by JSAGL, partially adapted from Infinity Inc. #43, by Roy Thomas and Vince Argondezzi
In the skies over the Atlantic in the JSA’s Sky-Skimmer flew the JSA Reserves — Corona, Jade, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Obsidian, accompanied by Dr. Jimmi Rock.
“Hastor, are you there?” came a voice from a small scarab.
Speaking softly into it, Jimmi replied, “Yes, Scarab. We’ve nearly reached our destination. Soon, my love, your destiny shall become the world’s.”
Hawkgirl looked back over her shoulder. “Did you say something, Dr. Rock?”
Putting her hand to her mouth, Dr. Rock coughed. “Um… no. I just have a cough.”
From the pilot’s seat, Hawkman spoke up, “Well, maybe the desert air will clear it up, because we’re directly over the spot on the computer map. Are you sure there’s a long-lost pyramid here?”
“Positive, Dr. Hall. You may land here.”
Disembarking from the craft, the five heroes followed Dr. Rock into the nighttime air.
“This is the spot,” she said.
“You seem pretty certain,” Hawkgirl replied. “Have you done sonic readings to determine its exact location?”
Ignoring Shiera Hall, Dr. Rock grabbed hold of a shovel. “I’ll turn over the first spadeful of dirt myself, and… voilà!”
Sure enough, she uncovered ancient stone. Looking surprised, Hawkman turned to her. “Remarkable. It appears to be the tip of a pyramid, but…”
As Hawkman and Dr. Rock conversed, Obsidian pulled Jade and Corona aside. “There’s something fishy about this, sis.”
Jennie-Lynn Hayden nodded in agreement. “You know it. I know it. I just hope Hawkman knows it.”
“What do you think, Alex?” asked Todd Rice.
Corona gave Obsidian a weak smile. “I’ve been a super-hero for what? Five minutes? Hawkman’s been doing this since 1940. I’ll defer to his judgment.”
Hawkman called over to the group, “If you all are done chatting, we could use your assistance.”
The three young heroes walked over to the stone formation as Hawkman continued, “Jade, Corona, your powers are ideally suited to this. It’s time to excavate the pyramid.”
“It’s going poorly for us, is it not?”
Up above the fracas, the Wizard and the Shade were observing the goings on. On their side, Solomon Grundy, the Huntress, the Sportmaster, the Thinker, and the Fiddler had all fallen. Only the Psycho-Pirate remained, still tormenting Jesse and Johnny Quick. Among the Infinitors, Nuklon, Patriot, Northwind, and the Ray had fallen, but Fury, Brainwave, Midnight, Red Arrow, and the newly powered Rick Tyler were still active.
“Your assessment is frightfully accurate, my friend. Our complete and utter defeat appears imminent. Even now, young Hippolyta and Tyler are approaching us as their comrades go to dally with the Psycho-Pirate.”
And as if on cue, Fury and Rick punched through the Shade’s shadow platform, sending the Wizard reeling, while the Shade simply smiled.
“Game’s over, boys,” Fury said as she headed toward the Shade. Instantly, the shadows came alive, holding the young Amazon immobile.
“Not quite yet, dear Hippolyta,” said the Shade. “The game, as you can see, is afoot.”
At the other end of the platform, Rick Tyler and the Wizard were sizing each other up. “Aren’t you a little too old to be playing this game anymore, Wizard?”
“Not at all, Hourman. But time, in fact, is something that you are running out of.”
A giant clock materialized next to the Wizard. He gestured toward Rick, and one of the hands flew off, grazing the young hero’s arm. “Oww! That hurt!”
“You will find, much as Superman did many years ago, that super-strength and invulnerability are no match for magic.”
The second hand fired from the clock, and Rick dodged this one, but it swerved around and started coming back toward Rick. He continued to dodge the deadly hand but knew that it was only a matter of time before it connected. Moving faster than he ever had before, Rick somersaulted into the air and landed almost directly behind the Wizard. In that instant, the Wizard opened his mouth to incant a spell, when Rick heard a sickening thud, and the hand poked out through the back of the Wizard’s cape, covered in blood.
“Damn… you… Tyl–” the Wizard gasped as he collapsed.
Rick Tyler looked in horror as the Wizard’s body slumped at his feet. “Oh, dear God, no…”
Using their respective powers, Jade and Corona were slowly excavating the pyramid while the Hawks, Dr. Rock, and Obsidian observed.
“They’re both going great guns, but I can’t help but wonder why I’m along for the ride,” Obsidian said as he watched.
“I am sure Hawkman has his reasons, Todd, based on the requirements I furnished him,” Dr. Rock replied.
While the others were watching, Hawkgirl slowly made her way back to the Sky-Skimmer. “At least I know what I’m doing for the moment, namely checking on our radio to see if it’s been tampered with,” she said to herself, checking the equipment for a moment. “Hmm. Can’t tell. If it was tampered with, it was by somebody who knows how to cover their tracks. I can’t help but suspect Dr. Rock. There’s something about her that rubs me the wrong way, but I just can’t place my finger on it.”
