Justice Society of America: Ancient Evils: The Shadow War, Chapter 4: Rise of the Shadow Fiend

by Libbylawrence

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Doctor Fate and Green Lantern found their member of the Seven in Bath, England.

“The man we seek is within the prison on the hill,” said Fate. “Why does this surprise you? Even an evil man could have opposed the Shadow Fiend long ago, perhaps out of selfish reasons, or perhaps he was not a criminal in old Egypt.”

Green Lantern nodded. “True enough. I went back and forth with Molly for years when I wondered if she was a crook or an FBI agent, or both. Now, I just wish she was home and safe again. She’s several months pregnant!”

They entered the prison and, with the help of Warden Martin, soon located the man they sought.

“He is a sad case,” said Martin. “He has been here since 1948, when he was brought in for a number of thefts and murders. One of your colorful peers, the Shining Knight, brought down Sir Reginald of Devon. He was more infamously known as Sir Traytor.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Villain of the Ages,” Adventure Comics #142 (July, 1949).]

“Traytor as in traitor,” mused Green Lantern. “Nice choice for an ally.”

“Our allies were determined eons ago, when the shifting sands themselves made a pattern only now becoming too visible for us,” declared Fate.

They met the bearded man called Traytor. “By my troth, two of the famous Justice Society!” he said. “How is your fellow hero, the noble and sickeningly pure Sir Justin? I enjoyed many a year thinking him lost and dead along with the other Soldiers of Victory. It was most upsetting to me to learn they all were hale and hardy!”

“You were a knight of the Round Table,” said Green Lantern. “You know of honor. Now we appeal to you to help us fight the Shadow Fiend as you did long ago.”

“That old spirit of combat drove me for eons,” said Sir Traytor. “I’m immortal, you see. That was why I was able to know Justin as both a peer of Camelot and as the villain of the ages!”

Sir Traytor was indeed immortal, having stolen an elixir of immortality created by the wizard Merlin himself. Using a drop every day for well over a thousand years, the man called Traytor looted the ages in various capacities, such as piracy and outright theft. He stored all his treasures in a secret cave, waiting for them to increase in value. He fought the Shining Knight in 1948, only to neglect to take his daily dose of immortality serum, and in minutes he became a very old man who, apparently, then died.

But after the Shining Knight had handed Traytor’s centuries-old loot over to the United Nations as a charitable donation, Traytor himself returned to life. Having taken the immortality serum — destroyed by the Shining Knight — for so long, it had changed his body’s metabolism. Within hours he had returned to his immortal youth, but it was too late for him. While still in his feeble elderly state, he was arrested for his great thefts and imprisoned. And he had remained behind bars for the past thirty-eight years of his immortal life. He had spent all that time putting a great deal of muscle onto his frame.

“Aye!” he said with a sneer. “I’ll join you for any fight!”


The trio flew off and returned to the Tower of Fate outside Salem. There they were soon joined by Superman, Hawkman, Doctor Occult, and Lagra. Fate quickly used his magic to remove El Espada’s powers of intangibility, and he was delivered to the authorities. There was no sign of the Grim Ghost.

The Atom, the Flash, Chuck Magnon, Traytor, and Green Lantern all joined in a circle, when Doctor Fate solemnly announced that the Orb of Nabu revealed that Wonder Woman, Doctor Mid-Nite, and the blonde Tithonia were now captives of the Shadow Fiend on the Moon, along with the women and Wildcat.

“We must attack now,” said Fate. “If we do not free the maiden Tithonia, then we have failed to reassemble the Seven. Let us be courageous and risk our all, for if we fail, the night shall fall evermore!”

They vanished in a gleam of golden light and reappeared in a huge castle on the Moon. It possessed an earthly atmosphere, and from the wall hung the wives of the JSAers.

“That monster!” cried the Flash. “Look at Joan and the rest — shackled like beasts!

Myra McNider, Lois Kent, Molly Scott, Joan Garrick, and Mary Pratt all stood immobile, blanketed by chains and shadows. Nearby, Wildcat crouched at the edge of a central throne, as did the leering Vampire Master. Orana lounged across a divan, while Niteshade stood caressing a chained Doctor Mid-Nite.

The Flash streaked forward to vibrate the chains loose, only to find himself trapped in total darkness by shadows rising from the floor. He spun at top speed, plunging through the inky substance to emerge in light, but his every step was now at normal speed. “They’ve sapped my powers!” he said sadly.

