In a large forest stood a warehouse. This warehouse was, in fact, the base of the latest incarnation of the Injustice Gang. Perhaps, though, it would be more accurate to say it was the headquarters of one incarnation of that fabled group of criminals, since another group had been operating for a while now using the new name of the Injustice League. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Conglomerate: Conglomeration and Amalgamation, Chapter 3: The Injustice League.]
This Mirror Master was the second man to claim that nom du crime. His real name was Floyd Ventris, and he had originally called himself the Mirror-Man, but had more recently used the alias of Angus McCulloch as well, using a well-practiced accent to pose as a Scottish villain for a time. Now, though, he sought to cash in on the notoriety of the original villain of that name, who was believed to have died in the Crisis on Infinite Earths. Exactly how he had obtained the similar gear and costume of Sam Scudder was a secret he refused to share.
The second Mirror Master had assembled a new group of costumed super-criminals and now housed them within the hidden warehouse. He sat at a large table and glanced at each member with a calm scrutiny.
A gaunt figure reading a massive tome wore a costume of brown that was lined with straw. His visage was frightening, and so was his manner. Jonathan Crane was quite pleased with the discomfort his Scarecrow garb caused others to suffer. He ignored his new allies and read rapidly.
Mirror Master noticed that the pale man sitting next to the Scarecrow was visibly excited. He was Carl Sands, the Shadow-Thief, and he had recently been recruited from another team of rogues called the Crime Champions. (*) Sands rubbed his long fingers together and seemed eager to begin their meeting. He felt relieved to be among old and new allies alike, since all of his previous team had been arrested by various heroes.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: The Force of July: The Crime Champions.]
Across from Sands sat an older man with a somewhat portly build and white hair. He wore an elaborately patterned cloak and fingered it idly while he sat in silence. His name was Anton Lamont, the Fadeaway Man.
A sultry woman who wore a leafy green body stocking and tights cooed madly to a small vine that trailed across the table. Her name was Pamela Isley, but she was infamous as the lovely but lethal Poison Ivy. “That’s my baby. Good girl,” she whispered as she spoke to the vine.
Nearby stood a man in purple and orange. A clock motif decorated his cloak and his chest. He was the Time Commander, and none of the others knew much about him beyond the fact that he was a master of chronal manipulation.
Mirror Master cleared his throat and said, “My friends, it is time we began our first project. I’ve spoken to each of you separately about your particular role in my little scheme. I have total confidence that we shall soon succeed in achieving all our various goals.”
The Shadow-Thief said, “I realize that you aren’t the original Mirror Master, and thus you may not know that our past teamings have been less than successful.”
“That is an understatement from a living embodiment of the term,” the Scarecrow said. “Surely you do not think that gathering us and bringing in rough approximations of the Tattooed Man and Chronos will help us achieve more than we have before.”
The Fadeaway Man harrumphed and said, “I, sir, am far more than a replacement for some brainless, engraved sailor! My cloak allows me to summon forth from its infinite contents any magical object I desire. The Tattooed Man could not say the same! Why, this cloak is linked to me, and the spell within its fiber will always return it to me no matter what distance separates us. The cloak even casts a spell of forgetfulness upon anyone who handles it in my place. Thus I was able to be reunited with it when the Super-Scavenger robbed me of it for the Enchantress last year. (*) She now has no memory that she ever possessed it!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Heroes and Villains, Chapter 1: Leave of Absence.]
“And I am not Chronos,” said the Time Commander. “David Clinton and I have little in common beyond our use of time. His use of it has been far less effective than mine, as evidenced by his many defeats.”
“While you have spent most of your career behind bars,” replied the Scarecrow.
“Look here, Crane!” began the Commander.
“That’s Professor Crane!” insisted the gaunt villain.
Poison Ivy gently inched closer to the Fadeaway Man and asked, “Can you really produce anything from that cloak of yours? How wonderful! You and I must talk more closely when we are alone. I do so admire older and wiser men.”
The Fadeway Man blinked in surprise and drew himself up with pride. “Indeed, girl. So we shall.”
