Bonnie Jones-Carter frowned as the flashbulbs went off around her. This is so lame! she thought.
“One more shot of you leaning on the bow, please!” called a redheaded photographer.
“Oh, and pout a little!” chimed in a second one.
“Why the prom dress and heels?” said an indignant Bonnie. “I’m not going to be fighting crime on my way to a spring fling!”
“I told you before that your fans to be will want to see you wearing something other than your Arrowette costume!” yelled her mother, Cissie Jones-Carter. “These publicity photos are just the start. Get with the program, young lady!”
Bonnie sighed and stuck out her tongue. “That’ll mean a re-shoot,” sighed the first photographer. Bonnie screamed and continued to pose.
Finally, she broke free and slipped into her robe. Sitting in front of the TV, she looked for a music video or two to carry her away from the drudgery of being her mother’s little PR ticket.
A tabloid-type news show was blaring. “Hi, I’m Leeza Gibbons, and today we’re talking about new super-heroes,” said the perky blonde in the miniskirt. “We start with the breaking story of a miraculous return, of sorts. I present this footage taken by a crew in Star City last night. It shows the amazing return of Green Arrow!”
Bonnie spilled her drink and gasped as the colorful figure of Green Arrow was shown in action against two thugs. His hair was a bit longer, and he had a bit of a beard, but the moves and the suit were vintage Oliver Queen. He pinned them to a wall in half a minute with blurring fast shots that were deadly accurate. He smiled as he saw the news team below him and gave a cocky salute.
“There you have it, folks!” cooed Leeza, “the legendary hero of Star City is seemingly back from a presumed death!”
“That’s impossible!” spouted Bonnie.
Bonnie knew her grandfather Oliver Queen had died during the Crisis. His partner Roy Harper had verified this sad fact; he now called himself Red Arrow since giving up the name Speedy. Bonnie had met Queen’s right hand man, Maxwell Lord, who had even confirmed this to the spunky girl when she first met the oily businessman. Still, in the world of mystery-men, such sudden returns could happen. The JSA had popped in and out of sight regularly over the years.
Calling Queen Enterprises, Bonnie could only reach a nervous and harried secretary. “Sorry, Miss. Mr. L. is too busy to take your call, but leave a message,” she droned on in a bored nasal tone.
Bonnie started to go out in her hastily grabbed Arrowette costume when her sidekick Beth Harper, alias Flare, hurried in from the patio. “Hey, did you see CNN?” asked the excited, dark-haired girl. “Green Arrow is back! He’s holding a press conference at Queen Enterprises right now! Say, does this mean Speedy will want his costume back?”
Without a word, Bonnie switched on the TV set again and saw a crowd around the now-familiar Queen compound. The costumed man shown earlier was indeed holding sway with the media.
“I would like to thank you all for this turnout,” he said suavely. “First, I’ll clear up some mysteries that my sensational debut created.”
“Yeah, buddy, you just do that little thing!” Bonnie snapped at the set.
“I am not the original Green Arrow, Oliver Queen. He died, as we all know, in the Crisis. I am, however, his heir apparent. I am his son, Connor Hawke, and he trained me in secret for years, in fear that his enemies might use me against him. My mother was the late Edith Hawke, and I have retained her name, since we lived under it during my youth for my protection. I assure you I am Oliver Queen’s son and the true heir to the name and identity of Green Arrow.”
“Excuse me, Mr. Hawke, but what of Roy Harper?” asked a reporter.
“Roy was the ward of my father. I am Green Arrow’s son. It was his desire that I someday take his place. Mr. Harper knew this, and that is why he took the name Red Arrow, not Green, for those of you who are color-blind!” He laughed at his little joke.
“Red Arrow is on a case with Infinity Inc. and isn’t available for comment,” added Leeza Gibbons, who was also reporting.
“To vouch for me and turn the Queen assets over to me formally, I give you Oliver Queen’s… Dad’s right-hand man, Max Lord!” continued Hawke.
Bonnie sputtered as Maxwell Lord himself coughed into the microphone and said, “I have full proof of Connor’s I.D., his right to this company, and the role of the son of Green Arrow. I vouch for his every statement and know Mr. Queen would be proud of his rightful son and heir on this day.”
“This is so bogus!” said Beth.
Another teenage heir of a heroic tradition had been watching the first broadcast featuring the footage of the apparent return of Green Arrow. She was Mina Curry, the daughter of the heroic Aquaman, king of Atlantis, who though seldom seen in recent years, was once a hero and a member of the wartime All-Star Squadron.
She was unduly excited by the Green Arrow broadcast, thinking him to be the original. “This is so rad!” she said, grasping at surface slang she’d recently learned. “I’ve got to meet him. He knew Dad as a hero. They teamed up once or twice, and so few heroes still around ever worked with Dad! I’ve got to talk to him or Red Arrow, since they were among the few who spent time with Dad in his heroic days back then!”
Coral, as the Junior JSA member was called, hurried off to Star City in search of Green Arrow. Since she had not watched the latter broadcast that revealed him as the son of Green Arrow, she assumed from the original broadcast that this man had worked with her very private father long ago. This error would be a huge step in her destiny.
“What are you going to do?” asked Flare as she and Arrowette raced through the city streets on the ever-impressive Arrowcycle.
“I’m going to check out this new Green Arrow guy by sneaking into Queen Enterprises,” said Arrowette. “If he’s on the up and up, then I’m the Black Canary!”
“You’d look good in fishnets!” laughed Flare.
“Don’t give my mom any more ideas. She’ll have me endorsing pantyhose next — guaranteed not to get a run from the sharpest arrows!” she joked.
The girls wheeled into the Queen compound and parked in a wooden glade. “Nice little park,” said Beth.
