The elite of the Metropolis city government and the press, including Daily Star City Editor James Olsen himself, personally covering a story in a rare outing, gathered around the decorated bandstand.
The mayor coughed nervously. Superman is like an old friend. He’s so familiar, but this… Power Girl makes me a little nervous. Feel like she’s laughing at me, thought the official as he fingered a medal. He glanced upward where colorful banners proclaimed the day to be in honor of Power Girl. She has saved the city a few times, too, and the JSA vouch for her… but that costume!
A roar of approval for that costume and the magnificent blonde wearing it swept through the crowd as Power Girl alighted on the stage. She smiled for the press, accepting the mayor’s windy speech and his medal of honor with a bemused look on her pretty face. “I thank you all for your acceptance of me. Superman and I are glad to serve you.” As she spoke, it was to the crowd, not to the mayor, to his decided annoyance.
From on high watched a figure equally annoyed and nervous. This is it. I’ve been out of jail for three days, mused an old man named Lefty Burkowitz, who was sitting of the roof of City Hall. After years rotting in a Gotham jail, thanks to Batman, I’m free. (*) But if this plan fails, even though the money was great and the boss is a real genius, I’ll be back for life. I’m sixty years old. How long do I have, anyway?
[(*) Editor’s note: See Adam Blake: Times Past, 1955: Blake’s Bullet.]
The man known as the second Deadshot aimed his special rifle and fired. The projectile hit Power Girl in the back, and a green spray oozed out to envelop her muscled form. She gasped and fell forward as the green mist covered her body. The mayor hovered uncertainly as the police raced to the City Hall steps. From above, Deadshot hurried down to the rear. I hit her; I’m still the best marksman alive… but so winded, he thought. Can’t get down in time.
“You’ll pay for this, you killer!” said a sexy-looking blonde who suddenly blocked his path. The criminal tried to aim his wrist-gun, but she was already ducking and charging him. She hit him in the nose, and as blood started to drip from it, she connected once more with a high kick that sent Deadshot to dreams of better days.
The new Black Canary, tipped off by Sam and his special radio, had arrived in time to bag the killer, but not in time to stop him from wounding Power Girl.
The police carried her off and treated her with the anti-kryptonite spray that the Metropolis medical team had carried with them routinely for the last decade or so. “She’ll be OK,” said one worried doctor. “The projectile didn’t pierce her skin, but she’s had a poisoning from it. I guess some rest will restore her in a week or so. Maybe Superman can speed that up.”
As the new darling of the media, the Black Canary posed for the press. She hoped Power Girl would be all right as they claimed. If only Sam had picked up that news about a lurker sooner! I was too slow.
Doctor Mid-Nite approached her, as did the Hawkman. “Miss, you’ve saved two JSAers in a week,” said Mid-Nite. “How about visiting our headquarters to talk things over? I’d like to know how you got that suit.”
Black Canary smiled with pleasure. Sam’s right. I’m on my way!
Angel O’Day was thrilled to be sitting in the famous brownstone headquarters of the Justice Society of America. She crossed her fish-netted legs and smiled happily. Across from the new Black Canary sat Doctor Mid-Nite, Hawkman, and Wildcat. The Huntress sat nearby, as did the Flash. Angel saw photos of heroes, like the recently deceased Mister Terrific and Batman, as well as newer members like the currently absent Star-Spangled Kid.
“I found the costume and a diary belonging to the real Canary, Mrs. Dinah Lance,” Angel explained. “I sort of fell into filling her part recently. I’ve trained, and I’ve got this ‘canary cry’ that should help, too. It’s been a honor to just meet you all. You’re legends to me! Why, back home in Virginia, I…” She stopped and giggled nervously. “I’m babbling. Sorry. Could you tell me what became of Dinah Lance?”
Hawkman cleared his throat and said, “She moved to another Earth after the death of her husband. She’s a member of a team there based on our group. I believe, from what I’ve read recently and Green Lantern and Power Girl say, you’d make Dinah very proud. Consider yourself a potential candidate for membership.”
While the team gathered around to welcome their newest member in the JSA Headquarters, Sam was busy in his lab. Watching a monitor, he smiled, smoothing his white fur, as he spoke in decidedly sinister tones. “Now, my Angel — my Trojan horse — fulfill your destiny and destroy my foes.”
Activating a device, he laughed a mad laugh quite unlike the demeanor he had showed Angel O’Day for the last few months. Now he was acting much more like his true self. Previously he had been known to the JSA as the Ultra-Humanite, or Ultra. In decades past he had occupied the bodies of a lovely woman and a dinosaur, and he had even been a giant insect, but now, in this new ape form, power and agility was added to his mighty brain, all working for his goals of conquest. How he had hated playing mentor to the insipid girl.
Angel O’Day’s crime-fighting abilities and her sincere love of heroism made her an all too useful a pawn, however. He had hired this Deadshot and the Strike Force for the sole purpose of falling to his Black Canary and helping her win the trust of the JSA. She knew nothing of this plan, of course. The foolish child thought he was genuinely guiding her to heroic fame. Well, she would be famous as the woman who killed several legends against her will.
The Huntress was puzzled. “Excuse me, Angel, but I have to ask: Just how did you get to save Green Lantern so soon, when there were no alarms or police bulletins? And what tipped you to Deadshot’s plan to kill Power Girl?”
