Libby Lawrence laughed and tossed back her long blonde hair. “Johnny, your mouth is faster than your brain!”
Johnny Quick smirked. “Yeah, I’m fast in a lot of ways.” He reached for Liberty Belle and took her hand.
The All-Star Squadron’s new headquarters at the New York World’s Fair grounds was empty, except for the romantic couple and a distantly occupied Air Wave, Guardian, and Wildcat.
As Libby started to move closer to her love, he vanished. Boy, rejected at super-speed! thought Belle. I could get a complex. He must have spotted some crisis.
Hearing a crash, she ran to where a piece of equipment lay in a bent pile on the floor. She had absently noticed Wildcat showing the signal device to the other three heroes momentarily before. Now it had dropped, and all three heroes were gone. Libby worried that something odd had occurred.
Officer Lysette Andrews was in a tight spot, literally. The pretty blonde Gateway City cop was trapped by a crook called the Puzzler, a bald man with a goatee and glasses. She strained but could not free herself from her bonds. Her hands and legs were locked within a complex mechanical device that ticked down the minutes until a lethal bomb would explode. Lysette hoped to be well away from the area before it exploded, and her hopes were pinned upon her hero, Mister Terrific.
The man of a thousand talents had tracked her down and was even now dealing with her kidnapper’s henchmen in his usual ease. Terry Sloane ducked a punch and then casually caught his enemy by the arm and spun him around. The thug cried out in pain as Mister Terrific increased the pressure and dropped him to the floor.
“Don’t worry,” said Terry. “You’ll be sore but fine in an hour or so.”
“Ah! But will the lovely Lysette be in one piece when that bomb explodes?” laughed the Puzzler. Just last month he first battled none other than Superman himself but was able to escape by faking his death, and he had decided to test another hero’s wits before having a rematch with the Man of Steel. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Puzzler,” Action Comics #49 (June, 1942).]
“I intend to see that it does not explode!” replied Mister Terrific.
“I’ll give you a sporting chance,” giggled the thin, purple-suited Puzzler. “Punch in the deactivation code in the next, oh, one-hundred and ten seconds, and all is well. Solve my puzzle, if you’re up to it! I dare you.”
Terry scanned the display on the bomb. A keypunch was below the ticking display clock. “Take Caunotaucarius’ original birthdate, subtract the diameter of Helios, subtract the homer record for the Babe in his record year,” he read, then saw ninety seconds on the clock.
“Caunotaucarius was the Indian name for Washington. He was born 2-22-1732, but the original Julian calendar was altered to the Gregorian in 1752, which shifted it eleven days and moved the start of the year from March 25th to January 1st. That makes it 2-11-1731. The Sun was Helios in Greek myth. Its diameter is 865,000 miles. And Babe Ruth… in 1927, he had sixty home runs,” calculated the man, with a photographic memory. “1,246,671,” Mister Terrific punched in. The clock stopped at eight seconds to go.
The Puzzler gasped and tried to run, but Mister Terrific grabbed the frail crook and held him fast while a happy Lysette Andrews slipped loose from her now-slack bonds.
“You did it! My hero!” she cooed amorously.
“I have a good head for figures,” replied Terry modestly as the Puzzler was carted off by Lysette’s fellow police officers.
Suddenly, Mister Terrific vanished, leaving a startled Lysette and the police to gasp in dismay.
Hawkgirl kicked helplessly, but it was no use; the heroine was trapped. Shiera Sanders was hanging upside down, caught in the gravity ray of Hawkman’s old foe Alexander the Great. (*) Her auburn locks fell over her head, and her wings remained still and useless in the gravity ray’s field.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Hawkman, Flash Comics #2 (February, 1940) and “The Justice Society Adventure the World’s Not Ready to Learn About Yet,” All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984).]
“Hawk! A little help here, please,” she said.
Hawkman nodded as he sailed into the creator of the ray. Alexander the Great — a bald, tuxedo-wearing genius — knew more about gravity than anyone. Even Hawk’s gravity-defying belt of Nth-metal was useless under the direct impact of his stasis ray. He slugged the evil genius and saw him fall with satisfaction. His lover remained suspended, to her great annoyance.
“You know, I really should search the place first,” he teased his irate girlfriend. “Just hang on!”
“This is not funny! Cut off that ray!” yelled the pretty heiress.
“OK, if you can’t take a joke,” sighed Hawkman, alias Carter Hall, as he switched off Alexander’s potent device.
Shiera immediately flew around and landed on her feet. “Thanks. I was getting dizzy. Didn’t mean to snap at you.” She glanced up at the silence that greeted her remark. “Hawk? Where are you?” she asked as she collared the stunned Alexander. Shiera stood alone with the downed science whiz. Hawkman had vanished.
In the luxurious penthouse suite of Ted Knight, an anxious Doris Lee waited impatiently. Ted Knight was rather late, even under his standard of time. She wore a costly, revealing evening gown that accented her dark beauty, happy to see her fiancé after his return from basic training in the Army Air Corps. (*) Sadly, Ted Knight, alias Starman, would not enjoy his girl’s appearance this night.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Justice Society Joins the War on Japan,” All-Star Comics #11 (June-July, 1942).]
Mary James fumed. “That Al Pratt promised to meet me tonight at Macy’s and help me carry home my packages. I’m done, and that unreliable jerk is nowhere to be seen!” Al Pratt, alias the Atom, was indeed nowhere to be seen.
At the All-Star Squadron base, Liberty Belle made a few quick calls. She soon saw a definite pattern. Every male member of the newly formed Justice Battalion of America and the All-Star Squadron had disappeared suddenly, except for those boys under eighteen such as Robin, Speedy, Star-Spangled Kid, and Sandy.
On the other hand, the female members Wonder Woman, Firebrand, Phantom Lady, Hawkgirl, and even relative unknowns such as Doll Girl, still remained active in their home cities. She needed to find them before the war effort and the homefront dissolved into chaos.