Hourman, Green Arrow, and Speedy were fighting for their lives as well in China, where the ancient land was now ruled by the insane Starheart. The daughter of Green Lantern had been driven insane by the combination of the illusion-casting spectacles of her mother and the Starheart magic fire of her dad. She no longer knew reality from fantasy, and she could not care less.
She wore a green dress and heels and smiled a merry grin that belied her madness. “You came calling? How nice,” she cackled. “Hourman, no less! Daddy liked you. I even know your daughter. She and I share clothes at times when we’re not doing other girl things like talking on the phone, destroying cities, torturing straights!”
“I don’t have a daughter,” said Rex Tyler. “And I didn’t know Alan had a child. You must not use the green fire like that. Death rays? I saw the results. You killed more people here than atomic bombs did in World War II! You can’t use such power with no mercy, no restraint. I saw that kind of self-restraint in your dad. I still do.”
The mad Starheart laughed and swung around in midair. “You speak of restraint? You junkie! You made your little girl what she is by your drug use. Tune out, turn on, fight crime, eh, Rexie?” she giggled.
Rex frowned. True, he had depended upon a drug called Miraclo for years to boost his power and enable him to fight crime — and enjoy a rush of adventure. But he had given it up back in the 1940s and had developed a black light ray that gave him much the same results with less-addictive qualities. As a chemist, he wondered just what effect the drug did have on his boy, Rick. Would harmful results pop up in his boy someday?
Hourman rolled aside as fire scorched the ground he had just been on. The girl was deadly, insane, and powerful. She could easily conquer a world by herself. She represented the darkness inherent in the green fire like that which was once displayed when Brain Wave had forced Green Lantern to have a realistic dreams of death, in which he was responsible for mass murder of Japanese citizens in retaliation for Pearl Harbor. (*) He tossed a metal tractor at her, and it bounced off the burning sheath that protected her gown-clad figure.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “For the Dark Things Cannot Stand the Light,” All-Star Squadron #20 (April, 1983).]
“I can use mommy’s powers, too. I may not be where you think you see me. I may be behind you!” she shrieked as she appeared to his side and struck him with all her blazing might. He burned and rolled down a bank in pain.
Green Arrow and Speedy watched in horror. “There’s no use. We can’t win,” cried Oliver Queen.
“What’s wrong with you? You never give up! You never lost before!” pleaded Speedy. He whirled and fired an arrow at the gleefully laughing Starheart. The shaft rippled through what seemed to be her body, only to land in the grass.
“I’m over here, punk!” she said as a fist of green crushed Speedy in a mighty grip.
Green Arrow saw his friend yell in pain, and he lost the despair that had mysteriously plagued him since their rescue from the past. He shrugged off the doubt and fired a volley of wooden arrows that rained down and found their mark.
Starheart fell in pain as three arrows hit her. “But arrows can’t hurt me!” she whined.
Green Arrow helped Speedy up and said, “They can if they’re made of wood. I remembered that about your father from one old case we shared.” (*) Turning to Speedy with an apologetic look, he said, “Sorry, lad. I won’t let anything cripple me like these doubts have recently.” They helped Hourman to his feet. He was burned, but not severely. The fires were as much illusion as they had been reality.
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Brave and the Bold: Green Lantern and Green Arrow: Times Past, 1947: Gotham’s Greenest.]
The insane woman called Wendi Tyler had been born with the manic craving for action that Miraclo had instilled within her father. She was unable to be calm or at peace and found that the destructive nature of her enhanced abilities allowed her to release her nervous energy in random violence.
She called herself Mistress Miraclo, and she was as likely to crush a passerby as she was to suddenly leap away at top speed in desperate paranoia. She wore a black minidress with her late father’s gold hood and cape. She had little preplanned activity ahead of her, acting completely on the impulses that occurred to her fevered brain.
She was confronted in London by the gold and blue form of Doctor Fate. “I know you! You disappeared long ago. Some said you turned into a woman!” she ranted as her eyes darted back and forth.
“I am Fate — no more and no less!” he said. “I come to bring peace to your troubled soul, Wendi Tyler.”
As she smashed her fists against him in fury, he fell back and gestured. Golden symbols of old Egypt flashed across the beautiful but deadly daughter of Hourman as they circled one another.
