Power Girl yawned and started to leave the Justice Society of America’s brownstone headquarters. She had earlier been busy fighting a tidal wave in the Pacific, and the JSA meeting relating to the team’s finances had bored the pretty Kryptonian woman to tears. Okay, now it’s time to relax, she thought. I may not need sleep, but dreams are vital for my health, and I’m all in favor of that.
The Huntress tugged on her cape. “Hold it, Kara. You are out of it, aren’t you? The crime alert just buzzed. Something’s going down near here in Finger Plaza.”
Power Girl frowned. “Figures. Why can’t these creeps ever RSVP?”
Johnny Thunder grinned. “Sort of crime by appointment? That only happens at the doctor’s office!”
The Flash grinned. “Better not let either of our doctors hear you say that!”
Johnny frowned. “Gosh, no! I’d hate to offend Kent or Charles.”
Green Lantern said, “Come on! My ring detected a disturbance in the time stream. Has Degaton popped up recently?”
Johnny replied, “Would we even remember if he had?”
When the JSAers reached Finger Plaza, they saw an odd sight. Four costumed villains were apparently rampaging around a huge device with no obvious motive beyond malice.
“It’s the Thorn!” said Power Girl, pointing toward a woman dressed in a leafy outfit.
“No, that’s the Earth-One villainess called Poison Ivy,” said the Huntress. “This one’s outfit is somewhat different.”
“She could have changed her look, you know,” insisted an annoyed Power Girl.
Green Lantern shook his head. “Nope. My ring IDs them as all being from Earth-One.”
“Say, you know,” said Johnny Thunder, “they have some nerve coming here to cause trouble.”
“You’re right, pal,” said the Flash. “Let’s give them a reception they’ll not soon forget!”
The Mirror Master grinned when he saw the heroes. “I knew if we started being panes, we’d attract some heroic saps,” he quipped.
Poison Ivy cooed, “And such broad shoulders on that blond, too!”
“Enough flirting,” the Shadow-Thief said. “Just help us subdue them.”
Chronos adjusted his device. Gazing at numerous clocks, he said, “Time is of the essence. Allow me to stop them.” He hurled a small hourglass down, and as it shattered, a flood of sand poured out into the path of the heroes.
The Flash slipped for a moment, then spun around like a human top. “Let’s see how he likes his own little instant beach.”
Green Lantern smiled as his ring scooped the apparently limitless supply of sand out of their way. “Prepare for a sandstorm!” he said as he sent the sand back toward the villains.
“Bah! His ring isn’t helpless against the yellow sand!” said Chronos.
The Huntress fired her bat-line and swung around in a wide arc as Poison Ivy sent a thorny projectile toward her wildly arching body. The Huntress twisted aside and rolled to one side as Ivy ordered the spreading vine on which she perched to intercept her. The Huntress sighed. “She’s as bad as the Thorn.” Flipping away from the thorny tendrils, she landed solidly on her feet.
“What’s wrong, my dear?” said Poison Ivy, laughing. “Am I too much woman for you?”
Power Girl whirled around and used her super-breath to trap the laughing botanical beauty in a surrounding block of solid ice. “Oh, just shut up!” she said to Ivy. The Huntress smiled and swung off to the left.
As Green Lantern generated a huge green fist in Mirror Master’s direction, the villain cursed and aimed a new prism at Green Lantern, which refracted his light and sent the energy he had aimed pulsing away harmlessly. “You can’t hit anything as long as I have this little beauty,” said Mirror Master.
The Huntress fired her crossbow bolt with precision and hit his palm mirror. She shattered the mirror he had whipped out, and she laughed. “Seven years bad luck for me, seven to fifteen years behind bars for you.”
Green Lantern smiled and caged the wily Mirror Master. “This reflects badly on you,” he said, grinning.
Meanwhile, Johnny Thunder was very calmly facing the Shadow-Thief. He received a swift left hook from the dark villain, who returned to shadowy form before Johnny could fight back. “Say, you wouldn’t be so cocky if you were stuck that way!” said Johnny.
The Shadow-Thief gasped as the Thunderbolt’s magic forced him to remain a wispy shadow. “Looks like me and my shadow beat you and yours!” joked Thunder as his Thunderbolt rolled its eyes.
Power Girl turned to the others. “These losers should have remained on Earth-One!”
Power Girl turned to the others. “These losers should have remained on Earth-One!”
Johnny frowned in confusion. “She said the same thing twice. Say, she must be stuck in some time loop. Chronos, you big rat!” At that moment, a disgusted Chronos was magically transformed into a large rodent.
Power Girl shook her head. “Thanks. And I thought reruns were bad.”
“That device Chronos assembled brought the Injustice Gang here by accident,” said Green Lantern. “They were trying an old ploy. They wanted to shift the JLA out of sync with normal time. Somehow that portal drew them here when they activated the machine.”
