The odd Kryptonian satellite settled into space, and then, passing through the red-hued holes, it made its way from pre-World War I Krypton (by Earth time) through the warping skies to Earth of 1943. It was drawn there either by destiny, the burning hatred of its occupant, or merely by the powerful gravitic pull of a certain device.
The bald man in the tuxedo who watched it land in his spacious New York lab was a scientific genius, but he also had a poetic, imaginative flair. He would have to have such an outlook to have given himself the grandiose nom du crime of Alexander the Great. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Hawk-Man, Flash Comics #2 (February, 1940).]
Letting his gravity ray open the satellite, he eagerly rushed forward, for he had no idea just what precious cargo he had snared with his interstellar “fishing lure.”
From within, a powerfully built man with the fierce black eyes of a prophet or a dictator emerged. His slightest movement sent him bounding across the room, and his merest touch shattered metal. He stroked his white beard and looked around.
“Where in Rao’s name am I?” he shouted. “Who has freed me from that mind-numbing tomb?”
“I am Alexander the Great. I am your liberator. This is Earth. Who are you?”
“I am Kil-Lor — leader of men, man of destiny! I find this world gives me added strength, and I can almost fly! How is it so?”
“Our atmosphere must give you these powers. You seem to be a virtual superman!” mused the excited Alexander as he considered the possibilities.
“What did you say? Superman? That is the name of my hated foe. He cost me my bid for the rule of Krypton! He was some alien to Krypton. I would gladly risk all to cause his death!”
“Superman?” said the scientist. “Here’s a newspaper — the Daily Star. This is the man we call by that name.”
“That is the mongrel who bested me!” said the angry warlord as he saw a photograph of the hero. “Let me go to him, and I shall slay him!”
A brilliant idea came to Alexander then. “No,” he said. “Allow me to talk this world’s ways over with you, friend. If you aid me against my own enemy, the Hawkman, I’ll help you see Superman die! And think — would it not be more just to take all from this man that ruined you? We could easily contact others with like passions. Together we could first plan the end of his friends. That would hurt him, weaken him for your final victory. Does that not seem appealing?” asked the genius.
“Done!” thundered Kil-Lor. “As a man of war, I leave such subtle planning to others. You are a fine ally. Summon these others, and we shall take our acts of vengeance!”
A dark and stormy night raged outside the department store where a tired Johnny Thunder was just finishing a late-night shift as the elevator operator. This was just the latest of several jobs that he had obtained since he was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy (they couldn’t wait to get rid of him). (*) Strangely enough, he’d gotten the job through a recommendation from Herman Darling, his ex-fiancée’s father.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Johnny Thunder, Flash Comics #53 (May, 1944), which takes place in the summer of 1943.]
Gosh, I’m beat! Those midnight madness sales may make all the Christmas shoppers happy, but they sure keep me too busy to pick up things with Daisy again, mused the blond young man. Say, I wonder if that was her dad’s plan!
As Johnny exited his place of employment, he yawned and noticed something he came across surprisingly frequently: a damsel in distress. A dark-haired beauty was being menaced by a drunken thug in front of the store.
“Hey, leave a girl alone!” he said. “You oughtta know better than to be such a heel!”
The huge brute frowned and turned to face the rescuer. His female victim gasped in dismay. “I’ll moider ya!” he yelled.
“Not with two left feet!” said Johnny as he tripped the lunging thug.
The man hit the pavement and staggered drunkenly to his unsteady feet, then swung at Johnny, who ducked and pushed his foe with both hands spread out in front of him. The thug rolled over a garbage can and stayed still.
“Curb pick-up is on Mondays!” laughed Johnny. Then, turning to the raven-tressed girl, he asked, “Are you OK?”
The woman’s smoldering eyes glared in the stormy night’s lightning flash. “Thanks to you,” she said in a heavy accent. “You rescued me. I must take you home to my father. He worries so, and he will want to reward you.”
“Not necessary,” said Johnny. “But I will see you safely home, if you like.”
“I am Dala. That will be wonderful.”
“I’m Johnny Thunder,” he said as they walked off. The clouds gathered heavy and low, and thunder crashed above in an ominous prelude.
