by Martin Maenza
Mirror Master glanced around the conference table, taking a quick tally of the ranks, and noticed a couple of empty chairs. “Where’s Power Fist?” he asked aloud.
“He’s in a session with Dr. Quinzel,” the diminutive Gizmo replied.
The leader of the Secret Society of Super-Villains, dressed in orange and green, nodded. While the staff meetings were important, having Power Fist see the team’s psychiatrist was a bit more important. The man had been going through a tough time of late, seeing that he was still stuck in the ape form that Grodd had transformed him into over six months ago. (*) I can excuse him for that, Mirror Master thought.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Society of Super-Villains: Gorilla Warfare, Book 2, Chapter 1: Infiltration.]
However, the other empty chair concerned him more. That was the one usually occupied by Star Sapphire. I don’t know what’s gotten into her of late, the leader thought. She’s been showing up less and less frequently. Mirror Master knew that, unlike the others, she would always be one of the harder members to control. Still, he had plans that included her. He made a mental note to have a talk with her.
“I guess we’ll get started, then,” Mirror Master said, banging the gavel to get everyone’s attention. “Thanks to Gizmo’s hard work, with the help of others, our teleportation system is now online.” There were cheers from the group; they knew this would help them facilitate their criminal activities without the need of expensive jets. “Therefore, I have a couple assignments for you. Nothing fancy. Some robberies to gather a few needed supplies for the organization.” He put down the gavel and grabbed a stack of papers. He handed them out as he walked around the table. “I’ve grouped you in pairs, based on skills and a chance to work with one another.”
“I’m working with Gizmo?” the blonde Throttle asked. “But me and Ricky are partners.”
“Yeah,” chimed in the brown-haired Blindside.
“Sorry, boys,” Mirror Master said. “You two can be joined at the hip on your own time. Each job requires certain skills, and I’ve matched you based on my own reflections of each job.”
“Don’t argue with the bosss,” Copperhead chuckled. He then glanced at his sheet. “Magpie? I gotta work with her?!” The woman with the spiked hair and big red glasses glared at the serpentine rogue. If looks could kill, Copperhead would have been six feet under. The two still hadn’t settled their differences from a robbery they committed last month. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Society of Super-Villains: Funky Business, Chapter 1: Ground Rules.]
“Yes,” Mirror Master said flatly.
“No buts!” the leader said. Copperhead had been a trusted ally since the beginning of this venture, but even Mirror Master was starting to lose patience with the thief. He returned to the head of the table. “Any questions about the assignments themselves?”
“When do we roll?” the yellow-and-purple-costumed Trident asked.
Mirror Master smiled. “I like enthusiasm, Trident. Thank you. You can each get started on these right now if there aren’t any more questions.” He looked around the table once more. His troops weren’t all happy, but he wasn’t running a playground here. He knew they’d all suck it up, put on their professional faces, and get the jobs done. “Fine. Meeting adjourned.” He pounded the gavel twice.
As the costumed villains filed out of the room, the tattoo-covered Greek beauty approached Mirror Master. “What about me, Sam?” the dark-haired Lydia Anastasios asked.
“You can wait for Power Fist to be done,” he said, “or take Sapphire if she shows up first.”
Lydia pouted slightly. “And here I thought we would get to work together,” she said.
He put his arms around her, giving her a great big hug. “I’d love to,” Mirror Master said, “but I’ve got paperwork to get to in my office. Rain check for tonight?”
She smiled. “Of course.” And Lydia gave him a little peck on the cheek.
Mirror Master started down the hallway to head back toward his private office. He was rather pleased with how the criminal organization was coming together. While the crimes he had his forces commit were lower in profile, they managed to keep the group with the functioning capital it needed. This also kept the villains off of the radar of the super-heroes who so often foiled their crimes. It was an acceptable trade-off.
Still, it was time to start looking at grander schemes. And to do that, Mirror Master preferred to think in the privacy of his own office. He approached said door and turned the knob. As he stepped inside, he could smell the fresh smoke of one of his fine cigars.
“Not again!” he muttered under his breath. His high-back desk chair was turned to face the window, so Mirror Master couldn’t see who was sitting there. But given the cigar smoke, he had a good idea.
Mirror Master slammed the office door. “OK, that’s it!” he said as he stomped toward the desk. “I told you before to stay out of my office and cigars! But I guess you think you’re above the rules, don’t you, Flashman?”
