THE ATOM, art by Joe Gallagher:
At Calvin College, the student body was waiting for the beginning of a very special boxing match. Today, boxing champ Ted Grant was going to take on Calvin City’s very own mystery-man, the mighty Atom.
In the back of the crowd, Mary James was sitting with her friend, Al Pratt. “This so exciting, Al! These two strong, handsome men fighting in an ancient contest of power! But I suppose that couldn’t possibly interest a milquetoast like you.”
“Gosh, Mary, you sure know how to make a man feel good about himself.”
Mary smiled and patted Al on the head, “Oh, Al. You’re so silly. Imagine thinking yourself a real man. Speaking of real men, here comes one now!” Mary pointed to the ring as the champ, Ted Grant, jumped in. “Isn’t he dreamy? I wonder where the Atom is now?”
“Um, Mary, would you like some popcorn and a soda?”
“Sure, Al, whatever.”
Young Pratt disappeared into the crowd. He ducked into an empty stairwell and changed from a meek and mild college student into the compact powerhouse known as the Atom.
“OK, Ted Grant, you might be the champ, but no one can take down the Atom!”
The mighty mite reentered the gymnasium, and as he jogged down the aisle, the crowd broke out into a loud cheer. He effortlessly vaulted into the ring and began to work the crowd. Raising his arms high, the Atom reveled in the adulation of the students. While he was mugging for the crowd, the pint-size powerhouse failed to see Ted Grant coming up behind him. A shout rang out from the crowd.
“Atom! Behind you!”
Ted’s gloved fist came flying, but the Atom was able to expertly dodge it. He managed to land a blow on the champ, sending him flying.
“I don’t know where you learned to box, pal, but sneaking up on a guy is really poor form!”
The champ just stared at the Atom and put his dukes up. The mighty mite was ready for him this time. The match began, and the crowd went wild. Both fighters seemed to be evenly matched, trading blows easily. The Atom’s smaller size made it easy for him to dodge the champ’s blows. The bell rang, and both men returned to their corners.
Then the champ took off his gloves and threw them onto the ground. He performed an amazing feat of acrobatics across the ring and caught the Atom off-guard. The Atom jumped out of the way, but not in time to avoid the champ’s leg coming toward his jaw. A mighty crack was heard, and the mighty mite fell to his knees. He lunged for the champ, but one more amazing leap and Ted Grant landed another kick to the Atom’s head, rendering him unconscious. Ted Grant scooped the Atom up and threw him over his shoulder, when a voice rang from the astonished crowd.
“Not so fast, champ!”
The crowd roared with glee as a newcomer entered the ring. It was the costumed mystery-man known as the Wildcat.
“I don’t know who you are, but you’re not Ted Grant. Put the Atom down! Now!”
WILDCAT, art by Paul Reinmann:
While resting at his home, Ted Grant (who was secretly the warrior known as the Wildcat) was interrupted by a knock at his door. He got up from his chair and opened the door.
“Mick! Didn’t I give you the day off? I thought training wasn’t until tomorrow!”
Mick took a piece of paper out of his pocket and handed it to Ted, who started to read it. “What do ya think of this, Grant?”
The paper read: “The champ, Ted Grant, versus the Mighty Atom! Calvin College Gymnasium, 7 P.M., Wednesday, April 12th.”
“Sounds good ta me, Mick. How did ya get this arranged with the Atom?” Ted asked.
Mick seemed a little angry. “Grant, ya doofus! I ain’t th’ one who arranged this! I thought you did!”
“Sounds like something I’d better look into!”
“Ya’d better do it quick! That match is supposed ta start in two hours!”
“Well, that’s just about how long it’ll take to get to Calvin City!”
Two hours later, Ted Grant arrived to see the Atom in the ring… with Ted Grant. He was shocked, but he ducked into the locker room, and moments later the Wildcat burst out into the ring.
“Not so fast, champ! I don’t know who you are, but you’re not Ted Grant. Put the Atom down! Now!”
