Meg Tempest was often described as perky, and for good reason. The ex-beauty queen knew she owed much of her success as a reporter to her looks and personality. People liked her. They gave her time when they might have ignored an ugly reporter. Still, even Meg felt it was not that easy to be cheerful when covering a tanker oil spill in high winds. She questioned the crew and received some good comments from the heroic Sea Devils, who had been the first to arrive to aid the damaged tanker. She smiled as her photographer clicked several shots of the beautiful, bikini-clad Judy Walton.
“Miss Walton, you and Dane and the rest of the Sea Devils have taken a real stand on clean waters and protecting marine life. Does that mean you approve of some of the more militant groups out there with the same goal but with questionable means?” she asked.
Judy frowned and said, “The Sea Devils are, in spite of our colorful name, on the side of law and order. We want to promote a peaceful awareness of environmental concerns. If our costumes and gear attract media attention, then that’s fine with us.”
Meg thanked her and just turned to tell her Daily Planet photographer that they had enough material, when the waters surged, and she gasped to see a craft emerge out of the waters. “Oh, my! That’s no Coast Guard vessel! Looks like the Scavenger’s weird ship!” cried Meg.
The red vessel emerged from the ocean, and claw-like artificial extensions reached out toward where Meg and Judy stood. Meg gasped as the claws scooped them up and dangled them in the air over the ship and the sea.
The heroic Dane Dorrance rushed forward to try to free his partner as her brother Nicky Walton and their pal Biff Bailey stopped their clean-up work to help as well. “Hang on, Judy!” cried Dane as Judy struggled in the claw’s grip, as did Meg.
“Help!” cried Meg.
A red and blue figure swooped down and pried the claws away from both women. A gentle puff of super-breath allowed them a soft landing. “Superman! Thank goodness!” cried Meg.
Dane helped the two women flee as the Man of Steel turned to face the weird lobster craft. “Aren’t you considerably out of season?” he joked as he hovered in the air and allowed red laser beams to bounce off his chest harmlessly. The next thing he did was slam both hands together. The sonic backlash shattered the lobster craft’s eyes, and he flew inside to gather the surprised crew.
“Miss Tempest, I heard enough of your earlier comments from where I was patrolling to hear your mention of the Scavenger. I would have agreed with your deduction, but apparently we were both wrong,” he said, gesturing toward the angry crew whom he had trapped in a huge fishing net. They cursed and muttered as he watched.
“Thank you, Superman!” gushed Meg.
Dane nodded. “Yes, thank you. I’d hate to have fought this bunch without your muscle.”
The leader of the crew stared up at them in dismay. “That emblem! He was one of those who liberated our world! No wonder we failed against his might,” he whispered to another.
Superman’s keen ears caught his words, and he frowned. “Liberated his world? From just where do these would-be pirates originate?“
Green Arrow was annoyed. His efforts to help the gorgeous blonde by his side had met with dismissal and a sharp reply of, “Don’t baby me, Arrow. That kook Paragon got lucky, but I’m fine now. We took care of him and his scheme for a new master race.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Supremacy Factor,” Justice League of America #224 (March, 1984).]
He shrugged as the Black Canary revved up her cycle. “I know! Kill a guy for caring! Sheesh! You gals want a guy to be all Alan Alda one minute, then get up on your women’s lib soapbox the next!” he said.
Black Canary kissed him and said, “I know. You can’t live with us and can’t take us in a fair fight!”
She drove off as Green Arrow grinned ruefully. Some woman I got there, he thought.
He started to fire an arrow-line to the building across the street and was about to swing off when something caught his keen eyes. It was a flash of color reflected in a store display high above one of Star City’s commercial districts. Green Arrow frowned. “That’s no disco ball floating in midair, and there sure ain’t any Bee Gees around. I better check that out.”
Running around the block, he soon realized the source of the illuminations. A burly man in a robe was generating the bright flashes as he helped himself to the contents of a jewelry store display window. “Melted the glass with that weird ring,” muttered the archer. “OK, Ringo, time to call it a hard day’s night and let this hard knight make his day!” he joked.
