Doctor Mid-Nite was clever, and above all he was prepared. He waited until he was safely away from Myra Mason Martin to make a quick call. “Rex, it’s Charles. I need your help. Can you meet me at the waterfront?” he asked.
Rex Tyler answered, “Of course. In the working clothes, I assume?”
“Most definitely,” said a grim Mid-Nite.
Later, the friends hid in the gathering darkness near the wharf. “So, I’m to get Amanda out while you handle Boss Dyke?” said Hourman.
“Exactly. I couldn’t risk her life by going in solo,” said Mid-Nite.
They climbed silently up the side of the old building and at the skylight gazed down to see a sleeping or drugged Amanda. The Gorilla Boss sat in his weird 1930s-style gangster suit, and his mob waited around catering to his every whim.
“OK, ready? Let’s go in!” said Doctor Mid-Nite.
Hourman nodded, but before they could act, a rush of wings and a loud screech echoed above, and the creature known as Chiro swept down from the night sky to rip Mid-Nite from the roof. Hourman grimaced. “What in the world?” He saw his friend get carried off and, making a judgment call, chose to plunge down into the warehouse to save Amanda. Mid-Nite, I hope I’m right in thinking you can take that creature on alone, he prayed.
Hourman landed with a crash, and his body surged with Miraclo energy as he held his hourglass and concentrated. He would now be at an adrenal peak for exactly one hour. At one point he had needed to take a pill to achieve this effect, but that was no longer the case, thanks to the boon given him by the Norse god Odin. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Ragnarok Aftermath, Chapter 3: Miracles.]
“Hello, King Kong. Shouldn’t you be fighting airplanes on the Empire State Building?” he quipped.
“The Hourman!” sputtered the startled gang members.
“You didn’t say nothin’ about us havin’ to tangle with a guy who can toss cars!” whined a thug.
“Actually, I seldom toss cars these days. I will toss you, however!” said Hourman as he leaped forward and batted a gun out of the crook’s nervous hand. He slapped him flat and ducked a rain of bullets from the other gang members. He saw the Gorilla Boss head for the still-stunned Amanda and decided to end things quickly. He grabbed a huge crate and did, in fact, toss it into the path between Amanda and the gang. Then, at top speed, he slammed into them and left them stunned from strong blows. He effortlessly jumped over the crate and caught the agile George “Boss” Dyke.
“Hairy, you crossed the line this time. Mid-Nite and McNider are friends of mine,” he said. “Did you really expect that Dr. McNider would just waltz in with Myra? You must be more Gorilla than Boss!” He laughed.
“Don’t say that! Don’t nobody ever say that!” screamed the Gorilla Boss, charging Hourman and tossing his gun aside.
Yep. I figured if I pushed him about his condition, he would go ape, so to speak, thought Rex Tyler. Bracing himself as the beast pounded him in fury, he withstood the force and lifted the Gorilla Boss over his head. He slammed him into a wall, and the thug fell, stunned. Hourman smiled. “So… this makes me king of the jungle now!”
He untied Amanda, who stirred and said, “Wha’ happened?” She looked up. “Uncle Rex?” she murmured.
“Hi, princess. Let me get you out of here fast, and then I got to help the Doc. Nice dress, by the way,” he said to reassure her.
Meanwhile, high above the docks, Doctor Mid-Nite had wrestled with the man-bat called Chiro, but he lost the fight, due to the creature’s speed and surprise attack. Soon, he was dropped limply at the private clinic that housed the evil Killer Maroni.
“What’s this? I wanted that sawbones first!” the old man wheezed.
“I spotted Mid-Nite on my way to McNider’s house!” he whined. “I thought I did good.”
“Gramps, this will do for a start,” said his grandson, Anton Maroni. “It was Mid-Nite who actually put ya away!”
The old gang boss nodded. “So, ya know me, punk?” he said.
Doctor Mid-Nite frowned. “Well, I’ll be — Killer Maroni! The man I put away for life, or so I thought.” His mind whirled with stark images — memories of a hurried call for help; a sick witness to a Maroni crime, and above all the silence before the breaking glass, and the fire and rage that blinded him. That bomb blast seemed to go on forever in his mind’s eye. Then followed the darkness and the arrival of Hooty the owl that gave him proof that he could now see in blackest night; the development of special lens and equipment that gave him day-vision of a kind, and finally the birth of Doctor Mid-Nite. He had attacked Maroni in print, too, and thus earned his hate in both of his identities. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “How He Began,” All-American Comics #25 (April, 1941).]
“Ya put me behind bars for forty-five years,” snarled the coughing mobster. “I got out ’cause I’m dying. I mean to take you with me!”