“I can face your best spells,” she laughed. “I can even rip that gold helmet from your head and make a woman out of you right here!”
Doctor Fate watched as she heedlessly charged toward him, only to be enveloped with his suddenly liquid form. He appeared from above and said, “I have caught you within a containment spell that also constantly drains you of the energy surging through your body. It cannot cure you, but it can keep your body from attaining enough of a power surge to be deadly or effective in escape.”
He knew he had failed to cure her father of his own addiction decades ago, and now to see such folly and weakness carried on to an innocent angered and saddened that part of him that was Kent Nelson — doctor, hero, and friend to Rex Tyler.
He also knew that Oracle had been misleading them from the start. He knew his allies could reclaim the Earth without him, so he meditated and sought answers. When they came, he muttered an oath and flew off at top speed.
Oliver Weed cried out in relief as he discovered the possible timeline in which his heroes had been so rudely placed.
“This Oracle seeks to ensure that Earth-Two has a heroic future. He manipulated the JSA into seeking the Seven Soldiers and clouded their reactions and memories to ensure their cooperation. His reason was evidently to bring forth those lost heroes and especially bring forth Pemberton, who would go on to form Infinity Inc. and build the foundation of a heroic legacy for the JSA. Someone else placed them on this timeline of distortion and falsehood, where the JSA’s children band together for conquest and death! This anti-Oracle seeks to plant doubt in the mind of Pemberton and the rest about the wisdom of the JSA’s successors ever working as a team! That exlains the doubts of the Green Arrow and the almost overplayed motif of heirs gone wrong! I can only hope that the Oracle — whoever he may be — can win them over again and smooth history’s path for the birth of Infinity, Inc.”
As Mr. Weed mused about the situation, an idea occurred to him. “By the cosmos! Could Oracle be who I suspect he is? If so, then the enemy they face is worse than ever I dreamt!”
Gotham City slept peacefully. No crime occurred in Gotham — ever. The city was guarded ceaselessly by a brutally effective man who wore the cape of Batman and was called merely the Bat. He found Wildcat and Doctor Mid-Nite minutes after they entered his city.
“I don’t like this at all,” said Mid-Nite. “The Bruce Wayne I know is about as nice a guy as you could find. I owe him for past favors. I think we all do. How could his successor be an insane, grim, aloof vigilante?”
Wildcat slammed his fist into his hand. “I know, I know! He was and is aces with me, too! I just wish we could figure out what this weird place means. JSA kids taking over the world?! I know my son is lost for good, but I still can’t believe any child of one of us could really go bad.”
“That is a relative term,” said a cold voice from behind them. “Bad. Good. Law. Crime. These ideas all pale beneath the weight of justice. That is what my crusade is about — justice!”
Doctor Mid-Nite shivered. Even he had missed the arrival of Bruce Wayne Junior, who looked every inch his father’s son. “I have to say that I admire anyone who fights for justice,” said Mid-Nite. “I merely question who determines what is just and what is unjust. You shut down all court systems and trials in Gotham. You set up a martial law of one lone soldier!”
The Bat frowned. “I respect you. I don’t have to listen to you, but I respect you,” he said. “However, you are like Dick Grayson. You are too soft on crime. Your swell bunch of guys mentality is forty years out of date. I deliver justice, and you slow me with this inane conversation. Take your memories and go sit around your famous table and live in the past.”
Wildcat grabbed him and said, “Hold it! I don’t like your tone! Where is Dick?”
The Bat shrugged his arm free of Ted Grant’s grip and belted him with a swift left. “He was eliminated. If you aren’t with me, then you are against me,” he said as he kicked out at Mid-Nite.
Doctor Mid-Nite barely dodged, as stunned by the harsh ideology of the son of Batman as he was by his skill. He dropped a blackout bomb and received a swift punch that bent him double. He fell hard as a second connected with his jaw.
Wildcat tackled the Bat, only to be tossed over his shoulder and off a roof. He desperately swung to a nearby perch and caught his breath. “Broke a rib doing that!” he muttered.
The Bat turned on Doctor Mid-Nite. “You poor old man! I knew of your favorite tactic, and I came prepared when my sensors detected who you were. Night lens goggles let me see through your blackout bomb!”
