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Spirit of Liberty!

Issue #1


Writer "Blustery" Bob Danner, Co-Plotters "Blustery" Bob Danner and "Svelte" Sammy Lindon

This year, July 4th, Washington DC, The office of Senator Thomas Wright II.

Outside the office of Senator Thomas Wright II, a midsummer's storm is brewing. The
daytime sky has turned a very dark and dull gray, only broken up with the sight and sound of thunder and lightning. Senator Wright is now going over his very monotonous and tedious work, slaving away at his desk, amidst the flash and the fury of Mother Nature.

"My God, why am I so far behind?" he wonders as his mind moves to times past on this day, the day of the nations birth! "Please, give me the strength…" he whispers to himself.

Suddenly from the darkened corner of his office, a voice! "Help me, Help me!" The good senator then turns his head only to catch the glimpse of a man, old and frail, fading from view.

"Oh, my lord!" screams Thomas Wright, a.k.a. Richard Grey Jr., a.k.a. the Black Condor in shock. As the spectral image fades, it quickly becomes clear to the senator, where he must go.

"Margo!" he yells to his secretary. "Book me the first flight to Philly and hurry!"

Mt. Everest, Tibet, the camp of Happy Terrill and party.

The wind and snow was whipping down on the party of Happy Terrill a.k.a. the Ray. This being his fourth ascent up the face of Mt. Everest, he was alone in his tent pondering the past and the rest of his journey up the tallest mountain on the face of the Earth.

"Every year on this very day, I can't help but think about times past and wonder what happened!" he says to himself in a whisper barely audible over the whistling winds.

"Help me, Hap!" a strange, but familiar voice echoes out from behind the light of the lantern. "Help me!"

"What the…!" exclaims Happy in amazement. He jumps to his feet only to see the image of an old friend, long thought gone, fade from view. In that instance, Happy Terrill knows where he must go!

"MacPherson!" he yells to his aide. "Get the helicopter ready, I leave for Philadelphia ASAP!"

William's Technologies, Chicago Ill.

"Sure was great having you on board with us Sandra!" spoke one of the many scientists working for the large Chicago-based company.

"Thanks Gordo, it was my pleasure helping you all out on this!" says Dr. Sandra Knight a.k.a. Phantom Lady.

"Things won't be "so easy" on the eyes around here with you gone either Sandy!" yelled Parker Jameson, another scientist.

"All right now boys, let's play nice now!" she spoke as she laughed at her two friends. Dr. Knight turned the corner in the hallway and suddenly, out of nowhere appears an apparition. "Sandy, help me!" it spoke. The figure then faded out of view, leaving Sandra Knight in shock.

"Oh, my God! Sam!" she screamed. Picking up her portable phone, she places a call to Chicago/O'Hare airport booking herself the next available flight to the city of brotherly love, Philadelphia. Sandra Knight knew at once where she had to go!

The suburbs of Los Angeles, southern California.

"No…I said No!" yelled Roy Lincoln a.k.a. the Human Bomb. "Damnit Darrell! You can't sell Quality out from under me! Not to Tyler Chemicals!" screamed Roy as the T-bone steaks he was grilling started to burn. "We started this company to be competition for the other big conglomerates, not to become part of them!"

Spraying his cold lite beer on the now flaming coals and looking at his cinder-like steaks Roy, in frustration throws his portable phone into the pool, ending the conversation with one of his once, most trusted friends.

"Damnit!" he mutters to himself as he sits in his lawn chair.

"Roy, Roy, help me!" a voice from behind softly speaks.

Turning quickly, Roy sees the vision of an old, sickly, man as it just fades from view. "Holy Hannah, Sam!" he yells. Running down the steps into his home, through the living room, down more stairs, into the hallway and to the front door, Roy Lincoln knows where he must go! "Dampeners Off!" are the last words he says as he grabs his briefcase from the hallway closet and jumps into his automobile.

Headquarters of the Quality Chemical Corporation in Midway City.

"I can't believe the GALL of that old fool!" screams Darrell Dane a.k.a. Doll Man. "He'll bankrupt us all with his posturing!"

Sitting down at his desk in the CEO office of Quality Chemicals, he runs his hands through his thinning hair. "Whew! What a day!"

"Darrell, help me!" a voice speaks from behind him.

Turning, he is hit full in the face with the rays of the afternoon sun. Out of the corner of his eye he sees the fading form of an all to familiar figure.

"Sam!" he yells. Immediately Darrell Dane knows that he must go to Philadelphia.

"Hello? Travel Office? This is CEO Darrell Dane. Get me first class tickets on the next flight out to Philly!"

Picking up the phone, he dials his wife, Martha.

"Honey, I have got to get to Philly immediately!" he tells her.

"But Darrell, what about the party tonight? It's the 4th of July after all!" asks Martha Roberts Dane.

"Well, I'll be…it is, isn't it? Appropriate enough!" he whispers.

"What?" cries his dear wife.

"Nothing Honey! I'm sorry but I must go today! It's something to do with the past and I promise to return as soon as I can!" he pleads.

