Johnny Thunder

Jakeem Thunder

Johnny Thunder created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino
Jakeem Thunder created by Grant Morrison and Howard Porter

Johnny Thunder II

NAME + ALIASES:
Johnny Thunder and Yz, Johnny Thunderbolt

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Simon B. Thunder (father, deceased), Mildred (mother, deceased), six unnamed brothers, William Twotrees (Willpower, son), Kiku (adoptive daughter), Peachy Pet (adoptive daughter)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
Flash Comics #1 (Jan. 1940)
Daisy Darling: Flash Comics #2 (Feb. 1940)
"Peachy Pet" Thunder: Flash Comics #21 (Sept. 1941)

Jakeem Thunder

NAME + ALIASES:
Jakeem Johnny Williams and Johnny Thunderbolt (Johnny Thunder and the genies Yz & Lkz)

KNOWN RELATIVES:
Phil (father), unnamed mother, Jimmy (brother, deceased), unnamed grandmother (deceased), unnamed half-brother, Lashawn (aunt), Jenny (aunt)

GROUP AFFILIATIONS:
Justice Society of America

FIRST APPEARANCE:
JLA #26 (Jan. 1999)

History

Johnny Thunder was born the seventh son of a seventh son on 7 July 1917 to Simon B. Thunder and his wife Mildred. This "numerically significant" birth was impetus for a superstitious group of Badhnesians to kidnap baby Johnny. These people believed that on his seventh birthday, he was destined to become the master of their other-dimensional pink djinn. Taken while only a year old, Johnny was raised in Badhnesia.

Legend would tell that before that time, the neighboring company of Agolea declared war on Bahdnisia and kidnapped Johnny, who was lost at sea and eventually returned to his parents. Johnny, however, later secretly admitted that he accidentally set himself adrift at sea; he was not kidnapped. (JSA: Strange Adventures #2) He returned home to his parents and over time, he accidentally discovered the magic words which would summon the genie: "Cei-U" (Say You). Control over this Thunderbolt earned Johnny membership in the newly formed Justice Society.

Thought Johnny never married he did leave a legacy. He had a relationship with a girl named Daisy Darling that lasted through most of the war years, although she eventually left him. In 1941 he adopted a young girl named Peachy Pet, who even joined him when he did a stint in the U.S. Navy, becoming the mascot of Johnny's ship. In 1947, Johnny met Dinah Drake, Black Canary I, with whom he shared a number of adventures. Although Johnny had a crush on her, it was not requited, and Dinah eventually married her longtime boy friend Larry Lance.

Johnny Thunder's Thunderbolt seeks Superman's help. From Superman Family #204 (1981); art by Kurt Schaffenberger and Frank Chiaramonte.

Johnny and Kiku, the last Bahdnesian. From Justice Society of America v.2 #7 (1993); art by Mike Parobek and Mike Machlan.

In the 1960s, he had a relationship with another woman; allegedly, William Twotrees, a member of the group Primal Force, may be his son from this union. Johnny apparently carried a torch for Dinah Drake Lance for many years, and he was very saddened to discover that she had died during the JSA's time in Limbo.

In the late 1940s, Johnny's participation in the JSA waned and his powers became unpredictable. This was due to the interference of a shaman from Badhnisia. As a child, Johnny had been fitted with a belt powered by the Eternal Zone of the Zodiac. When Johnny stopped wearing the belt, the shaman intervened and took control of him, and thus the Thunderbolt. The shaman put a hex on Johnny and installed him as the King of Badhnisia. In a moment of clarity, Johnny was able to send T-Bolt to Superman for help. But since Superman was vulnerable to magic, he and his wife Lois staged a ruse to surprise the shaman and trick him into giving up his power. Johnny decided to remain there and teach the natives about democracy. (Superman Family #204)

He was happy to find, however, that Peachy Pet, now an adult, became the founder of a highly successful frozen yogurt chain. Just before the so-called "Zero Hour," he adopted a young girl named Kiku, the last native of Badhnesia. Both Twotrees' and Kiku's current whereabouts are unknown.

Jakeem Thunder

casp. From xxx # (); art by .

