A dark future in an alternate timeline ruled by super-powered tyrants:
Wonder Woman sprang into action as her daughter led a charge of Amazon warriors. The Red Tornado generated powerful winds to hold back the raging women, but even that kind of elemental fury seemed to be all too lacking when it came to slowing the mad Queen Hippolyta.
She and Diana linked hands, but not in any family gesture of affection. They struggled against one another with power and determined rage. As much as Diana fought her own instincts not to harm this twisted version of her little Lyta grown to womanhood, she also could not allow any challenge go unmet. She had won every fight eventually for over forty years. She also had the greater power, since her child was the daughter of a mortal man as well. Hippolyta had conquered part of a world with her warriors, yet she had never mastered a true Amazon that equaled her legendary mother in a fair fight.
Diana twisted around and flipped Hippolyta over her hip. She brought her knee around to drive the air from her, and with one smooth motion, she looped the golden lasso over the blonde woman’s head. “Surrender! Order all the Amazons to surrender!” she commanded.
To the relief of the nearly overwhelmed Red Tornado, the warrior women drew back, and he was able to stop his nearly ceaseless efforts. He joined Wonder Woman as she pulled up her bound child.
“I did not betray the teachings of Aphrodite by marrying Steve Trevor!” she said in a clear and persuasive voice. “I was obeying her primary rule of loving others. True, the goddess wanted us apart from males as punishment for lack of faith, but that was eons ago. She sent me into Man’s World for the reason that she had learned that the best way to combat hate was with love and mercy! I just defeated your Queen. I show her and you all mercy by merely ordering you all to remain here and restore the Temple of Aphrodite!”
The Amazons respected martial skills, and they could not deny the evidence of their own eyes or the memory of their former Princess Diana as the paragon of Amazon virtue. Thus they obeyed, and with help from the Tornado, she used the purple healing ray with modifications of the memory learner to cleanse their minds of hate and restore the sanity they lost by renouncing the bracelets of submission. They forged news ones, and even Hippolyta seemed to calm down.
“Tell me more. How did you and the others come to rule the world?” she asked.
Hippolyta gazed up with the same blue eyes and blonde hair that Diana loved so in her child, and said, “The vitality you received from Ian Karkull was suddenly taken away from you all, and many of you died from the shock to your systems. The successors of all who lived sought power and rewards for the good you all had lived and died to achieve. The might of seven of us was enough through science, magic, and lack of opposition to divide up the world and rule it! We were brought together, and our power was nigh unstoppable!”
Diana breathed a prayer and prepared to leave the misguided woman to heal along with her people. The bracelets had brought back much of their normal clarity of thought. She turned to the Red Tornado. “You must not judge my sisters too harshly. They fell victim to madness of hate, resentment, and a desire for power.”
Red Tornado looked back at her with emotionless eyes and said in a cold, mechanical tone. “Of course they did. They are only human.”
Johnny Thunder and Sir Justin the Shining Knight entered a vastly different Metropolis from the one either had known. The entire city was encircled in a bubble or dome, and it had the look of a military camp or fortress.
“Say, you know, whoever took over sure had a military mindset,” offered Johnny. “Of course, I was in the Navy myself, so I’m not knocking the services. I just mean it looks less like a city than a… compound!”
Sir Justin nodded. “‘Tis most martial in appearance. Note what is missing as well. No voices raised in conversation, no laugher, no passion! Just the dull ache of a tyrant’s rule!”
“Look at that! Dead bodies or skeletons rotting on pikes!” cried Johnny as the ghoulish spectacle loomed above them around the Daily Star Building.
“Verily, ’tis most passing strange! I seem to recognize yon inscriptions, too!” said Justin.
“Metalo, Prankster, Archer, Toyman, Ultra-Humanite, Kyack, Corbin! They are all guys who fought Superman!” cried Johnny.
“They did indeed dare to challenge my late sire,” said a hovering youth with shoulder length black hair and a red and blue costume. “I tracked them down and taught them the folly of daring to oppose the master race!”
“Golly, you look like a hippie Superman!” said a heated Johnny. “You must be his son in this world, but he sure wouldn’t stand for killing. Just to say he would makes me want to take a poke at you!”
“Ha-ha-ha!” laughed the arrogant Kryptonian. “I am amused at your passion, little man. Too little amused not to rip your head from your body, but still amused. As for you, sir knight, I think the master of tomorrow has nothing to fear from yesterday’s trash!”
The Shining Knight stepped forward and said, “Get behind me, John. I must adventure against yon knave and impart to him the meaning of chivalry! Power does not and ne’er did make one right. True heroism comes from the passion for service and the love of one’s weaker brother!” He blocked the swinging fists of the son of Superman with his enchanted sword.
