Co-Plotters "Blustery" Bob Danner and "Svelte"
This year, July 4th, Washington DC, The office of Senator Thomas
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
"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
"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
"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
"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
"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
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
"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
"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
"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
"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!"
Realizing what must really be going on, Martha immediately gives
"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
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
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
"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
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
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
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
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
"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
"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
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