And back at the pyramid, Jade and Corona had done a remarkable job of excavation — or had they? Corona couldn’t help but think that it was almost like the pyramid was moving itself up as they were digging down.
“My compliments, Dr. Hall,” Dr. Rock said as she moved in closer to the pyramid. “You have already unearthed the entrance to the pyramid’s inner chamber!”
Hawkman pointed to the stone blocking the entrance. “Ladies, one more time, if you please.”
Using their powers on either side of the stone, Jade and Corona lifted it out effortlessly and to the side of the structure. “A little teamwork, and… we’re in!”
“No!” Dr. Rock said to the two women. “Obsidian is. He’s the best equipped to see inside the pyramid, since we have no idea what might be in there. No offense, girls, but your powers could potentially damage some of the artifacts inside.”
The group looked at Hawkman, who nodded in agreement. “She’s right. Todd, you should be able to see in there without any effort at all.”
Placing her hand on Obsidian’s shoulder, Dr. Rock explained to him what he should be looking for, and with that, Todd Rice entered the pyramid while a suspicious Hawkgirl looked on at Dr. Rock, wondering what lay in there awaiting them all.
“And another thing, that costume of yours is absolutely stupid!” shouted Jesse Quick. “Who the hell designed it — Tubby?”
“I swear to God, you sound more and more like your damn mother every day!” yelled Johnny Quick.
“What? Don’t compare me to Libby, you–”
“One side, please,” a voice said as a body passed by at mach one, knocking Johnny and Jesse off their feet.
“What the hell?” Johnny said, the shock knocking him back to his senses. A hand reached down to pick him up. “Thanks, Jesse. I’m sorry about what the Psycho-Pirate made me say. I…”
Johnny looked into the woman’s face, but it was not his daughter. “Libby?”
“Yes, Johnny, it’s me.”
Suddenly, Jesse came between them. “It’s not Libby, Dad, it’s the Pirate. He’s using this idealized version of Libby to confuse us. How could she be this young again?”
Fury rocketed past the Chambers on a collision course with the Psycho-Pirate. Concentrating, he brought his full attention to Lyta, who dropped to the ground, writhing in pain. He easily dispatched Rick Tyler in the same manner until he was confronted by Brainwave.
“That trick won’t work on me, Pirate. My father taught me too well.”
Behind the golden Medusa Mask, the Pirate laughed, “Haaa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha! I knew your father, little boy. I worked with your father, and you are definitely an amateur next to him!”
As the Pirate and Hank King exchanged mental blows, an arrow whizzed by and attached to the Medusa Mask, ripping it off the Pirate’s face. It landed safely in the arms of a waiting Midnight.
“What? My mask!”
Using the surprise to his advantage, Hank knocked the Psycho-Pirate out, only to have the Pirate vanish in front of him. “What in the world?”
“Well done, children, well done. It seems that you have indeed inherited the prowess of your forebears. My hat is off to you.”
Above the battleground, the Infinitors saw the Shade with the unconscious bodies of his comrades lying on the platform next to him. The Shade tipped his top hat to the Infinitors below. “But our battle is done this day. I concede, but you shall not incarcerate us, especially not the poor Wizard, whom I must now return to the ground from whence he came. How ironic that we, the villains, should be burying our dead, and that one of you was solely responsible for it. Surely Rex Tyler would not have been this careless.”
The Infinitors lunged toward the Shade, but the platform vanished in a cloud of smoke. A wisp remained, though, and from it the Shade’s voice reverberated, “Oh, and lest I forget to mention, we left Grundy here with you. Consider him a token of my… esteeem.” And the smoke vanished.
“You know, the Shade really irritates me,” Sylvester Pemberton said, shaking the dust off his uniform. “Al, you and Lyta tie Grundy up and secure him somewhere. The rest of you in the meeting room in ten. Libby, you’re welcome to join us.”
As the Infinitors scattered, Johnny and Jesse looked at Libby Lawrence with disbelief.
“It really is me!” Libby said as she went to hug Jesse.
“Don’t touch me,” Jesse said as she sped away.
Johnny just looked at Libby for a moment. “I think we need to talk.”
The Shade and the fallen members of the Injustice Society of the World appeared in one of the Shade’s many safe houses. In truth, many of these locations had originally belonged to the Spider, a wartime member of the All-Star Squadron. The Spider, secretly a criminal, had posed successfully as a hero in the early 1940s until he crossed over to Earth-X with the Freedom Fighters in 1942. The Shade had discovered the truth about the Spider and had found that he had quite an impressive network of information and contacts. Along with the many hideouts, the Spider’s inheritance had served the master of shadows very well. And it continued to do so even after the Spider returned to Earth-Two in 1943, since the Shade was easily able to blackmail the supposed hero with his knowledge. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See DC Universe: Times Past, 1943: The Space-Time Gambit, Book 1, Chapter 5: Three Artifacts.]
He walked toward the kitchen and filled a kettle with water. He always enjoyed a spot of tea after an outing, even if this outing had been less than successful. Of course, they had accomplished a few things, and the the Shade loved nothing better than to stir the pot occasionally.
