Those who know me well know that above all I enjoy a good mystery. There's nothing I like better. And now that the mysteries of Supernova and the JLA villain have been revealed, there's only one big mystery left in my eyes. So the question becomes: who's trying to destroy the Justice Society of America?
There are a lot of hints. Little teases in the previews and clues in magazines. I've pieced it all together, and I've come up with the villain that I see as being the most likely culprit. His name was Baron Reiter. You might know him better as Baron Blitzkrieg.
This is not idle speculation. I believe that there is evidence enough to support my claim. Let's run through a few of the hints.
1. Legacy: It's quite clear that the villain of JSA is someone with a longstanding connection to the team and its members. And though Baron Blitzkrieg didn't make his first appearance until 1977's World's Finest Comics #246, he was very quickly retconned into the history of DC's Golden Age. The Baron was perennial foe of the All-Star Squadron. As such, he encountered the original Mr. America, Liberty Belle, and Commander Steele.
Indeed, Commander Steel actually features prominently in the Baron's origin. While held captive by the Germans, Steel supplied the acid that a concentration camp prisoner used to scar and blind Blitzkrieg. And the Baron returned the favor by brainwashing Steel into attempting to assassinate the president.
Baron Blizkrieg also plays a part in the history of Liberty Belle. When an experiment to restore his lost sight backfired, the Baron inadvertently gave the orignal Liberty Belle her sonic powers. Less accidentally, he killed her surrogate father Tom Revere.
Of course, that was far from the end of Baron Blitzkrieg. His influence reaches into the present, where he aided Vandal Savage and his Symbolix Corporation when they grafted superpowers onto a child named Grant Emerson -- now known as Damage.
2. Knowledge: It's not enough for the mystery villain to have connections to three-quarters of the new JSA... He also has to have knowledge of them. And a lot of the necessary clues are to be found in a Wizard Universe article from a while back where the villain "speaks."
He makes it very clear that he "knows" Damage in a way that only someone who was close to him could. As mentioned above, the Baron was instrumental in crafting Damage's powers, and they fought several times. (Additionally, there is the symbolic connection they both share due to their horribly scarred faces.)
The villain also speaks of Mr. America in a particularly revealing way. He says that the original Mr. America "derailed key Nazi campaigns against England and Spain and got as close to Hitler as anybody." and says of the new one: "it’s only a matter of time before Mr. America works his way into my inner circle—if he hasn’t already." Interesting that this mystery villain is privy to secret Nazi plans -- and that he compares himself to Hitler.
The Baron has also directly fought against the original Hourman, Green Lantern, Flash, Wildcat, and Hawkman. He knows the old guard just as well as he knows the new.
3. Power: Just as the mystery villain needs knowledge of the JSA, he also needs the power to put it to use. Baron Blitzkrieg was one of -- if not the -- most powerful superhuman to serve under Hitler during World War II.
After his face was scarred, Nazi scientists experimented on the Baron, activating his latent psychic powers. Blitzkrieg was able to channel the power of his mind into his body -- granting him optical blasts, flight, and super-strength on par with Wonder Woman.
But physical power is only a small part of it. The Baron has been called "one of the ten most dangerous men on the planet." He is clever, resourceful, and above all patient. He's got everything needed to go up against the Justice Society of America.
4. Nazis: Baron Blitzkrieg is a Nazi. If the name didn't tip you off, then the gaudy costume emblazoned with Nazi regalia should have. And in issue #2 of Justice Society of America, we see the mystery villain's minions: a cadre of Nazi-themed meta-humans calling themselves "The Fourth Reich." And the solicitation for issue #2 says there are more to come.
So what does all this mean? It may mean that I'm grasping for straws and looking for patterns where there aren't any. But it could also mean that I'm on to something. It might mean that the mystery villain of JSA is one of the most dangerous men on the planet: a super-powered Nazi genius out to rule the world.
There is one problem with all this, of course. Superboy-Prime apparently killed Baron Blitzkrieg during the Battle of Metropolis in Infinite Crisis #7. But hey... New Earth, right? Besides, a character being dead has never stopped Geoff Johns from using them to tell a good story...