Johnny began to lose control over the Thunderbolt because of his declining mental health and the original pink Thunderbolt fell into the hands of the young Jakeem Thunder. This happened when Johnny absentmindedly put the genie inside an ink pen, (Flash v.2 #134) which Jay Garrick (the Flash) then unknowingly gave to Jakeem. (JLA #26) Jakeem discovered that the Thunderbolt actually came from the Fifth Dimension and was controlled by speaking it's name (Yz) backwards ("Say You"). (#29) During a dimensional war involving the JLA, the Thunderbolt merged with another blue genie named Lkz from the Fifth Dimension. Lkz was controlled by speaking the phrase, "So cool." Yz and Lkz formed a new purple genie named Ylzkz and this new genie was also now controlled by the phrase "so cool." (#31) NOTE: After this, the Thunderbolt was often colored pink. Thunder's first name, Jakeem, wasn't created until JSA #21 (2001). His last name was given in JSA Secret Files #2 (2001)

Jakeem's mother left his father while she was still pregnant with the boy, and she died of cancer before ever telling Jakeem's father, Phil, about his son. His aunt Lashawn was granted custody. Jakeem became a self-reliant latchkey kid with street savvy. He adopted a tough, foul-mouthed attitude in order to survive this life.

After assuming control of the genie, Jakeem was welcomed by the Flash as a part-time member of the new Justice Society, where other young heroes like Stargirl have been a positive influence on him. (JSA #19) He also benefitted from the guidance of Johnny Thunder, Mister Terrific, and Hourman (Rick Tyler).

Poor Johnny's fragile mind was overtaken by the Ultra-Humanite, (#32) and Ultra used the power of his Thunderbolt to enslave Earth's strongest heroes as his "Thunderfront." Jakeem escaped and joined a rebel cell. (#33) The rebels used Captain Marvel's power to "ground" the Thunderbolt and released all of Ultra's captives. In doing so, Johnny Thunder's body was imperiled. (#36) To save Johnny, the Thunderbolt fused itself to him. The resulting genie bore Johnny's likeness and memories. Johnny's family was informed of his death and a funeral was held at Valhalla. The Thnunder family did not know that he lived on as the Thunderbolt. (#37)

With Johnny's help, Jakeem met his biological father, who was an engineering student. Jakeem did not reveal his true identity, but also met Phil's wife, Jennifer and his younger half-brother. He was torn between his longing to reconnect with his biological father, and not wanting to upset Phil's life. (#38)

When the hostless Spectre went on a rampage to eliminate all magic from Earth, it sent Johnny Thunderbolt and Jakeem back into their magic pen, which was in fact the 5th dimension. (#76) The JSA sought help from Doctor Fate, and found Nabu at the Tower of Fate. Nabu used Jakeem's pen to open a portal to the Fifth Dimension. There, Johnny Thunderbolt had amassed an army — including his son, Shocko, his wife Peachy Pet, and Mnky, Saradin and Rklz. Their evil foe turned out to be Jakeem himself. (#78) Jakeem had been corrupted by the Spectre's wrath; he was too powerful and the JSA was forced to retreat to the 6th Dimension. (#79) Jakeem took control of the Thunderbolt but Mister Terrific managed to convince the T-Bolt to act for itself. Soon the real mastermind was revealed—Qwsp. Jakeem shook free of Qwsp's control and once they returned to Earth, Jakeem ordered the Thunderbolt to banish Mordru to somewhere he would never be seen again. (#80)

The return of the Gentleman Ghost created a mystical environment that enabled the Thunderbolt to introduce Jakeem to the ghosts of his mother, grandmother, and an older brother, Jimmy — whom he never knew. Allegedly, Jimmy died along with their grandmother in a fire. (#84) Jakeem commanded the Thunderbolt to take them to the place where ghosts "lived." They found the Gentleman Ghost and got help from the ghosts of Jade, Atom, Sandman, Mister Terrific and the Batman of Earth-2. (#85)

The Spectre's rampage ushered in the Tenth Age of Magic, one in which all the rules had changed. Jakeem decided one day to tax the full extent of the Thunderbolt's abilities and grant the wishes of anyone who requested one. What he discovered was that for every fortune he bestowed, a misfortune happened elsewhere. (JSA Classified #28)

When Jakeem Thunder returned to the JSA, he discovered many changes. The JSA had recruited many new, young heroes. He found himself tongue tied around Lightning (Jennifer Pierce). (Justice Society of America v.3 #12)

Notes

Jakeem Thunder was inspired by the Elseworlds hero from Kingdom Come #1 (1996). This hero was the successor to Johnny Thunder, looked similar to Jakeem, and was called "Thunder."

