruities and Uncertainties
There are many events which happened in the history and lives of the Crime Syndicate--and their world--pre-Crisis that no longer persisted in the post-Crisis multiverse. While much of the above history could be pieced together from various sources, there are events which can be said to have happened to the CSA or its members, but are not so easily reconciled with their post-Crisis history. This also includes continuity gaffes.
Ultraman's dog was Neutro the Ultradog. He eventually has the dog euthanised.
Ultraman's father Jur-IL is sentenced to the Phantom Zone. He escapes, and become the Crime Lord of Kandor on Earth-One.
Power Ring's ring is redundantly unnecessary, his lantern grants him the same powers with or without his ring.
The doppelganger of Hawkman is Hro Talak of Thanagar, called the Blood Eagle.
A version of Earth-Three is destroyed in the scuffle between Mr. Mxyzptlk and Bat-Mite of Earth-One in the Elseworlds book Superman/Batman: World's Funnest.
Talon, who was a short-term member of the Teen Titans, may have been Tim Drake of the Antimatter Universe. The Antimatter Owlman put Jack "Rat Eyes" Drake on trial in the Syndicate Rules story arc. Ultraman then kills Drake as a favor to Owlman. Owlman adopted Tim Drake. It is later revealed that the Talon who joined the Teen Titans was from the new Earth-3, who had defected to the side of good to be with his girlfriend, Duela Dent, revealed to originally be from Earth-Three and realigned to Earth-3 by the events of Infinite Crisis and 52.
Ultraman and Owlman are arrested at one point after trying to vandalize the Statue of Liberty.
Swamp Thing of Earth-1 once visited Earth-2.
Lex Luthor is framed by the CSA and placed in Stryker's Prison.
Another version of Ultraman is teamed with Superman in vol. 3 of The Brave and the Bold, in issue 11. This version also comes from an antimatter universe, but his costume includes red gloves and boots, and has a different powerset and origin, which has not been expanded upon.
In JLA: Omega, the Alexander Luthor in the story is the original Earth-Three Alexander Luthor, Jr. who was the mastermind behind Infinite Crisis, and not the Lex Luthor seen in JLA: Earth-2. It is unexplained how the Crime Syndicate knows Alexander Luthor Jr. despite them being the antimatter Syndicate, or if they think he's their Lex Luthor. James Robinson, who wrote the story, has yet to explain this continuity gaffe. Also in the story, the Barry Allen counterpart of Johnny Quick does not wear his Silver Age costume, but rather the one worn by the Wally West counterpart, despite Power Ring being a Hal Jordan counterpart and wearing his Silver Age costume.
JLA: Another Nail
Outside normal comics continuity, the original Crime Syndicate makes an appearance in the 2004 3-issue Elseworlds miniseries "JLA: Another Nail", the sequel to 1998's "JLA: The Nail". In the second issue, the Flash (Barry Allen) and the Atom (Ray Palmer), after accidentally crossing into another dimension, end up captured by the Crime Syndicate, who is based on the original Silver Age versions, with some differences (Super-Woman having thigh-high boots, among others). This story has since been incorporated as one of the 52 multiverse parallel worlds, though its numeration has yet to be revealed.
Teen Titans Go!
In issue 48 of the series (based on the 2003 Teen Titans cartoon show), as the team tries to return Kilowatt to his home dimension, they end up fighting their evil counterparts, the Teen Tyrants, made up of Aqualad (looking like his later Tempest incarnation), Speedy (resembling his Arsenal look), Red Robin, Red Raven (resembling the show's version of Jinx), and Blackfire. The Titans are aided by the heroic Brotherhood of Justice, a good version of the Brotherhood of Evil.
