The Royal Flush Gang (Team) (DC Comics)

Publication information

Publisher: DC Comics 
First appearance: Justice League of America #43 (March 1966) 
Created by: Gardner Fox (writer), Mike Sekowsky (artist) 

In-story information

Official Name: The Royal Flush Gang
Team Aliases: Royal Flush Gang
Status: Active
Identity: Secret
Alignment: Bad
Universe: Earth-One, New Earth
Base of Operations: Las Vegas, Atlantic City, most major cities in the United States.

Affiliations

Members

Team Leader(s): 

Current The Royal Flush Gang Members

King of Spades, Queen of Spades, Jack of Spades, Ten of Spades, Ace Android

Former Members

Amos Fortune, Hector Hammond, King of Clubs, Queen of Clubs, Hi-Jack, Ten of Clubs, Ace of Spades, Ernest Clay, Ace of Spades V, Ace of Spades VI, Ace of Spades VII, Ace of Clubs, Ace of Hearts, Ace of Diamonds, Jack of Spades (Earth-One), Jack of Spades III, Jack of Spades V, Deuce Canyard, Jack of Spades VII, Jack of Spades VIII, Jack of Spades IX, Jack of Clubs, Jack of Clubs III, Jack of Clubs IV, Jack of Hearts, Jack of Hearts II, Jack of Hearts III, Jack of Diamonds, Jack of Diamonds II, Jack of Diamonds III, King of Spades III, King of Spades IV, King of Spades V, King of Spades VI, King of Spades VII, King of Spades VIII, King of Clubs II, King of Hearts, King of Hearts II, King of Hearts III, King of Diamonds, King of Diamonds II, King of Diamonds III, King of Diamonds IV, Queen of Spades III, Queen of Spades IV, Queen of Spades V, Queen of Clubs II, Queen of Hearts II, Queen of Hearts III, Queen of Hearts IV, Queen of Hearts V, Queen of Diamonds, Queen of Diamonds II, Ten of Spades (Earth-One), Ten of Spades IV, Ten of Spades V, Ten of Spades VI, Ten of Spades VII, Ten of Spades VIII, Ten of Clubs II, Ten of Clubs III, Ten of Hearts, Ten of Hearts II, Ten of Diamonds, Ten of Diamonds II, Six of Spades II, Five of Spades III, Four of Spades II, Four of Spades III, Three of Spades II, Three of Spades III, Two of Spades II, Eight of Hearts, Three of Hearts, Two of Hearts, Two of Clubs, Samuel Kurtis, Ed Markham, Eight of Diamonds, Five of Diamonds, Five of Diamonds II, Four of Diamonds, Three of Diamonds

Founding Members

Allies

Enemies

Justice League, Intergang, Titans

Origin

Origin: 
Founder: 
Place of Formation: 

History

The Royal Flush Gang is a crime syndicate, though its origins were much smaller. Originally, it was a gang set up by Amos Fortune, dressed as the cards of a Royal Flush: Ace of Clubs, King of Clubs, Queen of Clubs, Jack of Clubs and Ten of Clubs. They committed petty theft of valuables or technology, or hired out their skills to serve as thieves-for-hire.

First Gang: Clubs

The original Royal Flush Gang was Professor Amos Fortune's childhood gang. With Fortune himself as Ace, they fought the Justice League on two occasions, using Fortune's luck-altering "stellaration" technology to realize the fortune-telling significance of playing cards. After Fortune abandoned the Gang, they attempted to steal paintings containing clues to a hidden treasure but were thwarted by the Joker's manipulations (Joker #6). Most of them then abandoned their criminal careers, although Jack briefly joined the Secret Society of Super Villains as "Hi-Jack". Fortune's gang wore costumes based on the suit of clubs. In the pages of JLA Classified, it was revealed the original Royal Flush Gang (sans Amos Fortune) reunited to fight the "Detroit Era" Justice League and their successors in the second gang. In this battle, the original King, Queen, and Ten were all killed.

