WANTED: Earth-Two's Most Dangerous Super-Villains

Per Degaton

Personal information

Name: Per Degaton


 Residence: Usually Mobile
 Occupation: Professional Criminal, would-be conqueror
 First Appearance (Golden Age): All-Star Comics #35 (October 1947)
 First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Comics #58 (January/February 1976)

Character History

  Virtually nothing is known of life of Per Degaton before he was hired as laboratory technician by The Time Trust, a group of scientists devoted to the study of time travel. He was a minor figure in the 1941, when the Time Trust attempted to retrieve future technology to aid America in the world (All-Star Comics #10) which was ultimately sabotaged behind-the-scenes by Degaton (revealed in America vs. the JSA #4). In 1947, Degaton was an assistant for Dr. Malachi Zee a former member of the Time Trust. Zee revealed his theories of time to Degaton as well as his prototype time travel device. One afternoon, in a mundane moment that became a critical juncture in Earh-Two history, Degaton took his last order from Zee. After the elder scientist castigated him for mumbling and instructed him to continue washing test tubes, Degaton snapped. He quickly pulled a revolver, shot Zee and dove into the Time Machine.


At this moment in history, Degaton's history can be thought of as a flower. The stem, Earth-Two's main timeline, had one history in which the current events of the Justice Society are charted. However, each petal represents a foray into time in which Degaton has attempted to alter the past or the future, been thwarted and, as time has corrected itself, been returned to that moment in time immediately before he turns on Zee. To date, several such excursions have been charted. It should be noted that while the various known actions are "numbered" in this text, there is no way of knowing which "order" any of these occurred in and that hundreds or thousands of parallel excursions may have also occurred.


The first recorded excursion was in early 1947. Using the Time Machine, Degaton traveled back to 331 B.C. and supplied the Persion sultan Darius with modern weapons with which to defeat Alexander the Great. With this battle altered, the timeline changed such that the growth of civilization is severely stunted. The 20th century reverts to 

medieval levels of technology and Degaton, who has been hiding in an arsenal outside the changed timeline, conquers America handily. Meanwhile, Zee has been found and moved to a hospital where he summons the JSA to his bedside. As he is about to reveal the event which he believe Degaton has altered, he is shot once more. The JSA sends several of it's members on reconnaissance missions to determine Degaton's origins and intentions. When they return Zee is well enough to talk and tells them of Degaton's interference in the Battle of Arbela. The JSA then use Green Lantern's ring to go back to that fated battle and use their powers to again turn the tide in Alexander's favor. Successful, the JSA return to their own time with only one of Alexander's shields as a memento. They themselves remember nothing, and learn only of the case through Wonder Woman's Magic Sphere (All-Star Comics #35)

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The second excursion occurred when Degaton sought to influence America during the early days of World War II. Plagued by dreams of previous excursions, he realized that he could use the Time Machine to seize control of the world. Guided by his dreams, he recognized that Zee would ultimately betray him and in this excursion, pummeled the old man to death before stealing the Time Machine. Assembling a team of villains from the various eras of post-war history, Degaton attacked the JSA during the earliest days of their existence. Quickly surprising and subduing the members, he placed the captured heroes in a cave on a remote Pacific Island. Using an underwater aircraft carrier, he planned to launch an attack on the coast of the United States before America could bring her awesome military machine into full production. However, Degaton erred when he underestimated the other costumed heroes of the day, who organized to form a broader based group of heroes known as the All-Star Squadron. As events slowly turned against Degaton with the defeat of his super-villain operatives and the release of the JSA, he opted to return to 1947, even though it would mean the loss of his memories and a return to his existence as Zee's lab assistant (JLA #193, All-Star Squadron #1-3)


In the third excursion, Degaton learned that in addition to forward and backwards in time, the machine could also follow the time stream and visit the divergent earths, including Earths-One, Two and Three. In his travels, Degaton discovered the prison of Earth-Three's Crime Syndicate and released the villains, employing them as his agents. Together, they raided Earth-Prime in 1961, stealing several nuclear missiles and sending Earth-Prime into nuclear war. Degaton then set a course for 1942, intending to use the missiles to take over Earth-2 before World War II had ended and destroy the JSA. En route, the Crime Syndicate betrayed him and Degaton dropped them off in the JLA satellite in the 1980's on Earth-1. The Crime Syndicate then informed them of Degatn's plans and after their escape, the JLA and JSA traveled back into the past to combine forces with the All-Star Squadron to defeat the Syndicate members and Degaton. As before, Degaton was left only with dreams and sink full of test tubes (JLA #207-209, All-Star Squadron #14-15).

Degaton 2

Cover - All Star Comics #35

Each of these excursions always ended where they began, with Degaton back in 1947. However, the stem of the time line also resulted in Degaton becoming an arch-foe of the JSA. Plagued by dreams, Degaton assualted Zee in an attempt to steal his technology. After being shot by Degaton, Zee made it to the Time Machine first and set a course for 1983, leaving Degaton surrounded by his equipment (revealed in America vs the JSA #4). Degaton used these materials to become a super-villain and obtain entry into the first incarnation of the Injustice Society of the World (All-Star Comics #37). After the defeat of the ISW, Degaton was sentenced to a long stint in prison (revealed in All-Star Comics #58). Degaton was either free at some point thereafter or connected enough to function from within jail to influence Senator Joseph Fallon's role in discrediting the Justice Society in 1951 (revealed in America vs the Justice Society #4) .


As far as is known, Per Degaton remained in prison for over 20 years, where he became a shallow wreck of a man. In the mid-1970's, he was paroled and released into the streets of Gotham. He died his red hair black to be inobtrusive but was later discovered by the Brain Wave. Brain Wave restored Degaton's memories and the two set out to conquer the world. Their efforts, as always, were opposed by the Justice Society and the two would-be conquerors were shortly back behind prison bars (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #58-60.

