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The Secret Society


Recruited by Gorilla Grodd, this team of supervillains was specifically chosen and trained to combat the Justice League.  Consisting of Grodd, The Shade, Giganta, Sinestro, Killer Frost, Clayface, and The Parasite; the team came dangerously close to destroying the League both physically and in spirit.

Cartoon Network on The Secret Society (circa 2001):  "Founded by Darkseid to rid the Earth of any heroes capable of opposing him, [The Secret Society] includes Lex Luthor, Gorilla Grodd, Felix Faust, Sinestro, Poison Ivy, Ultra-Humanite, Chronos, Cheetah, and Star Sapphire.  Fortunately, these egocentric villains can't get along long enough to unite against their enemies (courtesy of Toon Zone)."

DarkLantern on The Secret Society:  "I can drop hints to the entire membership:  two members have previously appeared in Justice League, three members have appeared on Superman or Batman, three members were members of the Secret Society of Supervillains in the comics, three members were part of the Legion of Doom on Superfriends, and one member has never appeared in animated form…ever (courtesy of Toon Zone).”



When the original press materials for Justice League were released, The Secret Society was listed alongside the Injustice Gang, which caused some confusion among fans who couldn’t tell the two teams apart, much less figure out which team would appear first.  This is understandable, considering that, on the surface at least, the concept of both teams are virtually identical:  a group of supervillains that team up to face their heroic counterparts.  In addition, the original list for the Society listed several members that overlapped with the Gang’s roster—with Lex Luthor, Star Sapphire, Cheetah, and the Ultra-Humanite appearing on both teams—so their was a definite air of confusion as to when the Society was to appear and in what form it would take.

Like the Injustice Gang before it, The Secret Society is an organization that stems from the comics; in this case the Secret Society of Supervillains—a comic book in which Darkseid organized a team to aid in his conquest of Earth.  The team, however, rebelled when they realized who they were working for, reasoning that the Lord of Apokolips would betray them when they were no longer of use.  Striking out on their own, the team’s roster bolstered thirty-six members at different times (and in different incarnations), with virtually every major DC supervillain at the time appearing at some point in the team's history. 

In designing the Society for the Second Season, the creative team changed the roster significantly from the one mentioned in the press materials.  This was just as well, as there were many redundancies present in the choice of characters used (for example, Star Sapphire and Sinestro possess abilities that are identical, and the Ultra-Humanite and Gorilla Grodd are both super-intelligent apes).  Nevertheless, the characters decided upon for the final roster were quite surprising.  Of the seven members only Gorilla Grodd, Sinestro, and Killer Frost were members of the comic book version of the team; of the remaining four Giganta is best known for her stint in the Legion of Doom from Superfriends, The Shade was a member of the Golden Age Injustice Society of the World, and, historically speaking, Clayface and The Parasite have never allied themselves with any such team.  Overall, the creative team’s decisions regarding the organization was a major departure from the norm, as they tend to hew to the source material as closely as possible.

However, in context with their actual appearance on the series, the roster of The Secret Society made perfect sense.  In picking his teammates, Grodd chose six individuals that he could actually rely on (whereas the Injustice Gang's members were motivated by money, The Secret Society’s members were motivated by more reliable and trustworthy goals such as loyalty, lust for power, and simple revenge).  In addition, the membership was chosen specifically to counter the individual members of the Justice League:  Giganta’s strength, The Shade’s experience, Sinestro’s power ring, Killer Frost’s bloodlust, Clayface’s shape-shifting, and The Parasite’s power absorption complimented Grodd’s own mental powers, technological skill, and formidable strength quite well.

In dropping the “of Supervillains” from the team’s name, Bruce Timm and the creative team have stripped away a bit of the team’s inherent corniness and, in turn, made it sound creepier—more like an Illuminati Society or Masonic Order than a team of supervillains.  In addition, their debut episode The Secret Society presented the organization as a dark reflection of the Justice League; featuring similar story threads involving trust and teamwork, a black aircraft that mirrored the League's Javelin-7, and the visual imagery that resembled the League’s dramatic pose featured during the series’ opening credits (compare this image to the picture above).

It is unknown whether or not The Secret Society will make another appearance on Justice League but, all things considered, they have a much better chance of returning than the Injustice Gang does.  Perhaps a future episode may incorporate Darkseid’s presence into the team, as his initial role as the team’s facilitator is a vital part of the their history.

For more information about The Secret Society, go to The Injustice Gang / Secret Society History page.


Images courtesy of The World’s Finest.

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