Realizing what must really be going on, Martha immediately gives her consent.

"Good luck Dear!" she tells her husband.

Reilly's Gym, Brooklyn, NY.

"Thanks Mr. Reilly! I sure do love looking at your war pictures and listening to you tell your stories!" yells the kid at Rod Reilly as he runs out of the gym, heading home.

"Take it easy kid! You've got a great left hook! Next time, let's work on the foot work?" yells Rod Reilly a.k.a. Firebrand as he turns and goes back into his office, among the plaques and trophies that are his life.

"Man, I've got to get my old butt in gear!" Rod mutters to himself. "I've got to get down to the other gym in Queens before 6 and then to the WBA children's benefit dinner at 8:00 PM downtown."

As he shuts off the lights in his office, he glances around the room and memories come flooding back. Grinning he shuts off the lights and turns heading out of the room. From behind he feels a chill and hears a voice.

"Help me! Help me!" moans the voice in despair.

Turning and quickly going into his defensive stance, Rod Reilly yells "What…?"

In the darkness of the door of his office, Rod Reilly can see the vanishing form of his old friend. He knows where he must go!

"The other gyms can wait, and the benefit will get along without me this time! I've got to get moving!" he tells himself.

An apartment in midtown Manhattan, NY.

"Nothing on TV today!" says Chuck Lane a.k.a. the Jester to his girlfriend Gloria. "Nothing on but talk shows and children's cartoons.

"Listen Chuck, it's the 4th of July and as usual we aren't going anywhere!" complains Gloria.

"It's awfully hard to go anywhere, when you are like this Honey!" he replies in a sarcastic voice striking his paralyzed legs.

"That's it Chuck, I'll not sit here and watch you wallow in another night of self-pity! I just can't do it! No matter how much I love you!" she screams.

Gloria grabs her coat and slams the door of the apartment behind her, leaving Chuck Lane to sit alone.

As on cue, from the kitchen comes a desperate, moaning. "Help me Jester!"

Chuck turns in time to see a shriveled, frail, ghost like image fade from view.

"Sam! But there is nothing that I can do to help you…now!" he cries and shakes his head in despair. No "jingling" bells and laughter have been heard from this once happy man in many years.

JLA recreation room, JLA HQ.

"Dooby, dooby, doo! Do, dooby, do, do! Strangers in the night!", sings a very happy Plastic Man. "What a good looking devil you were old blue eyes, especially in your younger days and now in this great looking red and yellow tux! Heh, heh!"

Continuing to primp in the mirror, changing from the face of Frank Sinatra back to the original face of Eel O'Brien, Plastic Man continues to prepare himself for a very, big night out on the town.

"The babes aren't going to be able to keep their mitts off your gorgeous little rubber body pal!" he comments to himself. "It's the look, it's the look, the look of love!" he sings.

"Great Scott!" he screams as he catches a glimpse of something in the mirror that is very disturbing to him. Bending that rubber neck around in less than a second, he sees the phantom form of a very old friend fade from view.

"Please Plas, help me!" cries the spectral image.

"Well, dip me in chocolate and roll me in nuts! It's Sam!" he says to himself. "Don't worry Sammy, I'm on my way!" he yells as he bounces towards the teleporter. "Philadelphia Freedom, here I come!"

A dark and dreary sky hung over the city of brotherly love like a thick, hot blanket. A flash of lightning could be seen in the gathering storm surrounding the city.

"Attention ladies and gentlemen, the flight will be coming to stop at your destination, Philadelphia PA" spoke the captain of Roy Lincoln's airline flight. "Please remain seated until we come to a complete stop!"

Once out of the airport and onto the sidewalk, Roy flags down the first cab he comes to. "Cabbie, Independence Hall and step on it!"

The cab screams out of the airport parking lot and onto the busy thoroughfares and streets of the home of the first Continental Congress, the home of the Declaration of Independence. Excitement and apprehension both beat strongly in the heart of Roy Lincoln as the cab gets nearer to his destination.

Screeeeee! The wheels of the cab come to a screeching halt on the sidewalk outside Independence Hall and Roy grabs his briefcase, slaps the fare in the cabbies hand and tells him, "Stay put, just in case I have made an ENORMOUS ass out of myself!"

He notices a black limo parked near his cab, but dismisses it as he rushes into the museum. Once inside he is stunned and happily surprised to find himself not alone.

"Roy!" yells Sandra Knight, "it's so good to see you!" She jumps up into his arms and gives him a very strong embrace.

Roy looks around to see Thomas Wright and Rod Reilly also waiting in the entranceway. "What, where's Happy, Plas and Chuck Lane?" says Roy as they rush to him to shake his hand and out of the corner of his eye he sees his old friend, and business partner Darrell Dane. Darrell standing off to the side, arms crossed and still being very stubborn and hardheaded.

"Hello, bean counter! Remarks Roy in a snide comment and a slight glance in Darrell's direction.

"Hello, jackass!" Darrell replies. "You decide to make an appearance? Did we break you away from your grill and swimming pool, Mr. Retirement? Away from La La land?"

