The Society is currently being formed by an unknown villain. This team was first mentioned at the end of Justice League #6, in which Professor Ivo is seen speaking to the leader about the superheroes, and he replies with "Then they'll call us super villains." It was alluded to once more in Justice League #14 in which Cheetah is shown speaking to someone about being contacted when Black Manta arrives. The leader of the Society then decided it was time to recruit and began making arrangements. He then recruited Scarecrow into their ranks in Justice League of America #2.
The Secret Society of Super Villains was initially formed by Darkseid, who brought the original incarnation of the team together in an abortive plan to take over the world. Initially unleashed against the world's superheroes, the members of the Society eventually turned on Darkseid and struck out on their own, intending to take over the world for themselves.
The Secret Society of Super Villains first appeared in a 1976 self-titled series, created by Gerry Conway and Pablo Marcos.
The very first incarnation of the Society was composed of Copperhead, Captain Boomerang, Captain Cold, Gorilla Grodd, Hi-Jack, Mirror Master, Shadow Thief, Sinestro, and The Wizard. After breaking from Darkseid they were joined by Funky Flashman, who recruited Captain Stingaree, Felix Faust, Matter Master, and The Trickster into their ranks. He was replaced as leader by Gorilla Grodd, who oversaw the addition of Angle Man, Bizarro, Poison Ivy, Sinestro and Star Sapphire. The Wizard next took control, and the team consisted of Blockbuster, Floronic Man, Professor Zoom and Star Sapphire. While this team was in another dimension a new incarnation was formed by Mirror Master, consisting of Chronos, Copperhead, Killer Moth, Quakemaster,and Silver Ghost. This incarnation of the group was infiltrated by Captain Comet. The Ultra-Humanite reformed the team in the early 1980s, recruiting Brainwave, Cheetah, Floronic Man, Killer Frost, Mist, The Monocle, Psycho-Pirate, Rag Doll and Signalman. The Society continued to grow after this time, becoming a sprawling criminal organization.
The next incarnation of the Society arose following the revelations of Identity Crisis. It was founded by Alexander Luthor, Jr. who was posing as Lex Luthor, and consisted of Black Adam, Calculator, Deathstroke, Dr Psycho and Talia al Ghul. Using this core group as the leaders of Society, it expanded to well over 500 members, of whom the only super villain not invited was The Joker. This incarnation was largely disbanded by One Year Later. Following this, the villains were rounded up by Checkmate and exiled to the planet Salvation. There, many of the villains formed groups that eventually became the next incarnation of the Society following their return to Earth. This incarnation was lead by Libra, who eventually used the team to bring about the attempted return of Darkseid.
Major Story Arcs
The League That Defeated Itself
During this Justice League of America storyline, members of the Society briefly switch bodies with members of the Justice League, allowing the members of the Society to learn the secret identities of the heroes. Their memories of the incident were wiped by the heroes following their defeat. This mass mindwipe set the stage for the incidents of the Identity Crisis.
Members of the Society play a minor role as antagonists to the Secret Six, a group of villains formed by Lex Luthor.
Alexander Luthor's incarnation of the Society operates as a vast criminal organization. All members of the Society are unwitting pawns in Alexander's plan to create an inter-dimensional tuning fork with which to sort through the multiverses and locate the "perfect" Earth.
Following the Salvation Run and the villains' return to Earth, Luthor is ousted as leader and Libra is installed by the other villains. A follower of Darkseid, he uses the members of the Society as troops in Darkseid's invasion of Earth, turning many of them into Justifiers through exposure to the Anti-Life Equation.
The Secret Society of Super Villains are at the stage of forming and recruiting new members. First alluded to in Justice League #6, the unknown leader meets with Professor Ivo in London to discuss the "super-heroes" and what to do about them. On numerous occasions the society were hinted in the comics and new members were seen working together in Justice League #14 in which Cheetah is seen talking through a ear-piece to the leader about working with Black Manta. The Society made their official appearance in both Justice League of America #1 and Justice League #17 as the leader spreads out photographs of the Villains on the desk in front of him, saying "It's recruitment time, starting with the Scarecrow." A statement that is fulfilled in the following issue of Justice League of America.
From the Anti-Matter Universe, this version of the Society is a group of heroes referred to as "Justice Underground". It consists of The Quizmaster, Sir Solomon Grundy, General Grodd, Star Sapphire, Lady Sonar and Q Ranger. They oppose the Crime Syndicate of Amerika, the antimatter versions of the JLA.
In Other Media
The Society appears in the Justice League episode "Secret Society". Lead by Gorilla Grodd and consisting of Clayface, Giganta, Killer Frost, Parasite, The Shade, and Sinestro. They also appear in several Justice League Unlimited episodes, where they feature as a massive criminal organization that act as antagonists to the League. Notable episodes include "I Am Legion," "Dead Reckoning," "The Great Brain Robbery," "Alive!," and "Destroyer". A futuristic version of the team also appears in the episode "Epilogue"
A group that very closely resembles the Society appears in Young Justice as the guiding forces behind most of the opposition the heroes face. Referred to as "The Light," this group features a number of villains who have been members of the Society at some point or other. They have been explicitly referred to as a secret society of super villains, but it was unclear if this was a formal designation by the heroes or a simple description.
DC Universe Online
The Society features as the major villainous group in DC Universe Online. In the game it consists of many villains who have at some point been members of the Society. You are able to side with this team in Smallville if you decide to choose your character as a villain. Some members that are notified are: Deathstroke, Killer Frost, Bizzaro and some others.