Black Canary: 1951: Cyclone

Black Canary: The Five Earths Project

Black Canary

Times Past, 1951

Cyclone

by Libbylawrence

A new and dashing hero called the Cyclone appears in Gotham City, leaving a trail of both defeated crooks and disaster in his wake! Still, the Black Canary can’t help but wonder why his battles are always so destructive, and the blonde bombshell vows to unmask the truth!

***

The Red Gloves Gang thought of themselves as true professionals in crime. They had a flashy name and snazzy costumes that had given them their name, and they had once briefly fought Batman and Robin, no less (true, they had also lost, but any inmate in Gotham State Prison would admit that losing to the Dynamic Duo was nothing to be ashamed of, and was, in a way, a badge of honor). (*) Now, however, the Red Gloves Gang ran for their lives down the halls of the Gotham Medical Research Lab. Their planned robbery had failed miserably.

[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One version of these characters, upon which the Earth-Two versions are based, first appear in “The Mystery of the Batman Bus,” Batman #117 (August, 1958).]

“I bet it’s them — Batman and Robin!” whined Ace. “That grinning punk will shout something like, ‘Caught you redhanded!’ and then it’ll be lights out for us all! I just know it!”

“Naw!” sneered Rocky. “The Batman will flash that big smile and do something clever that’ll make us look like chumps! He’s got a zillion gizmos in that posh belt o’ his!”

Their leader Red, who had called the gang the name the Red Gloves Gang — it was his gang, and he could call it what he wanted — said, “I don’t think it’s them! I saw a shadowy figure, but he was in purple, not blue and gray!”

“True enough! Purple is the color of royalty, and this night you have an audience with the king of the crime-busters — Cyclone!” said a purple-costumed man who stood before them defiantly. The gang members drew their guns, only to be knocked flat by his gesturing hands as powerful blasts of air struck them with brutal effectiveness.

Cyclone stepped forward and used his force-blaster to rock them to the ground, while the walls broke around them. He tossed them out the windows even as the gutted medical building collapsed around them all. “This night you were as chaff on the wind — the winds of Cyclone!” he announced.

They groaned and awaited the police as fire burst out in the wrecked building where chemicals mingled in disorder.

***

The next night the man called the Gong laughed as his sonic waves sent the guards at the Gotham Museum to their knees in pain. (*) “You fools! Sound is my weapon, and you cannot stand against it!” he boasted as he filled his sack with precious bells and chimes from the sixteenth century, which were on exhibit this week only.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Bandit of the Bells,” Batman #55 (October-November, 1949).]

“Let me ring your face! Oh, I just had to say it!” laughed a sexy blonde as she kicked the weapon out of his hand and chopped him to the ground.

“Black Canary!” gasped the villain. “Don’t tell me the whole Justice Society is here!”

Tossing back one blonde lock, she grinned and said, “Yeah, exactly! The Spectre came out of retirement just for you, you bad, bad man!”

Black Canary grimaced when a moaning guard distracted her long enough for the Gong to activate one of his sound devices. She cried out as blood poured from her nose. “Can’t stand up!” she muttered. “Balance all gone!”

The Gong started to run from the blonde bombshell, only to be struck down by the suddenly appearing Cyclone. “You’ll be sorry you hurt the little lady!” he said grimly.

The sound-based villain turned his weapon toward Cyclone, only to be tackled from behind by the now-free Black Canary.

The Gong dropped his device as Black Canary brought him down hard. She slapped him across the face, and he struggled, only to be pummeled by the Cyclone’s specially directed wind-blasts.

Black Canary held her wig as the winds swept over them. “Easy — I think you got him already!” she said with a smile. “Thanks for the save, Cyclone! I’ve read of your exploits.”

“No problem, little lady!” he said with a strange tone of voice. “Now, you head home and curl up with a nice romance novel, while we men handle the bad guys!”

Black Canary resisted the temptation to slap the Cyclone’s goofy grin off his masked face. Instead, she demurely walked home.

***

Dinah Drake Lance sat on her bed and frowned as her husband Larry Lance entered. “The news is all the same — Batman and Robin do this, Batman and Robin do that!” he said. “Of course, it seems like the kid isn’t with Bats quite as much! Guess he got a job after school or somethin’!” laughed the detective.

But Dinah didn’t hear her husband’s banter as he rubbed his hand through her long hair.

“Hey, doll, what’s wrong?” he asked her when she was unresponsive. “Has your Larry got himself in the doghouse again? Talk to me.”

Dinah smiled and kissed her husband. They were still newlyweds in this year of 1951. “Sorry, love! Tonight I fought this petty crook of Batman’s called the Gong, and he almost won until this new upstart Cyclone saved the day! He talked to me like I was a little housewife who should be home by the stove in curlers and a robe!” she said grimly.

“Well, I’ve tasted your cooking, and I prefer to have you out fighting crime, although you could dump the fishnets and join me at the agency,” he said sincerely.

“No, thanks,” she replied. “I will someday, but for now I love being the Black Canary too much! The Flash, Hawkman, Green Lantern, the Atom, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Wonder Woman and I are a real team! The membership has settled down a lot, and we work great together. Of course, maybe we could add some new members like the Green Arrow, or, better yet — Wildcat and Mister Terrific who have been associated with the Justice Society for a while now without exactly attending regularly.”

“Doll, I can’t keep the names straight in your little mystery-man coffee klatch!” said Larry. “But I do know you got the moxie to take down any punk named Cyclone if he mouths off to you!”

She kissed him again and tried to forget the new mystery-man.