I’ll teach them about power!” vowed Superman as he ripped the stone slabs from the floor and hurled them into the shadowy form that rested upon a central throne. While the massive stones entered the shadowy throne, they never emerged from the other side.

“The Fiend seeks to manifest more fully!” cried Doctor Fate. “Now free Tithonia at all costs!” The blonde goddess was wrapped in an ebony shroud that left only her eyes free of the smothering fabric. Wonder Woman was nearby in a shroud of similar design.

Doctor Occult waved his Symbol of the Seven, and bolts of bedazzlement brightened the tomb-like chamber. Traytor’s sword darted out to slice through the shadow demons around them, as if by magic. Chuck Magnon and Lagra used their mental powers to blast back such monsters that elongated around them in weird and twisted manner.

Green Lantern stood firmly in the center with both feet planted and his ring held high. “And I shall shed my light upon the dark things, for they cannot stand the light… the light of the Green Lantern!” he intoned as green fire blasted the throne.

Screams echoed from the throne area, and one huge shadow lunged for the emerald knight.

Alan Scott stood his ground as he had done for over forty years in many similar situations. He was powered not so much by a magic ring as by sheer human willpower and drive to achieve victory, no matter what odds and no matter what price it took upon his own health.

The blackness touched him, and at that moment, two colors waged war for mastery. The green and the black battled each other as life and death, good and evil, and hero and villain fought for triumphant success.

The Atom and Hawkman wasted no time on the pawns of the monster. They helped the Flash get away from the troops of darkness, and they wrenched free the chains that held the women they loved. The black diamonds still pulsed on their pale white hands, and even as Al Pratt held Mary James Pratt closely, he felt only the icy chill of the enemy.

Hawkman tried to wake the entranced Shiera Sanders Hall, a woman warrior princess who he had seen fight Nazi troops, super criminals, alien menaces, and other ancient evils. But those flashing, flirting, life-filled eyes he adored were now cast over with deep shadow.

Wildcat capered madly as the Spirit King drove the possessed boxer. “Come, my friends, kill me or be killed, eh? Isn’t that fair play?” sneered the fiend in Wildcat’s body.

While Doctor Occult whispered words of advice to Lagra and Chuck Magnon, Doctor Fate faced the Vampire Master.

His red eyes gleamed, and he hissed, “See the normal life you could have known as a doctor and not a pawn of otherworldly magicians!”

Fate’s helmet gleamed, and no emotions were revealed in his cold tones. “I see the rotting corpse you are, and I see your decay burn away in the white hot light of truth!”

The Vampire Master shrieked. His old foe Doctor Occult had never been this powerful. Fate was much more deadly. The golden light burned through the vampire, and his delusions did nothing to sap Fate’s nigh-immortal power.

The Spirit King laughed as Wildcat slugged the Atom.

Al Pratt turned and knew what he must do. He ducked, whirled, parried, jabbed, and used his atomic punch to knock out the best boxer he had ever known and the closest friend he still had. “Sorry, Ted,” he said as he stood over the fallen Ted Grant. “I’m so sorry.”

The body shivered and lay still as Spirit King manifested, white, lurid, and evil. “I did enjoy that sooo!” he giggled madly. “You just made my day! Seeing one of Mister Terrific’s pals deck the other — ah, what a fair day!”

“Shut up!” said the Atom as he pulled the stunned Wildcat to safety.

The Spirit King sneered at them and drew closer. “Perhaps I’ll take your body next. Or would I be too crowded in such a short, little form?” he laughed.

The Flash was powerless for now, but his keen mind still worked. “Take me again, if you dare!” he yelled angrily. “You used me once before, and I still don’t feel clean!”

The Spirit King laughed. “So I did. That is really why we included you in this little game. I have an affinity for you, so I’ll just take you for a joyride now!”

He entered the Flash, only to whine, “I have no speed! Those shadow demons have drained him dry!”

The Atom connected with a right hook that dropped the Flash as his buddy had planned. “Now you’re out of luck,” he said. “Just try to take my atomic metabolism.”

The Spirit King hesitated, and in that moment of doubt, Doctor Occult jabbed the Symbol of the Seven in his filmy form. He cried out as he was absorbed within the disc. “You’ll walk no more, foul spirit,” said Occult.

