In 1941, reporter Joan Dale waits for an anonymous informant on Liberty Island . As she waited, she begins hallucinating, believing the Statue of Liberty was speaking to her, telling her she would become a protector of freedom bestowing her with the power to alter matter. In reality she was being drugged by her informant, an agent of the U.S government. She became the test subject for Project M, in an effort to endow her with super powers. They deemed the experiment a failure and returned Joan back to Liberty Island. Joan later discovers that she now has the powers she was granted in her “hallucination”. Adopting a patriotically-themed costume, she begins fighting evil as Miss America . Joan later quits her reporter job for a secretarial one with the F.B.I. in anticipation of becoming an actual field agent for the department.
A few months later, she joins Uncle Sam and his Freedom Fighters in a preemptive strike against Japan’s oncoming attack on Pearl Harbor. The mission is a complete failure, as all of Uncle Sam’s troops seemingly perished in their efforts. However, three members did survive, Miss America among them. In the aftermath, Joan was reclaimed by Project M and placed in a comatose state for six months. She finally awakens from her coma during a break out battle between the Young-All Stars and the Ultra-Humanite, during the former's tour of Project M alongside Robot-Man. After aiding the heroes against Ultra-Humanite, Joan promptly returns to the defense of her country, joining the All-Star Squadron and later joins the Justice Society as their secretary.
In February, 1945, the Justice Society saved a Navy Officer named Derek Trevor, on an island in the south Pacific. When Joan stayed behind to nurse him back to health, the two fell in love. At this time Joan was losing her powers and stepped down from active duty with the Justice Society. During this time Helena Kosmotos (Fury I), now an FBI liaison to the Justice Society and reserve member, who’d been close to her during the 1940s, sought Joan out. Helena asked Joan to raise her young daughter, Hippolyta (“Lyta”) in her absence, but with one stipulation, that the child would not be told of her mother’s true identity. Joan and her husband, Derek, formally adopted the young Lyta five years later when failed to return. Lyta Trevor would grow up to be the modern day Fury and join Infinity Inc.
While with Infinity Inc., Lyta becomes pregnant with the child of her teammate and lover, Hector Hall (Dr. Fate); Daniel. However, Hector soon perishes in the line of duty as the Master of Magic, and Lyta moves back in with her adopted parents. Later, it is revealed that Hector is alive and well, as the newest incarnation of Sandman, and both he and Lyta are happily reunited. Upon learning that Hector cannot exist outside the Dream Dimension longer than an hour, the two marry and Lyta joins him in the Dream Dimension. Both Joan and Derek attend their wedding.
One Year Later
Joan Dale-Trevor makes her return debut in order to confront a new Miss America who has, under the orders of Father Time, managed to neutralize and capture the new team of Freedom Fighters. Working alongside both of Sam's "Secret Freedom Fighters", the second Red Bee and the great-great grandson of the Invisible Hood, Joan joins their fight against S.H.A.D.E.'s agents in a push to free the Fighters from their imprisonment.
Initially appearing as an old woman, Joan reveals that she never truly lost her powers, but that she had used them to create the illusion that she had, so she could retire and enjoy a normal life with her husband. With Derek having passed away, she allows the illusion to fade away, revealing a youthful Miss America, dressed in her costume from when she worked with the JSA and the original Freedom Fighters. Engaging the impostor one-on-one, Joan displays greater prowess with her powers than before, showing that while in retirement, she has still been practicing with her abilities to become stronger.
In the wake of their bout, Joan discovers that the impostor is a gynoid and destroys her without hesitation, rejoining Uncle Sam's new team of Freedom Fighters in their battle against S.H.A.D.E. and Gonzo the Mechanical Bastard, the evil synthezoid creation of the Shadow Demons of the Antimatter Universe, who had been manipulating Father Time and his agents from the beginning.
Final Crisis and Beyond
In the wake of the Crisis, the Freedom Fighers have been officially pardoned by the President of the United States for the "acts of terrorism" they were accused of by Gonzo during his time posing as Senator Henry Knight.
When Red Bee is overtaken by the insectoid colony that gives her a new alien-insect form, she forces Joan into absorbing the Human Bomb's explosive energy through mind control. Rushing into outer space to avoid civilian casualties, Joan explodes in violent blast of energy, and is presumed dead. Fortunately, Joan manages to keep her consciousness alive, rebuilding a new, young body from extant space materials. Evolved into a new form of life, she discards her Miss America identity to claim her new moniker, "Miss Cosmos."
Months later, when the Freedom Fighters come together once more to fend off the threat posed by The Renegades and their masters, the Arcadians, Joan has resumed her previous identity as Miss America. She explains this to the team as, though potent, her cosmic upgrade to her powers proved to be a temporary boost, and now that it had subsided, it had left her powers subsequentially weaker than before. Though how this has specifically affected her abilities and her enhanced longevity has yet to be revealed, though she still fights alongside the Freedom Fighters.
In the last Human Bomb mini-series, a woman called Joan was working alongside with the new Uncle Sam, a S.H.A.D.E. directive, and assisted Michael Taylor, the new Human Bomb in thwart an alien invasion. This Joan was never referred as Miss America. Joan died during the mission, but not before contact Kyle Rayner to save the lost in space Taylor.
Joan has the ability to consciously transmute matter, both organic and inorganic, on a molecular level, regardless of the shape, size, weight, or composition of the object or person in question.
However, when she first gained her abilities and began employing them early in her career as Miss America, her inexperience both with her powers and the extent of the part that physical science played in their nature and use served to limit her capabilities with them. As such, the changes she invoked with her abilities were simple at best, and were not permanent. At the time, there seemed to be an upper limit to the size of the matter involved and the duration to which the transmutation lasted, though this was never specified.
Since her return to heroics, Joan has displayed greater control over her abilities of transmutation, becoming more proficient in the way in which they work and how she can put them to use. A perfect example of this is evident in her ability to remain as youthful and as physically fit as she was in her prime, both in appearance and physical prowess. This is further compounded by her ability to return to life after being seemingly destroyed by the explosive power of the Human Bomb while he was controlled by insectoid aliens, sustaining her self as a mere consciousness as she constructed a new, young body from the extant materials in space, evolving into a new lifeform composed of cosmic energy and matter. Though these new cosmic abilities have since faded, Joan's abilities seem to grant her a unique form of immortality, allowing her to retain her youth and resurrect if felled in battle.
Joan has also boasted enough proficiency with her abilities to be able to transmute an opponent's internal organs to glass and still keep him alive, or to shrink him down to microscopic size with ease.
Along with her transmutation abilities, Joan has the ability to fly at impressive speeds. It can be assumed that this ability is due to the experiments performed on her by Project M, as a side-effect of her transmutation powers, or as a completely separate ability altogther.
Aside from her superhuman abilities, Joan is an adept hand-to-hand combatant, having honed her skill through yearas of practice as a superhero with both the JSA and the Freedom Fighters. She is also an exceptional detective, possessing impressive deductive skills, which she had put to work in her previous line of work as a newspaper reporter.
The New 52 version of Joan (Human Bomb miniseries) had vast telepathic abilities, strong enough to interplanetary telepathic communication, induce comma and read alien minds.