In "The Night of the Soul Thief," the JSA face off against Fredrick Vaux, the man behind Jensen's mystical powers. Plus, "Climax" starring Aquaman, Wonder Woman in "The Insanity Swarm,also, " and many other tales!
Urtumi the Image Eater
Returning from a visit with his Golden Age counterpart on Earth 2, the Flash races back to Central City. Suddenly, a wave of weakness washes over the scarlet speedster, bringing him to a full stop. Looking behind him, the Flash just catches one of his after images, still lingering behind him, before it fades from view. Monstrous arms erupt from the ground behind him, and envelop the Flash in a strange, clinging substance. The Flash tries to race backwards through the web, but instead of breaking free, he is snapped forward with the speed of a bullet. Windmilling his arms at great velocity slows his impact. The creature bursts completely free of the Earth, and releases powerful bolts that disintegrate the ground beneath the Flash. Vibrating at super speed saves the Flash's life, but once again, one of his after images seems to be devoured by the creature. Too weak to continue the fight, the Flash races to the Central City Museum, to try to learn more about the creature. There, a Doctor Stieger reveals his latest find, an ancient tablet, inscribed with the picture symbols of the long extinct Honshu tribe. The symbols tell the legend of the Honshu tribe's conflict with an evil Manitou spirit called "Urtumi". Each Spring, Urtumi would feed on the very warrior's spirit of the Honshu braves, leaving them spiritually barren throughout the winter. This cycle repeated for generations, until one Spring, a more powerful Manitou spirit vanquished the Urtumi, and sealed it underground, beneath Stieger's tablet. Grabbing the tablet, the Flash races back to confront Urtumi. The Flash places the tablet at Urtumi's feet, but nothing happens. In the process, the creature absorbs more of the Flash's ectoplasmic essence. The Flash reasons that the tablet must be placed back where it was found. Doing so, he must now lure Urtumi back to the deserted stretch of ground from whence he came. Creating a whirlwind effect, by running in tight circles around Urtumi, turns the creature around and disorients it. Creating a temporary dimensional aperture to Earth 2, by vibrating at super speed, the Flash opens a view of the Keystone City skyline directly in front of Urtumi. The creature lumbers forward. As it passes over the tablet, it is drawn back into the ground. Dr. Stieger arrives, demanding the return of "his" tablet. The Flash tells the doctor to sit down, for he has a tale to tell.
Mind Over Murder!
Alexi Kronsky, utilizing his encephalopathic transmogrifier, has just horrifically murdered several men, in front of the Hill Circus' performers. Kronsky's daughter, Inga, pleads with him to give up the helmet, but the paranoid & power-mad Kronsky refuses. With a thought, he paralyzes his daughter. Her husband, Cleveland Brand, rushes Kronsky, but quickly finds himself enmeshed in a steel web, projected from Kronsky's helmet. Deadman makes a bid to possess Kronsky, but every time he gets near the helmet, he is repelled while suffering great agony. Finally, the Hindu Fakir, Vashnu, softly approaches Kronsky. Using quiet words and reason, he calms Kronsky down. Kronsky removes the helmet and apologizes to all those he struggled against. The old scientist takes respite in Brand and Inga's trailer, finally succumbing to exhaustion. Deadman, seeing the helmet as a potential way of restoring himself to life, grabs again at the helmet, only to suffer terrible pain anew. Inga takes the helmet from her sleeping father, and carries it over to Lorna Hill's trailer for safekeeping. En route, Deadman possesses Inga's body. Placing the helmet on her head, Deadman/inga concentrates on creating a new body for Deadman to inhabit. At first the process seems successful, then the form wavers and explodes. The resultant psychic feedback separates Deadman from Inga, and renders them both unconscious. The lurking figure of a toady named Winchell takes possession of the helmet, and locks Inga in one of the animal cages. Kronsky bolts up awake, sensing that his helmet is being stolen. Kronsky and Brand race to the Big Top to confront Winchell. Winchell and Kronsky begin struggling for the helmet. Try as he might, Winchell can't seem to work Kronsky's helmet, though his efforts cause it to glow. Deadman takes possession of his brother, Brand, and breaks up the fight between the two men. Deadman catapults Winchell into an empty seal tank, just as the helmet explodes. Deadman is distraught over the loss of the helmet, and his perceived way back to the land of the living. Rama Kushna appears before Deadman and informs him that, as a supernatural being, a scientific device, such as Kronsky's would never work for him. It would be best if Deadman would just accept his lot, and mission, for it may last an eternity.
The NIght of the Soul Thief!
