Justice Society of America: 1972: Time, See What’s Become of Me? Prologue, 1986: The Big Chronal Rubout

by Libbylawrence

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Continued from Justice Society of America: Vanity Fair (Play)

At the Stellar Studios Headquarters of Infinity Inc., Northwind turned to Obsidian in concern. “So this Madame Mayhem disguised herself as Lyta and took both David Knight’s cosmic rod and Sylv’s converter belt?” asked the earnest Feitheran.

Todd Rice nodded. “She attacked us all and almost killed Roy before she made off with the cosmic gadgets. David is OK, and thanks to Miss Terrific he even has the rod and the converter back!”

Norda Cantrell frowned. “But what of our missing leader? If Madame Mayhem did not abduct our ex-Star Spangled Kid, then who did?

“That is one mystery we’ve got to solve,” said Todd. “Roy had to rescue that blonde who visited him, the one in the heels and bikini. But we’re still here, and we’d better locate–” he began.

Then a familiar red, white, and blue costume appeared from midair.

“Sylv! You’re back! What happened?” asked Todd.

“I was displaced through time to the future, around 2467, where I had to fight my old enemy Knodar,” said the youthful leader of Los Angeles’ second-generation team. “I beat him, thanks to some help.”

“Thank goodness!” said Todd. “With Hector going loopy, we need our boss-lady back!”

Sylvia Pemberton grinned. “Skygirl is back and better than ever!”

The super-heroine known as Skygirl smoothed her long blonde curls and adjusted the repaired cosmic convertor belt. It was good to have the Ted Knight-created device back around her curvy waist.

True, wealthy Sylvia Pemberton had been a top acrobat, martial artist, and boxer since her pampered teen years back in the 1940s, when her rich banker father had spoiled her with the best teachers and expensive equipment.

But even the famous Star-Rocket Racer had been relatively mundane compaired to Knight’s modified cosmic rod. When the elder JSAer broke his leg shortly after Sylvia had been rescued from time displacement along with her allies in the Seven Soldiers of Victory, he had loaned the belt to the confused young woman. She used it to join the JSA itself and had enjoyed a second heroic career.

Her time with the JSA ended when she struck out on her own, with the family fortune restored, to finance the new heroic team Infinity Inc. Now, with her costumed role of the Star-Spangled Kid behind her, she was her own woman and a leader. Skygirl was the name she had chosen when she had selected the new costume.

But Sylvia had not forgotten about her longtime partner from the 1940s. Her money had helped Pat Dugan start up a better garage and even helped him design a better engine or two. His future was bright, and he even had a young son of his own now. Sylvia smiled as she recalled how she and the hulking Stripesy had battled creeps like Doctor Weerd and the Needle, and had made good friends like the Green Arrow, Speedy, and the Shining Knight.

A special friend was due to arrive any minute, and Sylvia had almost forgotten the time. She rushed to the door just as the handsome John Thunder entered, wearing his trademark white suit.

He was a private investigator in Los Angeles, and he and Sylvia had worked together during their first battle with the so-called last criminal, Knodar. Now their romance was very serious.

“How’s my favorite super-babe?” he said as he held out flowers.

“Oh, Johnny! You shouldn’t have!” said the smiling Sylvia as she kissed the dark-haired young man.

“Hey, if a guy can’t bring his fiancée a bouquet now and then, what’s the world coming to?” said Johnny. “Plus, I know how, as a 1940s gal at heart, you love those old-fashioned touches!”

Skygirl nodded. “Those old-fashioned touches between a guy who can send his spirit into an energy being copied from a Grammy statuette wanna-be and a girl who was born in 1928 but ended up in the 1980s while still in her twenties!”

Johnny led her out and quipped, “See? What could be more normal than us?”

***

In a hotel room in Brooklyn, a man in a pin-striped gray suit and slouch hat addressed a motley assembly of thugs.

“So what’s with this place?” he ranted. “You mugs call this a hideout? It’s got room service! We need a seedy dive. We need atmosphere! Would Cagney be caught dead in a place where smiling blonde maids leave mints on the pillows, I ask ya? You guys coulda been contendas!

“Knodar, that line was from another film,” said a man in brown.

“Oh, sorry! I get my twentieth century holo films mixed up,” he explained. “They are illegal where I come from in the future. I guess I wanted the gangster life I saw in them Bogey and Cagney pictures to be the one I make for us here!”

A nervous man named Butch Bronson said, “I don’t get the need for this movie stuff. You come from the Jetsons age. Just tell us what ponies won at the derby, and we’ll live like kings!”