“Yeah! My granddad must have had a real love of the outdoors,” she replied. “I wish I could have met him.”
When night arrived at its darkest, the duo crossed the lot, easily dodging the sleepy security guard. “Guess you don’t need security with a real super-hero on staff!” teased Flare.
“He’s not a real hero… at least I don’t believe he is really Green Arrow’s son. Lord didn’t mention him to me, and I doubt Red Arrow even knows him, and he was tight with Oliver, from all I’ve heard.”
“Let’s go! You’re going to burst if we don’t get the goods on this guy,” said Flare as she slipped inside and led the angry Bonnie down a plush hallway.
“I’ll just go in the main office and have it out with the mighty Max himself!” said Bonnie.
Seeing that the room was empty, they had barely entered it when they heard noises. Voices were raised from outside, so Arrowette pulled Flare down, and they hid beneath a huge antique desk that filled the room. They remained hiding as the Green Arrow and Max Lord walked within the room.
“Keep your voice down, Uncle Max, or things will go badly for dear little Cousin Maxie,” laughed the dashing, but decidedly sinister Connor Hawke.
“Look!” Max started in anger before he regained his composure. “I mean… look, I vouched for you in public and turned Queen’s assets over to you. I got the legal eagles to back your claim. I ran interference for you with Harper’s claims. Now, how about releasing my little girl?”
“Not just yet. Connor Hawke won’t make the rash errors — or should I say arrows? — that led to so many problems for my old man,” he said. “I’ll keep your daughter hostage until I’m sure of myself and the Queen fortune. With your OK and the love of my public, plus my archery skills, which truly did come from dear old Dad, I’m getting better every day. So just be calm.”
Max frowned and wearily agreed.
“He’s a crook!” said Beth. “He’s holding a kid of Max’s for good behavior!”
“Who’d ever believe Max had a family?” whispered Bonnie.
“Who’s there?” yelled Green Arrow as he heard the girls whispering.
“I am Arrowette,” said the fiery sixteen-year-old, “the true heir to Oliver Queen! And I heard enough to take you down, you con artist!”
“I don’t believe it — another claimant!” said Hawke as he pulled out his bow. “Guess I’ll just have to shoot you down right here!”
“Excuse me, but I have a few ideas of my own,” snapped Arrowette as she rolled over the desk, arrows narrowly missing her. She fired at Hawke, but amazingly enough he blocked her bolt with his own arrow. He’s good! Maybe as good as the real Green Arrow, thought Arrowette as she leaped aside, and arrows pounded down around the dancing girl. Flare waited unseen, then pounced on Green Arrow’s back.
“What do you do? Keep ’em stocked here, Max?” said Hawke. He spun and slammed his back into the desk. Flare screamed in pain and fell to the floor.
At that minute, Arrowette launched herself through the air at him. She surprised him momentarily, and they wrestled until the stronger man pinned her down.
Max hovered, unsure of what to do, while Flare crawled back up sorely and kicked Arrow’s leg out from under him. Arrowette slammed a gas arrow under his chin, and he coughed and slumped down in a groggy stupor.
They bent over their foe and yelped as sharp pain hit both their rears. They turned and passed out, seeing a cocky woman holding colorful darts in her gloved hand.
She tossed her blonde hair and smoothed her white sports bra over a miniskirt and thigh boots. “Hubby, dear, looks like your beloved wife the Dart just saved your green-clad tail!” she cooed.
Max frowned at the sight of this new costumed woman. “Red Dart?” he said wearily.
“Just Dart — Red Dart was my late Dad,” she laughed as she helped her husband, Connor Hawke, to his feet.
“Well, my Dad is the Archer, but you don’t hear me bragging about it all the time,” said Hawke as he kissed the new arrival.
Arrowette and Flare found themselves bound in a large room with costly furniture — and a second captive. A pretty girl was chained to a wall where a heat-generating lamp bathed her features in sheering, draining heat. If they had seen her under different circumstances, they probably would have recognized her as Coral of the Junior JSA.
Connor Hawke had unmasked, and he lounged easily in a chair. “You know, with the right lighting, I could pass for a younger man, but for a middle-aged athlete, I am pretty hot!” he said as he stroked his beard.
“I know. That’s why I married you,” said his wife as she caressed his shoulders.
“This is such an unfortunate coincidence, your coming here and all,” he said to Mina Curry, the unresponsive girl under the heat beam. “I would have merely explained that I never met your dad and that mine did,” said Hawke with mock sorrow. “However, one of my allies just happens to hate Aquaman with a passion, and he couldn’t resist the chance to kill his little mermaid.”
“Aquaman put my father away for half my life!” said a fierce woman wearing skintight black leather. “He was a great man with a gifted scientific mind. Shark Norton fought your heroic parent many times. (*) That led to his death and to the genetic experiment that turned me into the Barracuda!” She peered at Coral and said viciously, “I could never let the daughter of the man who ruined my father walk away alive! Hope that heat is draining all the moisture out of you, you fish on the sand!”
[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One Shark Norton, on whom the Earth-Two version is based, appeared in “The Manhunt On Land,” Adventure Comics #267 (December, 1959).]
“That’s Aquaman’s kid?” asked Flare.
“Yes! She’s in bad shape,” whispered Arrowette.
“Ah, new arrivals! How festive!” cooed a colorfully clad woman who flounced in while dressed like a curvy, life-sized Barbie doll with almost plastic features. “Call me Dollface! My dad is Rag Doll!” she laughed and sat in a weird position that would have snapped the spine of a normal human.
“Our little band of second-generation villains is almost complete,” said Dart as she danced around the room.
“They’re crazy!” whispered Beth.
“Oh, yeah!” gleefully responded Dollface.