Diana Dare was pouting. She had the wealth, the blonde looks, the archery skills, and the sensational bikini costume of Queen Arrow, but since her amazing debut, no one cared about her. (*) The JSA ignored her, and the team called Infinity Inc. didn’t answer her calls. She had the best public relations team in the business at her beck and call, yet besides her adoring male fans, no one took her seriously.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Arrowette: Who’s the Arrowest of Them All?]
“I have to join a team!” she said. “Perhaps a new Law’s Legionnaires, like the one the first Green Arrow was a part of.”
She had no misgivings about using the name, since out of all the members of the original Law’s Legionnaires, also known as the Seven Soldiers of Victory, only the Star-Spangled Kid and Speedy — now calling themselves the Patriot and Red Arrow — were still active heroes, and they were already involved in another team called Infinity Inc. The others — the Crimson Avenger, Wing, the Vigilante, Stripesy, and the Shining Knight — were either dead or retired.
The pretty blonde smiled as the idea formed. “That’s it — my own team!”
Wonder Woman stood before a mirror in the Georgetown home she shared with her husband, Steve Trevor. Diana Prince Trevor looked no older than she had in 1940, but she had altered her costume to make adjustments for her pregnancy. The skirt was now longer but slit at each side for greater freedom of movement. It was likely just a temporary change, but she did like the look.
Turning to her close friend Etta Candy Darnell, she said, “What do you think? Am I improving as a seamstress after forty years in man’s world?”
Etta was slim, elegant, and demure as the headmistress of the Holliday Academy for Young Ladies, which she and her husband, the retired Colonel Phil Darnell, operated for wealthy debutantes. She had once been a wild, loud, and fat woman, but time had changed her, as had the expectations of her new role.
“Diana, you’re still the best-looking dish since Rita Hayworth! Woo woo!” she cried.
“Etta, I haven’t heard you made that noise in years!” laughed Diana.
“What would my proper young ladies at the school think?” Etta said, smiling. “So, Di, do you think it’s a son this time, a Wonder Boy in the making?”
“If so, I’m really going to have to alter this costume before handing it down to him!” laughed Diana.
Elsewhere, an attractive woman was less than happy. She was young herself, due to a criminal’s rejuvenation scheme. Her name was, unfortunately, Paula Crock, AKA the Huntress. She had just received an unexpected visit, and she was still fuming over the news brought by this evil apparition from her past.
Paula had looked up to see a sultry blonde wearing little more than sandals and armor like that of a Viking warrior maiden. Her golden locks and flawless face enhanced the effect her stunning body made.
“Well, old times return anew,” she said. “I bring you news that Wonder Woman is expecting a child. I restored you to life once and even invited you to aid me in my Olympian crusade, so now as my ‘heir,’ of sorts, I turn to you with this news.”
Paula frowned. “Gudra, you used me and tore me away from a quiet life many years ago! (*) I never returned to that existence! I would slit your pretty throat!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1947: The New Olympians, Chapter 1: The Valkyrie’s Touch.]
“If you had any power even close to that of the personal shield maiden of the Valkyrie host, that is,” said Gudra. “But come, let us forget the past, except to remember the pain brought upon us by such heroines. Tell me, how fares the real Huntress? She took your name, did she not? Now Diana has a child in the making, while your daughter is in jail, I believe! It is a shame how you have been forgotten and have failed to live up to the potential I saw within you when I gave you a second chance at life!” She laughed musically, then vanished.
Paula was fuming. “I’ll show her!” she said. “I will hunt down every heroine, best them, and reclaim my rep. Let that child be the Huntress — I shall be the Manhunter from now on!”
Valerie Van Cleef sat in jail, pondering her youthful life. She had been captured and arrested by the new Black Canary during her very first time out as the second Killer Moth. (*) The redhead knew that even her famed father had been beaten countless times, but she had never been in jail before, and she did not like it. She also thought of the blonde martial artist in fishnets who had soundly beaten her.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Arrowette: Legacies, Chapter 2: Generational Hatred.]
The Black Canary is a legend of sorts, but then so is the name Killer Moth, she thought. If only I could have beaten that bottle blonde, but then she was a JSAer for years! None of them have aged much. What is their secret? she wondered.
She did not now that this Black Canary was merely the successor of the former member of the Justice Society of America. Angel O’Day had found the costume and diary of the late Dinah Drake Lance and had been trained by a JSA foe to become a Trojan horse to infiltrate the famed team. After discovering she had been a pawn, she began working solo in her home down South to fight crime and honor the name and outfit she wore. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice Society of America: Times Past, 1981: Angel.]
Now, Val glanced up to see an odd sight. A woman hung from the outer wall of her cell with amazing agility. She dropped a vial on the bars, and they burned away. “Who are you?” she asked.
“Call me Manhunter! Join me, my pet?” she asked.
