(2099man here. This is my 1st bit of writing in a while so you'll have to forgive me if it kinda sucks. Please don't hate me. Anyway, This is a sequel to the elseworlds story ''The Golden Age.'' by Paul Smith and James Robinson. It's told from the perspective of Johnny Chamber's aka Johnny Quick and his Wife Libby Lawrence aka Liberty Belle, as Johnny looks back on the silver age, the events after the boom and the role he and libby played in the new generation of heroes as well as a new world filled with alien threats and sci-fi elements, as opposed to the nazis and gangsters of their day. Enjoy. :) )
Chapter 1: The New Eden
Heh, can’t believe it’s been so short a time. One year. One whole godd@mn year since an era I once talked about being new and fresh, passed on into the mists of time. How things change. It seems incredible to me now the way things are looking that said era even existed at all. But it did, and in a way, it was nice while it lasted. The night after what happened Libby put it to me straight as you can get; ‘‘All good things must come to an end.’’ Guess she’s right. I mean, look at how I….we ended our glory days. On a fight, an argument and eventually a divorce, as if that was a good enough reason to hang up our tights. I think to myself at times like that about how stupid and childish we really were back in those days and yet so full of hope. The tragedy of what happened at Washington in 1950 only strengthened our bonds and our love. I sometimes feel bad for John Law and the way he was taken out in the fight. Then I pull myself together and remember that better people than him died that day in Washington. That day when costumed heroes and mystery men alike came to capital, hoping to become a part of something great and meaningful, only to see their friends and colleagues get injured or die at the hands of a deranged dictator in a ‘’hero’s’’ body. Two if you count Tex Thompson…or what was left of him. Oh well. At least Manhunter saw to it that The Ultra-Humanite STAYED dead this time. Not that the world will ever know thanks to the government. As I said before they hid the Humanite’s diary and god knows where that piece of crap is. Maybe in ‘’Area 51’’ if the conspiracy nuts are to be trusted?
I dunno and maybe that’s for the best. But the funny thing is, the Humanite started out as the puppet maser, but in some way’s he became the dummy at Dynaman…Hitler’s explosive hands. Hitler - Dynaman - call him whatever the hell you want. It was still the same lunatic to me. The same lunatic who exacted his revenge on America by killing or putting it’s heroes in an emergency room.
So many fell that day…so many dead. So many more injured in battle. There were more injured than murdered and yet….sometimes I think the dead are the lucky ones. With them, Dynaman was swift. As if he wanted the fight over with as soon as possible so he could fulfil what he’d failed to do in the war. Take over the world. The dead I can sum up in a small list. Joan Williams, Lance Gallant, Robotman, The Human Bomb, Red Bee, John law, Bob Daley, Dollman who eventually bled to death, Sandman who was killed off site and decapitated and Sportsmaster a VILLAIN (formerly)! 10 heroes dead, but As Tubby Walters put it, so many ‘’fallen’’.
Carter Hall had the d@mn wings ripped off him by Dynaman. He eventually recovered, but one things for sure, he never wore that hawk helmet again after that. Mainly because he didn’t believe in that junk about being a reincarnated pharaoh anymore. Guess it took getting his wings clipped to get him to see sense. He switched to this yellow face mask with a hawk symbol on it till the end of his career. The most tragic death in this case was surprisingly Robotman. Seems odd right? After what he did to Joan? But actually, it wasn’t his entire fault. The guy had started out great. I mean most of us knew that there was a human brain in there and for years since he’d tried his best to fit back into humanity while fighting crime. But as the years rolled on, his body began working against his brain and he developed a superiority complex. Humans were weak, pathetic life forms. How could he be one of them? To him, this insane notion began to make sense and his methods against criminals became more and more brutal. His morals also slipped into nothing too. Which is why Thompson was able to make him his puppet. As for those who survived. Man, do I feel bad for some of em. Take Mr Terrific, Terry Sloane for example. He used every form of combat he knew to try and take Dunbar down and in the end, he ended us having a brick swung at his head. Last I heard he was in a mental home. Retarded and in a wheelchair. A mere shadow of his former self. And then there’s plas. Poor guy. I guess you could’ve called Plastic man the ‘‘annoying little brother’’ of the hero community. Somehow, the guy always had it good in his career. All his adventures somehow turned out to be as weird as he was if you could believe that. But in the end it all turned out great for the guy. He was really the happy go lucky type. The prankster. The class clown. But after seeing Joan murdered as well as a few others, well…it changed the guy. He stopped telling jokes, stopped having fun and very soon....his whole world turned as dark as he is now. I hate to say this, but it seems like it’s only a matter of time before he ends up a murderer. A crook like in the old days. Full circle I guess…. Get well soon O’Brien.
But hey. Guess the age is gettin’ to me. Been rambling on for a while now without actually getting to the point. Guess that’s the age talking. Even Libby’s been driven insane by it all. Guess I’d better cut to the chase. See after Dunbar had taken out both Green Lantern and Starman, This unknown kid who had shown up began fighting Dynaman only to get his nuts kicked half way around the world. Couldn’t help but feel for him. That’s a hell of a dirty move to a guy. But I guess Hitler was never one for a fair fight. Well, anyway, Dynaman picked up a school bus and threatened to crush the kid with it. Didn’t have the strength to get out of there and he looked pretty much a goner. Thankfully, Half of Ted Knight’s cosmic rod was nearby Libby. She stabbed Dynaman through the chest and got the kid outta there just as the bus fell on the last remains of Adolf Hitler and to a lesser extent, Daniel Dunbar.
