by Martin Maenza, adapted and expanded from Crisis on Infinite Earths #9 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
The planet had become a frozen wasteland, thanks to the combined efforts of the villains on Sivana’s team. The new ice age emanated out from Fawcett City, New York, and soon covered a great portion of the planet. The villains were rather pleased with themselves, celebrating like it was Christmas in August. The party was about to be over.
“Looks like we’ve got company,” Jewelee said as a blonde woman in a blue and black costume was bearing down on her. “Here, sweetie, you’ll like these!” She tossed a number of her gem-shaped weapons at the heroine. “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend.”
Black Canary somersaulted to the side. “Oh, you like music?” she said. “Allow me to sing for you!” She opened her throat, and great vibrations launched from her larynx. Her sonic cry quickly had Jewelee covering her ears.
The female villain was soon shouting, “No more! No more!”
In the air, Jewelee’s partner flew with ease thanks to his special boots. “Let’s see if I can string you along, Robin Hood,” the jester-costumed man chuckled. He shot off a few of his sting strings at the emerald archer on the ground below.
“Not fast enough,” Green Arrow said as he notched and fired a series of arrows at the man. Before the sting strings could reach the ground, an electro-arrow had shocked Punch, and then a boxing glove arrow had knocked him for a loop.
Green Arrow turned to his partner. “See, pretty bird? These folks ain’t so tough!”
“We’re not done yet,” Black Canary reminded. “There’s plenty more where these two came from.”
Not far away, a little gathering of villains was going on. “You serious about a new Secret Society?” Clayface II asked. “I always wanted to get in on that action.”
“Me too,” said the purple and green Bug-Eyed Bandit. “That’s really the big time.”
“Don’t call us,” Mirror Master said. “We’ll call you.” The Cheetah from Earth-Two snickered at the brush off, while Clayface III looked at her with a strange expression.
“Uh!” called out the dimwitted Ibac. “Uh — look.”
“What?” Mirror Master snapped. Ibac pointed upward. The villains barely had time to notice before a huge metal sphere crashed into the rooftop upon which they were standing.
The odd part was, the sphere had a face to it and the letter L upon its gray surface. “Ooops,” the metallic sphere said in a slow, mechanical voice. “Sorry.” The building roof gave way due to the fast impact by Lead of the Metal Men, and the six villains fell downward.
In the sky above, Hawkman soared through the air under the power of his antigravity belt and wings. “Do you need a hand, Kal?” the Thanagarian called out to his teammate.
Superman wound back his left fist and slammed it hard into the center of the thirty-two-foot-tall giant starfish. The creature’s eye made a perfect target with its concentric red and white circles. “No thanks, Katar,” the Man of Steel replied. “Starro’s a tough customer normally, but this frozen environment is taking its toll on him. I can handle him just fine alone.”
“All right, then,” Hawkman replied. “I think I see somewhere else my mace can help out.”
“By all means,” Superman said. And Hawkman flew off, leaving the Man of Steel to mull over his thoughts. Had it only been four days since his cousin’s death? But he couldn’t allow himself to mourn any longer. There was work to do, and he was Superman.
Not far away, another pair were locked in combat. “Hold still, you stretching sap!” Sinestro said as he swooped down. His power ring pulsed, sending a yellow energy clamp toward the hero below. The energy slammed into the ice, entangling the lower legs of his quarry.
However, Elongated Man’s limit was nowhere near being reached. “You have to do better than that, Sinestro!” the stretchable sleuth said. While he knew the rogue Green Lantern was a bit out of his league, Elongated Man’s plan was to keep the powerful villain detained. That would allow the others their time. Still, he kind of wished either Barry or Hal were here. Sometimes things ran a lot smoother when the Flash and Green Lantern were around. But no one in the Justice League really knew where either of them were at the moment.
“Oh, indeed I can,” Sinestro sneered, using his ring to form a yellow energy sphere that scooped up the hero. “Watch!” Suddenly, the sphere began to shrink, forcing Elongated Man to scrunch himself into a tighter and tighter spot. “I’m betting even your rubbery bones will eventually snap!” The red-faced alien laughed wickedly.