Investigating the murder of the Golden Age Batman, the Justice Society of America follow Dr. Fate's mystic trail to Olmstead Park. The team splits into teams of two to cover more ground. The first to find trouble are Dr. Fate and the Huntress. A fire-breathing hydra emerges from the lake, menacing boaters. The creature proves more powerful than Dr. Fate's spells. When the master mage sees a vision of the Huntress crushed by the creature, he surrenders himself, in order to meet it's master. At the south end of the park, the Golden Age Flash and Power Girl are attacked by a fire elemental. Power Girl's blows prove ineffective, but the Golden Age Flash uses his super speed to redirect the flow of water from a fountain, extinguishing the creature. Meanwhile, the Golden Age Green Lantern and Robin are fighting for their lives against the very trees. As the Golden Age Green Lantern's ring is useless against wood, he quickly succumbs. If falls to the Golden Age Flash and Power Girl to rescue their two teammates. No sooner is that rescue effected, then the quartet are attacked by earth elementals, which spring from the ground. The Justice Society is on the verge of victory when they are all downed by an air elemental, that gasses the lot of them. The Justice Society are lain out on stone tablets. Here, Fredric Vaux, an agent of chaos, begins an incantation, to the Nether Gods, to remove all traces of heroism from the world. The first gift of power bestowed upon Vaux allowed him to kill the Golden Age Batman, by proxy. The second gift of power allows Vaux to erase from history the very memory of the man. Dr. Fate revives to challenge Vaux, who summons his elementals to defend him. Dr. Fate revives the rest of the Justice Society, who battle against the elementals, even as Dr. Fate battles against Vaux's incantation. Ultimately it is the citizens of Gotham City, themselves, holding fast to the memory of their beloved guardian, that turns the tide against Vaux. Dr. Fate gains the upper hand against Vaux, and then the Huntress beats Vaux into submission. Dr. Fate takes command of Vaux's spell and subtly alters it so that the citizens of Gotham City remember the Golden Age Batman and Bruce Wayne as being two separate people that died together. In this way, Dr. Fate is able to re-establish the secret identities of the Golden Age Robin and the Huntress, which were revealed with Wayne's passing.
Having failed to convince King Vulko of the peril Universal Food Products has brought to Atlantis, Aquaman finds himself fighting against the Atlantean Royal Guard, to escape the palace. Outside, Universal Food Products forces are waiting for the Sea King. With Atlantean soldiers behind him, and Universal Food Product's security forces in front, Aquaman telepathically summons millions of plankton to cloud the waters, and provide him cover to escape. Obscuring the waters works against the Sea King, though, when one of the Universal Food Products vehicles comes hurtling, unseen, towards Aquaman. Fortunately, Mera deflects it with one of her hard water constructs. Despite the rescue, Mera, too, opposes Aquaman's campaign against Universal Food Products. As does his sidekick, Aqualad. The young hero is so opposed to Aquaman's actions, against Universal Food Products, that he actually attacks his mentor. The two battle against one another for several moments. Finally, Aquaman telepathically summons a school of pilot fish to keep both Aqualad, and Mera, occupied while Aquaman carries the fight to Universal Food Products. Aquaman decides to take out the fertilizer tanks in an explosive fashion. Before he can do so, however, he is stopped by Mr. Amos, the head of operations for Universal Food Products. Amos threatens to blow up one of their nuclear reactors to hide all evidence of what they are doing in Atlantis. Aquaman follows through on detonating the fertilizer tanks, though doing so places Aqualad in jeopardy. Aquaman rescues his former sidekick, though they are both caught on the edge of the fertilizer explosion. Aqualad's injuries are treated in Atlantis. Upon further scrutiny, King Vulko discovers that all of Aquaman's suspicions about Universal Food Products were correct, and severs all Atlantean ties to the company.
The Insanity Swarm
Patrolling the grounds at a NASA training facility, in Houston, Wonder Woman is attacked by a swarm of bees. NASA security forces, wielding flame throwers, target the swarm. The bees move in such a way as to lead the men into firing on each other. Wonder Woman spins her Lasso of Truth so fast that it creates a vortex that extinguishes the flames. The bee attacks began the day before. Wonder Woman, in her guise as Diana Prince, was testing a sensory deprivation chamber for NASA scientists. Sealed inside the chamber, Prince was safe when the first swarm hit. The scientists outside the chamber weren't so lucky. The multiple stings they suffered, however, were not fatal. Instead, all fourteen were left in a vegetative coma. Going over the situation, hours later, Prince and several NASA doctors were attacked by another swarm of bees. While the others descended into a panic, Prince took the opportunity to slip away and switch to Wonder Woman. Spinning her Lasso of Truth, Wonder Woman matched the vibratory mating call of a bee queen. The swarm followed the vibration, as Wonder Woman led the bees into the sensory deprivation chamber. There, the bees vanished. Now, Wonder Woman tracks the swarm, via her invisible plane. The swarm flies out over the desert, descending to a mammoth space craft in the shape of a beehive. As Wonder Woman's plane passes overhead, a tractor beam is emitted from the beehive, that draws her inside. In command of the beehive is the Queen Bee, an old adversary of the Justice League of America. The swarm attacks Wonder Woman, who deflects their assault with her bracelets, as if the bees were bullets. The Queen Bee strikes with her stinging wand, which Wonder Woman also deflects. Wonder Woman overpowers the Queen Bee, and binds her with the Lasso of Truth. The Queen Bee reveals that the stung scientist's minds have been transferred into the hive's computers. Any attempt to tamper with the device will cause it to self-destruct. A fate the Queen Bee is willing to avert, if Wonder Woman agrees to become her slave.