Showcase: Team Justice: 1959: Justice in the Making, Chapter 4: Conspiracy and Corruption

by Libbylawrence

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The Brain Wave laughed madly as the battle continued on that day in 1957.

Bearcat was not used to landing his patented knockout punch, only to have the object of the blow shrug it off or dodge it easily. He’s as good as Ted — maybe better! thought an irritated Sammy Skinner.

Z-Man grabbed for the rapidly moving Mental-Man but only received a solid right that left him stunned in a pile at normal size.

Rick! Oh, no! thought Fury, lifting a huge TV crane and slamming it into Mental-Man, who fell beneath the weight, only to slowly heave it free with the help of Lightning-Man.

Bat-Girl thought rapidly. Brain Wave is controlling them, but they still have all their old skills! I’d better take him out first! She pretended to aim an attack at Starman as he flipped Mister Alpha into a tripping Aqua-Girl. Then at the last second she spun and tossed her bat-compact’s dust in the bald maniac’s face. He coughed and gasped in rage, but the three villains fought on.

No luck! she thought. Must be using some machine to augment his own concentration as with the green army!

She ran to Aqua-Girl and said, “Use your telepathy on Mental-Man. He’s Aquaman beneath that hood, if I’m right!”

Selena frowned skeptically but did as requested. Images of the man known as Arthur Curry filled her mind, along with a leaden, cloud-like fog that obscured his own will and wishes. “It’s him! How did you know?” she asked.

“They are Batman, Superman, and Aquaman, based on the style of fighting and powers they used,” said Bat-Girl. “I knew that Starman suit was used by Batman in a recent case. (*) If I hadn’t been here, you might never have guessed!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Man Who Ended Batman’s Career,” Detective Comics #247 (December, 1957).]

Mister Alpha smiled and said, “I had my guesses, too.”

Starman swung up and over the studio rafters to drop down on Alpha from above. Then two new figures entered the fight.

The first newcomer was draped in a black cloak that hung to the floor, and he flung back the cloak to reveal the shapely figure and face of Lois Lane Kent. But her dress did not match the one she was wearing before the heroes entered the studio.

“Mrs. Kent, get back!” warned Bearcat. “This could be dangerous!”

“Not for me! Lightning-Man, look at me!” she said as she held the orange-and-purple-suited man firmly around the chest. “You know me — Lois! You can’t hurt me. I won’t let you hurt anyone!”

He shuddered and raised a fist. Then, with a trembling effort, he lowered it and tenderly caressed Lois Kent. “Lois, I am so sorry! I–!” He glanced at Lois Kent’s bare hand and frowned. “Whoever you are, I thank you for the help!” he said and slammed directly through a huge device in the shadows. The Brain Wave screamed in pain as though mentally linked to the device.

Mental-Man groaned and pulled back the hood to reveal the handsome and pained features of Aquaman. Hugging Selena, he said, “Thank you! I’m sorry for the damage. That mental fiend tugged at me subtly until I came here, then I remember no more!”

“Same here!” said Starman as he decked the Brain Wave with a swift right. He smiled at Betty Kane and said, “Bat-Girl, it’s me, Batman! Nice work! Batwoman would be proud of you, as am I!”

Lightning-Man ripped off his suit to reveal the red and blue costume known the world over as that of Superman. “We were all trapped by King’s little scheme, and he suited Batman and me up in identities we had each used on our own in the past, such as my Lightning-Man identity from a recent case with Batman and several international heroes. (*) And for Aquaman he used the fictional Mental-Man identity I created years ago to help catch a racketeering syndicate. (*) Clever. But it would have been more so had his ego not led him to use identities we had used before, and thus allowed Bat-Girl to recognize Batman as Starman!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Club of Heroes,” World’s Finest Comics #89 (July-August, 1957) and “The Adventures of Mental-Man,” Action Comics #196 (September, 1954).]

“Great work, Team Justice!” said a smiling Batman.

Then a newcomer hovered into view. “Linda Lee!” cried Superman. “What brings my favorite other-dimensional super-girl back here? Not lost this time, are you?” he asked.

The pretty little blonde girl from Rolez, wearing golden shorts and top, smiled and said, “No, Superman! Now I am old enough to make these little dimension hops on my own. I hope to fight crime like I did when you took me in before!” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Where Off Earth are You From?” Superman Family #220 (July, 1982).]

He laughed and said, “Well, you have the power, but do you think it wise? You are only twelve years old.”

She said, “On my home I am considered to be mature. Ask Daddy.” She hovered in midair and pouted.

“She is a little girl who got lost here once before,” Superman whispered to Batman. “Her name is Liandly, but when Lois and I took her in until I could get her home again, we called her Linda Lee. She’s a real super-girl. Her mental powers let her read minds, float, do telekinesis, and somehow boost the innate powers of those already empowered!”

“You could join our team,” suggested Mister Alpha, turning to the Lois Lane Kent lookalike. “We’d welcome you — both of you.”

The Lois double smiled. “I would be honored. You may call me Enigma. Mine is the power to look like anyone I choose. I knew Mrs. Kent was a friend of Superman’s, and I heard you say Lightning-Man was Superman!”