Val hesitated for only a moment, then eagerly followed the former Huntress to freedom. “How can I repay you?” she asked.
A sultry blonde girl waited below. “Good work, mother!”
The Manhunter turned to her newly freed daughter Artemis Crock and the new Killer Moth. “Merely kill any costumed woman, and you’ll owe me nothing!”
Thinking of the Black Canary, Valerie Van Cleef smiled with anticipation.
Helena Wayne knew about legacies. She was the daughter of the Batman, and she was the daughter of Gotham City Police Commissioner Bruce Wayne. She had two legends to live up to, in a way.
She had been a successful lawyer for years now, and as the Huntress she had staked out a reputation as the effective vigilante and JSA member her dad had been in his time. The Huntress had even admitted to being Batman’s daughter during a press junket with Infinity Inc. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Press Conference,” Infinity Inc. #12 (March, 1985).]
Now she gazed out of her apartment window and wondered if she was doing enough. Batman had been perhaps the greatest hero of them all, and his shadow was large yet.
She received a call from Harry Simms, her friend and confidante. “Helena, listen, there’s trouble. Nightshade is loose, and so are several other female maniacs. Can you wear that outfit I like so much?” he said vaguely over the phone.
“Oh, yeah. I’ll get the matching bag and heels, too,” she said, hanging up.
Nightshade, alias Pamela Isley, had been a foe of her father’s as well as of several Justice Society and All-Star Squadron heroes in the 1940s. She was the protégé of Sandman’s old enemy Ramulus, and she used his original villainous name. She had never aged due to her weird plant toxin metabolism. The Huntress would just prune that little weed real fast, or so she thought.
Manhunter turned to her newly assembled gang of her daughter Artemis Crock, Killer Moth, and the Barracuda. “This ad in the newspaper announces the forming of a new super-heroic team called the Law’s Legionnaires,” she said, reading. “Applicants are to meet on this date at the Star City Plaza Hotel. The Queen Arrow is holding auditions for this new team.”
“So?” asked a bored Artemis, crossing her long legs.
“So? Dear child, this means several heroines in one place at a known time,” said Manhunter. “We forge invitations to established ones like Wonder Woman, Liberty Belle, Huntress, et cetera, and send them via JSA Headquarters. Then when they get there, we strike! Perfect hunting technique — get your game together on your ground and wipe them out!”
“I like it!” said the violent Barracuda, alias Nan Norton.
Killer Moth nodded. “But what about getting some new members first? We can’t take on a woman like Power Girl!”
Manhunter frowned. “I admit that I was more interested in going for Black Canary, Huntress, and other less-powerful ladies, but I am recruiting some special talent to aid us. One is setting up Huntress as we speak, using a trick I picked up from the Cheetah.”
“Why isn’t she here?” asked Artemis.
“She has been extremely hard to trace since her rejuvenation,” said Manhunter. (*) “I hope she will eventually join us, though I know Priscilla Rich prefers to hunt alone.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Liberty Belle: The Future Is Now, Chapter 1: Belles of Valhalla.]
“But what about those super-strong types like Wonder Woman?” said Moth worriedly. “Even pregnant that Amazon is like a human tank!”
“Follow my example, ladies. When in doubt, go to mother!” laughed Manhunter. She walked out, leaving the others to exchange surprised glances.
“Her mother would have to be about eighty or a hundred years old!” said Barracuda.
Artemis shrugged. She had never heard a word about her grandmother before.
Manhunter arrived at a secluded cabin and greeted a stunningly lovely blonde woman. “Mother, you look well,” she said.
“Paula, I sense you’re up to something,” said the lovely blonde. “On the hunt again? Wildcat, is it? Or that creamy Green Lantern?”
“No, not yet. I hunt their females. Would you please aid me?” she asked.
The blonde nodded. “It would do me good to be active again. Since I killed him all those years ago, all I have done with my time is learn and master the same arts of magic that he knew, and preserve my youth. I could use a new hobby. I don’t suppose you know of any successor to him?”
Manhunter smiled at her mother’s longtime obsession. “Well, with that handsome and exotic Nadir long gone, that really doesn’t leave a worthy heir.”
“See, Paula? If you kill your prey, then the fun ends all too soon,” said the original Tigress, foe of Zatara the Magician. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Mystery of the Freight Train Robberies,” Action Comics #1 (June, 1938).]
“I’ll risk it, dear,” said Manhunter.
Nightshade posed in front of the Gotham Botanic Gardens, which she had converted to her own personal playhouse, as shown by a line of injured officers who lay still with smiles on their fevered faces. Her toxic blood made her touch or kiss burn like a fever. Many men died happily at her kiss.
Her leafy green outfit was stylish and caught the eye, as did her good looks, undiminished by forty years of evil schemes and defeats by the likes of Batman, Mister Terrific, Liberty Belle, and the Sandman.