Batman: The Brave and the Bold
This version is named The Injustcie Syndicate, and are made up of alternate vesions of recurring heroes of series: Owlman (Batman), Blue Bowman (Green Arrow), Scarlet Scarb (Blue Beetle), Silver Cyclone (Red Tornado) and Dyna-Mite (Ryan Choi) act as main members, along with parallel versions of Aquaman, Plastic Man, Fire, Wildcat and B´wana Beast. The Syndicate beats a group of heroes made up of alternative versions of recurring villains (Black Manta, Brain, Clock King, Doctor Polaris, Gentleman Ghost, Gorilla Groodd, Kite Man and Sinestro) led by Red Hood (The Joker).
They appear in first season episode "Deep cover for Batman!". In the intro Red Hood is beaten by the Injsutice Syndicate and take his Phase Oscilator, a machine created to travel between parallel worlds. Owlman travels to the last destination that Hood marked in the device. He appears in Batcave so he attacks Batman, and during the struggle Owlman is defeated and tied up. Batman, taking this opportunity, disguises himself as Owlman, travels to his world and infiltrates the Syndicate.
Batman's disguise convinces them to not invade the planet because it is full of superheroes, but then Silver Cyclone propose to blow up the entire planet as a plan B. In order to assemble the weapon they steal the Prometheum 90 Isotope, and capture Red Hood in the process. Batman in disguise manages to ally himself with the Red Hood. Blue Bowman does not trust this "Owlman" and asks Dyna-Mite to spy on him revealing his identity to the Syndicate. At the end of the episode the caged heroes are released and fight along Batman, taking down the Syndicate.
Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths
This version of the Crime Syndicate is structured like a mob family, with the 6 original members (the sixth being J'edd Jarkus, an evil Martian Manhunter) serving as the "bosses" and Ultraman (who in this film is based on a stereotypical Italian mobster) acting as the "boss of bosses". The metahumans who serve them are known as "made men" because their powers are provided by the original 5 as a reward for their duties, and they also have foot soldiers who are non-powered. Members include the following:
- Ultraman's include Mr. Action, a muscular, ruthless version of Jimmy Olsen.
- Owlman's include evil versions of the Outsiders, made up of Black Power (Black Lightning), Sai (Katana), Model Citizen (Looker), and Aurora (Halo).
- Superwoman's include evil versions of the JSA and Satellite incarnation of the JLA, such as Manhawk (Hawkman), Mary Mayhem (Mary Marvel, despite Superwoman being confirmed as a Mary Marvel counterpart), Mister Horrific (Mister Terrific), Megamorpho (Metamorpho), and She-Bat (a mix of Catwoman and Man-Bat). There are also versions of Zatanna, Power Girl, Blue Beetle, Cyborg, Wildcat, Swamp Thing, Sandman, Firestorm, Doctor Fate, and Red Tornado shown. Her main made men are Captain Super, Uncle Super, and Captain Super Jr., alternate versions of Captain Marvel, Uncle Marvel, and Captain Marvel Jr.
- Johnny Quick's include Warwolf (Lobo), Archer (Green Arrow), and Scream Queen (Black Canary).
- Power Ring's includes Olympia (though it has not been confirmed if she's an alternate Wonder Woman or Donna Troy).
- J'edd Jarkus's (who early on is killed) include an evil version of the Detroit era League, sans Commander Steel, made up of Breakdance (Vibe), Vamp (Vixen), Extruded Man (Elongated Man), Fortuneteller (Gypsy), and Angelique (Hawkgirl). When Angelique and Jarkus are killed by the Jester (a heroic version of the Joker, who sacrifices his own life in the process), the remaining five bosses divide up his territory and control over his made men is given to Owlman.
Their opponents in the film are a heroic Lex Luthor (who, like in JLA: Earth-2, seeks out the help of the JLA) and President Slade Wilson (who is depicted as missing his left eye rather than his right), a famed war hero and government agent, who is reluctant to speak out against the Syndicate due to being afraid of what they would do to his daughter, Rose Wilson, an activist who isn't afraid to speak out against them. Following the deaths of Owlman and Johnny Quick, the remaining Syndicate leaders are arrested by Marines led by President Wilson, who sees to it that his world's law enforcement hunts down and arrests the remaining members.
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