The six Justice Society of America members arrived on the hyperspace version of the planet Venus after a magical burst of power from the Thunderbolt. Johnny Thunder and his friends knew the weird worlds of this hyperspace all contained Earth-like atmospheres. This world’s delicate beauty was now damaged by the destruction and mayhem of war. Burly guards were posted everywhere, and the heroes knew that they had been immediately detected.
“Look! We’re under attack!” cried Doctor Mid-Nite as he gazed at the winged women descending from the sky with their weapons raised before them.
“I thought the women were peaceful!” cried Johnny.
“Normally, yes. However, the men of Eros have taken over, remember?” explained the Flash as he raced in a tight circle to create an air-robbing funnel that drew the helpless women to the ground with just enough impact to stun.
Hawkman and Green Lantern scanned the landscape. “Looks like these women are but the first wave of attack,” said Hawkman. “The men are coming right behind them.”
“I’d say we’ve seen their kind before; they’ve all got that Roman look!” said the Atom as he watched the Green Lantern scoop out a huge trench between them and their foes with his power ring’s energy constructs.
“Say, you know, we should just go straight to Diana!” said Johnny.
Instantly, they faced their chained ally and her friends in her cell.
“The Justice Society! Woo-woo!” shouted Etta Candy.
“Where’s Wonder Woman?” asked an anxious Steve Trevor.
“What’s wrong, Trevor? You don’t want to be rescued unless it’s by a beautiful woman in a sexy outfit?” joked the Atom.
“I can’t say I blame him!” piped in Johnny.
Green Lantern shattered their chains, and Diana Prince greeted her friends. “Thank goodness you came! I suppose Wonder Woman is with you?”
The Flash grinned knowingly. “Yeah! Let Johnny take you three home, and Wonder Woman and the rest of us will soon follow. She’s eager to get her hands on Dominus and the rest!”
“I’ll stay with her,” insisted Steve. “You guys take Etta and Diana home.”
“Sorry, hero, but we can’t take any chances,” said Hawkman. “This is no time for rash heroics. We’ve got a world to save!”
Johnny Thunder and the threesome vanished as he ordered the elemental Thunderbolt once more. “Home again, Master John! Next stop — lingerie and housewares!” joked the Thunderbolt.
After reaching Earth, Diana Prince made a quick excuse to the other two, then rejoined her friend now wearing the costume he had brought.
“You really do look swell!” said Johnny. “I never tire of seeing that costume!”
Wonder Woman kissed him on the cheek and said, “Thank you, Johnny! I like your tie, too!”
Moments later, when they reappeared on Venus, they were puzzled and alarmed to see that their friends were already gone.
What had become of the remaining male JSAers? No sooner had Johnny transported the captives earthward than Hawkman, Green Lantern, the Flash, the Atom, and Doctor Mid-Nite fell victim to a new and insidious attack from the legions of Dominus. Energy crackled around them even as the Green Lantern tried to shield them, and the Flash shoved his friends backward.
When the light dimmed, and all of them could see once more, they were each alone and in very different locales. The war-torn landscape of Venus was nowhere to be seen. Each hero saw something uniquely his own.
“Jay! Jay Garrick! If you aren’t the slowest man I’ve ever seen!” cried a pouting Joan Garrick. She wore a pink dress with tiny flowers embroidered down the front. Her blonde hair was swept up in a matching pink bow.
Jay blinked and adjusted his tie. “Sorry, honey. It’s just that these things take me forever to tie!” He was every inch the typical Midwestern American. His slow drawl and easy manners added to the charm of his boyish enthusiasm. “I’ll just bet you’ll make an even bigger impression at the dance by making a late entrance!” he teased. “They’ll stop and catch their breath in awe at the very sight of such a goddess in their midst!”
Joan posed fetchingly and said, “Goddess, huh? That may just earn you the first dance!”
He kissed her and said, “It’s the last dance I want!”
They prepared to leave their comfortable home in Keystone City, where Jay worked in a laboratory. He hummed the popular tune Green Eyes and opened the car door for his wife.
“Just don’t spill anything on my dress!” teased Joan.
“I handle deadly chemicals all day,” he replied. “I think I’m safe with punch — spiked or not.” The image of chemicals splashing and fumes overcoming him suddenly danced through his mind like a summer storm before it was gone. “You know, we should be thinking about having a Jay or Joan Junior,” he added.
“Maybe after the dance?” flirted Joan.
Life was good for this typical American, and he relished every minute of it. And then the sheer normalcy faded as the pink of Joan’s dress swelled about him, and he knew no more.
Alexei Luthor scowled in helpless rage as the Atom smashed his death-robot to shards of broken metal. A second tank surged forward to endanger a trapped Flash and Green Lantern, but before life could be lost, the Atom was there. He jumped between his pals and the remote-controlled tank. Planting both feet firmly, he stood still as the dark black machine thundered ever closer and closer. He stretched out one hand and brought it to a grinding stop as gears and motors waged futile war against his superhuman power.
“Great work! You saved us again!” said a smiling Flash as the hulking Al Pratt ripped his buddies free of the bonds that imprisoned them. He looked down from his great height at his admiring Justice Society pals.