The Atom sighed with relief. His friends were free from that decaying touch.

Superman surged up to tear down the shadow throne. “This dump is in need of some renovations! New owners as of right now!” he vowed.

The Man of Steel froze the shadowy shroud holding Tithonia and Wonder Woman, and each woman reacted by using their special powers to shatter or burn free of the now-brittle substance.

“Thank you, Superman!” said Wonder Woman. “Now, I believe we have business to attend to,” she said grimly as she approached Orana.

Tithonia generated an intense light that freed Doctor Mid-Nite as well. He smiled with relief and set about a special plan he had developed while imprisoned. Moving quietly around the huge building, he waited for the right moment.

Orana had tossed the otherwise action-ready Chuck Magnon to the ground with a thud. Her hands were on her hips as she posed defiantly. “Next,” she said with seemingly incredible ego.

Wonder Woman approached her, exchanging glances with her old pal Mid-Nite. He moved quickly and silently, slipping the golden magic lasso from the side of Orana’s hip to around her hips in one movement.

“You will surrender now. You will sleep!” he ordered. The Amazon shook her red-gold curls in disbelief as the doctor’s orders put her helplessly to sleep.

Diana smiled and moved with amazing speed to grab Niteshade and slap her senseless to the floor. “That little exchange of dance partners worked just as we hoped,” she said with a broad grin. Mid-Nite nodded. He still took no pleasure in seeing his former colleague Dr. Louisa Soliz suffer from such obsessive madness.

Superman fell hard as the Shadow Fiend himself turned from battling Green Lantern to focus on the mighty Man of Steel. The black shadow swelled up over him, and a voice as cold and inhuman as night itself rang out, “Your mate was taken purely to lure you here,” said the Shadow Fiend. “Now I shall claim your body and your powers, and enslave a world anew!”

So Superman and the Flash were lured in just so this Fiend and Spirit King could ultimately claim their bodies, mused Green Lantern, catching his breath after risking all against the bodiless Fiend.

Superman’s allies watched with horror as the darkness made manifest enveloped the greatest of the mystery-men.

“Great Hera, help preserve him,” breathed Diana.

Then Lagra screamed out, “Gather to me, heirs of the Seven!”

Traytor slid his sword back in its sheath and ran forward, as did Doctor Fate, Hawkman, Tithonia, Doctor Occult, and Chuck Magnon. They joined hands, using their instinctive motions as one. The focus of their concentration was the ever-powerful Symbol of the Seven.

Superman rose from the darkness, and to the relief of all his allies, the Shadow Fiend fled from him with obvious pain.

“How is it so?” it cried. “I cannot possess this mortal! His very body fills me with pain!”

The Seven used their wills and special gifts developed from either several lifetimes or eons-long single ones to shatter the Shadow Fiend into tiny black fragments that blew away into nothingness.

“By Osiris!” said Lagra. “We have driven his foul presence from this material plane once more!”

The heroes ran to their wives, who now met them with warmth, tears, and true humanity. The black diamonds had shattered along with their creator.

“It is done!” declared Doctor Occult with a welcome finality.

Wildcat and the Flash exchanged words of greeting as Ted Grant became his old self once more. Joan Garrick was swept up in her husband’s arms in the blink of an eye as Jay Garrick’s speed returned to him.

Superman and Lois held each other as the heroes turned to wonder why the Man of Steel had been able to resist the power of the Shadow Fiend when it had tried to possess him.

“Well, just as we figured earlier in the Tower of Fate, he could not take me or anyone else over if I or they were already possessed!” said Superman, smiling.

The Grim Ghost stepped out of the body of Superman. “’Twas a good plan,” said Keith Everet. “I am happy I could fortify you thusly. It has ever been my power to control those with even a tiny spark of goodness about them. Superman certainly qualified easily.”

“Yes, the Ghost stepped into me right before the Fiend attacked,” explained Superman. “He had been invisibly with us all along.”

Green Lantern stepped forward. “I say let’s go home. Let’s walk in the light once more!”

Traytor nodded reluctantly. “I suppose a cell awaits me again.”

“Yes, but after today’s actions, you have some good friends in us,” said Hawkman. “I’d say you earned a new name as well.”

The Justice Society of America slowly departed with the stunned Niteshade and Orana. The Atom smiled happily as he and Mary kissed.

The End

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