Wednesday, August 17, 2016

JLA Foes The Injustice Gang Of The World

This gathering of evil is the Injustice Gang of the World.

They were formed in Justice League of America #111 (May-June, 1974 by Len Wein and Dick Dillin) by a villain called Libra (also his first appearance, and more on him later….since even though he gathered these foes, and gave them a satellite of their own, his history didn’t get revealed until much later).

This group was unique, as it was the first named gathering of villains of established Justice League of America members (well, only JLA members…more on that later) and this group came back a few times!

So, let’s start with their members….though they weren’t the greatest foes of each of the members of the Justice League, they had fought their respective JLAers a few times before appearing here…


Jonathan Crane first got noticed by the Batman back in World’s Finest Comics #3 (Fall, 1943 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane), and his first cover appearance on Detective Comics #73 (in March, 1943, though both of those were technically the Earth-2 Scarecrow, the one in the IGW was first in Batman #189 of February, 1967), and was last in Detective Comics #389 (July, 1969) before joining the IGW.  

Dr. Crane was a psychologist who went a little crazy, as his fascination with fear led him to experiment on people…and brought him into conflict with Batman and Robin (and he kept coming back, even being enhanced by Neron for a time…and facing Hawkman!   

He even fought other Batman foes like Joker and Catwoman).

Scarecrow used a fear gas to fight his foes, and make them face what they feared the most (which makes him the perfect villain for Halloween).

Poison Ivy

Pamela Isley started to cause trouble for Batman and Robin with Batman #181 (June, 1966 by Robert Kanigher and Sheldon Moldoff), but she simply was a tease (based on model Bettie Page, no less!).  Poison Ivy last appeared in Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane #116 (November, 1971) fighting the Rose and Thorn (another Kanigher creation....) before joining the Injustice Gang.

Later appearances added her immunity to poisons and plant-manipulation powers (and when she faced Wonder Woman in a couple of World’s Finest Comics issues, she was a botany student named Lillian Rose, who was seduced herself to become a thief by a Frenchman….who then poisoned her, and she survived to become Poison Ivy).  Later, her name was changed to Pamela Isley, and she was a student of Jason Woodrue (he who became the Atom and Swamp Thing foe, Floronic Man…).  

Poison Ivy fought against the Metropolis heroine, the Thorn in the pages of Lois Lane, was also a member of later super-villain group the Secret Society of Super-Villains, and of the government sponsored group the Suicide Squad, and worked quite a bit with Joker’s gal, Harley Quinn and then with her and the Catwoman as well.

Poison Ivy was immune to poison, knew plants, had a hatred for men, but knew how to manipulate both flora and fauna.


David Clinton first menaced the mighty mite in Atom #3 (October-November, 1962 by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane), and used devices based on clocks and watches to fight the little man.  As time progressed, Chronos seemed to gain some mastery of time travel as well... both for his good and bad.

Chronos was also a member of the Crime Champions (a villain team composed of Flash foe Dr. Alchemy, JLA foe Felix Faust, golden age Green Lantern foe Icicle, JSA foe the Wizard and golden age Flash foe the Fiddler…who did beat the IGW into existence by 90 issues…but was a mix of JLA and JSA villains…and didn’t reoccur until after the Injustice Gang’s 3 appearances as a group).  

Chronos last faced the Atom in Action Comics #427 (September, 1973) before becoming a member of the IGW.  

Chronos also joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains, the Suicide Squad, even the “anti-Justice League” with folks like Merlyn, the Ocean Master, Sinestro and Grodd…and even the Time Foes!  

Chronos even played baseball against a team of heroes comprised of JLAers and Teen Titans, as well as facing Elongated Man, Wonder Woman, Captain Comet and Tommy Tomorrow, Superman & Batman and Blue Beetle individually!

Chronos was quite the timely villain, facing foes with watch-inspired woes, clock catastrophes and time travel troubles!

Mirror Master

Sam Scudder was a crook even before he became a foe of the Flash (starting in Flash #105, March, 1959 by John Broome and Carmine Infantino), and while in prison manipulated a mirror into holding an image, and used that to escape.  Somehow this convict came up with a few other mirror gimmicks, and faced the Flash…time and time again!  He even teamed up with other Flash foes like Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Heat Wave, the Top, and the Pied Piper to form the Flash Rogue’s Gallery, so Mirror Master was a natural at joining groups, and he last faced Flash in Flash #219 (December-January, 1972/1973)!  

