Crime Syndicate of America: Tyrants and Champions, Chapter 2: Illumino

by Libbylawrence

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Meanwhile, back on Earth, the Monster Society of Good was celebrating its victory over the Crime Syndicate of America. Their brilliant leader, Dr. Thaddeus Bodog Atlanta, rubbed his hands together and chuckled warmly.

Heh-heh-heh! We have succeeded wonderfully!” he announced. “While Rubberneck, Microbe, and other members of the vile band of killers known as the Crime Syndicate are still at large, we have dealt with the more powerful members in a swift and sure strike for justice!”

A beautiful woman with silvery white skin and a filmy dress smiled adoringly at the little bald man. “We owe all our success to you,” said Frost Queen. “If not for you, we’d either all be dead, or we’d all be shunned by society as freaks and misfits.”

Next to the icy Crystal Frost, a lovely blonde girl shivered and nodded in agreement. “You healed me of the injuries I sustained at Owlman’s hands,” she said. “You helped me learn to temper my bestial transformations. I owe my very life as Summer Day and my heroic career as She-Wolf to you, Doctor.”

A huge, chalk-white hulk named Hiram Goldman grinned in pleasure. “Goldman agrees! Atlanta is friend to Goldman!” he said with childlike glee as his massive hands pounded the reinforced table, threatening to shatter it like glass.

The humanoid shark called Great White smiled broadly and said, “Easy, my friend. You wouldn’t celebrate our victory by reducing our headquarters to rubble, would you?”

Goldman frowned and said, “I am sorry. Great White is always right!”

A tall and powerful woman in a leopard-print bikini ran a hand through her red hair and bellowed with laughter. “You can’t teach our big pal table manners, Sharkie. He’s no more of a dainty diner than I am,” said the former gorilla that had been mutated and transformed into the warrior woman called Gargantua.

A dark-haired man in a white lab coat listened intently as he drank a cola. Simon Ecks, also known as Triple-X, was an odd contrast to his inhuman-looking allies. He looked like a mild-mannered scientist, and that was exactly what he was, except for the fact that he could generate three ghostly energy wraiths at will. “I wonder if we could have triumphed over Ultraman, Superwoman, Power Ring, and the rest had we been more domesticated types. I think not,” he said thoughtfully.

“Ultraman and his gang are not our problem any longer,” said Dr. Atlanta. “I fear they are beyond our power to reform or rehabilitate, so it is safer for the world that they remain in Suspendium sleep on the moon, where I left them all after you bested them.”

Goldman frowned. “Superwoman was pretty! Goldman wants a pretty plaything like her.”

Summer Day leaned closer and allowed the giant golem to stroke her hair as she whispered, “We all love you, Hiram. Never forget that.”


As the odd group of champions enjoyed their victory celebration, elsewhere their foes went into action. A STAR Labs in Detroit was the site of the Crime Syndicate’s attack as Deadeye fired explosive arrows into the government lab and his partners tore into the security staff with pleasure and malice.

The pink-clad Silk Canary high-kicked a guard in the face and rolled across the floor to send others tumbling. She jumped and opened her mouth in a devastating canary cry that stunned the others.

Dusting herself off, she smiled at Deadeye as he swung down from above on an arrowline and said, “Nice moves, huh, doll-boy?”

The evil archer grinned and slapped her on the bottom. “As always. Now where are our pals?” he said.

Rubberneck suddenly emerged from a thin pipe and said, “I just deactivated the communications system. We’ve shut down this treasure trove of weapons, and, sadly, we have no audience.”

Deadeye stroked his beard and said, “Yeah, I know, you plastic ham — you want the attention that security cameras would have given you. Too bad. It’s just smarter that we do this without drawing down the Monster Society creeps. We need the weapons the eggheads who work here create.”

Microbe sailed in as he adjusted his body mass and landed on Silk Canary’s shoulder. “I have breached the automated defenses,” said the tiny fiend. “The wonders of science await us.”

Sundown climbed over a railing and shoved a battered guard to the floor. “I had little exercise taking out those bums. A bit of my instant darkness left them blind and helpless.”

Microbe said, “Excellent. Now help me dismantle the ion cannon. It shall be a fine addition to our headquarters.”