The false Ted Grant dropped the Atom by the side of the ring. He reached up and pulled off his face mask, revealing himself to be the incredible Mister Horrific. Swiftly, the man in black came at the Wildcat, but the feline fury was no ordinary boxer. As the world champ, the Wildcat was not only the best boxer in the world, but he was one of the most accomplished fighters to be found anywhere. For each blow thrown by Mister Horrific, the Wildcat matched it perfectly. Even throwing in some of his amazing acrobatics, Mister Horrific was unable to gain the upper hand against the feline fury.
In the midst of the fighting, the Wildcat noticed that the Atom was stirring on the other end of the ring. He deftly maneuvered the ebony-clad villain into position, and the Atom lunged forth. Catching wind of the movement, Mister Horrific leaped straight into the air, avoiding the mighty mite who plunged headlong into the fighting feline. The Atom was knocked out once more as the Wildcat struggled to return to his feet.
Mister Horrific showed him no mercy. He pummeled the Wildcat until the hero fell, bloody and beaten. The crowd fled in horror. Mister Horrific grabbed the Atom and then vanished, leaving the Wildcat lying in the ring.
Sometime later, the Atom awoke, bound like his fellow JSAers Hawkman, Starman, Johnny Thunder, and Doctor Mid-Nite.
“Oh, no! He’s captured all of us! We have got to get out of here!” the Atom moaned.
“How? Mister Horrific took Hawk’s wings, Doctor Mid-Nite’s goggles, my gravity rod, and he’s got Johnny’s mouth sealed tight. We’re doomed!” Starman sighed.
“Do you think he’ll go after Wonder Woman?” Doctor Mid-Nite asked.
“I only hope if he does, that she calls our honorary members like the Flash and the Green Lantern to help. I don’t think a mere woman will be able to defeat Mister Horrific if we couldn’t,” Hawkman said.
“Then we have to find a way out of here,” Doctor Mid-Nite said.
WONDER WOMAN, art by Harry G. Peter:
JSA Headquarters, Manhattan:
Hawkgirl swooped into the secret headquarters of the Justice Society of America. She was greeted by Wonder Woman.
“Wonder Woman! Are the other members here? We must rescue Hawkman from the clutches of Mister Horrific!” Hawkgirl said with great concern.
“No! I am the only one who has answered your summons. As Lt. Diana Prince, I had just returned from a highly classified location when I received your call.”
Suddenly, another figure stumbled into the JSA Headquarters, but it was not one of the members. Hawkgirl and Wonder Woman rushed over to help.
“Wildcat!” Wonder Woman exclaimed. “What in the name of Aphrodite are you doing here?”
The Wildcat was obviously in some pain and was out of breath as Hawkgirl helped him to sit down. “I came to get help. The Atom! He was carried off by some man in black… and… and…”
The Wildcat passed out.
“Hawkgirl! You must get Wildcat to the doctor. He looks as though he has taken quite a beating! I will call Doctor Mid-Nite, Starman, and Johnny, and we will find the Hawk and the Atom!” Wonder Woman said.
Hawkgirl did as Wonder Woman asked, and a few minutes later Wonder Woman heard noise in the outer room.
“Good — the other members have arrived, and…”
Instead of the other Justice Society members, Wonder Woman was confronted by Mister Horrific.
“You must be the one who captured the Hawkman and the Atom! You won’t find me to be as easy to catch!” the amazing Amazon said defiantly.
Mister Horrific said nothing as usual. He came at the Amazon princess with judo moves that even the most accomplished judo master would have difficulty with, but his opponent was no ordinary woman. She was an Amazon warrior. She easily defended herself against the villain. He leaped into the air in an attempt to get behind the Amazon, and incredibly Wonder Woman was able to grab his leg and sent him slamming to the ground.
He was stunned momentarily and found himself on the defensive as Wonder Woman went on the offensive. He grabbed her arm, and though she was much stronger, he was able to use his incredible martial arts skills and flipped the amazing Amazon onto the meeting table, causing it to splinter. Undeterred, Wonder Woman grabbed her tiara and threw it at Mister Horrific’s head. He jumped and twisted, avoiding the tiara, then grabbed it out of midair. But as he landed, he realized his error too late. Wonder Woman had lassoed him with her golden lasso.
“I command you to become immobile,” Wonder Woman yelled as she drew the lasso tight. Mister Horrific struggled, but he was compelled by the magic lasso to obey. “I told you I would not be easy to catch, even by an opponent as skilled as you!”
