It was an early summer’s day in 1943 when millionaire Bruce Wayne — secretly the crime-fighter known as the Batman — walked toward the front door of his mansion. Just as he reached for the doorknob to open it, the door bell chimed. Since he was already right there, he opened the door immediately.
“Wes Dodds! Good to see you!” said Bruce, a surprised look on his face. Seeing the young man next to him, he grinned at the boy and said, “Hi, Sandy.”
“Bruce Wayne, you old stick in the mud!” replied a smiling Wes Dodds, who was secretly the Justice Society of America member called the Sandman. “Answering your own door? What happened — your butler get drafted?”
“Hi, Mr. Wayne,” said Sandy Hawkins. “Is Dick here?”
Just then, Alfred Beagle entered the foyer, followed by Dick Grayson.
“Sorry, Mawster Bruce,” said Alfred. “I was in the kitchen and didn’t hear the door.”
“It’s OK, Alfred. I was just going to check on our gardeners.” Turning to his friend, Bruce said, “Fortunately for me, Alfred is exempt, being a veteran and all, but I lost most of my groundskeepers to the army. The people I have now do a good job, but they’re older, so it takes them a while.”
Dick walked forward and said, “Hi, Mr. Dodds.” Looking at Sandy, he grinned and said, “Hey, string-bean. I see you’re still around. ”
Sandy chuckled. “Haven’t fallen off of any buildings yet, bird-brain.”
Bruce turned to Wes and said, “Oliver Queen and his ward will be here later today. Come on in. Alfred will get your bags.”
A few minutes later, Dick and Sandy entered the study, where the two men were talking either munitions manufacturing or the Dodgers game coming up later that day on the radio. Dick wasn’t sure, not that it really mattered to him.
“Bruce, Sandy and I are going into town,” said Dick. “I want to take him to Pop Tate’s for a milkshake.”
Wes looked at Bruce and smiled. “Couldn’t Alfred make them milkshakes?”
Bruce looked thoughtful, then replied, “Yes, but I doubt he has any teenage girls in the kitchen.”
“Aw, Bruce…” Dick stated in mock exaggeration.
“You have girls in Gotham?” said Sandy, pretending to look astonished.
“A few,” Dick responded. “And soon even electricity. Come on — let’s see if we can put some flesh on that skeleton of yours.”
“Be back by five. I’m expecting more company,” said Bruce.
“Yes, boys. You know Roy Harper, don’t you?” Wes asked. “He’s about your age.”
“Yeah, Wes,” Sandy said. “Met him at summer camp last year. He’s all right, but he’s no junior super-duper like bird-boy and myself.”
Wes looked at Bruce and winked, but since both of the youths had their backs turned to their mentors, they completely missed it.
On the way to the car, Dick said, “I do know some nice girls. If you’re polite, we may get dates for this weekend.”
“Hey, I can be polite. I didn’t insult Hawkgirl at the JSA Christmas party, did I?”
“No, but I bet you couldn’t look Wonder Woman straight in her big blue eyes.”
“Her eyes are blue?” Sandy asked, semi-jokingly.
The two youths were in the Wayne roadster, and Dick was telling Sandy about the time how, when he was first learning to drive the Batmobile, he nearly wiped out a very startled farmer just around the corner. “Right about where that smoking car is…” he looked at Sandy. “Hey, wait a minute!” Dick parked, and the two boys jumped out.
“This is Mr. Queen’s car,” Sandy said.
Dick looked inside and spotted a bleeding, unconscious Roy Harper. “Sandy, get the first aid kit out of my car. He doesn’t look too bad. I may be able to help him here.”
At that moment, a figure on horseback appeared near the boys. He was dressed as an officer of the Confederate Cavalry of some eighty years before and cried out, “Beware! Beware! Death comes calling!” He then vanished as quickly as he had appeared.
Any other teenage boys would have been scared out of their wits, but Robin the Boy Wonder and Sandy the Golden Boy had seen far stranger things in their day. They’d almost expected something like this to happen; whenever the Young All-Stars got together, odd things always seemed to happen.
“Weird,” Sandy said, nonplussed. “Well, my costume is in the backseat if needed.”
“Mine, too,” said Dick. “But right now I want to take care of Roy.”
Dick cleaned the wound. A cut in the forehead had a tendency to bleed a lot, but it wasn’t serious. Roy started to regain consciousness.
“Green Arrow! Look out, it’s Purple–” Roy began, then faded into unconsciousness again.
“Holy secret identities!” said Dick.
“Do you suppose our young friend is Speedy?” asked Sandy.
