by: Dr. Anguish | Story In Progress | Last updated Jul 29, 2022
Arch-villains Angle Man, Black Manta, Captain Cold, Chac, Chronos, Count Vertigo, Hector Hammond, Luthor, The Scarecrow, and The Wizard think they've concocted a foolproof plan to elude the Justice League! Unfortunately for them, it quickly becomes quite embarrassing...
Chapter Description: Chapter One: The Escape
"WAKE UP! WAKE UP, LUTHOR!" The guard beat on the bars of the bald scientist's prison cell with his nightstick. "TIME FOR BREAKFAST!"
Luthor trotted over, smiling, and accepted the plate of food slid through the small aperture at the bottom of the door.
"Ah," Luthor said. "Ham and eggs with wheat toast! My favorite! Too bad I won't have time to eat it!"
The guard stared at him suspiciously. "Huh? What's that supposed to mean?"
As if in answer, there was a deafening roar as a huge, manta-shaped airship descended from the clouds over the prison. A tall man dressed in a strange ceremonial costume stepped out onto the top of the airship and held out his arms. There was a flash from strange, alien circuitry embedded in his arm bracelets and the sky grew pitch dark.
"Wha... What's going on?"
Luthor smiled enigmatically.
Four men appeared in a puff of smoke in the hall near Luthor's cell. One wore a magician's tux and waved a magic wand. Another was dwarfish, with an oversized cranium almost too heavy for him to lift. He pointed to Luthor's cell.
"Excellent, Hammond!" The Wizard cackled. "You pinpointed him exactly!"
The guard spun around toward them, drawing his gun. "Okay... I don't know what's going on here, but..."
A masked man in a green and black costume gestured at him. "What's going on, dear fellow," he said mockingly in a strange foreign accent. "Is, for you, an attack... of Vertigo!"
The guard stumbled and fell, finding himself unable to maintain his balance. He flopped about helplessly on the floor as the man in the blue parka stepped over him.
"Stand back, Luthor!" warned Captain Cold as he fired his cold gun at the bars of the jail cell. "This is liable to get a bit... Cold!"
Grabbing his toast and ham, Luthor made a sandwich and sipped his coffee while Captain Cold brought the temperature of the steel bars down to the point where they were brittle enough to be shattered with a single blow, delivered by Cold himself. Luthor kicked away what was left of the bars and stepped out into the hall to join his colleagues.
"Poor fellow," Luthor grinned mockingly at the guard convulsing at his feet. "He can have my eggs."
"Here," Count Vertigo handed Luthor a pair of nose plugs. "The Scarecrow's fear gas is being pumped all through the building! The guards should be terrified of their own shadows by now!"
"I must hand it to The Angle Man," Hector Hammond said in his strange, echoing voice. "He always does have an angle! He planned this to the second!"
"And speaking of seconds," a golden-cloaked man with a white-masked face appeared from nowhere. "We don't have many to waste! There's only so long Black Manta's ship can resist Chac's storm!"
They all linked hands and disappeared.
Aboard the ship, the masked Black Manta steered his manta-ray craft.
"Welcome aboard, Luthor!" he greeted the newly escaped arch-villain, his voice ringing metallically in his helmet. "If Chac's hurricane hasn't damaged our engines, we should reach our hideout in a few minutes.
The immortal Mayan villain sniffed at the masked criminal. "I was told to call a storm. I called a storm. And it was quite effective. The men in the prison were too overwhelmed by the weather to stop us!"
"And my fear gas kept the men inside too terrified to even begin to respond!" The Scarecrow cackled malevolently. "They should be paralyzed with panic for at least another hour!"
"Excellent!" Luthor smirked. "It looks like we made a clean getaway!"
"Was there ever any doubt?" The Angle Man adjusted his sunglasses and brushed the lapels of his garish sports coat. "When the Angle Man makes a plan, you can count on it going without a hitch!"
Hector Hammond collapsed in a chair, his outsized head pulsing. "And just in time!" He shuddered and reverted back to his true form, a stylish playboy approaching middle age. "The radiation that transforms me into a highly evolved psionic man of the future has faded!" He wiped his no-longer bulbous forehead with a handkerchief. "These transformations become more difficult every time! Someday, I'll have to risk permanent evolution to future form!"
"That might be an idea," Luthor sighed, disinterested. "And how goes the second half of our vengeance plot against the Justice League of America?"
