In October of 2013, Earth made contact with an alien known only as the Ambassador, a representative of The Reach that had come to Earth on a “diplomatic mission”. Of course, the Justice League knew better as Cyborg had included an intelligence briefing concerning the Reach as early as 2009 after his “Young Justice” project had found evidence of an organization known as The Light had been in communication with an alien empire. But the evidence Cyborg had given the League did not implicitly indicate that it was The Reach that had been conspiring with The Light, so ARGUS, the UN, and most of the public were skeptical of the Justice League’s distrust in what seemed to be a benevolent alien ally.
In January of 2014, TJ and Georgia Sivana, the twin children of Dr. Thaddeus Sivana, Sr., held a press conference where they unveiled their answer to the Justice League after the approval ratings of the UN sponsored team had hit record low numbers. The Salvation Syndicate was meant to be a team that would better represent the interest of the American people and Sivana Industries entered into contract negotiations with the U.S. Government.
The Salvation Syndicate consisted of:
- Owlman, a caped crusader that had all the markings of a Batman rip-off.
- Ultraman, a younger Kryptonian that claimed that Superman was not the hero everyone claimed him to be.
- Superwoman, another Kryptonian that originally wanted to call herself something else but focus groups insisted she be Superwoman.
- Silver Banshee, an Irish lass whose powers showed she was more than just a Black Canary rip-off.
- Grid, a purely cybernetic organism said to be the creation of Sivana Industries based upon the alien technology that had created Cyborg.
- Power Ring, a woman with the power of a Green Lantern but who vowed to put Earth’s affairs above those of the Lantern Corps.
- Zoom, a Speedster who was said to be even faster than the Flash.
- Siren, Queen Mera's twin sister, Hila.
- Silver Swan, dubbed the cybernetic angel by the media, this young gal was quickly a fan-favorite.
Not part of the initial line-up, but shortly after the announcement of the team’s line-up, a few others were added:
- Firehawk, a free-spirited and beautiful female counterpart to Firestorm.
- Fury, a woman claiming to be an Amazon warrior that claimed that Wonder Woman and her mother were tyrants.
- Major Force, as the American government began negotiations with the Sivanas, this military created hero was added to their ranks.
- Mister Martian, a Martian that claimed he was off-world when the White Martian virus hit his planet and wants Earth to be his new home.
- Major Thunder, a masked dynamo who crackled with electricity and was said to be stronger than Superman.
- Straightshooter, an archer that claimed himself to be a better shot than Green Arrow.
The Salvation Syndicate quickly endeared themselves to the American people, showing up at more press events than the Justice League ever did, appearing on late night talk shows and morning programming, and making appearances at Reach sponsored events, where they would often give sound-bytes about the Justice League having something to hide from the Reach.
Of course, while the Syndicate was out being seen doing the good works, many of their members were carrying out covert missions dressed up as Justice Leaguers where they would rob banks, assault VIPs and dignitaries, and steal military hardware from around the world. Of course as evidence of these things slowly began to come to light, this only whittled down the Justice League’s public support further. But this ruse was ultimately short-lived. When the Justice League uncovered hard evidence of the Reach’s plans for Earth, the Reach moved up their endgame and launched a full-scale invasion, complete with sleeper agents.
In the chaos that followed the invasion, the Salvation Syndicate suddenly disappeared from public eye. Apparently an internal conflict occurred between the Syndicate’s members and the Sivanas. The Sivanas would later testify that some of the Syndicate’s members refused to fight the Reach in light of the Justice League’s evidence and this led to some members openly defecting. The Sivanas then claimed that they discovered a number of known criminals had infiltrated the Syndicate’s ranks and when they went public with this, the Syndicate members kept them prisoner. After a series of rather lucrative criminals endeavors, Owlman disappeared and other members did away with their disguises: Straightshooter showed himself to be Malcolm “The Magician” Merlyn, Major Thunder was Black Adam all along, Mister Martian was Ma'alefa'ak (aka: Malefic).
The Justice League did little to stop this power shift in the Salvation as they were too busy to notice, due to fighting the Reach Invasion. But toward the beginning of summer, with the Reach in decline due to a virus created by Ted Kord that caused Reach technology to go haywire, the Syndicate became a threat that the Justice League could no longer ignore.
Soon the likes of Ocean Master, General Zod, Ursa, Non, and other notorious villains joined the ranks of the Syndicate as they made a move against the U.S. Government. In a coordinate action, the Syndicate took the United States Senate, the President of the United States, key members of commerce and technology sectors, and influential celebrities hostage on the Fourth of July. The Justice League had to engage in a massive coordinated rescue mission. When the smoke settled, the Syndicate was no more but at a cost. Hank Hall, aka: “Hawk” was killed by Major Force in the Oval Office on live television, while the hero had been attempting to rescue the President of the United States from giving a forced on-air resignation. Hawk’s partner, Dawn Granger (aka: Dove), was able to escort the president to safety.
In the aftermath of this event, many members of the Syndicate were arrested and put on trial. Others had escaped and others were given executive pardons for their timely defecting that aided the Justice League in America’s darkest hour. The Sivanas were heavily sanctioned but were ultimately forgiven as they pledged billions to repair the damage caused by the Syndicate’s actions.
But that was not the last time we would see the Syndicate.
The more criminally inclined members such as Merlyn, Zoom, and Malefic would team up again down the road, and would dub themselves the Second Syndicate, the Crime Syndicate, the True Syndicate, the Secret Syndicate, etc., but never seeming able to reach the threat levels they had originally claimed.
Trivia and Notes
- Superwoman's original idea for a name was Flamebird. Flamebird and Nightwing are names of mythological figures from Kryptonian lore, but also the names of heroes on Earth.
- Each member of the Salvation Syndicate is counterpart to a member of the Justice League:
- Owlman = Batman
- Ultraman = Superman
- Superwoman = Power Girl
- Silver Banshee = Black Canary
- Grid = Cyborg
- Power Ring = Green Lantern(s)
- Zoom = The Flash
- Siren = Aquawoman
- Silver Swan = Hawkwoman
- Firehawk = Firestorm
- Fury = Wonder Woman
- Major Force = Captain Atom
- Mister Martian = Martian Manhunter
- Major Thunder = Captain Marvel
- Straightshooter = Green Arrow
- Ocean Master = Aquaman
- General Zod = Superman?
- Ursa = Power Girl?
- Non = Superboy?
- This is Earth-27 version of the Crime Syndicate, a team of villains from Earth-3.
- The already existing Flamebird and Nightwing are Bette Kane and Dick Grayson.