“Hey, it’s the least I could do,” he joked. “Any atomic-powered titan would do the same!”
Luthor tried to flee, but the Atom jumped skyward and caught the redheaded felon in midair. “Sorry, but I’m grounding you right now!” he said.
“Will you fly him to jail? I’ve got plans!” said Green Lantern.
“I just did!” said a now-empty-handed Atom with a grin.
“You just had to outrun me again!” said the Flash, grimacing.
The Atom enjoyed the teasing. It was a treat to be among peers who respected him and appreciated his atomic powers of speed, strength, and flight. Most people were just in awe of his superhuman abilities.
He remembered a time when, as plain old basketball star Al Pratt, he had merely dominated Calvin College and the court. That was before he became the mystery-man called the Atom and paved the way for numerous less powerful but admiring followers. He knew Mary James was waiting eagerly by the phone for his call; she always did. He would tell her about the way he and his partners had brought down Luthor’s latest bid for world domination. Yes, he would recount his latest exciting adventure to the lovesick girl, and then, just maybe, he’d go over to Germany and teach Uncle Adolf a lesson or two.
Life was good. But then a pink burst of power left him dazed, and he knew no more.
Dr. Charles McNider couldn’t see a thing. The blinding light from the sun always dazzled his eyes when he walked outside after working in his office for too long. He knew his wife Myra McNider was already at home fixing dinner for their guests. It was his parent’s anniversary, and everything had to be perfect for them.
“See you tomorrow, Doc!” called a colleague named Kent Nelson.
“Weird hat Kent was wearing,” mused Charles. “For a minute there I thought… nah.”
He glanced at a newspaper stand on his way home from work. The crime news was low, like always, except for the usual number of convictions of misguided gangsters like “Boss” Maroni. Justice was ever present. The good guys won. The bad guys lost. The public was happy.
McNider cared passionately about justice. He did not like the idea that corruption could blind the eyes of the judicial system, and that those who flaunted the law could get away with their foul deeds. Not that such a thing was likely in the ordered, cerebral society in which he lived.
He smiled as he imagined how his parents would look when Myra brought in the cake. Father would joke about his weight, like always. Mother would pretend to be shocked at her husband’s hunger. That kind of humor was always part of his childhood, where his happily married folks made life bright through their love and concern for one another. He knew that kind of security had enabled him to complete medical school and reach out to Myra so quickly after they first met. Then again, he had always been good with relationships.
The bright summer sun was oppressive, and he closed his eyes once more. “Strange how soothing the dark is,” he mused.
A screech from a bird — he wondered if it was an owl — rang out, and some kind of pink energy left the happy family man blind once more.
That same pink energy blinded Alan Scott as he stood over the battered form of Wotan. He had barely beaten the green-faced wizard, but he had triumphed, and the eager young boy whom he had rescued from the falling tree in Broome, California, in 1941 watched with admiration.
“You did it, G.L.!” cheered the admirable young lad, who had shown himself to be utterly fearless as Green Lantern rescued him. “You saved me and beat that creep! You’re the best! How do you do it all without getting tired or losing the will?”
Green Lantern ruffled the child’s brown hair and smiled at the oddly mature question. How did he do it all? How did his sheer willpower never flag? How did he find the mental and physical stamina to always win? He hoped the day when he would fail would never come. That would be a dark day indeed, and he could not stand the dark.
The green light — the green fire — of his ring was still bright. He would continue to triumph. No child would ever lose his life because of his failure to act. That’s what made him a hero. The green then turned to pink, and he saw only a faint tint of green before he lost sight completely.
Hawkman saw the splendor of lost ancient Egypt for a moment before slamming his fist into the solid jaw of Dominus.
“How?” sputtered the leader of the legions of Eros as the winged wonder shook off the dream images that had captured his allies.
“Trade secret!” quipped the Hawk as his mighty muscled arm again slammed down to drop Dominus to the floor.
Around him, his JSA allies awoke as Johnny Thunder’s Thunderbolt freed them from the convincing dreams in which they had been captured.
“You may be able to warp one’s dreams on this world, but dreams made me who I am today!” said an angry Hawkman. “I owe it all to dreams, and I just don’t allow false ones to delude me that easily!”
In truth, he did not like being reminded of his possible past lives. They seemed to rob him of free will in deciding who and what he would be now. He was not preordained to be a mere avatar of the hawk god of Egypt. He was that, but he was more… much more. He was Carter Hall, man of two worlds — the old one and the new — and his role as Hawkman was that of champion and hero, not merely a personification of an ancient culture.
Dominus frowned as he fell beneath Hawkman’s fists.
Wonder Woman stepped forward to stop the fight. “Enough, Carter — you’ve won,” she said softly.
Hawkman nodded at the sound that reaffirmed his identity, and he stepped away from the warlord of Eros.
“You have me at a loss,” said Dominus, “but my legions are endless, and they use the very dreams of your world’s peoples to make their way there! How can you hope to win?” He began laughing madly. It was a good question.
