“I don’t care what it says on the card!” Ollie Queen shouted.
“Are you going to do this every time?” Katar Hol snapped back. “Because I came here for a friendly game, not a shouting match!”
“The card is wrong,” Ollie insisted. “The Beatles released Rubber Soul in 1966, not ’67!”
“All right, you two!” Dinah Lance shouted above them. “Can we for once get through a friendly evening without it turning into WrestleMania?”
Shayera Hol only sat back against the sofa cushions, her arms folded across her chest, rolling her eyes. She and her husband Katar had been invited to Ollie and Dinah’s place in Star City for a friendly get-together. Unfortunately, these friendly get-togethers almost always degenerated into the two men pounding their chests and shrieking at each other like apes fighting over territory. It wasn’t even an hour into the evening, and both men were on their feet, having a loud argument over a board game.
“Look, Ollie, we have to go by what the cards say,” Katar insisted, a little more gently. “We can’t challenge the cards every time we don’t agree with the answers. Besides, how do we–?”
“How do we what?” Ollie demanded. “Choose your next words carefully.”
Katar looked Ollie defiantly in the eye. “How do we know you’re right?”
“Are you suggesting I don’t know the Beatles?” Ollie demanded. “Why don’t you use your Absorbeen Junior or whatever it is to learn the right answer? Or is that how you got that question on the capital of South Dakota?”
“How dare you?” Katar snapped, unaware how melodramatic he sounded. “To stand there and accuse me of–”
“Enough!” Dinah shouted, and Ollie and Katar both shut their mouths. “Ollie, sit down and quit acting like a child. Katar, read Ollie another question. And if either of you says anything else, it had better be ‘Pass the crab puffs,’ preferably followed by ‘Please.’ Capice?”
Ollie opened his mouth to reply, then looked at Dinah’s expression. He closed his mouth and sat down. Katar sat, too, and pulled another card from the box. He read the entertainment question on the card.
“What future Oscar winner had an uncredited cameo in the 1968 Boris Karloff film Targets?” he read.
“Jack Nicholson,” Ollie said confidently.
“Right,” Katar said, putting the card back.
“Loser says what,” Ollie muttered under his breath.
“What?” Katar said, confused.
“Exactly,” Ollie said. Dinah shot him a frosty glare, but Shayera put a hand to her mouth to hide a smile.
“I got that!” Katar snapped. “I just got that!”
“Well, bully for you,” Ollie sneered. Katar was about to respond to that, when Dinah leaped from her chair.
“That’s it!” she cried, throwing up her hands. “I give up!” Without another word, the young woman stormed out of the room.
Dinah stormed into the kitchen, where she placed her hands on either side of the sink and leaned forward. Why did she even bother? It was so frustrating.
“Dinah?” Shayera’s voice behind her asked softly. “Are you OK?”
“I’m fine,” Dinah said, bitterly. “No I’m not. I’m furious! I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but it makes me so mad!”
“I can tell,” Shayera said. “The muscles in your back are so tight I can see them from here!” Shayera placed her hands on her friend’s shoulders and began to gently but firmly knead them. Dinah relaxed almost instantly under her touch.
“Ooh… that’s good,” she whispered. “Thanks, Shay.”
“Don’t mention it,” she said. “I know how aggravating the boys can be.”
“It doesn’t seem to bother you, though.”
Shayera shrugged. “I’m used to it, I guess. At first it surprised me; Katar never acted that way on Thanagar. But then, he’s done a lot of things differently since coming to Earth. I guess the boys just need an outlet for their baser instincts, and yelling at each other is a fairly harmless way to get it.”
“Monk and Ham,” Dinah commented.
“I’m sorry?” Shayera said.
“Nothing, just some magazine stories I used to read when I was a kid,” Dinah said. “Well, thanks for the friendly ear, Shay. I really needed it. But I have to tell you, I’m not ready to go back in there and listen to those two again! I need to blow off some steam, or I’ll be yelling louder than they are!”
“And with your voice, that could be disastrous,” Shayera joked. “Well, if it’s blowing off steam that’s required, I know a good way to do it.”
Dinah looked over her shoulder, and grinned at her friend. “You mean–?”
