DCM Timely

No. 11

MAY 1942

Justice Society of America
Prelude to Twilight: Part I
Gods and Monsters
by Bob Young

Roll Call
Captain America
Dr. Mid-Nite
Black Canary
Dr. Fate
Wonder Woman
Human Torch
Doc Savage
Weapon X
Miss America
Miss Venus
Phantom Stranger
The Spectre

In another realm, very unlike our own, the council of the lords of the dark forces were meeting.

Ares, the god of war, was addressing the council. "If we do not do something, the earthling's war will end before they do what we want them to do! We can't allow that. And on a personal note, as the god of war, this is the best war Earth has ever had. I don't want to see it end."

"We are not interested in your personal desires," said Neron, who hated the pretentiousness of these beings who called themselves gods. Neron knew gods, and Ares was no deity! But right now, he needed them. He continued. "All we are interested in is the human war and how it can help us against the Living Tribunal."

"The Living Tribunal!" Trigon growled. "Always that name!"

"If the war is indeed in danger of being brought to an abrupt end," The Grandmaster said. "Then maybe Ares is correct. We should up the stakes."

"Indeed," Darkseid added. "Ares' plan has merit. Every little bit of chaos, when added to an atmosphere of war, will be blow up and explode into madness. And madness will only prolong the earthling's war, thus increasing the chances of their doing what we want."

"I agree," said the Collector.

"Let Ares have his fun," Mephisto said. "If nothing else, it should be entertaining."

Dormammu remained quiet, having so recently failed in his own attempt.

"Very well," Neron said, "You may proceed, Ares."

"But be cautious," Queen Zelia said, "The White Council must not get involved. Otherwise we risk the Living Tribunal acting before we are ready."

"Obviously!" Ares said impatiently, "The god of war does not make such foolish errors."

Neron and Mephisto looked at each other. 'God' again. Such arrogance to claim superior stature. When the council's purpose was served, these 'gods' would need to be humbled. "Go," Neron said. "And do not fail!"

Ares appeared in the sky realm, an ethereal kingdom high above the surface of the Earth. Inside the sky kingdom was the powerful being known as the Thunderstorm. He was the embodiment of storms. He was shackled by flame-chains. Years ago, the Thunderstorm was defeated and imprisoned by a group of Asgardians led by the thunder god Thor. He'd been there for years, unable to free himself, roaring in rage helplessly. He spotted Ares.

"You have the stink of one of those Earth deities," boomed the powerful voice of the Thunderstorm.

"Indeed," Ares said, "but I have come to make you an offer. Your freedom, in exchange for a your temporary services in my cause. I will release you, if you will use your mastery of storms to wreck havoc over the country called the United States."

Down in New Atlantis, the occupation was over. The Atlanteans were free. Attumma, their former conqueror, was chained on the very same podium that he had recently chained the Atlantean princes on. He was being exposed to public ridicule, until the trial.

Aquaman and King Vulko were leading a victory parade through the heart of the city. Namor, prince of the sister city of Atlantis, chose not to participate. He preferred to talk to Queen Hippolyta, who was temporarily allowed to survive under water, thanks to Dr. Fate.

"Thank you again for coming to my aid," Namor said tenderly.

"It was my pleasure, Namor," Hippolyta said, surprise by these feelings of attraction she was having. She was embarrassed. "About that kiss . . . "

"I don't regret it," Namor said.

"Neither do I," she said. "But for a queen, such a thing is not done lightly. A gesture of affection such as that means something."

"As it does for a Prince of Atlantis," Namor said. "It was not meant to be a casual gesture. I want you, Hippolyta! More than I have ever wanted any woman! I want you to be my mate."

Hippolyta was shocked by the abruptness of the declaration, but that was how Namor did things. And that honesty was one of the things she admired about him. "Marriage is not an easy thing for a Queen of the Amazons," she said. "I must consider this."

"Think on it well, my beautiful queen," Namor said. "We belong together."

Nearby, Aquaman finished his parade and approached the Sentinel and Dr. Fate. "I have not yet thanked you humans for your assistance. If not for you, my Kingdom would still be under the power of Attumma and Krang. You have the gratitude of all of New Atlantis. If you ever need help, you may count on Aquaman."

"Hopefully we won't have to take you up on that," Sentinel said, "but we appreciate the offer. What about Krang and Tiger Shark?"

"Once things settle down here, I will start searching for them personally. He won't escape justice."