As several more guards rushed toward the heroes and the fallen Dominus, Wonder Woman reached out to stop the Flash. “Please, allow me!” she said.
Stepping up, Wonder Woman kicked a guard flat with one swift move before spinning around to toss a second through the air into his allies. She then bent over Dominus and looped her magic lasso over his neck.
“Order your guards to free Queen Desira and all the people of Venus,” she commanded. “Stop the invasion of Earth via dreams.”
Dominus obeyed her to a point. “I cannot stop the troops from attacking Earth while every dream brings forth more of them to your world!”
Green Lantern frowned. “What can we do? Johnny, how about the T-bolt?”
As Hawkman rubbed his fists, the Atom whispered to him, “Listen, Hawk. Those dreams — were they really what we’re like deep down?”
The JSA chairman shook his head. “No. All of us have recurring dreams once in a while, but most of the time we just dream of weird images, memories, and distortions of daily events. No one dream represents the totality of who we are. Don’t let the visions they trapped us within haunt you. Why, if they had done it yesterday, you might have dreamt you were six inches tall or something!”
Al Pratt nodded, reassured.
As a winged beauty was led forward from the cells, the Flash said, “Queen Desira, I presume?”
“Wonder Woman, my child, you have saved us and all of Wingworld!” she gushed as she spotted the amazing Amazon. “How may I thank you?”
“Hey, no offense, but we helped too, right?” said Johnny.
“Shh! They have a real matriarchal-based society here,” said Doctor Mid-Nite. “I suppose Wingworld is their own name for this other-dimensional Venus, where the ladies are in charge.”
“Yeah, but fair’s fair,” muttered Johnny.
“Majesty, how might we stop this flow of Dominius’ legions to Earth via dreams?” asked Diana.
“We must imprison them all and gradually teach them the ways of love and peace!” said the winged queen.
“She should try that with Hitler and his gang, too!” said Green Lantern.
“I’d just as soon try a good old left hook on that bunch!” said the Atom.
Liberty Belle leaped over a trooper’s back to spin and kick him flat as he turned, her blonde hair falling over one eye as she caught her breath. Nearby her fleet-footed spouse Johnny Quick ducked a ray blast and vibrated the weapon to bits with ease.
Robotman smiled strangely as rays hit his metal body without slowing his progress down. Grabbing a guard, he tossed him to earth with a slap. “I guess this metal flesh is too solid for your rays!” he said.
“Then lend me some skin!” said Amazing-Man as he touched Robotman and turned metallic as well.
Wildcat and Mister Terrific worked as a team to slow and defeat the legionnaires as they were forced relentlessly down the streets of the city.
“Hey, pal, they’re getting closer to overwhelming us!” cried Wildcat.
“Their sheer numbers may work against them, if we can just keep them bottled up here until the others arrive!” said Mister Terrific. They fought on bravely, but their efforts were weakening desperately.
In Salem, Dr. Kent Nelson worked feverishly with the magical talismans still in the odd tower. “Can’t cast spells without the lost helm, but I have enough skill to try to use the relics here to summon the man for the job!” he mused.
Inza Nelson, as Inza Cramer had been known since their wedding a few short months ago, watched worriedly as her husband worked himself sick.
A ghostly voice then echoed, “Kent Nelson, I have come! What troubles you?” The Spectre had arrived at long last, seemingly from some other-worldly realm, but he no longer looked as he used to. Instead, his ghostly body was transparent, like a mist caught in midair, and only the magical talismans were able to keep him from being completely invisible. Unknown to them, just after the Spectre quit the JSA, his ghostly body was split off from the physical body of Jim Corrigan, allowing Corrigan to join the U.S. Army, but causing the Spectre to lack the ability to become visible. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Crime-Buster by Proxy,” More Fun Comics #90 (April, 1943), which must necessarily take place after “The Plunder of the Psycho-Pirate,” All-Star Comics #23 (Winter, 1944-1945).]
“Spectre, we need you!” said Kent. “The world is threatened by an army of invaders from another dimension’s Venus or Eros. They seem to be numberless, and they come here from out of the blue.”
The Spectre nodded. “They walk the dreamscape, and thus may be sent backward evermore if no one dreams on Earth for the nonce!”
As the Spectre gestured, every sleeper on Earth blinked awake for the merest second before lapsing back to their previous state.
As all the legions of Eros suddenly vanished, Wildcat said, “What happened?”
“I’d say a miracle,” said a smiling Mister Terrific.
But the truth was simply that when the Spectre awakened all sleepers on Earth for that brief second, the aliens lost any footholds on Earth for good.
Back on Venus, Desira cooed lovingly to Diana. “The sleepways were shattered for an instant!” she explained. “Our worlds may never connect again via dreams! The break was brief, but all-encompassing. It may mend in eons, but not in our lifespans.”
“All right!” cheered Johnny. “We’re free to go home!”
In seconds it was done, and Wonder Woman stood once more before an eager Steve Trevor.
“Angel! You made it back from Venus!” he cried.
Wonder Woman smiled at her admirer. “Steve, I knew my friends could save you all, but you know I was always close to you, watching out as always!”
Steve grinned. “That’s one dream I never want to end!”