Justice Society of America: 1951: Exterminations, Inc., Chapter 2: The Man Behind the Curtain

by Immortalwildcat

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“I just thought of something, Al!” exclaimed Ted Grant as they relaxed back at Al Pratt’s apartment. “Did anyone ever find out who the guy was that led you into the trap?”

“Now that you mention it, none of us got his name. The congressmen seemed to know about him, though. Someone’s got to know who he is!”

“I know who could find out. Let me make a call.” Ted reached for the phone and dialed for the operator.

“Washington, D.C., please. Pennsylvania 8, 2241.” Having given the number, he waited for a moment. “Hello, Diana? It’s Ted Grant.” He paused. “Yeah, I heard the news. That’s what I’m calling about. I know you’ve got contact all over that city. Any chance of getting the name of the mook that set things up?” There was a pause. “You have? Great!” Another pause. “Sure, I understand. If I find out anything, I’ll let you know. You’ll do the same, right?” Yet another pause. “Thanks, Diana. I’ll keep you posted. Good night.”

He turned to Al as he hung up the phone. “She was on the same track. She’s been wrapped up with a couple cases of her own, but she got the name. She has to report back to work tomorrow, but if we find him after that, she wants us to bring her in on it.”

“Can you blame her? I know she’s not retiring, since she’s already been cleared with the government, but I’ll bet she misses the JSA, too. So what’s the guy’s name?”

“Frankford Adams, and he has a record as a spy for East Germany and the Soviets. He was in a U.S. prison from 1945 until 1949, when he was released in some kind of prisoner-exchange program. Apparently he’s gone back to his old employers.”

“Good. Let’s call it a night, then. Tomorrow, we can try to track down more information on this guy,” said Al. Ted left for his hotel, leaving the younger man brooding alone in his living room.


The next morning, Al Pratt and Ted Grant met for breakfast at a diner near the Calvin College campus. Al was surprised to find Ted sitting with a big grin on his face.

“What are you so happy about?” asked Al. “I’ve got a meeting at eleven o’clock, so we only have a couple of hours before that to find out about this Adams guy.”

“Way ahead of you, buddy. Being a fitness fanatic has its advantages; I’ve been up since 4:30. About an hour ago, I telephoned the warden at the federal prison in New Jersey where Adams did his time, and asked a couple of questions. One of them paid off!”

What? What did you ask? What did you find out?”

“A simple question, really. I asked who his cellmate was.”

Al looked at his old friend warily. “It’s someone we know, isn’t it?”

“You bet it is. Goes by the name of Henry King, but better known as–”

“Brain Wave!”

“What about the Brain Wave?” asked a new, very feminine voice from behind Al. He turned to find a tall, demure-looking, brunette woman in a military uniform, with thick-framed glasses only partially masking the classic beauty of the face beneath.

“Wond — Diana!” exclaimed Al, nearly forgetting they were in public for a moment. “What are you doing here?”

“Ted called me right after calling the prison. He couldn’t tell me over the phone what he found out, but I’m guessing that Adams is somehow tied to Brain Wave?” she asked in hushed tones as she took a seat next to Al.

“They were cellmates for two years after Brain Wave’s last caper. He got out not long after Adams did, and he’s been a model citizen in Metropolis for almost two years now,” said Ted. “I called the local paper down there and found out that King has been making the rounds of high society there. There’s even talk he might marry into one of the big families.”

“Covering his tracks well, I’ll bet!” said Al.

“I called Diana both because I promised, and because I figured her invisible plane could get us down there and back fast enough for us to mop this up together.”

“Then what are we waiting for?” asked the ever-impatient Atom.

“Breakfast!” said Ted and Diana together.


A rushed meal and a very fast flight later, three costumed figures dropped seemingly from midair onto the roof of a high-rise building in downtown Metropolis. Quickly, they separated and took up positions around the penthouse apartment. Each keeping track of time in their own way, at a preset time they each crashed through their respective door or window.

“Give it up, Brain Wave! We’re taking you in!” called the Atom as he crashed through a picture window headfirst, rolled on the floor, and came up on his feet. He looked around him for any sign of the mental giant who had plagued the JSA for years.

“Come on, big brain, there’s a nice cell waiting for you back at prison,” growled Wildcat in a low, rumbling voice as he knocked a side door flat with a single punch and entered the kitchen.

“Brain Wave, surrender now,” said Wonder Woman as she tore the front door from its hinges. “I’ll see if we can have you treated on the Amazon’s Transformation Island, and make this seeming reform of yours into the real thing!” Her natural compassion, which appeared to be at odds with her warrior nature, led her to consider that her foe’s actions might not be his own fault. “There is no reason to resist us now.”

“Bah! You insignificant fools may have found me out, but you will not survive to tell anybody else!” replied a sinister voice from a study hidden away in the center of the apartment. “The JSA may have beaten the killer robots and traps on my satellite, but the government has seen to it that most of you idiots are out of my hair, anyway. Your persistence simply means that I’ll have to take care of you myself.” Bringing his fingertips to his temples, Henry King focused his mental energies on the three heroic figures charging through his home toward him.

Suddenly, as they met in the hallway, Wonder Woman, the Atom, and Wildcat found themselves frozen in place by the villain’s mental manipulations. “Great Hera! I can’t move my arms or legs!” cried the trapped Amazon.

The Atom quickly sized up the situation as the Brain Wave stepped from his study to survey his work. Keeping his voice low, he whispered, “Wonder Woman! Snap your head forward toward Wildcat! Quickly!”

Trusting her longtime teammate’s advice, Princess Diana did as he said. She bobbed her head forward with a speed that only an Amazon could achieve. The momentum caused her tiara to fly from her head toward Wildcat. The battling boxer had been in enough street fights to anticipate almost anything, and his nearly inhuman reflexes served him well this time. He snagged the flying tiara in his teeth and took his shot. Whipping his head around as best he could with the rest of his body frozen in place, he let the open-ended circlet fly in the direction of the advancing Brain Wave.

Henry King was so focused on planning the demise of the three JSA members that he didn’t even notice the gleaming band of metal streaking at his head until it was too late. He tried futilely to block it with both his mental powers and an upraised hand, but to no avail. It struck him in the forehead, rendering him unconscious. As he dropped to the floor, the mental energies holding the trio captive were released from whence they came.

The battle was over.


After turning the Brain Wave over to the Metropolis Police, and with a promise from Wonder Woman of a full report on his crimes, there was just enough time to get back to Calvin City before Al Pratt’s meeting. Wonder Woman was unable to wait around due to her own job in Washington, so Ted Grant was left to wait for Al back at his apartment.

It was mid-afternoon when the door burst inward.

“Ted! You won’t believe this!”

“What is it, buddy? Did you get the position at Princeton?”

“Better than that! The doctor is concerned about focusing everything at that one location, so he wants to establish another nuclear physics program here at Calvin College!”

“Sounds like you ought to be able to get a job there, Al,” Ted said, reaching to take his old friend’s hand.

“Better than that! You’re looking at the new head of Calvin College’s nuclear physics lab,” declared a happy Al Pratt. “With this job, I won’t have time to run around as the Atom, so it’s just as well that the JSA won’t be meeting anymore.” He slapped his hand into Ted’s much larger one and gripped hard.

“There you go, buddy! Looks like things worked out right after all, didn’t they?”

The End

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