DC Comics has some of the most iconic superhero teams ever. They have such iconic teams as the Justice League, the Teen Titans, Young Justice, and the Justice Society of America, and the Suicide Squad. These teams have obscure counterparts though. These teams are all ones who either fell out of popularity or never had popularity in the first place.
A remnant of the 1990s, Extreme Justice was everything you would think when you think the 1990s. It was loud, brash, over the top, and had a lot of body armor on characters that did not need it. Extreme Justice consisted of Captain Atom as the leader and had Maxima, Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, Amazing Man, Firestorm, and Plastique on the team roster.
Ironically, Extreme Justice formed because Captain Atom decided he did not want to deal with the United Nations. The irony here is that Captain Atom first joined the Justice League because Maxwell Lord got UN approval by adding a United States representative on the Justice League International. Captain Atom formed the new team and immediately had a lot of problems. Ronnie Raymond, who was previously Firestorm, was fighting leukemia, and the treatments brought back his Firestorm Powers. Amazing Man was able to siphon off some of the energy to stabilize Ronnie. Ronnie’s friend, Martin Stein, was in space for an extended period of time as the current Firestorm, but he came back and cured Ronnie’s leukemia.
The team only lasted 19 issues, which meant that they were around for about 1 and a half years. They disbanded because Captain Atom ordered them to invade Bialya, which meant that a US military member ordered his team of US superheroes to invade a foreign country. The group invaded the country and destroyed an army of what they thought were androids. The problem was that they were actual volunteers who became cyborgs in order to protect their country, meaning the Justice League invaded a foreign country and murdered an entire army of humans. On top of that, they then destroyed a majority of military bases in Bialya and threatened the leader of the country that they would do far worse if the leader did not surrender. That did not sit well, and all versions of the Justice League were disbanded.
Years before there was the extremely famous Suicide Squad consisting of super-villains was created, there was the version of the team in the 1960s. The team was created by Robert Kanigher and Ross Andru as a fictional branch of the US Army that was led by Rick Flagg. The team first appeared in The Brave and the Bold #25, with a team roster of Jess Bright, Dr. Hugh Evans, Rick Flag, and Karin Grace. The team appeared in The Brave and the Bold 25, 26,27,37, and 39. The team moved to Star-Spangled War Stories with issue #110. The Suicide Squad lasted from Star-Spangled War Stories #110 until Star-Spangled War Stories #128. That team was assigned the most dangerous missions and had a high turnover in members. Rick Flag, Sr. was the only survivor in the Suicide Squad, which disbanded after World War II. Rick Flag, Sr settled down and married, and has a son, Rick Flag, Jr. Rick Flag, Jr. would become the leader of the next Suicide Squad, which became the most famous. This Suicide Squad was the one created in the 1980s by John Ostrander.
While not many know who the Justice Society of America are, even fewer know who the All-Star Squadron are. The team was created by Roy Thomas in 1981 with Rich Buckler and Jerry Ordway. The team consisted of a majority of the superheroes DC Comics owned that were featured in comic books during the 1940s. The team consisted of members of the Justice Society of America, the Freedom Fighters, the Seven Soldiers of Victory, and every other Golden Age hero owned by DC Comics.
In continuity, the All-Star Squadron was created because Franklin Roosevelt wanted to connect all of the “mystery men” that were operating around the country. That was because he was unable to contact the Justice Society of America, and it turned out they were captured. Roosevelt put out an open call for superheroes to come and help to rescue the Justice Society. It turned out the Justice Society was captured by a time-traveling supervillain by the name of Per Degaton. Per Degaton captured the Justice Society because he wanted to keep them captive while he launched an attack on the United States in order to take over the world.
The heroes who were rescued would join the All-Star Squadron and team up to fight villains. The All-Star Squadron was less a superhero team and more of a way for Roy Thomas to have a way to write comics based on heroes in the 1940s, as he grew up with those characters and became close friends with Gardner Fox, the creator of the Justice Society. The All-Star Squadron’s book did not have many team-up stories but instead would focus on different members of the All-Star Squadron.
Created in 1964, in the pages of Justice League, the Crime Syndicate was a group from Earth-Three that was a group of supervillains that were evil doppelgangers of the Justice League. They consisted of Ultraman, Owlman, Super-Woman, Johnny Quick, and Power Ring. These were doppelgangers of Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Flash, and Green Lantern, respectively. They were created by Gardner Fox and Mike Sekowsky, and they first appeared in Justice League of American #29 in August of 1964.
They invaded Earth-One, which was the home of the Justice League, in order to prove their superiority because they were bored of committing crimes on their earth. They lost, so they went back to Earth-Three in order to make a plan. They went to Earth-Two, home of the Justice Society of America, and captured the Justice Society. They sent the Justice Society to Earth-Three and brought the Justice League to Earth-Two in order to fight the Justice League on even ground. The Justice League beat the Crime Syndicate by tricking them, and then the Justice League locked the Crime Syndicate in a bubble between worlds, in limbo.
The Crime Syndicate would escape and wreak havoc on both the Justice League and the Justice Society in the ensuing years, and they would fight all the way up until 1985 when the multiverse was destroyed in Crisis on Infinite Earths, where continuity was reset. They were remade as a team from the anti-matter world Qward. This team consisted of Deathstorm, Power Ring, Atomica, Grid, Hawkwing, Johnny Quick, J’onn J’onzz, Owlman, Sea King, Talon, The Outsider, Ultraman, Superwoman, and Will Batson. These were doppelgangers of Firestorm, Green Lantern, Atom, Cyborg, Hawkman, Flash, Martian Manhunter, Batman, Aquaman, Alfred, Superman, Wonder Woman, and Shazam/Captain Marvel. The team did not fall completely into obscurity though. They actually are getting a 6 issue mini-series in March by Andy Schmidt and Kieran McKeown.