Black Canary’s motorcycle tore down the Star City streets, headed for the furrier’s. Her mouth was a grim line of determination as she urged more speed from the steel horse. A female Sinestro? She hoped this wasn’t some new trend among the underworld. Then again, she could easily see where the super-criminals would get the idea. How many of her fellow super-heroines had based their identities on established male heroes? Supergirl, Batwoman and the two Batgirls, Aquagirl, and there had even been a Miss Arrowette long ago, before Black Canary migrated from Earth-Two. Shayera didn’t count; she had been a Hawkwoman before she even met Katar. But still, it was a disturbing trend.
Finally, Canary swung her motorcycle onto Kanigher Way. No stealth this time; the alarm had been given and the theft was in progress. She roared down the street, made a screeching turn at the furrier’s, and zipped around behind the building. Sure enough, two costumed women were coming out the back door with armloads of furs. One wore a familiar orange and green costume; the other, a brightly colored outfit with a yellow cloak. Canary sighed. Oh yeah, it was one of those nights.
“Mirror Mistress, look!” the yellow-cloaked one cried, pointing.
“I have eyes,” Mirror Mistress snapped. From beneath the furs she produced a handheld mirror, which she aimed at Black Canary. The mirror caught the light from a street lamp and magnified it tenfold, sending a bright beam into Canary’s eyes. The blinded heroine leaped off the motorcycle and somersaulted in the air, coming down on her feet; the villainesses screamed, dropped the furs, and leaped away just in time for the cycle to roar past and smash into the back wall of the building.
While the villains were still off-guard, Canary leaped into the air, somersaulted, and came down feet-first at Mirror Mistress. The toes of her boots clipped the villainess in the side of the head, and she went down.
“Seven years bad luck,” Canary quipped, landing expertly. She turned to the other criminal. “If that was Mirror Mistress, who are you? Clock Queen? Chrono-Chick?”
“The name is Lachesis,” the white-masked villainess snarled.
“Lachesis. I like that. Keeps the Greek motif,” Canary said. “I don’t suppose you’ll surrender without a fight?”
Lachesis’ only answer was to thrust forward her left wrist. Springs leaped from her wristwatch and struck Black Canary, winding themselves around her, mummifying her from shoulders to waist. “Let’s go!” Lachesis said, helping Mirror Mistress to her feet. “The cops will be here any minute; we have to leave the furs!” The two villainesses fled, leaving Black Canary struggling in the steel bands.
In her prison of ice, Shayera Hol strained, exerting metal control over her antigravity belt. Her Thanagarian body system, capable of surviving unaided in the vacuum of space for brief periods, kept her from going into suspended animation, but she had to get free of the ice before she suffocated. The bottom of the ice-block was frozen fast to the ground. Hawkwoman strained as hard as she could, willing the belt to draw her up, up, up. Finally, with a loud crack, the ice broke free and shot skyward.
Hawkwoman sent the block flying as fast as she could, faster, faster, faster. Bits of it flew off behind her as the air friction gradually wore it away. In a few minutes, the block had weakened enough for Hawkwoman to flex her wings and shatter it. She gulped in huge lungfuls of sweet air; then she unhooked her JLA communicator from her belt.
“Dumb, dumb, dumb!” Black Canary cursed herself as she struggled in the steel bands. She had become too cocky, allowing the absurdity of the situation to make her overconfident. Now she was paying the price. Black Canary dropped her chin and opened her canary amulet with gentle pressure. A powerful acid dropped onto the steel bands and began eating through them. When one band was eaten all the way through, it broke the tension, and the entire mess unraveled with a loud twang, like a piano wire snapping.
“Hawkwoman to Black Canary, 9-5-6,” Shayera’s voice came through Black Canary’s JLA communicator. “I struck out. I came up against a female Captain Cold and Black Manta, but they got away from me. How’d you do?”
“Not much better,” Canary said into her communicator. “Add the women’s lib versions of Mirror Master and Chronos to the list. They flummoxed me, too.”
“What’s going on, anyway?” Hawkwoman asked. “Female versions of five well-known male criminals? That’s a bit odd, even for our line of work.”
“It sure is,” Black Canary said, examining her cycle. It hadn’t sustained much damage; it was still usable. “Now we have to find them.”
“I heard Contessa Cold say something about a dome,” Hawkwoman offered.
“StarDome!” Canary cried. “The big Star City municipal arena. There’s a fashion show there tonight, a charity event. All the money collected for the charities is on display in a giant fishbowl! A prime target! Meet me there!”