Mirror Master was the first of JLAers individual foe to pop up in JLA stories (Brave and the Bold #30 with Amazo, as well as Justice League of America #40 with the Shark) and also joined the Secret Society of Super-Villains with a few other Flash foes like Grodd, Captain Cold and the Trickster, and faced Elongated Man a few times, and even Batman…before Sam died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths!  

Though the mantle of the Mirror Master was picked up a few times…before Flashpoint ended things, it was worn by Evan McCulloch, who faced Animal Man and Gunfire, before coming to face off against the Wally West version of the Flash, and Evan even joined the Rogues as well, and later faced Green Arrow even!

Mirror Master cast quite a negative reflection, facing the Flash with a little slight of hand, and polished up as quite the villain.


Carl Sands was a criminal, who happened to be able to make contact with an extra-dimensional being named Thar Dan from Xarapion, and saved his life.  As a reward, Carl was given the Dimensiometer which allowed him to become a shadow (and a pair of gloves that allowed him to grip objects as a shadow), and became…a Shadow-Thief!  This brought him into conflict with Midway City’s alien heroes, Hawkman and Hawkgirl (in Brave & the Bold #36, July, 1961 by Gardner Fox and Joe Kubert).  A side effect of the device would have plunged the Earth into an ice age, had the Hawks not stopped the Shadow-Thief!  He returned again to face the Thanagarian couple (appearing in Hawkman #5 of December-January, 1964/1965), before joining the IGW (and only appeared as a member of the group once, as when he came back to face the JLA again…along with Captain Cold, the Icicle and Wonder Woman’s foe, Minister Blizzard), the Phantom Stranger took his Dimensiometer away!  

Eventually, Carl got it back, and continued to menace Hawkman (and now Hawkwoman), and even got more power working with the Thanagarians and with the demon Neron (as well as getting some of his own history rewritten as the Hawks had their lives altered as well).

Beware what’s in the shadows, it could be the Shadow-Thief!

Tattooed Man

Abel Tarrant was a sailor who was starting a criminal career, until being exposed to some mysterious chemicals that allowed him to animate objects from images made with those chemicals.  Inking up, he became the Tattooed Man and faced Green Lantern in Coast City in Green Lantern #23 (September, 1963 by Gardner Fox and Gil Kane).  And then, the Tattooed Man pretty much only popped up in the Justice League book for a time (Justice League of America #28, #61 along with folks like Lex Luthor, Penguin and Dr. Light in #69), before joining up with the IGW (and getting a new costume, which he dumped to be part of the baseball team of villains…so he had his old suit for his two return appearances with the IGW in #143 and #158).  Abel even was thought to have been dead for a time…but it was only a tattoo image of him!  

This salty sea dog doesn’t even appear on that many covers!  Other people got inked up with his special ink, making other Tattooed Men to menace other heroes (or, even try to be a hero at times).

Being a man of many talents, this inked irritant called the Tattooed Man was an occasional bother to Green Lantern!


Justin Ballantine was just a poor boy who lost his mother when he was young due to a pharmacist who gave her the wrong medicine (because he was a drunk).  So, Justin threw himself into astronomy…and would have been killed by his father (after Justin spent all his money on a telescope), if not for the fact his father was drunk and fell to his death.  These events taught Justin balance, and after some tutoring (eventually even being a student of Ted Knight, the first Starman, in college) he was ready to strike out on his own.  

A mysterious benefactor gives him the Transmortifier (and, likely the satellite) to test against the JLA (the device absorbs powers), and he formed the Injustice Gang of the World to menace the heroes.  At the end of the battle, Libra tried to absorb the universe…and ended up on Apokolips, being reformed by Desaad, where it was revealed it was Darkseid’s device, given to Libra by Glorious Godfrey!  These New Gods then returned, gathering an army of villains (including Martian Manhunter foe, the Human Flame), and became a menace to the JLA and the world in the Final Crisis!

Libra kept things in balance, to try to turn the scales of justice…against the Justice League!

The Injustice Gang of the World wasn’t quite the first group of villains the JLA faced, but they were the most frequent in the Justice League of America title, coming back without Libra, with the Construct in charge in Justice League of America #143 (June, 1977) and Abra Kadabra pulling the strings in Justice League of America #158 (September, 1978)…in the Silver and Bronze Age, and they led the way to bigger groups  and more menaces!

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