Meanwhile, the second group of heroes reached a sandy beach near Hawaii. Hawkgirl stretched luxuriously and thought, Maybe I can soak up some sun after all!
Hawkman grimly led them down to a device like the one their pals had located in the distant past. “That’s the source of the energy flare,” he said. “It’s manmade and clearly something designed to lure us here.”
Superman nodded. “No doubt about it. I doubt it has any real power. It’s a glorified beacon and nothing more.”
“My ring has neutralized it,” said Green Lantern. “Odd — it truly emitted dangerous energies when we tried to track it. It’s almost like it was designed to fool my ring and Fate’s magic.”
“We’ve been sent on a wild goose chase,” concluded Hourman. “Morrow was sincere, though. He truly was led to think that Earth was in peril. Could the real threat be elsewhere?”
Hawkgirl tossed back her auburn curls and said, “So, while we’re here, what’s our mystery foe up to?”
Green Lantern concentrated and said, “If he fooled my ring once, then we may not find him, but I’m going to give it my all.” Emerald fire blazed as his face grew more resolute, and his powerful will surged in the green glow of his ring.
The answer to that fateful question was complex. Brainiac had used the advanced science at his disposal to travel back in time until he confronted an angry, red-haired man in an isolated lab. “Who dares invade the sanctum sanctorum of Alexei Luthor?” shouted the evil genius.
Brainiac stared at this infamous figure who had so dominated his own creator’s life. Leonel Novak, sometimes mistakenly called Martinson after a scientist he had once impersonated, had been the most senior of all of Luthor’s many aides. “One who dares much, and succeeds as well,” said Brainiac as his eyes gleamed, and a bolt of white light shot forth to stun Luthor.
“Initial calculations confirmed,” said Brainiac. “Luthor alive and active at this lab circa 1942. Speculation: he may offer me more than merely a weapon.” He placed the stunned man in his arms and carried him to a lab table. In minutes, a spidery network of wires and cables connected the two odd figures, and energy hummed.
Brainiac turned from the groaning figure and vanished with a clear tube that dominated the lab. “Success to be determined later,” he said. “Process of an unknown duration. Prognosis: hopeful.”
Back on the stolen ship of Gary Concord, Madame Mayhem laughed and greeted the inhuman figure. “Hi, honey, you’re back early. I’m concerned about the Beaver!” she joked.
Brainiac smiled slightly. “Humor. Satire of a sort.”
She draped one arm around his neck. “Very good. I’d say you were almost becoming human, if I didn’t know better.”
He remained silent but smiled enigmatically. “I have the object we so desired. Did the receptors absorb the energies we sought?” he asked.
She nodded. “Oh, yes. Green Lantern’s little toys and Fate’s magic were used as we hoped. I believe we even contained some of Thunder’s magic, too. Getting them to use their powers in such a manner fed our vitamins nicely.”
“Excellent,” said Brainiac. “Feed the energy pods to the tube I have brought. Our own ‘child’ awaits his birth!”
In the far future, the team of the Atom, Wildcat, Wonder Woman, Doctor Mid-Nite, and Doctor Fate located their own energy beacon, and Fate’s golden magic neutralized it with ease. The part of the composite being that was Inza Nelson said, “Kent, was this a bit too easy?”
Kent replied mentally to his soul mate, “Yes. I wonder if we might not be doing exactly what our unseen foe wants us to do.” He then spoke through Fate audibly, “Wonder Woman, I ask you to place this device within your fabled Magic Sphere!”
Wonder Woman smiled knowingly. “Of course. We can do so immediately.” Doctor Mid-Nite watched silently. He was impressed as ever by his friend’s ability to accept the bizarre. The Amazon princess was always ready for any challenge, as befitted one who had battled Nazi spies, mythical monsters, and living trees in her time.
The Atom paced restlessly. “So, my big idea about dark matter was nothing more than a red herring! I’d better stick to just hitting things.”
Doctor Mid-Nite took his arm as they all vanished in Fate’s magical flash. “Don’t be so hard on yourself. The quintessence energies exist. They just have nothing to do with this particular threat. Someone wanted us to jump at the most reasonable solution in order to get us out of the way.”
The Atom nodded. “Sure, but I would be the guy who came up with the wrong answer he wanted us to find!”
Before long, Wonder Woman turned to her friends in dismay. She had placed the now-inert energy beacon within the amazing Magic Sphere, and she shook her head in surprise. “It shows the same exact void we saw when Morrow activated his viewer,” she said. “The device was apparently made within some area or field that defies even the Sphere’s magic!”
“By the Eye of Ra, I command thee to reveal thyself!” said Doctor Fate. The mage’s amulet opened, and its light enveloped the device until a faint energy pattern appeared.
“Good work, Doc. You’ve given us a path to our enemy!” said the Atom.
Doctor Mid-Nite nodded. “Doctor Fate’s come through for us once again!”
Wonder Woman frowned as they gazed at the gleaming path. “Hera help us! That leads to Metropolis!”