Johnny followed Dala into the wooded area outside the city to a creepy old house on a hill. This place needs some work, thought Johnny.
He and Dala entered the gloomy place as the storm raged on. “This is my home. My father shall join us shortly. Please be seated,” she said, and then wandered away.
Wish this place had a radio or something, thought Johnny.
Then two figures emerged from the alcoves on each side. They were hunched forward like beasts, and growled viciously.
Johnny saw them clearly in the flickering candle light. “They’re werewolves!” he yelled. “Hungry, too!”
They howled their passion to the skies and closed in on him.
Johnny ran from the fierce beast-men and called out, “Say you!”
The pink Thunderbolt who answered this very specific magic summons and obeyed Johnny’s every command appeared instantly. “You rang, O master with the most?” he answered.
“T-bolt, can you tame these creeps?” he asked.
The pink Thunderbolt flashed, and the snarling werewolves cringed and cowered before him. “I can keep them at bay all night,” he said.
“I know — make them a silver cage!” said Johnny. The silvery cage now created by the magical Thunderbolt contained the beasts, who shunned contact with the metal sides.
Dala appeared again and said, “Ah, you met father’s pets. I do hope they didn’t alarm you.”
“Alarm me? They tried to eat me!” yelled Johnny. “There’s a leash law in this city, and I’ll bet it applies to Transylvanian imports, too!”
Dala merely glanced upward to the top of an old staircase. There at its head stood a sinister figure wrapped all in voluminous red robes and a red hood that hid his features.
“I am the Master Monk. You are my prey,” he said in an evil voice.
“This whole setup smelled from the start,” said Johnny. “I was just too tired to think it out. But I’m wise to your Lugosi games now!”
The Monk stared at him with fiery red eyes that burned through the darkened house. “Your will is mine now. You will do as I order, and you will not speak again!” ordered the Monk.
“Uh-oh!” said the Thunderbolt, who could only take action with Johnny’s commands.
The Master Monk glared through Johnny, who shuddered and, to the Thunderbolt’s delight, turned his head and yelled, “Say, you know I am immune to that evil eye stuff as of now, right, T-bolt?”
“Right as rain!” said a pleased Thunderbolt. “Didn’t know you would look away so fast! Nice work, boss!”
“I’ve seen a few horror movies before,” explained Johnny as he started backward from the suddenly charging Master Monk.
“Face this, then!” said the red-cloaked villain. A massive ape suddenly appeared from a passageway, roaring loudly, and bounded toward Johnny, grabbing him effortlessly.
“I’ve seen this film, and I don’t care to visit the Empire State Building from the outside!” joked Johnny. “T-bolt — shrink this big ape!”
“Consider him shrunk,” said the pink Thunderbolt. Amazingly enough, the ape did indeed dwindle to doll size.
“All right! Now for that Karloff pretender,” said the now-fired-up Johnny Thunder.
The Master Monk was upon him instantly, his fangs tearing for Johnny’s neck and his throat being torn at by the Monk’s clawed nails. “Now I feast,” said the vampire.
“Not if… I can just shed some light… T-bolt — make it daytime!” he gasped.
A blazing noon sun shone through the old house’s broken windows, and a now-dismayed Monk screamed… and turned to dust. The caged werewolves transformed into dazed men, and Dala crumbled into dust as well.
Johnny got up and joined his magical Thunderbolt. “Thanks! That was too close. I guess we’d better free these poor guys and then go to bed.”
“As you wish, John!” said the happy Thunderbolt.
Johnny was eagerly brought home, and then he gasped. “Oh, no! By making it day already, I’m now late for work!” he sighed.
Elsewhere, Kil-Lor raged to Alexander the Great. “I thought you said that vampire could kill Thunder for us. We even had that alchemist restore him from the ashes the Batman had left him in! (*) Now my vision shows the boy beat him. Do we try again?”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Batman, Detective Comics #31 (September, 1939) and Batman, Detective Comics #32 (October, 1939).]
“Thunder may be a problem, but let’s still have the alchemist restore the Monk again,” said Alexander. “He may be of use yet… and if not, you can easily kill the meddlesome Johnny yourself.”