Haldane the Sorcerer was feeling especially pleased with himself, for good reason. He had singlehandedly provided Luthor with one of the three chronal items he sought for his duel with destiny.
“It was much easier than risking an attack on Paradise Island,” he bragged. “The Amazon princess up there had a portable version of the so-called Magic Sphere in her hidden lair in D.C. The device should do for you what the larger one would have done. I am so pleased that I did that final mind-scan on her.”
Alexei Luthor bestowed rare praise. “Well done. I have no time for an assault on the isle of super-women. The sphere allows the user to see past events as they occurred, and that bit of chronal magic, when combined with a piece of the Rock of Eternity and one other item, should allow me to permanently prevent my fate from being what Doome so gleefully revealed it to be.”
Dr. Doome had released the Seven Soldier of Victory named Green Arrow from the null-field. “You have no bow or arrows, and your allies are out of your reach, thanks to my device,” gloated the fat man. “I have triumphed and paid you all back for the defeats you handed me in the past.”
The handsome, brown-haired Oliver Queen bided his time. “I can’t say you didn’t beat us this time, but the game is far from over. How did you do it? Doome, what was the secret of your success?”
Doome flushed with pleasure. “I drew forth from alternate worlds heroes with powers well-calculated by Luthor’s probability scanner to defeat the ones I sent them against. Those on your team fell to the superior powers of the Freedom Fighters! They are home now and have no memory that they served Doome’s will so well.”
Green Arrow’s mind raced. He couldn’t touch his friends. They were both here and were not. He knew of no other heroes left out there who could rescue him, but then with so many around him, he could have missed some.
The Psycho-Pirate was amusing himself by playing with the captured women. He used his facial expressions to fill Liberty Belle with slack-jawed imbecility, while he drove Hawkgirl into the throes of passion. Then he laughed, and the imprisoned Wonder Woman giggled helplessly. Haldane and Luthor whispered in the corner, and Doome was oblivious to all save his triumph.
Green Arrow was a skilled marksman with any thrown item, but what could he throw, and where would a hit do him any good? Doome suddenly returned him to the null-field with a flip of a switch. From that odd limbo he formed a plan. If I can get him to free me to taunt again, then I’ll try to hit that switch and release us all from the null-field, mused the battling bowman.
As Green Lantern rushed toward Luthor’s lair, he stopped abruptly as the elderly but agile master of time named Oliver Weed appeared before him in his flying car, which was a time machine.
“Wait, son!” he pleaded. “Don’t rush in where wise men fear to tread! You can’t save your buddies by yourself. That wizard could zap you, or that emotion-generating pervert could get you. Doome could even do something fatal to our plans. Let me remind you that you are our last hope!”
Alan Scott, the man known as Green Lantern, was grim. “They have my friends, and they made a very personal attack upon me, from what you’ve said. I am going to take them down! I may be the only one who can!”
Mr. Weed smiled. “That fire is what makes you among the best and brightest of them, even in the far future — you are the Green Lantern of choice! But listen to me — nobody ever lost a war by having too much help or being too careful. Let me tell you how to win.”
Alan listened and nodded silently. “I understand. It is a good plan, but it sounds almost too good to be true. Superman has always ended up as a phantom when he has tried that.”
Mr. Weed stopped him with a boney hand. “No, it depends upon the method of time travel used. If you fly like he does via his own power, then you end up as a phantom — at least in this Earth’s time laws. But if you use a machine, then you may actually go to a time in which you already exist without becoming a phantom. Your pal Batman has done it via hypnosis of a rare kind.”
“I do know of a source for time travel,” said Alan Scott. “If I use it according to the coordinates you supply, then will I find help?”
Mr. Weed smiled rather eagerly and rubbed his hands together. “You’ll find the greatest heroes this world has to offer!”
Green Lantern agreed to follow Weed’s plan and flew off in search of a time-travel device. He knew the very machine Dr. Doome himself had used when he earlier battled the Seven Soldiers of Victory still rested in Justice Society of America’s headquarters, since the Soldiers lacked a formal and secure headquarters.
He stepped within the device and glanced up at the famous photo of the first JSA meeting back in November, 1940. His friends were alive and eager back then, and he vowed to make sure they stayed that way.
“Here I go, heading for the future,” he declared.