“Bah! Magic? I scorn such paltry defenses,” sneered the black-haired tyrant as he flashed heat-vision against the gleaming, golden-armored paladin.
“Merlin’s power defends me against e’en your star-born might. I shall smite thee most puissantly!” cried Shining Knight as he brought the flat of the blade down on the man.
The Kryptonian fell back as the magic blade did hurt him. “I’ll end this by dropping a building upon you!” he declared, and with speed born of a lost world, he hurtled into a nearby structure and made it shatter into tons of falling matter.
Sir Justin flew to safety on his steed, Winged Victory, while he yanked Johnny along by his green jacket.
“Say, you wouldn’t be so tough if we had kryptonite!” said Thunder.
Instantly, glowing green rocks poured down on the Kryptonian villain, and he screamed as power fled from his body, to be replaced by pain.
Johnny jumped forward and connected with a right hook that knocked the villain cold. “That’s for badmouthin’ Superman!” he vowed.
“Nicely done, my friend!” declared an impressed Shining Knight.
Later, Justin and Johnny faced the weakened son of Superman, kept powerless by a cage of kryptonite around him.
“I want to know what happened here. What became of Superman?” asked Johnny.
The face they knew so well looked at them with bitterness. “My father served this world until the day he died at the hands of a petty thug with a kryptonite bullet. I saw then and there that as the scion of a superior race, it was my duty to impose order on this backwater race of savages. I did so, as you see. I also met the successors of other JSAers, all of whom shared my views. Together, we second-generation mystery-men and women formed a society of our own designed to conquer this world and shape it in our image. We did so.”
“So you say the tyrants who took over are JSA kids gone bad?” asked Thunder.
“True,” said the young man.
“‘Tis a fearsome idea: the successors of the Justice Society turned to evil and selfish goals! Could it happen on the world we know?” asked Justin.
“I don’t know. It may do so unless we fix it. I mean, this is a possible future. And I know our Superman has no kids,” mentioned Johnny.
“We must make this fate one that shall never occur!” declared the Shining Knight.
The city called Opal was now as much of a crushed domain of a tyrant as Metropolis had been. While the so-called Master of Tomorrow had taken control of Metropolis, Opal City was ruled by the Star Czar. He was Jack Knight, and he had been jealous of his late father’s paternal pride in his brother, the clean-cut David Knight, and he had taken no prisoners when his father’s sudden death due to rapid aging had cost him his life. Jack had taken the cosmic rod and used it to kill David, and now with the aid of the other power-hungry JSA progeny, he had made the world his own.
He sat on the hill above the city and gazed down on the people who meekly obeyed his every command. “Cattle! Sheep!” he screamed. “You prefer the mass-marketed pap to the independent and alternative! You need me to think for you! Well, I do so, but I also have nothing but cynical contempt for every last one of you!”
“Wal, son, I reckon’ I better change your mind or loosen your teeth!” said a cowboy who stood tall in the horizon.
Jack Knight flew closer with the gleaming stellar power of the cosmic rod shining brightly. “Who in the world are you? The Lone Ranger?” he sneered.
“Nope. Just a man who aims to fix things by breakin’ your jaw,” said the Vigilante.
“Hold it. Jack! You know me — Wes Dodds, your father’s friend,” said the Sandman as he walked up from the other side.
“Yeah! I heard you croaked. Weak ticker,” said Jack.
“I want to talk,” said Sandman. “You know this power play you’re on is not right. I know Ted would never have wanted this rod to be used for personal gain.”
“Eat cosmic fire, old man!” shrieked Knight as he blasted golden energy toward the Sandman. But it never reached him, having been blocked by red energy that met it head on.
“I would not do that,” said the grim Crimson Avenger, whose Nebula-Man-given energy powers blocked the energy of the rod. “Outside of a few All-Star Squadron meetings, I did not know your father. Spoke with him today for the first time. I have no reason not to hurt you if I have to.”
“Whoa! This nobody has some serious attitude! Duel to the death and all that!” cried Jack as he tried to blow the Avenger off the hill with a blazing rain of fire.
The Crimson Avenger stood firm and strained to hold back his mad foe with the weird powers he had absorbed from piece of the Nebula-Man that had followed him through time. As Lee Travis, he had been a skilled fighter and designer of weapons like the gas-gun that his old pal the Sandman struggled to find an opening to use against Jack Knight. Now he was more like the Green Lantern in terms of having superhuman energy powers.
A shot rang out, and Jack Knight screamed as a bullet pierced his hand, and he dropped the rod. At that minute, Sandman struck him with a hard left cross.
“Good shootin’, Greg!” said the weakened Avenger with a smile.
“Thanks, pard. It’s what I do!” replied the Vigilante.
The Sandman looked down on the beaten son of his old friend. “Such a sad case. Have all our successors turned mad? Will it also happen on our Earth in time?”