Two months earlier:
A beautiful blonde woman in a chic red business suit, short skirt, and heels was facing a group of stone-faced men and women around a conference table in an executive office.
“My data should make it clear that my handling of the company has slowly helped AmbCorp climb out of the red,” she said in a confident, almost defiant manner. “I may have ruffled a few feathers, but my results speak for themselves.”
A graying man in a blue suit said, “I am sorry, but we have traditionally been a company known for more than the bottom line. We care about people. We treat customers and staff with respect. That’s the manner of doing business upon which my grandfather founded the company.”
A woman with florid red hair added, “Frankly, Miss Debord, you treat other workers with arrogance and contempt. You manipulate, you scheme, you lie. You bully your secretary. We don’t want your type of conduct to become associated with the AmbCorp name!”
Amanda Debord glared at them with a look of shock and anger on her otherwise flawless face. “You can’t be serious!” she sputtered. “I’ve dragged this worn-out relic of a company into the modern day!”
The older man stood up and said, “Miss Debord, I’ll be as blunt as you are. You’re fired!”
Amanda walked out of the room and shoved past a secretary as she prepared to clear her office.
Later, the fiery young executive was sitting across from a concerned-looking older woman with white hair and attractive features.
“Mother, don’t lecture me again!” she said. “I’m not a child. I’ll find a new job. I’ll make those jokers at AmbCorp sorry they ever crossed me!”
“Amanda, when I was the Purple Tigress, I dealt with some pretty ruthless types,” replied Ann Morgan Debord. “They saw Africa as just another place to plunder. They didn’t care about people, animals, or natural wonders. They only saw the world as a series of dollar signs. Frankly, it was their kind that led to your poor father’s early death. He worked himself to death trying to create legislative safeguards for the land he loved. When I see you — all dressed up in your power suit and talking about crushing others in the business world — I think of the very enemies I used to fight.”
“Oh, mother,” said Amanda, “don’t start with that whole routine! Purple Tigress, indeed! What kind of bubblehead calls herself the Purple Tigress? I mean, did you ever run into a tiger that was purple? And that costume — a purple tiger-print bikini? You were ridiculous!”
“You know as well as I do that I named myself after the purple tiger lily flower, dear,” Ann said with an annoyed tone.
Amanda rolled her eyes and started to walk out when she spotted a TV Update magazine. “‘Booster Gold, Media Super-Star and Crime-Fighter,'” she read softly. Sitting down, she crossed her legs and leaned forward.
Her mother turned toward her daughter expectantly. She could tell something was troubling Amanda, but she didn’t want to interrupt whatever was going on in her head. She just waited and hoped for the best.
A few moments passed before Amanda finally sighed and said, with trepidation in her voice, “Mother, I… I was wrong. You were right, as usual. I’ve lost sight of what really matters. I’ve become so jaded. But I want to change! I want to make amends. It’s time for me to give back to the world at large!”
Ann Morgan Debord listened to her daughter with surprise and interest, as a cautious smile began to form on her face. “What are you saying?” she asked.
Amanda smiled winningly as she made her decision and said, “I think it’s time for a new Tigress to prowl the urban jungle!”
Amanda Debord was as good as her word. However, as many of her former business associates and lovers knew from experience, her word was not that reliable. Still, the ambitious blonde was angry, and her ego had been wounded. Thus she embraced the idea of becoming a new Purple Tigress in order to acquire the wealth and power she coveted. In truth, Amanda didn’t need money. Her mother had been well known as the wealthiest girl in Capitol City during the 1940s. The family fortune had only grown since those days, and Amanda’s business career was truly nothing more than an exercise in independence and personal ambition. Perhaps it was for these reasons that the lovely woman took her firing so personally.
Three weeks after first broaching the subject with her bewildered mother, Amanda proudly slid a folder across the table in Ann Morgan DeBord’s home.
“Look at these. Pretty impressive, if I say so myself,” she said with a brilliant smile.
Ann whistled as she sorted through a pile of glossy photos and a business plan. “Well, you certainly look the part in my old costume. That’s normal, since — ever since you were a child — people have said we looked alike. But what’s with this plan — Purple Tigress Inc.? Don’t tell me you incorporated!” said Ann with a gasp.
“Of course!” said Amanda. “I was inspired by your heroic example and by the Booster Gold technique. He’s famous for being a hero and a businessman. He acts, he endorses, he has a clothing line. I can do all that! I’ve even got a designer working on Purple Tigress swimwear, Purple Tigress lingerie! Oh, and a perfume — Jungle Passion.”
Ann burst into laughter. “Jungle Passion? Oh, Amanda, I believe this will turn out to be a successful business for you. I know you too well to doubt that, but don’t you understand that being the Tigress is more than being a pin-up. I tried to help people. Can you do the same?”
Amanda sputtered in indignation. “Mother, you trained me yourself!” she said. “I have martial arts skills that you never imagined! I’m in perfect shape! Just because I never actually fought crime before doesn’t mean I don’t have the skills!”