THE JUSTICE SOCIETY OF AMERICA, art by Paul Reinmann and Martin Naydel:
Moments later, the doors to the JSA Headquarters opened. Carried by Johnny’s Thunderbolt were the Hawkman, Hawkgirl, Doctor Mid-Nite, the Starman, Johnny Thunder, the Atom, and the Wildcat.
“Wonder Woman! You captured Mister Horrific!” Hawkman exclaimed.
“Don’t sound so surprised, Hawk! I might just be the secretary around here, but never forget I am an Amazon warrior! How did you get free?”
“Well, once the Atom joined us, I realized that he still had his belt buckle on. He and I scooted together, and bracing each other with our backs, we managed to get into a standing position. This let the Atom jump over to Johnny, and he used his belt to cut the tape covering Johnny’s mouth!”
“Say, you forgot about the part where I called the T-Bolt, and he freed us and got all your stuff back!” Johnny said excitedly.
“Never mind that, Johnny,” Doctor Mid-Nite said. “Let’s find out who this Mister Horrific is!”
Starman pulled Mister Horrific’s mask off, revealing another mask. Beneath his black costume was also another one, but one with a familiar motto.
Hawkgirl gasped, “It’s Mister Terrific, the defender of fair play!”
Johnny scratched his head. “Wait a minute! I thought Mr. T was a good guy? I’m confused!”
“Aren’t you used to that by now, Master John?” the Thunderbolt added with a grin.
Wonder Woman looked at Mister Terrific, still bound by the lasso. “Why did you attack us, Mister Terrific?”
A strange look crossed his face, and then he finally spoke. “Hawkman! Wonder Woman! The rest of you! What am I doing here? Why do you have me bound?”
Doctor Mid-Nite replied, “You attacked all of us and held us in a dark warehouse. Only Wonder Woman was able to defeat you. The question is, why did you attack the Justice Society?”
Mister Terrific looked confused. “I was at home. The doorbell rang, and I opened it. I remember seeing a small, strange-looking man.”
The members all looked at each other and said in unison, “The Brain Wave!”
“I tried to resist his influence. That’s why I sent that note to Hawkgirl and let Wildcat go. I was under orders to capture the JSA, not them. I hoped that Wonder Woman could find someone to stop me. I never imagined it would be her!”
After a search for the master villain known as the Brain Wave turned up empty, the Justice Society reconvened.
Hawkman banged the gavel. “Starman, you had something to say?”
“Thank you, Hawkman! As you know, I am getting married next year, and I promised Doris I would retire as Starman on our wedding day. Ever since she figured out my dual identity, she’s been worried about me. Well, I’ve promised her that, during my last year as Starman, I’m going to focus on Opal City only. That’s why I’ve already sold my second home here in New York City and transferred all my business interests to Opal. I already know I’m going to have to miss a few Justice Society cases, and I may have to leave the team altogether by the end of the year.
“If that’s the case, I was thinking that, if Mister Terrific was almost able to defeat the entire Justice Society singlehandedly, he might make a good replacement for me. I think he’s shown us that we could all use some more training on how to fight and not rely on our powers so much.”
The Atom jumped up. “That sounds like a good idea, Starman. I think Wildcat would make a good addition, too! If not for me, he might have defeated Mister Horrific himself!”
“Well, with the Spectre being increasingly unavailable, and Doctor Fate and the Sandman having already told us they also plan to resign, we could use some new members,” said Hawkman in agreement. “I’ve already asked the Flash and the Green Lantern, our honorary members, about returning to the fold. What say you, Justice Society?”
The vote was unanimous. Mister Terrific and Wildcat were voted in as reserve members of the Justice Society.
“I feel bad about what I did, even though I know I was being manipulated! I’m not much of a joiner, but I would be honored to teach you how to become better warriors!” Mister Terrific said.
“Yeah. What he said! I may stick around for a while, too, whenever ya need me!” Wildcat added as the male JSAers carried the two new members on their shoulders.
Hawkgirl looked at Wonder Woman. “Why didn’t they ever ask you to train them in the art of fighting?”
Wonder Woman laughed. “To them, I’m just the secretary. Their male egos wouldn’t let them admit that a woman might be a better warrior than they are.”