Hippolyte, the other Wonder Woman, found herself actually working up a sweat. Whoever trained this woman did her job well, the Queen of the Amazons thought. She fights as well as I do. Perhaps — perhaps she is a true Amazon.
“Hola, sister. Your skill as a warrior does you a great honor.”
Nubia, the new Wonder Woman, jumped high to avoid Hippolyte’s sword. “My thanks, pretender. I studied at the hand of my sister and my mother, Hippolyta, Queen of the Amazons.”
Hippolyte’s jaw dropped as she heard this. “Your mother? Perhaps we should set aside our swords and talk, sister to sister.”
Nubia eyed Hippolyte suspiciously. “That is a fine sentiment from someone brandishing a sword.”
Hippolyte took her sword and returned it to her side. “Well met, sister. You have my word that I shall attack you no more.”
Taken aback, Nubia lightly fingered her magic lasso. “And who are you that I should just take your word when my lasso could reveal the truth without question?”
Hippolyte smiled. “That lasso was forged from the Girdle of Gaea herself. I would lovingly submit to it if that would ease your mind, or my name is not Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons.”
Handing the lasso to Hippolyte, Nubia held one end; now both were subject to the magic lasso’s power to draw truth out of those in contact with it. “What did you say your name was again?”
“I am Hippolyte, Queen of the Amazons. Who are you?”
“I am Nubia, Princess of Paradise Island, sister of Diana and Donna, and daughter of Hippolyta.”
Nubia and Hippolyte grasped hands as Amazon warriors did.
“Come, let us stop this conflict before it gets out of control.”
“Well, kid, you just gonna stand there?”
Oliver Queen looked at the young man standing before him, his blond hair making quite a contrast with his almond-colored skin. Something about the boy seemed familiar, as if Oliver had met him somewhere before.
“Yes. I will not take up arms against you or Dinah unless you attack me first. If you are truly the people you appear to be, then I am safe. If you are under the control of Parallax as my Green Lantern believes, then you will attack — and I will defend myself,” Connor Hawke said, staring directly into Oliver’s eyes.
Ollie held his bow and arrow perfectly still, aimed at Connor. “What did you call me?”
“Oliver. That is your name, is it not?”
Dinah Lance, alias Black Canary, came over to Ollie and put her hand on his arm. “Put it down, G.A. My instinct tells me he’s on the level. What’s your name?”
As Ollie dropped his bow, Connor replied, “I am Green Arrow, but my friends call me Connor Hawke.”
“And how do you know our names?”
“In my time, I have met both of you. Oliver was my… mentor. He trained me how to use my bow. In fact, this bow was once his.”
Connor handed Ollie the bow. Green Arrow took it in his hands, holding it, feeling it. He looked at Black Canary. “Dinah, this is my bow!”
Oliver let loose with a big smile and threw his arm around Connor. “So your name is Connor Hawke, huh? How’d we meet?”
“Ollie, let’s make sure the others are okay before we start twenty questions,” Dinah said. “This conflict should never have happened.”
“Pretty bird, as usual you’re the voice of reason. Let’s take our new pal Connor and get these other yahoos to calm down.”
Dinah looked at both men for a moment, and it struck her how much alike they looked. A realization suddenly hit Dinah like a ton of bricks. Oh, my God — and I’ll bet Ollie doesn’t even see it!
Superman almost felt sorry for Steel. In his electric form, Superman was no match physically for Steel, but he didn’t have to be. Every time Steel tried to connect, Superman simply became intangible. It only served to make young Hank Heywood III madder.
“I don’t know who you think you’re pretending to be, but Superman never had these kinds of powers,” Hank said as he tried to connect with the man of tomorrow.
“Not yet, at any rate. Steel — Hank — listen to me. This isn’t accomplishing anything. We’re not the ones who tried to ambush you. You tried to do that to us!”
This time, when Steel tried to hit him, Superman grabbed his fist and held on. The young hero suddenly went stiff.
“What are you doing to me?” Steel asked, finding himself unable to move.
“I’ve used my magnetic powers to temporarily immobilize you. Are you willing to listen to me now?” Superman asked. “And Atom, I know you’re there waiting to make your move. I can see you with my powers. Don’t make me immobilize you, too.”
