Hawkman and Hawkwoman had briefly visited the JLA Satellite before returning to their home a few minutes earlier to find trouble brewing.
“The wall’s melted in a spot to the left,” said Hawkman, alias Katar Hol. “Someone broke in while we were out.”
“See? We should get an answering machine!” joked Hawkwoman, alias Shayera Hol. “We’re not in to be attacked at the moment. At the beep, leave your death-threat, riddle, or spell, and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.”
“That’s not that far off,” he said as they swooped inside. “Looks like a whole legion of intruders.” They saw twelve green-hooded figures, and all of them had deathly pale faces.
“Well, you boys missed the Halloween party by a few days or so,” said Hawkman as he whipped out a mace.
“It is the Hawkman!” cried one of the men. “He is the one we must slay!”
“Indeed, Balthaz!” said another. “He and his mate must die if we are to know peace!”
Hawkwoman frowned and drew closer to watch her husband’s back. I don’t know these goons, but they certainly have a grudge against us, she thought as she kicked one in the chin. Oww! Almost shattered a toe. He’s solid as a rock!
“I don’t know who you are, but if you think for minute that we’ll let you run wild in our city, you’re sadly mistaken!” said Hawkman. He brought his mace down on one of the green-garbed men and fell forward as it passed through his chest. “By Polaris!” he cried. “Intangible like the Gentleman Ghost!”
A swift left hook from a third figure knocked him down, and he rubbed his chin as he rose. Obviously, they can alter their mass, he thought. That could make this tricky.
Shayera flew left and tried to lure a few of them away from Hawkman. “You boys don’t want to get a girl a complex by paying all the attention to my partner, do you?” she called out.
Six of the men followed the feathered femme fatale as the other six charged Hawkman, who swung his mace in a wide circle to keep them back. As they phased through it, they reached for him with powerful and solid hands.
Starman crashed inside at that moment, and he flew toward the six beings as they closed ranks and attacked Hawkman with powerful blows.
“Get away from him!” he said as he slammed into them. “You creeps obviously don’t believe in fair play. Well, maybe I can teach you better manners!”
They were still solid, since they had been hitting Hawkman. Still, all Starman could do was scatter them.
“Hawkman, are you OK?” he said as he helped the winged wonder up. “I’m Starman, an ally of Captain Comet’s!”
“I’m fine. Thanks for the breather,” said Hawkman as he rose off the ground. “Any idea who these gentlemen are? They don’t fly, so we’ve got a bit of a breathing spell.”
Starman shook his head. “No idea. I was here earlier tonight, and I stopped one of your old foes, the Matter Master, from animating statues. When I came back by on my way home, I heard the fight.”
Hawkman nodded. “Matter Master, huh? He could still be behind this. I would not put it past him. He’s pulled some crafty stunts before, even while behind bars.”
Starman yelled as the white-faced aliens made themselves light enough to rise into the air as mists and then surrounded them. “Let me try something,” he said. “Heat may scatter them while they’re in this semi-solid misty form.” He generated blazing heat, and the aliens did indeed vaporize, only to slowly re-form.
“Well, again, you bought us time,” said Hawkman.
Hawkwoman zoomed back toward them and said, “By Polaris, I’m glad to see some help! I’ve been leading my six on a wild hawk chase, but they don’t seem to tire. My best efforts have no effect on them. They alternate between rock-hard and misty intangible.”
“Exactly,” said Hawkman. “This is Starman. He says Matter Master was at large here earlier. His mentachem wand could be behind these goons.”
Starman snapped his fingers. “The wand! I decked him and took him to jail but never thought about the wand. Come to think of it, it should have still been here, unless the pale guys took it.”
Hawkwoman shook her head, her curls bobbing up and down as she did so. “None of my group had a wand, and I don’t see it on the ground,” she replied.
Then all twelve aliens assembled and began to smash the displays.
“They want to lure us down,” said Hawkman.
“It’s working, too,” said his bride. “We can’t let them ruin the place!”
“Look out!” cried Starman as the aliens hurled a massive Egyptian scene into the air directly toward the threesome. “Let me!” shouted Starman as he surged forward and caught the weighty missile. He gently placed it down as the Hawks conferred.
“They avoid the Colossi of Manheps display,” noticed Hawkman.
“That marking on their hoods looks like the same inscription found on the giant relics,” said Shayera. “I could kick myself for missing that before!”
They plunged down toward the glass case, and as Starman blasted away at the ghoulish aliens with energy, they opened the case.
“The rock fragment came from one of the Colossi,” said Hawkwoman. “They avoided hurting it for some reason. They also did not try to steal it. Could they be the Twelve Immortals associated with the statues?”
Hawkman nodded grimly. “I’d bet they are. Superman mentioned something about the twelve statues having alien guardians. (*) Odd, if these are in fact the selfsame Twelve Immortals he spoke of, that they didn’t try to attack us when we first received the fragment to display it here.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “We Are Not Alone,” World’s Finest Comics #243 (February, 1977).]
“Energy blasts don’t faze them,” said Starman. “I guess their ability to alter their density protects them from energy extremes.”
“Hold it!” said Hawkwoman. “The rock is connected to them, and Matter Master’s wand alters the molecular patterns of things. Perhaps some stray blast from the wand altered the stone and in turn enraged these immortals?”
Hawkman nodded. “Brains and beauty! Remember that combination when you marry,” he said to Starman.
Will smiled but said nothing. Frowning, he spotted something near the door of the art director’s office. “There’s the wand now!” he cried. Scooping it up, he shouted, “Let me try to undo whatever it was M.M. did to this fragment!”
He gestured, the wand’s energy touched the stone, and at once the attacking aliens froze. “Lin-Dor, what madness possessed us?” asked one.
“I know not, Balthaz! The battle rage swept across us, and a desire to come here and kill the Hawk couple was all we felt!”
“I can explain,” said Hawkman. “I believe this fragment from one of the twelve Colossi statues comes from your world. You relied upon the statues to regulate your homeworld’s gravity. When our matter-manipulating foe’s wand altered the fragment in some bizarre manner, it also drove you twelve mad and passed Matter Master’s hatred of us on to you via the stone.”
The leader, Lin-Dor, spoke calmly. “It must be so. Forgive us. You prevented a tragedy by restoring the fragment.”
“With the wand back in our custody and the fragment restored,” said Hawkman, “all should be well.”
The Twelve Immortals departed for hidden valley that was their home, leaving the Hawks and Starman alone.
“Starman, thank you for your timely help,” said Hawkwoman.
Hawkman extended a hand. “Yes. Thanks, son. I suppose the wand’s energy hit the stone during your fight with Matter Master, and it had a delayed effect after you turned him in to Frazier.”
Starman shook his hand and said, “Glad I could help. It was an honor to meet you both.” After saying goodbye to the Hawks, he flew off and resumed his trip home.
In her office, Corla Tavo brooded.
“Bah! The wand worked as I’d hoped. It turned the Colossi guardians against the Hols, but that fool Starman ruined my plot. Plus, the Guardians would have attacked me had I retained the wand. They sensed its energy behind their madness. If only I could have retained it, and they had been able to kill the Hawks. But I’ll kill them yet!” she vowed.