Darknight brooded as he sat alone in his dimly lit office. He had conquered this world with his allies, and yet he longed for something more. It seemed that no true contentment or peace of mind would be his until he had beaten the inner demons that had driven him since his parents were murdered so long ago.
“The pain does not lessen,” whispered a voice from the darkness. “You learn to enjoy it after a while, or you go mad.”
“Owlman!” cursed Darknight as he rose from his chair and scanned the room.
“Yes, and I’ve come for you,” hissed the caped criminal. “It’s time you paid for your abuse of my world.”
Darknight hurled a razor-edged projectile directly into the caped figure as he charged from the shadows. The blades sliced evenly through the cloak, which fell to the floor.
“What trick is this?” asked Darknight as he jumped over the desk to examine his foe’s remains.
“One that worked rather well,” sneered the cloakless Owlman as he stepped out from behind his enemy and slammed a blunt instrument against his skull.
Darknight fell flat, and Microbe grew from out of the borrowed Owlman mask and cape. “He sure fell for our little charade. And you claim he’s the smartest one?” laughed Ray Palmer.
Owlman merely smiled grimly.
The Crime Syndicate’s ally, the Martian Murderer, sat outside on the lawn and used his considerable mental prowess to cloak the thoughts of his new partners from the Martian Warlord within. He knew he risked much by choosing to befriend the team out of power at the moment, but from the mental impressions of them he received when he scanned Alexander Luthor’s mind, he had formed a profound respect for them.
Without the mental scans of the enemy Martian, the Lawless League would have no advanced warning of the movements and plans of the Syndicate, and this suited him just fine.
Hypernion worked in his lab as he recalled the lost glory of his Krypton. He examined lead boxes of minerals taken from the world outside, which in turn had originated on the Krypton of this universe. His own world had died due to natural disaster, but the Krypton of this mad universe of Earth-Three was destroyed by Ultraman’s father.
“Your father destroyed his own world? What brutal fools you must be!” he said as he shook his head in dismay.
Ultraman heard and saw all his counterpart did, but he was helpless to do anything but watch in bottled-up rage. He was a ghostlike figure trapped in what the other Kryptonian called the Phantom Zone. A red projector on the lab table had placed him within this living death when he had fallen to the team after regaining his memory.
He knew his old team was in the building, and he hoped desperately to influence a mind even weaker than his in order to be free. He whispered to Johnny Thunder and tried to play upon the man’s feelings of abuse and discontent, but the truth was that his own mind was not strong enough to even reach the other’s brain. His could almost hear his brilliant criminal scientist father Jur-LL berating him once more for having such feeble intelligence.
Alexander Luthor and Brainiac waited outside in the Mighty Mole, a blue-and-gold craft that flew and submerged and even dug through the earth if needed.
Brainiac’s delicate fingers were inside the craft’s display board as the artificial man picked up electronic data through a careful and audacious robbery of the Lawless League’s own high-tech computer banks.
“Alexander, I have broken through the protective codes and know their every secret,” he said with a smile. “In that lab within awaits a means of our deliverance from their tyranny.”
Luthor nodded. “The low-level emanations I picked up suggested as much to me, too.”
“Too bad you’ll die before reaching the lab!” said the green brute known as the Martian Warlord.
Luthor acted with the brilliance that had made him the greatest hero this troubled world had ever known. He aimed his gloves at the alien and fire-gutted the monster, who howled with an agony that was entirely mental.
“The alien is in severe psychosomatic pain,” muttered Brainiac as a detached and clinical observation.
Luthor watched until the Warlord passed out.
“Amazing,” said Luthor. “My calculations based upon the study I did on our Martian as the ray brought him here led me to believe that the fear of fire was so strong in their genetic or race memory that even a good illusion could drive them away, or in this case create a paralytic reaction.” He shook his head.
“Now, my loyal friend, we take back our world,” Luthor vowed.
Johnny Quick and Power Ring used their respective abilities to slip inside the White House undetected. They gave each other a thumb’s-up gesture and separated to complete the missions assigned by Owlman.
Charles Darke shivered as he remembered his time in that weird mirrorverse of the Rogue’s. Barry Allen, you are going to regret that if it takes me all of my life after this little case, he thought, and recalled Allen’s beautiful and unfortunately faithful wife Iris as well. It had been his goal to seduce her, but she had remained loyal to her husband, and the super-villain’s allure could not sway her from her happy middle-class life, so he had killed her.
