by CSyphrett and JSAGL
In one terrifying blow, a mysterious shadow being takes first the rings and powers of Green Lantern, Obsidian, and Jade, and then the young Scott triplets! When even the Justice Society is unable to prevent the kidnapping, what is Alan Scott to do?
Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia:
“And it’s all tied up at the bottom of the fifth, with the Atlanta Braves and Gotham Knights at four runs each.”
Alan Scott and his son Todd Rice, alias the Green Lantern and Obsidian, were enjoying a long-overdue father and son outing. As president of Gotham Broadcasting, Alan could get box seats at any Gotham Knights game, home or away. Today, he decided to do just that.
“Man, Dad, this is so cool. I never knew having a rich dad was so… so…”
Alan laughed, “I believe ‘cool’ was the word you were looking for, son.”
Todd took a swig from his Coke, the official soft drink of Braves baseball. “Yeah, no joke. I was lucky if I ever got to watch a baseball game on TV with Jim Rice. He was drunk all the time, and…”
Alan put his hand on his son’s shoulder. “No talking about Jim Rice today. This is our day. I’ve regretted since the day I found out about you and Jennie-Lynn that I was never there for you. Todd, I know we can’t change the past, but I want to do all those things that we should have done when you were growing up. And Jim Rice is not invited.”
Todd smiled a little sheepishly. He was thrilled when his dad had invited him to the game. He had often thought that Alan favored Jennie-Lynn over him, so when his father proposed guys day out, he was thrilled.
“You’re right, Dad. Thanks for doing this.”
Alan and Todd turned their attention to the sixth inning as the Braves scored a homer. Alan was so into the game that he hadn’t noticed that the box had turned darker, but he did notice when he got a chill and heard a voice whisper…
“I’m coming for him…”
Just as quickly, the light returned to the room. Alan looked at Todd, who was still watching the game. “Son, did you say something?”
“Hmm? No, Dad, why?”
Alan looked around the room for a moment. “It was… I’m not sure. I must be hearing things.” Alan leaned over and opened his travel bag, pulling out some papers. “Todd, I’ve got something here I’d like you to read.”
“In the middle of a ballgame?” Todd took the papers from his father and began to read. He looked up at Alan incredulously. “Dad, are you serious?”
Alan Scott smiled. “Yes. I was going to wait until tomorrow, but your talking about Jim Rice made me think why wait? I’ve already gotten both your adoptive parents to agree to sign the papers terminating their parental rights. If you want it, Molly and I will officially become your parents, and we’ll welcome Todd Scott into our family. What do you think?”
A gamut of emotions ran across the younger man’s face as he and his biological father regarded each other at the baseball game. “Don’t you think you should have asked me first?” Todd finally said as the surprise wore away.
“I thought it would be a nice surprise,” Alan said.
“I am an adult, Dad,” Todd said. “I’m capable of making up my own mind.”
“I’m sorry, Todd,” Alan said, raising his hands. “I just wanted to surprise you with something to make up for all those years.” Before Alan could say anything more, Todd Rice suddenly vanished among the shadows, scattering the papers in the air as he went.
Alan stood up, catching the papers before they fell with a small assistance from his power ring. “Todd?” he said aloud, the crowd oblivious to anything having happened. As soon as he used it to search for his son, his ring also told him that the younger man had gone. Todd was already moving out of the stadium, according to the scan.
Worry sprang to Alan’s mind. He should have asked first. He decided to use his power ring to follow Todd and talk to him when he calmed down.
Todd Rice felt enraged as he slipped from shadow to shadow. He was trying to be calm, but this had struck a nerve. His father had known about his sister and him for over three years, and his parentage was confirmed a year and a half ago. Why decide now to talk about adoption?
The young Infinity Inc. member known as Obsidian paused at the parking lot of the stadium. He reverted to normal, taking a deep breath. He shouldn’t have lost his temper like that. He would apologize to his dad as soon as he calmed down.
But a wave of energy swept over Todd before he was aware of an enemy in the parking lot.
Alan Scott had taken a moment to change clothes before following Todd. If he had to use his power ring, he might as well be in costume as the Green Lantern. He passed through the walls of the stadium in a wave of green flame, flying over the parking lot just as he saw his son being absorbed by a wave of darkness.
A humanoid form took shape; it resembled Todd’s own shadow form as Obsidian. Yellow flames erupted from its eyes and mouth as it regarded Green Lantern.
“What have you done to my son?” Green Lantern demanded as verdant flames wrapped around his fist.
“Once for life,” said the shadow. “Once for death. Once for power. Three times will the Starheart shine.”
“Who are you?” Green Lantern demanded. Very few knew of the power ring he wore that was carved from a lantern made from a strange meteor and of the prophetic statement that it had issued when it had been discovered.
“Your ring or your son,” said the shadow. “Choose.”
