At the Fortress of Science, Lois Lane Luthor mourned the loss of Alexander Luthor, her beloved husband and the father of their son Alexander Junior, lost as an infant during the Crisis on Infinite Earths. She had been a strong woman as a reporter and a stalwart support to the brilliant man as a wife. Now, however, it was all she could do to get through the painful necessities of grieving.
Near her wept a lovely blonde girl. She was Lena Luthor, Alexander’s young sister. She had foreseen his death, but the prophetic vision had done little to assuage her grief when the real event had apparently taken place.
A six-inch-tall man waited by her side with attentive care. His chosen name was John Smith, but Brainiac had been his designation upon his creation in Luthor’s lab. He had delivered the news of the hero’s death to the family and had tried to comfort them. As it was, he himself felt helpless and lost.
“Alex was so good to me after Power Ring killed our folks,” wept Lena. “I can’t imagine life without him.”
Brainiac said, “He was more than a friend to all of us. He was this beleaguered world’s best defense against evil in all its myriad forms.”
Lois said, “His allies in the Secret Society still carry on his good fight, but he kept us apart from them for security reasons. They have no idea where this Fortress is located, nor do they know of us. They think the alert John sent to them came merely from an automated computer link to Alex’s bio-suit.”
“Should we reveal ourselves to the Lynx and her allies?” asked Lena.
John shook his head. “I prefer to respect the wishes of Luthor in the matter. He preferred to keep his allies separate as a matter of safety.”
“I wish Myth could have stayed here,” said Lena, speaking of the Thanagarian hero who had come to Earth in search of the Thanagarian outlaw named Lady Shrike. “But since the same energy ray that killed Alex also killed Lady Shrike, he had no need to remain here on Earth.”
Brainiac said, “I only wish our Earth would produce new champions to challenge the Crime Syndicate. They seemed ignorant of what robbed us of Alex, but they rejoiced at his death.”
Lois said, “Alex had a brilliant peer who sought solitude but was a deeply motivated humanitarian. I’ve often heard Alex claim that this scientist was even smarter than he was.”
Lena frowned. “What was his name?”
“Dr. Thaddeus Atlanta,” replied Lois.
The Crime Syndicate of America did indeed rejoice at the news that their old enemy had perished. Owlman sat silently brooding, while Johnny Quick and Power Ring bantered happily.
“Listen, P.R., that feathered babe of yours did us a good turn after all by offing Luthor,” said Quick.
Power Ring rubbed one hand across his balding hairline and frowned. “Watch your tongue. She may have killed him, but she also left me trapped when she could have rescued me. She used me, and I don’t like it a bit.”
Superwoman lounged languidly nearby. She laughed harshly. “It is all you deserve. You’ve toyed with countless females in your time. I enjoy seeing one play you for a fool.”
“What if he’s not dead?” Owlman suggested. “She was an alien. Perhaps that was no death ray. It might have transported him through deep space. It didn’t necessarily atomize him.”
Ultraman slammed his fists through the wall and shouted, “Why would you assume that? He’s dead. He’s gotta be!”
Microbe grew to his normal height from his six-inch size and sneered, “No, he most assuredly does not have to be dead. Owlman has sense, and I think he’s correct in his assumption. I only regret I lack any energy tracings to allow me to determine the exact nature of the energy that struck Luthor and Lady Shrike. If I had such a reading, then I could easily tell you his condition.”
Quick sighed. “You lab jockeys — talk, talk, talk! Man, I’m sooo glad I stole my powers from my stiff old boss, Barry Allen. He was just like you, Palmer — he’d use any excuse for babbling on and on in nerd-ese.”
Microbe said, “As I recall, Allen — in his identity as the Rogue — left you trapped in a mirrorverse until I used my intellect to free you.”
Power Ring shrugged. “He’s got you there. My ring could trace old Luthor if any residual energy from that beam remains.”
“I’ll go into space and grind his bones to pulp if he’s alive,” said Ultraman. “I’m restless.”
Owlman smirked coldly. “Your pretty little cousin has you worked up. You can’t stand having another Kryptonian flaunting her powers on earth. Still, in spite of her rejection of you, she’s kept her word. She’s left us alone to pursue her own criminal career.”