“No wedding ring tipped you off that it wasn’t the real Lois!” whispered Batman to his friend.

Enigma transformed again into the black-robed figure of before. “I will join your team.”

“Great!” said Bearcat. “Is she a she or a he?” he asked quietly.

“Yes!” answered the mysterious Enigma as they walked out.


The present:

“So this Team Justice had a Power Girl wannabe cousin Kal called a super-girl?” asked Kara. “He never told me about her.”

Red Robin grinned and said, “Yes. Liandly never took a formal heroine name, so she was not really called Supergirl or Power Girl. Still, in Superman’s eyes, she was his first super-girl! I guess he didn’t want to cloud the issue. You know it hurt him when you didn’t take the name Supergirl.”

She frowned and said, “Don’t drag up ancient history.”

The Huntress coughed and said, “So Team Justice included my predecessor of sorts in Bat-Girl, too! I’d like to meet her.”

“Betty is a sweetheart, all right!” said Red Robin.

“So what became of this wonderful super-girl and her Team Justice?” asked Power Girl.

“Well, they stayed together and had several more cases throughout the late 1950s,” he continued, “including one with a few JSAers before their final big case occurred, that I know of, at least. It involved the Real American and happened in September, 1959.”


In 1959, on the eve of a new decade, many things seemed poised for change. The coming of the 1960s would bring changes that would result in much pain and often violent disagreements between the generations. This was not as evident in 1959, but one thing that shook many of their established fears or hopes happened in September of that fateful year.

The so-called Real American had appeared sporadically in the years since his appearance in Selma. His purposes seemed to vary, yet he always brought hate, violence, and protest in his dark wake. He resurfaced with a vengeance in September of 1959.

Edmund Blake, now a twenty-three-year-old graduate of Harmouth College, had been thinking about the events of the spring before his graduation last year. While acting as the stroke of the college crew in the Harmouth-Vinton crew race, he helped to save a holiday crowd on a tipped-over excursion steamer. He did this as Edmund, and this, along with his passion for nature that had driven him to study to be a naturalist, had led him away from his crusade to continue the legacy of the JSA. He was even considering an expedition to Australia, which would spell the end of his career as Mister Alpha.

He thought about this; he had actually worked with a couple of former JSA members when the accident happened — the Atom and Hawkman. But now he had a second pressing thought. Khrushchev was coming to visit with President Eisenhower — the historic first visit of a Soviet leader to the United States — and that spelled a worry for the security-aware Mister Alpha. His fears would be well-justified.

The meeting between Dwight D. Eisenhower and Nikita Khrushchev could either settle many issues or explode into acrimony. Some devoutly wished for the second result. One of those was the white-hooded, red-and-blue-costumed maniac called the Real American. This human successor to the robotic villain knew his colors well and hoped to make fine use of them when he killed one of the world leaders.

Mister Alpha knew that the Real American was still loose and a danger to anyone as foreign as the Soviet leader. He researched all the known sightings of the Real American and blinked over the microfilm viewer as he spotted a vital clue.

Holy cow! The Real American led a hate rally in a Georgia slum the same date he was seen in a riot over immigration rights in California!” he realized. “There are two or more Real Americans, not just one guy in a costume! We’re dealing with a group! That group might be behind the threats aimed at Khrushchev!”


Meanwhile, Selena frowned as she sat alone at the Civic City pier. “I can’t just return to Atlantis!” she said to herself. “Aquaman has become more isolationist since the Cold War started. He says he wants all Atlanteans undersea ASAP! I can’t believe it. This is just because he turned hermit back in the 194os!”

She tossed her long brown hair and felt like crying. Legally, the girl known as Aqua-Girl could not resist the order of her monarch, but what else could she do?


In Metropolis, Liandly smiled as she mentally moved furniture around the apartment of the Kents. “Lois, I like the couch better over there with those drapes!” she announced.

“I agree! Thanks, Linda Lee!” said the smiling Lois Lane Kent. “With your powers, I can arrange and rearrange all day. My hubby lacks your patience for home decor.”

Superman swooped in and said, “Now, Lois, I admit that swatches do affect me like kryptonite after a hour or so!”

Liandly laughed, “Thanks again for letting me stay with you. My Dad trusts you so much, and he accepts my visits here better if I invoke your names.”

Clark Kent nodded. “We enjoy having a young person around the house!”


At the summit in Washington, D.C., Mister Alpha shook Superman’s hand eagerly. “Thank you again, sir! With your backing, the Secret Service agreed to let Team Justice work to beef up security for the summit. Without your backing, I doubt they would have trusted any masked heroes!”

Superman smiled. “I was glad to help. You have a keen mind. If I did not have to head into space on a mission, I would stay as well.” He flew off, leaving a beaming Mister Alpha behind.

The team positioned themselves appropriately amidst the historic bustle of politicians and security forces. Eisenhower looked tired and fatherly, while his opposite number Khrushchev looked grim but oddly intrigued by the event itself.