Adam Cray, the new Atom, suddenly appeared next to Steel. “How did you–?”
“That’s why they call me Superman,” he said with a wink.
Elsewhere on the Moon:
“J’onn… J’onn, wake up.”
J’onn J’onzz, the Martian Manhunter, struggled to get up. “Batman, what — what in the world?”
“Superman’s still out, but I need you to put a stop to this.”
Above the Moon, an emerald war lit up the pitch blackness of space. On one side, Kyle Rayner was wearing what looked like ancient Japanese armor (green, of course) and was firing razor-sharp throwing stars at Hal Jordan. For his part, Hal had created a large shield with stripes around the edges and a star in the middle, deflecting as much of the onslaught as he could.
This kid is good, Hal thought to himself. He uses his power ring in imaginative ways. Reminds me of KT21, the Green Lantern of Jerome who used her artistic training in her power ring creations. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Forever Blowing Bubbles,” Green Lantern v2 #187 (April, 1986).]
“Why don’t you just get this over with, Parallax? Or is this all just some sick, twisted game for your amusement?” Kyle said angrily.
“What in the name of Oa are you talking about? And why does everyone keep calling me Parallax?” Hal said under the onslaught. “It doesn’t have to be this way!”
“That’s your answer for everything, isn’t it, Parallax? I just want to make things right — that’s how you justify all your dementia, isn’t it?”
Hal was just about to respond, when a small figure appeared between him and Kyle. “Green Lantern of Sector 2814, what is the meaning of this conflict? You will cease and desist immediately.”
Hal was about to speak when Kyle interrupted, “A Guardian? Then… you’re not — I mean, you’re not Ganthet, you’re one of the others — that means… oh, man.”
Kyle let his armor and weapons fade. He looked at the Guardian and Hal. “This wasn’t Hal’s fault, uh, sir, it was mine. I mistook him for someone else.”
The Guardian looked at Kyle and then Hal. “Very well. Hal Jordan, we will expect a full report upon your next visit to Oa.” Just as suddenly as he appeared, the Guardian vanished.
Hal extended his hand to Kyle. “My name’s Hal. What’s yours?”
Feeling a little awkward, Kyle took Hal’s hand and shook it. “My friends call me Kyle, but you can just call me stupid.”
Hal smiled at that. “Well come on, Stupid, let’s rejoin our friends.”
And on the surface, the Martian Manhunter reappeared next to the rest of the JLAers.
“Man, first a green guy, then a little blue guy. How many other colors do you do?” Ollie said, smiling at J’onn.
“How did you know that would work, Batman?” the Manhunter asked.
“The other Superman spoke directly into my brain’s hearing center and suggested it as the quickest way to end the conflict.”
“I see. Would it not have been just effective to have had Oliver take him down with a yellow arrow, or me to have turned yellow?” J’onn asked.
“No, it wouldn’t have. I suggested that back to Superman, and he told me that his Green Lantern’s ring doesn’t have a yellow weakness,” Batman replied.
“An overture of trust. Excellent. Now we just need to find out who this Parallax person is.”
The JLA Satellite, 22,300 miles above the Earth:
“So they’re from the future?” The Atom looked across the table at Steel, trying to avoid returning to the case files he was reading.
“Yeah, apparently. I think they figured about ten years into the future,” Steel answered. “But from what it sounds like, they’re not from our future but from the future of some parallel world that’s very similar to ours but with a few slight differences. I tell you, bro, those electrical powers of Superman’s are pretty wicked.”
“Yeah, they were kinda cool and all, but still, he’s not really Superman if he’s not in the ol’ red, blue, and yellow.”
“Maybe, but even without his traditional powers, he’s still the best there is. I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s all temporary — some villain’s idea of a bad joke.” Steel laughed.
“So who finally figured out where those four were from?”
“Believe it or not, it was that Green Arrow kid. He said it was pretty obvious that the Ollie and Dinah he knew were a lot older than ours.”
“Huh. Go figure. Still, though, what must the others be thinking? I mean, ten years from now, a new Wonder Woman, a new Green Lantern, a new Green Arrow — what do you think happened to Hal, Ollie, and Nubia in the future?” the Atom wondered.
