Discovering a super complex mathematical formula of supposedly higher dimension, Chambers was able to gain the abilities of superspeed. Inspired by the Flash of Earth-Two and fashioning himself a masked costume and codename, Chambers began his heroic career as impulsive Johnny Quick.
Originally born in the reality known as Earth-Two about the time of World War I, Johnny Chambers was a newsreel photographer to the Sees All Tells All News along his fat friend, Tubby Watts. His guardian, Professor Ezra Gill, a great mathematical genius, discovered a papyrus he removed from the ancient tomb of the King Amen of Egypt. He concluded that by using an exotic mathematical formula written at papyrus, termed as 3x2(9yz)4a, his brain could tap into a higher dimension, which he usually thought of as the fourth dimension of time, and draw an unspecified speed-energy from that dimension and directly harness and use it. Before he died, Ezra passed the formula on to Chambers and instructed him how to use it. Inspired by the Flash of Earth-Two Jay Garrick, Chambers created a costume for himself and began calling himself Johnny Quick in obvious imitation of his hero. While the formula did indeed increase Chambers' speed to vastly superhuman levels, Chambers top speed was far below that of Jay Garrick's normal speed.
As Johnny Quick, Chambers engaged in many adventures against an assortment of villains and open spies prior to World War II on Earth-Two. It would during this time period that Johnny Quick would be recruited -- some say drafted by the United States government into service as was most every other known superhero -- into the government-sponsored superhuman group, the All-Star Squadron.
After World War II, Quick would resume his mostly solo actions and joined the reconstituted Justice Society before it was officially disbanded in the early 1950s due to the United States government committee on Un-American Activities that forced all known masked superpowered beings to publically unmask and reveal their true identities. Like most of the masked superpowered heroes, Quick refused and went into basically retirement where he would remain for the most part though he would occasionally engage in minor cases during the 1950s and 1960s. He married Libby Lawrence, who was the World War II super-heroine Liberty Belle, during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and the couple had a brief honeymoon at Earth-S.
Chambers remained single and childless into his early 60s where he returned and engaged in the battles of the Crisis on Infinite Earths in which Earth-Two was destroyed and completely eradicated from ever having existed at all. Despite Chambers' age, he was spry enough to engage in the battle at the "Dawn of Time" and like the other heroes survived the destruction and eradication of his original Earth.
After the Crisis, Chambers' life was reformated in which he have a daughter named Jesse who would follow in her father's footsteps even temporarily becoming the successor to the Flash. Chambers' formula even slowed down his biological age so despite being chronologically in his mid to late 60s, he was physically in his early 40s. This age reduction and Chambers' immature attitude and continual desire to remain an active crime-fighter would cause marital stress between him and his wife, which would routinely lead to periods of estrangement between the two despite the fact that they obviously loved each other deeply and their daughter.
Johnny kept engaging in heroic activities such as fighting against the super-villain Savitar. Together with Max Mercury, he defeated Savitar. Johnny would rejoin the later reformed Justice Society as a reserve member much to the anger and frustration of his wife. Eventually, Johnny established Quickstart Enterprises, a company that made infomercials that helped people to get a new start on life and not be held back somewhat reflective of his fast-paced life and its continual restarts with his wife and daughter.
However, when Professor Zoom was masquerading as Barry Allen, Jay Garrick, the first recognized Flash, called Johnny to help him combat the higher speed and endurance of Zoom. But despite them being still superhuman in speed and endurance, and remarkably fit for men who are all chronologically in their late 70s -- practically all still in their early 40s -- the assembled speedsters were no match for Zoom who defeated them all, even breaking Jay's leg which completely healed good as new later on.
Despite being in his later years, Johnny continued to remain active as a crime fighter even helping Wally West, who was the then current recognized Flash, and the other speedsters fight evil. Through it all, Max constantly tried to teach Johnny about the Speed Force that gave all the super-speedsters their speed, but it took a very long time for Johnny to finally accept this notion as Max usually explained the speed force in mystical terms when Johnny wanted to have it explained in specific mathematical terms that he was familiar with. Finding Max's teachings too "zen" for him, Chambers usually resisted Max's direct experiences with the Speed Force relying exclusively on his formula and its higher dimension energies access.
