DCM Knights
Detective Comics

The Return of the Sinister Six
Part Two: Illusions
by Chip Caroon and Black Condor

The Super Six
The Shadow
Iron Man
Martian Manhunter
The Sinister Six
Dr. Octopus
Dr. Phosphorous

Batman, Spider-Man, Flash, Martian Manhunter, and the Shadow all stood in the Avengers League watchtower, staring at the large viewscreen. The main image was now that of a map of the Northeast region of the United States. Various newsfeeds were still coming in on the smaller screens.

Dots had been placed over New York City, Philadelphia, and Newark.

"We know that there are six targets," Batman said, recapping what the heroes had learned on a recent news report.

"It appears that the attacks are all in different states," the Shadow added.

"So that eliminates any further attacks in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey," Spider-Man commented. "But what other states are targets?"

"That's not what's bothering me so much," Batman said. "We're up against six villains. So far, they seem to be depriving each city of one sense."

"But there are only five senses," Flash noted.

"So where does that leave the sixth man out?" Spidey wondered.

"Sanity," Martian Manhunter said, breaking his silence. "Sense of sanity. It makes perfect sense, seeing as who the Sinister Six are."

"Who are they?" Flash asked. "Obviously, Doctor Octopus, but who are the other five?"

"Catman, Doctor Phosphorous, Mysterio, Stegron . . . " Batman began.

" . . . and Joker," Spider-Man finished. "It makes perfect sense."

"As much sense as the Joker can make," the Shadow added.

"We should also try to figure out which of the Six is in which city," Spidey suggested. "I think it's safe to assume that Doc Ock is in New York."

"Yes, he would want to stay near the home base," Batman agreed.

"How are we going to take them down, though, if they're blocking a particular sense?" Flash asked.

"We need to make devices that can block whatever they are using to deprive the cities of their senses," Spidey answered. "I can probably design something from what I have in my suit for some of the stuff, but I need some help."

"I have someone in mind," Batman said. "J'Onn, how difficult would it be to get Iron Man up here?"

"No more difficult that it was to get you."

"Bring him up," Batman ordered. "Then after that, I want you and Flash to cover New England to find any trace of the rest of the Sinister Six."

"Should we call any more help?" Spidey asked. "What about the rest of the League?"

"Most of them are on their own missions, or unable to be called for active duty," J'Onn said. "But Iron Man will bring our number to six, which should be enough."

"Six on six," the Shadow said under his breath.

Martian Manhunter and Flash teleported down to Connecticut.

"Why here?" Flash asked.

"It's the most logical place for the Sinister Six to strike," J'Onn replied. It borders New York, and is closest to the other two states that we know of."

"Point," Flash replied, as he continued to race along, amazed that the Martian could keep up with him.

Seconds later, they arrived in Hartford.

"Something feels wrong here," J'Onn said. "I've been scanning the thoughts of everyone who we pass, and a lot of confusion seems to be here."

"So nice of you to join me."

J'Onn and Flash turned around. They saw a fiery-skulled man standing before them.

"Doctor Phosphorous, I presume," J'Onn commented.

"Correct on the first try, Martian," Doctor Phosphorous replied. "I see that the rodent and bug recruited some help this time."

"What happened here?" Flash asked.

"Simple. No one in this city is able to feel . . . They've all lost their sense of touch!"

"Then how come we can still feel our clothes?" Flash asked.

"Because, simple fool, you were not exposed to the nanomachines, as everyone else was."

{J'Onn,} Flash said on the telepathic link, {we should probably get out of here before he does something.}

{Agreed,} J'Onn thought back. {When I give the signal.}

"But that can be easily arranged," Phosphorous rambled on, holding his hand out toward the two heroes.


Immediately Flash and Martian Manhunter raced out of the city.

Iron Man stepped out of one of the Avengers League teleporters. He walked slowly toward Spider-Man, admiring the architecture of the Watchtower, which Tony Stark had designed.

Spider-Man met up with him.

"I'm glad that you could come so fast, Iron Man," Spider-Man said.

"Well, my boss was done with his world tour anyway. You have any idea what's going on down there? Total chaos all throughout the major cities on the Eastern seaboard."

"Yes, I know. That's why we asked you to come here," Spider-Man said. "It's not a natural phenomenon, what's happening. We know that the Sinister Six are generating something that is causing the five senses to be deprived in each place."

"Then we need to cut off the signal somehow," Iron Man replied. "Or block it with something else."

"You're pretty smart for a bodyguard."

"I wear a billion-dollar suit all of the time that's like a walking nuclear arsenal. Tony Stark can't have a dummy flying around in this thing, you know."

The keen minds of Iron Man and Spider-Man set about developing a solution to the sense-blocking devices.

Batman and the Shadow teleported to the middle of downtown Newark, New Jersey. Both were wearing goggles that had been designed by Batman to see on a number of spectra.

"Let me know how these goggles are working for you," Batman said. "I haven't used them against this kind of threat before!"