Second Gang: Spades

The second Royal Flush Gang was set up by Green Lantern villain Hector Hammond in Justice League of America #203. Hammond led the group as "Wildcard". This version wore costumes based on the suit of spades. The gang split up and went on to have separate criminal careers before re-establishing themselves, without Hammond. They were twice hired by Maxwell Lord as part of his manipulation of Justice League International. Later, they were reorganized and reoutfitted by a successor to the Golden Age Green Lantern villain the Gambler, who was masquerading as the Joker.
  • King (Joe Carny) -- The so-called "King of the Hoboes," Carny also suffered from lung cancer. As Hammond's agent, he wore a costume that technologically enhanced his natural charisma to the point of mind control. Following the metagene bomb in Invasion! King became immortal. Although King is the highest ranking member of the gang, in poker the Ace ranks as the highest card in a royal flush.
  • Queen (Mona Taylor) - Taylor was originally a Broadway star whose career was destroyed by her ongoing alcoholism. As Hammond's agent, she wielded a sceptre that cast realistic illusions. After the Gambler reoutiftted the team, she began employing a wrist shooter that fires razor sharp spades.
  • Jack (name unknown) - Originally a gigolo, he became a fugitive after inadvertently killing a client while attempting to steal her jewelry. As Hammond's agent, he wielded an energy-charged sword. The Gambler replaced his left eye with a cybernetically-activated laser weapon, making him a literal "one-eyed Jack." The removal of his eye to implant the laser initially impacted his sanity.
  • Ten (Wanda Wayland) - Wayland was a test pilot fired for refusing her employer's sexual advances. As Hammond's agent, she wore a costume with energy blasters in its gloves. She has enhanced reflexes, and carries explosive playing cards.
  • Ace ("Derek Reston") - The Ace was a superstrong android in the form of an African-American man. A later Ace, Ernie Clay, was recruited by King and used a strength-enhancing exoskeleton provided by the Gambler. In more recent appearances in Starman and Infinite Crisis, however, the team was once again employing the robot Ace.
King, Queen, and Ten also have blaster-pistols. The Gang fly on hovering playing cards. In the Gang's appearances in Teen Titans, Ten had organized runaways as "Ten's Little Indians," a gang of thieves dressed as the two through nine of spades and armed with bows and trick arrows.

Third Gang: All Suits

Superman: The Man of Steel #121 revealed that the Royal Flush Gang had expanded. The Royal Flush Gang is now an organization that reaches across America, with cells in every major city. Instead of five members, each "cell" has fifty-two, split into four suits run by the "court cards". Each member has a playing card value, and those who rise or fall in the Gang's esteem gain or lose a "pip". Notably, Stargirl's father was a "Two"; upon defeating him, she transitioned from the Star-Spangled Kid identity to Stargirl in JSA: All-Stars.
Recently, in Infinite Crisis #2, the Joker tortures and kills the leadership of a local cell of the Royal Flush Gang from an unspecified city, after being rejected by the Society for his "instability". The King is the last one left alive and he mocks the Joker for being rejected. He kills the King with an electrical blast to the face. The dead gang is left in the ruins of a casino. However, given the fact that King is immortal, to the point that he has recovered from death almost instantly on numerous occasions, it seems improbable that he actually permanently died.
Another cell of the expanded version, this one stylized as a street gang, appear as members of the Society in Villains United and several of its tie-ins in other comics. It is unclear what ties the third gang has or had—if any—to its predecessors and successors.

Infinite Crisis Gang

The Royal Flush Gang joined Alexander Luthor's Secret Society of Super Villains. The Joker, after being rejected from society, kills all fifty-two members of a Gang in a casino.

Post-Crisis Gang

A new version of the Royal Flush Gang appears in Justice League of America (volume 2) #35. This version is working under the authority of Amos Fortune, who is addressed by other members as "Wild Card". In the following issue, Fortune gives a history of the gang. It seems to combine the first and third gangs' histories/characteristics, with Fortune indicating that he was always running the group in some capacity.
Currently, there are multiple active, costumed members, some of whom deriving their outfits and codenames from cards with pip values lower than ten. Members can raise in the numerical ranks as reward for their successes, or be "dealt out" at the discretion of Wild Card.
It is unclear if there are still 52 cells throughout the country, or 52 members in total. A lower ranked member mentions that there are four Queens, but Fortune states that the group is constantly growing.
A branch of the Royal Flush Gang based in Las Vegas, Nevada recently appeared in Zatanna # 4. Rather than using a playing card motif, each member of the Vegas branch is modeled after a member of the Rat Pack (such as Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Dean Martin).

Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Ace Android
  • Ace Exoskeleton: To complement his already big strength, Ernest Clay used an exoskeleton. Apart from enhanced strength, it also had a large gamma blaster at the chest.
  • Insulated Suits: Wanda Wayland's suit was able to shield her from the vacuum of space; a special membrane over her face mask allowed her to breathe.
  • Sceptre Royale: Mona Taylor bore a scepter that could alter her appearance into any other woman.
  • Stellaration: An odd-changing mechanism developed by by Amos Fortune. Only used when he was part of the gang.

Transportation

  • Card Scooter: Flying playing cards developed by the first Ace of Spades.

Weapons

  • Crossbows: Ten's Little Indians were armed with crossbows.
  • Cybernetic eye: The third Jack of Spades was the first to give up one eye (albeing involuntarily). Several subsequent Jacks have had either one or two eyes replaced with a laser.
  • Firearms: Members have used a variety of standard firearms.
  • Lance: One of the new weapons of the first Ace of Spades, this lance could shoot acid-tipped spades.
  • Lasers: Several members have had wrist-mounted laser guns.
  • Playing cards: Either normal playing cards or modified ones, used as throwing weapons.
  • Spades: The Gambler gave Mona Taylor a wrist-mounted launcher that could shoot spade-shaped blades.
  • Staff: Several members have used a variety of laser and ray-shooting staffs and scepters.
  • Swords: Several members have used swords, both ordinary and laster shooting.
Comments