***

Dinah shrieked and jumped out of bed the next morning after awakening to find breakfast ready on a tray by her bedside, along with the daily newspaper.

“What’s the trouble? Somebody banned fishnets?” said Larry as he ran inside.

“No, the news!” she said. “Look — the museum’s exhibit hall property was ruined by the battle between the Gong, Black Canary, and Cyclone! It’s a total loss! That never happened. I left the Gong beaten with Cyclone standing over him, and the exhibit hall still intact! How could the Gong and Cyclone have wrecked it so completely?”

“I guess the creep woke up and trashed the place before Cyclone got the goods on him,” said Larry. “After you left, I mean!”

Dinah shook her head. “No. I suspect something more. And the Black Canary is going to look into it!”

***

The Black Canary hid outside the mansion of author Dwight Forrow until his guests had departed. She had no doubt that he was the man called Cyclone. She had spent the better part of the day in the library’s newspaper files checking on every known sighting of the Cyclone. In every case, the hero had stopped a villain or a gang of crooks from some crime. However, the fight between them had wrecked each location in which it occurred. Shortly thereafter, the damaged properties were purchased through dummy corporations that the sleuthing siren had traced to Dwight’s brother, Doug Forrow. She had already eliminated the shorter Doug from being the Cyclone himself, though he definitely knew he what he was doing.

I’ll just show you who should stay curled up with a romance novel! she thought. You can read plenty of them over the next twenty years in jail!

Swinging off the tree in which she had perched, the Black Canary crashed dramatically through his windows. Dwight Forrow gasped and reached for his equipment, which lay on a nearby table. The Canary rolled across the floor and sprang up to block his path.

Ah-ah-ah! No wind-blasts today, thanks!” she said. “I’ll see what you can do on your own, Mr. Forrow — or would you prefer I call you by your costumed identity of the Cyclone?”

The man frowned as he retreated to a pool table. “You think I’m the Cyclone? But how could you have determined such a idea?”

Black Canary knew that he was stalling for time, and she was confident enough in her own prowess to let him do so. “I know that, under a pseudonym, you wrote a book on the Wrecker, a criminal that Superman arrested in Metropolis a few years ago. (*) The book was based on the experiences of a former cub reporter named Bill Tate, nephew of the Daily Star’s publisher, and supposedly written by Tate himself. But Tate was a mediocre writer at best and simply wasn’t capable of writing such a book on his own. Thus he hired you to ghost-write it for him.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Wrecker,” Superman #54 (September-October, 1948).]

“So?” challenged Forrow, picking up a cue stick and checking the tip. “There’s nothing illegal about writing a book on true crime. In fact, I’ve got another one I’m writing — in my own name this time — that covers Batman’s ten most famous cases. It will be published later this year.”

“Merely writing about crime isn’t illegal, of course,” continued the Black Canary. “But you weren’t satisfied with being a simple spectator — you wanted to try it out for yourself. The Wrecker’s methods of destruction inspired you to follow suit, though you were smart enough to realize that trashing places for pay would get you thrown in jail, so you devised a new method to use your destructive gizmos for profit. You knew that mystery-men often damaged properties by accident in the course of a battle, as they stopped their foes. You also knew that if you secretly hired thugs to commit crimes at certain locales, then showed up as the new super-hero called the Cyclone and beat them while destroying the locations during the fight, your brother could often buy those properties at low prices for his real estate company. Both you and Doug made a nice sum off this racket, but you made a stupid mistake when you ran across my path!”

“You can’t prove any of this!” growled Forrow, who had become increasingly angrier as this woman had derailed all of his plans. He gripped the pool cue in his hands.

“There’s no use denying that you’re the Cyclone,” said Black Canary. “And even though I can’t prove that you hired those thugs to wreck those places, I’m pretty sure the D.A. can make a case against your brother. Yes, Dwight, Doug is going to be sent up the river, and it’ll be all your fault! That sure was stupid of you.” She was baiting him, just as she’d intended.

Dwight Forrow snapped the pool cue in two and said, “I had no way of knowing that you would show up to face the Gong before I got there! Plus, I figured you for a dumb blonde, not a detective!”

At that, he jumped toward her, swinging the broken pool cue in one hand to attack her. But without his usual equipment, he was helpless against the skilled martial artist, and she knew it. Spinning aside, she kneed him until he moved no more.

“Cyclone, you were just an ill wind that was full of hot air!” announced the Black Canary.

***

That evening, Dinah Lance told her tale to Larry with delight. However, unknown to the Black Canary, the events of the Cyclone case would have deeper effects to come.

In Washington, D.C., a man read in the Washington Capital-Globe of the damage done by the Cyclone in his various adventures, and he tossed down the paper in disgust. “All these masked mystery-men are dangerous! They can’t be trusted, and I’m going to reign them in!” he vowed.

This man was Senator Andrew O’Fallon, and he would shortly bring about the retirement of the Justice Society of America itself during a special hearing of the Combined Congressional Un-American Activities Committee. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Defeat of the Justice Society,” Adventure Comics #466 (November-December, 1979).]

In the light of the Black Canary’s disappearance along with the rest of the JSA shortly after, the property damage case against Dwight Forrow ended up being quietly dropped for lack of evidence, and his brother Doug was likewise never prosecuted for his own connection to the case. And although Dwight Forrow never became the Cyclone again, he would end up returning with yet another scheme in 1953 that would pit him against Batman and Robin. At that time, he would take the name of the Wrecker and forge for himself a new costumed identity, until the Batman finally unmasked him and sent him to prison. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The League Against Batman,” Detective Comics #197 (July, 1953).]

The End

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