Knodar waved a metal rod, and the big man flew into the roof with a crash. He slammed back to the ground as Knodar lowered the rod.

“I told you,” he said. “We do things with style, or we don’t do them at all! Those old films had heroes and villains and danger and dances with death! I want that. I got so bored in my own time that I came back here where I fought the super-copper Green Lantern and that punk the Star-Spangled Kid and his dolly Jonni Thunder. (*) Well, I’m back, and I took care of that loving couple with the big chronal rubout! They won’t be bugging us. They got problems all their own.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Last Criminal on Earth,” Green Lantern #28 (October-November, 1947) and “Back from the Future,” Infinity Inc. #24 (March, 1985).]

“What did you do to them?” asked Lefty Wington. “Kill them? I mean, bump ’em off?”

“Naw! I gave ’em cee-ment overshoes of the chronal kind,” he said as he paced nervously. “I tossed them adrift in the time-stream, and who knows where or how they ended up?”

“If you did not eliminate… uh… off them, could they return?” asked another.

“They got tossed into the time-stream. They lived other lives now. They’re likely a game show model and a pirate, or worse,” he sneered.

“But I’ve read that the time-stream exerts an attraction according to the destiny of the traveller,” said Professor Pilson. “I mean, if they were meant to be together and be heroic, then couldn’t they live lives as new heroes who could be just as deadly?”

Knodar grimaced. “Look, you Degaton impersonator, I took care o’ them! Now help me plan my hit on the guy who first crossed me — the do-gooder called Green Lantern!

***

June, 1939:

Alan Scott was tired. The heat was getting to the young man as he worked with figures and time tables. His mind was elsewhere. This job was not what he wanted out of life. He wanted work in radio. Maybe that was a bit glamorous for a man who had worked his way through college and never had been graced with family connections, but it was a medium that appealed to him. He often dreamt of the bright lights. He knew if willpower counted for something in this Depression-laden world that seemed doomed to be a wartorn one all too soon, that he would have long ago left this job.

“I think we have a perfect design,” he announced as a young man entered their tiny office. “Even old Dekker can’t beat us on this one!”

“Dekker, Dekker, Dekker! How I have grown mighty sick of that name,” whined his pal Jimmy Henton. “He tries to underbid us on every construction project. And he has mob ties. We know it, but we can’t prove it!”

“If this train project goes through, we’ll have the capital to start over,” said Alan. “I may try broadcast work.”

Jimmy grinned. “Yeah! You hobnobbing it with the likes of Fibber McGee and Molly!”

Alan said, “I think I’d rather hang out with Veronica Lake!”

“Keep dreaming, buddy!” said Jimmy.

“Well, we’d better get moving,” said Alan, smiling. “That train west is going to make us successful!”

One year later, Alan’s hard work had made the trestle bridge a reality, and he was riding upon the first train crossing the bridge that he and Jimmy had designed. Little did he know that an enemy he had not even met was planning his death.

***

A week earlier, in the office of Dekker, the crafty builder sat behind a huge desk and stroked his pencil-thin mustache.

So, you say you can blow up the bridge and wipe out Scott before his upstart company can take any other government bids out from under me?” he asked.

The gang boss sitting across from him smiled. “You got my word on it. Knodar delivers what he promises!”

***

The events unfolded once again as they did in legend. The bridge exploded, and poor Jimmy Henton died next to an unscathed Alan Scott, who had been holding a weird green train lantern. The lantern’s magic had preserved him, and in the span of hours, it remade him. It spoke of the Green Flame and of willpower that could make wonderful creations out of magical green fire.

It enabled young Scott to live anew and not only avenge Jimmy’s death, but to fight crime of all types as the masked manhunter called the Green Lantern.

He tracked down the thugs used by Knodar to blow up the bridge for Dekker, and he forced Dekker to sign a confession seconds before that man died. But he never knew that Knodar had been behind the plot on his life.

Knodar fumed in anger. “No one knew in my time how Green Lantern was born. I figured I had stolen an ace on him by going to attack him before he donned the mask and ring. How’d I know that I would set into play the very events that must have made him the mystery-man who beat me years later?”

He sighed and said, “I can’t risk taking any action. I might ruin my own life! I’m going back to 2467 and plan this better. I hope I at least robbed the timeline of a Patriot and Jonni Thunder.”

Thus he returned to his own era, only to caught by Rhia, the lovely justiciar who specialized in dealing with the last criminal. As he sat in rehab, he wondered what effect his actions had had on the couple who had fought him twice before.

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