Justice Society of America: 1982: Crisis on Earth-Four, Chapter 4: Nuclear Shock

by Libbylawrence

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Another band of heroes was battling for their lives at a nuclear missile silo.

“Doctor Mid-Nite, can you and Hawkman identify these felons?” asked Superman as he carried a squad of fleeing soldiers to safety on a platform he had hastily built from rubble.

A powerful blue energy blast stuck him as he placed the troops gently down. “Allow me to introduce myself,” said a glowing man, “being perhaps the most senior member of this little group.”

“Doctor Radium,” remarked Doctor Mid-Nite. “You battled Batman and others of us years ago.”

“Indeed I did,” said the lethal madman. “My radium-powered cells give me extra vitality, just as you and Hawkman seem to have aged so well.”

Hawkman grunted as he fought to lower other troops behind a lead fence. “This man is radioactive. Use extreme care,” ordered the JSA chairman.

“I believe I’d better handle him,” vowed a worried Captain Atom as he dropped his one-time girlfriend, Nightshade. She flipped through the air to land perfectly.

Eve Eden was trained by Eastern martial arts experts and the CIA to be a human weapon. She also had unique powers and weapons all her own, one of which was the ability to project an area of total darkness through what she called her ebony bombs. She was able to see well in the darkness, which enabled her to navigate a swath of darkness surrounding the nuclear facility.

Doctor Mid-Nite followed the beauty into the blackness, as he could also see in darkness. “You know, your ebony bombs resemble my own blackout bombs.”

Eve said, “The CIA science expert who developed them was named McNider.”

Mid-Nite smiled knowingly. “Careful,” said the hero. “There’s something not quite right about this particular darkness.” His keen senses, years of experience, and quick reflex actions enabled him to tackle Nightshade and shove her aside even as long, dark arms emerged from the blackness to grab for her throat.

“You know, it’s rare that I encounter anyone able to see in my element, and I meet two of you in one day!” said Carl Sands, the Shadow-Thief.

Elsewhere, Captain Atom was trying to absorb the energy blasts of Doctor Radium. He had little trouble doing so, but he also regretted being forced to stay still while his friends fought for both their lives and their worlds.

The clever Radium spoke persuadingly. “You know, we are two of a kind — good men altered by the forces of science gone mad. We have much in common.”

“Your accident didn’t make you a menace,” Captain Atom replied. “You chose to be one!”

Superman landed next to Zatanna the magician, who in turn was near the armored Son of Vulcan. “That’s odd,” said the man of steel. “Something seems to be speaking to my mind… urging me to attack you.”

Zatanna whirled around to face him. “Fight it,” whispered the beautiful sorceress. “I feel a magic in the air myself. And you are particularly vulnerable to magic-based attacks.”

The Son of Vulcan’s face darkened. “Aye. I also sense much amiss.” He gripped an ornate mace.

Hawkman said, “That’s quite a beauty. Roman in origin.”

Son of Vulcan nodded. “You have an eye for ancient weapons. We have much in common.”

Suddenly, Superman swung at them. “I… can’t… control myself!” he said, gritting his teeth.

A girlish laugh echoed, and a blonde in a skating dress appeared along with an amorous couple dressed like clowns.

“See?” said the Golden Glider. “Combining my hypno-gems with your own alien magic makes for a combination even Superman can’t ignore.”

Jewelee giggled and kissed her husband, Punch. “True. Maybe later we could swap clothes!” said the insipid woman.

Punch eyed the sultry Glider and grinned roguishly. He began, “Maybe we could also swap…” Hawkman silenced him with a kick in the mouth, and the battle continued.

Zatanna motioned with her hands and quickly shouted, “Namrepus, eb dedleihs morf rieht cigam!” using her special backwards magic diction in an attempt to protect Superman. It was a futile effort, since her once-formidable powers had been permanently diminished to the point that she was only able to manipulate the elements of nature — earth, air, fire, and water.

Before she could attempt another, more feasible spell, she found herself trapped as a strong fabric snaked over her boots and wrapped itself ever tighter as it crawled up her legs, hips, and chest, and threatened to smother her.

“Silly string!” yelled Punch. “It’s not so silly when you can’t breathe!”

Son of Vulcan turned to tear at the deadly string, but he was struck by a hurled blazing axe.

“You call yourself Son of Vulcan?” sneered a red-and-gold-armored figure who blazed into view. “Well, prepare to be flayed by one who could be called your sire. I am Vulcan!”

Hawkman slammed his own mace into Punch’s grinning face. Vulcan! mused the Winged Wonder. He almost killed Doctor Fate the last time we fought. I’d better free Superman, or we’ll all be in deep trouble. He risked much by flying away from Zatanna, who struggled beneath the crushing fabric. Hawkman saw Superman tremble as he fought the magical mind-control of the Golden Glider and her new gal pal Jewelee.

