Libby Lawrence Chambers was carried in the arms of her super-fast husband through the streets of the city. Her long blonde hair fell forward in her trademark Veronica Lake style. She did not even bother to brush it back, as the sheer velocity of his race kept it in her lovely face.
“Doorstep delivery, no extra charge,” he quipped as he set her on her feet. Libby was wearing her blue and yellow Liberty Belle costume, and Johnny Chambers wore the red and gold that marked him as the hero called Johnny Quick.
“I wonder what Bob Crane wanted,” she said with a smile. “He sounded so excited on the phone. Well, as excited as a metal man’s voice can get!”
“I don’t know, doll,” said Johnny. “Maybe old Robotman found himself a shapely female friend!”
Libby smiled and said, “It’s a good thing that I know that you’re kidding, or I’d take a swing at you. But beneath that brash demeanor, I know there lurks… a second brash demeanor.”
Johnny nodded. “Hey, I’m sorry. Remember, I did risk my own freedom back in that courtroom a year or so back to defend Robotman’s humanity, and I went to considerable lengths to make him look good to the court. (*) Bob is solid, as far as I’m concerned, and I don’t just mean his construction!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “To Slay the Body Electric,” All-Star Squadron #17 (January, 1983).]
The couple climbed the stairs to the apartment of Paul Dennis, where their robotic ally lived when he chose to do so. Dennis was just a fake name and identity that came complete with a human-like mask that Robotman used from time to time. At the top of the staircase, they saw from the side a beautiful redhead in a skimpy red costume and a huge metal man with a disconcerting smile on his artificial face.
“Hey, it’s Brandy!” said Johnny Quick. “How’s it goin’, hot-lips?”
The pretty woman turned, but despite her almost identical costume and powers, she was not Firebrand II, alias Danette Reilly. Rather, she was Carol Vance Martin, alias Wildfire of Earth-X. (*) Libby shoved Johnny aside as flames gutted the spot he had been standing on. They charred nothing but left intense heat waves that would have stunned rather than hurt the speedster.
[(*) Editor’s note: Wildfire first appeared in “Introducing Wildfire,” Smash Comics #25 (August, 1941).]
“That’s not her, and neither is that Robotman!” cried Belle as she flipped through the room to avoid the extended fist of the robot as it grabbed for her agile form.
“I am not your Robotman,” he said in tones set to perfectly mimic Bob Crane’s own inhuman voice. “However, as even your faulty human senses must show, I am a robot-man. You may call me Flexo.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Flexo first appeared in Flexo the Rubber Man, Mystic Comics #1 (March, 1940).]
Liberty Belle rubbed her belt, and energy surged through her body. She generated a sonic force that rocked the redheaded Wildfire backward for a few seconds, her flames cushioning her from any impact. I’d grab that hot mama, but I just know she’d say something like “I’m too hot to handle!” mused Johnny. He charged the metal man who turned to menace the all-American girl.
Johnny Quick streaked forward, only to receive an uppercut that rocked his eyes back in his head and sent him stunned to the ground. Belle also ran forward, only to pass out as waves of incredible heat blanketed the room, while the bare-shouldered Wildfire and the inhuman Flexo the Rubber Man stood immune.
Liberty Belle fainted, and the mentally controlled pawns of Dr. Doome gathered up the married heroes. “With the real Firebrand and Robotman already captured in the back, we have met our master’s quota,” said Flexo. The debutante-turned-heroine called Wildfire nodded with an almost-tearful look in her blue eyes.
Shiera Sanders knew that she looked sensational in the yellow evening gown she wore. Her auburn hair was swept back, and her makeup was perfect. She was dressed to thrill every society page photographer in New York for the War Bond Fund Drive. She was tanned and fit and looked simply smashing, as a British old coot had assured her earlier that night while swatting her bottom in the receiving line. The only problem was that her dress wasn’t the right attire for an all-out brawl miles over New York City’s teeming streets.
She kicked off her high heels and punched out with all her might at the speeding woman who rocketed over the city, dragging the kicking and struggling heroine with her. True, she would plunge to her death if the auburn-haired beauty carrying her dropped her, but she hoped her fiancé would swoop down to save her in time. “Look, I don’t know why you’ve kidnapped me like this, but I tell you that we won’t give you any ransom, even if we are loaded!” she said.
The woman’s only reply was, “I know that I must bring you to my master, and that is enough.”
