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Johnathan 'Johnny' Sorrow (DC)

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Sorrow possesses the ability to make himself intangible at will, to teleport, and to manipulate energy blasts in order to avoid them. While exiled in another dimension, he demonstrated the ability to communicate telepathically with people on Earth.

Sorrow's body is semi-invisible, with only his face visible once he removes his mask. His face is so hideous that those who gaze upon it typically either die or are driven incurably mad, although in special circumstances, powerful beings such as the wizard Shazam have managed to survive with lesser ill effects.

Sorrow must become tangible to remove his mask and cannot go intangible until he has replaced it.

He is vulnerable to recorded or reflected images of his own face, which leave him paralyzed and tangible for short periods of time.

Johnny (his full name has never been revealed) was a semi-successful silent film actor, but the advent of the talkies drove him out of show business. Taking up a life of crime in Opal City under the alias "Johnny Sorrow," he took to stealing various high-tech gadgets and gizmos to help him with his thefts and to compete against the costumed superhero Starman.

The last of these devices was a "subspace prototype," which enabled him to alter his own tangibility and walk through walls. In 1944, during a fight with the original Justice Society, the device was damaged by a harpoon thrown by Sandy the Golden Boy. Sorrow was sucked into one of the extradimensional "Subtle Realms," where he encountered hideous, Lovecraftian beings led by the insectile King of Tears.

Over a period of months, the King of Tears recreated Sorrow in a terrible new form and sent him back to our world to arrange for the King to follow. Driven mad by the experience, and by the death of his wife Andrea, the first victim of his new face, he abducted Sandy, slew the superheroic Seven Shadows, and almost succeeded in releasing the King of Tears before being stopped by the JSA and the Spectre, who trapped the King in an an earthly vessel and banished Sorrow back to the Subtle Realms.

Almost sixty years later, Sorrow returned to our world to organize the new Injustice Society, which he hoped to use to destroy the JSA and help him in bringing the King of Tears to Earth. The new Injustice Society, which initially consisted of Geomancer, Count Vertigo, Blackbriar Thorn, Tigress, and the Killer Wasp, invaded the JSA's headquarters and nearly killed the hero Wildcat, who was all alone, before being turned back. During the confusion, Sorrow managed to steal back the vessel containing the King of Tears.

Months later, having recruited Black Adam, Shiv, the Rival, and the Thinker into the Injustice Society's ranks, Sorrow launched an all-out assault on the JSA. While the Rival distracted the Flash by committing a series of high-speed murders across the country, the rest of the team broke into the JSA's headquarters and sealed off the building. Although the JSA easily defeated his minions, Sorrow himself managed to unleash the King of Tears using the retired hero Scarab as a vessel, and abducted Sandy to force him to witness the end of the world.

While the JSA and the Spectre worked to contain the King of Tears, the Flash, Dr. Mid-Nite, and the reformed Black Adam defeated Sorrow. Mid-Nite, who had survived the full force of viewing Sorrow's face due to his blindness, used his special goggles to replay a recorded image of the villain's face to him. This stunned Sorrow long enough for the Flash to grab him and, borrowing Black Adam's speed, drag the villain into the Speed Force.

Sorrow was not entirely vanquished, however, and soon formed an alliance with the noncorporeal Despero the Conqueror, who had also been banished to another dimension. The two attacked the Rock of Eternity, turned the wizard Shazam to stone, and freed the Seven Deadly Enemies of Man -- personifications of the seven deadly sins -- which then proceeded to possess the bodies of various members of both the JSA and the JLA, while Despero chose to possess the body of Lex Luthor. The remaining members of the two superteams managed to vanquish the Seven Deadly Enemies and capture Sorrow, who was forced to use his gaze to expel Despero from Luthor's body before being sent back to his extradimensional exile.

Recently, Sorrow was once more freed, this time by the new Injustice Society. Having made telepathic contact with the team's leader, the Wizard, while he was in JLA custody, Sorrow -- concealing his true identity -- showed the imprisoned villain how to escape. He then directed the Wizard and his team to steal from the JSA's headquarters the Cosmic Key, a device formerly employed by the villain Prometheus to access Limbo (otherwise known as the Still Zone, the Ghost Zone, and the Phantom Zone). Stealing the Key, the Society freed Sorrow from his imprisonment. He promptly paid them back by informing him that they all worked for him now, and would all be part of his new plan to avenge himself on the JSA.

Sorrow and the Injustice Society remain at large.

Sorrow's Golden Age origin is entirely concocted by modern-day writers. His first appearance did not occur until 1999.

First Appearance: Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant (1999) #1

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Johnathan 'Johnny' Sorrow (DC) is a favorite character of 8 users

View a chronological listing of this character's appearances

Issue Appearances:
JLA/JSA: Virtue and Vice (2002)
JSA (1999)
JSA All-Stars (2010)
JSA Secret Files (1999)
JSA: Classified (2005)
Secret Origins of Super-Villains 80-Page Giant (1999)
Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E. (1999)
The DC Comics Encyclopedia (2004)

Group Affiliation(s):
Injustice Society of the World

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