|Secret Society of Super-Villains (03-Current)
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This group will probably always be most famous for being one of the two foci of the 2005 series, Villains United.
While in truth it was the reformation and expansion of the "Luthor cell" of the original Secret Society, its success far outstripped that. Even the Wizard, Luthor's chief rival in the original group, was shown to be a part of this group. Indeed, the Wizard's presence is speculatively one of the reasons this group preferred to be called, simply, "The Society"--both a publically diplomatic nod to, and a privately held joke about, the Wizard's original, 1940's-era group, The Injustice Society. The simpler "Society" also refers to the fact that Luthor viewed one of the aims of the group to be the reformation of society itself away from dependence on "meta-human freaks".
The dimensions of this group were vast.
It was implied by Villains United that the group numbered in the hundreds; it was shown to easily contain more than the current rosters of the JSA and JLA, combined. The main reason Luthor was able to bring so many villains together was because of the perceived threat that super heroes were shown to display in the wake of the events of Identity Crisis. By mindwiping Dr. Light, villains across the DCU felt that the heroes had crossed a criminal line and were therefore open to attack for a reason better than just "they're the good guys and we're the bad guys". Luthor managed to appeal to villains' sense of right and give them an actual cause to fight about.
But this was also shown to be a vulnerability of the group dynamic. If that cause were removed, and heroes started "playing by the rules" again, there would be nothing for the villains to rally around any longer. Thus, Luthor had to come up with other "just" causes to keep his troops in line. Heroes like Wonder Woman undoubtedly helped when she was seen, worldwide, killing a man in (apparently) cold blood. Luthor was also seen to keep the group together by carefully psychoanalyzing all his team members, so as to keep them in line by methods specifically effective to the individual concerned.
The group was organized as a "democratic oligarchy", with a founding core of members having the ability to vote on courses of action. They were seen to overcome the will even of Luthor through this method. The initial core members were: Lex Luthor, Black Adam, Deathstroke, Talia al Ghul, Doctor Psycho and The Calculator.
The chief rival to this group, aside from super heroes, was the Secret Six (III), a much smaller, but powerful, group of rogues, who might be more properly viewed as "anti-heroes". The reason this group opposed the Society was the chief mystery of the series, Villains United.
[It should be pointed out that the Wizard cell of the original Secret Society reformed around the same time, but apparently existed independently for one story (the so-called 5th Countdown to Infinite Crisis series, JLA's "Crisis of Conscience"), before seeming to join with Luthor's group again. Those members were: Wizard, Star Sapphire (III), Matter Master, Felix Faust, Floronic Man, and Chronos. As of December 2005, not all these characters were seen allied with Luthor, but the Wizard's presence in Villain's United strongly implied their membership as well.]
The following roster is not complete--and, depending on DC's plans for the group, may not soon be so. Please feel free to add to this list as is necessary. Note that the leader of the group, Lex Luthor, is intentionally not included, as of December 2005, for contentual reasons. If you don't understand this, please read Villains United.
#3 - 'The Beacon'Checkmate (2006)
TPB vol. 01 - 'A King's Game'Countdown to Infinite Crisis (2005)
TPB vol. 01 - 'A King's Game'
#6 - 'Rogue Squad, Part One'
#7 - 'Rogue Squad, Part Two'
#1 - 'Countdown to Infinite Crisis'DC Universe Online: Legends (2011)
TPB vol. 03Firestorm (2004)
TPB vol. 03
TPB vol. 03
TPB vol. 03
TPB vol. 03
TPB vol. 03
#20 - 'Turn About'
#22 - 'The War Begins'
#23 - 'Victory!'
#24 - 'Collateral Damage'
#25 - 'Battle!'
#17 - 'An Unrighteous World'JLA 80-Page Giant (1998)
TPB vol. 02 - 'Trial By Fire'Superman (1987)
TPB vol. 02 - 'Trial By Fire'
#6 - 'Trial By Fire'
#10 - 'Manhunted, Part 1: Mistrial By Fire'
#221 - 'Jimmy's Day'Villains United (2005)
#1 - 'Villains United, Part One: And Empires in Their Purpose'Wonder Woman (2006)
#1 (2nd Printing Cover) - 'Villains United, Part One: And Empires in Their Purpose'
#1 (3rd Printing Cover) - 'Villains United, Part One: And Empires in Their Purpose'
#2 - 'Villains United, Part Two: A Fire in the Steppes'
#2 (2nd Print Cover) - 'Villains United, Part Two: A Fire in the Steppes'
#3 - 'Villains United, Part Three: Privileged to Spill Her Blood'
#4 - 'Villains United, Part Four: A Weapon to Unify'
#5 - 'Villains United, Part Five: Victims of Aggression'
#6 - 'Villains United, Part Six: At the End of All Things'
#14 - 'The Circle Part One of Four: What You Do Not Yet Know'
#15 - 'The Circle Part Two of Four: Dead Heat'
#16 - 'The Circle Part Three of Four: The Wellspring of All Vengeance'
#17 - 'The Circle Conclusion: A Time of Reckoning'
#27 - 'Part 2: A Sense of Loss'
#29 - 'Part 4: A Changed World'
#30 - 'Part 5: Songs My Sisters Will Sing'
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