Hawkgirl, as Shiera called her alter ego, had a pretty solid punch, as many a drunken fraternity boy from the Hamptons could attest, but she had not even fazed the woman in the red top, yellow shorts, and metallic helmet who had tackled her in the ballroom and was now flying at remarkable speed over the city. She’s got enhanced strength! That bullet-shaped helmet even clues me in to what this dame’s name is. But how do I stop her? wondered Shiera.
Meanwhile, Hawkman was duking it out with Bulletman, and while he was holding his own, he could do nothing more. “Look, Rocket Man, the Buck Rogers film fest is back in Brooklyn!” he joked as the man determinedly hammered the feathered fury with blows. He had been upstairs when Shiera had been carried off by the woman and thus he’d barely had time to change to his famous identity before the male abductor spotted him and cut off his efforts to save the woman he loved. I can’t play games with this bruiser all night, thought Hawkman. Not while poor Shiera is being taken who knows where!
Carter Hall ducked and slammed his fist into the chin of the hero called Bulletman. He was not as strong as the altered police scientist named Jim Barr, but he fought all the more harder. He had to win. He was not about to lose the woman he had loved for over a thousand years. He blocked a punch and caught Bulletman solidly in the chin. A second roundhouse right sent the enslaved mystery-man to the ground.
Hawkman flew off at top speed, calling out in odd screeching sounds. Birds soon hovered above from the rookeries of New York City. “Where has the mate of Hawk been taken?” he asked in their language.
They screeched back in a tone known to him ever since that odd compelling dream had whispered to him of other ancient Egyptian secrets, like that of the gravity-defying Nth metal. “She is near,” they replied. “Her kicking has slowed her foe. Follow us!”
Hawkman did so, and his heart beat more quickly as he spotted his lover’s yellow evening gown and auburn hair bending over a fallen figure. He swooped down on the roof and said, “Shiera! You beat that witch!”
She turned, only to knock him out cold with her own powerful left hook, which was enhanced by chemicals just as Jim Barr’s had been. She was Susan Kent Barr, and she had changed clothes with Shiera after knocking her senseless. Susan’s husband Bulletman joined her as they picked up the underwear-clad form of Shiera Sanders and her fallen partner.
Alexei Luthor watched as Psycho-Pirate and Haldane the Sorcerer placed the Whip, Air Wave, and Tarantula in the glowing time spheres that already held Liberty Belle, Johnny Quick, Robotman, Firebrand II, Hawkman, and Shiera Sanders.
“See, Doome, they even defeated that dreaded avenger of the West — the Whip!” said Luthor mockingly.
“Yes, yes,” said Dr. Doome. “Laugh on. I still say that the Seven Soldiers are–”
“They are nothing more than the poor man’s Justice Society,” Luthor said. “They shall fall to the Freedom Fighters just as Tarantula fell to the Ferret, the Hawks to the Bullets, and Whip to Shock Gibson.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Shock Gibson first appeared in “The Human Dynamo,” Speed Comics #1 (October, 1939).]
Psycho-Pirate eyed Shiera Sanders. “That’s a real work of art. How come she’s in her bra and panties?”
Haldane gestured with his hands, and the debutante was clothed once more as Hawkgirl. “I summoned her wardrobe to her,” said the bored sorcerer. “Now kindly sit down.”
“I wasn’t complaining, you jerk!” replied Roger Hayden.
Doome saw Luthor’s eyes light up. “What is it?” he asked.
“Nothing to worry about,” said Luthor. “Merely enjoying the high spirits of your associate.” In reality, the evil genius had just learned a way by which he might avoid his future death at the hands of Brainiac, but he was too cunning to share this news just yet. And for now he was simply eager to see Superman’s stunned form being carried in by the enslaved hero sent to battle the metropolitan marvel. That fight was happening over the California coastline even as he waited.
Elsewhere, master magician John Zatara battled the equally matched Tor the Magic Master and Merlin the Magician of Earth-X, while Sargon the Sorcerer tried to hold off Ibis the Invincible. (*) The magical energies crackled around them as spells were shouted in backwards gibberish, and the Ruby of Life warred against the Ibistick.
[(*) Editor’s note: Tor first appeared in Tor the Magic Master, Crack Comics #10 (February, 1941), while Merlin first appeared in Merlin the Magician, National Comics #1 (July, 1940).]