He made his way to where Hypernion worked in the lab and attacked the mighty warrior. Hypernion frowned and slammed both fists together so that shock waves buffeted the speedster.
“I’ll slow you down by ripping off your legs!” he threatened.
“First you’ll need to catch me, and in case you haven’t noticed, that isn’t happening!” sneered Quick as he vibrated through the walls.
Hypernion took no time for finesse. He merely crashed through the walls one after another. This led him far from the others in his team, which was Owlman’s goal all along.
Alexander Luthor and Brainiac entered and marveled at the destruction around them. “Looks like the Syndicate is holding their own nicely,” said Luthor as he and Brainiac worked quickly.
“Yes,” said the robotic man. “Here are the schematics of the lab as I retrieved them from the computer. We need to use container 34.”
Luthor located the drawer and opened it. “Ah, just what this doctor ordered.”
At that moment, Power Ring flew into view. “Need any help, Johnny? The Martian isn’t around,” he called. As he caught sight of Luthor, he muttered, “You!”
“We’re fighting the same battle this time!” stated the scientist.
Power Ring hesitated and then reluctantly said, “OK, buddy, then let’s kick some Kryptonian tail!”
Luthor pondered the oddity of the situation as he allied himself with the man who had killed his parents unknowingly and without care.
As Johnny Quick slowed down at a precise spot, Hypernion slammed through the wall just as the speedster vibrated away. The powerful alien could not slow down in time, and he slammed directly into Atalanta, who was wrestling with Superwoman in the next room.
Atalanta had been reclining in her private rooms after slaying several men taken in combat earlier. She was rudely interrupted when the size-changing Microbe suddenly entered her ear and slammed into her ear canal. She fell dazed as her balance was lost, and she assumed it to be due to some disease or illness. Little did the Warrior Princess guess that the cause of the loss of equilibrium was the tiny intruder.
Her room was entered by the gloating Superwoman, who calmly took back her own magic lariat and grabbed Atalanta’s lasso. “Now, little sister, we’ll see who is truly the princess of the Amazons,” she smirked as she closed in on the still-struggling Amazon Princess.
Atalanta’s pain ended as her tiny foe exited her ear after Superwoman had tackled her and was beating her fiercely. Microbe’s next action was to head for the room of Speedfreak, where he would soften him up for his other foes.
Superwoman ripped several locks of hair from her trapped foe’s head as she pinned her arms with both knees. Her legs were already tightly bound with her stolen lasso. “Do not fight back,” ordered Superwoman as she touched one end of the rope. Thus it went. Her foe lay prone and helpless as she was bound by the magic lariat, while a gleeful Superwoman assaulted her.
Finally, she carried her stunned foe out into the hallway and dropped her down just as Quick decoyed Hypernion into crashing into his partner.
The Kryptonian roared in anger as he saw the damage done to his female ally. “You’ll all pay!” he screamed.
“No — you will,” said Luthor as he walked calmly in and tossed down a golden rock, taken from the lead box marked 34 from Hypernion’s lab.
The glowing gold kryptonite robbed Hypernion of his superhuman powers, and he screamed in fury. “What have you done, old man?” he cried.
Luthor said, “I just made you human, and now I’ll teach you about pain.”
“No, that’s our job,” said Owlman as he kicked the handsome Hypernion in the head. A series of skillful jabs from the master fighter left the now-powerless Hypernion stunned.
Speedfreak’s battered form was carried out on a huge green platform generated by Power Ring. “Guess that loss-of-balance trick Microbe caused really slowed down this punk,” he said.
Superwoman and Johnny Quick surrounded Luthor. “I suppose you know, now that we have defeated the League, it’s your turn,” said Superwoman.
“No. I calculate that it is in fact your time to be imprisoned,” said a metallic voice through the wall speakers.
Brainiac had learned about the use of every item in Hypernion’s lab and thus had quickly realized that the Phantom Zone projector would be an ideal prison for the foes. He had already sent all the fallen ones, like the Martian Warlord, into that limbo. Now the artificial man blasted the Crime Syndicate and their beaten foes in the League into the weird dimension.
Luthor smiled as they vanished. “I kept my word. I didn’t sent them back to the bubble.”
Brainiac nodded. “Quite true.”
In the Phantom Zone, the ghostly villains raged in helpless fury as they joined Ultraman. “How could you let him trick you?” he shouted.
“You fell first!” said Owlman.
“He ambushed me as well,” said the Martian Murderer.
“Never fear,” said Microbe. “Owlman can get us out. Let him think.”
The Syndicator called Owlman indeed brooded for a long, long time.