Fury watched in anticipation as Z-Man held her hand and looked nervous. Aqua-Girl seemed concerned and distracted, while the bubbly Liandly moved around with excitement.

The day passed calmly enough until the afternoon erupted in violence. Explosions rang out around the center, and Team Justice sprang into action.

“Spread out!” shouted Mister Alpha. “Find the source of the bombs! Keep your eyes on the duo!”

Bat-Girl dropped a smoke pellet that obscured the area, briefly followed by Liandly blowing away the smoke with her mental powers.

Then the Real American appeared and charged the meeting room. He literally knocked the guards across the field. Fury jumped in his path, and he slapped her down effortlessly.

The Real American grabbed Bearcat and hurled him into the approaching Bat-Girl, and neither moved again after that stunning impact. Mister Alpha and Aqua-Girl rushed Eisenhower and Khrushchev back, only to be blocked the speedy Real American.

The racist villain pulled a gun and fired a laser-like ray at them. Khrushchev fell hard, and Eisenhower flinched as Liandly deflected the beam. “Die, Commie pig!” yelled the Real American as Khrushchev gasped and died.

The rage that filled Fury caused the blonde to change. She faded into a red-skinned demoness — the very personification of Tisiphone of the Furies. She clawed at friend and foe alike. Z-Man tried to calm his lover, but she did not know him in her enraged state. She hit him with all her considerable power, and his size did little to shield him.

The Real American turned from the scene to flee, but he was stopped by the eerily hovering Spectress, who was now in her mid-teens.

“You wrong the cause of freedom and tarnish the colors you wear!” she said.

Running past her ghostly form, the villain fell backward as he hit a solid wall of mental force created by Liandly. “You cannot get away from me!” said the blonde girl. He swung at her, and she flinched as his power rocked her mental shields. “You have super-strength! But you use it badly!” she said, criticizing him.

Mister Alpha saw Fury tear into Selena, and he began to lose control of the situation. Guards ran back and forth, and he had no ideas except to tackle the Real American himself. He hit him and almost fell stunned from the impact. He tore off his hood to reveal the hate-filled features of a legendary Soviet operative called Stalnoivolk, the Russian name of the Steel Wolf.

“You posed as an American to kill your own leader!” he said in surprise.

“Da! For he is weak on the Stalinist ideas that made us strong!” he said. “But I had aid here as well!”

He swung at the nimble Mister Alpha but failed to connect, since Selena tackled him with her own strength. They fell, and she surprised him with her own prowess. This is my last fight, and I’ll go down a winner! she thought, tossing the Soviet into the maddened Fury, who tore into him and soon left him bloody and stunned. Fury then transformed back into Helena and cried softly in Z-Man’s arms.

They whirled as dark-suited men rushed up in all the chaos and fired wildly at Eisenhower. But the bullets hit nothing due to Liandly’s intervention. Bearcat and Bat-Girl spun into these new gunmen and soon left them defeated.

“Who are these creeps?” asked Sammy.

“They work for a certain covert sector of the U.S. Congress,” said a newcomer. “Some disaffected types who feel the current administration is too liberal regarding civil rights and foreign policy. They use a team of Real Americans to foment their agenda. This time they planned to have the Soviet Stalnoivolk kill both leaders and have the Real American blamed. The chaos that would follow would benefit them.”

“Who are you?” asked Mister Alpha.

“I am Senator Neptune Perkins, and I uncovered their scheme recently; I have little real proof, though. We have the gunmen, but not the brains behind it.”

Mister Alpha saw the supposedly dead Khrushchev hop back up and assume the form of the black-robed Enigma. “Nice job, Enigma. You had them believing the real Soviet leader had been killed. Oh, thanks also to Bat-Girl’s substitution during the smoke pellet.” Bat-Girl smiled.

“I could see this as a Soviet plot,” said Bearcat, “but are you telling me that actual American leaders use such dirty tactics to get their agenda? These are the kind of guys who made the JSA quit, and I don’t blame them. Who can you trust? The whole country is rotten.”

They watched as the would-be killers were led off. Then Mister Alpha said, “The ideals the JSA stood for no longer ring true, if our own government is this deeply corrupted. I’m sorry, everyone, but I can’t deal with it anymore. I quit!” He walked away, and his team slowly crumbled.

“I can’t fight anymore, either!” said Fury, still weeping. “That horrid monster came from me or might have been me! I am returning to the island life on Paradise Isle. I can’t be a warrior anymore, not unless I want to keep my soul.”

Z-Man sadly watched her leave. He’d known that she had never gotten over a past love. He also hurt and would do so for some time to come, but she was right, and he knew that.

Bat-Girl added, “I also have a career of my own that needs more time.”

“I think I’ll go home, too,” said Liandly, “to my own dimension. It’s not fun here, anymore.”

Selena the Aqua-Girl waved goodbye and jumped into the ocean, swimming back to Atlantis on orders from the isolationist Aquaman. Bearcat became a partner in his father’s detective firm. The Spectress returned to her own private life. And Z-Man kept up his own private war to redeem his villainous father for a time. But Team Justice had died on that day in 1959.

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