Mortimer Drake gazed out the window of his family estate. He was the last of his line. The Drake clan could trace their roots back to the time of the English Civil War, in which they were staunch supporters of the King against Cromwell.
Drake hated to admit that he was the last Drake.
He had never married. He had actually been in and out of jail most of his adult life. Could that change now? He’d retired to this quiet estate in the 1960s. His old enemy Batman had slowed down by then as well. Now Batman was dead, and his sidekick the Boy Wonder was an adult hero in his own right as Red Robin.
Drake recalled receiving a rather sharp kick in the face from that laughing young daredevil back in the 1940s when he had been the criminal called the Cavalier. Still, he held no malice toward Red Robin. It had all been a bit of a lark, really. He saw it as a test of skills, and he knew that as a swordsman he had only been equaled by the late Batman and been surpassed by the late Mister Terrific.
Now he was young again, since he had been one of a throng of super-villains rejuvenated by a lady named Alexis Luthor. (*) He had left the scene of the rejuvenation filled with uncertainty. To be the Cavalier again was obvious; to be a crime-fighting Cavalier now seemed a fascinating possibility.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: JSA Reserves: All This and Earth-Two, Chapter 3: Villains Rejuvenated.]
He was young, active, wealthy — his crimes had been to acquire valuable antiques, not mere living essentials — and had a spirit of adventure. I could fill the loss of the esteemed Batman and Mister Terrific, he mused. But I’ll need one thing first, and it may be impossible to get.
“But where’s life without a bit of sport, eh?” he said aloud.
Red Robin stood poised in the shadows of the rooftop of the Gotham City Police Headquarters, a place he had been many, many times in his life. He saw two figures there waiting for him.
He recognized the one immediately as the older officer who usually operated the Bat-signal. The other man wore a costly suit.
“Red Robin, I appreciate your coming here,” he said.
“I do try to answer the signal, as always,” he replied.
“Yes… a characteristic I once had cause to regret,” said the dashing man, smiling.
“Wait! You’re the Cavalier!” said Red Robin, reaching for his belt.
“Yes. And I want to make amends for my past. I am young again! Young and able to live life anew — on the side of the angels — if you’ll allow it. Do you think you could give me this second chance? I can do good in this city, and we both know how much that is needed since the loss of the Batman. I think he would have embraced the chance for an evildoer to reform, eh?”
Red Robin puzzled this out. Finally he said, “I will do this for you. I will give you a chance to operate here. But if you are tricking us, I’ll bring you down. If you prove an honest man — and I’ll admit you were a man of honor, even as a crook — I’ll vouch for you.”
“Fair enough!” said the Cavalier, extending a hand.
Red Robin hesitated, then thought of his open and friendly mentor and shook Drake’s hand.
William Everett saw Power Girl streak over the city and concentrated. “Oh, yeah! Contact!” he whispered. He jumped off the roof and flew over the city himself.
All right! Call me the new Man of Steel! he thought, exulting in the power of flight as he scanned the city with x-ray vision. He saw a blonde in a shower and looked away. Man! How does Superman avoid doing that by accident? he mused.
He knew that the power he had been born with had been a variant of the powers his grandfather had as Amazing-Man of the All-Star Squadron. He could retain the physical abilities of anyone he made brief contact with. In fact, his own powers would even be one level higher than theirs for the duration of the contact. Since he had only seen Power Girl from a distance, he would only have her powers for around one hour.
Paragon, who wore a black and gold costume, soon spotted a punk robbing an old man. He landed and said, “Leave him alone, you lowlife punk!”
The punk laughed. “A black hero? Never been done here!” he laughed.
Will cringed at the idea that no one really remembered his heroic grandfather’s service during the 1940s — at least not like they did Superman, Wildcat, or Liberty Belle.
“I can stop you easily,” he said. Heat-vision flashed from his eyes, and the punk yelped in pain and dropped his glowing gun.
“You are a superman!” he yelled, and started to run.
Will flew up and over and blocked his flight with his own super-strong body. One touch of a finger sent the punk to dreamland.
“Thank you, sir!” said the mugging victim. “Are you in the JSA?”
“No, sir. But I’m going to be!” he declared.
He flew off and smiled. “Paragon, you are starting off just fine!”
Lana Lang had her looks, youth, and powers back. She exulted in all of the above, and perhaps, truth be told, she delighted in being a knockout again more than the other changes.
Since her Insect Queen broach had restored her youth in what seemed to be a new body exactly like her old girlish one during her accident fighting the evil Prankster, she had stunned all her co-workers with her newfound old glamor. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Insect Queen: The Last Laugh, or Cocoon.]
Lana, you are a babe, as the kids say! she mused.
She also decided to restart her career as Insect Queen and this time make a name for herself as a super-heroine. “I may even join the Justice Society!” she said with a girlish giggle.
The heroic candidates already seen were not the only people planning new starts. One who envisioned a bright and different future for himself was full of evil intent.
The man named Funnyface was young again due to the rejuvenation done by Alexis Luthor. Unlike the Cavalier, he hoped to return to crime, but in a bigger way than ever before.
He had the stuff this time. Before he could create drawings of other people’s creations and watch them have a semblance of life. Now he had made contact with a force that once even put the Justice Society temporarily at bay. But the man who had used the magic paint before had known little of crime, and Funnyface had been a successful criminal for decades, since most of his crimes had not been traced back to him. He was also a practical artist, not a dreamy highbrow type like the last user of the Atlantean paint that brought drawings to vivid life.
Sitting at his drawing board, he planned his new and lethal team. Superman and the JSA would pay for putting him in jail and making him humiliate himself in public by being beaten so easily.
“Now, who can take on the legends of the Justice Society, hmmm?” he mused, sketching furiously.