Alexander Luthor stood in front of an electronic device and hit the switch. Instantly, his image was projected to the space in front of the prison bubble that held the Crime Syndicate. Ultraman jumped up, as did his peers.
“Luthor — come here to gloat, old man?” sneered Owlman.
Power Ring said, “I’d teach him to gloat if I could just get my hands around his throat!”
“Hold it,” said Superwoman. “He obviously wants something.”
Luthor spoke from below, and his holographic image broadcast his words. “Please hear me out. That world down there is in trouble. A group called the Lawless League has conquered America and currently stands to take over the whole planet. I cannot stop them by myself. If I release you from your prison, would you pledge to help me defeat them? Afterward, I give you my word that I will not try to return you to this bubble.”
Ultraman frowned. “You’re not stupid. You know we’ll just take the planet over again ourselves if given half a chance.”
“I know you’ll try, but your reign was never as brutal as that of this League,” replied Luthor. “I also feel that — because they are counterparts to the Justice League who beat you all before — you would relish going up against them. For, you see, I believe they are warped doubles of those heroes, come from some other dimension.”
Owlman smirked. “I believe you always thought of us as warped doubles of the JLA, too, did you not? Well, I suppose it was inevitable for you to come crawling to us. Our power is the only hope you have to stop their rampage.”
“I would also like a chance to prove my prowess in battle once more,” said Superwoman. “It has been too long since I made the fields run red with blood.”
Luthor said, “Give me your word to help me defeat them, and afterward we may settle our only differences as you like. I repeat that I won’t try to put you back in this prison.”
Ultraman turned to Owlman, as did Johnny Quick, Power Ring, and Superwoman. The evil genius nodded. “I believe we have a bargain,” said Owlman. “A truce until the Lawless League is brought down at our hands, and then — we settle old scores.” The other members of the Crime Syndicate nodded in agreement.
Luthor pressed another control in his Fortress of Science, and the prison bubble vanished, setting free the worst villains this world had ever seen until the coming of the Lawless League.
Ultraman charged for Luthor’s projected image and closed his fists on — nothing.
“What kinda stupid trick is this?” he yelled.
“The kind you obviously fell for,” smirked Owlman.
Johnny Quick chimed in, “It was just a picture, Kel. Nothing but a picture.”
As Power Ring brought them back to the rubble and chaos of a world at war, he said, “So do we really kill this League or join up with them?”
Owlman smiled. “Good question. I suggest we meet them first and then form an opinion.”
In the White House, the Lawless League relaxed after a long day of conquest and bloodshed. Each had his or her preferred method of unwinding.
Speedfreak’s hyper hormones were raging as always, and the blond youth enjoyed romantic action with kidnapped starlets like Michelle Piper and Debbie Lockhart. The women had no chance against the super-fast speedster. He was simply too quick for them to see clearly before it was too late.
Hypernion brooded over the fact that he came from a doomed world, while this paltry world with no true science or art worthy of the name was allowed to live in its mundane stagnation. Being the last son of his alien world weighed heavily upon his mind.
Atalanta spent all her time in combat, as the Amazon Princess relished beating every hulking male she could force into her arena. She had converted the west wing of the White House into a gladiatorial-style arena where she had defeated countless males in her nightly battles.
Darknight alone attended to duty, seeming to never rest. He merely studied the data taken from the computer banks he had altered. He studied the crime statistics with special zeal, as he had a hatred for crime that drove him ceaselessly. True, he and his peers were the worst kind of outlaws, but he still had no use for lesser crooks, and he dedicated a good amount of his time and resources to hunting down certain most wanted felons and slaying them.
Gladiatrix merely amused herself with shallow pleasures like clothes, jewels, and stolen loot from fine stores across the world.
The Crime Syndicate would soon come calling.
Alexander Luthor worked without rest to perfect his Brainiac robot. He knew that the Crime Syndicate would be forced into battle with the Lawless League, because no two groups with such similar goals could long survive together without conflict. However, when they were finished, he would have to stop the winner to make his world safe once more. He had vowed not to send them back to that bubble, and he wouldn’t do so, since he had always found it a bit inhumane. Still, he wouldn’t let them run wild, either. That was where his robot would come into play.
The green-skinned android looked like a man except for the weird skin coloration and the web of electronic wiring across his bald skull. “Imagine it, Lois!” said Luthor, beaming. “Brainiac, here, will be an artificial intellect with the capacity to learn and improve himself. A self-repairing android with illusions of grandeur, so to speak. He will think at a level far beyond any known computer. He will anticipate probabilities and form strategies appropriately. In short, he will be the perfect robotic aide to help me deal with the Syndicate and all the problems I must deal with regularly, such as recharging my armor.”
Lois kissed him and said, “Alex, I think you’re wonderful. What happens next?”
“Well, dear, I imagine they will meet, and the fight will begin,” he said with a worried look on his face. “I hope it goes as expected.”
“How could it go right?” said Lena. “How could a killer like Power Ring ever do the right thing? He killed our folks. He murdered them like a child swatting a fly! Alex, you’ve unleashed more monsters on a world beset by them already!”
Alexander started to stop the pretty blonde as she ran to her room in the Fortress, but Brainiac then hummed softly as his eyes gained an almost-human glow. Luthor turned from his sister to gaze upon his new son.
“I am twelfth-level computer intellect and diagnostic system — designated Brainiac,” the android said. “How may I assist you?”
Alex cheered as Lois watched his creation come to life.
In the White House, a blond man paced nervously. “Say you! Say you!” he cried over and over. “Drat — nothin’! This backwater world won’t let me summon the old T-bolt magic, either. That other simp, Johnny Thunder of Earth-Two, still has control over the Thunderbolt. It’s no use.”
He wore a green and gold uniform and was, in fact, the Earth-One native called Johnny Thunder. Like his counterpart on Earth-Two, he could control a magical being called the Thunderbolt. However, only one could be the rightful master at a given time, and this evil Johnny was out of luck. He had been allowed to stay as a kind of mascot to the Lawless League, but they held him in contempt. He had no influence upon them, and that galled him, for he had in fact created them.
I don’t get it, he thought, brooding to himself. In that T-bolt realm, I learned even my thoughts could work the old magic. So when I had the other loser Thunder gagged, his thoughts allowed him to summon enough T-bolt energy to shake off the gag and allow him to say the magic words! Then he beat me. I still could think, though. I used my own thoughts, and they went something like this: “Say, you know, if there was another Lawless League around, I’d be free of this dimension and those do-gooders of Earths One and Two.”
Well, sure enough, after I was taken out of the dimension, I was magically brought here. The heroes didn’t even notice. They forgot about me, just like the last time I created a Lawless League. But this time, all my magic was gone! I had made one wish, and it was a done deal. This Lawless League was created, and I was put here with them on Earth-Three, away from the heroes just like I wished. But they don’t listen to me, so what good has it done me? He continued to fume inwardly.
Good question, Johnny.