Myra McNider gasped in recognition at the Night-Owl’s other female hostage. The pretty, raven-haired girl was Deena Tyler, a relative of Rex Tyler’s, although the girl had been studying abroad for several years. How could she have fallen into the grasp of the owl-like fiend?
“Deena Tyler provided me with much of my data about the black-light projection part of my device,” he said, laughing. “You’d be surprised how much has changed in technology even in my chosen field since my last days of freedom.”
Deena frowned. “You swore you’d release mother if I gave you the notes. You promised not to hurt anyone!”
“Ah, the naïve and blissful ignorance of the pretty!” laughed the Night-Owl. “I forced you to deliver the notes from the old Bannermain Labs to me in exchange for not killing your mother, and now that you have stolen the notes from the esteemed Rex Tyler himself, I have you in my power, for he would surely turn you in, even if you are distantly related to him. Odd how a man whose work was primarily with chemicals could also be such a pioneer in the fields of the possibilities of black-light radiation!”
Myra realized that the Night-Owl was dangerously close to discovering the secret of Hourman. She hoped he could not connect the science of black light with Rex Tyler and his costumed role. No one outside of the heroic world really knew about his former use of the black-light projector as a substitute for his Miraclo drug. She hoped it could stay that way.
As Night-Owl shoved Deena inside, the pretty girl glanced at Myra. “Mid-Nite! Are you his partner?”
“Yes,” said Myra, “and he’s on his way here now!” She punched at the Night-Owl, who gasped as he realized she had only been leaning against the post and was no longer truly bound to it.
The thug ran for her, and she tripped him long enough to fall flat at Night-Owl’s feet as her high heel broke. He pulled her up and choked her as she hurled the tranquilizer patch into his grimacing, owlish face. He released her with a shove, and she coughed in pain. He then fell, dazed by the powerful drug on the patch.
Meanwhile, Deena Tyler kicked the thug in the face with a spectacular high kick. “I’ll fight you all! You lied to me, and I have nothing left to lose!” She moved toward an old lady who was bound in the adjoining room. “Hold on, Mother!”
The Night-Owl painfully ran for his ray, and Myra rolled a blackout bomb in his path. He tripped over it, and it detonated even as he activated his own ray.
Deena glanced at the ray as it swiveled upward, and in a frantic effort to atone for her actions, she leaped atop it as it blasted black energy skyward, then sparked out due to the loosened wire.
When the darkness faded, which happened quickly due to the fact Myra had ruined the device, Myra saw that the Night-Owl was laying stunned next to the fallen Deena Tyler.
Myra called the police and examined the fallen figures. The Night-Owl was stunned from the impact, while Deena sat up suddenly and seemed unhurt.
“Are you OK?” asked Myra, who vowed inwardly that she would never wear that costume again, except perhaps in the bedroom.
Meanwhile, Rex Tyler had no idea that his cousin had stolen his old notes and turned them in to the Night-Owl, nor did he know the young lady had even returned from Europe. She was the grandchild of a distant cousin of his, and Rex barely knew her except for annual holiday dinners and such. Right now, he faced his old pal Dr. Charles McNider to discuss the so-called Mid-Nite Murders.
“The killer is young, agile, and can see in darkness,” said Doctor Mid-Nite. “He also killed only on nights that were foggy. The blackout bomb and its replicas only produce darkness, not the foggy, icy chill we’ve heard the witnesses refer to.”
“However, the weather reports for those nights indicate that the fog was localized and not natural,” offered Hourman. “Thus, our killer created it for some purpose of his own — to help his escape and provide cover.”
“Yes. That suggests the villain has more powers than we figured. Have any ideas?” asked Mid-Nite.
“I do,” said Hourman. “Back in the war, in 1942 or so, I fought a pair with weird powers just like the ones we’ve described. They were siblings and Nazi killers named Night and Fog — Nacht and Nebel, to be exact! One created nightlike conditions of icy, cold darkness, while the other could turn into a gaseous form.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Night and Fog,” All-Star Squadron #44 (April, 1985).]
“Of course!” said Mid-Nite. “Night could be posing as me with help from his sister on the escapes!”
“Well, actually, the man was Fog, and he must be the one wearing your costume,” said Rex, “while his sister lurks nearby to generate her own chilling blackness around the victims and help him mimic the blackout bomb effect.”
“That makes perfect sense,” said Doctor Mid-Nite. “Can we track them down? I assume they have been rejuvenated in some way.”