“You aren’t listening,” said Ann. “I know you have the skills. I would say you are as fast and agile as anyone who ever slipped into a costume. However, having the skills is not the same as having the will and the drive. Your motives may not be right!”
“I already sold a script to a TV network — the Rodent Broadcasting Network,” said Amanda. “They want me to play myself in fictional stories about my adventures.”
“Honey, you’ve never had any adventures!” said Ann. “I don’t like the way this is heading!”
“Look, your time is over!” said Amanda. “You don’t get what it takes to be a heroine of the ’80s! Trust me — I’ll be the Purple Tigress, and I’ll make the name more famous than you ever did!”
Ann sighed and said, “Tell me one thing, little lady. Are you planning to actually be the Tigress in real life or just play the role on TV and in ads?”
“My people are working on it,” said Amanda. “I may make some appearances.”
Before she could explain, a pair of costumed figures crashed into the room.
Amanda and Ann each leaped for cover at the first instance the pair loomed into view. To her credit, Amanda was as fast as her mother had ever been, and she did dive in front of the older woman without thinking about saving herself. Ann ducked under the long table as Amanda rolled under and rose up to face the intruders.
“What is the meaning of this?” she demanded.
The man said nothing. He merely reached out for her and grabbed her in a crushing embrace that lifted her off her feet. She kicked wildly, but she was helpless in his grasp.
He’s super-strong! she realized as she stared into his eyes. He wore a bright green scarf that covered the upper part of his face but left his eyes free to peer out of the gauzy fabric. The rest of his costume was a pale blue with green trim, trunks, boots, and a cape.
His female ally wore a solid green costume that consisted of thigh-high green high-heeled boots, a green bodysuit that left her legs bare above the boots and left her arms exposed beneath puffy flares at each shoulder. Her hair was very long and very green. She wore a pair of glasses that also gleamed with a green light but concealed her own eyes.
Ann stood up and tried to confront the woman, but she was too slow. The agile female landed a kick that stunned the older woman and left her still form on the rug.
Amanda roared with anger and rammed her head into the man’s face. His grasp became a bit looser as Amanda brought both legs up and pushed against his chest until she could drop free.
She crouched over the fallen form of her mother, and although she was still dressed in a stylish business blazer and skirt, she looked the part of the Purple Tigress. She snarled and said, “Nobody hurts my mother!”
The silent duo started to close in on the blonde when she dived at them both and landed two kicks that rocked them backward as she rolled to a stop. “Super-strong but not invulnerable!” she said, spinning around and connecting with a stinging punch that flattened the woman in green.
The man then grabbed Amanda’s wrist and yanked her off balance. She removed one high heel and smashed it in his face, having used the momentum of his own pull to add to her force. She flipped through the air and landed behind him.
As he turned to face her, she dived into his torso with enough force to knock him backward and send them both hurtling out the broken window. “Maybe I should have thought that move over a bit more,” she cried as she plunged downward.
Thinking quickly during her plummet to the ground far below, she ripped off her blazer and managed to snag a flagpole as she passed it. The fabric held long enough for her to loop both legs around the pole and inch her way back inside the window.
There, she saw that the woman in green was lifting Ann Morgan Debord’s still body in her arms. Amanda pounced on her and carefully grasped for her head so that her body naturally followed as she snapped her backward.
Her mother landed on the floor as Amanda crawled onto the face and torso of the woman in green and tried to pin her to the floor. But as the woman with green hair flexed, she sent Amanda sailing across the room.
She flipped in midair and struck the wall with her bare feet, then bounced off to tackle the woman again. She slugged her with all her strength and smiled with grim satisfaction as she collapsed.
Amanda rushed over to where her mother was moaning softly. “Mother, are you hurt?” cried Amanda. “I’m so sorry! Maybe I brought this down on you by putting the Tigress name out in certain circles again!”
Ann sat up and said, “I’m fine. I am sore, but I’m OK. Years of training don’t just fail you. Your ma is a lot tougher than most women her age!”
Amanda hugged her and said, “Who are these creeps? The man’s costume was sooo tacky!”
“Well, in the confusion, I couldn’t react like I wanted. Still, I recognized him. He’s the original Green Mask, and he fought for the same things I did when I was a girl. (*) His partner is unknown to me, but based on how strong he was, I’d say the man was the real deal. But why would he turn bad?”
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Green Mask, Mystery Men Comics #1 (August, 1939).]
“Oh, mother,” said Amanda, “we may never know! I think I killed him!”
Contrary to Amanda Debord’s frantic cry, she had not killed the Green Mask. He had managed to stop his plunge by smashing a handhold into the wall of the skyscraper before hitting the ground. After doing so, he had vanished into the night.
The next morning found Ann Morgan Debord and her daughter engaged in a heated discussion.
“Is the concept of publicity totally alien to you?” said Amanda. “I should turn our green haired attacker in to the cops with appropriate media coverage!” She was now dressed in the Purple Tigress costume, and as she paced back and forth on the plush carpet, she glanced occasionally at a third figure in the room.