“Not before your neck does!” Hawkman said as he swung his mace hard. The spiked metal ball slammed hard into the side of Sinestro’s skull, forcing his concentration to be broken. Elongated Man dropped to the ground when the energy sphere dispersed. The winged hero continued his assault with the ancient weapon, taking as much of the fight out of the villain as possible.
Elongated Man could see the determination in Hawkman’s actions. It reminded him that the man was a trained warrior, one of Thanagar’s finest police officers. In times of war, he fought with an unbridled fury. Elongated Man was glad to have him on his side in lieu of his missing friends.
Elsewhere, Steel found himself standing in a pool of frigid water up to his knees. The ice in the immediate vicinity was melting at a rapid rate. It was due in part to his playmate, the fleshy pink member of the Brotherhood of Evil named Plasmus. The villain had a touch that burned, and Steel’s red and blue costume already looked worse for wear thanks to that. Still, he was thankful for his indestructible body.
“You vill die, dog!” Plasmus said in a thick German accent. “I vill see you burn in hell!”
“I don’t think so,” said Steel as he struggled to get out of his grasp.
Suddenly, the ground beneath the duo began to shake and convulse. The ice shattered and buckled. Steel was thrown from Plasmus’ grip as the villain started to sink into the water below.
“Yeah, pink boy,” replied a young man in green goggles and a colorful costume, which included parachute pants. “Chu listen to me, hermano Steel! No one messes wit’ the Justice League, aye?” Vibe did a little victory break dance even as Plasmus’ hand was the last of the villain visible as he submerged under the water.
Steel, meanwhile, had spotted another spectator to the battle and was upon him quickly. “Going somewhere, mister?” he said, grabbing the golden tunic of the villain.
“What have you done to Plasmus?” demanded Warp. “Speak, mon ami — now!”
“Frenchie, don’t know where that living furnace took off to,” said Steel, whose costume was in tatters, “but if you’re his friend, I’ll–”
Warp smiled. “You will do nothing, mon ami.” His powers flared as he opened a teleportation portal that quickly enveloped the hero holding him. “Allow me to introduce myself. Like my monstrous friend, I belong to the Brotherhood. I am Warp, and I shall teleport you to a place from which you will never return!”
As Steel vanished in a flash of light, Warp flew off. Vibe called out to his friend in vain. “Steel? STEEL?!?”
It would be a couple of days before the young Justice Leaguer known as Steel would return from a wild adventure in the far-flung future. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Long Road Home,” Justice League of America #245 (December, 1985).]
And the battle for Earth-S raged on. The Justice League of America and its allies fought hard, but the villains fought equally as hard. They weren’t about to give up after all their efforts.
The Creeper learned that taking on Zazzala, the Queen Bee, was no laughing matter. “I shall make you my court jester,” the purple-haired woman in the orange-and-black-striped costume said as she blasted him with her magno-nuclear scepter.
The green-haired hero leaped to the side. “Jester?” he asked. “I thought you took slaves. I’d love to be your slave. Your love slave. Get it?” The Queen Bee growled at him in fury. He laughed anyway, which he often did during times of great stress.
The Penguin, using a souped-up umbrella weapon provided to him by Sivana, boldly took on Firestorm. “Back off, nuclear man,” he warned. “This bumbershoot blast can blow you into a billion bits. Wak wak wak.”
Firestorm turned the air molecules before him into a curved surface, reflecting the blast back at the Penguin. “Not today, bird brain!” The icy perch the villain stood upon gave way, taking the Penguin down in a tumble of ice.
Meanwhile, three-fifths of the Fatal Five fought hard against the other champions of justice.
“Back off, beast!” the noble Lady Quark said as she fired a nuclear blast at the advancing Validus. The white-haired woman in the yellow costume with orange radiation designs had lost her family and entire homeworld of Earth-Six not that long ago, and she was still full of anger and willing to unleash it upon any reasonable target. The silent giant with the domed head was a perfect choice. Validus didn’t even have time to get off one of his powerful mental-lightning bolts.
The red-skinned Mercury of the Metal Men wrapped himself around the domed Mano. “You’re going down, bubble-head,” the robot taunted.
“I don’t think so,” Mano replied. With his right hand, he touched Mercury’s surface; the villain’s disintegrating touch played havoc with the responsometer within the robot.