“I was kinda wondering that myself, Adam. I mean, for all we know, in their world we might be dead.”
The Atom shuddered and went back to his study of the casebooks. Maybe J’onn is right, he thought as he opened the next case, entitled “The Men Who Sold Destruction.”
“What the hey? Two-Face helped the JLA?” the Atom said, looking up at Steel incredulously. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Men Who Sold Destruction,” Justice League of America #125 (December, 1975) and “The Evil Connection,” Justice League of America #126 (January, 1976).]
“Heh. Yeah, almost as believable as that Guardian that J’onn impersonated out there. Good thing those future guys forgot that the Guardians aren’t in this dimension right now!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Five Billion Years,” Green Lantern v2 #200 (May, 1986).]
Elsewhere, a small, disfigured man stood in front of five androids covered in shadows.
“Perfection. Absolute perfection. Now go, my children, and do your father proud!”
“How’s the studying coming?”
The Atom looked up to find J’onn J’onzz standing there. “Fine, sir. I’m up to ‘The Reverse Spells of Zatanna’s Magic.'”
“Excellent, Adam. That was the case where Zatanna joined the fold.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Reverse Spells of Zatanna’s Magic,” Justice League of America #161 (December, 1978).]
“Where did everyone go?”
J’onn sat down. “Steel had to return to Detroit. Ray and his scientists have returned to Ivy Town to get the time pool fixed so that our friends can be returned to the future.”
“So what are they doing now?” the Atom asked.
“Their counterparts decided to take them home with them. A walk down memory lane, if you will.”
“I see. Did they ever explain who Parallax is?”
“After a fashion. They said that he is a villain more powerful than the Guardians of the Universe. He caused an event called Zero Hour that almost reshaped the universe in his image, but he was finally stopped, apparently by their Green Lantern and a group of other heroes.”
“So why did they think our Green Lantern was this Parallax?”
“Superman simply smiled and said that they had told us too much already. They did not want to risk changing their future.”
The skies over Metropolis:
“It’s always nice flying in from space to the city. I know the JLA teleporter is faster, but you can’t beat this view,” Superman said to his counterpart.
Electric Superman nodded his head. “I agree. So where are we headed?”
“Well, I’m not really sure. How about the Daily Planet?”
“Sounds like a plan. Say, wait a minute. Where’s the LexCorp Building?”
The Men of Steel landed atop the Planet Building. “LexCorp? That’s not named for who I think it is, is it?”
“Bingo. On my world, in my time, Lex Luthor is a billionaire industrialist. He’s always stayed one step ahead of the law.”
“Really?” Superman said, leaning up against the globe. “My Lex and I grew up together in Smallville. He never forgave me for his hair falling out when I saved him from a lab fire as Superboy.”
Superman Blue smiled at that. “All because his hair fell out? Well, one thing our Luthors have in common is that they hold a grudge. Mine was the kingpin of Metropolis until I came along. I was the first person to stand up to him, or at least the first who lived to tell about it.”
“Incredible. Mine is simply a mad scientist hell-bent on killing me. I could never imagine Luthor as some sort of kingpin of crime.”
“Hey, I could never imagine growing up with Luthor. I’ll have to tell Ma and Pa about that when I get back.”
Superman’s face went white, and he swallowed hard. “They’re alive? Your — your parents are alive?”
Superman Blue looked shocked. “Oh, I’m sorry, Clark, I didn’t know. Yeah, Ma and Pa are getting up there, but they’re doing fine.”
“Mine died shortly after I turned eighteen.”
The two sons of Krypton were silent for a moment, and then Superman asked, “I wonder what else is different?”
Superman Blue smiled a little. “Well, does the phrase ‘Great Caesar’s Ghost’ mean anything to you?”
Both men laughed at that.
“Same Perry, at least. What about Jimmy Olsen?” Superman asked.
“Always calls Perry ‘chief’,” Superman Blue replied. “And Lois?”
“Well, she doesn’t throw herself in front of trains or out of windows anymore. Of course, I think she still suspects I’m Superman.”
“Yeah, I remember when Lois used to have her suspicions,” Superman Blue said.
“What did you do to finally get her to stop hounding you?”
“I married her.”