Rob Harper gazed out at Star City. It was nice to be back there, even if only temporarily, for a visit with his brother. Roy Harper enjoyed the feeling, too. He was not quite settled out west, even after a while with Infinity Inc. Home would always be Star City or Lost Mesa.
“You know, for a couple of guys raised on Lost Mesa, we Harper brothers sure live like a pair of sissies!” joked Rob as he passed his sibling a muffin.
Roy grinned at the older-looking man and said, “Yes, little brother, that’s true, but you forget we each had blue-blooded mentors who exposed us to the finer, more gentile things of life!”
Though younger in appearance due to the vagaries of time-displacement, Roy was actually the older sibling. His fifty-something brother Rob had aged greater, since his life had not been disrupted by time-displacement. Each of the siblings had worn the costume of Speedy and had bravely fought crime beside two different men called Green Arrow. They had much in common beyond mere blood connections.
Roy could tell something was troubling the second man to wear the Speedy costume. “Rob, Captain Triumph called,” he said, breaking the silence. “Diana Dare, the former Queen Arrow, is enjoying her retirement from the heroine gig. She says she never wants to see that sensational costume again. She is back to her old, demure self. You know, back when Oliver first figured out that it was exposure to a Javiro Indian toxin on an arrow from her collection that caused her to become a sleepwalking super-heroine in the 1940s, we never guessed that the drug could remain in her system. (*) It was dormant until Atoman’s chronal energy accidentally caused it to create a radically different split personality in her. (*) Doc Mid-Nite fixed her up. She is in Europe and happily out of the business. Her plans for a new Law’s Legionnaires team are over, too, as is her career as Queen Arrow.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One Queen Arrow, on whom the Earth-Two version is based, appeared in “The Queen Arrow,” Adventure Comics #241 (October, 1957); see Arrowette: Who’s the Arrowest of Them All? and Law’s Legionnaires: The Deadlier of the Species.]
“That’s good,” Rob said glumly. “Especially since you and the other original Legionnaires decided to form a new team of your own, as is your right. (*) I wasn’t so hot on the idea, anyway. Oliver always said a team dynamic wasn’t easy to develop among loners.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Law’s Legionnaires: Soldiers of Victory.]
“Your Oliver Morgan was a smart man,” replied Roy. “Of course, he proved his courage, skill, and wit during the career he forged as Green Arrow II!”
Rob nodded sadly. “He tried hard to live up to his mentor’s image. Let me tell you, the first Green Arrow — Oliver Queen — left a mighty big quiver to fill!”
“You sure don’t have to convince me!” said Roy. “But remember, when Oliver and I returned to our proper time with the help of the Justice Society, we took a while to get adjusted, and we learned to our surprise that from the end of the 1940s through the return of the JSA themselves around the time JFK died, Star City had enjoyed the expert protection of a second Green Arrow and Speedy team — namely you and Oliver Morgan!”
“G.A. was thrilled when you returned,” said Rob. “He and I had hung up our bows earlier when the JSA re-formed, but even so, we had given up hope that you two could ever be found! Max Lord supplied us well, and our skills came from the same sources as yours did. The archery skills Oliver Queen and Oliver Morgan had came about because Morgan’s father, Professor Lamont Morgan, worked at the Star City Museum and stimulated their common love of Indian lore!”
“True. My Oliver — bless his soul — had a passion for Indian relics and ways, and he passed on that passion to your Oliver from when he was a teenager on,” said Roy. “And you and I were each taught separately by Lost Mesa natives — Quoag and Quorak.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Origins: Green Arrow and Speedy: Targets.]
“You know this is the anniversary of Oliver Morgan’s death,” said Rob slowly. “I still feel like I was to blame. If only I hadn’t taken that trip back to Lost Mesa at that time, maybe he’d still be alive. Do you mind if we talk about it a little?” Roy nodded his head, and Rob began his story.
“It really started right after the pair of you were rescued by the JSA,” said Rob. “Things were quiet in Star City that year. While Oliver Morgan and I had retired from our roles as the second G.A. and Speedy team, crime stayed at a low. Maybe all the super-villains had learned to stay out of Star City since we had protected it for so long, as had the originals before us!”
“Funny, you two, Superman, Batman, Robin, Wonder Woman, Johnny Quick, and Robotman were the only heroes who really stayed active back then,” noted Roy, recalling the history he’d caught up on after his twenty-two-year absence. “I guess Team Justice had disbanded by the end of the 1950s, and various solo JSAers still donned their costumes as needed, but seldom as a group! (*) At least that’s what I’ve read.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Team Justice: Times Past, 1959: Justice in the Making.]