The Huntress said, “Your ring drew that information from our cutie on a stick, I’m guessing.”
Poison Ivy shivered within her icy sheath. “The portal is a plant life form. It is drawn to me!”
At that moment, they were all swallowed up by a portal.
Aboard the satellite headquarters of the Justice League of America, the heroes assembled along with a few of their peers. Hawkman addressed the group and said, “From what you’ve all told me, it appears as if our foes all wandered here from Earth-X. They did so by accident and merely took to their normal criminal activities, only to encounter us in place of their normal foes — the Freedom Fighters.”
Black Canary crossed her legs and nodded. “The Beast of Berlin is a ferocious young punk with a lot of power. He says his father was called the Bull of Berlin. (*) He had no idea he had crossed over from his world to ours.”
[(*) Editor’s note: “The Bull of Berlin” is an untold tale featuring the Sniper, which was named on the cover of Military Comics #8 (March, 1942), but never appeared in the issue itself.]
Green Arrow nodded. “Yeah. The goon I fought thought I was some archer called the Spider. He called himself the Surpriser and once fought that guy. (*) Really lame name, though.”
[(*) Editor’s note: This is from an untold story loosely based on a reference from The Shade #3, a Post-Crisis series that is not in continuity.]
Black Canary smiled. “It does lack the ominous quality of Slingshot or the Red Dart.”
Superman laughed and said, “The King of the Caverns was the one who used a Scavenger-like craft for his ocean-based crimes. It seems that he also arrived here by accident.”
“We have them secured for now,” said Hawkman. “I’d say we should investigate just how they got here. None of them used the same means. All came from different geographic regions.”
Black Canary said, “But they did all speak of a sudden gateway or opening through which they passed, only to emerge in our world. Except for the differences in our lack of war-torn damage, nothing really tipped them off that they had exited one Earth for another until we showed up.”
Red Tornado said, “You recall that our first visit to that alternate Earth, which was dominated for so long by the Axis forces, came about via a transporter mishap. (*) It seems unlikely that such an event could occur once more.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Crisis on Earth-X,” Justice League of America #107 (September-October, 1973).]
“True, Reddy,” said Wonder Woman. “Plus, they weren’t using equipment of that nature in their individual crimes. They have no true connection except for their Earth of origin and their mentioning a gateway. The King of the Caverns, for example, was not a Nazi at all. He was just the wicked ruler of an undersea tribe of water-breathing cavemen. (*) On the other hand, the Beast was a Nazi, or at least the son of one.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Red Torpedo, Crack Comics #7 (November, 1940).]
“Our friends, the Freedom Fighters, may need help,” said Superman. “They all returned home a while back. I met them again not long ago during a case involving the documents of American freedom.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Born on the Fourth of July,” DC Comics Presents #62 (October, 1983).]
Wonder Woman nodded. “Yes, my encounter with them during the King Samson case was my last sighting of them as a team. (*) But Black Canary, Zatanna, and I also worked with Phantom Lady in the Adjudicator case more recently.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Left Hand of Oblivion,” Freedom Fighters #4 (September-October, 1976), “The Rise and Fall of King Samson,” Freedom Fighters #5 (November-December, 1976), and “Judgment in Infinity,” Wonder Woman #291-293 (May-July, 1982).]
Green Arrow said, “If there are holes in the dimensional walls, then anyone could drop in next. Maybe even Mighty Mouse.”
Hawkman had been working rapidly on the problem. “The computer does detect certain warps between the Earths,” he said. “Oddly enough, while the individual openings had to have been widely scattered on the other end, from what the villains of Earth-X said, on our world, the main portal seems to be rather stable.”
Red Tornado said, “I surmise the spatial differential explains how many exits may lead from one entrance and vice versa.”
“Certainly,” said Wonder Woman. “Just like transporters in several cities all lead to our base.”
“Hawkman,” asked Black Canary, “is this warp something we can explain? Have we encountered its like before?”
At that moment the computer buzzed, and Hawkman said, “We’ve got company. Batman, no less, and several guests.”
“Batman and I have been working together under less than ideal conditions of late,” said Superman. “We recently patched up things after the Pantheon case, but he still works with the Outsiders instead of the League.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “No Rest for Heroes,” World’s Finest Comics #302 (April, 1984).]
Wonder Woman nodded. “I recall. I hope his arrival means he’s had a change of heart. Is he bringing the Outsiders, or perhaps Robin?”
Batman emerged from the transporter, followed by several unexpected colorful figures. “Thank you for accepting my request to come up. It’s very serious, or I would not have done so,” he said. Behind the Caped Crusader appeared several faces well-known to the JLAers.
“We’re seriously early for our next annual get-together, but then when have we ever managed to time these things right?” said a brassy blonde.
“Power Girl!” said Superman.
