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One DC Villain Can Take On The Entire Justice Society Of America At Once

The Justice Society of America might be one of the strongest superteams in the DC Universe. Still, against the time-manipulation villain Per Degaton (as detailed in "Justice Society of America" #4, spoilers below), the group has little recourse in stopping him — even when harnessing their powers together.

In the current "Justice Society of America" miniseries from DC Comics, Helena Wayne, daughter of Batman and Catwoman from the future, has traveled across time to warn the JSAs about a villain attempting to kill every version of the team from timelines past, present, and future. That foe is Per Degaton, whose desire to control and change history has led him face-to-face with multiple iterations of the superteam. 

Realizing he won't be able to accomplish his goal without killing the JSA, Degaton has slaughtered Justice Societies throughout time, leading him to the Prime-Earth version of the team. In their latest fight, Degaton's swift attack makes the powerful heroes look weak — but Helena, who watched the villain kill her own JSA (including her mother and father), assists them in avoiding sudden death.

Who is Per Degaton?

Per Degaton is one of DC's oldest villains, making his first comic book appearance in 1947's "All Star Comics" #35, by John Broone and Irwin Hasen. 

Originally depicted as a time-obsessed scientist, Degaton gained the ability to look into the future; later he would develop the power of inter-dimensional travel, journeying to various Earths across the Multiverse. In 2023's "Justice Society of America" #3 (by Geoff Johns, Mikel Janin, Jordie Bellaire, Jerry Ordway, Scott Kolins, Steve Lieber, Brandon Peterson, John Kalisz, Jordan Boyd, and Rob Leigh from DC Comics) Degaton's origin story was developed far more substantially.

In that comic, Degaton is seen working alongside Adolf Hitler during the 1940s, gaining a reputation for capturing villagers and using them for his experiments. While trying to break the Fourth Dimension, a group of American soldiers (led by Sgt. Rock) attack his lab and kill most of the Nazis working with him. It is then that Degaton desperately inserts himself into his not-quite-finished experiments.

While the soldiers believe Degaton has vaporized himself and is off the board, the villain ends up in 1947, leading directly into the events of that original "All Star Comics" issue, where he tries to continue Hitler's mission while rewriting history. 

Ultimately, Degaton's quest was stopped by the Justice Society of America. However, Degaton would continue to try to change time and eliminate the JSA, genetically altering his body and powers in attempts to finally overcome them. As a result, he would become a stronger, more significant problem for all JSA teams. Degaton would murder Helena Wayne's team (including her mother, Catwoman), serving as a catalyst for her journey to the present day, where the villain makes a surprise return and tries to kill the current group of heroes.

Per Degaton nearly killed another JSA

In "Justice Society of America" #4 from DC Comics, Per Degaton arrives at JSA headquarters, where he welcomes the superteam's attack. 

Despite having several heavy hitters on the team, including Alan Scott's Green Lantern, Power Girl, Jay Garrick's Flash, and Khalid Nassour's Doctor Fate, Degaton has a counter for each of their attempts to stop him. First, he thwarts The Flash by slowing down time while using a Kryptonite ring to spell Power Girl. As his victory looms, the time-traveling villain not accounting for Helena Wayne being in the timeline allows her to use her crossbow to temporarily stop him, slicing off one of his fingers with an arrow. Since Wayne isn't supposed to be in the timeline, she explains to Doctor Fate that he can't see what she will do next. Degaton has killed other versions of Fate because he couldn't pick up on their actions either. As a result, Doctor Fate unleashes a powerful spell that sends the villain back in time.

There's little question Degaton would have defeated the current Justice Society of America if he knew about Helena Wayne's presence. But, with the hero being unstuck in time and surprising him in the fight, the JSA is able to take him down — for now. Considering how he made some of the most powerful heroes in the DC Universe look overmatched, Degaton has the capability to kill the team, and almost did so in his first attempt on Prime-Earth. The JSA will need all the help they can get to ensure their survival so that they are not the next Justice Society Degaton wipes out.

"Justice Society of America" #4 by DC Comics is available in comic book stores and online retailers now.