“I hope we can find them,” said a grim Rex. “They’re deadly. They killed Brandy’s dad years ago.”
“They never were captured then?” mused Doctor Mid-Nite. “Then we’ll bring justice to them!”
They called Libby Lawrence, who joined them in minutes with the aid of her fleet ex-husband and current boyfriend once more, Johnny Quick.
“Glad to see you two sparking again!” said a smiling Hourman.
“She can’t keep her hands off me!” said Johnny.
“Yes,” agreed Libby. “I’m tempted to break his neck, even as we speak!”
The pretty blonde gave the JSAers her files on the old Nazi villains, including a report of a second encounter some All-Star Squadron members had with them in 1944.
She tossed back the long lock of blonde hair that perpetually fell across her youthful face, causing her to look even more like Veronica Lake than she already did. “A young man named Paragon — Amazing-Man’s grandson — updated the files via a new computer program,” she said. “He made this kind of tracking easy. I never even recalled this pair showing up a second time, but then I was rather busy playing girl hostage when this case occurred elsewhere.”
“Of course,” said Johnny. “That was when you almost ended up being shipped to Berlin as a cute package!”
“Don’t remind me,” she said with a smile.
“As I was saying, while I was occupied, as Johnny so quaintly put it, as a ‘cute package,’ the other All-Stars encountered Night and Fog after you first fought them, Rex,” she continued. “This happened in 1944.”
“Hold it, Lib!” Hourman said. “The news says a sudden fog has rolled into the West Brook district, and the normal weather expected was clear skies! This could be our pair in action!”
“I could be there and back in minutes!” boasted Johnny.
“Take me — this is personal!” said Doctor Mid-Nite.
“Sure, I’m a regular human UPS,” quipped Johnny as he tossed Belle over his shoulder and grabbed Mid-Nite’s arm.
“Rex, play back-up!” yelled Johnny Quick as he raced off.
Liberty Belle flashed a hapless what can you do with him? smile at Hourman through her mussed hair as she dangled over Johnny’s shoulder like a blonde sack of potatoes.
Always a man of action himself, Hourman slammed his fist down in frustration at not being able to join them. “That guy is so smug. He always did rub me the wrong way!”
Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, and Doctor Mid-Nite arrived in the heart of the fog, and a chill settled over them.
“Man, if I wasn’t moving constantly, I’d be freezing!” muttered Johnny.
Libby nodded. “I’m even colder standing here than I was during my English Channel swim way back when.”
Doctor Mid-Nite scanned the alleyways and said, “Belle — to the left! I see him!”
Johnny Quick sped forward and confronted a man wearing a Doctor Mid-Nite costume. “Sorry pal, but that look is taken! You’re going down for costume infringement! We’re the fashion police. That’s my partner, Christie Brinkley!” he said, pointing at Belle.
The man in the red and green suit scowled. “Swine! You are not expected, and yet we shall deal with you as we should have done forty years ago!”
Johnny froze literally as black clouds rolled in around him. What good is my speed if I can’t move to use it? he thought.
Liberty Belle and Doctor Mid-Nite raced forward into the sudden fog, which spread over them like a shroud.
“He turned into fog, all right!” said Mid-Nite.
“I smell smoke,” said Belle. “His chain-smoking sibling must be nearby — not that the blank cloud over Johnny wasn’t a dead giveaway.”
A woman in a gaudy black outfit stepped up in stilleto heels. She was Night, and Belle faced her.
“You are the all-America girl, ja?” hissed the German woman, who like her brother was still as youthful as she’d been in the 1940s. “We wanted to kill you so badly during the war!”
“Well, honey, I’d say you just got a second chance, although this little blonde doesn’t think you’ll make good use of it!” said Belle as she fired a sonic blast at Night’s feet.
The wooden boards shattered from the solid impact, and Night screamed as she fell through. Belle dived into the black waters after her. Freezing cold, but I am an athlete, and this Marlene Dietrich type relies entirely on her super-powers, mused Belle as she swam toward her foe.
With the plunge into icy waters, Night lost her concentration, and the icy black cloud around Johnny Quick vanished. He spun around in place at super-speed and sent the misty Fog scattering in a whirlwind.
If I keep the rat dissipated, then he’ll pass out from the strain, figured the smarter-than-he-acted speedster.
Liberty Belle grabbed Night by her jet-black hair and said, “Come on! I’ll tow you back to shore!”