“When the JSA came back together, we figured we could just retire,” said Rob. “I wasn’t a teen sidekick by any means. People had always taken us to be the originals, in spite of our different hair colors, because we had the costumes, the gear, and the skill. However, I was about thirty-two when the JSA returned.”
“I guess, since Speedy first came to media attention as a boy, ordinary folks didn’t think much about your aging,” said Roy. “It’s like that with teen stars. I mean, I still think of Jackie Cooper and Mickey Rooney as goofy kids, not middle-aged men.”
“True enough,” said Rob. “So, in 1963 we retired, and the rare return of some of our old foes like the Vulture Man were dealt with by others. You’d be surprised how easy it was and is for folks like Wonder Woman, the Flash, and Doctor Fate, to name a few, to drop by Star City when needed.”
“I understand that those who knew us wondered about what had become of us,” said Roy. “The Sandman had tried to find Lee Travis back in 1949, for example. But most ordinary people didn’t miss us, since you were there defending Star City so well. Plus, when the JSA found us and brought us back to our own time, some really odd events occurred. I mean, the Sandman didn’t even recall his own college buddy! We figured it was due to some cosmic hoodoo by this Oracle being who started the whole case, since people started remembering us again shortly after we were rescued by the JSA and the JLA.” (*) But we were back. Max Lord helped us get our business in order, and we learned about you and the other Oliver — about your own careers, I mean.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1972: Time, See What’s Become of Me?]
Rob grinned. “I was thrilled to meet my long-lost sibling. You’d never known anything about me, since I was born after you crashed on Lost Mesa in 1932.”
“Oliver Morgan immediately offered to relinquish the Green Arrow gear to Oliver Queen,” said Roy, “but Oliver insisted that Morgan should keep what he had used. He even thanked him for filling in for Star City’s citizens.”
“But,” added Rob, “the original G.A. didn’t resume his career either, until…”
“Nope,” agreed Roy. “Not until he brought in Morgan’s killers, and then seldom again until the Crisis on Infinite Earths. By then, such new heroes like Power Girl, the Huntress, and Infinity Inc. were all active.”
“But back to the saddest day of my life–” continued Rob, “–the day Green Arrow II died! I didn’t really know what happened in the days that preceded Oliver’s final stand against evil, but I speculate, from what I’ve gathered since then, that it went something like this…”
A grim man pulled on his gloves and checked his stylized weapon’s pack. Gleaming darts with weird modifications were lined up in deadly order.
His wife looked worried. “Honey, must you go out? You’ve been honest for years now!” said Maria Mallory.
Her husband kissed her. “A guy nicknamed Midas Mallory can’t live on blue collar wages, darling! Once I pull this job, we’ll be rich! The Prof promises us all big rewards. This final job is a mix of work and pleasure, since we plan to wipe out Green Arrow and Speedy at last. We’re gonna lure them out of their retirement and kill them!”
Mallory turned to see his twelve-year-old daughter Goldie. She was playing with a toy dart board and hitting the bull’s-eye each time. He picked her up and gave her a kiss.
“That’s Daddy’s little girl!” he said. “Your future hubby better watch his manners, since you have your old man’s aim! You’ll be as good as I am!”
“I’ll try!” she said, laughing. “I want to be just like you!”
He kissed his wife again and winked to Goldie Mallory as he departed. His name was John “Midas” Mallory, but while in costume he preferred to go by the nom du crime of the Red Dart. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Although a version of this character exists on Earth-Two, the original character appears on Earth-One, as seen in “Green Arrow Versus Red Dart,” World’s Finest Comics #95 (July-August, 1958).]
His daughter Goldie turned to resume her practice. She didn’t know she would never see her father again.
No similar scene occurred as Morton Quigley packed up his gear and donned the hooded costume of the Archer. He had fought Superman relentlessly for years and had never considered retiring. (*) His hatred for the Man of Steel and Jimmy Olsen knew no bounds, although he had lost to Johnny Thunder, Batman, and other heroes as well. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See 2nd story, Superman #13 (November-December, 1941), The Brave and the Bold: Johnny Thunder and Wonder Woman: 1941: Swings and Arrows, and Justice Society of America: 1943: Acts of Vengeance, Chapter 3: Bait and Switch.]
Quigley had taken this job because he owed a debt to the man who had broken him out of prison decades before so he could train a whole group of criminal archers who later took up costumed identities of their own. That loyalty and the huge money he had been promised were what drove him.
In a small house outside of the city, his common-law wife Edith Hawke listened as their son Connor bragged about his skill.
“I took down the entire gang with my arrows,” said the blond Connor Hawke. “I’m going to be a real up-and-comer when the mobs are suitably impressed by me. I’ll be able to name my own price!”
