Even as the Crime Syndicate passed their lonely days and nights in the force-bubble and awaited the food that teleported into their prison regularly, thanks to Luthor’s kindness, Alexander Luthor himself could not rest. He remained deeply troubled, and things only grew worse when he received a visitor late one evening. She was blonde and lovely. The young Lena Luthor, his much-younger sister, was usually a welcome sight. However, her wild eyes and desperate look this evening gave the brilliant man reason to pause.
“Lena, honey, what’s wrong? More nightmares?” he asked as he ushered her inside and greeted her with a hug. Rain began to beat down outside, and he smiled as his wife Lois rushed in, dressed in her robe and carrying a tray of snacks.
“Lena, sit down and eat and tell us what brings my favorite sister-in-law out on such a night,” said Lois Luthor.
Lena smiled as she collected her thoughts. Lois had become a rock of stability in the relatively short time that she and her brother were married, and as for Alex, he had practically raised Lena since their folks had died years before in an accident. If Alex couldn’t smooth over this new worry, then no one could.
“Alex, I have been having the visions again,” sobbed the pretty blonde. “I know you feel they’re just dreams, but they seem so real, so vivid! The last one was… horrible!”
Alex cupped her face in his hand. “Lena, just tell me slowly, and I’ll try to make things right.”
Lena gulped and said, “I saw them! They were back! They took over the world again — it was just awful. Alex, I believe it will happen. The Crime Syndicate will get loose and take over the world again!”
Lois shivered at the idea that the fiends who had tried to kill Alex on more than one occasion would be free once more to destroy and kill.
“Lena, I’ve built sensors around their cell,” said Alex. “If they ever get close to being free again, the sensors will warn me, and I’ll reinforce the cell. I promise!”
“No, Alex,” said Lena. “I didn’t make myself clear. The Crime Syndicate was loose again, but it was and yet wasn’t them who took over the world. They were just like them, but even more vicious and hungry for power. That’s why the vision was so frightening! How could there be more like them?”
Alex said nothing. His little sister was perhaps psychic or had mental powers that could be sensitive to the world around her, but could she be right? Could there be new villains somehow worse than the monsters of the Crime Syndicate?
Hearing an alarm, he jumped up to check the source of the warning alert. “Great Scott!” he cried as he read the computer screen. “There is something going down in D.C.! President Hart has been killed!”
“Alex, go,” Lois said as Lena watched him tearfully. “Be careful, though.”
Slipping on his bio-suit, Alexander Luthor flew off at top speed for the nation’s capitol of Arnoldtown, D.C., named such after the first president of the United States of America, Benedict Arnold. The flight was rapid, yet not as smooth as usual. He was low on energy sources, and the bio-suit was nowhere near the level it had been at when he’d first constructed the suit. He’d just have to make do with what he had.
I can’t believe it — the White House invaded, President Gary Hart dead, the military routed! His mind raced as he monitored news bulletins with his helmet radio.
He soon drew near a scene of flames and panic. The White House was a battlefield, and he shuddered as his lens picked up the sight of a few flying figures around the breached building. “It’s them again,” he said with worry. “But still, it’s strange that the alarm at their cell never went off.”
Then he saw it all clearly. Those costumed figures were attacking the military and had already invaded and conquered the White House. A flying red-and-blue-costumed figure with black hair and handsome features tossed a tank into the six-acre-long Capitol Reflecting Pool with a harsh laugh. He turned to face Luthor, causing Alex to gasp. The face was more handsome than that of the evil Ultraman, and the costume had no red U emblem, instead boasting a blazing red H.
“You’re not Ultraman!” he cried. Lena was right, he thought. We’ve been invaded by an all-new team of villains!
Luthor’s new foe laughed. “You must be what passes for a super-hero on this pathetic world. I’m Hypernion — and I’ll be your killer!”
Hypernion fired a blast of heat-vision at Luthor, and the bio-suit’s shields barely deflected it. The villain then slammed his hands together, and a shockwave rocketed across the air to threaten Luthor’s flight stability.
Obviously, this brute has the power of Ultraman, and more wit besides, thought Luthor as he tried to defend himself. But where did he come from? Krypton was destroyed by Ultraman’s father decades ago!
“I will stop you,” vowed Alexander. “I’ll bring you to justice for what you did to President Hart.” His hands pulsed with energy as he fired stellar bolts into Hypernion.
Since the hulking man flinched, Luthor deducted that he could be hurt. Then a choking pressure caught Luthor from behind, and huge green pinchers closed in around him. “Power Ring?” he muttered as he fought for air.
The blonde woman in the short green-and-black outfit laughed. “That’s what my weapon is, but I’m called Green Gladiatrix. I guess you’re bright enough to see where the name comes from.” She started to giggle.
Luthor tried to generate enough power to break free and did so, but now he was tired. The bio-suit was beginning to feel heavy, which meant something was damaged within its systems. “Who are you?” he said as he dodged her next barrage of green spears.
“They work with me, handsome,” said a sultry voice as a rope snared his leg and slammed him to the ground with stunning force.
Luthor moaned as he gazed up at a leggy, black-haired beauty in a red, white, and blue outfit with an eagle on her brief top. “You’re the Superwoman of the group, I see.”
She laughed with a purr to her voice. “I am more, for I am royalty. Atalanta — the Amazon Princess.” She then stomped down on him, and he felt the metal armor crack.
