The Freedom Fighters and Lois Lane arrived by car later that afternoon in Smallville, Kansas, in civilian garb. It seemed like the typical small town — Police Headquarters, barber shop, general store. It was something you’d expect to see from an old movie.
“Well, where do we start?” Black Condor asked.
Lois frowned. “Chief Parker wasn’t much help. Let’s try at the general store.”
As the group headed into the Kent General Store, a smiling young store clerk greeted them. “Howdy, folks, what can I do to–?” He stopped speaking when he recognized Lois.
“It’s nice to see you again,” she said. “Alex, isn’t it? Alex Luthor?”
The young man stepped around from behind the counter. “I don’t mean to be rude, Miss Lane, but we told you last time you were here that there was no Guardian Angel. Why can’t you just leave us alone? If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got some work to do.”
The group exited the store.
“Sam?” Phantom Lady asked.
“He ain’t lying,” Uncle Sam said, not quite sure how to take the news. “I’d know if he was. The boy’s telling the truth. There ain’t no Guardian Angel.”
“Sam, those powers of yours must be on the fritz, because I can see all kinds of strange energy trails,” said Black Condor. “They’re faint, as though they weren’t made recently, but they’re definitely there.” He looked around. “Wait just a second. Where’d Darrel go?”
As if on cue, the voice of Darrel Dane, alias Doll Man, came from the side of the store. “Over here!”
The group made their way to the back of the building, where Doll Man had opened a storm cellar door. “I saw that Alex kid come back here and check to make sure this was locked. I managed to bust the lock open, and when I opened it, well…” The others peered in and saw a tunnel. “Shall we?”
They traversed the tunnel for what seemed like miles when they finally saw a light at the end of it. As they exited the tunnel, they found themselves in some sort of basement. Using his powers, the Ray illuminated the room. It appeared to be a typical basement, but there was something large over in the corner covered with a tarp.
Hourgirl walked over and began to tug on it. The others joined her, and what they saw astonished them. It appeared to be a rocket ship of some sort. The glass was broken, and there was charring on it to indicate that it had entered the atmosphere, but it was most definitely a ship.
Phantom Lady hugged Uncle Sam. “Oh, Sam, do you know what this means?”
The basement door suddenly flung open, and there was an old man standing there holding a shotgun. “Freeze! I don’t know what you people think you’re doing, but–”
Uncle Sam stepped forward, changing his clothes into their more patriotic form. “Don’t shoot, son. It’s me, yer Uncle Sam.”
Jonathan Kent stood there for a moment, not sure if he could believe his eyes. Then he realized that the basement lights were off and that the blond-haired man was glowing just like the Ray. He had the honest-to-God Freedom Fighters in his basement. He lowered the gun.
“Martha, it’s OK,” he shouted back over his shoulder. “You and Alex can come out now.” He flipped the light switch and looked down at the intruders. “You folks can come upstairs. I knew this would happen sooner or later. At least it’s you and not those damn Nazis.”
A few minutes later, the Freedom Fighters and Lois Lane were seated in the Kent’s living room with Jonathan Kent and Alex Luthor. Martha Kent was bringing refreshments for everyone.
“So how much do you know?” Jonathan Kent asked of Uncle Sam.
“Well, I reckon that spaceship crashed on your farm around two decades or so ago, just after the German Occupation began. You found a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. Somehow, you managed ta keep it a secret from the Nazis, even after the mind-control rays began. You named the boy Clark and raised him as your own. About five to ten years ago, you noticed that he was starting to exhibit powers and abilities far beyond those of mortal men. So you kept him hidden from the world until the Crisis came.”
Martha and Jonathan stared at each other, flabbergasted. “Land’s sake!” she said. “How did you know all that?”
“Well, I am your Uncle Sam, after all.”
“Most of what you say is right,” Martha Kent said. “The rocket ship landed on February 29, 1964, during the worst blizzard these parts have ever seen. Jonathan and I took the baby home, and we somehow managed to get the spaceship into our basement and hid it. I don’t think the Nazis ever knew about it, and we never told them. Sure, back in ’68 the Nazis used the mind-control ray to uncover anyone who was a threat to them, but to us Clark was just a harmless little boy who was the light of our lives. Jonathan and I couldn’t have our own children, so Clark meant everything to us.” Martha began to cry as Jonathan put his arm around her.
“Strange things had always happened around Clark,” said Jonathan. “But it wasn’t until he turned thirteen in 1977 that we learned he had developed super-powers like one of you Freedom Fighters. It was hard enough keeping Clark’s powers hidden at that age, so I couldn’t imagine what would have happened if he had gained super-powers before he’d been able to mature a bit. A few folks found out about his secret, such as his best friend Pete and Lana down the street, but for the most part no one ever knew, and we were happy that way.
“In November that year we also took in young Alex, here, whose parents had been part of the American Resistance and were executed by the Nazis in 1968. He’d been a ward of the state until we took him in as our ward. Almost as soon as he arrived, he learned about Clark’s super-powers but just as quickly vowed to protect the family secret and has done so loyally ever since. A year older than Clark, Alex always protected him like a good big brother ought to do.” Jonathan placed his hand on Alex’s shoulder, and the young man smiled sadly, lowering his eyes.
“Clark used his powers to help out when no one else could,” continued Jonathan, “but he never sought out trouble. He was a good student and was mostly kept busy by his studies. Y’see, he wanted to be a scientist and left for Kansas State University to study Agronomics — plant science — and find out how he could improve crop production. He lived on campus but came home for dinner every Sunday until graduation. But when he turned twenty-one last year, Clark felt he had to act more directly and started tackling a few small problems here and there. That’s how the media eventually got wind of it. They were the ones who dubbed him the ‘Guardian Angel.’ Then the world went completely insane.
“When the Crisis came, it was everything Clark could do to keep us all safe. Dinosaurs, cavemen, super-villains — you name it, they all came out of the woodwork, but Clark saved us all. Then the shadow things came. There were only five of them, but everything in their path died. Clark went to confront them. He tried valiantly, but… but…” Jonathan buried his face in his wife’s arms.
“What Mr. Kent is trying to say,” Alex Luthor added, “is that those shadow demons killed Clark. I was watching as they converged on him in midair. There was nothing I could do. He struggled. He fought as hard as he could. He… he screamed my name and told me to tell his parents that he loved them. There was a blinding flash, and then Clark and the shadow demons were gone. Clark’s wallet fell from the sky. It was partly disintegrated, and it was all that was left of him. So I didn’t lie when I said there was no Guardian Angel. He’s dead.” Alex shook his head, keeping himself from becoming too choked up, and added, “Clark would have been twenty-two this month.”
One week later, Police Chief Douglas Parker stood over the remains of the Kent farmhouse. It was the damnedest thing. Out of nowhere, a tornado had apparently touched down and destroyed the Kent home overnight. No else had reported a sighting or any damage. It was strange.
Jonathan and Martha Kent and their young ward Alex had been found in the wreckage the next day. Their bodies were torn and mangled. It must have been one hell of a tornado.
And back in Axis-held California, a man was talking on the telephone.
“It is done.”
“Sehr gut. Once we had read the Lane woman’s story, I had to know for sure whether this American ubermensch was truly dead. I am glad to see that it is so. Seig Heil.”
“Heil Hitler!” the man said as he put the phone down. The Manhunter of the SS Ubermenschen was very pleased with himself this day.