Earth-X in the year 1947:
Machine-gun fire ripped through the dawn air, and the rising sun over Balkan Mountains painted a grim scene of battle on a world beset by the Axis. Although Nazi Germany largely controlled Fortress Europe, the Balkans were a hotbed of revolution and resistance. While Western Europe was being fortified, and the Soviet Union was still being tamed, Italy and the Balkans were the only foothold that the Allies still had in Europe. And the war had continued there for years, with many casualties on each side. It seemed as if the Nazi forces were poised to win this alternate world’s long-running second world war, and one particular group of costumed heroes chose to fight them head on, acting as an unofficial freedom brigade for Allied Command.
“Sandy, honey, Condor’s surrounded,” said an old, bearded man in a colorful red, white, and blue costume. “Can you put out the lights for him?”
A sultry woman in a revealing yellow costume laughed as she kicked an approaching Nazi in the face. “No problem, Sam. Consider it done,” said the Phantom Lady as she aimed her blackout beam at the Nazi troops fighting the muscled and mighty Black Condor.
He crashed into them with a renewed vigor as they muttered curses and stumbled in the carefully localized darkness generated by the girl’s wrist weapon. “Thanks!” said the Condor as he punched the Nazis with skill and great strength. “Now I’ll put out their lights my own way.”
The Ray shot across the sky as the sun rose higher, filling his energized form with new power. “Ah, like a hot shower on a Monday morning,” he quipped, then flew lower to shatter the machine gun with concentrated energy.
A tiny figure darted among the fighters and grew larger in front of several startled Nazi troopers. “That diminutive swine!” cried a Nazi general. “He enrages me with his antics!”
Doll Man grinned. “That’s the plan, Franz.” He ducked a swung rifle and caught the Nazi with a right hook that was anything but diminutive.
The colorful Firebrand and the explosive Human Bomb soldiered on in their own ways. Roy Lincoln, alias the Human Bomb, was bright and a quiet sort in spite of his combustible power. Rod Reilly, the original Firebrand, was more of a daredevil who relished the thrill of swashbuckling adventure.
“You know, we’ve already been here five years now, and the thrill of knocking Nazis flat never leaves me,” he said.
Uncle Sam was proud of his team, and he wondered at times if these brave souls could have saved Earth-Two on their own as well. The Nazi forces had been less dominant there, and these Freedom Fighters had held their own on Earth-X, as he called it, without any JSA to be found. Still, they were outnumbered, and he worried. He had a paternal feeling for all patriots, and he hated the thought of losing another figurative son or daughter.
A gleam then signaled the arrival of the time craft of Dr. Doome and his partners.
“What the–? A new Nazi deviltry?” said Sam.
“That looks like a spacecraft or… a time machine!” Doll Man said, the scientist in him excited at the idea. “Imagine the possibilities of having one of those. We could stop the Axis before they even got started!”
Phantom Lady, alias Sandra Knight, knew her cousin Ted Knight loved science as well, but even he didn’t get so passionately involved in theory during the midst of battle. “Say, Doll Man, maybe we should fight first and calculate later,” she said with a grin.
Black Condor flew closer, his keen eyes marking the passengers. “They are not friendly.”
Then the Condor’s handsome features suddenly contorted with rage as he looked at the equally angry visage of Psycho-Pirate. He quickly turned to charge his own team with a passionate hatred, shrieking, “You’ll all pay! You humans and your kind have ever been the killers of the flock!”
Uncle Sam frowned. “Son, fight his control! He’s driven you mad!”
Black Condor crashed down and knocked the agile Firebrand cold with one punch. “Rod!” cried Sandra Knight as she ran to the fallen Firebrand.
The Ray streaked down to block his friend, but the fleet Condor darted around the Ray and slammed both feet into Uncle Sam.
Then the Human Bomb slammed his fist down in their midst at the command of Haldane the Sorcerer, who had quietly enslaved Roy Lincoln’s mind. The blast knocked Phantom Lady, Doll Man, and even the Ray cold.
Uncle Sam gazed at his fallen friends and faced the charging Human Bomb and the swooping Black Condor. “I reckon you boys ain’t right in the head, but I gotta stop you. Heaven help me, I do!”
Doome grinned and pushed a button. A ray beam hit Uncle Sam, but nothing happened. “Why, that’s odd. I assumed my chronal ray would turn him into an infant,” he said. “Just how old is this guy?”
Sam wrestled the Condor across the field while the Bomb warily waited for his chance. “I’m not a day over 171, and that means I’m spry enough to whup you polecats!” he said. But just then the blast from the Human Bomb hit home, and he fell at Black Condor’s feet.
“Excellent!” said Doome. “You sapped his will, too, eh, Haldane?”
“Yes, and now we gather them up as with the others from all those Earths?” he asked.
Doome grinned. “Yes, we are done. These strapping youths called the Freedom Fighters shall give my hated foes the Seven Soldiers of Victory true freedom — the freedom of the grave! Now, put them with all the other Earth-X heroes we’ve gathered from the present and the past.”