Brainiac and Madame Mayhem watched as their craft hovered over the city Superman had served so long. They knew their foes were coming, and the red-haired woman was eager for battle. “Thunder’s power almost foiled us,” she said. “Luckily, the amount of the Thunderbolt’s energy that I absorbed countered his efforts to come directly to us. He’s far more clever than people think. As such, an ordinary-seeming man among aliens and Amazons and wizards, he fools the unwary into dismissing him. Still, Terry Sloane respected him, and that says much.”
Brainiac nodded. “The creature is ready. He shall avenge my lost home and my creator!” He pressed a button as the JSA assembled below his concealed craft.
Superman turned to the others. “You’ve all arrived here via different means, but we must be correct. The source of this plot is my old stomping grounds.”
Power Girl smiled. “It’s always about you, isn’t it?”
“Look!” said Green Lantern. “Something is dropping out of the clouds! I’d say that means we have a cloaked craft above us!”
“So?” said Power Girl. “I’ll break it, and we’ll get pizza at the Brownstone.” She flew toward the dropping figure and frowned as the shapeless form began to change into a humanoid shape. The pinkish being extended one arm and struck her with enough force to send her spinning down like a blonde rocket.
“Great Scott!” cried Superman as he saw his cousin fall. He prepared to catch her, but Wonder Woman was faster, and her golden lasso spun out to snare the Kryptonian and reel her to safety.
“Thanks! You can take the rope off now,” said a dazed Kara Zor-L.
Red Robin smiled as he saw his lover was unhurt. “Maybe I could borrow that lasso sometime?”
Green Lantern and Doctor Fate closed in on the tall, pink, glowing figure. “Well, old friend, we should be able to shut down this thing swiftly enough!” said Green Lantern. Doctor Fate agreed as the vaguely human figure stood passively. At once it blasted out from both directions without raising an arm. Energy struck the valiant pair as they started to close in.
“Odd! Those blasts came directly from its body, not its hands,” mused Red Robin. “It’s almost totally pliable!”
Hourman activated his hour of power and charged toward the creature, which was now on the ground. The man of the hour landed a right hook that barely moved his foe. The being gestured, and emerald energy lanced out to cage him in a network of fibers. “This is like G.L.’s energy!” cried Hourman as he waved to the Sandman.
Nodding, the Sandman grabbed a wooden bench and hurled it toward the creature. The green fire faded as the being was hit by the wooden bench.
Doctor Mid-Nite helped Hourman up and called out, “It has the ring’s weakness, too!”
Superman and Wonder Woman charged toward the monster, only to be caught as it elongated and swallowed them entirely within its suddenly gaping maw.
The Atom slammed his fists against the pavement and rocked the monster slightly. “G.L., can you drain this thing?” he asked.
Green Lantern stood up shakily and said, “I’m going to try, but it’s made of more than my energy!”
Red Robin and the Huntress exchanged quick ideas. As one they raced toward Johnny Thunder. “Johnny, have the T-bolt try to will the thing to melt. Doc Fate, do the same!” called Red Robin.
The woman called Inza whispered to her mate within Fate, “He’s right. This golem is made of all our energies.”
“G.L., don’t try to absorb them back!” warned Red Robin. “Just try to control them, since they may still be linked to you!”
Doctor Mid-Nite smiled. “Good plan! Red Robin has his mentor’s keen mind. I’ve always known that.”
Johnny Thunder, Doctor Fate, and Green Lantern obeyed the guardian of Gotham, and three powerful wills began to try to control part of the energies that seethed within the pinkish creature.
The Atom yelled, “Let me try something while they’ve got a hold on it!” The champion of Calvin City jumped directly into the creature and slammed both atomic-powered fists into the currently inert being. The explosion tossed the Atom backward to where the Sandman and Hourman caught their friend.
“Are you OK? You seemed to scatter that thing’s body like dust in the wind!” called Hourman.
The Atom grinned. “Glad I did something right!”
“It’s not pink now!” cried Power Girl. “It’s sort of celestial!”
Brainiac laughed in his craft above. “They did rob our pet of their stolen energies, but even in his natural form of cosmic energy, our Galactic Golem should triumph!”
“Its unique properties already claimed Superman and Wonder Woman!” said Madame Mayhem.
The craft shook suddenly as three figures entered from above. Brainiac frowned as the Hawks and Wildcat entered the ship. “They silenced the security. How unlikely,” he said.
Wildcat smiled. “Got to give credit to the Kryptonian kids! They spotted your craft and tipped us off via their super-ventriloquism.”
Hawkman tossed a mace at the bank of machines and started a fire. “Madame Mayhem!” he said. “A bad seed like you never stays down for long!”
Hawkgirl kicked out at the woman who spun around, caught her leg, and twisted with a precision that was one of many, many talents. “You know, for a woman who can’t offer anything but cheesecake, you do annoy me!” said Madame Mayhem as she wrestled Hawkgirl down. “I’m surprised someone didn’t kill you decades ago!”
The feathered femme fatale struggled with her better-trained foe but was losing rapidly. “You disgrace the true Geri!” she yelped in pain.
