The Crimson Avenger: Promises to Keep, Chapter 1: Going Home

by Immortalwildcat

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Lee Travis, the original Crimson Avenger, was not born wealthy, having inherited his wealth and the newspaper upon his godfather’s apparent death in April, 1938. Larry Travis, Lee’s older brother, married in 1933 and had a daughter in 1935. Lee was her godfather, and he was fairly close to her. She was a frequent guest at Lee’s penthouse after he inherited the paper, and she formed a close attachment to her honorary cousin Wing How in her childhood.

After Lee’s disappearance, Larry Travis stepped in to run the Globe-Leader, while Linda took an interest as she grew up, majoring in Journalism at Columbia in the mid-’50s, working first as a reporter, then an editor, and finally becoming the publisher of the Globe-Leader in 1977.

When Lee was rescued from another time and returned to 1972, he sought out his family. The effects of the Nebula-Man’s destruction restored what little memory there was of the Seven Soldiers of Victory to the people of the world, and in the process Larry and Linda realized that certain things they found among Lee’s effects after his disappearance pointed to his having been the Crimson Avenger. Rather than disrupt their life, Lee spent the next few years writing his memoirs and finally embarked on a several-years-long trip around the world in 1976. He died in 1981, and his brother died a year later of cancer. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Whatever Happened to the Crimson Avenger?” DC Comics Presents #38 (October, 1981).]

Linda Travis is now fifty-two years old, never married, living in New York City, and is the owner/publisher of the Globe-Leader.


“Whoa, check it out, Roy. The man cleans up pretty nicely, doesn’t he?”

Roy Harper turned away from his workbench where he had been concentrating on fletching an arrow to see what the leader of Infinity Inc. was crowing about this time. Sylvester Pemberton was an old friend, but even friendship could wear a little thin when the object of that friendship had a habit of showing off every new toy or idea. “Yeah, Syl, whatcha got for me to see today?”

“It’s nothing special, Roy. I just got back from a little shopping trip with Rick and Beth. They thought I could use a little help picking a modern wardrobe.” The object of Sylvester’s boasting was Wing How, a tall, muscular Oriental man, decked out in black, pleated wool slacks, a white button-down shirt with a flared collar, and a long black vest. His hair was cut short, with a careless-looking tousled effect held in place with liberal applications of mousse. “What do you think? Am I an ’80s kind of guy, or what?”

“Good gosh, Wing, you sure look the part!” Roy came over and clapped a hand down on his shoulder. “Though it’s still hard to get used to how tall and big the Nebula-Man made you. (*) Going out for a night on the town?”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Law’s Legionnaires: Soldiers of Victory, Chapter 4: Playing Games.]

“Actually, I’m about to leave for New York,” explained Wing. “Sylvester tells me that this, what’s it called, red-eye express, can actually me get me across the country overnight.”

“Oh, man, I hate those flights. I can never sleep on a plane. Got to admit, though, an eight-hour flight beats the heck out of flying for twenty hours from L.A. to New York!” Roy turned back to the vise, where a partially completed arrow was held in place.

“It hardly seems possible!” said Wing. “What happened? Did your family find the Star-Rocket Racer and sell the patent for it, Sylvester?”

“Nah, Pat found it hidden away, right where he’d left it, when we got back. Nobody even thought to look for it all those years.” Sylvester found a chair, turned it around, and sat down on it backward as Wing How leaned against the doorway, reached in a pocket for a small package, and shook out a cigarette. “Hey, don’t you know those things are bad for you?”

“Seriously?” asked Wing, looking at the pack of Lucky Strikes with an incredulous look on his face. “‘Warning: The Surgeon General has determined that smoking may be hazardous to your health,'” he read. “Huh. Who’d have thought it?” He crumpled the pack and tossed it in a trashcan.

Lots of surprises waiting for you, buddy,” said Roy with a grin. “Syl and I have had a few years to adjust, but you’ve just returned. Jets and cigarette warnings are just a sample of it.”

