by JSAGL, Immortalwildcat, Libbylawrence and Doc Quantum
The assembled JSAers were stunned to see their former member standing before them.
“Daddy?” Helena Wayne, the Huntress, stepped forward to touch the man and was stunned to find him solid and real.
“Yes, Helena, it’s me.”
And the Huntress threw her arms around her father — Bruce Wayne, the Batman.
“Oh, Daddy…” Helena hugged him tighter than she ever had. Dick Grayson, alias Red Robin, slowly made his way over, his legs unsteady as tears forming in his eyes.
“Bruce, I — how?”
With his free arm, Bruce Wayne reached out to his old partner and drew him into the hug — a family reunited, if only for the moment. And Richard Grayson cried as he never had before. “It’s all right, son. I’m here.”
Wiping the tears from his eyes, Johnny hugged the Thunderbolt. “T-bolt, that’s not who I had in mind, but ya did good.”
“Master John, I didn’t–”
Superman saw a commotion amongst the JSA members on the ground. “Great Scott! Is that who I think it is?”
Wonder Woman looked down. “Dear Hera, could it be?”
The high-flying heroes quickly landed. Hawkman, seeing the team assemble, finished off a flying chariot and its occupant and joined them.
“I don’t believe it! How did you get here?” the JSA chairman said.
“The Thunderbolt came for us,” said a grinning Batman. Beside him stood Mister Terrific, Green Arrow, and the Crimson Avenger.
Red Robin was in near shock as he realized fully what was happening. “Batman. Bruce! How–?”
“Easy there, lad. Thunderbolt just brought us from one realm of the afterlife to another. Since we aren’t deities of any kind, we can interfere where gods cannot.”
While a joyful Red Robin, Superman, and Huntress gathered around Batman and expressed their feelings for their cherished friend, Mister Terrific was greeted warmly by the Flash, the Atom, and Wildcat.
“Terry, I can’t say how sorry I am about the Spirit King’s use of my body to kill you,” said Jay Garrick, the Flash. “I could not control myself, buddy. I’ll never get over it.”
Terry replied, “I forgive you. You stopped him in the end, and that’s what counts. Nobody’s perfect!”
They laughed as Wildcat hit Sloane on the arm. “Coming from you, that’s real irony! See, I learned a few things from you, pal. I miss you, too.”
The Atom said, “Terry, you’ve got to know that you were one of the best! A hero’s hero. You may not have been at every meeting, but we all consider you to be a JSAer now and always. Fair play is just the beginning of all you stood for to us.”
Mister Terrific smiled. “That’s good to hear. I’d always doubted my place among guys like Fate, but you were all the best comrades any man could have.”
“Right, now let’s get in there and show these ancient legends how it feels to go up against the best!” With that, the man of a thousand talents leaped to the fore, grabbing one of the circling trolls in a headlock and swinging it around to batter its companions senseless.
Green Arrow reached for an arrow, nocked it, drew back, and let fly. A startled cry from above told him that his arrow had flown true. “Good to see you, Avenger! It’s been a while,” the archer said.
“Same here, G.A.” The Crimson Avenger swung onto the horse of one of the Valkyrie legion, wrestling the lady warrior from her saddle and battling the other flying horsewomen on his own terms.
Below, Johnny Thunder looked on with disappointment. “I thought there would be more than this. They aren’t enough to keep the battle going and let the JSA return. I’d even stay behind forever if we can just get the others back.”
“That’s mighty brave of you, Johnny, but to be honest, we’ve been lucky. Not that many of our comrades have died over the years.” Johnny turned to find the Atom standing beside him. “I just need a minute to get my breath. I haven’t felt like this since the Crisis.”
“The Crisis. Other worlds. Bingo!” Johnny’s face lit up. “Say you, T-bolt! Come here, I have some other folks you can try to get!”
Elsewhere on the battlefield, Sylvester Pemberton, the Patriot, fought off several Viking warriors at once. He was in unique form. He and the others seemed to have become more powerful, more energized, than they had been before. He wondered why, if this was truly Ragnarok, there were no Norse gods present. A thought passed into his mind — that perhaps they had somehow merged with the Aesir, the gods of Norse mythology. No, this was just a passing thought. It was too bizarre to be true.
