Johnny Thunder was the seventh son of a seventh son, born at 7 a.m. on the seventh day of the seventh month in 1917. This made him a target to be kidnapped and sold to a group of mystics from the country of Badhnisia who had been looking for someone born at this time on this day, because they knew such a child could inherit great powers on his seventh birthday -- power they would use to rule the world. The Badhnisians performed mystic rituals over the infant Johnny, and gave him the magical Zodiac Belt, both steps to mold Johnny's power to be control over the genie-like Yz, the Thunderbolt by using the magic words "cei-u". However, when Johnny was five, Badhnisia came under attack from a neighboring country and Johnny was able to escape and return to the United States by himself thru a sequence of unlikely events, with the Zodiac Belt's protection.
When Johnny was seven, he did not come into control of the Thunderbolt, because he did not know the magic words. (However, his family was untouched by the world-wide seven days of rain that started on his seventh birthday.) After that, he lived an unexceptional life until one day, while washing windows, he inadvertently summoned the Thunderbolt with the magic words "cei-u" (pronounced "say you") which he accidentally used to become a successful boxer. Eventually, Johnny figured out how to summon the Thunderbolt on cue, and used this ability to eventually join the Justice Society of America.
In the 1940's, Johnny began teaming up with the Black Canary who eventually took his place on the JSA. The reason for leaving the Justice Society was that his control over his Thunderbolt was weakening, thanks to a spell cast by the renegade Badhnisian priests.
In the early 1950s, Johnny was kidnapped again by agents from Badhnisia with the intention of executing their original world conquest plan. Johnny managed to summon Superman, and the would-be conquerors' plans were defeated, although they had already installed Johnny as King of Badhnisia. Johnny spent some time in Badhnisia afterwards, teaching the native citizens about democracy. He renounced the throne and returned home after the country elected its first president. Johnny rejoined the Justice Society upon its reformation in the 1960s.
The absence of the JSA and of Johnny Thunder did not last long. Though he was now a middle-aged, over-weight man, he was not as old as his friends and nostalgic for the past. Before he entered into Limbo, he had lent his foster daughter, Peachy Pet, a few thousand dollars. During his time away, fighting for the universe, she had created Peachy's Frozen Yogurt, a very successful chain of which Johnny was half owner, making him very wealthy. Of greater import to Johnny Thunder was his discovery that the Bahdnisians had all but disappeared. A visit to the island of Bahdnisia, now under the ownership of Pol St. Germain, proved that no Bahdnisians were left there. Johnny states: "There were never very many of them... and the island magic had worn out. T-Bolt was all that was left, and he was with me in limbo. They had to leave or starve to death." The last remaining Bhadnisian according to the Thunderbolt was Kiku.
Johnny later suffered from symptoms of Alzheimer's disease. At one point he lost track of a pen in which the Thunderbolt was being stored. The pen ended up in the hands of a young African American boy named Jakeem Williams, who took on the name Johnny Jakeem Thunder, or Jakeem Thunder. Johnny died after the Ultra-Humanite used his body to take control of the Thunderbolt and temporarily remake Earth in his image, but Jakeem made a wish to Yz so he could live. Thunderbolt merged with Johnny's soul and they became one being, taking the name "Johnny Thunderbolt". This new being had Yz's appearance but Johnny was the dominant personality. He took orders now, like Yz, but he was now omnipotent.
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- Reality Alteration: As the Thunderbolt, Johnny possesses all of the powers of a Genie from the 5th Dimension, which includes reality alteration of immeasurable range.
- Jack of All Trades: Johnny would likely describe himself as a Jack of all trades, yet master of none. However, he did possess a small degree of writing talent, and frequently chronicled the adventures of his Justice Society friends.
- Although this character was originally introduced during DC's Earth-Two era of publication, their existence following the events of the 1985–86 limited series Crisis on Infinite Earths remains intact. However, some elements of the character's Pre-Crisis history may have been altered or removed for Post-Crisis New Earth continuity, and no longer apply.
- Johnny Thunder has no connection to former Infinity, Inc. ally Jonni Thunde. Nor does he have any connection to the 19th century lawman of the same name.
- All of the Thunder siblings have names that begin with the letter "J".
- As Johnny grew older, he began suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
- 291 Appearances of John Thunder (New Earth)
- 35 Images featuring John Thunder (New Earth)
- 3 Quotations by or about John Thunder (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: John Thunder (New Earth)
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Justice Society of America member