Justice Society of America: 1978: The Redundant Rogues, Chapter 4: Reverse-Flashes

by Libbylawrence

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Professor Zoom the Reverse-Flash had been loyal to the Wizard. He had every intention of finding the mystic item his boss had demanded, but he had run into another offer that was far more intriguing. His super-fast body enabled him to perceive things beyond the perceptions of those to whom life did not pass by at such a high rate of speed. Thus Zoom soon detected a humanoid figure just out of sight of his line of vision. This ghost image flickered in and out.

“Some type of apparition,” he noted. “Seemingly a man trapped just out of sync with this vibratory dimension. I can match his vibrations and reel him in… like so!” He retrieved a middle-aged man out of the void.

“The Flash?” he gasped. “The old man Flash!”

“No! Look at my face,” said the man. “I’m not Garrick or that Allen fellow you duel with across the way! I am Ed Clariss, and my enemy Jay Garrick knew me as the Rival. During our last battle decades ago, I tried to escape him and ended up stuck between this world and the one called Earth-One. The vibrational pattern kept shifting, despite my best effort to get free. I watched you and Allen. I saw Allen’s punk sidekick. I even observed the progress of Jay Garrick from 1951 to the present. All this occurred while I was a mere wraith. Even the other Flash heroes could not see me. I willed that until you came along. I figured you might be of a mind to help a fellow ‘reverse-Flash’!”

Zoom grinned. “So, you didn’t age during this imprisonment?”

“No,” said the Rival. “But the endless helpless watching nearly drove me mad. Now all I want is to slay Garrick and possess his pretty little bride!”

“You know, I can show you how to prevent the doll from ever becoming Jay Garrick’s blushing bride,” smirked Zoom.

“We’re decades too late for that!” said the Rival.

“Not the way I travel!” said Zoom.

In seconds or less they had journeyed back through time to the year and the day of Jay’s wedding to Joan Williams in March of 1949.

The bride was beautiful. Joan was gorgeous and looked every inch the glamor girl and heartbreaker she had been during the days of her exciting youth. In seconds, she was also snatched by the Rival and tossed over his shoulder.

“You recall me from Midwestern? You’ll know me better soon!” said the Rival as Joan kicked helplessly and lost her breath as he accelerated.

Professor Zoom smirked. “These time machines lack the style of those from my era and my Earth. Maybe I should jump ahead to the far future of this world to see how life stacks up against the life in my own time and world.”

Before he could make up his mind, they were set upon by the Justice Society of America and Captain Comet.

“They just popped out of thin air!” said Starman.

“I’d wager from the dress Joan is wearing they came from the past,” said Wonder Woman. “We’re lucky our tracer detected them at all!”

Joan had passed out from the trauma of speed, and she lay still as the Rival dumped her on the ground. “You are Garrick’s allies! I’ll run you into the grave!” he said and charged them.

Professor Zoom also aimed a vibratory chop toward Captain Comet.

But Comet caught his arm in a telekinetic grip. “You are fast, but not faster than the speed of thought — at least not the speed I think at!” he said as he punched Zoom in the jaw.

Wonder Woman kicked the Rival back.

“You are fast, woman!” said the Rival. “Still, I can slay you in the blink of an eye!”

“You’d need to touch her first, and my little energy-field won’t allow that!” said Starman as he blocked the Rival’s path.

The Sandman slipped over to carry Joan to safety within the house she would occupy soon after the wedding. Strange, he mused. Joan would not have lived here yet in her perspective, but from ours, she and Jay have enjoyed this place for nearly thirty years.

Wonder Woman hurled her tiara at the Rival, who vibrated so it passed through his mocking form.

“Too slow by half, legs!” he sneered.

As the tiara banked off the side of the house and returned in a sharp angle as deliberately calculated by the marvelous Amazon princess, it struck the Rival in the back of the head, and he fell stunned to the ground.

Professor Zoom whirled to be blasted by a strong mental bolt from Captain Comet. He sagged to his knees and remained dazed.

“We did it! Joanie’s fine, too!” said the Sandman.

“We’d better just return her to the big day they left,” said Wonder Woman. “I can do that with another of Paula’s devices.” She gently carried Joan to the plane as the Sandman, Starman, and Captain Comet collected the stunned Zoom.

***

Captain Comet’s relief at seeing the Blockbuster added to the stasis containers at JSA Headquarters was visible.

“You should have seen it,” said Johnny Thunder. “Mister Terrific called the JLA and learned all about the Blockbuster and the fact that he is all tame around Bruce Wayne. Then he had my T-bolt rig us up so that if any of us encountered Blockbuster within that hour of power, he and he alone would see us as Wayne!”

“My hunch paid off,” said Mister Terrific. “I faced him, and when I unmasked, he thought I was his friend. He followed me docilely here.”

The Atom was beaming. “Since when are your hunches ever wrong, pal?”

Entering, Doctor Mid-Nite said, “I just got back from checking on Ted Grant. He’s eager to see you two as well. He’s doing fine.”

“Thank goodness!” said Mister Terrific.

“Hawkman and Fate turned up, too,” said Starman. “They were mixed up with some creep called the Master Summoner. (*) He was behind those weird disasters around the globe that kept the others tied up.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “World on the Edge of Ending,” All-Star Comics #74 (September-October, 1978).]

“They’re taking a well-earned break now,” added the Sandman.