“The fact that the Commander and the Fadeway Man are new to our ranks is no reflection upon their skills or their merit,” said the faux Mirror Master. “I assure you all that this time we shall succeed. Think how our gifts complement each other.” The others half-nodded in agreement. “We shall strike soon enough. I have chosen Civic City. It currently hosts no heroes and thus will be an excellent target for our first efforts together.”
“They have a fine library there,” said the Scarecrow.
“I admire your planning, but what of our old foes?” asked the Shadow-Thief. “I would like to have your help in dealing a swift and certain end to some individuals who have angered me.”
The Mirror Master smiled coldly. “Why not? We shall each slay a hero in the process of our work. Civic City may wait.”
“Hawkman and his pretty mate are the ones I want to see stuffed and mounted!” said the Shadow-Thief.
“I want Batman!” replied all of the others in unison.
They frowned and began to talk over one another until Mirror Master hammered the table with a gavel and said, “I see much more unites us than our careers or talents.”
“Hawkman and Batman have defeated me in the past,” the Fadeway Man said. “I hate them both.”
“I wish to teach Batman the meaning of fear,” said the Scarecrow.
“Batman and Green Lantern are my enemies,” said the Time Commander. “I support anything that hurts them.”
Poison Ivy cooed, “And I want to prove Batman’s folly for his blind rejection of all I have to offer.”
“One would indeed have to be blind not to see all you have to offer, my dear,” said the Mirror Master. “Unlike my predecessor, I hold no malice for the Flash. I have hatred for Batman as well, and for Hawkwoman. But since we cannot all have the thrill of causing the Batman to die, I suggest a simple compromise. We all attack heroes we have had little contact with before. Thus we experience new challenges while anticipating the eventual demises of the Hawks, the Lantern, and Batman!”
Poison Ivy smiled. “Fine. Shall we draw names from your hood?”
“Why not?” the Mirror Master said. “The novelty of the idea pleases me.”
Frances Kane took Wally West’s hand as the couple strolled through Central City’s Flash Museum; she wore a pink minidress and heels, while Wally wore a red shirt and jeans. The lovely blonde girl already been there before, but her boyfriend adored the place and the way it honored his late uncle, so she willingly accompanied him once more, listening as he excitedly recounted whispered tales relating to each display.
He gestured to a large poster and said, “That’s only an artist’s recreation. Looks a bit like the work of one of Barry’s neighbors, a kid named Barney or something like that. Anyway, from what Uncle Barry told me, the bird people he met below the surface world looked pretty much like the drawing.”
Frances smiled. “Well, we would not want to offend the bird-men with a bad picture.”
Wally grinned and said, “OK, I get it. We’ve been here too long for a certain knockout of a blonde. How about a nice meal? The diner makes great hot dogs.”
She laughed and said, “How can I resist such an offer, kind sir?”
Before they could continue their bantering exchange, the Time Commander made his entrance. “Perhaps I should recycle and reduce this display to its raw elements,” he said as he held out an hourglass that pulsed with an odd energy. The ray that flashed out of the hourglass around his neck struck a glass case and changed the glass to sand. “I merely moved the glass back through time until it transformed into its previous state.”
“Harold, is this part of the tour?” asked a thin woman as she turned to her portly husband.
“Let’s get out of here, Mabel!” he cried.
The Time Commander laughed and aimed his weapon again. This time the beam hit a doorway, crumbling it to splinters. “I merely turned the wood into its condition decades from now. They just don’t make things like they used to.”
“Get back, honey!” said Wally. “You know the drill!”
Frances nodded. “Be careful.”
Wally smiled and said, “That’s my middle name.” He changed to his Flash costume at super-speed and raced forward as the Time Commander fired again. The hero gasped as the ray narrowly missed his speeding form. “OK, Clock King, or Time Bandit, or Minute Master — or whoever you are — let’s take this outside!”
The Time Commander frowned in annoyance. “Clock King? Clock King? How dare you?” He raised his hourglass even as the Flash swept the tour group outside to safety in a precisely generated whirlwind.
This place honors Barry, and I’ll never let anybody hurt it, the Flash thought.
The Time Commander had counted on the hero’s actions. He would be an easy mark by attacking those he cared for. The villain picked a new target, and Frances suddenly gasped as she was struck by the latest ray.
The Flash yelled as he returned in time to see the girl he loved emerge from behind a case. “No! I told her to get out!” the hero said.