Spinning the chair around, he saw who was sitting there. The color immediately drained from his face, and his jaw dropped. “You?” he said with a slight tremor in his voice.
“I am above the rules,” the man in the chair said.
Mirror Master had been expecting the brown-haired and mustached Funky Flashman, the con man extraordinaire who had been taking residency in the Sinister Citadel these past few weeks. But the person in the chair only shared one trait in common with Flashman: an expensive taste in clothing.
This person wore a handmade Italian suit of olive green, with a tailored white dress shirt and green silk tie. His shoes were made of the finest leather. The man was rather well-built with broad shoulders upon which rested his cascading, perfectly groomed blonde hair. In his long, perfectly manicured fingers dangled a fine Cuban cigar. “But then again, I don’t have to tell you that, do I?” he said with a rather wicked smile.
Mirror Master stumbled backward, bumping into one of the other chairs.
“You’d better sit down, M.M.,” the blond man said. With a slight gesture of his hand, the Reflective Rogue was pushed slightly into the seat by an invisible force. “There, that’s better now, isn’t it?”
Mirror Master put his hand to his chest. His heart was racing. Eventually, he summoned up the words to speak. But when he did, he did so slowly and softly. “Why are you here?”
The blond man smiled. He loved to watch others squirm. “Just a little business visit,” he said. “Sorry to drop by unannounced, but I tend to do that when I’m checking up on my investments. After all, we did have a deal, didn’t we?”
Mirror Master dropped his head and muttered something under his breath.
The blond put one hand to his ear. “What was that?” he asked. “Did you say something?”
Mirror Master looked up again. His look of despair was turning. “I said, how could I forget?”
The blond man smiled again, his teeth like that of a lion about to devour its prey. “How, indeed?”
While a horde of super-heroes were traveling to the dawn of time to stop the Anti-Monitor, Lex Luthor led a cadre of super-villains to attack the planet Oa ten billion years back in time. The super-genius had some of the most powerful allies at his side: the Fatal Five, Black Adam, Sinestro, the Ultra-Humanite, and more. Yet, despite that powerful force, the Oans used their connections with their central power battery to strike the army of evil down as easily as swatting flies.
Still, the villains were not out of the game yet.
The walls to one of the buildings crumbled at the mighty blows of a crimson-haired brute. “This is it!” Maaldor announced. “Krona’s laboratory! This is where he accidentally created the multiverse!” The warrior withdrew his mighty sword and stood guard. “Maaldor is ready! Nothing can stop me now.”
The other-dimensional warlord was not alone in this task. He was accompanied by two costumed criminals from as many different Earths. One wore a costume of white and resembled a winter nymph, while the other wore an orange and green costume.
The latter spoke. “Give me a break, Maaly!” Mirror Master snapped. “The toughest part is still ahead.” The trio hurried down the shiny corridor into a great room with the largest viewing screen any of them had ever seen. “Speaking of which… Krona’s screen… the one on which he saw the hand we were told about!”
“What hand, Mirror Master?” asked the Icicle.
“Who cares, Icicle?” the Reflective Rogue said. “It’s not important.” Reaching into the compartments of his costume, he produced a handheld mirror. The piece of glass looked harmless, but in his hands it was a deadly weapon. “Stand back, pals ‘n’ gals, while I use my specially prepared mirror to shatter that screen to sharp shards and smithereens!”
“Hold it there, wise-glass!” the Icicle huffed, his breath frigid in the air. “Who better than the Icicle to put this infinite Earths scheme on ice?”
The red-haired tyrant growled and stepped forward, his sword raised. “You two argue while Maaldor smashes that screen!”
Suddenly, from out of nowhere, the trio of villains were caught in a deadly explosion. The floor erupted, burying them in sharp pieces of rock and rubble. “Dolts!” said a powerful blue-skinned man. “Did you truly believe I would leave my laboratory unattended when I am so close to success?”
The Oan named Krona strode forward to survey the broken limbs that jutted out of the rubble. “If the others promised you riches to stop my forbidden experiments… you have just received your reward! Death! Total… final… and everlasting!”
Those words echoed in the mind of Sam Scudder. The Mirror Master tried to move, to will his body to rise, but the pain he felt was excruciating. Death! Total… final… and everlasting! It certainly seemed that way. He wanted to cry out in pain, but barely a gasp came when his lips parted. His right hand collapsed, dropping the handheld mirror he had planned to use to destroy the screen. The looking glass fell to the stone floor and shattered on impact.
Seven years bad luck. Like that mattered.