DC also has a Western hero called Johnny Thunder, whose adventures were set in the Old West. He first appeared in All-American Comics #100 (Aug. 1948) and he later married Madame .44.

Earth-2, Post Infinite-Crisis

After the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the original Earth Two was merged into all other surviving Earths. After the Infinite Crisis, the multiverse of the DC Universe was restored, there was again an Earth-2. Their history seemed to have unfolded as if the first Crisis had never happened (picking up approximately after Infinity, Inc. #24). On it, Infinity Inc. and the Justice Society merged to form Justice Society Infinity, and Johnny was a member. (JSA Kingdom Come Special: The Kingdom #1)

+ Powers

Johnny and Jakeem have control over genies which hail from the 5th dimension, which is also home to Superman's nemesis, Mr. Myxzptlk and Aquaman's foe, Qwsp. These genies have near-limitless power, but are bound by the commands of their masters. They can project energy, teleport, creat hard-light constructs and affect third dimensional matter in ways that appear "magical."

The genies appear to gladly serve their masters and have never expressed the desire to be "freed."

According to the legends, only the seventh son of a seventh son can wield a Thunderbolt. This appears indeed to be only a legend, as neither Kiku nor Jakeem meet this criterion.

Appearances + References

» FEATURED APPEARANCES:  

Johnny:

  • Adventure Comics 80-Page Giant #1
  • All-American Comics v.2 #1 
  • All-Star Squadron #1, 3-5, 20-21, 25, 27-28, 30-32, 50, 58, 60, 67, Annual #3
  • America vs. the Justice Society #1-4
  • Armageddon: Inferno #3-4
  • Big All-American Comic Book #1
  • Crisis on Infinite Earths #9, 10, 12
  • The Flash v.1 #134, 137
  • Golden Age Secret Files #1
  • Impulse: Bart Saves the Universe
  • Infinity, Inc. #1, 2, 21, 22, 25, Annual #1
  • JLA #28-31
  • JLA: Incarnations #1
  • JSA #1, 29, 32-37, 69-72
  • Justice League of America #37-38, 55-56, 82-83, 100, 102, 123, 124, 135, 135-137, 193, 195-197, 219, 220, 232
  • Justice Society of America v.1 #1, 3, 5-7, 7, 9, 10
  • Last Days of the Justice Society Special #1
  • New York World's Fair Comics #2
  • Primal Force #12
  • Secret Origins v.2 #13
  • The Spectre v.3 #20
  • Starman v.2 #62, 69
  • Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. #9
  • War of the Gods #2
  • Wonder Woman v.1 #131-133, 231, 232, 243
  • World's Finest Comics #1-3
  • Young All-Stars #3, 9, 27, Annual #1
  • Zero Hour #3, 2

Jakeem:

  • 52 #1, 50, 51
  • Action Comics #873
  • Blackest Night #1
  • Countdown #20
  • Infinite Crisis #6
  • JLA #26, 28-31
  • JSA #19-21, 29, 32-38, 45-47, 49-52, 54, 66, 68-74, 78-81
  • JSA All-Stars #7
  • JSA Secret Files #2
  • JSA vs. Kobra #3-6
  • JSA: Classified #28
  • JSA: Our Worlds at War #1
  • Justice Society of America v.3 #12, 14-16
  • Superman v.1 #683
  • Titans Secret Files #2
  • World War III #3-4
  • Young Justice #49-51

» SERIES:

Johnny:

  • Flash Comics #1-91 (Jan. 1940–Jan. 1948)
  • All-Star Comics #3-35, 37-40, 74
  • JSA: Strange Adventures, 6-issue limited series (2004)