“If this can rob Superman of his will, imagine what it could do to less-powerful types,” purred the Glider as she thought of one particular foe back on Earth-One.

Jewelee giggled. “He’s soooo cute when he’s battling for his very soul.”

Superman struggled against the unseen forces that tried to dominate his mighty will. He still fought despite his vulnerability. He still struggled though he was losing the fight. He did so because he was Superman, and in any situation, in any peril, one certainty remained — he would triumph.

He blasted Zatanna with his super-cold breath and smiled as a second expertly aimed blast of heat-vision melted her prison. She gasped in relief and pushed against the pavement to try to rise.

In the darkness not far away, Nightshade ducked the Shadow-Thief’s clutching arms and kicked out.

He groaned as her high-heeled boot struck him. “B-but how–?!” he gasped. “Nobody can touch me in shadow form!”

She smiled winningly. “Oh, but I can,” she said as she dropped him with a right cross. “I can attain a semi-solid shadow form all my own.”

Doctor Mid-Nite smiled approvingly as he raced toward the others. That young lady needs no help from this medical man-turned-author-turned-hero, he thought. Gazing up, he saw Doctor Radium glow brightly with radiation as he approached Captain Atom.

“I can kill you, you know,” Radium said. “I can burn through that protective silvery coat of yours.”

Captain Atom grinned slightly. “Don’t even try it. You see, it’s not meant to protect me. It’s to protect others from my power.” He suddenly made himself immaterial and passed through the pavement below, emerging underneath Radium. He then carried him skyward, ignoring the growing heat.

“I’ll blow us both up if I have to!” cried Radium.

Captain Atom winced. “And I’ll sacrifice myself if need be.” He suddenly let go of his foe.

Doctor Radium screamed and fell toward the ground miles below. Captain Atom waited just long enough for the fall and the shock to stun his foe before he blasted out of the sky to catch the villain and drag him to safety.

Hope Eve is OK, he mused. Hate to see her fall before some unknown enemy from this world or another. I know she can handle the foes we face, but anything goes when you add parallel universes into the equation.

Golden Glider smirked as Hawkman faced her. “My, my, my!” she said. “What do we have here? I regularly duel with a man who can move at super-speed and a senior citizen in feathers thinks he can stop moi?”

“You, in turn, are little more than a psycho Rosalynn Sumners,” Hawkman replied, speaking of the U.S. Olympic figure skater. He dodged her lethal blades and sped off after her as she rode her own icy path through the sky. Golden Glider glared as Hawkman drew closer and closer.

Htap fo eci, enogeb!” cried Zatanna as she caught her breath. Instantly, Lisa Snart’s bare feet kicked desperately, as her icy trail was no more. She screamed as she tumbled toward earth.

Hawkman caught her and tied her up with a net he pulled from his harness. “Dorothy Hamill’s all wrapped up,” he said.

The speeding form of Captain Atom slammed into Vulcan, stopping the villain from cutting off Son of Vulcan’s head.

The alter ego of John Mann grunted. “Thank you, Atom.”

Captain Atom grinned. “No problem. Now show this guy who really deserves the name.”

“Now put out his lights!” cackled Punch as he and his mad spouse drew near to Superman. Punch’s laughter stopped suddenly as Doctor Mid-Nite tackled him, knocking him reeling.

“A guy with a name like Punch invites this kind of reaction!” said a smiling Doctor Mid-Nite as he stunned his blinded foe.

Superman suddenly broke free of Jewelee’s gem’s spell. She turned and shrieked. The man of steel said, “Thanks, Doc. You and Hawkman broke the hold they had on me. Jewelee’s mind alone can’t control me.”

“Eeeek!” screamed the blonde villainess as she whirled around from Superman to stare nose to nose with Nightshade, who had crept closer, smiling all the way.

“Good night, Jewels,” said the alter ego of Eve Eden. She flattened the blonde with one punch.

Son of Vulcan kicked back at Vulcan and said, “Truly, your blazing form would give pause to anyone — anyone who lacks my control of fire!” He smiled and summoned his concentration.

Vulcan’s smoking metallic form began to cool down. As John Mann drew upon the Olympian-born powers that were his alone to command, he cooled the fires within Vulcan’s altered body.

Superman stepped up and said, “May I?”

Mann nodded. “Be my guest.” A sudden attack by Superman left the de-powered Vulcan a beaten man. “Sadly, his fires will again burn anew,” explained the Son of Vulcan. “I could only dampen them but briefly.”

Hawkman said, “Look — the missile silo!” It suddenly flickered away as the one on Earth-One had done.

“The Ghost!” cried Nightshade and Captain Atom in unison.

“Perhaps I can trace the energy pattern,” said Superman.

“Even when we find that madman, we’ll be in for quite a battle,” mused Captain Atom, who was in reality United States Air Force Lieutenant Colonel Nathaniel Adam.

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