“Not so fast, you little worm!” yelled a commanding voice from above.

Deadeye raised his bow, only to lower it again in shock. “I can’t believe my twenty-twenty peepers!” he gasped.

Microbe said, “It can’t be!

Rubberneck gasped as well. “Talk about a double-cross.” He pointed to where the colorful forms of the other members of the Crime Syndicate stood above them in defiance and in apparent opposition.

Ultraman stood firm with his hands folded across his broad chest, while Superwoman posed with hands on each hip. Owlman crouched in the shadows with a smile on his face, while the cocky pair of Johnny Quick and Power Ring flanked him on each side. The hulking Martian Murderer flexed his powerful arms as he appeared from thin air.

“We’re taking you down,” said Quick. “You punks need to learn the errors of your ways.”

Deadeye rolled aside and released three shafts at blinding speed. “Did you ask for arrows?” he shouted.

Before the arrows could do any damage, Ultraman had crushed them with his super-strength. “Sorry, Queen, but we’ve turned over a new leaf,” he bellowed. “We’ve seen the light, and we’re on the side of law and order now.”

Quick moved at super-speed and wrapped Rubberneck around a column before he could even react. A dozen well-placed blows in seconds left the agile Rubberman breathless and helpless.

Superwoman had jumped down to slap Silk Canary across the room with one mighty blow. “Hmmph! What a tacky costume — cheap and degrading!” she said with a snort of disdain as she stood over the outmatched Dana Lance.

Deadeye scowled and said, “That’s my woman — nobody hurts her!” Before he could attack the Amazon, he was disarmed and knocked flat by the silently striking Owlman.

Owlman clutched the beaten bowman’s shirt and grinned over his fallen form. “You never really were anything but a pale copy of me with a bow,” he hissed.

Sundown said, “I don’t know what made you guys turn all Boy Scout, but I’m getting out of here now.” He created a field of night around the room and darted right past the still form of the Martian Murderer. Huh! I figured old Jones would take me apart, thought Sundown. He can move like greased lightning when he wants to.

Microbe followed him and said, “The darkness seemed to render them all inactive for a moment.”

Before he could respond, Sundown was knocked cold by a battering ram of green energy as Power Ring recovered and used his magic ring to create the weapon. “Going somewhere? I think not,” he said with a scowl.

Microbe tried to shrink into the microverse in order to escape the mad scene, but even he was too slow when faced with the speed of thought.

The Martian Murderer’s powerful probing mind prevented the scientist from using his size and weight controls, and he was snatched up by the alien powerhouse. “I fear you’re headed for prison unless you also change course and fight the good fight,” he said.

Owlman smiled at Ultraman. “Well done, eh, old chum? We’ve captured our misguided peers, and now all we need do is show them the light.”

Ultraman nodded resolutely. “I need to do the same to my cousin, Ultragirl.”

“I hope we can make a real difference,” said Power Ring. “We have so much to make up for.”

“I can’t bring back the folks I’ve killed,” said Johnny Quick, “but maybe — with every good deed I do — I can balance the scales a bit more.”

Microbe glanced helplessly at the former criminals and shook his head in shock. Their eyes glow with a white light. Just what happened to them? he wondered.

Superwoman smiled and fluffed her hair. “Illumino says we can all redeem ourselves in time. He brought us this far, and he should know.”


In a doorless tower in Salem, a man watched it all on his crystal ball. He wore an inhumanly carved helmet with cruel features scarred into the helm. He was known as Doctor Chaos, and he was an ally to the evil Crime Syndicate when they needed his help.

He turned to a man who remained in the shadows and said, “I am glad you brought this situation to my attention. I thought Illumino to be nothing more than the stuff of childish myth. It appears he is real and has used his foul white light to alter my peers into servants of the law.”

The man in the shadows nodded. “It is so. He is an old foe of mine. His actions may tip the balance of good and evil on this planet, and thus his actions inspired me to walk forth once more and seek your aid. I can do much, but even I am but a Dark Stranger alone and never resting.”

“I cannot best him alone,” said Doctor Chaos. “My pride is not such to prevent me from admitting this.”

The Dark Stranger stroked his black beard and said, “That is why I am here. Together we may free them from his power.”

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