"Why, you little shrimp…!", yells Roy as he lunges at Darrell only to be stopped dead in his tracks by Senator Thomas Wright, the Black Condor.

"That, my friends, is enough of that!" replies the senator. "I won't, and I am sure, I speak for Sandy and Rod, tolerate this kind of thing!"

"But Tom, he…" moans Roy.

"He what Roy?" asks Tom, "got under you skin! And they say that you can never go home again!"

Snickers can be heard from Sandy and Rod as the exterior door opens again and they are greeted by the smiling face of Happy Terrill. "What is going on in here folks?" he asks.

The group all gather around their friend only to be disturbed once more by a mysterious voice coming from the interior of the hallowed hall. They turn to see a man, dressed all in black, wearing a cape, and a dark hat that appears to shadow his upper face. "We don't have time for anymore of these amenities my friends, we can't wait any longer, it is time to act!" speaks the man.

"Holy Schmoley, isn't that the Phantom Stranger?" gasps Roy.

"You got that right, Captain Obvious!" yells Darrell.

"Gentlemen, please! We must get to the problem at hand! We have NO time for petty arguments!" the mysterious stranger says in a solemn voice. "You are needed to find the Spirit of America, the Spirit of Liberty and Freedom, you are needed to find your former leader and friend, Uncle Sam!"

"Please, go on sir!" asks Sandy.

"You must remember friends that your friend, Uncle Sam's story begins back in the early days of this country. To be exact the war for American independence. Back then the shell of a man was chosen by higher powers to contain the Spirit of Liberty and Freedom, the Spirit of this great burgeoning nation!" the Phantom Stranger tells the tale. As he does the former Freedom Fighters listen intently to every word.

The Phantom Stranger continues his story, coming to a conclusion, "After all of you started adventuring more infrequently and with all the problems that faced this nation, after the last World War, even the spirit of Uncle Sam began to weaken. Korea, the communist witch trials of the 1950's, the deaths of John and Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King Jr., the Vietnam War, the fall of an American president, all of these events had a devastating effect on Uncle Sam. He became distraught, weakened and withdrawn. He all but vanished and his disappearance took on the stuff of myth and Arthurian legend. Would he return when his country needed him the most? Where was he? It appeared that he had vanished from this small planet."

"Well, Stranger, what has happened to Sam?" asks Rod Reilly in a deeply concerned voice.

"Friends, your leader has been captured and trapped in another dimension! Trapped by a being of great evil and evil intent! Your task is to go to this other dimension, stop this demonic despot and return here…with Uncle Sam! I will open a dimensional doorway for you and hold open the doorway and await your return. You will have only a few days to accomplish your dire task."

Thomas Wright turns to his former comrades, looks them all in the eye and says with a heartfelt plea, "Are you in?"

"Are you kidding?"cries Sandy Knight. "I'm in!"

"So am I" exclaims Happy Terrill. "Raring to go!"

"Let's go get 'em Freedom Fighters!" yells Rod Reilly.

"That's four!" states Thomas Wright. "What about you two?"

"I guess I'm in if Roy is?" asks Darrell Dane.

"Roy?" asks Tom.

"You just had to ask, didn't you? You just had to ask!" cries Roy. "Let's do it!"

"So be it my friends, allow me to produce your uniforms for you, and prepare yourselves for inter-dimensional transportation. It can be quite discomforting to those who aren't use to it!" states the Phantom Stranger.

"Riiiggghhhhtttt!" the group says looking at themselves with glints in their eyes.

With but a mild gesture, the Freedom Fighters are garbed in their former costumes and the room becomes windy and dark, as if the outside storm had suddenly materialized indoors. The rush of cool wind, the flash of lighting and the grumbling of an angry sky can be seen swirling in the center of the famous national landmark.

"Been awhile since I have had this on, kind of uncomfortable after all this time!" Phantom Lady says.

"You uncomfortable?" Roy yells in his Human Bomb costume. "At least you still look good in yours Sandy!"

"Thanks Roy!" she replies.

"Well, time for Doll Man to get into his fighting form, so I will assume my usual 6 inch height!" Darrell tells everyone as he shrinks down.
"Now, my friends! While the maelstrom begins, jump through, hurry, now!" the Phantom Strangers voice can barely be heard over the din of the rising storm.

In an instant the Freedom Fighters are gone, through the center of the dimensional doorway, gone to a place of fear and desperation, gone to free their friend!

As the portal starts to die down and go into a semi-dormant state only kept active by the Phantom Stranger, a loud noise can be heard coming through the main entrance to Independence Hall as Plastic Man "bounces" in.

"Hello! Doggone transporter, Pittsburgh, who knew? Have I missed something important? Well, Elwood have I?" asks Plas.

With a half grin now on his face, the Stranger turns to Plastic Man and says, "Your part in this drama, Eel O'Brien, is yet to be determined! Stay with me for the nonce!"

"So much for my big date!" is Plastic Man's only reply.

To be continued in issue #2.


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