The Huntress remembered her father saying that her kiss was as lethal and her charms as seductive as those of a swaying cobra. Dick had laughed and said, “Yeah, but I’d like to see her shed her skin!” She smiled at the bad puns and the humor Bruce Wayne had shared eagerly with his beloved ward in those days.
Now she dropped down from the leaves to kick a thug flat onto the ground. She spun and tossed a batarang into a second hired hand, who sputtered the usual: “B-b-boss! It’s the Huntress!”
Nightshade smiled and waited with her hands on her hips. “Well, Daddy’s little girl is all grown up,” she said. “Too bad I don’t like to play… with girls!”
“Don’t worry,” said the Huntress, “I’m going to end your games right now!” She kicked out, and Nightshade barely ducked in time.
Nightshade allowed her vines to fire thorns at the Huntress, and the agile daughter of the Bat dodged them all with an impressive show of acrobatics. She landed upside down and sprang back to tackle her foe with alarming speed.
The villainess frowned. “You are far more physical than your dear departed!”
The Huntress slapped her and said, “Don’t soil his name with your poisoned lips!”
Nightshade kneed her in the chin and released a spore that clouded Helena Wayne’s eyes. The Huntress choked and rolled aside as Nightshade laughed and kicked her in the ribs. Got to hold my breath, she thought. The antitoxin I took before coming here should keep me safe, but why take chances? She flipped a knife and sent the handle into Nightshade’s face.
“You broke my nose! How dare you! I’m marred!” whined the spoiled beauty. “Kill her!” she cried, and vines surrounded the Huntress on all sides.
Fighting a plant mistress in the biggest garden in Gotham has to be one of your dumber moves, Hel, the Huntress thought to herself as she swung up and tried to escape the clinging vines. She made it and watched the villainess below. “Got to end this fast,” she muttered. “She kills too frequently to be allowed to run loose.”
The Huntress whipped out a device and tossed it down to land at Nightshade’s slippered feet. It released a freezing chemical spray she had modified from one of her father’s experiments. “Plants hate cold, and so does Miss Fig Leaf herself,” she said grimly.
Nightshade screamed and fell over in pain. The Huntress dropped on her and sent her to sleep with a final left hook. “Back to your prison pot, you malignant weed!” she said, dragging Nightshade out by her long hair.
Later, when the news reached Manhunter, she smiled.
“Why so happy?” asked her daughter Artemis. “Nightshade lost.”
“She did what I paid her to do,” explained Manhunter. “Just wait and see. That spore will unmask Batman’s successor.”
Angela Leonard was more than ready to join this new Law’s Legionnaires team of Queen Arrow’s. As the great-granddaughter of Olga Clatterbuck, she had grown up with stories of mystery-women and men, and her mother had been a favorite visitor to the home of a famous mystery-man. Olga, a German immigrant whose maiden name was Weisinger, had become the housekeeper to Jonathan Law after her American-born husband died. Her visiting daughter and her grandchild in turn met and came to be adopted, in a way, by the wealthy writer when he made his fortune.
Law had never married, but he maintained a distant extended family through the Clatterbucks. Now he was very ill and dying, in all likelihood, but he had passed on his tricks of the trade to young Angela Leonard.
Angela was the last living Clatterbuck, so she had attached herself readily to the kindly older man. He was a natural storyteller, and he regaled her with exploits of himself as the Tarantula and of his friends like Johnny Quick, Robotman, and the Sandman.
Debuting as the new Tarantula only a short while earlier, Angela wore a modified version of his second, more stylish outfit. (*) She wore a brown and black top without sleeves and black fishnets with slippers. She wore a small black mask and carried numerous weapons designed by Law’s allies over the years. He had felt at liberty to adapt them, since the heroes of the All-Star Squadron had shared their secrets with him over the years. She hoped he would live long enough to see her join a team of heroes as he had long before.
[(*) Editor’s note: See All-Star Squadron: The World on Fire Again, Chapter 2: Versus the Aryan Nation.]
In Roanoke, Virginia, the curvy platinum blonde Angel O’Day had dressed in her usual favorite 1960s-styled miniskirts and go-go boots, newly found at her neighborhood thrift shop. She loved the fashions of the years before her birth, and she also loved another outfit. It was a blue and black number with fishnet stockings that she wore as the new Black Canary.
Angel hoped this trip north would be worthwhile. She had once been invited to join the Justice Society of America, but she declined because she had been used by a foe of theirs. After her adventure with Arrowette, Flare, and Star Sapphire, she had hoped to join the Junior JSA along with them, but had never been contacted again, probably because she was a few years older than all of them, like the members of Infinity Inc. out in California. (*) Now she would see what Queen Arrow offered with this new Law’s Legionnaires team.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Arrowette: Legacies.]
The trip would be eventful, to say the least.