"What will happen to Attumma?"

"It is best that you do not know," Aquaman said. "You would find Atlantean justice a bit . . . savage!"

The Sentinel winced but decided that it wasn't his place to judge other cultures.

Aquaman saw Mera, who had assisted in the liberation of Atlantis. Their eyes met and she smiled at him. "Excuse me," Aquaman said, walking towards her.

But he didn't make it all the way. All the Atlanteans stopped and started to look up at the open sea.

"What's wrong?" Sentinel asked.

"The currents," Aquaman said. "Something is affecting the currents!"

Steve Rogers had returned to his job in the mail room of the War Department but announced that he was now on a part time basis. Bucky questioned him about this but Steve was evasive. Steve kept changing the subject and finally Bucky gave up trying. Bucky liked Steve but there was something strange going on with him and Bucky wanted to know what it was.

His thoughts were distracted by the storm that was blowing outside. It was fierce. And from what they heard on the radio, similar powerful storms were blowing all over the country. A lot of damage was being done. Then the General's aide came running in. He called Steve Rogers out of the room. Bucky watched them whispering out in the hall and then Steve ran out. This time, Bucky snuck out after him. As usual, the General had a car waiting for him. As the car drove away, Bucky unchained his bike and pedaled after them. The weather was causing a lot of traffic and so the car wasn't moving very fast. Bucky was able to keep up, even though the wind and rain was very strong. Finally, the car pulled up to the mansion which was well known as the headquarters of the Justice Society. But it wasn't Steve Rogers who came out . . . It was Captain America. Cap ran into the house and the car drove off. Bucky stood in the rain, staring at the mansion, not daring to believe what he'd just seen.

Inside the Mansion, the Flash had just arrived, as had Cap. The Human Torch lived there. Soon, Dr. Mid-Nite and the Black Canary showed up. Cap addressed the group.

"Thanks for responding to the emergency beacon so quickly. I guess the others are still in Atlantis," Cap said. "We'll have to deal with this without them. As you can see . . ."

Everyone was surprised when the long absent Wildcat strolled in. He saw everyone staring at him. "What? I don't have a zipper so I know it's not opened."

"Look what the cat dragged in," Black Canary said. "Welcome back."

"Let's proceed," Cap said. "As you can see, the weather has gone crazy. The phenomenon is localized over the American continent, from Mexico to Canada, and about 100 miles out to sea on either coast. We're not sure of the cause yet . . . "

"I'm sure!" exclaimed a female voice. They all turned and saw the stunning Miss Venus. "I know who's causing this, and I think I know why. It's not good, my friends. And I'm not sure you can stop it!"

The man known as Logan was recreating in a Canadian fishing village when the weather went crazy. All of his animalistic instincts told him that this was not a natural storm. He saw a small fishing boat being overturned. The elderly man and the young boy who were on board were thrown into the water. The current was too much for them, and threatened to drag them under. Logan dived into the water to rescue them. The had the feeling that this was not the last rescue he'd be doing today. Something told him that this was going to be a bad day!

Dr. Clark Savage was called in to the mental ward of New York hospital. He had been working with a patient known only as 'Patient Zero'. He'd been experiencing dementia and hallucinations. Savage was called in for a consultation. Savage's new electro-magno therapy was helping him greatly, but suddenly, he'd gone totally berserk. The staff doctors sedated him but couldn't stop his symptoms. So they called Savage.

Savage entered the room, where 'Patient Zero' was strapped to the examination table. He was thrashing around, screaming.

"It's me," Doc Savage said. "Can you hear me? It's Dr. Savage."

The patient reacted to the name. He met Savage's eyes. "Stop it!" Zero screamed. "It's coming! Don't let it! It will kill us all!!"

"Who's coming?" Savage asked.

"It's coming! The storms! It wants us all dead! Stop it! It'll destroy us!!"

Savage tried to get through to 'Patient Zero' but couldn't. He sedated the man. Savage thought over what Zero had said. Savage had long considered the possibility that Zero was telepathic, and that an inability to block out other minds was the root of his dementia. Could Zero now be detecting something? Some sort of supernatural or alien mind? Something that is causing these storms? If Zero has a possible clue, then Savage needed to find out what it was before the whole country was destroyed.

The Whizzer and Miss America were helping to evacuate the small California town where they lived. The river had overflowed and soon the whole town would be flooded. The Whizzer was running from house to house, making sure that everyone was cleared out. A caravan of cars was driving up the main road out of town. A few trees and telephone poles had been blown over and fallen onto the road, blocking the cars. Miss America lifted them out of the way, allowing the cars to pass.

