Justice Society of America: 1982: Crisis on Earth-Four, Prologue: Times Present

by Libbylawrence

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On a quiet day at the brownstone headquarters of the Justice Society of America, Hawkman, Hawkgirl, and Wonder Woman sat around the wondrous device called the Magic Sphere.

“I appreciate your coming by like this, Diana,” said Carter Hall, the legendary crime-fighter known as Hawkman. “I know your time is at a real premium, what with a new baby and all.”

Princess Diana, who fought crime in Man’s World as Wonder Woman, smiled warmly at her old friends. “Troy is a handful!” she agreed. “Still, Steve is so delighted to have another child. His career kept him on the go so much when Lyta was an infant.”

“True,” said Carter. “As a war hero, he was always kept busy even for purely publicity-related purposes. Steve Trevor is a walking recruitment poster. Even his very name is associated with daring-do in the skies.”

Shiera Hall, secretly the high-flying Hawkgirl, smiled at Diana. “But it was nice of you to come here just so Carter could satisfy his curiosity about one of his toys.”

Carter grimaced. “I admit my collection does absorb me a bit. Still, you have to agree that — when I can’t identify a piece from my own collection of antiquities — then we have a real mystery on our hands.”

Shiera laughed. “At our house, the husband sure can’t complain about my leaving wet panty hose hanging in the bathroom!”

“Or about your room being full of nothing but shoes,” laughed Diana.

“True,” said Hawkman, shrugging. “My own collection actually takes up a whole wing of Hall Manor.”

Diana picked up the ornate mace. “I can tell you it appears to be Roman in origin,” said the amazing Amazon, “but if you can’t recall how you acquired it, then you deduced correctly that my Magic Sphere is the best method.”

At that, she slid the handle of the ancient weapon inside a slot on the Sphere. A product of Amazonian science, the Magic Sphere was constructed as a time-viewer, enabling scenes from other times and places to play upon its viewing screen. There was nothing like it in Man’s World.

“Fascinating!” said Carter. “After all these years, the way that thing projects images associated with anything placed within it astounds me.”

“Yeah, but does it pick up Dynasty?” joked Shiera as she smoothed her graying auburn locks.

“The mace was just among some of my recently sorted items,” explained Hawkman, “and as I said, I have absolutely no memory of adding it to the collection.”

“Well, I see you gained it a couple of years ago, at least,” added Shiera as they watched a scene in which Hawkman held up the mace for his elegantly clad wife to see. “See that dress I’m wearing? It was a designer gown made just for me in 1982. I recall the dress well, but not the mace.”

“That isn’t so odd, but I have no memory of showing it to you,” he replied. “Play it back for me, Diana.”

The scene shifted to the satellite headquarters of the Justice League of America, where heroes of two worlds had assembled.

“There we are, Diana,” said Carter. “You and I, Helena, Kara, Al, Kent, and Charles.”

“Along with various JLAers,” added Wonder Woman. “That’s strange — the last time I was with them during our annual team-up, you were not. This is a memory I also cannot recall.”

Shiera leaned forward. “This is getting interesting. Can you make it focus on how the whole thing started?”

Diana smiled. “I already have. Watch.”

The Magic Sphere displayed a night scene in an old warehouse. Thugs in purple hoods loaded electronic equipment into a van while nervously searching the street.

“Hurry up!” said one of the thugs. “I don’t want to tangle with Wildcat. As the second generation of the Purple Hood Gang, that’s one tradition I could do without.”

“Ahh, he’s an old geezer!” said a second man, sneering. “I’d rattle his teeth for him. Put a bell around his neck!”

“Yeah, and that Hawkgirl dish,” said a third, “I’d like to pluck her feathers, if ya get my drift.”

In the present, Shiera sniffed disdainfully as she watched the scene from the past play out.

“Really?” asked a mocking, if refined, voice from the shadows. “What would you do to… say, Doctor Mid-Nite?”

“What the–?!” gasped one of them.

“How articulate!” said Doctor Mid-Nite as he crashed into the gang. “You second-generation punks are so cultured. Why, your pop might have just started shooting at me without finding the right words.”

In the present, Hawkman chuckled as he watched on the Sphere’s viewing screen how his old friend took down the mob. “Good old Doc. He always has had a way with words.” Wonder Woman smiled appreciatively.

On the screen, Doctor Mid-Nite punched a thug to the pavement and kicked another one down. He then spun to dodge bullets and flipped over a crate to block his path.

A moment later he hurled a blackout bomb, and the warehouse was suddenly enveloped in blackest night. He possessed the ability to still see clearly, however, and he quickly moved toward the nearest remaining member of the Purple Hood Gang.

Just then, a beautiful woman in dark clothing literally jumped out of the dark cloud around them and high-kicked the final goon to the floor.

“Nicely done! You seem able to see as well as I can. Who are you, young lady?” asked Doctor Mid-Nite.

The pretty dark-haired woman wore a sleeveless, pleated mini dress and boots. She smiled winningly and said, “You can call me Nightshade.”

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