Jakeem Johnny Williams is a precocious teenager from Keystone City. Jakeem's mother left his father while she was still pregnant with the boy, and he was orphaned when his mother died of cancer. His aunt Lashawn was then granted custody, and his father, Phil, never knew about his birth. Jakeem became a self-reliant latchkey kid who grew up on the streets and adopted a tough, foul-mouthed attitude in order to survive.
To combat the threat, Jakeem's thunderbolt Yz combined with another genie named Lkz to form Ylzkz. Controlled by the phrase "So Cûl" (pronounced "so cool"), the new purple genie gained enough power to defeat the rogue Thunderbolt and banish it back to it's dimension.
Jakeem soon, and somewhat reluctantly, joins the Justice Society as a part-time member. Jakeem is welcomed by the fellow young hero, Stargirl, who becomes a friend, and positive influence on him. He also benefits from the guidance of Johnny Thunder himself. He and Hourman (Rick Tyler) also build a brotherly friendship. Like Johnny before him, he often caused trouble by wishing for things without meaning to due to poorly-worded commands.
When villains were affected by Joker's Laughing Gas they began to attack with reckless abandon. Solomon Grundy was one of these villains and he attacked the JSA headquarters, knocking out the then-caretaker of the museum Alexander Montez. Jakeem and Stargirl were the only two at the headquarters at the time to fight against Grundy, who soon retreated after taking Jakeem's pen which contained the Thunderbolt. Jakeem told Stargirl he wanted to get the pen back not because he saw the Thunderbolt as his power, but because the Thunderbolt was his friend.
During the fight with Grundy, Jakeem is nearly knocked out by the behemoth. He realizes Stargirl is in grave peril and in desperation, stretches to reach his pen, just out of reach. A purplish-pink wave of energy appears in his eyes and around the pen, which levitates into his grasp. Jakeem briefly wonders how this has happened, but decides to figure it out later. The fight serves as a bonding experience between the two young heroes.
During his fight with Grundy, Jakeem unwittingly cures his predecessor, Johnny Thunder of his Alzheimer's disease. However, at the same time; Ultra-Humanite took control of his body to take control of the Thunderbolt.
Increasing his powers to incredible levels, Humanite controlled most of the Justice Society. Eventually Jakeem wrests control of the Thunderbolt back from Ultra, but Johnny Thunder loses his life. Jakeem then wishes that the Thunderbolt could save Johnny somehow, so the genie chooses to merge with Johnny, creating a new being with the memories of both. He later assumes the name Johnny Thunderbolt. Johnny Thunderbolt bears Johnny's likeness, though it is not clear how the personalities of Johnny and the two genies interact, and whether any one personality is dominant. Johnny's family was informed of his death and a funeral was held at Valhalla. The family does not know that he lives on as the Thunderbolt.
With Johnny's help, Jakeem meets his biological father, Phil, who is now an engineering student. Jakeem does not reveal his true identity, but he also meets Phil's wife, Jennifer, and his younger half-brother. He is torn by his longing to reconnect with his biological father, but fears he will upset Phil's life.
At the dawn of the Infinite Crisis, the Spectre shunts Jakeem into his pen — into the Fifth Dimension — where he succumbs to the machinations of Qwsp and becomes a mad tyrant. The Thunderbolt amasses an army to fight him, including his son, Shocko and his wife Peachy Pet. Dubbed the "Thunderbolt family" and with the help of the JSA, Jakeem was freed of Qwsp's evil influence.
Upon the JSA's return from the Fifth Dimension, they find the evil Mordru battling with Nabu. Jakeem jumps the gun and takes action against the wizard (who had previously slit Jakeem's throat). Jakeem returns the favor by stabbing Mordru in the throat with his pen, then summons the Thunderbolt, electrocuting Mordru. Jakeem then asked the Thunderbolt to remove Mordru from their sight (followed for the first time by a "please").
Holy anachronisms, Batman!
This article is in need of updated information.
- Thunderbolt Pen: Jakeem is now in complete control of the powerful djinn named Yz, otherwise known as the Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt is incredibly powerful and performs Jakeem's every request. However, Jakeem must phrase his requests carefully as the Thunderbolt will often perform tasks as literally as they were said. Thunderbolt comes from the 5th dimension, the same place as Superman's nemesis, Mister Mxyzptlk and Aquaman's foe, Qwsp. These genies have near-limitless power, but are bound by the commands of their masters. They can project energy, teleport, create hard-light constructs, and affect third dimensional matter in ways that appear "magical."
- According to the legends, only the seventh son of a seventh son can wield a Thunderbolt. This appears indeed to be only a legend as Jakeem never meets this criterion.
- The genies appear to gladly serve their masters and have never expressed the desire to be "freed."
- 90 Appearances of Jakeem Williams (New Earth)
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Justice Society of America member