Tor fell to Zatara’s skillful spell-casting, and the suave magician saw his buddy Sargon try a new tactic. He touched the Ibistick itself and shouted, “Lose your power!” The spell failed, which was something Sargon had half-expected. But what he hadn’t seen coming was the resulting feedback, which dropped both John Sargent and Ibis to dazed sleep.
Zatara also tried a new trick, crying out, “Nilrem, eb eerf!” The spell indeed cleared the eyes of the other mystic before a surge of stunning force shocked both them to the ground.
Meanwhile, Haldane the Sorcerer was watching the mystics battle through a crystal ball. “Good thing I placed that protective glyph upon each hero in case any magic-user tried to free them from my power,” he said, chuckling to himself. “It stuns both instantly.”
Superman was unused to fighting anyone with strength as great as his, so he admittedly struggled inwardly as well as physically when confronted with not one but two superhuman beings. Pa always told me that every man must sooner or later run up against somebody tougher and stronger than himself, he thought as he crashed into the Pacific Ocean after receiving a terrific blow to the head. He added that the thing to do in that case was to do your best and accept your limitations without being crippled by them. I guess this is my turn to do just that.
His enemies were different but united in their grim and relentless desire to defeat him. They had fought across the California coast after they first attacked him in the studio where he had finished filming a war bond newsreel spot. The first foe had blond hair, carried a red shield, and wore a costume somewhat similar to Superman’s, with a red cape and shorts over a short-sleeved blue costume. Otherwise, he looked like a normal, albeit strong man. However, this Roko the Amazing, as he was called by his ally, was as strong as Superman himself. (*) The same could be said for his partner Joe Hercules of Earth-X. The broad-shouldered man, who was bare-chested and wore only a red cape and blue shorts and boots, seemed to live up to his name and the gold H on his belt buckle as he wrestled with the modern era’s greatest titan. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Roko the Amazing first appeared in “Terror in the Sky,” USA Comics #5 (Summer, 1942), while Joe Hercules first appeared in Hercules, Hit Comics #1 (July, 1940).]
Well, the theme of that war bond film was never give up, and that is one lesson I’m taking to heart! Superman vowed as his foes broke through the water to pummel him again. They can survive the ocean depths as well as I can, he realized in shock as Hercules slammed into Superman at the same moment the Man of Steel belted Roko with a right hook. He let himself fly from the impact until he went deep in the ocean floor and turned abruptly to charge back into Roko.
A hot blast of his x-ray vision melted the coral reef and sent it crashing down on top of Hercules. Struggling free, Superman broke through the surface and then used his super-breath to freeze the water below him solid, a relatively new trick he’d recently learned. That should hold him, he thought, then dodged Roko the Amazing, who moved as fast as Superman himself. He connected with a right cross and then a left that dropped Roko.
Now to see about Joe Hercules, he thought. As he turned toward the imprisoned man, the ice and coral exploded free as Hercules slammed into Superman with all his power. The impact knocked even Superman cold. Slowly Roko stood back up, and together he and Hercules carried the Metropolis marvel to Luthor’s headquarters.
Alexei Luthor sneered with delight as Dr. Doome’s device created a null-field of time around him. “You can see and hear me, old foe, but you cannot move or speak. You can’t vibrate free or do any of your tricks. You can only squirm with the idea that Alexei Luthor has won! You, and soon all of your costumed ilk shall die at my hands. And then I’ll be free to make the world bow down, not to Hitler, but to me!”
Superman’s pained expression as he listened to his arch-enemy’s words spoke volumes.
The Psycho-Pirate announced, “Dakor the Magician just beat Doctor Fate! (*) I owe him a good beating, myself. He seems like a panty-waist these days; could be that weird half-helmet he’s wearin’.”
[(*) Editor’s note: Dakor the Magician first appeared in “The Blooded Ruby of Chung,” Mystic Comics #1 (March, 1940).]
A black man in red and blue carried in Amazing-Man. “I loved the irony of sending the Will Everett of that so-called Earth-Et Cetera after his Earth-Two counterpart,” laughed Doome. “Microman was more than a match for Amazing-Man! What is in a name, after all?”
“I am still puzzled by your comment, Luthor, that it takes a dead man to beat a dead man,” said Haldane.
“I referred to the battle between the Spectre and his two foes,” said Luthor, smiling.