“My friend Sam alerted me,” explained Angel, “and he picked up reports via a special radio he invented. He trained me. He’s a mutated ape that–”
“OK, sister,” interrupted Wildcat. “Try a new one!”
Hawkman stopped him. “I’ve seen weirder life forms. I accept Angel’s claim, but let’s meet this Sam.”
At that second, Ultra hit his device, and Angel’s ruby-red lips pursed. Her sonic canary cry exploded in uncontrolled force while she struggled helplessly to contain it. The Flash, Hawkman, Wildcat, the Huntress, and Doctor Mid-Nite all fell to the floor in pain as the waves of sonic power hit them, and they could do nothing in time to stop the assault. Angel turned away, but the sheer force of the cry kept her pinned in one spot.
The Ultra-Humanite exulted in his lab, which he hastily prepared to depart. At that moment, an unlikely hero walked into the JSA Brownstone and grabbed his ears. “Say, you should stop that noise, T-bolt!” yelled Johnny Thunder.
Johnny’s magic Thunderbolt shot forward, and with a gesture he silenced the scared and guilty-looking Angelique O’Day. She gasped with pain as the blasts of sound stopped.
“You’re not Dinah’s daughter, are ya?” Johnny said, blinking.
“No, she’s not, Master J,” replied the Thunderbolt with a sardonic smile.
Angel hastily tried to explain who she was as they assisted the other JSAers to their feet.
“With Green Lantern and Power Girl hurt in their fights, you had a real advantage against us,” said Wildcat angrily.
The Flash shot forward, placing himself between Wildcat and Angel O’Day, who was weeping. “Whoa, Wildcat! She’s just a pawn. She couldn’t help herself. It’s this Sam who set us and Angel up. Let’s get this top ape!”
Johnny Thunder nervously introduced himself to Angel as the team flew above the city in their Sky-Skinner. “I saw you in the news, and I honestly thought you were my old pal Dinah’s girl,” said Johnny. “You see, Dinah died, and her daughter took her place on another planet.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Doppelganger Gambit,” Justice League of America #220 (November, 1983).]
Angel frowned. “I thought she was on that Earth herself.”
“Johnny let a JSA secret out too soon,” said Hawkman. “Even Canary’s child — the new Canary — does not know she isn’t the original yet. We thought it would spare her pain… and save you some confusion.”
“Ah, gosh, fellows! I didn’t mean to mess things up,” muttered Johnny with a frown.
“You saved us all,” said the Huntress as she patted Johnny’s arm.
“There’s Sam’s lab,” Angel said, pointing it out as thoughts of how Sam had used her and lied to her raced through her young mind.
When they entered the lab, an impulse chimed, and a detonator clicked. Outracing the electrical impulse from the door sensor to the detonator, the Flash vibrated his hand through the wicked trap and shattered it harmlessly before it could explode.
“That would have been one big mess,” said Jay Garrick.
“Nice work, old pal,” said Hawkman.
“So, where’s old Sam?” asked Wildcat as they glanced around the lab.
“This is a state-of-the-art lab,” said Doctor Mid-Nite, “and the examination I conducted on Miss O’Day before we left headquarters shows that a skilled, technical mind created her voice power. It is now defunct, I fear.”
“I don’t care,” said Angel. “I’m just sorry about all that happened. I can’t join you now, at least not until I think some things over back in Virginia.”
“We can trace this ape easily,” said Hawkman as the others tried to persuade the new Black Canary to join them.
“Hey, I almost got us all killed a couple dozen times, and they still keep me in!” spouted Johnny.
“I said we can find Sam, right, Johnny?” said Hawkman with a slight edge to his voice.
“Sure we can. Uh… how?” asked Johnny.
“Use the T-bolt!” shouted all the JSAers at once.
“Say, you could bring Sam to us in a cage!” said Johnny, finally seeing the light.
The Thunderbolt sat up from where he had been leaning against the wall on one elbow. “Done, oh befuddled one!”
There suddenly appeared before the team a caged and frantic Ultra-Humanite. “How?!” shouted the mad ape. “That idiot? I never planned for him to turn up!”
“Those cold, inhuman eyes,” said the Flash, squinting. “Even in furry form I recognize them. You’re our old pal, Ultra-Humanite!”
“Of course, Luthor, Doctor Light, Per Degaton… they all have cold eyes, too,” quipped Doctor Mid-Nite.
“So does the Golden Wasp, the Joker, Doctor Darkk, Nyola, the Fiddler…” continued Wildcat.
The Ultra-Humanite scowled as Angel O’Day approached. “How could you use me like this, Sam?”
“I am not your Sam,” said Ultra coldly. “It was an act to gull you, you insipid girl. All you are to me is a means to an end. Now lock me up and spare me your puppy-dog looks.”
Full of sadness, the new Black Canary left Gotham City after making it her home for some months. Returning to Virginia, she continued to work solo as the Black Canary with considerable success. Angel O’Day knew that the Justice Society might welcome her back again, if she wished, but she was not ready. Maybe someday she would be.
Meanwhile, the Ultra-Humanite had prearranged his escape and quickly disappeared from the JSA’s grasp, only to return to plague both the Justice Society and the Justice League of Earth-One after forming a new Secret Society of Super-Villains shortly afterward. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Targets on Two Worlds,” Justice League of America #195 (October, 1981), “Countdown to Crisis,” Justice League of America #196 (November, 1981), and “Crisis in Limbo,” Justice League of America #197 (December, 1981).]