The fat man was very smug, since at that moment things looked very good for him. He would see the end of his foes, and then, with the Psycho-Pirate’s aid, he would punish Luthor for his treatment of a man of such refinement and genius. Yes he would.
Later, Alexei Luthor sat in his lair with Dr. Doome sitting across from him once more. “You did well, my friend,” he said. “The heroes are safely here and are all under Haldane’s spell. Now we merely need to send them out to defeat the All-Star Squadron, as the mystery-men and women are collectively known.”
Doome smirked. “True. I achieved total success. Now, have you selected the proper foe for each one?”
Luthor nodded. “My computer and the aforementioned probability scanner made the choices. The odds favor us in every encounter.”
“You seem distracted,” said Doome. “What troubles you?”
“Pure intellectual curiosity,” replied Luthor. “I wonder if we may try a different technique than the one we discussed. I wish an experiment with one pawn and one hero, just for my own questing mind. Can we alter time entirely by removing the circumstances of the hero’s origin, and if so, what ramifications will follow?”
Doome sat up, alert and eager. “I love it! It appeals to me as well, for of such paradoxical dilemmas have I based my life’s study!”
“Good,” said Luthor. “The other heroes will be defeated by our pawns as planned, but as a test, we will try to wipe out one from time itself.”
“Superman, naturally,” said Doome. “Of course!”
Luthor scowled. “Never! If he does not exist, then how could I receive the satisfaction of beating him once and for all? No, my friend. For this harmless experiment, I have selected one of his JSA allies. See for yourself!” He tossed a paper to Doome.
Doome’s fat face brightened. “Excellent! The Green Lantern is a fine choice. I assume you used the probability scanner to learn exactly what his origin was.”
“Yes,” said Luthor. “Plus, the powers of our enslaved deadman told me much.”
“So in a few hours, the All-Star Squadron shall be ours, and as a test of time paradox gone wild, we shall remove Green Lantern from time itself!” chortled Doome.
In a remote region of China, hundreds of years earlier, a lone figure stood gazing skyward. He was handsome, with an aura of nobility about his regal presence. This heroic figure stood as if ready to dare to challenge the stars themselves. Yet, ironically enough, this same proud hero was not in control of his own faculties. He was one of those figures plucked from another world by the group of evil time-travelers. Even now he fought their control inwardly but could not resist the magical power that robbed him of his strong will. To be free would be effortless for this man under normal conditions. His magic was strong, and it came from the spoken word and the talisman he carried in his right hand. However, the sorcerer Haldane and Dr. Doome had made very certain that the words that would free their pawn could not be spoken.
He was not bothered by anyone who passed by in their carts or on foot. They feared him as a man of power. They were right to respect his power, but he was in reality a hero who would never dream of abusing his powers by harming anyone who did not deserve it. Thus he dreaded the action he had been ordered to perform, for he knew vaguely that in some way it might indirectly do harm to the world, for his new and cruel masters were driven by such evil impulses.
Just then, the flash of green raced across the sky. The green flame signaled the approach of a comet that would eventually end up in the hands of Alan Scott hundreds of years later. The form it would then take would be of a train lantern and later of a ring of power. But first it would arrive in ancient China and work magic of various kinds before the slow passage of years would bring it to its champion in the 1940s.
Slowly, Ibis the Invincible raised his Ibistick and spoke the fatal words. “Ibistick, repel that comet back into empty space!” The magic surged through the wand, and the magic in the comet flared in response, as if struggling against the other magical item. After a mighty struggle of wills, the comet finally yielded and veered wildly and impossibly back into the voids of space.
The hero of Earth-S then sadly followed a flight back through time and space as commanded, back to Luthor’s new American base.
In the present, miles across the nation, a grave marked the resting place of Alan Scott, who had died in a train wreck years before.
Luthor, who along with Dr. Doome had been protected from the effects of this historical revision, laughed in glee. “Amazing! We have removed the Lantern from time itself! I almost wish I had the leisure to do such things to every hero. What a world this could be without any heroes.”
In the far future, a wiry man with a rugged face and bright eyes behind old-fashioned, wire-framed spectacles smashed his fist against a table. His name was Oliver Weed, and he was livid.
“Those snakes!” ranted the old man. “They play with time and space, and I allow it. Doome, Degaton, Zee, Nichols, and all their ilk. Be their intent good or ill, I allow them their time games. But now, this is too much! I tell you, by his rash act, Doome has robbed the world of a champion!
“Plus, now his children are no more. The lovely Jade will never marry Henry King, Jr. to produce their heroic son Mindflame, and the noble Obsidian will never marry and reform Marcie Cooper to produce their brave daughter Phantasm. I must stop him! It is my duty as Mr. Weed, the first time-traveler of Earth-Two!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Strange Adventures of Mr. Weed, New Comics #1-4 (December, 1935 to March-April, 1936).]