The man whirled and smiled. “Ah, that bow! Spider, how you’ve changed.” He gestured, and the ten rings he wore shone in the moonlight. He aimed his hands toward Green Arrow, and multi-colored rays blasted forward.
Green Arrow rolled aside even as he fired several shafts toward the smirking robber. A magnetic arrow passed perfectly between the man’s outstretched hands, and he gasped as his rings of power were drawn together and shorted themselves out while nearly roasting his hands in the process. Green Arrow raced over and drew the net air tighter as he scooped up the stunned foe. “So what’s with this Spider jazz?” he asked.
“I thought you were the Spider. He’s the finest archer I’ve seen — before tonight!” said the villain. “He beat me before, and I just assumed you to be him in a new costume.”
“Spider? Never heard of the guy,” said a frowning Green Arrow.
Black Canary herself encountered trouble when she drove by a local dive called the Star Bar. She heard cries for help and noticed two police officers that had responded to a disturbance of the peace call being hurled through the glass window. She had picked up the call moments earlier on her own special cycle, and she knew why they had been summoned. She stopped and raced forward to tend to their injuries. As the daughter of a cop, or at the very least a granddaughter of a cop with memories of having been a daughter of a cop, the blonde bombshell cared deeply for the men and women in blue. She knew that what she had learned about her own somewhat-muddled origins made such relationships problematic to say the least.
“Thank goodness. They’ll be OK in time,” she mused. She glanced up at a looming shadow and saw their attacker. He was a bald brute with a black leather costume. He leered down at her and reached out for her. She blocked his hand and said, “Keep your hands to yourself, pal.” Spinning, she delivered three swift kicks to his chin.
He reeled backward but did not fall. She frowned and realized she had her work cut out for her. He swung a hard right, and she ducked before chopping out at his pressure points. He bent over, and she sang her canary cry. The sonic song stunned the brute so that he staggered and fell forward.
She rolled in a tight ball out of his path and jumped up with a satisfied smile as he pitched forward and moved no more. She glanced at his stylized jacket and read a name.
“The Beast of Berlin? Well, this beauty just tamed you, Mr. Beast!” she laughed.
Hawkman knew he could lose himself in his work at times, but not to the extent that he could overlook a huge change in the weather. So as thunder shook the Midway City Museum, he put down his pen and rose to look out the window, only to see nothing but clear skies.
“By Polaris! The thunder’s not coming from the sky. It’s coming from that man!” he said, frowning. “Too bad Shiera is on a purchasing trip. She’d get a kick out of this one,” he mused.
Suiting up as Hawkman, he spoke rapidly to the birds circling around the sky. “Wheet! Where did the man below come from?” he asked in their language.
The nearest bird replied, “Wheet! He makes great noise. His call frightens us.”
Hawkman nodded and swooped lower. He detected the man in yellow and blue, and even a mind that could access all the data of the electronic brain at will could not place the man who generated the thunderous sounds. Seems to be a new one. They do come out of the woodwork here on Earth. Thanagar had the Thrill Thieves, but on Earth motives range from revenge, to profit, to honoring a day of the week! he thought. “Stop! Your rampage ends here!” he cried.
The Thunderer laughed. “Black Condor? I had hoped to kill a Blackhawk, but any bird will do.”
Hawkman recognized the references but ignored them for now. He said, “Your thunderous attack might be less effective beneath water.” He swooped low and grabbed the man by his belt, towing him skyward, then hurled him into the now-empty Midway City Public Pool. The resultant explosion emptied the pool but revealed the Thunderer’s stunned expression as well.
“I figured that device he used would short out under water. His insulated costume gave him the added bulk and protected him from serious injury,” said Hawkman to himself as he waved to cheering crowds.
The Thunderer spoke of the Blackhawks and the Black Condor, he mused. While we have, or had, both on this Earth, neither would be likely to have encountered this unknown villain without the Electric Brain registering something about him. I think I just beat a visitor from Earth-X.