Even though Sly felt stronger and hardier than he’d ever felt before, he knew that if he didn’t make it back to the others or get some help real soon, he’d be in big trouble. He had become separated from the rest of the JSA and was fighting alone. He, with no weapons but his cosmic converter belt, against thirty-odd ancient Vikings bearing swords. They had surrounded him now. He had been knocking them down with no great effort, but there was now too many of them to deal with that easily. Finally, as he knocked three down in front of him, a fourth drew up behind him and brought his sword to bear upon the back of his neck. Sly realized his predicament two seconds too late. It seemed he was dead for sure.
An emerald shaft shot through the air at the Viking. When it hit the ancient warrior, the tip of it exploded, showering the Viking with quick-setting glue. Sly turned around to look at his savior. And he saw someone — actually a few someones — whom he had never expected to see alive again.
“Oliver?!” Sly cried as he saw the heroic form of the Green Arrow running up to him, followed another familiar figure. “Lee Travis?!” he shouted incredulously and stared at his two deceased comrades, the Green Arrow and the Crimson Avenger. “How? What?”
The two joined the fray, and they had soon overcome the Viking horde. They now had a few moments of peace. “Well, I must say, I never expected to see you fellows again!” Sly said as he first shook the hands of, then thinking better of it, hugged the two men. “How is this possible?”
The Crimson Avenger laughed and replied, “Johnny Thunder’s T-bolt brought us here. He said you needed help.”
“It looks like we couldn’t have come at a better time,” said Green Arrow.
“Oliver! It’s good to see you. It seems like your funeral was only yesterday. You died battling the Anti-Monitor’s shadow demons so recently.”
Oliver Queen, the wealthy antiques collector who as the heroic Green Arrow was a member along with his partner Speedy of the Seven Soldiers of Victory, merely smiled and replied, “‘Tis no greater thing than Lee, here, did, saving the entire city of New York, or his partner, Wing How, when he’d died saving all of us so long ago.”
“Where is he?” said the former Star-Spangled Kid as he realized that their first heroic casualty was strangely the only one missing.
“We don’t know,” said Green Arrow after a long moment as he looked at the Avenger, who obviously had no answer for him, either.
Somehow realizing that the time for their reunion was limited, the Crimson Avenger then stepped up to him. His face was grim. “Sylvester, don’t let us down. Live your life like you have no tomorrow. Don’t say no when an opportunity arises. Find a woman. You never know when you may have to give your life to save another.”
Green Arrow pulled back the intense Crimson Avenger, who was peering into Sly’s eyes with a look of desperation. “I — I will, Lee,” Sly said as the scarlet figure backed away, still staring at him. “I promise.”
The heroic Mister Terrific now stepped up to join them as if waiting for something. “Wow,” said Sylvester. “The legends are all here.” He turned back to see the cloaked figure of the Batman amidst the gathered JSA, several yards away. “Batman — this is all starting to feel unreal.”
“It is time.”
Sly turned back at the sound of the voice. And he was alone. As he ran back to join up with the other JSAers, the memories of his deceased comrades began to fade from his mind, to return to him only at the appointed time.
Hourman yelled as he defended the group from an onslaught of trolls, “Bruce, we’re all glad to see you, but if you’ve got some answers, get to them. I don’t know how long we can keep doing this.”
His arms around his children, the Batman simply smiled. “Then stop fighting.”
The Huntress looked at her father, suddenly suspicious. “D-Dad, what do you mean?”
Batman looked at his daughter, brushing the hair out of her eyes. “So beautiful, just like your mother. Helena, Dick, all of you, you’re fighting the wrong enemy. This is a delusion. Someone’s idea of a game.”
Doctor Mid-Nite sidestepped a snowball thrown by a frost giant. “What are you talking about, Bruce? Who’s behind this?”
Batman looked over toward the Sandman, who had suddenly become stiff and immobile. “Tell them, Wes. You know the secret.”
The Sandman slowly looked upward. “The play is the thing that stirs the conscience of the king. Seasons of mist and death foretold. Look skyward. One man’s toy is a another man’s prison. The Trickster shall see to his own bizarre amusement. I am become Death, the shatterer of worlds. People who live in glass houses–“
And the Sandman crumpled to the ground.
“Of course!” Instantly, Doctor Fate teleported to Superman’s side, bringing Green Lantern and Power Girl with him/her. “Kal-L! Alan! Kara! You must listen. Fly skyward as fast as you can. Alan, your willpower must be stronger than it ever has been before.”
Superman looked at Green Lantern for a moment. Power Girl simply nodded at her cousin, and the three heroes blazed skyward, faster than a speeding bullet. Higher and higher they climbed until finally, a bright light filled the sky, and the JSAers heard the sound of glass shattering in a million tiny pieces as Ragnarok faded around them.