Residence: Usually Mobile
Occupation: Professional Criminal, would-be conqueror
First Appearance (Golden Age): All-Star Comics #35 (October 1947)
First Appearance (Post-Golden Age): All-Star Comics #58 (January/February 1976)
Virtually nothing is known of life of Per Degaton before he was hired as laboratory technician by The Time Trust, a group of scientists devoted to the study of time travel, in 1941. Degaton first encoutered the Justice Society when he was rescued from Nazi spies. In 1942, he encountered Mechanique, a robot from the future seeking to destroy the wartime group of costumed heroes, the All-Star Squadron. Mechanique offered Degaton secrets of Time-Travel in exchange of his assistance in gaining access to the heroes. Mechanique failed but Degaton secretly stole the robots head, with which he later became infatuated (Young All-Stars #21, Annual #1).
In 1947, Degaton was a laboratory assistant for Dr. Malachi Zee a former member of the Time Trust. Zee revealed his theories of time to Degaton as well as the theory of his prototype time travel device. One afternoon, in a mundane moment that became a critical juncture in Earh-2 history, Degaton took his last order from Zee. After the elder scientist castigated him for mumbling and instructed him to continue washing test tubes, Degaton snapped. He quickly pulled a revolver, shot Zee and dove into the Time Machine.
At this moment in history, Degaton's history can be thought of as a flower. The stem, Earth-2's main timeline, had one history in which the current events of the Justice Society are charted. However, each petal represents a foray into time in which Degaton has attempted to alter the past or the future, been thwarted and, as time has corrected itself, been returned to that moment in time immediately before he turns on Zee. To date, several such excursions have been charted. It should be noted that while the various known actions are "numbered", there is no way of knowing which "order" any of these occured in and that hundreds or thousands of parallel excursions may have also occurred.
The first recorded excursion was in early 1947. Using the Time Machine, Degaton travelled back to 331 B.C. and supplied the Persion sultan Darius with modern weapons with which to defeat Alexander the Great. With this battle altered, the timeline changed such that the growth of civilization is severaly stunted. The 20th century reverts to medevial levels of technology and Degaton, who has been hiding in an arsenal outside the changed timeline, conquors America handily. Meanwhile, Zee has been found and moved to a hospital where he summons the JSA to his bedside. As he is about to reveal the event which he believe Degaton has altered, he is shot once more. The JSA sends several of it's members on reconnisance missions to determine Degaton's origins and intentions. When they return Zee is well enough to talk and tells them of Degaton's interference in the Battle of Arbela. The JSA then use Green Lantern's ring to go back to that fated battle and use their powers to again turn the tide in Alexander's favor. Successful, the JSA return to their own time with only one of Alexander's shields as a momento. They themselves remember nothing, and learn only of the case through Wonder Woman's Magic Sphere (All-Star Comics #35)
The second excursion occured when Degaton sought to influence America during the early days of World War II. Plagued by dreams of previous excursions, he realized that he could use the Time Machine to seize control of the world. Guided by his dreams, he recognized that Zee would ultimately betray him and in this excursion, pummeled the old man to death before stealing the Time Machine. Assembling a team of villains from the various eras of post-war history, Degaton attacked the JSA during the earliest days of their existence. Quickly surprising and subduing the members, he placed the captured heroes in a cave on a remote Pacific Island. Using an underwater aircraft carrier, he planned to launch an attack on the coast of the United States before America could bring her awesome military machine into full production. However, Degaton erred when he underestimated the other costumed heroes of the day, who organized to form a broader based group of heroes known as the All-Star Squadron. As events slowly turned against Degaton with the defeat of his super-villain operatives and the release of the JSA, he opted to return to 1947, even though it would mean the loss of his memories and a return to his existence as Zee's lab assistant (JLA #193, All-Star Squadron #1-3)
In the third excursion, Degaton learned that in addition to forward and backwards in time, the machine could also follow the time stream and visit the divergent earths, including Earth-1, 2 and 3. In his travels, Degaton discovered the prison of Earth-3's Crime Syndicate and released the villains, employing them as his agents. Together, they raided Earth-Prime in 1961, stealing several nuclear missiles and sending Earth-Prime into nuclear war. Degaton then set a course for 1942, intending to use the missles to take over Earth-2 before World War II had ended and destroy the JSA. En route, the Crime Syndicate betrayed him and Degaton dropped them off in the JLA satelitte in the 1980's on Earth-1. The Crime Syndicate then informed them of Degatn's plans and after their escape, the JLA and JSA traveled back into the past to combine forces with the All-Star Squadron to defeat the Syndicate members and Degaton. As before, Degaton was left only with dreams and sink full of test tubes (JLA #207-209, All-Star Squadron #14-15).