As the kettle came to a boil, the Shade heard stirring at the other end of the room. Paula Crock, AKA the Huntress, was the first to stir. “Where… where are they?”
The Shade poured the boiling water into his cup and dropped a teabag into it — Earl Grey, hot. “Alas, my dear Huntress, I had to intervene lest the progeny take us all to jail and end all our merriment,” the Shade replied, sipping his tea.
“I see,” she said as she woke her husband, the Sportsmaster. Slowly the others stirred, all except for the Wizard, his prone body wrapped in his cape.
The Fiddler looked at the body for a moment, then laughed. “I see one of us didn’t make it. He always was a pompous bastard.”
The Shade finished his tea. “Do you honestly believe that the Wizard could be laid low by the likes of Hourman Junior? Get up, old man. This charade is no longer necessary.”
There was a puff of smoke, and the Wizard stood, smiling like a Cheshire Cat. “Pompous, perhaps, old fiddle-player, but still the master of deception.”
The Wizard joined the Shade at the table as the others looked on. “I’ll stay out of sight, of course, for a while. This will give the events of today time to impact on young Tyler.”
“Agreed,” the Shade replied. “It will give him time to ponder the folly of being rash and impatient. In the meantime, I suppose we should see what that white-haired simian is plotting.”
Under Hawkman’s direction, with instructions from Dr. Rock, Obsidian entered the pyramid. He slowly passed through several dusty rooms of no great significance until he entered the main chamber.
“Let’s see… Dr. Rock said I should look for a huge, egg-shaped sarcophagus, and there it is!”
It towered over the young hero, covered with ancient hieroglyphics and ornate design. “Hmm, I wonder how the Doc knew that it would be like this? I guess she could have found some ancient texts on another dig or something. There’s that design she told me to look for.”
Obsidian solidified his hand and touched the design. A flash went off as bright as a million light bulbs, blinding him and sapping much of his strength.
“AAARRR!” Todd cried as he fell to the ground. As he drifted toward unconsciousness, he could barely make out the movement of a huge object emerging from the sarcophagus.
“No wonder… she wanted me down here alone… she knew it would… sap… my…” And Obsidian fell unconscious as the object moved upward and outward.
“Was that a scream?” Hawkman asked as the group of heroes turned toward the pyramid.
“Hard to tell,” Shiera said, glancing at Dr. Rock. “We’d better… huh?”
“The pyramid!” Jade exclaimed. “It’s starting to shake! It–”
PATHOOM! The walls of the pyramid exploded outward, tossing the group like so much chaff in a windstorm. One stone hit Hawkgirl, knocking her unconscious before Jade and Corona could act.
“Is Hawkgirl OK? Just a second too late in getting our force-fields up,” Corona said as Hawkman looked after his wife.
“What is that thing?” Jade asked.
Looking up from his wife, Hawkman was about to speak when a sudden realization dawned over him, something he should have seen before now. “By Osiris, that’s the Eye of Ra! We faced it back in 1942 with the All-Stars. (*) It was controlled by Dr. Anton Hastor, and… and that means Dr. Rock is not who she claims to be.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “If an Eye Offend Thee,” All-Star Squadron #10 (June 1982), “Star-Smasher’s Secret,” All-Star Squadron #11 (July 1982), and “Doomsday Begins at Dawn,” All-Star Squadron #12 (August 1982).]
Jade suddenly darted toward the eye as Corona called out, “Jade, where are you going?”
Dodging a blast from the eye, Jade replied, “My brother’s in there, hurt or maybe worse, and if I have to make this thing a black eye — eee-eee!” She screamed as the next blast from the Eye connected, and the emerald warrior collapsed to the ground.
Corona stepped forward, enveloping the Eye in her golden beam. “She’s out, Hawkman. I’ll see if I can contain it!”
“Corona, you can’t–”
“I’ve got it! But whatever it is, its power is enormous — like I’m fighting the sun itself!”
Stepping out from behind the Eye, Dr. Jimmi Rock reappeared, now revealed as the reincarnated Dr. Anton Hastor. “Haven’t you guessed, Corona? That’s precisely what you were doing!” She gestured, and the Eye sent out a searing blast, knocking Corona unconscious.
Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Hawkman had flown back to the Sky-Skimmer. “Corona inadvertently gave me the opportunity to slip back here and use these new lasers that Jay and Alan installed. Here’s hoping that their power is enough, and then I’ll deal with Hath-Set.”
The Eye of Ra loomed in front of the Sky-Skimmer, and Hawkman did his best to attack the object. For a moment, it seemed as though he was succeeding, but then a powerful arc of power leaped from the eye and knocked Hawkman into oblivion.
Below, Dr. Hastor walked to the eye. “Hail, O puissant Eye of Ra! From across the long centuries I have sought you — in many times and many bodies — and at last we are united as one! Now lift me to your side and take me back to whence I came — that we may both may serve the immortal purpose, the sacred cause of the Silver Scarab!”
As the Eye and Dr. Hastor sped away, Hawkgirl had just regained consciousness. “The Silver…? Oh, God, no — not Hector… not now… the curse…”