Justice Society of America: Ragnarok Aftermath, Chapter 4: Young Hearts

by Libbylawrence

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Johnny Thunder was discontented as he looked across his plush new office at Peachy Pet Ice Cream. His adopted daughter had turned an idea for a treat into a multimillion-dollar industry after starting with a small investment from Johnny’s savings. Now suddenly wealthy, with an office and mostly ceremonial duties at the company, he was still unsettled.

His youthful features belied his true age due to a case in 1941 that had given him and his JSA teammates extra vitality. His magic Thunderbolt still answered his every, “Say you!” summons. Still, he was missing something in his life.

Then she walked in the door. She was a pretty, youthful woman named Daisy Darling Bronston, and she was the love of his life.

“Daisy, I was just thinking about you!” he exclaimed. “You look like you did when we first met at the store forty-five years ago!”

She smiled. “My sudden youth is one reason I’m here. I just woke up looking and feeling like a girl again. I figured you’d have a answer, since you know Doc Fate and all that. Plus, there’s a problem.” She teared up as he tried but failed to speak.

“Is it Biff? I mean… your husband?” asked Johnny as he flushed with excitement.

“You can call him Biff. He loves that old Calvin College nickname,” she said. “That’s part of his problem. He never got over being big man on campus. He drank and gambled his money away. My money from Daddy is almost gone. We divorced a few weeks ago. It’s final.”

He patted her arm. “Gosh, I’m sorry. Can I help? This sudden youth is like somethin’ that happened to some pals of mine. It can’t be bad, you know that! Where is Biff now?

“He’s coming to the big Calvin College class reunion, and he’s threatened me for money. Oh, Johnny, he’s mad! Please help me!” she cried.

“I’ll do anything for you,” Johnny replied sincerely. “I always would. I never meant to let you leave those years ago. I didn’t think I could offer you what a big shot like Bronston could, and when you broke up with me and left the U.S., I rebounded to a teammate, and that didn’t work, either. Then I lost the T-bolt for a while. Now he’s back — been back for decades. I know a pal at Calvin College. He teaches, and… say, you know, he even went to college with Biff, too, come to think of it!”

“I knew you’d help me,” said Daisy as they embraced.

***

Al Pratt was worried. His wife Mary had been crying ever since they visited her old dorm at Calvin College for the reunion.

“Al, I’ve lived near the college for decades while you taught, but this is my first time actually inside my old dorm room, and it brings back memories. You were just a ruddy-faced boy, and now you’re still boyish and young. My hair is dyed, and I’m like your mother! How can we face our friends?” She began sobbing uncontrollably.

“Honey, you are still beautiful to me. Gray, blonde, or brunette, doesn’t matter a bit,” he said as he held her close. Still, he worried about how she felt.

***

Bill “Biff” Bronston was upset. He had lost all he owned. His wife had been a catch — the debutant daughter of a millionaire — and he had been the all-American football hero and college big shot. Then it fell apart. He drank. Sure, he drank — who wouldn’t? Daisy had divorced him, and he had gambled away his money. With the reunion coming up, he couldn’t face people like his old gal, Mary James, or her runt of a husband without Daisy.

An elegantly dressed man appeared in the dirty hotel room. “Who you?” slurred Biff.

“I am Zor,” he said, looking at the man with disdain. “And I can give you power, you know. I can make you more than a drunken has-been who never grew up.”

“Whas that? Power, you say?” he gasped.

“I know you’ll use it in ways that please me, bringing utter chaos. Your desperation and hate called to me from afar. Here, take my hand, and be more.”

Biff staggered over, and as he did so, he was transformed into a hulking brute. “Now, I am big man on campus, for real!” he said, grinning.

“I prefer to call you Blockbuster,” said Zor.

***

At Calvin College, Johnny Thunder and Al Pratty talked with each other in Pratt’s office while Daisy Darling and Mary Pratt walked around the sprawling campus. “This Biff was a real jerk, huh?” asked Johnny.

“Biff made me what I am, in a way. He tormented me for my entire four years at Calvin before he left for the Army. He’s a thug — always was. I still get worked up thinking about him,” explained Al. “I hated hearing that he had met and married your gal. I never let on what a creep he was, since I didn’t want to make you feel worse. Plus, you left the JSA about that time, too.” Al smiled at his friend and asked bluntly, “So, any chance you might get back with Daisy now that she’s single?

“Gosh! I’d love that,” said a blushing Johnny. “Do ya think her youth was that Odin boon thing? That would almost make it a sure thing that she was meant for me!”

“Hard to tell.” A familiar scream echoed across the campus. “It’s Mary!” yelled Al.

They hurried out to see a transformed Mary Pratt, standing amazed by the campus pond as her long blonde hair shimmered in the fall sun. She looked all of twenty years old.

“That crazy boon strikes again!” yelled Johnny.

“Honey, you look great! You must be around nineteen again!” shouted Al as he lifted his wife in the air in a crushing embrace.

“Al, you JSA boys make life interesting! It’s such a blessing!”

“Yeah, girl look good!” muttered the hulking Blockbuster as he charged out of the woods.

Daisy screamed. “That’s Biff!

“Say you!” cried Johnny as Al dashed off to change into his Atom costume. “Girls, get inside!” ordered Johnny.

The Thunderbolt appeared. “Wow! Nice look for the ladies!

“Girl-watch on your own time, T-bolt!” said Johnny. “Just stop that monster!”

The Thunderbolt streaked forward and was struck by the lumbering brute. “He’s tough!” said the surprised Thunderbolt.

The Atom, having returned in costume, slammed into the Blockbuster with an atomic punch. The transformed Biff grunted and grew bigger.

“Uh-oh!” said Johnny, who screamed as the Blockbuster grabbed for him.

You! I hate you!” grunted the giant.

“I’m not that fond of you, either!” snapped Johnny. Blockbuster fell back as the Thunderbolt blocked his path to his master.

“He gets bigger with each blow!” said Al, and the Blockbuster provided proof of his words as a blast from the pink Thunderbolt made him grow even bigger. “Hey, look at the ground. He’s not getting heavier. See his prints in the mud? He must lose mass as he gains size!” said Al who, due to his diminutive size, noticed the ground a bit more often than most.

“Then give him all ya got, T-bolt!” yelled Johnny.

“Done and done!” replied the Thunderbolt. Pink fire colored the brute, and he shot up until he blocked the very sky. Then he began to fade until he vanished with a faint cry of rage.

“Did you kill him? I didn’t want that!” said John.

“No, suh! He’s alive, just intangible like a big wind,” said the amused Thunderbolt.

“Oh, Johnny, you saved me!” cooed the now-returned Daisy as they kissed.

Al said to Mary, “That creep did have one thing right. You’re a doll!

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