“Where is it?” Hawkwoman asked.
“It’s a big dome,” Black Canary said, revving up her motorcycle. “You can’t miss it from the sky.”
StarDome was a scene of panic. Patrons and models were running everywhere, screaming. Security guards were down, some frozen in their tracks, some bound with steel springs, others rendered unconscious. Three colorfully costumed women stood above it all on the elevated runway used by the models in the fashion show.
“That’s it — run, you cowards!” Mirror Mistress shouted. “Run before the terror that is the Secret Sorority of Super-Villainesses!”
Atop the giant mounted platform where the money-filled fishbowl rested, Sinestra shrugged at Mirror Mistress’ soliloquy. Let her have her fun, she thought. With her power ring, the villainess melted a hole in the base of the money-filled fishbowl. Black Mermaid hooked up a vacuum tube to the hole and turned on the industrial-sized shop-vac they had brought. The money in the fishbowl began disappearing into the vacuum sack.
“About time we successfully completed a robbery tonight,” Black Mermaid commented, her voice echoing hollowly in her helmet. “After being stopped three times by Black Canary and Hawkwoman!”
“Well, they won’t bother us again,” Sinestra commented. “One of them frozen solid, the other stuck in unbreakable steel bands. Now we just have to get away from here with the loot before Green Arrow or the police show up!”
“I can’t believe anyone still says loot,” a new voice behind the women said.
Sinestra’s head snapped around. “You!” she hissed.
“Me,” Black Canary agreed, hands on hips. “I don’t suppose you’d be interested in the customary chance to surrender?”
“Get stuffed!” Black Mermaid cursed as the eye-beams blazed from her helmet. Black Canary executed a perfect back flip and avoided the beams.
“Mirror Mistress!” Lachesis cried, pointing. “Black Canary’s here!”
“What do you want, an engraved invitation?” Mirror Mistress spat. “Get her!”
“Oh, I think you’ll be too busy for that,” a voice from above suggested.
“Hawkwoman!” Contessa Cold cried, pointing up at the winged figure circling above.
Black Canary did a triple somersault in the air, narrowly avoiding the sizzling energy-blasts from both Sinestra and Black Mermaid.
“Keep it up!” Sinestra commanded. “She can’t avoid both of us forever!”
“She’s doing a good job so far!” Black Mermaid snarled, her voice ringing hollowly in her helmet. The hollow ringing gave Black Canary an idea. She twisted in midair as she came down out of her somersault and lashed out with a fierce kick. The heel of her boot glanced against the side of Black Mermaid’s helmet.
“Yoww!” the villainess cried, staggering as the echo resounded inside her helmet, again and again.
“Look out, you idiot!” Sinestra snarled as the dazed villainess staggered toward her. “You’re in my way! I can’t get a shot!” Black Mermaid tripped and stumbled right into Sinestra’s arms.
Black Canary pressed her advantage, giving the two villainesses a blast of her sonic cry. Black Mermaid instinctively tried to cover her ears with her hands; the result was that she slapped both sides of her own helmet, hard. The resulting echo, combined with Black Canary’s sonic assault, rendered her unconscious.
“Blasted overgrown parakeet!” Lachesis snarled, taking a small hourglass from her belt. “I’ll salt her tail with this!” The super-villainess hurled the hourglass at Hawkwoman. When it had nearly reached its target, it shattered in midair, releasing thick clouds of yellowish gas. Hawkwoman arced above the gas and hovered.
Let’s see if Lachesis was stupid enough to use a gas-weapon without immunizing herself against it, she thought as she beat her wings rapidly. The gas was blown back down at Lachesis, who began coughing and covering her mouth. In seconds she sank to her knees, then collapsed altogether. “I thought so,” Hawkwoman said, grinning. “She’s that stupid.”
“Enough of this!” Contessa Cold cried, bringing up her cold-gun and squeezing off a shot.
Hawkwoman dodged the blast, and it struck the dome ceiling harmlessly.
“I’ll bring that harpy down to earth!” Mirror Mistress declared, whipping out her mirror weapon. The polished disk reflected the artificial light into an amplified beam, which Hawkwoman narrowly dodged.