Degaton 3

All-Star Comics #35

   As time passed, Degaton grew old in prison eventually reaching such a dotage that he was paroled. Taking advantage of the revelation of Batman's Diary, a document that supposedly convicted the Justice Society of treason, Degaton used his remaining influence to attempt to indict the group in Congressional sub-committee. Degaton's recognized that this was likely his last chance as a day that he had foreseen, the return of Zee's time machine, was close at hand. As the Congressional sub-committee became less and less convinced by evidence against the JSA, Degaton kidnapped Richard Grayson, Earth-2's Robin, and waited at the spot where the time machine should appear. The JSA, in pursuit of the captive Grayson, catch up to Degaton, literally lifting away the walls of the building in which he is hiding. At a dramatic moment, the time machine re-appears and Zee staggers out, accusing Degaton of murder with his final breath. Surrounded by witnesses and facing prison for a 40 year old murder charge at his advanced age, Degaton placed the gun to his temple and fatally shot himself (America vs the JSA #1-4).


Although Degaton is dead in the "main" time-line, it should be noted that with the numerous excursions possible from the critical point in 1947, Degaton remains a threat to this and future generations.

Degaton 4

America vs. the Justice Society #4

Powers and Abilities

 Per Degaton lacked personal powers beyond those of a well-trained human. By virtue of  a twist of fate, Degaton inherited the equipment of Professor Malachi Zee which he used to establish himself as a criminal of record. .

Weaknesses and Limitations

Physically, Degaton was a ordinary human and could be captured as such.

Multiversity Villains

Multiversity

Prior Earth-0

In the Post-Crisis Timeline, the history of Per Degaton retains marked similarities to the Earth-Two version in that most of the prior case work is thought to exist in some form.  It is unclear that because Degaton routinely creates or jumps into alternate histories with his actions whether the Degaton in this time is also the same one as known from the heroes of Earth-Two. 


A major difference in this timeline is the presence of the robot Mekanique.  Created in the 23rd century to prevent a rebellion, Mekanique is flung back to 1942 where she battles and then is restored by the All-Star Squadron (All-Star Squadron #58-60). She manipulates the future with the rescue of a child and vanishes as Crisis sweeps the planet.  She later encounters a young Per Degaton whom she seduces with secrets of time travel in exchange for help against the All-Star Squadron.    They are thwarted by the arrival of the Young All-Stars who destroy Mekanique's body but Degaton absconds with, a develops an unnatural attraction to, her head.  Later in 1947, Degaton again shoots Zee, who falls into the time machine as it fades into the future.  Degaton buries Mekanique's head and prepares for the long wait (Young All-Stars Annual #1).

Degaton 5

When the time machine re-appears, Degaton is waiting with a reconstructed Mekanique.  After battling Infinity, Inc., the time machine solidifies, revealing not only the dying Zee but a younger version of Degaton.  The temporal paradox causing the older version to immediately vanish (as his past self's knowledge of his future existence immediately creates a time anomaly) and Mekanique, fearing the younger, madder Degaton, kills him and herself together (Infinity Inc. Annual #2).


It has since been suggested that the various excursions from 1947 produce chronal duplicates which may persist in some forms within the time stream.  One version of Degaton attempted to assasinate President Harry Truman and blame the Justice Society, creating a backlash that prevents the rise of super-heroes and leaves the world available for Degaton to conquer until thwarted by a modern version of the Society (JSA #65-72). Another version, a Degaton Prime, appears to be another chronal duplicate but older whose origins are unclear.  He is absorbing different temporal and multiversal versions of his younger self to become more powerful (Justice Society of America Vol. 3, #50-54).  Another version joined a group of alien or evolved conquerors as the Time Stealers and battled Booster Gold and Rip Hunter (Booster Gold Vol. 2 #5-10, Time Masters: Vanishing Point #1-4).  Whether these chronal variants are permanently untethered from the 1947 event or whether they will eventually be pulled back into washing test tubes in Zee's lab is not entirely clear.  As in other timelines, there is evidently always a version of Degaton out there somewhen, plotting his next move.



Appearances

Issue

Comment

Reprinted in

All-Star Comics #35

1st appearance and origin,  vs. JSA

 Best of DC Digest #21, All-Star Comics Archives Vol. 8

All-Star Comics #37

Joins the Injustice Society, vs. the JSA

All-Star Comics Archives #8, DC Comics 100-Page Spectacular #DC-17, The Greatest Golden Age Stories Every Told, Justice Society of America:A Celebration of 75 Years

All-Star Comics #58-59

With Brain Wave, vs. The JSA.

DC Special Blue Ribbon Digest Vol 1 3, Justice Society TPB Vol. 1, Only Legends Live Forever HC

All-Star Squadron #1-3  

Set in the 1940's, assembles villains from various times and battles the All-Star Squadron

Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron Vol. 1

All-Star Squadron #14-15

Vs. The JLA, JSA and All-Star Squadron

Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron Vol. 1, Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6

America vs. the Justice Society #1-4

Revealed as manipulator throughout JSA history, dies by suicide

America vs. The Justice Society TPB

Crisis on Infinite Earths #5-7, 9-10

Villain war and various cameos

Crisis on Infinite Earth TPB, Absolute Crisis on Infinite Earths, Crisis on Infinite Earths Deluxe Edition HC

Justice League of America #193

Set in the 1940’s, vs.  the All-Star Squadron

Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron Vol. 1

Justice League of America #207-209

Vs. The JLA, JSA and All-Star Squadron

Crisis on Multiple Earths Vol. 6