The bitter Nazi slapped Liberty Belle in the face and tried to create the cold darkness around the beautiful blonde. Belle plunged under the water and kicked downward. Sure enough, at the bottom the powers of Night faded, and Belle was able to swim upward to the side and free herself of the chilling cloud of darkness. She took her chance and tackled Night with an Olympian-level leap through the air. She used two swift punches to knock out the Nazi and carry her ashore.
Johnny dragged down Fog, who had indeed passed out from the pain of being separated against his will. “Got this windbag! Belle, babe, you’ll catch your death like that!” he said with concern. He rubbed her down at super-speed, and she smiled with appreciation.
“Where’s Doc?” asked Belle.
They scanned the pier and found no sight of the blind mystery-man.
Later, Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, and Hourman turned the pair in to the authorities and cleared Doctor Mid-Nite’s name. But to their dismay, the good doctor himself remained missing.
“Those two won’t talk, but we know something very weird is going on,” said Belle. “They are no older than they were in 1944! They also seem somewhat dated in their perceptions, like they were in some suspended animation since then or something.”
“More likely they either time-traveled from there to here or were just rejuvenated like the Cheetah, whom you fought, Belle, and others we’ve fought,” said the Sandman, who had joined them.
Meanwhile, Hourman was on the phone with Deena Tyler. “Honey, I won’t press changes,” he said to her. “You did what you had to do for your mother’s safety. I understand. But I would like to talk to you about how a girl your age bypassed my security like that.”
“Thank you, Rex!” said Deena. “I’d be glad to tell you all I know… if you’ll do the same. Can you give me an hour or so?” she asked pointedly.
Rex agreed, then hung up. “Myra says she and a kid relation of mine had a weird adventure, and it involves my old work with black light. I’d go to talk with her, but we need to find Charles. Myra is worried sick about him!”
“I could search the place again,” offered Johnny. “I hate to think we lost him so easily.”
Belle frowned. “I wonder if getting Doctor Mid-Nite was the whole point behind the deception all along. They framed him and knew he’d track them down eventually. They wanted him. It was all a big trap by Nazi foes we thought long gone!”
The blonde bombshell had spoken correctly, since during the fight with the siblings, Doctor Mid-Nite had been snatched by a super-strong foe who had set the whole charade up as a trap for the blind man.
Waking up, he moaned from a head blow. He saw the darkness, and as usual it was like light to him. He was in a high-tech lair full of equipment and troops in antiquated Nazi uniforms. “What in the world?” he muttered.
A powerful man in gleaming gold armor stood up and approached the captive man. “Welcome to the New Bunker, mein freund! I am Baron Blitzkrieg, and you are my special prisoner. I know you must be alarmed at the nature of the invitation I extended to you on the pier, but soon, if all goes well, we shall be — how do they say it? — be seeing eye-to-eye, eh?” He laughed.
While the hulking man in gold armor taunted Doctor Mid-Nite, elsewhere in the New Bunker other costumed men argued.
“Bah! He wasted two resources of mine — Night and Fog — for some personal crusade against a mystery-man he never even fought!” ranted an old man who coughed in pain.
“Nein. He seeks a personal protection that will enhance his own effectiveness for us all,” said the masked man called Armageddon. “I know the Baron is worth a dozen of Nacht alone!”
“I brought him here — I brought you all here — to avenge the loss the glorious thousand-year Reich suffered at the gloved hands of these mystery-men, and I won’t let him forget that I am in charge!” wheezed the old man.
A blonde with her hair pulled tightly up and back stepped over to him and said, “I was created to kill Wonder Woman for the Führer, and I want to do so,” she said. “I was not plucked from my past as were these others. I never lost my strength and vitality. Why should I wait for your plans?”
The old man waved forward a figure from the shadows. “You shall obey us, Fraulein Fausta, or else,” said a man in red and black.
“How is this possible?” asked the leather-clad Nazi. “You are here now, old and sick, and yet also here as a young man?”
“It is the miracles of science made real,” sneered the old man. “I brought my younger self here to serve as the perfect aide.”
Armageddon noticed the horror with which the masked man in red contemplated his future self. That may have been a deadly error of judgement, Herr Panzer, he thought.
“But as I said, I was the very first one of our cause to fight any assembled Justice Society members, and I should be the one to first gain venegeance,” said the old man as he slapped down a folder. “These three are the first to die!”
“Interesting. You’re a bit late with the first one,” said Fausta. “He died years ago.”
“True, but his youthful successor lives on and shall feel my anger!” coughed the old man with a gleam in his watery eyes.
The photos showed Batman, the Flash, and Green Lantern.