Frances suddenly changed from a girl in a pink minidress to a girl in a pale green maternity dress. She was obviously pregnant and wore a wedding ring on one finger.
The Flash spun around as his foe moved closer and fired directly in his path. “I am smart enough to calculate your path, you dolt!” said the Time Commander. The Flash shuddered as his body shrunk slightly, and his costume changed from red to yellow to red again.
“I’ve moved you back in time to your youth!” explained the Time Commander.
The now-juvenile Flash slammed into the villain and knocked him senseless with a flurry of blows. “I had my powers when I was a kid. Now who is the dolt?” the Flash said with a smile as the villain collapsed.
In seconds, the Flash returned to normal, as did the pregnant Frances Kane. He raced up to her, since the Flash Museum was now empty, and the Time Commander was stunned on the floor. “He didn’t realize that making me a boy would not eliminate my speed. Are you hurt?”
She shook her head. “What did he do to me?”
“It looked like he turned you into your future self!” said the Flash.
Frances frowned. “And that future self is pregnant and married to someone!”
“It could have only been one of many possible futures,” explained the Flash. “That’s my experience in these matters, anyhow.” She nodded as he carried out the Time Commander.
The Flash smiled calmly, but his mind raced. If Frances is going to be married and have a kid, then does that mean I’m the husband and father? Is this a sign that we should move forward with our romance? I’ve got some heavy thinking to do after I drop this clown off to jail!
Back at the warehouse, the Mirror Master gave the bad news to the others. “I fear Time Commander failed rather miserably. He was almost an unknown quantity to me. I should never have recruited him. Still, even though he failed to kill the Flash, we did learn that he can’t be counted on. We weeded out a bad recruit.”
Poison Ivy whispered to the Shadow-Thief, “He was never a real man like you. I think we could all see that. Still, you and I are old pros. We could work together as something special!”
Sands smiled and said, “I like the way you talk, gorgeous!”
During her years as a beauty queen and pageant contestant, Daily Planet reporter Meg Tempest had spent plenty of time in front of mirrors; however, the sprightly brunette had never been trapped behind or inside a looking glass before. Thus she screamed in fright and pressed her hands against the cold and unyielding glass in which her pretty form was encased.
The Mirror Master smiled and pressed his own face up against the glass. “Sorry, honey, but what better place for a looker like you than in a looking glass?” he joked.
He turned to the line of mirrors around the Daily Planet office. “Having a patsy deliver my special mirrors to the paper was a stroke of genius. One look into them trapped each staff member,” the villain boasted.
“You cheap punk!” yelled Perry White. “I’ll see you behind bars!“
“You’ve picked the wrong victims!” Lois Lane added.
The Mirror Master tapped on the mirror that imprisoned Lois Lane and said, “Ah-ah-ah! One wrong move, and it’s seven years bad luck for all of you!” He turned back to Perry White. “Now, old goat, fork over the ransom I demanded, or see your staff shattered!“
“Forget about seven years bad luck,” said a stern voice. “You’ll be serving life if you hurt anyone!” Superman swooped down from above and faced the Mirror Master, using his x-ray vision to quickly peek under the man’s green mask. “You aren’t Sam Scudder, but you have his criminal urges. I’ll curb them now!”
The Mirror Master smiled broadly. “Don’t be a pane!”
Superman gasped as glass plates suddenly formed around them all. “Closing us in a mirror box won’t do you any good!” he said. Then the Mirror Master fired a green gun, and Superman yelped in pain. “That heat ray burned my hand,” he said. “You’ve robbed me of my powers!”
The Mirror Master faced the Man of Steel and said, “Right. These glasses filter the sunlight around us so that only red sun rays penetrate. That makes you helpless and soon will make you dead!“
Superman tackled him and knocked the gun from his grasp. He connected with three rapid blows and left the shocked Mirror Master beaten. A touch to his foe’s belt controls freed them both and set free the captive staff from their own mirrors.
“Superman, this new Mirror Master is as bad as the first one!” said Lois.
Superman rubbed one hand and said, “No. He lacks Scudder’s experience. He assumed that I’d be an easy target without any powers.”
Lois smiled. “He didn’t know that you are a hero even without super-powers.”