“Hey, turning up the heat is my thing! No fair!” Mercury shouted, exploded into dozens of red bubbles, only to re-form a short time later.
The Emerald Empress found out that Zatanna’s reverse magic could be formidable, indeed. “Ebut fo eci, laes reh ni. Peek eht eye yawa morf reh.”
The green-haired woman pounded upon the icy tube that surrounded her. “Eye, come to me!” Emerald Empress ordered. “Free me from this trap.” The glowing orb responded, blasting at the shield with its own powerful energies.
Wonder Woman had just used her Amazon strength to defeat both Copperhead and Clock King. “Great Hera,” the dark-haired heroine said. “This might take us longer than we first thought.” She was a newlywed, having just married her longtime love Steve Trevor just three days earlier, and had to cut her honeymoon short for this latest emergency.
She was not expecting the surprise attack from behind by Eclipso. “Gotta watch your back, my pretty,” the villain said as his black diamond blasted her squarely in the back. The Amazon fell with a cry of anguish, the blow having stunned her for a moment while she was lost in her thoughts, but she would quickly recover. Eclipso laughed, waiting for a chance to knock her down again.
Same goes for you, Iron of the Metal Men thought to himself as he formed a larger hammer with his right fist. He raised it up fast and brought it down hard on the back of Eclipso’s skull.
“This ends here, Orm!” the blond-haired King of Seas cried out as he broke through the icy surface. Aquaman and his red-haired bride Mera shot forth from the water on spouts she created. The two, it appeared, had patched up their differences and were together once more.
Neither was prepared for the ambush that had been awaiting them. A pair of beams shot out from a duo positioned on the icy walkways. With the Icicle and Captain Cold’s help, both heroes were unexpectedly frozen in midair.
Ocean Master laughed with glee at the sight before him. “Beautiful, beautiful!” he said. “Look at their faces! Such anguish on Mera’s. Such determination on my accursed step-brother’s. Have you ever seen such a sight?”
“I aim to please,” the Icicle said as he holstered his cold-ray gun.
Watching, the blue parka-wearing Captain Cold wandered off to join his sister, the Golden Glider. From a radio transmitter high atop a column of ice, they were able to hear the voice of Luthor. “Mothership to Earth-S, report,” the voice of Luthor instructed.
“Victory, Luthor,” Captain Cold crowed. “We’ve got our act down cold. Earth-S, and all their heroes, are on ice.”
“You tell him, Len,” Golden Glider said softly so only her brother could hear.
A green-costumed masked man noted concern on the face of the other woman present. “Killer Frost, you disagree with Captain Cold?”
The frozen beauty nodded her head. “Indeed I do, Weather Wizard,” she said. “I know the power the heroes have on their side. We can’t let down our guard — not even for a moment.” Truth was, nearly three weeks ago in the early days of this Crisis, Frost had been a manipulated ally to the heroes in the Monitor’s first wave of defense. Something in her cold, frigid bones told her that things weren’t over yet and that the heroes would find a way to rally against the incredible odds.
Weather Wizard raised his wand. “Then perhaps I should lend a hand, or at least my weather wand!” Thrusting the weapon high into the air, he discharged a burst. “If the heroes are going to attack us anyway, let’s give them an inhospitable welcome.”
Suddenly, the skies gave way to a great thunderstorm. Lightning and heavy rains fell from the sky, making the fighting more difficult for both sides.
“I’m getting out of this weather,” Kanjar Ro said, running across the road.
“Not so fast!” a voice called from nowhere. Suddenly, he was knocked backward as Gypsy, hidden from view, punched him in the jaw and became visible. The dark-haired young girl looked more like a street vagrant than a heroine.
The Hyena saw the girl and leaped for her, teeth fully bared and claws slashing. The beast was suddenly held back by the stretched out arm of the Metal Man named Gold. “Not so fast, there,” the robot said.
“Think again,” Lightning Lord said as he swooped in from the stormy skies. He began to discharge even more lightning into the atmosphere.
“Thanks,” said Gold. “Just what I needed.” The robot quickly wrapped the rest of his body around Lightning Lord, allowing the man’s energy to shoot down and shock the Hyena. “Gold is a great conductor, you know.”