Hawkwoman caught Black Canary’s eye. Canary gave her the high sign; Hawkwoman nodded, acknowledging it. Black Canary somersaulted in front of Sinestra, drawing her fire. Hawkwoman soared down at Mirror Mistress at an adjacent angle. The Secret Sorority’s leader brought her mirror-weapon around to aim at Hawkwoman, just as Sinestra fired a blast from her ring. Black Canary flattened, and the yellow beam went over her head. Hawkwoman pulled out of her dive and soared back up. The golden beam struck Mirror Mistress’ mirror-weapon and bounced back at Sinestra.
“Yipes!” the villainess cried, leaping backward to avoid the beam. It missed her, but she was unable to check her backward leap; she fell off the elevated platform ten feet to the floor of the arena, landing in a row of padded chairs.
“Ouch,” Black Canary said, grinning.
“My mirror!” Mirror Mistress cried, looking at her ruined weapon. “She melted my mirror!”
“My weapon’s still good,” Contessa Cold declared, firing the cold-gun at the flying Hawkwoman. She did not see the small object the JLA heroine held in her hand — a large plastic cup of soda, quickly snatched from the refreshment stand. Hawkwoman hurled the cup at Contessa Cold; it splashed all over her cold-gun and her right hand, and the liquid quickly froze there.
“What happened?” Mirror Mistress demanded, confused. “What’d she do?”
“I-I don’t know!” Contessa Cold stammered, flinging her hand this way and that, trying to dislodge the frozen gun. “My cold-gun — it gets super-cold when I fire it! My gloves protect me, but that flying witch hit me with water or something! I-it froze the gun to my hand!”
With a leap, Black Canary landed on the runway next to Mirror Mistress. “Care to surrender?” she asked.
Mirror Mistress’ only answer was a powerful savate kick aimed at Black Canary’s head.
Black Canary just barely sidestepped the kick. She hadn’t been expecting that. She thought these were just silly girls playing with fancy weapons; she hadn’t expected them to be able to fight. A sly grin creased Canary’s face. But that was quite all right with her.
Hawkwoman watched, as she bound Contessa Cold’s wrists behind her back. It was beautiful in a savage way. Black Canary and Mirror Mistress faced each other, maneuvering for position, then launched a simultaneous attack, swiping, striking, weaving, and dodging. Black Canary scored a glancing blow along Mirror Mistress’ collar bone. Mirror Mistress landed a kick in Black Canary’s left kidney — more blows, more lunges, more dodges. Hawkwoman wanted to stop the fight, but she knew she couldn’t try. Any move she would make might possibly cost Black Canary her concentration and allow her foe to land a truly damaging blow.
Mirror Mistress struck Black Canary along the side of her head with a karate blow. Canary dropped to one knee, apparently dazed. Hawkwoman gasped as Mirror Mistress pressed the attack, lunging in for the kill. But her fear was groundless; Canary had been faking more serious injury than she suffered to draw her foe in close. She grabbed Mirror Mistress’ wrist and executed a perfect judo throw, sending the costumed villainess hurtling down the runway like a bowling ball. She landed in a crumpled heap, all the fight knocked out of her.
“Bertha!” Contessa Cold cried, seeing Mirror Mistress’ defeat.
“Bertha?” Black Canary asked, an eyebrow raised. “Wait the hell a minute!” Black Canary rushed up to Hawkwoman’s prisoner, yanked back her hood, knocked off her glasses. “Marcy!” she gasped.
Hawkwoman was confused. “You know these women?”
“We met a few years ago,” Black Canary said. “They were calling themselves the Women’s Resistance League, posing as a feminist organization. But they were henchwomen working for the Catwoman, plotting to free her from prison!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Black Canary, Adventure Comics #418 (April, 1972) and Black Canary, Adventure Comics #419 (May, 1972).]
“Yes, and Catwoman repaid us by going straight, giving up crime,” Marcy spat. “So we went our own way. Bertha got the idea to emulate male super-villains, like some female heroes do. Figured to make a quick rep for ourselves.”
“Amazing,” Hawkwoman said, shaking her head. “Where did you get the weapons?”
“There’s a couple of guys who make them,” Marcy said. “Criminal scientists, trying to turn a fast buck to finance their own operations.”
“But how did they get a Qwardian power ring?” Black Canary asked.
“A quarter-what?” Marcy asked, confused. “You mean Sinestra’s ring? That’s just a miniature laser-projector.”
“So you were trying to make a quick name for yourselves, cashing in on the reputations of the Mirror Master and the others,” Hawkwoman said.
“What of it?” Marcy asked, proudly.
“Well, I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes when he hears of it,” Hawkwoman said. Marcy swallowed audibly.