Johnny Thunder was the master of Yz, the Thunderbolt, who could be summoned by using the magic words "CEI-U."
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 would inherit great powers on his seventh birthday, power that they would use to rule the world. The Badhnisians performed mystic rituals over the infant Johnny, and gave him the magical Zodiac Belt, all in order to gain control over the genie-like Yz, the Thunderbolt. However, when Johnny was five, Badhnisia came under attack from a neighboring country, and Johnny was enabled to escape Badhnisia and return to the United States, by 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, which were "CEI-U." (However, his family, only, 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. As Thunderbolt remained invisible, the innocent Johnny thought that he himself was the cause of the supernatural things that occurred frequently. Eventually, Johnny figured out Thunderbolt's existence and how to summon him on cue, and used this ability to eventually join the Justice Society of America. His naivete and poor control over the awesome powers of his Thunderbolt often made him seem like the comic relief of the group.
Johnny's challenges and difficulties included: trying various jobs, impressing his girlfriend Daisy, and handling the upheaval and disruption caused by his foster-daughter Peachy Pet, a hyperactive orphan, who was adopted by Johnny in 1941. During World War II he enlisted in the Navy, at a time when almost all members of the Justice Society (except the Spectre) enlisted in the Army.
In 1947, Johnny began teaming up with the Black Canary who eventually took his place on the JSA. As was revealed much later, the real reason for Thunder leaving the Justice Society was that his control over his Thunderbolt was weakening, thanks to a spell cast by the renegade Badhnisian priests.
King of Badhnisia
Note: Events in this section are Pre-Crisis only.
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 and along with the team had various adventures. In one of these he met his Earth-One counterpart, who had also been kidnapped by Badhnisians, but had no Thunderbolt. Unlike our Johnny, the counterpart was a criminal. The Earth-One Johnny knocked out the Earth-Two Johnny and assumed control of the Thunderbolt. He used the genie to strip off the Justice League from the timeline, and give their powers to the members of his gang in order to spread a wave of crimes. When challenged by the Earth-Two Justice Society though, the Earth-One Thunder gave up and wished the events had never happened, returning to a life of obscurity.
In some unknown year (probably during the 1970s), Johnny had a affair with an Apache woman, with whom he fathered a son. Afraid of prejudices against mixed marriages, Johnny abandoned his son, something he later regretted deeply. This son would become Will Power, of the Leymen.
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.
At some point, Johnny's soul was somehow separated from the Thunderbolt, and Johnny was able to retire to the Fifth Dimension to live with Peachy Pet (who had herself been turned into a genie) and Yz's son Shocko. They were briefly enslaved by the deranged imp Qwsp, but freed by the Justice Society.
- Decelerated Aging (Formerly): Like his JSA colleagues, Johnny Thunder was bathed in a mystical radiation, at the moment of the destruction of Ian Karkull, which greatly reduced reducing his aging. He would have a subjective age of no more than 40 years, when the villain Extant aged him and all his JSA friends to their actual, chronological ages.
- Summoning (Formerly): Johnny could originally summon the djinn Thunderbolt by using the magic words "cei-u"; the djinn would fulfill all his orders to the letter, even the unintentional, for an hour.
- 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.
- Luck: Johnny Thunder is uncannily lucky.
- 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.
- Hand-to-Hand Combat (Basic)
- Innocence: Johnny was always absent-minded  and unbelievably ingenuous.
- Mental Illness (Formerly): As Johnny grew older, he began suffering from Alzheimer's Disease.
- Zodiac Belt: Given as a gift from Bhadnisians, the belt allowed Johnny mastery over the Thunderbolt when he reached the age of seven. But he didn't summon the djinn until in his adulthood, because he didn't know the necessary magic words.
- 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 Thunder, nor does he have any connection to the 19th century lawman of the same name.
- The probable dates of Johnny's relationship with Will Power's mother are estimated by taking into account the fact that Will Power reached maturity in 1994, the year of his debut.
- All of the Thunder siblings have names that begin with the letter "J".
- 306 Appearances of John Thunder (New Earth)
- 45 Images featuring John Thunder (New Earth)
- 5 Quotations by or about John Thunder (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: John Thunder (New Earth)
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