“Now if we can locate the Wizard,” said Captain Comet, “we’ll have beaten his little Secret Society once and for all!”

“Not so fast, my esteemed foe!” said the Wizard as he appeared in a puff of smoke. “I have not been defeated at all. You merely did my grunt work for me!”

And you did mine for me! sneered Zor as he watched from his limbo land prison.

“Get him!” cried the Atom as he jumped a table to face the evil magic-user.

“First, I’ll even the odds!” cried the Wizard. He gestured, and the stasis chambers opened to free his fellow Secret Society members.

“Oh, no! They’re all loose!” said Starman.

“I have a plan!” said Captain Comet.

The Atom belted the Wizard and said, “I don’t, but I’ll improvise — on his chin!”

Star Sapphire flew forward and blasted energy beams toward the Sandman, who rolled aside even as Starman blocked her ray with stellar fire all his own. “I’d say we’re evenly matched, young lady!” said Ted Knight.

“Not while I can do this!” cried Star Sapphire, whirling to fire at Wonder Woman’s exposed back.

The Amazon princess moaned as energy slammed into her and knocked her into Mister Terrific. He fell hard and tried to cushion her own fall. “Mister Terrific’s down!” cried Wonder Woman as she bent over her fallen friend.

The Sandman fired his wirepoon at the Floronic Man. As it impaled his woody form, he laughed. “Your little toy can’t hurt one made of plant life!” he said.

“It can when I activated the electric current option!” replied the Sandman.

Electricity surged into Jason Woodrue, who shrieked as his woody form burned.

Professor Zoom belted Johnny Thunder across the room, then choked Doctor Mid-Nite from behind, all in seconds.

Then the Atom connected again as the Wizard tried use the sorcerer’s glove upon the tiny titan. “I’ll melt you back into subatomic particles!” he cackled.

“Melt this!” said the Atom as he twisted and shoved the Wizard’s outstretched hand into Woodrue.

The magic glove caused the Plant Master more pain, and he lashed out at the Wizard with spores. A choking Wizard gasped a spell, only to receive a left hook from Johnny Thunder.

The Blockbuster whirled to slam both fists into Star Sapphire. He caught her up and threw her into Zoom. “Batman shall die!” he roared.

“You made him see his team as Batman!” said Wonder Woman.

Captain Comet grinned. “It seemed the best tactic!” As he used his mental might to create the image of Bruce Wayne in the Blockbuster’s mind, the brute sat down slowly.

“Mister Terrific will be OK,” said Wonder Woman.

“But will we?” said Johnny. “What’s that?!” He pointed to the burning eyes of Zor as they appeared above them.

One by one, the items gathered as the so-called sorcerer’s treasure from two worlds began to steam forth a mystic cloud and rose to hover beneath the eyes of Zor.

“Something is using the raw magic from the relics to break through to this world!” said Wonder Woman as she drew her magic lasso.

The Wizard choked on the spores and gasped, “Zor! It’s Zor!

“Did he say sore?” said Johnny.

“No, Zor! The Spectre’s old foe!” said Diana.

“He forced me to abandon my revenge scheme upon you to gather the relics!” wheezed the Wizard. “I knew something was not right with me!”

“Say, you! T-bolt, send all that magic to somewhere else!” cried Johnny.

“When it has to get there overnight…” said the pink Thunderbolt, flashing across the relics.

A moment later, Zor screamed as he faded away.

“I think you dispelled his ticket to freedom just in time!” said Johnny.

The Thunderbolt grinned. “Shucks, ’tweren’t nothin’!”

“All that raw magic!” said the Sandman. “Where did you send it?”

“I just said somewhere else!” replied Johnny sheepishly.

The Thunderbolt grinned. “I sent it through the dimensions to a little place called Gemworld. They love the stuff there!”

As the JSAers congratulated Johnny Thunder, they failed to see the Wizard signal a bruised Star Sapphire. Combining the power of the sorcerer’s glove and her gem, the two opened a warp between worlds and escaped.

“They got away!” cried the Atom.

“Back to my Earth, most likely, where I hope to shut them down for good,” said Captain Comet.

“If we can help, let us know,” said Wonder Woman as she kissed Comet on he cheek.

“Thank you all. I hope to see you all again sometime,” said Captain Comet. Shortly after, he used the JSA’s transmatter device to return to Earth-One.

“Interesting man,” said Starman. “I’d liked to have talked more to him about his space travels.”

Mister Terrific nodded. “He seems like a man with quite a few talents of his own!”

They laughed and cleaned up the damage to the JSA Brownstone.

***

The Wizard and his Secret Society of Super-Villains did indeed intend to escape back to Earth-One, but instead ended up in the shapeless void that existed between the two parallel universes. There they would languish for a while, never aging nor needing sustenance to survive in that timeless state in what would seem like months, until finally escaping back to Earth-One via the Justice League of America’s own transmatter device.

The Secret Society of Super-Villains would continue to appear in new groupings, off and on over the years, but the Wizard’s own involvement with the team would end with his defeat at the hands of the Justice League. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Long Way Home,” Justice League of America #166 (May, 1979), “The League That Defeated Itself,” Justice League of America #167 (June, 1979), and “The Last Great Switcheroo,” Justice League of America #168 (July, 1979).]

Strangely enough, despite Captain Comet’s personal vendetta against the Secret Society of Super-Villains, he would play no role in the defeat of this version of the group. Therein lay another tale.

The End

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