"We're almost done here," Whizzer yelled to Miss America.

"We should check the coastal cities next!" she answered, "They'll probably need our help even more than the people here do."

Michael Jupiter knew what was happening. He could see the handprints of the Dark Council all over this. Something had to be done or many mortals would die. He considered going to the JSA but most likely Miss Venus was already working with them. Besides, after he had lied to them recently, why should they believe his incredible story now? But there were others. Once he finished the spell that would protect his immediate area, he would again become the majestic demi-god Hurricane! And then he would seek out those who could help him.

Heroes all over were involved in damage control. Starman, the Atom, Hawkman & Hawkwoman, Star-Spangled Kid & Stripesy, Johnny Thunder & his Thunderbolt, Hourman, Mr. Terrific, the Sandman & Sandy, Johnny Quick . . . Everywhere, the super-humans were doing their best to preserve life. But they were still no closer to finding the source of the problem.

Namor, Aquaman, Hippolyta, the Sentinel, and Dr. Fate emerged from under the sea. They were just off the east coast of the US, and in the midst of a torrential storm.

"My thanks for offering your assistance, good brother," Namor said to Aquaman.

"It is the least I can do," Aquaman answered. "I owe you."

They noticed a cruise liner in danger. It was being tossed about by the waves and coming perilously close to a reef. The Sentinel took charge. "Namor, Aquaman, you two take care of that ship. And then check the coast to see if there are any more ships in danger. The rest of you come with me!"

Miss Venus had given the JSA whatever information she was allowed to give. She frustrated Captain America with her refusal to give him all the details of what was happening, but he was glad for the information that she did give. He now knew that there was a conscious being behind this, and that Miss Venus was going to attempt to convince the powers that be to intervene. In the meantime, all the Justice Society could do was to try and protect people from these near-hurricane level storms. Wildcat, much to his chagrin, was ordered to stay at the mansion as a liaison. In the meantime, Miss Venus appeared before the members of the White Council.

"We know why you are here, Aphrodite," Zeus said.

"Aye," Odin added. "Thou hast come to plead with us to aid the mortals."

"You must!" Aphrodite said. "You know as well as I that the Dark Council . . . "

"We know!" Zuras said. "Yet there is much to consider."

"They mean the Dark Council," Shazam said. "They are worried about us getting into a confrontation with them. About what the Living Tribunal will do if we break the truce."

"But they broke it first!" Aphrodite protested.

"But they have not, in truth, confronted us," Highfather said. "They have used the being called Thunderstorm as their pawn."

"Then we should stop Thunderstorm!" the Sorcerer Supreme exclaimed.

"If we go to Earth in force," Highfather said, "they can claim that we are inviting a confrontation. The Living Tribunal may rule against us."

"Then perhaps we should use the Dark Council's strategy," The Phantom Stranger said.

The Spectre finally spoke. "Indeed. The idea is a wise one. We should send someone to Earth to do battle with the dark forces in our stead. It must be someone who is so in love with adventure that he would recklessly rush into battle with he dark forces. Someone who will risk the wrath of the Living Tribunal in the cause of what is right!"

"Ha!" Odin laughed. "Odin doth know the very one!"

Dr. Fate had abruptly left his companions, claiming that he was going to the "source." The Sentinel and Wonder Woman could only watch him vanish.

The Sentinel caught sight of a bridge that was rocking, due to the wind and the huge waves. It seemed on the verge of collapse. He dived down towards it. He unleashed the full power of his ring. He created strands of energy which rapped around the bridge, holding it together. "I don't know how long I can hold it. Hippolyta, get the people off!"

Hippolyta looked at the bridge. So many people! Could she possibly get them all off before the Sentinel's power gave out? She needed help. She pressed the JSA beacon.

Dr. Fate appeared in the sky realm, where the Thunderstorm was looking down at his handiwork and laughing.

"Stop this!" Fate ordered. "Or, in the name of order, I shall be forced to stop you."

The Thunderstorm looked at Fate and laughed. "HA! Then come, little mortal creature. Stop me if you can!"

Dr. Fate let loose his full magic. The Thunderstorm returned a strong offense. Almost immediately, Fate realized that he had made a mistake. He felt the full force of the elements of nature rallied against him. He knew that this was a battle he could not win.