Mid-Nite slipped one hand to his belt and plunged the room into darkness with a blackout bomb. “No good! I can see you!” screeched Chiro. “I can find ya like my namesake, the bat!”
Figures, mused Mid-Nite as he prepared to fight for his life anew. Got to beat these thugs and save Amanda. She and Hourman may need me, he thought desperately.
Doctor Mid-Nite swung out with his bag and grazed the flying foe, receiving a raking claw down his chest in return. He dropped and rolled aside as the creatures swooped back once more.
He sees through a type of echo-location like a real bat, mused Mid-Nite. If I can interfere with that, I’ll have an advantage. He knew this was a clinic, and he had a clear view of all in the private room. Maroni owns the place, he thought, but he still has to meet state safety codes, so there should be a — aha!
Letting the beast slam him down, Doctor Mid-Nite rolled across the floor to suddenly pull a fire alarm. The sheer siren sent the man-bat Chiro to his knees in pain and confusion. Mid-Nite used this delay to slap one of the knockout patches on the man-bat. The drug worked as he and Rex had planned. The narcotic tranquilized the beast.
Mid-Nite slugged the frantic Anton Maroni as well and turned to his grandfather. “This is a warning,” he said to the bitter old man. “Let the past die. Forget me and the McNider family.”
Killer Maroni coughed and grasped his chest. “No! Heart failure!” cried Doctor Mid-Nite. He saw the youth who had reverted to Brooks on the floor, and Maroni’s grandson looked grim. “I can help him. McNider taught me well,” said Mid-Nite.
He used the clinic’s equipment and his skill to perform heart surgery on the weak old man. Hours later, he said, “I can’t cure him, but I think I’ve prolonged his life,” he said wearily. “Use his time for affirmation, not revenge.”
“Thank you,” said a crestfallen and beaten Maroni.
Doctor Mid-Nite walked out and turned to Hourman, who had arrived hours earlier during the operation. “Amanda’s fine, right?” asked Mid-Nite.
“Oh, yes. Great work with Maroni,” congratulated Rex.
Doctor Mid-Nite entered the Miller home to find darkness, even when he flipped the light switch. “Myra, where are you?” he called. “We freed Amanda, and she’s resting at JSA Headquarters. I think the tour Rex is giving her has really picked up her spirits. Boss Dyke is in jail by now, too.”
“Come up, darling,” called a female voice that was deeper that Myra’s.
He glanced upward to see the figure calling herself Niteshade. “Who are you? Where are the Millers?” he asked.
“Oh, Charles, don’t be coy. I know who you are behind that striking mask,” she cooed. “As for the insipid Myra, she’s asleep upstairs. I am the woman for you, though, so forget that pom-pom girl type.”
“Louisa? What are you doing in that suit? Why the darkness?” he said, easing forward.
“The darkness is our special world. My contacts let me see in night, as do yours. I copied your design and made it smaller. See, my mind is made for yours, unlike that little blonde fluff ball.” She came and wrapped her arms around him as she spoke.
“Louisa, I love Myra,” he said, stalling for time. “You and I are colleagues and friends, but that’s it. How did you learn my identity?”
“I stumbled across it when I found a journal entry in the lab safe. You forgot I was coming over and left it unlocked just long enough for me to read what I needed. I locked it back up, and you never knew. I made this Niteshade suit for you. I made myself over to be your ideal mate.” She kissed him.
Doctor Mid-Nite pushed her back and reached for a patch. She batted it aside and slapped him. “Don’t trifle with me. We were meant for each other! Don’t you see that? You, of all people, should be able to see that!” she screamed.
He shoved her aside and said, “End this madness. I won’t hear any more of this. Let me talk with you calmly.”
Niteshade kicked him in the face with skill and speed. He rolled back and grabbed for her, but she danced aside. “I can match you move for move,” she said, smiling. “I trained myself to do so.”
Doctor Mid-Nite moved fast and tackled Dr. Louisa Soliz. He was stronger than her, even if she had a speed advantage. “This must cease. I can’t understand how a woman of science like you could develop such wrongful ideas. I can’t be your partner, but I’ll help you if you’ll surrender now.”
She struggled and pulled free. “If you can’t love me, then I’ll see you die! I’ll return. That wedding will never, ever happen.”
Niteshade ran out the door into the night. Doctor Mid-Nite started to follow, when she vanished in a beam of black light. Teleportation! Seemed vaguely familiar, too, he mused.
He ran back up to wake Myra. “It’s OK, Myra. I’m here. You and Mandy are safe.” She hugged him, and time passed peacefully.