Cryptic Crossword Clue: Mimic the incarcerated oaf? Yes, they’re the evil Justice League (3,5,9,2,7)
Surely the ultimate enemy of the Justice League would be an evil version of the league. Exactly the same powers, just, y’know, in bad guys instead of the good guys of the Justice League.
That was the thought process when the Crime Syndicate of America (aka The Crime Syndicate of Amerika) was created. And while it’s gone through a few variations over the years, they’ve proven to be quality foes. Or, depending on your perspective, the Justice League has proven to be quality foes of the Crime Syndicate. Moral relativism is where it’s at.
The Crime Syndicate of America in the Comics
Justice League of America – Issues 29 and 30
The Crime Syndicate first pop up in issues 29 and 30 of the original Justice League of America – the second JLA/JSA cross-over. They’re villains from Earth-3, a backwards world where evil is good, good evil and morally grey matters are presumably still morally grey matters, but with the greyness inverted. They show up to fight the Justice League. And once they defeat them (spoiler!), they decide to take on the Justice Society as well.
This inability to quit while they’re ahead costs the CSA and they’re soon defeated and imprisoned in limbo. Let that be a lesson to you, guys (and superwoman).
Availability: This story can be found in the Justice League Omnibus, Volume 1 from Amazon.com
Justice League of America – Issues 207-209 (plus All-Star Squadron Issues 14 and 15)
The Crime Syndicate return with assistance from the villainous Per Degaton. It’s another JLA/JSA crossover, but this time with the All-Star Squadron added to the mix.
Oh, and they’re attacking our Earth. Yes, ours. Earth-Prime. Where you (the person reading this website and/or comic) live. The Crime Syndicate steal some nukes during the Cuban Missile Crisis which results in the nuclear devastation of Earth-Prime. But there are also shenanigans going on at Earth-2.
Ultimately, there’s time-travel and parallel universe-hopping aplenty until everything is undone and time returns to normal. Which is why you don’t remember the nuclear devastation of our Earth (unless, of course, you’re lucky enough to have read this comic).
Availability: This story is available as part of Crisis on Multiple Earths, Volume 6 in Trade Paperback or Kindle from Amazon.com
After the Crime Syndicate was destroyed in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, along with their entire evil universe, that should have been the end of the Crime Syndicate.
Enter the inimitable Grant Morrison, determined to confuse the bejeezus out of everybody by creating a new version of the Crime Syndicate and their morality-inverted universe. Except now their Earth is called Earth-2.
Because it’s Grant Morrison.
Anyway, the plot is essentially the same – evil version of the Justice League fights our good version, switches Earths with them for a bit until the Justice League get their act together, save the day and revert everything to normality.
Availability: The Earth-2 story is available in Trade Paperback, Deluxe or Kindle form from Amazon.com
The Crime Syndicate re-emerges in The New 52 to fight the Justice League in the Forever Evil mini-series. They pretty swiftly conquer the world (again!), but (again!) can’t keep hold of it, making a variety of tactical errors that allow the non-captured members of the Justice League to fight back and defeat them (again!). In the process, they fight, recruit and unmask more heroes and villains than any sane person can keep track of.
Insane people? Keep track to your heart’s content.