Adam Blake liked to walk the streets of Gotham City at all hours. He walked with no expended motion, as graceful as a machine. Metallic green eyes were his only distinctive feature.
He had arrived in the middle of winter and had established himself as a man for any mystery. He had crossed swords with some dangerous men in the short six months he had been operating with the group of men who acted as his assistants. Sometimes he wondered what it would be like to settle in one place and stay for longer than a few years. Until he had an answer, he walked his new home from one end to the other.
Adam Blake paused as a sub-audible hum surrounded him. Shapes became men in bulky armor with blank visors that acted as masks. Blake somersaulted out of the constraining circle. He turned, his hand slapping a man to the ground in a blur.
There was small thump from above the adventurer. Reflexes tried to carry him away from the pressure wave he felt approaching. A net wrapped around the target before he could get clear. Electricity was applied to the net before Blake could try to escape. Everything went black as he tried to fight clear of the restraint.
Captain Comet regarded the Earth with a smile as he returned for the first time since his departure last year. Adam Blake had been her primary defender for a few years, and it still took his breath away that such a fragile place seemed like a jewel from orbit.
Adam was apprehensive about his return, since he had already said goodbye to his friends, Professor Emery Zackro and Lucy Torrence. The professor had told him that his destiny was in the stars and bade him farewell with a warm handshake. And Lucy had wept, unable to understand why he had to leave and taking it as a personal rejection. When he returned to the stars once more, would his second departure be even more painful for all involved? He began to have some second thoughts about his return. The words of Thomas Wolfe kept repeating in his mind as these thoughts troubled him.
A system on the Cometeer buzzed at him. He frowned at what his instruments told him. Something had suddenly appeared in orbit with him.
Captain Comet aimed the Cometeer away from the object, heading for the moon with the hopes of finding a place to hide his ship while he tried to board the other one. Long metallic threads snared the smaller craft. He found himself trying to pull away but was not able to.
Pulling the ejection lever after securing his helmet, Captain Comet flew out into space, using his telekinesis to maneuver away from his captured craft.
Men in bulky suits appeared out of nowhere, overwhelming the man of tomorrow with beam technology before he could defend himself. They secured his body and took him and the Cometeer back to their ship, which vanished when its work was done.
Atom Blake flew over Fawcett City, grinning. The boy magician who was eternally stuck at the age of six years old had just finished a case with the mighty new hero called Shiva, and things were well with the world. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Shiva: Times Past, 1953: The New Kid.]
But he stopped grinning when men in bulky suits appeared in the sky, leveling weapons at him.
He tried to dodge out of the way but was struck by several beams at once. He only had enough strength left to collapse in a landing on a nearby roof. The troopers landed beside him.
“Are you sure this is the right one?” asked the apparent leader of the armored group, speaking in German. “He’s a mere child, and we were expecting to find a young man approaching the age of thirty.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Atom Blake was a teenager in 1940; see Atom Blake, Wow Comics #1 (Winter, 1940-1941).]
“His signature matches,” said one of the troopers with a shrug, holding up a compu-pad.
“Not what I expected, but he’ll have to make do,” said the leader. “Let’s move out.”
The men, with Atom Blake, vanished from the rooftop.
Atom Blake awoke sometime later. Something blocked his vision and speech. He tried to flex his arms but found his limbs were manacled together. He heard two men talking as he lay on the cold floor. They seemed to be discussing baseball, of all things.
The boy heard the cell door open with a swish of the air and tried to lay still as he heard heavy boots clack against the surface of the floor.
“Greetings, gentlemen,” said a smooth voice from where the door should have been. “I expect you want to know my plans and such. I am afraid that all I can tell you is that my name is Adam Blake, and your abilities will help me destroy the Allies and ensure the victory of Nazi Germany. As soon as young Master Blake recovers from the stun beams, we’ll begin the transfers. I hope your brief stay in my dungeon will be enjoyable,” said the fourth Blake, before he seemed to leave.
“Everyone is a comedian,” said Captain Comet, who was one of the other prisoners.
“Guard?” asked Adam Blake of Earth-Two, whose voice had a mechanical quality.
“Two by the door,” said Captain Comet.
“Now that we know what the plan is,” said Blake, “shall we go?”
“We know what the plan is?” said Atom and Comet together.
“Yes,” said Blake. “We do.”
“Right,” said Captain Comet. “I understand now.”
“Could someone tell me?” asked Atom.
“Brain transfer,” said Blake.
“Oh,” said Atom Blake. “I second the getting out of here.”
“Right,” said Blake. Something creaked where his voice emitted. There was a small series of snaps, one right after the other. “How are the guards?” he asked quietly.
“Thinking about their free time and how bored they are,” said Captain Comet.
The blindfold was removed from Atom’s eyes with a small popping noise. When the little boy saw the combination helmet and control device, he realized the man removing it had been able to hear him through the metal. The manacles came off with a snapping of metal.
Atom saw that one of the men wore a spacesuit straight out of the pulps, with the helmet folded back over his shoulders. The other, the one who held his broken cuffs, wore a black suit with a gold pin on the lapel of the jacket.
“We’re Adam Blake,” said Captain Comet, the one in the spacesuit.
“In a manner of speaking,” corrected Blake.
“I’m Atom Blake,” said the boy magician with a grin. “Do you guys have a plan?”
“We get out of here and talk to our counterpart about his plans for us,” said the man in black.
The other two looked at each other. “So we’re improvising,” said Captain Comet.
“Yep,” said the boy magician.
“Yes,” said Adam Blake, walking toward the door.
The guards stood on either side of the cell door. They didn’t expect trouble. They really didn’t expect the door to fly out into the hall with the hinges pulled apart. They went for the stun guns hanging from their shoulders from slings.
Inhumanly fast hands spun one guard into the opposite wall. A slap against the back of the head embedded the helmet into the wall. A simple pull disconnected the armor’s power pack, leaving it frozen in place.
The other guard spun around in the air, slammed into the floor, then found himself encased in a bunny suit. He stared down at himself.
“What’s up, Doc?” said the boy magician, chewing on a carrot he had snatched out of thin air.