“Won’t the boys miss us?”
“They’re having so much fun fighting, I doubt they’ll even notice.”
“It sounds like fun! Ollie and I have been doing it together for so long, the idea of doing it with someone else sounds deliciously wicked!”
“Well, what are we waiting for, then?”
“Did you bring your costume?”
“Our Hawk-gear is in the trunk of our car,” Shayera said. “You never know when you’ll get the call of duty.”
“Meet you out front!”
Ten minutes later, Black Canary was riding her specially designed motorcycle down the main street of Star City’s business district. Hawkwoman flew above and behind her, keeping perfect pace with the machine.
“I know this sounds awful,” Black Canary said over the roar of her cycle, “but I hope we find some trouble tonight! I need to hit something in the worst way!”
“Well, you may not get your wish,” Hawkwoman said, her gaze sweeping this way and that. “The city looks rather quiet.”
“Yeah, crime has been down lately,” Black Canary commented, “at least the costumed kind. Clock King is still in prison, following that Futurian fiasco. (*) I’m not sure what happened to the Red Dart, after Ollie captured him and his Over-Throws bunch; I think the Feds took custody of them, for some reason or–” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Fear the Future and The Brave and the Bold: Green Arrow and Captain Boomerang: Thrown for a Loss.]
“Look!” Hawkwoman cried, pointing. “I just saw a flash of light behind that building.”
“Wow!” Canary said, impressed. “You must have eyes like a — well, you know. I couldn’t see a thing!”
“The building has a sign on the front that says Gem Girl. What’s that?”
“It’s a new jewelry store,” Canary said, turning her cycle in the direction of the building. “One of the most upscale stores in town! There’s probably a couple million in precious stones in there.”
“Enough to tempt any criminal,” Hawkwoman said, banking in midair to head for the building.
Canary parked her cycle about a block away so as not to alert the criminal and continued on foot. Hawkwoman landed behind her and walked beside her. They approached the jewelry store slowly, creeping around behind it. When they saw the source of the light, they gasped soundlessly. From behind they saw a dark-haired figure in a black and cobalt blue costume, blasting the back door with a golden beam from a ring on the figure’s left fist.
“Sinestro!” Canary whispered to her friend. “What’s he doing in Star City?”
“I don’t know,” Hawkwoman whispered back. “He is one of the mightiest villains in the Justice League’s files. Do you think we should call for aid?”
“Not until we try it ourselves!” Canary almost tried her sonic cry on the villain from behind, but some sense of honor prevented her from doing so. Instead she shouted, “Hold it right there!” The villain whirled around to face the Justice League champions. Hawkwoman and Black Canary gasped at the red-hued face, the slender form in the costume.
“It — it’s a girl!” Black Canary cried.
“I prefer woman,” the red-faced woman said simply, before the golden beam from her ring flashed out at the startled heroines.
Even startled as they were, Black Canary and Hawkwoman’s reflexes were still top-notch. They narrowly dodged the sizzling yellow beam that shot through the night air and scorched the side of the building behind them.
“Polaris’ flares, a female Sinestro!” Hawkwoman cried, swinging her mace. “Just when I thought I’d seen everything!”
“The name is Sinestra,” the villainess declared, firing another yellow beam. This one struck Hawkwoman’s mace, shearing the head clean off.
“Your name is going to be mud!” Black Canary declared. She then cupped her hands around her mouth and let out a shrill scream. Her sonic powers multiplied the force of it; Sinestra grimaced in agony. Blindly, she shot out another beam from her ring. Black Canary sidestepped it, but it struck the base of a light-pole behind her, causing it to topple toward her.
“Look out!” Hawkwoman cried, and dived through the air toward her friend. She pulled Black Canary to safety just as the pole struck the ground where the startled heroine had been a moment before.
“Thanks for the save,” Canary said.
“You’re welcome,” Hawkwoman acknowledged, “but I’m afraid it allowed our bizarre foe a chance to escape!” It was true; the alley behind the store was now empty.
“Can you beat that?” Black Canary said. “A woman imitating a male super-villain!”
“And doing a fair job of it, too,” Hawkwoman said, examining the charred remains of her mace.
