DCM Knights
Detective Comics

The Return of the Sinister Six
Part Three: Madness
by Black Condor

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

Madness ruled on the streets of Boston. People who would normally be having cups of coffee this morning or walking to work were instead suddenly, and violently, insane. The madness had lasted all night long, and large parts of Boston were afire.

A tall middle aged man in a rumpled business suit howled at nothing in particular. Drivers were randomly pulling their vehicles off the road and smashing them into other parked cars. One driver smashed his car into another again and again until he could not extract the vehicle from the tangled mess. He then got out and started wailing at the top of his lungs.

Nobody could stop the insanity, because it was affecting absolutely everyone in Boston. All that they could do was somehow hope that someone from the outside would be able to find what had caused the mayhem. But nobody was really sane enough to care about that right now.

High atop Hancock Tower, the Joker watched the mayhem down below. He let out a mad cackle, which was joined by the cackling of guards who, had they been sane, would have attempted to arrest him.

A call rang through on the communicator that the Sinister Six had agreed to carry with them as they proceeded with their plans.

"How criminal to interrupt my enjoyment of this spectacle!" the Joker snarled. He looked again at the chaos. "My madness . . . spread across the canvas of an entire city!" The Joker beamed.

The communicator kept ringing.

"Fine! Fine! Anything to stop this incessant beeping!" the Joker said. He switched on the communicator.

Simultaneously, in Boston, Philadelphia, Newark, Hartford, and Providence, five villains joined in a conference call.

"Our plans are moving forward," Doctor Octopus said. "We have the cities under our control. Our next steps are to establish rule over each city and then to fan out across the country."

"We've got the power shared six ways already, Octopus," Mysterio replied. "I'll be damned if I let anyone else in on this plan."

"We can't rule a country without an army of some sort," Catman said. "But if we let any of the other supervillains in on this; you know they would eventually attempt to seize power."

"I'm implementing an idea that Doctor Doom once helped me with," Doctor Octopus replied. "His genius was inferior to mine, thus the plan never came to fruition. But with the city of New York immobilized, I was able to gain access to the resources of S.T.A.R. Labs. I'll contact you when we move to the next stage of the plan - it will benefit us all greatly."

"See that it does, Octopus," Stegron said. "Otherwise I'll have my pteranodons hunt you down and carve out your liver with their beaks!"

"Save your brutality for the Avengers League, or Spider-Man," Octopus replied angrily. "We have yet to have seen a response from them, but they may be too busy dealing with the chaos to deal with us!"

"Stegron the Dinosaur Man will be ready for them!"

"Joker the Insane Clown will be ready too!" Joker remarked. "The Avengers League won't be able to get to me, through an entire city of madmen."

"We have the cities on their knees now, my friends," Octopus laughed. "I'll be giving you my plan soon for expanding our rule. The rest of the United States will fall to us within a month."

Batman and the Shadow were making their way up the stairs of the National Newark Building. Somehow the power to the elevators had been cut.

Both the Dark Knight Detective and the Shadow had tremendous endurance, so they were able to rush up the stairs very easily. But the stress of trying to break through the illusion of not being able to see made for very slow going at times.

The two of them took a break close to the top floor.

The two men caught their breath. Both of them were struggling against the illusion of blindness. "We're getting close to something, Batman!" the Shadow said. "The power feeding the mass illusion is right here in this building, very close by. How are you holding up?"

"I'm trying to keep myself believing that I can see . . . it's very hard. I'm not used to exercising this level of mental control!"

"We're going to meet up with something or somebody soon, Batman! Just hold on!"

They reached the top level of the staircase. They walked with practiced caution toward the middle of the level. Sure enough, there was someone there, orchestrating the entire illusion.

The orb-helmeted man was standing in the middle of the room, watching the madness that his illusion had caused on a group of large-size monitors. He heard the Shadow's hard breathing and turned.

"Superheroes!! I knew you would eventually come to challenge me."

Mysterio suddenly recognized Batman from the last time the Caped Crusader had tangled with the Sinister Six.

"You again! This time you will pay for interfering with the plans of Mysterio!"

Mysterio pressed a button on his suit, and Batman and the Shadow were then suddenly battered by a perception-altering attack. Everything was psychedelic colors, and there was no up or down, left or right. The Shadow was particularly sensitive to sensory-based attacks; his concentration was also frayed from having to pierce through Mysterio's illusions. He crumpled to the floor, his psychic abilities burnt out.

Batman was also trying hard to hold onto his sense of direction. His iron will made him stagger toward Mysterio, but his total loss of perception prevented him from moving any further. He wandered close to the door to the open stairway. One bad step sent him headlong over the side of the staircase, plummeting down the levels of the building, towards certain doom.