“At the moment he isn’t. As for him being Speedy, well, it’s possible. Those two are from New York City, and our little buddy is a redhead. Still, New York must have a lot of — Hey, maybe he is. Outside, of All-Star Squadron meetings, I never worked with the Green Arrow and Speedy, but I did like them.”
A sudden explosion rocked their world, and it came from nearby.
“OK, that shakes me up,” Dick said, and Sandy nodded in agreement.
In a grove of trees nearby, a shadowy figure watched. “Soon, you spoiled rich kids. Soon.”
The explosion worked to bring Roy Harper to consciousness. “Oliver?” He looked up and saw Dick Grayson looking at him. “Dick?”
“Yes, Roy, it’s me. And Sandy is with me, too. What happened to you and Mr. Queen?”
“We were attacked by — and this is gonna sound strange — but there was this Confederate officer on a horse,” explained Roy. “He warned us of danger, then vanished. And then this purple mist appeared, and now you guys show up. Ow… my head is killing me.”
Sandy Hawkins handed Roy two aspirins and a canteen with water in it. “Hope this helps, little buddy,” he said kindly.
Roy sat up and took the pills, gulping down water. “Thanks! Oh, and by the way, I grew some since last we met.”
Dick helped Roy out of the car. Standing next to Dick, he was still a couple of inches shorter than the Boy Wonder, but not as short as he had been last summer. But then, Dick and Sandy had grown, too.
“We’re pretty close to home,” Dick said. “I think it would be a good idea to get ahold of Bruce. Maybe he and Wes can find Mr. Queen.”
Roy shook his head and immediately winced from the pain. “Oww. That was dumb.” Then he looked at his friends. “I don’t know if they can do anything, really. But I suppose it would be a good idea. Mind if I look around a little first?”
Sandy popped up from the other side of the car. “I found an arrow. Say, it’s green!”
“Huh? A green arrow — that’s odd,” Roy stated, looking at the ground.
“Well, Roy, considering you were trying to warn the Green Arrow of something purple, and you just mentioned a purple mist, maybe not so odd. At least not to Sandy and me.”
“Dick? You’re talking in riddles.”
“Easy, Roy. Sandy and I think you’re Speedy, the boy bowman.”
Roy looked like he was going to protest, but then finally nodded. “You got me. Why? Who are you two — Little Boy Blue and the one of the Blue Boys?”
“Nope. I’m Sandy the Golden Boy, and Dickie is Robin the Boy Wonder.”
Roy looked stunned, then said, “Yeah, makes sense. When I saw you guys at All-Star Squadron meetings, I thought you looked familiar.”
“If we can solve this mystery ourselves, well, that’ll be a big boost for us Young All-Stars,” Dick said. “OK, Roy, you take it easy. Sandy and I will look for clues.”
A second explosion closer to the cars sent all three teenagers to the ground, covering them with dirt and knocking them unconscious.
A tall skeletal figure dressed in ragged clothing suddenly appeared, holding an army-issue machine gun. Several men in gas masks were behind him. “Take ’em. But don’t rough ’em up too badly. Their parents will pay big money for their return.”
“Right, boss. What about their cars?”
“Leave ’em. Will help when I send the ransom notes later.”
Unseen by the motley band of criminals in a copse nearby, a bleeding blond man tried to rise to his feet, his expensive suit filthy and covered with blood and grime. He raised his head, caught a bit of what was going on, and passed out again.
Dick Grayson woke up in the back of an army truck, tied but not gagged. Out the back he could see the country rolling by. Sandy Hawkins was still out but talking in his sleep. “Princess Diana, you have the most beautiful blue eyes!” he muttered. “I have never seen eyes so blue! The junior prom? I’d love for you to be my date.”
Roy Harper’s soft laughter brought Dick’s head around. “They never searched us. I got an arrowhead in my pocket that can cut these ropes.”
“Good idea. Odd they put us back here with no guards, though, isn’t it?”
“Must be amateurs,” said Roy. “Hey, string-bean awakes.”
“Uh, hi, guys,” said Sandy dazedly. “Where are we?”
“Nowhere near Wonder Woman,” Dick said, grinning. “I can assure you of that.”
Roy had nearly cut through his ropes when the truck stopped, and the three boys found themselves facing several men with pistols aimed at them.
“OK, youse boys, come quietly, and we won’t have to hurt you none.”
Dick stood up, followed by the others. He didn’t recognize the immediate surroundings, but judging from the sky, they weren’t far from where they had been captured. His one question was, Now what?