Luthor's Injustice Gang.
Art by Barry Kitson.
|First appearance||Justice League of America #111 (May–June 1974)|
|Created by||Len Wein|
The original Injustice Gang's membership consisted of:
By the end of the first appearance, it is revealed that their entire operation was massive feint by their organizer, Libra, to test a power-stealing device. A series of "Plan B" devices the villains had been given in case the JLA defeats them absorbs half of the heroes' powers and transfers them to Libra. Satisfied with the results, he then turns his device upon the universe itself, hoping to become a god. Instead, Libra is absorbed into the universe itself, effectively disintegrating him and spreading his essence across the cosmos. The JLA later modifies the android Amazo to recover their lost powers.
The villainous Construct regroups all of the members save the Shadow Thief, as well as a mentally-controlled Wonder Woman; the Construct is destroyed and the Injustice Gang's satellite is apparently destroyed. Later, Abra Kadabra reforms the gang yet again with all prior members when the alien Ultraa causes superheroes to lose their powers while supervillains' abilities are increased. This time, the Gang takes over the Justice League's original headquarters in Happy Harbor, Rhode Island, but are once again routed.
In a story set between the first and second appearances of Libra's Injustice Gang but published more recently, another version of the group appears. The members of this Gang include:
Despite being seen destroyed in an earlier story, the Injustice Gang's satellite later reappeared during the Identity Crisis miniseries, now a shabby clubhouse for villains in-between schemes. It is also a place of business for a gang of mercenary supervillains headed by Calculator. In the miniseries, Merlyn, the criminal nemesis of Green Arrow, openly states his derision of the name Injustice Gang, saying, "Some try to be a bit more professional." The satellite also appeared in the first DC/Marvel crossover, when Lex Luthor and Doctor Octopus used it as the location from which they would blackmail the world, with Superman and Spider-Man only just managing to defeat them.
The subsequent incarnation of the team appeared in the Rock of Ages storyline of JLA #10–15. This team was formed to mirror the Justice League of that era, with each member being a recurring enemy of a corresponding member of the League. Lex Luthor stated that he formed the Injustice Gang in response to the creation of the new League because, while he perceived previous Leagues to be mere annoyances at best, he saw Superman's leadership as being Superman "throwing down the gauntlet". Its members included:
However, the team had problems from the beginning; Jemm was only on the team because Luthor was manipulating his mind with the Philosopher's Stone (later revealed to be the Worlogog), and Mirror Master later defected from the group when Batman offered to pay the mercenary double what Luthor was offering him. With Luthor regarding this assault on the League as a 'corporate takeover', he attempted to manipulate the League's 'new blood' in the form of the new Green Lantern, Green Arrow (Connor Hawke) and new hero Aztek into betraying the League. Although Rayner ignored the 'offer', Hawke is seemingly seduced by Circe into believing that the League looked down on him, and Luthor reveals that he had provided the financial support necessary to create Aztek's armour. Luthor had intended to force the League to disband and subsequently form a new League under his control. However, thanks to Plastic Man infiltrating the group disguised as the Joker, coupled with Luthor's inability to understand the true motivations of heroism (meaning that he underestimated what he would have to do to win Green Arrow's allegiance), the League are able to foil Luthor's plot, subsequently taking the Stone from Luthor after defeating the other members of the Gang. Unfortunately, no charges could be pressed due to the Gang having caused no real harm - when the Joker was briefly restored to sanity by the Martian Manhunter after he acquired the Worloggog, he then used it to undo the destruction they had caused in their first attack - forcing the League to allow them all to go free.
Luthor reformed the team in the World War III storyline (JLA #36-41) with new members. This team did not attempt to mirror the League but instead consisted of villains who had posed major solo threats to the JLA in the past. It included:
It was swiftly revealed that the new Injustice Gang was being manipulated by the ancient superweapon Mageddon to keep the League occupied, with Lex Luthor serving as Mageddon's unwilling 'emissary', keeping the League off-balance so that they couldn't interfere with Mageddon's attack, while also indirectly influencing the other three members to more aggressive actions. After Martian Manhunter and Green Lantern are able to break through Mageddon's hold on Luthor, Steel, Plastic Man, Barda and Wonder Woman took out the Queen Bee by draping Plastic Man over Steel (rendering him 'invisible' to the Queen Bee as she is unable to see the colour red) so that they can banish her via Barda's Boom Tube, while Superman, Orion, Martian Manhunter and Sturmer are able to trap the General in the limbo that Prometheus had discovered. Batman defeats Prometheus after reprogramming his helmet— normally capable of giving the villain the combat skills of thirty of the world's greatest martial artists— to give him the motor skills of Stephen Hawking.
In Scott Snyder's Justice League series, Vandal Savage tries to establish a new Injustice Gang composed of Neanderthal tribe leaders whom he saved from extinction. However, they and their respected Hall of Doom fall victim to a hostile takeover from Lex Luthor and his newly created Legion of Doom.
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