Doctor Mid-Nite brought his fist down on the man’s head and wrenched back on his neck. He passed out from the nerve blow, and Mid-Nite greeted Wildcat as he made it back to the roof.
“How’d ya do that?” asked Ted.
Doctor Mid-Nite grinned. “I expected any Batman to be ready for my regular blackout bomb, so Rex and I doctored the bomb to be my old formula, which distorts the vision of those caught within it. He saw me to the left of my actual location. I guess you might say he was blind as a bat!”
Wildcat smiled. “Yeah! You used that trick before when you fought those Crime Syndicate punks!”
Doctor Fate appeared before his reassembled friends and announced, “We have succeeded in bringing the tyrants to justice. We must now let this timeline heal itself and return to normal! Our job is done.”
“Wait a minute, Fate!” said Starman. “What brought us here to begin with? What is Oracle’s secret?”
“Plus,” added Hourman, “I have no daughter, Green Lantern has no children, and Batman has a daughter, not a son. How can this ever be a possible future for us?”
Wonder Woman spoke up, “But I do have a Lyta of my own, and Hawkman’s son is much like the one you fought in terms of his looks.”
“So some things are right and some are wrong,” said Johnny Thunder. “Is it all a trap, or were we brought here to help and that’s it?”
Doctor Fate spoke again. “The Oracle may have clouded our memories and thrust himself into my head, but it was merely to enable us to save both our allies and to fix what went wrong in this era. We may excuse such tampering from one of his lofty stature!”
They vanished, only to reappear at the moment they had left, along with the JLA. They went on to battle the Hand, and in the final effort, Red Tornado seemingly sacrificed his life to win the day. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “And One of Us Must Die,” Justice League of America #102 (October, 1972).]
Sometime later, Ted Knight showed his respect for and approval of the Star-Spangled Kid by loaning him the cosmic rod during a time he was recuperating from a broken leg sustained during a battle with the British Bat. He had remembered how skillful the Kid’s use of it had been. The Kid joined the JSA and would later found Infinity Inc. in an unconscious effort to secretly steer these JSA progeny safely away from the evil curse he had witnessed in the successors from the alternate timeline.
The friendship between Wes Dodds and Lee Travis lasted until Lee’s heroic death. The Green Arrow died fighting shadow demons in the Crisis on Infinite Earths, and that epic event had a connection to this tale that was known only to Doctor Fate.
Later, the Doctor Fate of the regular 1986 timeline appeared before Mr. Weed to discuss what he had learned.
“Doctor Fate!” said Oliver Weed, surprised. “How did you find my little headquarters here in a pocket of time? I take it you are here about the Oracle’s secret?”
Sitting down by the old man, Doctor Fate said, “When that case concluded, I traced the origin of the false timeline to a being of evil intent called the Anti-Monitor. He had sought to rid Earth of heroic defenders by planting doubts about the safety of the JSA children ever being joined together as a team. He had also, perhaps, aided the Nebula-Man in removing the Seven Soldiers from their proper time. I could not reveal to my friends the magnitude of the crisis at that time. I realized the Oracle was nothing more than a scientific construct of the Monitor, who had sought to lead us to both rescue the Seven Soldiers and inspire young Pemberton to form Infinity Inc. as a second line of defense for our world.”
Weed nodded. “I learned as much myself. But questions remain. Why did you not lead your allies against this unseen Anti-Monitor then and there?”
“I chose to do so, but I found myself trapped in a circular band of time in which I accomplished naught,” explained Fate. “I realized my only option was to let time play out as naturally as possible and be ever ready for the Crisis should it unfold.”
“So you still can say with no certainty if Oracle or Monitor sent the Seven Soldiers through time to preserve Pemberton, or if Anti-Monitor did so to lose them?” asked Weed.
“True! And the idea that JSA children would walk that dark path was strong enough within me, that I could only magically erase that part of the adventure from all minds save my own and Pemberton’s unconscious mind. I felt to act otherwise would make the very future we changed come true. This Anti-Monitor was wise enough to have perhaps played with us so that anything we did might result in disaster. It worked out for the best as it occurred.”
Weed nodded. “And no lasting consequence of tragedy now hangs over us. I see that the time-switched Pemberton and Thunder have regained their roles.”
Unknown to the heroes, however, one consequence had yet to be faced. The Anti-Monitor was no more, but his successor lived on and waited.