Ares appeared in the dark basement laboratory of Dr. Phineas Horton. Inside eight glass containers were eight androids, meant to be the next generation of "Artificially Intelligent Mechanoids", much like the Human Torch. They were programmed and ready to go. All they needed was someone to activate them. And that someone would be the first person they see. A sort of surrogate father. They would trust him, in their naive innocence. They would do whatever the person who activated them wanted. Ares pressed the button.

"My army!" he whispered gleefully.

Hippolyta was doing her best to get the people off the crumbling bridge. But they were panicking, and it was hard to round them up, even with her lasso. She thought she saw something strange at the far end of the bridge. A ghostly white figure in a green cloak.

On the other end of the bridge, the Spectre had appeared. He was risking not only the wrath of the Living Tribunal by being here, but also of his fellow council members. Yet he couldn't stand by and do nothing. Until the special avatar Odin had mentioned arrived, someone had to act. The Spectre raised his arms. "Fear and panic are overwhelming you. You must overcome it. For your own good, let me open your eyes. See that fear is as much your foe as the storms that threaten you. Be calm. Be at peace."

The people on the bridge became amazingly calm, and were therefore much easier for Wonder Woman to collect. The Spectre vanished, to calm other people. Minutes later, the other JSA members arrived. The Flash began clearing off the bridge at unbelievable speed. Dr. Mid-Nite and the Black Canary worked at a slower pace, but did what they could. Captain America looked over the problem. "Torch!" he yelled. "Some of the suspension beams look like they're about to crack. See if you can do some welding!"

The Torch acknowledged the order and went to work. Soon the bridge was totally clear of people. The Sentinel let it go. It creaked and groaned as if it were about to fall, but it didn't. Without the weight of the people, and due to the Torch's welding job, the bridge held.

"Great job," Cap said. "There's nothing we can't do together. We'll beat this thing."

"Captain!" Wonder Woman said. "I'm getting a mental message from Aph- . . . from Miss Venus. She . . . has reason to believe that there is danger at the mansion."

Cap was still annoyed at Miss Venus' secrecy but he had to admit she was usually accurate. "Flash! Get over to the mansion and appraise the situation. Use the emergency beacon if you need us."

Seconds later, the Flash arrived at the mansion where Miss Venus was telling Wildcat about her premonition of danger. Wildcat, already in a bad mood because Cap made him stay behind--Perhaps Cap felt as Wildcat himself did about his lack of power, or maybe he was punishing Wildcat for not having been around lately--wasn't very open-minded.

"Maybe we should listen to her," Flash said.

Wildcat was about to protest when the Hawks came in.

"We were in the area and decided to see if anyone here had some notion of what was happening," Hawkman said.

"Or how we can stop it," Hawkwoman said.

The Flash was about to answer when . . .

"The danger is here!" Miss Venus shouted. "Prepare yourselves for an attack."

There was an explosion, and part of the outside wall collapsed. The Flash, Wildcat, Hawkman and Hawkwoman poised for battle. Miss Venus moved up to join them but Wildcat pushed her back. "Stay outta the way, girlie," he said. Reluctantly, Miss Venus stepped back. She wasn't supposed to reveal her powers or identity to the JSA members. So she held herself back. The other four watched the opening as the smoke cleared.

Dozens of sharp, white dagger-like objects shot in through the hole. The Flash easily plucked them out of the air as if they were floating in slow motion. They were cold. "Ice?" Flash asked in surprise. "Ice daggers?"

Wildcat immediately thought of the Icicle. And when the snow-white figure appeared, he thought he was right. But no, something was different. Similar, but different. "Icicle?"

"No!" the ice man said. "I am the Sub-Zero Man!"

The Sub-Zero Man pointed and fired a freeze-blast at Wildcat, but the Flash dragged him out of the way in time. Flash rammed into the Sub-Zero Man, knocking him back out the hole. But then his feet got caught in something. Something slimy. He tried to free himself but he was stuck. The goop he was stuck in began to form into a somewhat human shape. "I am the Glob!" it said. It created a huge fist and swung at the Flash. The Flash managed to vibrate, becoming unsolid and leaped out of the Glob's sticky goop. He started pounding the Glob at super-speed. Pieces of the Glob splashed all over the place, splattering against the walls. But the pieces started to come together again and re-form.