A red-and-gold blur raced up to drain all the air away from his area. He activated his limited oxygen supply as the bio-suit’s visor closed. “Too slow, old dude. I’m Speedfreak,” sneered a young punk who moved with alarming rapidity.
From the White House itself laughed a commanding figure in the shadows. He wore black and gray and was known as Darknight. “Hail to the new chief,” he hissed coldly.
Luthor knew when he was beaten. He activated his teleport control, and — just as his bio-suit lost all power — he found himself back in the lab. He struggled to his feet as the heavy armor weighed him down.
“Lois, Lena — I need help!” he called.
They rushed inside to support him. “Alex!” screamed Lois. “What did they do to you?”
Alexander frowned determinedly. “They made me mad! No one can threaten Alexander Luthor’s home and get away with it!”
“How can you stop them?” said Lois. “The radio called them invincible.”
“I can’t do it alone,” he said grimly, “but I know where I can get some help.”
In the days that followed the conquest of Arnoldtown, D.C., the military met with one crushing defeat after another at the hands of the super-powered terrorists who had made the White House their new base. Fighter planes zoomed into view over the rubble, only to be shattered by the Green Gladiatrix’s lethal ring as she giggled maliciously. The tanks were overturned with ease by the Amazon Princess, who disdainfully sneered at the male soldiers, representatives of what she considered the weaker sex. Hypernion was a one-man army as he crushed entire squadrons with no regard for life. Speedfreak was seemingly everywhere as he terrorized California and carried off starlet Michelle Piper for some amorous action of his own. All the mayhem was coldly guided by their leader, the enigmatic Darknight who, despite his seeming lack of super-powers, was still feared and respected by his super-powered partners.
“People of America,” said Darknight, broadcasting live to the world. “We are the new leaders of your nation. We are the Lawless League, and we will destroy anyone who opposes us. Accept that, and you will live longer.”
“I’ve felt their power, and he’s not bluffing,” said Alexander Luthor. “We’ve got to stop him, but first things first.” Luthor led his family down several steps to a waiting craft below his observatory headquarters, which would inevitably become a target once the Lawless League discovered where he lived.
“What is it?” asked Lois Lane Luthor.
“I call it the Mighty Mole,” he said. “It’s our escape vehicle. I can’t fight these fiends while you three are in danger from them. It’s only a matter of time before they come for me.”
“Alex,” said Lena Luthor, “where will this thing take us that could be safe from the powers they have?”
Alexander smiled. “To the secret base I’ve already built for the purpose of opposing the Crime Syndicate, should they ever arise again. I call it the Fortress of Science.”
The Mole soon carried them through the center of the Earth to emerge in a spacious chamber full of equipment. “Look at this place — it’s amazing!” cried Lena as she ran around the huge, brightly lit fortress.
“I tried to plan for any emergency, so I have full weaponry, supplies, communications, and lab equipment within my Fortress of Science,” explained Luthor. “Here below the Earth, even those monsters can’t find us, or so I hope. Ultraman is not a thinker, but this Hypernion and Darknight seem much smarter.”
Lena glanced at the equipment. “What does all this do?”
“I hope it will stop the Lawless League,” said Alexander. “It was meant to fight the Syndicate, of course.”
Lena frowned. “My dream about some group like them has come true, but at least the originals are still imprisoned.”
“Lena, about them, I fear…”
“Alex, I don’t like that look on your face,” said a concerned Lois. “You’re not seriously considering–?”
Alexander Luthor replied with a rare sharpness, “I have no choice. To survive and defeat the Lawless League, I must free the Crime Syndicate and enlist their help.”
Alexander Luthor had listened to and argued with his family for hours before they retired for the night. He gazed down upon the sleeping forms of Lois and Lena. He could not imagine life without them, and he definitely could not allow the world to be destroyed and brought down to chaos by the Lawless League. He worked feverishly to come up with some way to stop them, but all he could come back to was the need to ally with the Crime Syndicate.
As he paced the floor, he turned to see Lois waiting for him silently. “Alex, come to bed. We’re behind you all the way. If you feel the right thing to do is to free the Syndicate, then of course it must be the right thing for us all. We believe in you. Lena just fears them so because of the accident.”
Alexander nodded. “Power Ring once blew up a road, and my parents died in the ensuing car wreck. He didn’t know them. He didn’t care about them. To him, it was merely a random use of his power to show his dominance, and they were caught in it. They were poor elderly folks, and Lena was the only survivor. No wonder she hates the Syndicate so much. I raised her after that and eventually came to fight them, though I wonder if I would ever have done that without the inspiration of the two Supermen and you as well!”
“Take Ultraman alone,” said Lois. “How can you reason with or trust that inhuman brute?”
“I think, if I use my own sense of honor as a bargaining device, they will come around,” replied Luthor. “I’ll say that they can’t rule without defeating these newcomers, and that if they help me, I’ll reward them.”
Lois remained quiet. The only thing Alex could offer them was either his life or his pledge to not oppose them. Either way, he would lose greatly, as would her world. She held her husband closely as the machinery chimed and whirled around them in the vast chamber below the earth’s surface.
In the far corner of the Fortress of Science stood a robotic humanoid figure. It was not finished, but when it reached completion, the Brainiac would have a major influence on them all.