by Martin Maenza
Jump forward then, to the third weekend in January.
Hal Jordan sat focused at the Peterson kitchen table, working hard on an assignment due the next day. Lynn Peterson entered the room, went to the cupboard, and poured out a dish full of nuts. She quietly stepped over to the table and put a dish down on the table next to Hal. The teen looked up and said, “Thanks, Mrs. Peterson.”
She smiled at the boy. “I thought you might like some,” she said. “Are you sure you don’t want to take a break and watch some of the game? It is, after all, the game of the year.”
“Thanks, no,” Hal said. “I really need to get this paper done. That’s why I wouldn’t take up Karen’s offer to go to the game with Mr. Peterson and Gary.” Hal couldn’t let Karen give up her seat, despite how much he loved football. It wouldn’t be right. Besides, he was back in Dallas to finish school, and that had to be his first priority.
“You’re a good boy, Hal,” Mrs. Peterson said in that motherly way. “I always told Jack and Jan that when you all lived next door.” She went back to the counter to retrieve the rest of the nuts. “I better let you get back to work.”
“Thanks,” the teen nodded. He returned to his notes on Chaucer.
Hal stayed focused on his work for another twenty minutes, then he pushed his chair away from the table. He needed to stretch and work out a cramp, so he decided to step into the living room. One peek at the game can’t hurt, he thought.
He watched the television from the doorway. The Meteors had the ball on the Chargers thirty, and there was three-forty-five left in the third quarter. Metropolis was leading seventeen to ten. The game must have been an exciting one so far, but it was about to get much more exciting.
Just as the Metropolis quarterback let fly a long pass, a bolt of lightning from the sky shattered the ball. Hal blinked as the announcers echoed the thoughts in his head.
“Lightning? In a closed stadium?” asked the voice on the television.
Suddenly, the cameras panned up in the direction that the lightning had come, only to catch sight of the source. Held aloft by a strong and well-controlled wind current, a dark-haired man dressed in an all-green costume and mask reveled in the gasps of the stadium crowd.
“Well, well, well,” said the man, who held a long, thin wand in one hand. “I guess I do know how to make a shocking entrance! Ha ha ha!”
Hal didn’t need the announcers to answer the question of who was behind the attack. He knew from his experience as the heroic Air Wave that the Superbowl’s attacker was none other than the Weather Wizard.
“Well, I’ll be!” Lynn exclaimed. She turned and noticed Hal in the doorway. “Oh, Hal, did you see that?”
Hal thought quickly on his feet. “No, I didn’t,” he said. “I had just come in to tell you I was going to take a walk. Want some fresh air to focus my thoughts.”
“Oh, OK,” Lynn said. She turned back to the television to watch the events unfold.
Hal headed for the foray, opened the front door, and closed it again loud enough for Lynn Peterson to hear. He darted quickly upstairs instead to his bedroom. Gotta act fast! he thought to himself. If the Weather Wizard is there, this can’t be good! He ducked into Gary’s room, closed the door behind him, opened the closet, and pulled out a blue and gold costume from deep within his bags.
As he slipped into the costume, Hal turned on the clock radio near the bed. He adjusted the dial, changing it from the country station to one of the others, and then he found the one carrying the game.
The announcers were going on about the latest developments. “This is unbelievable! From out of nowhere, an infamous villain has appeared at the game and is demanding all the Superbowl rings!”
“He can demand all he wants,” Hal said as he slipped on the special helmet. He then reached for the controls on his radio belt. “But I’m not about to let him get away with the prize!” His body was instantly converted to pure electricity, allowing him to literally ride the transmission waves of the broadcast.
Air Wave was going to the Superbowl after all.
Weather Wizard laughed as the gale force winds he just summoned up racked across the field. Even the mightiest of linemen couldn’t take the punishment his weather wand whipped up. “After teaming up with that washed-out Calculator and being left high and dry by Hawkman,” the villain mused, “I knew the forecast would improve greatly by going back to working solo. (*) Now to locate those golden gridiron jewels.”
[(*) Editor’s note: Weather Wizard teamed up with the Calculator in Justice League of America: Fear the Future.]
“Not so fast, Weather Wizard!” a voice called out over the howling wind.
The meteorological menace turned as a figure in blue and gold dived toward him. “Who are you?” he asked.
“Air Wave’s the name,” the hero said as he flew through the air, “and stopping losers like you is my game.”