At last, in their final battle with Savitar, Johnny realized that what Max was trying to say made sense and realized that instead of his "higher dimension" and the Speed Force being two separate power sources they were basically one and the same, and that his accessing it was limited to his conscious demands and permissions. Right after this epiphany, however, Chambers gave his life saving his daughter from Savitar, by overwhelming Savitar with the sheer power of the Speed Force dimension as he embraced the Speed Force wholly, which in turn consumed Chambers completely and supposedly forever the same as Barry Allen and many other superspeed beings.
Speed Force and Death
What looked as Johnny's ghost began to appear to Wally West as the latter ran close to its top speed, much to Wally's fear as he felt himself somewhat responsible for Johnny's death. However, Wally soon realized that Johnny only wished to say goodbye to Jesse once and for all, which he hadn't managed to do when battling Savitar, and was using him because he had a direct link with the Speed Force; therefore Wally helped Jesse reach the outskirts of the Speed Force, where the Quicks could finally say goodbye to each other.
Johnny Quick briefly resurfaced from the Speed Force during the Infinite Crisis, when Bart Allen was struggling to trap Superboy-Prime in the Speed Force itself, helping him in his task together with Barry Allen and Max Mercury.
Johnny fell victim to the machinations of Professor Zoom, which orchestrated the return of Barry Allen from the Speed Force only to have him slowly corrupted by Zoom's own Speed Force and expecting him to become a deadly threat to his fellow speedsters. When Barry tried to avoid this by returning into the Speed Force, he met Johnny and Max being engulfed by Zoom's dark energies; Johnny grabbed Barry and was consumed by the latent energies still present in his system. As he decayed into a skeleton, he begged for Barry to protect Jesse, and to tell his wife that he had never stopped loving her.
Johnny's death, however, triggered a reaction in the Speed Force that eventually resulted in Jesse having her connection to the Speed Force fully restored and re-embracing her identity as Jesse Quick, ensuring that his legacy would be carried on.
Johnny Quick returned as a member of the Black Lantern Corps, along with other members of the JSA who had passed away. Once he was resurrected, Johnny quickly headed to the battle between the JSA and the Black Lantern Corps, where he reunited with his daughter Jesse, who took up the name of Liberty Belle in honor of her mother, and she also changes into a costume based on Johnny's old costume. However, unlike the other dead JSAers, Johnny doesn't try to take Jesse's heart, but spends time with her, even convincing her that he wasn't evil.
- Speed Force Connection: Johnny has a connection to the speed force which happens to be related to his visualization of the speed-formula: 3X2(9YZ)4A. This formula functions as a mantra that connects Johnny with the Speed Force, and few other people can utilize it. Johnny is able to move at roughly half-light speed. To stop this speed, he will recite:Z²5Y(2AB)6. On Earth-Two, doubling his speed-formula doubles Johnny's speed.
- Time-Travel: On Earth-Two, his speed allows Johnny to break through the laws of space and reach the fourth dimension of time. Once in the fourth dimension, he can freely travel to any point in time. He later refers to this process as the "Wheel of Time".
- Flight: On Earth-Two, Johnny can use his super speed to fly at super speed.
- Business Management
- Equestrianism: On Earth-Two, Johnny is shown to be an experienced rider.
- Firearms: On Earth-Two, Johnny is shown to be a skilled shooter.
- Artistry: Once Johnny retraced, in an afternoon, all the drawings necessary to an animated picture about himself, what had originally taken scores of men long months of effort.
- 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.
- On Earth-Two, Johnny Quick once time-travelled to the Ancient Rome. The Romans, who took him for a God, named him Mercury.
- Adventure Comics (first featured in issue #103)
- More Fun Comics (first featured in issue #71)
- All-Star Squadron (first featured in issue #1)
- 290 Appearances of Jonathan Chambers (New Earth)
- 21 Images featuring Jonathan Chambers (New Earth)
- 9 Quotations by or about Jonathan Chambers (New Earth)
- Character Gallery: Jonathan Chambers (New Earth)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 Adventure Comics #158
- ↑ Adventure Comics #163
- ↑ Impulse #11
- ↑ The Flash Annual (Volume 2) #11
- ↑ Infinite Crisis #4
- ↑ The Flash: Rebirth #3
- ↑ The Flash: Rebirth #5
- ↑ Adventure Comics #142
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 Adventure Comics #125
- ↑ Adventure Comics #137
- ↑ Adventure Comics #132
- ↑ Young All-Stars #27
Justice Society of America member
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