"It's coming along," Chronos indicated the bulky, circuitry-covered metal cabinet in one corner of the ship. "Captain Cold and I managed to heist Professor Lockhart's youth device and load it into the ship!"
"Which was easier said than done, by the way!" The cold-themed rogue munched on a candy bar he'd produced from somewhere. "Sliding it out of the Professor's lab was the easy part! Figuring out how to get it on-board without damaging it..."
"I've already worked most of the bugs out of this contraption!" Chronos patted the machine. "With the proper program, we can make anyone we choose any age we choose, reducing them to a bawling infant or accelerating them until they crumble to dust!" He sighed. "Now if we can only convert it to a less bulky, more portable form..."
"Now that I'm here," Luthor assured them. "That shouldn't take any more than a few days!"
"Oh, imagine it!" Count Vertigo rubbed his hands together. "The mighty Justice League turned to helpless children!"
"The world will be groveling at our feet!" Chac smiled cruelly. "We will be all-powerful!"
"Guys! Guys! We've got a problem!" The Wizard called from his crystal ball. "The League is on our trail! Someone must have alerted them about the jailbreak!"
"Oh no!" Chronos gasped. "We can't fight them yet! We're not ready!"
Black Manta checked his radar. "They're almost upon us! There's no way we can elude them!"
"Well, if we can't outrun them, and we can't out-fight them," The Angle Man pondered, "our only choice is to hide!"
"Hide?" Chac looked over. "Where would we hide?"
"Where else?" The Angle Man answered. "In plain sight! Manta, head for that lake there! I know exactly how we can throw them off our trail!"
"The lake?" The Scarecrow scowled, adjusting his glasses under his burlap mask. "But that's so obvious? Won't they suspect something?"
"Of course not!" The Angle Man patted the youth ray. "Why, we'll be the very picture of innocence!"
"Hawkman and Hawkgirl, calling Justice Justice League! Hawkman and Hawkgirl calling Justice League!"
The two winged heroes soared in the skies over the isolated area, communicating with their team-mates via their signal devices.
"We've made a complete sweep of the area but we haven't been able to find a trace of Black Manta's ship!"
"Superman calling!" The Man of Steel responded. "Likewise! I've scanned the area for miles with my x-ray and telescopic vision but I haven't found a thing! Maybe J'onn will have more luck with his Martian vision!"
"Green Lantern here! My power-sharing is drawing a blank! Sorry, guys!"
"Batman and Robin calling from Batmobile! No sign of them along the roads! But Robin remembered there's a lake near here. We're headed in that direction."
"Good idea, Batman!" Superman radioed back. "I'll meet you there!"
"Flash and Kid Flash reporting in! We'll alert Aquaman and Aqualad, then head for the lake too! If there's nothing there, we can compare notes and regroup!"
"I've spotted the lake with my telescopic vision," Superman sounded amused. "And there's something there, all right..."
Batman and Robin spotted them the moment they pulled up on the grass: Several small, stark naked boys around nine or ten years old skinny-dipping in the water. Flash and Kid Flash zoomed over to join the duo at the Batmobile.
"Yep! Definitely something here! Or someone!"
The heroes couldn't help smiling at the spectacle of the boys splashing about, diving from an old wooden pier, and swinging from a rope into the clear water. They kept their distance to avoid frightening the boys but they could hear the happy shouting and rough-housing.
Kid Flash, however, seemed dubious. "Something's not right here..."
"I know!" Robin agreed. "It's way too early in the year to be swimming in that lake! It should be practically ice water right now!"
Listening closer, they detected an edge of false gaiety in the boys' shouts and squeals.
At that moment, Superman came swooping down from the sky to land on the shore near the water.
"Hey, guys!" he shouted to the kids.
The boys all turned. Panic filled their faces for just a second. Then they saw his gentle smile.
"Hey, look! It's Superman!"
"Gosh!" an impish little lad with curly, reddish-brown hair and a wicked gleam in his eye exclaimed. "Superman! Way out here!"
"Perfect!" Smirking to himself, the disguised little Luthor quietly gloated. "He doesn't suspect a thing!"
TO BE CONTINUED...
Perpetuating the Eternal Summer of the Silver Age Villains
by: Dr. Anguish | Story In Progress | Last updated Jul 29, 2022
Steven · Jul 31, 2022Really enjoying your classic take on comic book regression storytelling. Looking forward to seeing more larger than life characters taken down a peg.