Weather Wizard laughed wickedly as he waved his wand. “Better get a new game, kid!” he sneered. The device released a stream of negatively charged ions into the atmosphere, while at the same time removing a large number of protons. The net result was to alter the environmental conditions in the immediate area. “Maybe you’d do better with ice hockey!”
The water molecules in the air around the young hero began to come together quickly, as the temperature around him dropped extremely fast. In a few seconds, frost began to appear on his exposed flesh and then on his costume. “Uh-oh!” Air Wave exclaimed. In another few seconds, he found himself encased in an icy block that was many inches thick.
Weather Wizard laughed as the frozen figure began to plummet to the ground. “Those are the breaks, kid!”
The ice block hit the ground hard and shattered into a number of pieces. Air Wave let out a loud groan as he began to stir from the broken portions of ice. He couldn’t let his return to action end this badly, especially given the fact that it was being seen live across the entire United States and throughout parts of the world.
Time to get back in the game, Air Wave thought as he slowly rose to his feet.
From the stands, Karen Peterson watched the battle between Air Wave and the Weather Wizard. But unlike the thousands of shocked spectators, she felt a bit more closer to the fight. Come on, Hal, you can do it, she thought to herself.
On the field, Air Wave brushed the chips of ice from his arms and prepared to attack the super-villain once more. “I hate to rain on your parade, Weather Wizard,” the hero quipped, “but I’m not here to shower you with any praises.”
Weather Wizard frowned. “Hey, I make the weather-related jokes around here!” He emphasized his anger by hurling a barrage of lightning from his wand at the young man. The bolts struck the young hero, who appeared to be vaporized instantly by them. The villain was pleased by the results. “I only need one strike to take care of you!”
He darted over to the side of the field where the officials stood. “Now the rings, if you please!” Weather Wizard demanded.
One of the officials cautiously held the ornate wooden box that contained the prize. Weather Wizard snatched them from his grasp. “These baubles should fetch me a pretty penny,” he said. “I know plenty of folks that would pay top dollar to have these.”
“You won’t get two cents for them!” Air Wave called out as his body materialized out of thin air. He wound back his fist and let fly a punch to the Weather Wizard’s jaw.
The villain in green sailed across the way as the crowd cheered.
“Hear that, Wizzie?” Air Wave said. “That thunderous applause is for me!”
Weather Wizard clenched his teeth as he rose from the ground. He was seething. “I told you to cut that out!” he yelled as he waved his weather wand once more. Another barrage of lightning struck the hero squarely, and he vanished once more. “Lightning normally doesn’t strike twice, but I’ll make an exception in your case.”
Scooping up the fallen box, Weather Wizard started for the opening of the stadium. “This game is called off on account of rain,” he said as his wand began to cause storm clouds to brew high above the stadium. As he darted toward the exit ramp, the heavy showers began to fall.
Suddenly, from near the stands, a shimmering form of energy appeared and bolted right after the villain. As Air Wave became solid, he dived directly at the fleeing Weather Wizard. “You need to brush up on your sports, Wizzie,” the young hero said as he nailed the villain with a flying tackle. “Strikes and calling games on account of rain are definitely baseball terms!”
The weather wand and the box of rings were both knocked from his grasp. “No!” the Weather Wizard exclaimed as he grabbed for the items.
Air Wave saw his attempts. “Uh-uh, buddy,” he scolded. Using a small burst of energy, he blasted toward the wand and sent it flying way out of reach. “You’ve done enough damage with that today.” He then reached into the pocket of his costume and pulled out a set of handcuffs. He slapped them around the villain’s wrists.
Just then, there was a slight breeze as a scarlet blur rocketed into the stadium. As the wind subsided, standing in front of the pair was a familiar figure.
“The Flash?” spat Weather Wizard.
“Hey, cool!” said Air Wave. “What brings you here, Flash?”
The Scarlet Speedster smiled. “I was watching the game back in Central City when I saw all the commotion. I figured maybe I should zip down here and lend a hand.” He noticed the cuffs around the villain’s wrists. “But it appears you have everything all wrapped up, Air Wave.”
The young hero smiled. “Yep, nothing that Dallas’ resident super-hero couldn’t handle!”
The Flash patted him on the shoulder. “Glad to see you back in the saddle again. Mind if I haul him off to jail?”
“Not at all,” Air Wave replied. “I have something to get back to, anyway.”
So, after returning the rings to the officials and receiving a standing ovation from over forty thousand fans, Air Wave took off into the air. It felt good to be back to basics. Now, if he could just finish that paper without having to pull an all-nighter.