“That’s no choice at all,” said Alan Scott. He pulled the ring off of his finger and placed it on the parking lot asphalt.
The shadowy being picked up the power ring, and the flaming mouth almost smiled. The ring vanished in the darkness. Todd Rice fell from a rip in the shadow, and he shook his head painfully. Alan noticed that the other-dimensional silver ring Todd wore, which allowed him to use his new light-based silver flame powers, was also gone. (*) “Once for life,” said the shadow, disappearing into the darkness of the parking lot.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Jade and Obsidian: I Never Promised You a Rose Garden, Chapter 4: The Silver Flame of Obsidian.]
“Are you all right, Todd?” Alan asked as he reached for his JSA signal device.
“Why didn’t he use your power ring?” Todd asked. He concentrated for a moment. “My shadow power is gone, along with my ring.”
“I think we should warn Jennie-Lynn,” Alan said. “He de-powered us, so I think we can expect him to attack her next.”
The heroine known as Jade had her own problems. A bank robber had decided to go about his business across the street from where Jennie-Lynn Hayden had a photo shoot.
“Hold on, Marc,” she said to the photographer as the alarm went off. A flash of green changed her bikini to the familiar white and dark green costume she wore. She flew over to the bank in an emerald flash.
Jade passed through the wall. The bank robber had gotten everyone lined up at the other end of the long room, while a teller emptied the drawers into a carrying bag. Jade put up a bubble around the robber to prevent any stray rounds flying into the hostages. The robber turned, holding up his hands. Jennie smiled; an easy win.
Then the bank robber’s eyes widened, and Jade sensed something behind her. She tried to turn to see what was going on. Everything went black.
“Once for death,” she heard vaguely just before the darkness cleared. Everyone in the bank was dead. She gasped in horror, then realized something was wrong with her skin. It wasn’t green any more.
Molly Scott put the phone down. She noticed that her hand shook. Alan and the kids had gotten into some real trouble. Alan had called the Justice Society of America from Atlanta as he tried to get a flight out of the airport as soon as possible.
She made what preparations she could and waited. An old mandolin she’d used as the Harlequin was close at hand as she sat next to the large crib that contained her triplets, Megan, Adam, and Sarah. No one or thing was stealing her children while she was still breathing.
Molly then became aware of a congealing blackness in the center of the room. She grabbed the mandolin as she stood up. A silhouette sprang into three-dimensional life with eyes of yellow flame. He walked to the left of the crib.
“Stay back!” Molly cried, aiming the trick weapon at the shadow.
“You heard the lady,” said a gruff voice from the balcony. Wildcat, Hawkman, Power Girl, and Doctor Fate stepped into the room.
The flaming eyes narrowed as it regarded the assembled JSAers. The shadow then surged forward at them, its body becoming a wave of blackness as it moved.
Doctor Fate loosed a familiar, ankh-shaped bolt. He was surprised when the spell was absorbed in the blackness. The wave engulfed the mystical warrior before he could use another spell. Suddenly, Fate was split into its two halves, Kent Nelson thrown from the shadow in one direction, while his wife Inza was thrown through the doors to the balcony. A cry said that she had also been thrown over the side of the railing. Hawkman flew after her with a flap of his mighty wings. He knew he could catch her with his tremendous speed.
Power Girl stepped up and swung with all of her Kryptonian power. Her fist vanished into the shadow. The rest quickly followed. A moment later, she fell out of the back of the human shape, screaming in fear. Her super-cry shattered the walls, hurled Wildcat into the air, and deafened Molly where she stood.
Molly could see her triplets crying but could only stagger toward them to comfort them. A shadowy hand pulled the babies close to its dark body from their hiding place. The babies sank into its inky skin.
“No!” Molly cried, unable to hear herself speak.
The shadow seemed to say something, then vanished as Wildcat hurled himself fearlessly forward. But the fighter crashed to the floor at the sudden miss. He picked himself up as the others pulled themselves together. He tried to comfort Molly, wondering what he was going to tell Alan when he got home.
Alan Scott stood on his balcony for hours. Sometimes he was joined by his family, but mostly he stood alone. He stared at the sky, rubbing the pale strip where his ring had been for so many years. He felt devastated, like the time he had lost the young Hal Jordan of Earth-Two to Wotan. (*) He wanted to do something, anything, but he couldn’t even muster the will to shave, change clothes, eat, or take care of himself in any way.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Justice Society Adventure the World’s Not Ready to Learn About Yet,” All-Star Squadron Annual #3 (1984).]
Molly had to remind him to eat, but he only stood on his balcony for hours instead. His friends sought a way to get his children back, but he knew it was an almost-impossible task.
Maybe he should just jump, he thought, turning his gaze to the street below. Maybe that would take away the sense of failure — a long fall with a sudden stop.