While that was happening, two more intruders entered. One looked like the Wolfman, and the other was a big, shaggy, smelly thing that stood nearly seven feet, even though it stooped over. It's long arms almost reached the ground. It's face consisted of two huge red eyes, a foot-long nose that looked like an elephant's trunk, and a tiny mouth.

Hawkman and Hawkwoman flew forward to lock up with them. The Hawks swung their maces at the intruders. The wolf-thing avoided the attack with amazing speed. As Hawkwoman flew past, preparing for a second run, the wolf jumped on her back. It began clawing and biting her wings, tearing them apart. In a barley understandable voice, it growled, "War-Wolf! War-Wolf!"

Hawkman pounded at the giant, shaggy thing with his mace but it hardly seemed to feel it. Hawkman got distracted by the sight of his wife being mauled by War-Wolf. The distraction cost him. With unexpected speed, the creature grabbed Hawkman out of the air. Hawkman felt like his life was being drained from him. The creature was sapping his life energy. Hawkman heard something in his head, some sort of telepathic communication with the beast. {I am the Heap!} he heard it think.

Wildcat leapt to assist Hawkman against the Heap, but the Heap caught him in the air. The Heap was absorbing both their life forces.

Flash looked around. War-Wolf was tearing up Hawkwoman, the Heap was draining Hawkman and Wildcat of their life force, the Glob was almost completely reformed and the Sub-Zero Man was no doubt still lurking around.

Something struck him. He was staggered then regained his footing. He backpedaled at super-speed, trying to get some distance. He could survey the situation better from afar.

What had hit him? He noticed something small bounding around the room like a rubber ball. It was a man. Normal in every other respect except for the fact that he was only six-inches tall. The Flash whizzed over and grabbed him out of the air. "Don't fight me!" Flash said. "Or I'll vibrate you until your body can't take any more."

"My body is more resilient than you think," the tiny man said. "I'm not your kind."

The Flash noticed that the man's body gave off no heat. Is that what he meant by "not your kind?" Was he a machine? An android, like the Human Torch? "What are you?"

"Just call me Dyna-Mite!" he said. "And I'd like to introduce you to two of my friends." Two gigantic shadows covered the room as two behemoths entered. One was almost as tall as the Heap, but was much wider and more muscular. He had a large, heavy forehead, like a neanderthal. There was no hair on his body or head anywhere. The other was almost 10 feet tall. His skin was blue and leathery, sort of like a dolphin or a whale. His face looked basically humanoid, but there were gills on his neck and he had very tiny ears, and no hair. His teeth were large and fanged, like a shark.

"These are my pals, Orca the Killer Whale and the Missing Link," Dyna-Mite said. "Don't mess with them. They're real strong."

While Flash was distracted, Dyna-Mite broke free and leaped away. The Flash could have caught him but he wanted to deal with the two giants first. The Flash rammed into Orca, but bounced off. He felt like he just hit some protective padding. Blubber! he thought. The thing's made out of blubber. Before he could regain his balance from the impact, the Sub-Zero Man froze the ground. The Flash slipped too close to the Missing Link. A backhand slap from the powerful android knocked Flash unconscious.

Miss Venus couldn't watch anymore. The team was defeated. She had to act. She raised her hands to create a spell. But then a figure entered. It was a man in a radiation suit. Under the suit, he was glowing. "Another one," Miss Venus muttered.

"I am the Human Bomb!" the newcomer said. He opened his facemask. An explosion shot out of the opening, focused directly at Miss Venus. It struck her and knocked her back against the wall. If she hadn't been a Goddess, she'd have been dead. As it was, she was stunned senseless. And then there was a laugh and a flash of light . . . Ares had arrived!

"Well done, my android soldiers. My . . . Creature Commandos!" Ares said. "Now we end it. Destroy these five. And soon, the rest of the JSA will fall just as easily."

But before any of them could move, a lightning bolt came in the window and struck Ares. He fell to his knees. Recovering, he looked up. To his shock, he saw the powerful, regal figure descend. The muscular man had long blond hair, a winged helmet and a hammer.

"Thou hast dared too much, Ares!" the majestic figure announced. "Now thou must face the wrath of Thor, the God of thunder!"

Continued next issue! Thor battles Ares and the Creature Commandos. The JSA battles the Dark Council as lots of other guest stars appear. The Dark Council's plan is finally revealed! Plus, who is the Black Lama? Come back next month for the conclusion of "Prelude to Twilight" -- the first installment in the DC/Marvel Gods Trilogy!