Each of these excursions always ended where they began, with Degaton back in 1947. However, the stem of the time line also resulted in Degaton becoming an arch-foe of the JSA. Plagued by dreams, Degaton assualted Zee in an attempt to steal his technology. After being shot by Degaton, Zee made it to the Time Machine first and set a course for 1983, leaving Degaton surrounded by his equipment (revealed in America vs the JSA #4). Through bribery, trickery and boastfulness, Degaton used these materials to become a super-villain and obtain entry into the first incarnation of the Injustice Society of the World (All-Star Comics #37, further details revealed in Infinity Inc. Annual #2). After the defeat of the ISW, Degaton was sentenced to a long stint in prison (revealed in All-Star Comics #58). Degaton was either free at some point thereafter or connected enough to function from within jail to influence Senator Joseph Fallon's role in discrediting the Justice Society in 1951 (revealed in America vs the Justice Society #4)
As far as is known, Per Degaton remained in prison for over 20 years, where he became a shallow wreck of a man. In the mid-1970's, he was paroled and released into the streets of Gotham. He died his red hair black to be inobtrusive but was later discovered by the Brain Wave. Brain Wave restored Degaton's memories and the two set out to conquer the world. Their efforts, as always, were opposed by the Justice Society and the two would-be conquerors were shortly back behind prison bars (All-Star Comics vol. 1 #58-60)
As time passed, Degaton grew old in prison eventually reaching such a dotage that he was paroled. Taking advantage of the revelation of Batman's Diary, a document that supposedly convicted the Justice Society of treason, Degaton used his remaining influence to attempt to indict the group in Congressional sub-committee. Degaton's recognized that this was likely his last chance as a day that he had foreseen, the return of Zee's time machine, was close at hand. As the Congressional sub-committee became less and less convinced by evidence against the JSA, Degaton kidnapped Richard Grayson, Earth-2's Robin, and waited at the spot where the time machine should appear. The JSA, in pursuit of the captive Grayson, catch up to Degaton, literally lifting away the walls of the building in which he is hiding. At a dramatic moment, the time machine re-appears and Zee staggers out, accusing Degaton of murder with his final breath. Surrounded by witnesses and facing prison for a 40 year old murder charge at his advanced age, Degaton placed the gun to his temple and fatally shot himself (America vs the JSA #1-4).
Although Degaton is dead in the "main" time-line, it should be noted that with the numerous excursions possible from the critical point in 1947, Degaton remains a threat to this and future generations.
Prior Earth/Earth-0 = Henry King is largely thought to have had a similar career as his Earth-2 counterpart, up to and including his death at the hands of the Ultra-Humanite. His son developed a variety of mental instabilities from the power transfer alternating between heroic behaviors as a member of Infinity Inc (Infinity Inc #30-52) and criminal behaviors as a member of the Legion of Doom (Extreme Justice #14-18). The Elder Brain Wave was resurrected as a member of the Black Lantern Corps (Blackest Night #4).
New Earth-2 = A weapons dealer called "Henri Roi", he has no major powers though his son has the ability to control minds (Earth-2: World's End).
Earth-22 = Brain Wave is thought to have existed on this world in a similar manner as Earth-2, with a case against Green Lantern appearing in a post-war newspaper clipping (The Golden Age #1). His ulimate fate is unknown.
Per Degaton lacked personal powers beyond those of a well-trained human. By virtue of a twist of fate, Degaton inherited the equipment of Professor Malachi Zee which he used to establish himself as a criminal of record.
Physically, Degaton was a ordinary human and could be captured as such.
Golden Age AppearancesSilver Age Plus Appearances
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