The woman with the green hair was awake but heavily bound with metal cuffs on both her wrists and feet. A gag was stuffed into her mouth, while a blindfold covered her eyes.
“We owe it to the Green Mask to settle this, if at all possible, without ruining his image,” said Ann. “Michael Shelby was a hero back in the 1940s. Why, he was even a founding member of the Mystery Men of America! I can’t imagine why Michael, of all people, would turn bad and try to kill me. I won’t turn in his female companion without learning the truth first!”
Amanda rolled her eyes and said, “OK, OK, OK. And how do we find this elusive truth? I rather doubt our little prisoner will just tell us what we want to know.”
Ann grinned and said, “She will. She’s super-strong, but not invulnerable. That’s why I injected her with a certain chemical a tribesman friend of mine from Africa used during the war. It’s a truth serum.”
“Really?” said Amanda, her curiosity piqued. “Say, that could make a pretty cool plot thread for the Tigress TV show!”
“I’m glad my life provides you with fodder for sweeps month,” Ann said sarcastically.
“Come on, you know I didn’t mean that your career wasn’t inspiring to me,” said Amanda. “I mean, look, I’m not wearing a purple tiger-striped bikini because it’s a fashion statement. Although, once my P.R. team kicks things into drive, it may very well become one!”
“I admit you wear it well,” said Ann. “You also handled yourself well in the fight. I watched the security films while you were cleaning up.”
Amanda smiled. She rather liked getting praise from her mother. It hadn’t happened in far too long. “Thanks,” she said. “I just reacted by instinct. That’s why that whole plunge out the window thing happened. Do you think the writers will think my jacket save was too gimmicky?”
Ann sighed and said, “Let’s question the green girl. I can tell you that she is not Don Mason. I believe old Don is wasting away in a nursing home right now, poor dear, though I haven’t heard from him since he published his memoirs. (*) As Domino, he was Green Mask’s sidekick for a couple of years, but he aged normally, unlike Michael Shelby. (*) They were skilled in disguises, but neither of them ever tried to impersonate a vital young woman like the one in front of us.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Action-Hero Team-Up: Blue Beetle and Green Mask: 1940: Anno Domino and 1st story, The Green Mask #1 (Summer, 1940).]
“Too bad,” said Amanda. “A hero who fights crime in drag could pull in some ratings if he or she guest starred on my show.”
Ann removed the blindfold and gag and said, “What is your name?”
The woman spoke in a leaden tone. “My costumed name is Domino. My real name is Donna Mason.”
“She must be the sidekick’s daughter!” said Amanda.
Ann nodded and said, “Are you Don Mason’s child?”
“Yes,” replied the drugged captive.
“Was your father the man dressed as the Green Mask?”
“No. That was the original Green Mask, Michael Shelby,” said Donna. “He is still strong and active due to the vita rays in his system.”
Ann turned to Amanda and said, “As I mentioned, Mike Shelby was subjected to something called vita rays. They boosted his vitality and made him a super-strong action-hero. He used that scarf-like green mask as his symbol. Don was a boy partner of his, but I don’t know if he ever received the vita-ray treatment like Michael. Did he?”
“Yes, he did, and I did as well when I was a baby,” said Donna. “I was born premature, and only the vita rays enabled me to thrive. When I reached maturity, they gave me super-strength. I implored my father and Uncle Mike to train me. They did so. I was going to become Mike’s new partner. His aging was so greatly reduced that he was still able to fight crime. It was his plan to become a costumed crime-fighter again, not just a private investigator. He had missed the life of a hero.”
“That’s true,” said Ann. “I know he’s been working as a private eye for the past forty years or so, thanks to the eternal youth he gained from exposure to vita rays. But I read about a high-profile case of his from last year, when he routed out political corruption in Foxville as the Green Mask. (*) I remember thinking that he was probably trying to start his heroic career again, and I hoped he would do well for himself.”
[Editor’s note: See The Green Mask: The Vita-Ray Rush.]
“Why did you and the Green Mask try to kill us?” asked Amanda. “That’s not the most logical way to start a heroic career.”
Donna Mason swallowed hard and seemed to fight for air as she replied, “I don’t know. I honestly don’t know! He just ordered me to slip into my costume, and we came here. Once we arrived, some compulsion just overcame me, and we attacked! I don’t know why, but I wanted you dead! I’d never even heard of you before, but every part of me wanted to kill you! I’d say it was the same for Uncle Mike!”
“She admits that she and her mentor wanted us dead, but she claims she doesn’t know why,” Amanda said disbelievingly. “That’s lame.”
“And yet it’s the truth,” concluded Ann. “The vita rays didn’t change Mike’s mind. He couldn’t have resisted my truth formula, and I doubt Donna could, either. She is telling the truth.”
“So someone is trying to use old heroes as brainwashed assassins who target other old heroes?” said Amanda. “That’s pure super-villainy, if I’ve ever heard of it!”