“Thanks, honey! That’s music to my ears!” said Madame Mayhem. Wildcat connected with a left hook that caused the angry woman to drop Hawkgirl. “Uncle Ted! How nice. Maybe I can end one or nine of your lives!” she said. He grunted and tackled her as she tried to dodge. He was angry, and he knew that made him sloppy, but seeing this living mockery of his old friend’s daughter Geri Sloane shook even his battle prowess a bit.
Hawkman helped his bride up and said, “That leg is sprained. Just hover, hon!” She nodded and tried to shatter more of the machines that lined the craft. “You are some type of robot,” said Hawkman. “I’m pulling your plug, pal!”
Brainiac smiled and said, “Correction. I’m plucking your feathers.” He gestured, and a glowing energy bubble closed around Hawkman. “I can raise the temperature to a level at which your bones shall turn to pulp!” said the synthetic man.
“Not if we can stop you!” cried a powerful voice as two colorful figures entered the ship.
Below, the Galactic Golem fought the heroes, displaying more of its remarkable properties.
The agile Huntress wasted no time trying to stop the creature. She knew her skills were better-suited to keeping others out of harm’s way. Thus she, the Sandman, and Doctor Mid-Nite cleared the area and tried to aid their more powerful friends. “That golem is not truly alive,” she said, “but I see now we were sent on that wild goose chase purely so those devices could tap the powers of G.L., Fate, and Johnny! I feel like I’ve seen those weird cosmic energies before during the red skies of the Crisis!”
The Sandman nodded grimly. “Exactly! That thing is not just a golem made of cosmic energy or stellar fire. It’s composed of the specific energies unleashed during the Crisis! Someone must have captured some of that particular time’s ever-changing energies for their own dark purpose!”
Power Girl flew higher and still heard her friends below. She shuddered. Great Krypton! What if the time-and-space-displacement power that was so evident then when dinosaurs mingled with space men or the antimatter force that wiped out whole worlds is within that creature! Poor Clark and Wonder Woman could be lost forever! she mused.
Kara decided to risk all to stop the monster, so she swooped down with all her considerable speed and might and gripped the creature while vibrating at superhuman speed. They vanished in a flash as Red Robin and Doctor Fate reached the now-empty spot.
“Kara!” gasped Red Robin.
Green Lantern called out, “She’s not gone! She used her speed to vibrate herself and the monster out of sync with our realm.”
“And what she started, the power of Osiris shall finish!” vowed Doctor Fate. The golden ankh glowed and seemed to burn the very air where the pair had stood.
The mage staggered, and Green Lantern gripped his old friend’s arm. “Are you hurt?” he asked.
Doctor Fate answered in the tone that was neither Kent nor Inza, “I am weakened, but well. Kara’s sacrifice shall be for the good of all. I have trapped that Golem between realms, much as the Spectre himself was once imprisoned briefly as a fly in amber! It may neither enter this realm nor exit it completely again!”
“So it’s now part of the very barrier that keeps the Earths apart!” said the Atom.
Power Girl fell out of thin air and said, “You could say that! I’m never going to try to break something the Monitor set up again! I could not have done so, anyway, but just getting close to the portals wiped me out. I left that ugly goon there and got out just as Fate sealed it inside.” Red Robin hugged her as they were shielded from the eyes of passersby by Fate’s magic.
“Just as the Crisis itself will never occur again or break those borders, so shall the Golem remain a part of those walls!” said Doctor Fate.
“But what about Superman and Wonder Woman?” said Johnny Thunder.
Power Girl smiled. “My cuz tipped me off via super-ventriloquism just before I trapped that thing. He and Miss star-spangled panties warped via that thing’s energy but came back via her mental radio link to Paradise Island. She keyed in on the signal, and he flew them home.”
Superman suddenly appeared, carrying the damaged ship of Gary Concord. “In fact, we even gained a bit of time due to the warp!” he said. “We arrived above almost as soon as we left. That enabled us to help Hawkman shut down the ship!”
Wonder Woman led out a bound Madame Mayhem. “The lasso’s magic keeps her helpless. She has much to account for. I fear she killed the man who truly owned this ship. His body is aboard.” Madame Mayhem remained silent. Her eyes flashed hatred, but in the grip of the princess, she could not resist the magic lasso.
“The ship’s time and space devices enabled them to trick Morrow,” said Superman, “and through him lead us on the errands that sapped some of our energies to fuel that Galactic Golem. The creature was apparently made from Crisis cosmic energy siphoned off during some era affected by the red skies back then.”
Brainiac’s inert form lay aboard the wrecked ship. Red Robin said, “What is that? A cyborg?”
Superman shook his head. “He or it shut down when I destroyed his ship. I guess it is in some type of system failure. I can only suppose Madame Mayhem made it.”
Johnny shivered. “That gleam in its electronic eye makes me think of Luthor!”
Superman frowned. “That’s not just imagination. It does make me think of Alexei, too.”
Within its dormant systems, the Brainiac repaired itself and adjusted to the finished process it had started back when it connected itself to Luthor’s stunned mind. What had been a purely unemotional machine now imprinted itself with the brainwave patterns and emotions of the dead Luthor. The combination of machine and madman could only prove deadly for Superman, since hatred for him fueled both parts of the sleeping being.