Alexei Luthor frowned as Dr. Doome walked into his lab. “I have good news,” said Doome. “The team sent after the fragment of the Rock of Eternity returned successfully with a tiny section of the massive edifice.”
“Good,” Luthor replied as he grabbed the rocky fragment. “I was beginning to worry. Delay is not an option when you serve Alexei Luthor.”
“And about the other items?” asked Doome.
Luthor smiled. “I have the sphere and the rock, and now I need the Earth-One item — the engine from a device created by a time-traveler called Rip Hunter.”
Doome said, “So you wish me to go to Earth-One now?”
“Yes, but I see the use of villains is a risky one,” he said. “I suspect rebellion amongst them delayed you this last time.”
Doome nodded. “One member of the Earth-S team proved a bit difficult.”
“That is to be expected with the criminal mind,” continued Luthor. “So I wish you to take a group of our heroic pawns to steal this engine.”
“Ah, Miss Masque and the rest,” said Doome.
Luthor glanced at the imprisoned Earth-Two heroes. “No,” he said, smiling, “let’s put some of our virtuous All-Star Squadron members to work for us. I assume Haldane can enslave them as well as he did those from that unnamed world.”
Doome grinned also. “Ah, well, I would like to enslave my old foes.”
Luthor scowled. “Not again with those second-rate Soldiers. I only use the best.”
While Doome fumed, Luthor made his choices.
Green Lantern’s journey to find help in freeing the captive heroes of the Earth-Two of 1943 took him to an alternate timeline in which the JSA had developed in a different manner over time. He worried that he would find help too late, but then reminded himself that time was on his side as well, in a way, as Mr. Weed had assured him.
The Brownstone was not there, so he had found the team in their old Civic City Headquarters. To his amazement, all the members looked as young as they did in 1943, though his ring showed that this was a possible version of the year 2000. He silently passed through the brick walls to emerge facing his peers, his partners, and himself.
“What the–?” muttered Wildcat as he sprang up.
That’d odd. Wildcat isn’t a JSAer in my time, mused Green Lantern.
The same assuring golden helmet of Doctor Fate and the cold voice that came from the possessed Kent Nelson echoed true. “I see the Green Lantern of a past era faces us now with a crisis none of us since recall. That explains the vague foretellings of my crystal of Nabu.”
Alan turned also to see his own counterpart. Great guns! Will I also look this young over fifty years from now? How can we all have stayed so young? “I am Alan Scott from the past. I don’t even know if it’s your past or another in some odd paradoxical way, but I need your help! My JSA is trapped at the hands of Luthor and Dr. Doome.”
As Alan Scott filled them in on the details, he noticed that this Flash and the other Green Lantern stood in close proximity, much as the two buddies often did in Alan’s own experience. “We’ll help you,” said the Flash after Alan finished his story. “Any JSA is part of our family, right?”
The other Green Lantern said, “Forgive my confusion. It’s so weird to see myself in front of myself!”
The Flash added, “I can’t imagine what you’re feeling! Seeing a counterpart of myself like this from some other time or Earth would be too bizarre.”
Johnny Thunder said, “Say, you know, there could even be two of me!” He suddenly split into a double before correcting his magic.
A pretty blonde in fishnets sat near the red-and-green-costumed Mister Terrific. Alan Scott recognized Terrific but wondered who the girl was. In any case, neither he nor the blonde had been part of the team back in Alan’s time of 1943. “Canary, he seems to be surprised to see us. I guess in his time, we haven’t joined up yet,” offered Mister Terrific.
Black Canary grinned. “I hope he’s not disappointed in us.”
“No male would ever be disappointed to see a dish like you,” said the Atom in a different costume from the one Alan knew.
“So can you help me?” he pleaded.
“Yeah, bud!” said Wildcat. “You or someone like you inspired me to put on this suit, so I’m there for ya!”
Green Lantern smiled. The JSA spirit survived well into the future, as did their youth, apparently. “I’ve got one more stop to make according to my time guide,” he said as he began to pulse away with a green flare of energy. “I’ll be back before you know it.”
Hawkman said to his wife, “I guess we’d better assemble all the team, including Bruce and Clark.”
Hawkgirl nodded. “I’ve already called them both, plus young Dick, too.”