Supporting Cast

Malachi Zee

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Malachi Zee


Residence: Washington DC
Occupation: Physicist with expertise in temporal mechanics
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-Star Comics #35 (June 1947)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): America vs. the Justice Society (April 1985).


Malachi Zee was born in the early 1880’s, though most details of his early life, including his nation of birth or circumstances of education and training, are unknown.   The first records of his activities are a member of the Time Trust, a collection of government scientists committing to the ending the war through fishing technology from the future.  In 1941, the Trust sought top create a bomb shield that would protect Allied powers from Germany’s increasing superiority in rocket technology.  One the members, Dr. Damon Everson, hit on the idea that the technology of the future would be vastly superior to that of the modern day and when visited by the JSA after the Trust is targeted by Axis agents, decided to send the members into the future to collect elements of the needed technology.  When the JSA had completed its efforts, the Trust was able to construct a working prototype of a “bomb shield”, a force field the repelled concussive force (All-Star Comics #10).  The others members of the Trust were not revealed until after the War and Malachi Zee is listed among them.  When the trust conducted a second test of the bomb shield, it failed (secretly sabotaged by Per Degaton) and Zee left the trust for to set up a hidden lab in the suburbs of Washington DC (revealed in America vs. the Justice Society LS).

The activities of Zee for the next several years is unknown.   In 1947, it became known that he had perfected his own version of a time travel machine, a large one able to carry humans to any time past or present.  Per Degaton remained in his employ, believing Zee had the best shot at an actual time machine.  When it was completed, Zee was ultimately doomed but in an ironic turn, his death became a temporal touch point launching the maniacal criminal career of his assistant, Degaton.   The timeline fractured when Degaton shot Zee and took control of the time Machine himself. 

At three branch points have been recorded to date.  In the first, Degaton used it to travel to the distant past, interfering with Alexander the Great at the Battle of Arbela.  The downstream effects on the timeline eventually allowed the JSA to travel back in time and stop Degaton, sending him back to the point where he shot Zee (All-Star Comics #35).  In the Second, he went to a much more adjacent time point - Pearl Harbor - attempting to intercede at the point America entered the war.  He was ultimately defeated by a new assemblage of costumed vigilantes - The All-Star Squadron - and was again sent back to 1947 (All-Star Squadron #1-3).  In the third, Degaton again shoots Zee and this time goes into the future, stealing nuclear weapons  from Earth-Prime to use in the past, resulting in a nuclear war in the Earth-Prime timeline that destroys civilization.  The combined efforts of the 1940's All-Star Squadron and the 1980's JLA and JSA defeat Degaton and his allies, the Crime Syndicate, once more leaving him in Zee's lab in 1947 (Justice League of America #207-209, All-Star Squadron #14-15),

In the main Earth-Two timeline, Degaton decides to wait until Zee himself programs the time machine rather than kill him before he finishes.  Zee had recently joined a 100-year club in which each of his time-travel obsessed colleagues made that they would be the first to time travel and would do so to their own 100th birthday, returning with proof.  As Zee finished his final adjustments, Degaton shoots him but in the Earth-Two timeline, Zee falls into the machine, activating it and leaving Degaton behind.  Degaton spends decades as a second-tier criminal, spending long stretches in jail.  He manages to obtain parole before Zee's 100th birthday, a waits dutifully for the time machine to appear so he can have the technology once and for all.  Bruce Wayne - dying of cancer - creates a fake diary that accuses the JSA of treason, forcing them to evaluate their own history and discover Degaton's plan, something he himself would not live long enough to figure out.   Richard Grayson, in collaboration with the near century-old Carter Nichols, deduces what Degaton's intends to do and confronts him, drawing a confession out of the aging criminal just as Zee appears and accuses Degaton of murder before dying himself.  The JSA arrives just in time to witness Degaton's perfidy and rather than return to prison, Degaton commits suicide.  The bodies of the two former colleagues are taken into custody by the police (America vs. the Justice Society LS).


Prior Earth-0

The early history of Professor Zee in this timeline is thought to be similar to his Earth-Two counterpart up to 1947.  In this timeline however, Degaton manages to get into the time machine but unable to alters its course, appears with it on Zee's 100th birthday.  When he emerges, the older Degaton is waiting but since two beings can't exist simultaneously, the older one evaporates (Infinity Inc Annual #2).

It should be noted  that, like Degaton, there are likely many more variations on Zee's last moments across the multiverse, each caused by a single bullet from his lab assistant.  What these versions are and whether they overlap with known timelines is unknown.




Reprinted in

All-Star Comics #35

First Appearance, shot be Degaton, theft of his time machine creates a time loop

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

All-Star Squadron #1-3

Repeat of actions in All-Star Comics #35 in a different time loop

Showcase Presents All-Star Squadron #1

Justice League of American #207-209, All-Star Squadron #14-15

Repeat of actions in All-Star Comics #35 in a different time loop

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

America vs. the Justice Society #1-4

Details of involvement with time trust revealed, dies

America vs. the Justice Society TPB