“Well, we’d better get after her,” Black Canary said. “Don’t know if we can find her, but we’ll give it a try.” Black Canary hiked back to her motorcycle, Hawkwoman following in the air behind. As the two women approached the cycle, they heard a voice coming from the police radio installed between the handlebars.
“Car 47,” the voice said, “investigate silent alarm at Zimmerman Furriers, 86 Kanigher Way. Car 75, check out disturbance at Hasen Art Gallery, 38 Allistair Avenue.”
Canary and Hawkwoman looked at each other. “Crime wave?” Canary asked.
“Sounds like,” Hawkwoman agreed.
“I’ll take the furrier,” Canary said. “You handle the art gallery.”
“I will,” Hawkwoman said. “Which way is Allistair Avenue?”
After Black Canary gave Hawkwoman a hasty set of directions, the heroines went their separate ways. Black Canary hoped she would get another crack at Sinestra.
Hawkwoman soared over the rooftops of Star City, headed for the art gallery. Upon reaching it, she pried open the skylight and flew inside. The museum was dark, seemingly deserted; but someone had tripped a silent alarm and alerted the police. Hawkwoman banked down hallways filled with paintings and sculpture, around corners and down stairways, searching for the source of the alarm call.
“By the Rainbow Falls!” Hawkwoman gasped as she came around one corner. She saw a museum guard in the act of drawing his gun. The guard was completely frozen, a coating of ice covering his entire body. Her first thought was to help the man; she stopped briefly to examine him.
“Similar to the effects of Captain Cold’s gun,” she diagnosed. “The guard has been placed in suspended animation; he won’t suffer any ill effects. As much as I’d like to stop to thaw him out, it’s more urgent now to catch the one who did this!” Hawkwoman continued on her way, searching the museum. In the basement storage area, she came upon two costumed figures kneeling in front of the steel door of a large vault. One was garbed in black, with an oddly shaped helmet, while the other was in white and blue and was projecting a white beam onto the vault door from a handheld pistol.
From back here, it looks like Black Manta and Captain Cold, Hawkwoman thought to herself. But after meeting Sinestra, I wonder. Hawkwoman pulled a bolo from her belt-pouch and announced herself by hurling it at the white-and-blue figure’s ankles. The shout that accompanied the snaring of the criminals’ legs was decidedly female. Both criminals turned to face their assailant; yes, the lines of the costumes confirmed Hawkwoman’s suspicions.
“Hawkwoman!” the one in black gasped, her voice sounding hollow inside her helmet. “In Star City?”
“Don’t waste time wondering about the migratory habits of female hawks,” the blue-and-white-clad one snarled as she worked at the bolos imprisoning her legs. “Get her, Black Mermaid!”
“Black Mermaid, is it?” Hawkwoman asked, taking a small round shield from its place on her belt and fastening it around her right wrist. “This is a disturbing turn of events, women mimicking male villains!”
“You should talk,” Black Mermaid shot back as golden beams of light blazed forth from the eye-lenses in her helmet. Hawkwoman moved quickly; though the shield on her wrist was barely eight inches in diameter, she caught the beam on it expertly and turned it aside, to sizzle harmlessly against a blank stone wall. Before Black Mermaid had time to launch another assault, Hawkwoman moved forward, using the power of her wings to put speed behind a double-footed kick to the villainess’ stomach.
“This will be something amusing to tell Aquaman at the next JLA meeting,” Hawkwoman commented as Black Mermaid doubled up.
“If Aquaman wants to talk to you,” the female Captain Cold imitator declared, “from now on he’ll have to use a ouija board!” A flash of cold white light shot forth from the woman’s gun; despite the villainess having telegraphed it with her taunt, it caught Hawkwoman square in the chest. In a heartbeat, the heroine was encased in ice.
“Nice shot, Contessa Cold,” Black Mermaid commented, massaging her stomach. “That’s one birdie who wishes she’d flown south for the winter!”
“Help me get these things off,” Cold said, tugging at the bolos. “We’ll have to abandon the museum; there may be more heroes lurking around! We’ll rendezvous with the others at the Dome!”
In moments the villainesses were gone, leaving the frozen Hawkwoman staring blankly ahead of her.