The Huntress followed, along with other Justice Society of America members. “We all found ourselves here by chance,” she explained. “We realized we had wandered through some type of warp hole.”
Green Lantern of Earth-Two nodded as Johnny Thunder and the Flash of that Earth joined their friends. “Batman here met us when our Gotham City suddenly became his Gotham City. We found ourselves on your Earth without explanation,” said Green Lantern. “Here’s what happened.”
With that, he told them the curious tale of two worlds, explaining that after they arrived on Earth-One and turned in the defeated foes, they met up with the Batman. After he was done, Green Lantern turned to the Flash, who added his own comments.
“After sending Chronos’ sand back towards him, I noticed a peculiar vibration that only my super-fast senses could detect,” said the Flash. “I investigated and found it was akin to the way your world’s Flash and I use the Cosmic Treadmill at times for time travel or set up an internal vibe that allows us to leave one era for another. To make a long story short, the vibe came from the portals that engulfed us. These openings now span space and time.”
Batman nodded. “Such a ramification fits with the potential of the Cosmic Tree, which we — the JLA and the Outsiders — recently defeated. Let me recap. The alien tree served as a means of conquest and transport for other-dimensional invaders. We defeated them and gave their leader food for thought. (*) Someone has restored part of that original Cosmic Tree. We uprooted many sections of the original. I’d even wager we might know the culprit.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Pantheon, Part 1: A World Upheaval,” World’s Finest Comics #296 (October, 1983), “The Pantheon, Part 2: The Cosmic Tree,” World’s Finest Comics #297 (November, 1983), “The Pantheon, Part 3: Zeta,” World’s Finest Comics #298 (December, 1983), “The Shadow of the Executioner,” World’s Finest Comics #299 (January, 1984), and “A Tale of Two Worlds, or Planets in Peril,” World’s Finest Comics #300 (February, 1984).]
Hawkman nodded. “You mean the Floronic Man, of course. He’d be sensitive even moreso than Poison Ivy to such an alien plant. It is possible that he could have found one section and nurtured it until it revived and somehow spread through our dimension to Earths-Two and X! That’s how the villains from Earth-X could have arrived here, and how the Injustice Gang’s machine could have brought them to Earth-Two. I’d wager it was attracted to the time-and-space-altering powers of the root. The only problem is that Jason Woodrue is still safely imprisoned in Arkham after our most recent run-in with him in Louisiana.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Roots,” The Saga of the Swamp Thing #24 (May, 1984).]
“Of course, Woodrue may have already escaped, or possibly set things up before the Louisiana case,” suggested the Huntress with a frown. “But whoever might be behind it, you said the roots did more than merely provide transport. They are offensive, too?”
Power Girl groaned. “Killer Weeds from Outer Space! Someone give Andrew McCarthy a call.”
“So we need to uproot the tree in all three dimensions?” said Johnny Thunder.
“Exactly,” Superman agreed. “It’s spread its roots into three Earths thus far, but the question is — why has it not extended itself more? Earth-S could also be in peril, or so you’d think.”
“Hold it, Big Blue,” said Green Arrow. “If the plant is being nurtured by Woodrue, what would his beef be with Earth-Two or Earth-X, Y, or Z?”
“Arrow, whoever has nurtured this plant would likely only be a pawn,” said Batman. “That Cosmic Tree has more latent power than he could handle. I’d say its inbred instinct to conquer took over in spite of anyone else’s plans for the tree.”
“You know, when you speak like that, I get the idea the tree is sentient,” said the Flash of Earth-Two. “I’ve encountered such a thinking plant before. Could that be why it spread specifically to my world?”
“Why, of course!” replied Wonder Woman. “Could there be plant-related beings like Woodrue on Earth-X and Earth-Two that followed his lead independently and were drawn to the roots of the Cosmic Tree on their respective worlds?”
The Flash nodded. “I told you, Princess. I can vouch for one on our world.”
“Ladies and gentlemen,” began Red Tornado, “I have used the computer to pinpoint the points at which the tree’s roots have spread amongst the three worlds. I would hesitate to suggest that I perceive an almost-palpable intellect behind each growth, but am I not the proof that life comes in many varieties?”
Black Canary pressed her hand to his arm. “Reddy, you’re wonderful! I suggest we divide up and check out the three root systems.”
“I opened up access to Earth-X via our communicator,” said Hawkman, “and we have the coordinates from our past visits there. The Freedom Fighters are online and have encountered the same problem. They wish to join us!”
“Then by all means let them,” said Batman. “Time is precious. Let’s go.”
Superman wondered if his old friend would realize the irony of the Justice League leaping to the aid of other universes when they had refused to intervene in another nation’s dispute when he needed help to rescue his friend. That argument over policy had almost severed the tie between the World’s Finest Team, and he hoped it would heal in time. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Wars Ended, Wars Begun,” Batman and the Outsiders #1 (August, 1983).]