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 men from the country of Badhnesia who had been looking for someone born at this time on this day. As an infant, Johnny was possessed by the genie-like "Yz" during a mystic ritual on his seventh birthday, which was intended to allow the Badhnesians to use Johnny to rule the world. However, the plan was soon aborted after an attack from a neighboring country.
Johnny eventually returned to the United States and 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 renegade Badhnesian priests.
In the early 1950s, Johnny was kidnapped again by agents from Badhnesia with the intention of executing their original world conquest plan. Johnny managed to summon Superman, and the would-be conquerors' plans were defeated. Johnny spent some time in Badhnesia afterwards, teaching the native citizens about democracy. He returned home after the country elected its first president. Johnny rejoined the Justice Society upon its reformation in the 1960's
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 Bahdnesians had all but disappeared. A visit to the island of Bahdnesia, now under the ownership of Pol St. Germain, proved that no Bahdnesians 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 Bhadnesian 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.
- 301 Appearances of John Thunder (New Earth)
- 40 Images featuring John Thunder (New Earth)
- 4 Quotations by or about John Thunder (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: John Thunder (New Earth)
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Justice Society of America member