Edith nodded with a mixture of pride and concern. She and Connor had no idea what their absentee husband and father was doing across the city.
A gathering of evil had occurred at an old manor outside Star City. A stiff and proper butler stood ready to assist a feeble, dying man. His bald head, red eyes, and ashen skin could not deprive this individual of his strong and almost palpable force of will.
“I am known to you all as Professor George Million,” he said. (*) “This alias has served me well in my dealing with you and others like Shark Norton and Killer Kane. I possess nearly limitless wealth. I possess an inventive mind unrivaled by any other… and, oh, yes… I am dying.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Mystery of the Mathematical Master,” More Fun Comics #88 (February, 1943).]
“I am dying,” he said. “I repeat that. It is no hyperbole. It is a confirmed fact. I have financed, equipped, and arranged for the training of many men of evil. In fact, I am responsible for unleashing upon the world a group of criminal archers and even tricked Green Arrow himself into helping to train them. (*) Some of you are here because of that old debt. I now free you all of any debt, but I offer you great wealth. In return, I ask you to help me with one final goal before I embrace the grave.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “When Archers Meet,” More Fun Comics #97 (May-June, 1944).]
The silence and tension grew as he hesitated for effect and to regain his breath.
“Kill Green Arrow!” he finally said. “The plan is written out for you. Do as I request, and go with my thanks. If we succeed, I shall still die, but I shall die a happy and avenged man!”
The Archer nodded. “I’ll do it.”
The Rainbow Archer, alias Albrecht Raines, said, “You don’t need to pay me — I owe it to you!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Although a version of this character exists on Earth-Two, the original character appears on Earth-One, as seen in “The Rainbow Archer,” Adventure Comics #246 (March, 1958).]
“I will build it for you if you supply the parts!” said a blue-clad man as he scanned a blueprint; he was one of the last surviving members of the Rocket Raiders. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One versions of these characters, upon which the Earth-Two versions are based, first appear in “The Rocket Raiders,” World’s Finest Comics #94 (May-June, 1958).]
Slingshot, alias Sheridan Mackenzie, tossed back her black hair and smiled. She owed the Green Arrow much in terms of hatred and loss, as well as rejection.
Finally, the Scarlet Bowman departed. This man, Peter Regal, had once been a national hero in his nation, along with his late brother Albert. (*) Now he sought only personal satisfaction, and to forget his losses or avenge them.
[(*) Editor’s note: Although a version of this character exists on Earth-Two, the original character appears on Earth-One, as seen in “The Scarlet Bowmen,” Adventure Comics #226 (July, 1956).]
These men and women had been assembled for one dark goal — to end the career and life of a man named Green Arrow. They would succeed.
It began with a sudden and bloody finality. Kovacs, Brandt, Martin, and Cohen were four ex-G.I.s who would never make it to their next Veterans of Foreign Wars meeting. (*) Warren Thurston, a portly man with a ready grin, would never smile again. (*) Professor Riggles, a brilliant man of science, would never teach his pupils about the marvels of science again. (*) The six men shared one trait; all had been friends of Green Arrow’s at one time or another. Now all were dead, united in death by the means of their executions, as a green arrow had pierced each man’s heart. The Polka-Dot Archer, the members of the Arrow Platoon, and the man of science were all dead because of their past kindnesses to either Oliver Queen or Oliver Morgan.
[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-One version of these characters, upon which the Earth-Two versions are based, first appear in “The Arrow Platoon,” Adventure Comics #258 (March, 1959), “Perils of the Polka-Dot Archer,” Adventure Comics #238 (July, 1957), and “The Mystery of the Giant Arrows,” Adventure Comics #252 (September, 1958).]
The notes wrapped around each shaft had been identical. Queen had recognized the design of the green arrows, and he knew that one man had both the skill to make them and the motive to use them, as well as a number of talented criminal archers at his beck and call who could strike so perfectly moving human targets.
“Professor Million is behind this,” said Oliver Queen. “The note demands Green Arrow surrender where it all began, or more of my friends will meet with sudden death by green arrow.”
Oliver Morgan nodded. “Million is sick enough to do this.”
“I’m glad our two Speedys went out west,” said Queen. “I think this time I’d better not endanger poor Roy.”
Morgan slipped something to his face and tossed down an arrow. Gas poured out to send Queen to sudden sleep.
“The world needs the true Green Arrow,” said Morgan. “I’d better fill in for you, old friend, one last time. My death won’t cost Star City as much as yours would!” And he gently placed the stunned Oliver Queen on a sofa, then rushed toward a date with destiny.