“THE CHESS-MASTER OF MARS!” The JLA battles Despero in an intergalactic chess game for the ages!
The Justice League of America assemble aboard their satellite headquarters, to discuss the current crisis. Preferring to deal with more human-level crimes, the Green Arrow opts to return to Star City. As the Green Arrow approaches the Justice League Transporter, a chess bishop appears in the tube, and strikes him down. In short order, the bishop downs the Batman, and Superman. The Justice League of America rallies, but neither Aquaman, the Atom, nor the Black Canary can defeat the bishop. Zatanna casts a mystic shield around Aquaman, and the Black Canary. Working together, Aquaman, and the Black Canary, destroy the bishop. The Atom analyzes the remains of the bishop.
The Atom's findings are disturbing. By all rights, the bishop should have easily overpowered the Justice League of America. Something held it back. The Green Arrow calls Zatanna out, on taking only a defensive stance during the battle. Zatanna reveals that she felt a familiar presence around the bishop, one that did not mean them harm. Zatanna discovers that during the course of the battle, the satellite's memory banks were damaged, erasing all information regarding the League's members, save one. Unbeknownst to the Justice League of America, they are but pawns in a chess match between Despero, and their former comrade, J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars.
Despero threatens to murder the populace of Mars II if the Martian Manhunter does not play. J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars, is caught in a no-win situation. If the Martian Manhunter wins, the Justice League of America will die. If he loses, not only will Despero kill J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars, but he will destroy Mars II, as well. The Martian Manhunter is defiant, but Despero tortures him back in line, with fire. J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars, selects a chess knight, for his next attack on the Justice League of America. The chess knight can find no sign of the Justice League of America. Despero, too, is unable to locate the Justice League of America.
The Martian Manhunter declares himself the winner, by forfeiture. Despero angrily swats the figurines of the Justice League of America from the chessboard, pointing out that there are other members he can still play. The Atom stands up on Despero's chess board, then attacks Despero. J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars, was the only League member whose information had not been erased, when the satellite's memory banks were damaged. This led Superman to check on the Martian Manhunter, which in turn led the Justice League of America to Despero. The Justice League of America are attacked by Despero's animated chess pieces. Superman hurls the Atom into the chess king.
The Atom starts a chain reaction, within the molecular structure of the chess king, destroying it, as well as the other pieces. Despero is taken into custody. J'onn J'onzz, the Manhunter From Mars, throws a celebration in honor of the Justice League of America. The Green Arrow, however, is discontent. So far away from Star City, on Mars II, the Green Arrow begins to question his presence in the Justice League of America.
- "The DC Feature Page" One page featuring a word search puzzle plus "Ask the Answer Man!"
- This issue contains the Hostess Superhero Ad, The Penguin in "Penguins on Parade".