Justice Society of America: 1982: Crisis on Earth-Four, Chapter 2: The Myriad Ways of Destiny

by Libbylawrence

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The Magic Sphere now displayed the Justice League of America’s satellite headquarters, where members of three worlds — the JLA, the JSA, and the Sentinels of Justice — had assembled to solve this menace from the latter team’s world.

A man in a simple suit appeared normal amongst the colorful costumes until one took into account the jarring fact that he had no face. The Question shook his head as he scanned the high-tech headquarters. “Must be cozy up in this ivory tower in space,” he said. “A guy could forget the pain and the injustice out of sight below unless he had a real conscience.”

“Listen, you Objectivist refugee from Dick Tracy,” snapped Green Arrow, “we don’t forget about the man on the streets below. We just don’t let ourselves get so wrapped up in self-righteousness that we can’t see outside our own blurred faces!”

“Easy, G.A.,” warned Black Canary. “He’s on our side.”

I wish I was on my side NEXT to her, thought the Blue Beetle as he watched the fish-netted beauty try to calm the battling bowman. That is, he quickly amended to himself, if I wasn’t already married to the prettiest girl in Hub City. Sorry for my wandering eye, Tracey.

The Atom of the JSA — whose real name was Al Pratt — said, “That Green Arrow kid sure loses his temper at the drop of a feathered hat.”

Doctor Mid-Nite grinned. “He lacks your cool, calculated demeanor, Atom,” he said with a hint of sarcasm.

Power Girl elbowed Huntress and said, “That guy looks like he could chew lead.” She was pointing at the Son of Vulcan. “Pretty tough for a guy in a skirt.”

The Huntress said, “Hush, Kara. It’s Roman battle gear. Honestly, I can’t take you anywhere!”

“I’m just kidding,” said Kara. “Anyway, loosen your bat-girdle. He can’t hear us.”

“One with the ears of Melampus and the discernment of Minerva can detect both your smug comments and your insecurity lurking beneath a facade of aggression,” said the Son of Vulcan.

Power Girl remained silent, pouting because she had been found out.

Captain Atom cleared his throat as Firestorm eyed Power Girl uncertainly across the room. “Friends, I have brought my allies in the Sentinels of Justice to your worlds because a band of the worst villains our world has to offer has journeyed ahead of us, and we need your help to stop them. We don’t know their purpose or their plans. We just see them for what they are — evil men and women from our world loose on two alternate worlds in need of defending.”

Superman of Earth-One nodded. “Captain, we’re yours to command.”

Green Lantern said, “Inspiring fellow. Must be military beneath that silvery shell.”

Wonder Woman said, “The Son of Vulcan tells me that the goal of the villains is one that would please Mars. I need not tell you how sinister that makes it.”

A quiet woman in red and gold whispered to Nightshade in a slight Japanese accent, “Eve, how did we get here, anyway? I mean, one minute I was fighting a gang of drug runners in Tokyo, and the next I was seeking the help of another world’s hero called Zatanna. I only knew I had to find her to stop a great evil. I’m a martial artist, not a magic user. This spooks me.”

Nightshade said, “I’ve seen dark realms of magic, and I know the stranger who gathered us meant well, Tyger.”

Doctor Fate stepped forward. “I sense they speak the truth, and what is more, I can detect the villains they seek. We must divide and conquer this group of other-dimensional felons wherever they lurk.”

“Of course, the truth is obvious to you, good Fate,” said a dark-clad man who apparently had not been present mere moments ago.

“Oh, it’s you,” said Zatanna as she listened carefully. “That explains much.”

“He is the stranger who sent each of us here and enabled us to get here,” said Peacemaker. “At first we’d mistaken him for our world’s Mysterious Traveler.”

“Men call me the Phantom Stranger, and it has ever been my duty to bring those who have the power to help mankind to where they may best may use those gifts,” said the honorary JLAer.

“Stranger!” said Superman as he shook hands with the man in black. “I’d say it’s good to see you, old friend, yet through no fault of your own, whenever we do see you, trouble follows.”

“Such are the myriad ways of destiny,” said the Stranger.

“Cut to the chase,” interrupted Green Arrow. “Where do we go, and who do we pair up with? I’ve danced this dance before.”

Black Canary said, “Excuse G.A. He’s well intentioned, if a bit headstrong.”

The Question nodded. “I was hasty, too. I’m a bit out of my element up here in space among goddesses and wizards and aliens.”

Black Canary crossed her legs and smiled. “You get used to it.”

Blue Beetle said, “Don’t worry, pal. Just stick with me — we’ve made a good team before.”

The Question said, “I agree. I know evil is evil, and it may even take the form of a man in a suit. Joe Respectability has a dark underside. Still, this cosmic stuff gives a man pause.”

The Atom of the JLA, whose real name was Ray Palmer, said, “From the point of view of a man of science, I’d like to know who each of you are and what you do, if you get my point.”

“Fair enough,” said Captain Atom. “Let’s get to the danger spots and explain ourselves as we go.”

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