"Well . . . " the Shadow replied, " . . . even with the goggles, I'm having trouble seeing now!"

"Switch to the infrared spectrum, Shadow."

"Still nothing. Let me see if my mental powers will help any . . . "

Batman sniffed. "You just try your mental powers, kid, I'll find the spectrum that's being blocked!"

Batman kept adjusting his goggles, muttering something about cocky kid crimefighters.

The Shadow was concentrating deeply.

"Um, I think I'm beginning to be able to see, Batman, but it's not because of the goggles."

"What is it then?"

"I can sense that there's a mid-level mental block being broadcast. You don't have mental powers like me, Batman, but I know you have great strength of will. You can see . . . you can see if you try hard enough. You just have to believe."

"That is the hokiest, least scientific explanation . . . "

"I can see the street below, and the people wandering about. Most people are trying to stay inside."

"Okay, I'll try your way, Shadow. I'm willing myself to see, now."

Batman had powers of concentration that were the highest that they could be for a normal human. His will had been steeled through training by Indian yogis. He concentrated . . . and then he sensed that there was an illusion being perpetrated.

"Yes, I can see . . . it's just coming in and out, though. So hard to keep being able to see, though."

The Shadow was still concentrating. "I don't get to use these powers too much, Batman. I'm trying to find the focus of the illusion . . . the point from which it's being broadcast."

"If I was a supervillain, and I wanted to broadcast something, I'd do it from the highest point in the city. You know what building I'm talking about?"

"The National Newark Building? The one the radio stations broadcast from?"

"Let's go there. I think we'll find our illusionist there." The Shadow could see Batman struggling with the next words as the Dark Knight Detective tried to retain his sight. "You'll . . . you'll have to guide me if I suddenly can't see."

The Shadow knew that it was an honor to guide the Masked Manhunter, who normally would never accept such help. "You can trust me, Batman. Follow me."

The Shadow led Batman through the barren streets of Newark toward the National Newark Building. They dodged various homeless people who were walking around, dazed and clutching at their eyes.

Iron Man was viewing a readout from the Watchtower's computers as Spider-Man tinkered with a gadget he was working on. He had cut off the sleeves of his costume and had a good amount of the circuit boards laid out on a bench from which he was working.

"I'm making a specialized machine," Spider-Man said. "I have always known, with my costume being made of nanotech, that there would be some vulnerability to static electricity and magnetic energy. I've had my toughest fights against villains with those powers."

"Since nanotech is microscopic, it wouldn't carry any onboard protection against such energies."

"Right, it's like having an open computer case . . . the parts work, but don't go near it with a magnet or after scratching your shoes against the carpet."

"We can use this against the nanotechs that are blocking the sense of touch down in Hartford!" Iron Man paused for a moment. "It'll take a while before we can synthesize something that can emit these energies on a broad level, but not so high that it would hurt anyone."

"Well, I hope we get done before too long!" Spider-Man replied. He almost mentioned something about worrying about Aunt May, but he remembered that he was in his costume. His thoughts were half on the project he was doing and half on Aunt May sitting by the television, waiting for him to come home.

In Philadelphia, at the First Ben Franklin National Bank, Catman and his gang were able to sneak in through a side entrance, force their way into the vault, and make off with thousands of dollars, all due to the fact that everyone was so disoriented from not being able to taste anything.

"We're going to make a lot of money, boys," Catman said to his cohorts as they drove off in an unmarked van.

Nobody in the whole city wanted to eat anything. Hot dog vendors sat idly in their vans, waiting for someone to come by and eat their wares. Empire Coffee, the largest coffee chain in the United States, saw only a few diehard customers come in for their coffee - it was a slow day for one of the most profitable businesses in Philadelphia. People were feeling very weak from not eating, and many of them were calling in sick. The loss of the sense of taste was causing a very bad day in the City of Brotherly Love.

Martain Manhunter and Flash returned to the Watchtower.

"Any luck?" Iron Man asked.

"Actually, we found two of the Six," J'Onn replied. "Doctor Phosphorous is depriving Hartford, Connecticut of touch, and Stegron has taken the sense of smell away from Providence, Rhode Island."

"But no sign of the Joker?" Spider-Man asked.

"None," J'Onn replied.

"I don't like this. Whenever Joker's involved in something, I like to know as soon as possible. That way, less damage can be caused."

Boston, Massachusetts

At the end of a not-so-good day for Spider-Man and his allies, a man with a large grin on his face strolled along the streets of Boston with his suitcase in hand.

Everyone he passed seemed to want to avoid him. He couldn't understand why. Maybe it was his unusually pale skin? Or perhaps his bright red lips? His lime green hair?

No, it had to be his reputation.

The man kept walking until he reached City Hall. He then sat his suitcase down and put his arms in the air.

"Hello, Boston!" he shouted. "Joker's in the house!"

And then, it hit the fan.

Continued next issue!