At the Avengers League Watchtower, Iron Man and Spider-Man stood before the fruit of their work. They had created a craft capable of traveling at sub-stratospheric heights and enormous speeds. Its chief weapon delivered an electrostatic charge. The craft depended for much of its energy on sunlight and the winds at high altitudes, and its internal systems were shielded against ESD.

"We need someone who's a good pilot to fly this thing," Iron Man said. "I've flown a few planes around. Despite the risks to my armor, I'll fly the craft down to Hartford and take out those nanotechs."

"You'll need backup, Iron Man," Spider-Man said. "I'll need to design a different costume - it'll give me something different to work on, after having spent all of this time on this weapon."

"How do you think the other guys are doing, Spider-Man?" Iron Man asked. "Nobody's reported in for at least an hour."

"I hope we find out soon, Iron Man."

Martian Manhunter and Flash stood on a rooftop in Providence, Rhode Island, gazing at the chaos on the streets below. Dinosaurs were running rampant through the town, attacking people and destroying buildings and cars. All of the terrible lizards were under the control of Stegron, the Dinosaur Man.

Fortunately for the heroes, Stegron was very obvious about his domination of the city. Flash's quick eyes caught sight of him and a group of five velociraptors heading down Smith Street.

Stegron was about to let his velociraptors feed on a confused bunch of businesspeople standing at a bus stop when Martian Manhunter and Flash zoomed to where he stood.

"Stegron!" Martian Manhunter shouted. "This ends here and now!"

"It ends for you, Martian! Take them, my pets!!"

The velociraptors lunged forward, snarling and slashing with their claws. Martian Manhunter swooped up out of the way, then blasted two of them with his Martian vision.

Flash swept up the other three by charging at them at light speed, keeping himself vibrating so their slashing claws would not gut him. He zoomed the velociraptors toward a construction site, then dropped them into an open pit. In a matter of seconds he had constructed a girder pen to hold them in.

Stegron and Martian Manhunter were literally fighting each other across the entire city. Each titanic punch from the combatants sent the other one reeling down at least two city blocks.

They finally ended up in one of the rougher sections of town. Stegron's minions were all over the city, so it was easy for him to call two of his dinosaurs to his aid.

"Come to me, my ankylosaurs!! The buildings, my pets!! Bring them to the ground!" Stegron ordered.

Two huge ankylosaurs moved ploddingly toward an abandoned building, then began beating away at it with their clubbed tails. Their blows rocked the rotting structure.

Stegron moved toward one building, daring the Martian Manhunter to follow him. The Dinosaur Man nipped at Martian Manhunter as the Martian flew around him, grabbing J'Onn's cape in his jaws. J'Onn flew free of the Dinosaur Man's mandibles, and wheeled around to do him some damage.

But Stegron was still intelligent, for all his dinosaurian strength and weaponry. He used his clubbed tail to slam against a rotting building, then tried to leap out of the way.

Martian Manhunter grabbed his foe's tail and dragged him back.

But at that moment, the building fell on top of the Martian Manhunter. Flash zoomed about in time to watch Stegron and J'Onn J'Onzz get buried by tons of concrete.

"J'Onn?? J'Onn!!!"

Justin Hammer wondered why the stock market updates from New York were not coming in on his wireless PDA as he walked down one of the corridors of Hammer Island toward his development lab area. But there were more important things to do right now.

"Chou, the Dallas Technology Expo is coming up and you still don't have that armor perfected yet?" Hammer barked.

"It's almost done, Mr. Hammer. It's only going to be a couple of days more than we had planned."

Hammer stared hard at Mei Chou. He had fired many people during his time, but this young engineer was someone who would be very hard to replace. She had, after all, knowledge of Hammer's most secret technological initiatives. He would have to hold back on his pride and on his habits and retain her.

For now, anyway.

"Just get it done. Surprise me by getting it done faster than you have estimated!"

Mei Chou returned to work perfecting the new armor that Justin Hammer would use to take his final revenge on Tony Stark.

Doctor Octopus smiled as he paced through S.T.A.R. Labs. The example of a few scientists who had been slain by his deadly tentacles had been enough to make them submit to his will. Even the proud Dr. Jenet Klyburn feared his power; she just sat at her desk, obediently typing some formulas that Octopus had given her into one of the Labs' computers. Octopus chortled at seeing the proud doctor reduced to such submission.

Otto Octavius had returned to rule in the city that had once laughed at his theories and at his inventions. The revenge of the Sinister Six was almost complete - he had heard reports of superhero resistance, but it had not been effective.

The Sinister Six's revenge was complete. Now, the time for total domination had begun!

Next: The Return of the Sinister Six continues in Spider-Man #20!