“I know. Just going to that, what did they call it — Galleria — was like traveling to another world.” Wing’s eyes widened at the memory. “Who would have thought that you could come up with over thirty-one flavors of ice cream? Or one-hundred flavors for jelly beans?

“I know what you mean!” exclaimed Roy Harper as he finished attaching the feathers to the arrow. “So, what’s the trip to New York for?”

“There is somebody that I need to see,” was the quiet reply from the man who was believed dead for thirty-eight years, long after his teammates from the Seven Soldiers of Victory had been returned from the various time periods to which they had been scattered in October, 1948.

“Wing, for what it’s worth, I tried that when I got back.” Roy shook his head. “A bad scene. Here I was, still looking about nineteen years old, and Rebecca over forty years old. I had been almost ready to propose to her before our last case, and I found her with a husband and four kids.”

“Don’t worry, Roy. Linda was not a girlfriend of mine, and I think she will understand what has happened. But I need to go see her.” Wing looked down at a box that he held in his hands. “I have a promise to keep.”


Wing How spent the following day getting reacquainted with New York City. He spent two hours marveling at the World Trade Center, hardly believing that anybody could create something so immense, yet so beautiful, in a stark, simplistic fashion. He went up to the observation deck and looked over the city that he had called home for over ten years. Much to his surprise, he discovered that Broadway show tickets were available very cheaply if you decided to catch a matinee at the last minute. He marveled at the changes in stage technology as he watched a musical adaptation of a movie he had loved as a teenager. Not that the Englishman playing the title role was any match for Lon Chaney, but the sheer decadent splendor of the show was a marvel to behold.

After stopping in at the Carnegie Deli for a sandwich that was still made the way he remembered, Wing was ready to meet a very important part of his past.

It was just past seven o’clock when Wing got off the elevator and rang the doorbell in the foyer of the penthouse. It wasn’t the one he had lived in with his employer, friend, and partner Lee Travis, but it was similar enough to evoke old memories. However, when the door opened, the flood of memories was overwhelming.

“Linda?” he asked of the woman who stood before him. “Linda Travis?”

“Oh, dear God in Heaven! Not again!” came the whispered reply. “Wing? Uncle Lee said you couldn’t come back! Was he wrong? Oh, please, let him have been wrong!”

There, in the doorway, the two embraced.


Wing How and Linda Travis sat on a balcony, looking out over the Manhattan skyline. It had taken her a while to become accustomed not only to the idea of Wing still being alive, but his new, larger frame and muscular build. Once the strangeness of it all had passed, it was like old times again.

“You always did like sitting out at night, didn’t you?” he asked.

“It’s the only time that this city seems peaceful,” said Linda. “You can look out there and almost imagine that we’re living up to the promise of a free society.”

“From what I’ve been hearing, we aren’t quite there, yet, are we?” Wing sighed as he looked out toward the river. “Lee never stopped believing that we could do better.”

“I know. He and Dad were two of a kind. Remember, you taught me to read with Uncle Lee’s editorials.” Linda leaned her head back, eyes closed, a smile on her face.

“Well, I figured that if I was going to be teaching you, I should try teaching you more than just reading. That’s how Lee taught me to read.” Wing chuckled. “At least I had a pupil who understood English.”

“Awww, Wing, I still remember those nights I spent at Uncle Lee’s penthouse. He was supposed to be babysitting me, but it was always you that looked after me.” Linda picked up a wineglass and took a sip. “Of course, it wasn’t until many years later that I found out why he was gone most nights. And then you even joined in on the crime-fighting, eh?”

“Yes, though I didn’t put on a costume until the summer of ’41, about a month before the Seven Soldiers of Victory were formed. (*) Poor Lee. He tried his best to keep me out of danger, but it didn’t work out that way.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See The Crimson Avenger, World’s Finest Comics #4 (Winter, 1941).]

“Oh? How did that all come about?”

Wing leaned back in his chair and stretched his arms out in front of him. “Well, it all started when Lee was sent to jail.”

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