Superwoman said, “She has an Amazon’s spirit. She’s already reshaped Mount Rushmore to depict her own image in place of those of Booth and Arnold and the rest.”
Quick sneered, “Shows ya a doll’s vanity, that’s all.”
“This is crazy,” said Ultraman. “We should be celebrating Luthor’s death, not fighting. We can take his little Society apart and then rule this world like in the good old days.”
Superwoman nodded. “Indeed! By Hera, we’ll remake this world according to our every fancy.”
“Bah!” said Owlman. “Gotham City is enough for me. And it is mine alone — remember that.”
“Old feathers, there, gets all protective of his pet city,” said Quick. “Word is he and his boy partner are real domestic there.”
Owlman glared at Quick and said, “You tread upon dangerous ground for one so allegedly swift and sure.”
Power Ring said, “Ahh, all we need is a new challenge.”
They would soon get one.
In his cozy lab, Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Atlanta whistled to himself as he viewed some data on a computer screen. He rubbed his hands together in characteristic fashion and laughed with a warm glee.
“Heh-heh-heh! My calculations are correct. Crystal is indeed stabilizing, in spite of her altered body,” said the small bald man, who wore a white lab coat and heavy black glasses. He had won numerous awards as both a scientist and a humanitarian. He was known in media circles as the World’s Kindest Scientist because so much of his time had been invested in helping others in need.
“I can’t wait to tell the dear girl the good news,” he said as he rushed for the door. He then stopped abruptly, smacking his palm against his bald scalp.
“For goodness sakes! I almost forgot to get my parka and mittens,” he said as he grabbed the aforementioned gear.
In no time at all, he was outdoors and soon knocked at a door not far from his laboratory. A musical female voice answered the knock. “Come in, Thaddeus.”
He entered and saw Dr. Crystal Frost as she lounged in her room. The room was very feminine, with dainty furniture, pictures, and flowers. All were specially treated to resist intense cold, since the room was coated with a thick layer of ice. The generation of ice happened naturally as a byproduct of close and prolonged proximity to this beautiful woman who had lived in the chamber since she first came to Dr. Atlanta for his help. She wore a filmy dress of an old-fashioned design and boots. Her hair and her lovely features were inhumanly white, as her entire body reflected the frozen condition of the room.
She covered her pursed lips with a slender hand and blew him a kiss as her breath froze the very air. “Dearest Thaddeus, you risk a chill coming here so often, but I would be ever so lonesome without you,” she sighed.
He smiled and rubbed at his crusted glasses. “My dear, the results are in. Your body has adjusted to the accident. You shall not deteriorate as we once feared. It’s not a cure, but it is progress.”
She clapped her hands together with girlish pleasure and said, “Wonderful! When my lab accident turned me into this monster who needed constant heat for comfort and made me a living source of numbing cold, I gave up hope. Then I came to you, and you helped me so much. Without your care and encouragement, I might have become a killer.”
He laughed, “Heh-heh-heh! Not you, Crystal — you have a warm heart.”
She laughed as well and idly caressed one of the artificial flowers. “I’ve selected a name for myself for our project — Frost,” she said.
He shook his head. “Too cold — excuse the expression. A woman of your delicate beauty should be Frost Queen.”
“I love it!” she said. “If I cannot live as a normal woman, then I want to use my powers to serve those who can enjoy a normal life.”
Dr. Atlanta nodded. “You and I shall join others who’ve been similarly afflicted and cannot live in traditional society. We shall honor the late Alexander Luthor’s memory by championing his cause. We shall be a society for good. We shall be those called madmen or monsters, but our goal shall always be mercy and justice for all.”
Later, Dr. Atlanta repeated such words again to resounding cheers as several odd-looking men and women listened and pledged themselves to his new crusade.
“Our Monster Society of Good shall stop the true monsters in the Crime Syndicate!” he vowed. “We shall bring Ultraman, Owlman, and their ilk to justice.”
Their cheers raised his spirits, and he rubbed at one moist eye. “It’s so touching to be among people willing to give their all for others, even after suffering hardship and loss themselves.”