This you probably already know, but it’s what happened after that starts off the story of the new generation of heroes. See, shortly after Dynaman got crushed the police and the army FINALLY showed up. Injured heroes as well as the dead ones were being taken off the site and the cops were asking as many people as many questions as they could make up. Fact is the only real question is why they weren’t here sooner. Libby was the 1 to spot um. She whistled for me to come over and I zoomed the kid away from congress. Right to the outskirts of Washington itself. On top of the hill where we’d chosen to rest, (Libby had been rushed there too) we could see plumes of smoke coming from the city and the sound of police sirens could be heard for miles away. Even further than we were. Yeah, I know we’d technically kidnapped the kid. But let’s face it, he needed a rest and those reporter types just won’t give it to ya for all the money in the world. Believe me I know. Anyway, there was a house nearby and we got some water for him. By the looks of things, he really needed some. Poor guy was bruised and damaged in places I can’t even mention for reasons that I don’t need to remind you of. He’d been cut under his right eye and his nose had been busted to hell and back. Blood was dripping from both nostrils and was staining his teeth. What’s more the guy was barely even conscious. I guess all the stress had been too much for him. I kid you not, the poor guy was gasping for air way after he’d stopped holding onto his sack. I turned to Libby.
‘’How’s he doing?’’
She looked up at me with a face that said. ‘’Do you really need to ask, Johnny Chambers?’’ Didn’t stop her from answering anyway.
‘’He’s still. Alive if that’s what you mean. I can’t believe he was just willing to stand there while…’’ She broke off and lowered her head. Suddenly, all the pain, all the sudden loss became too much for her, and she feel onto her knees, crying. ‘’Oh god…john….’’ I sighed. I guess I really didn’t understand at that moment. In my mind, Law had been an abusive, drunken @sshole. But all the stuff he did as the tarantula plus all the sh#t he’d gone through as a writer couldn’t be ignored. He was a hero turned sick. And right now he’d left one more broken heart behind on his way to eternity. I went over to comfort her. Held her close. ‘’It’s ok, Libby. It’s over now, Dunbar’s dead and so is the Humanite.’’ I smiled at her. She really was a brave woman and I was proud of her for that. ‘’The former we have you to thank for.’’
Libby looked up at me and smiled momentarily, only to look down. The look on the face wasn’t one of sadness though. It was one of shame. ‘’W-what we did was the right thing to do wasn't it? I-I mean I know it was Hitler but we swore we'd never…’’ I put a hand on her shoulder. I knew what she meant, but I knew in my heart that there had been no other way to stop Dynaman. So in a reassuring voice I answered.
‘’There was nothing else we could do Libby. You did good. I stake my life on it.’’ There was a short pause. Then, Libby smiled the 1 genuine smile she’d had in a long time. I couldn’t’ help but join her. It was just like the old days when we were fighting organised crime and saboteurs together. Young, free, Stupid. Presently, she motioned her head towards our Semi-Unconscious friend. ‘’And him?’’ I looked down at the guy and smiled. Getting onto one knee I took a closer look at him. The kid’s costume was a mess. Not because of the blood but mainly because of the colours. Even by golden age standards when we mostly concentrated on making our costumes as colourful and gaudy as possible. He was wearing a blue shirt with a red neckline and white cuffs, a large black leather belt, White trunks, red leggings with a white stripe running down both sides and blue swampers. I honestly knew this kid was trying his hardest to look patriotic at the event & deep down, I felt bad for ridiculing his costume. But I also knew that if this kid was going to survive in hero’s world, he needed a costume change. Suddenly I heard a groaning noise coming from Libby but it wasn’t her. It was the kid.
‘’Quick, get him to drink this!’’ I handed her the water and she tipped some of it down the lad’s neck. Two brown eyes fluttered open as the confused kid looked around. It didn’t take him long to realise he wasn’t in the city anymore. As his vision returned, he looked up and saw us. I reached out, but the lad turned away and buried his face into a nearby tree. At 1, we didn’t know what to expect. Then we heard a sound, coming from the kid’s mouth. It was the sound of sobbing but not just any sobbing. It was a mixture of anger, sorrow and guilt. Libby walked over to him cautiously. ‘‘Sorry, do you need some time alone?’’ no reply came, until a quivering breath from the young hero turned into a wheezed word.
‘’He…he, killed them. The heroes. T-they’re all dead.’’
Neither one of us knew how to respond to this, but one thing was for sure & that was that the kid wasn’t thinking straight. On one hand it was true that at least 10 of us were now apparently no more, but allot more seemed to have been just injured or at best hurt. We would later find out that the sad, messy, grim truth was allot worse for some of them, but in the meantime we were hopeful that things would for the most part be ok. Putting on my best smile I turned to the kid and turned him towards me.
‘’Only a few son. They died doing what they did best, defending America from nazi scum. The rest will be fine, trust me.’’
I think now that it may have been a bad idea to implant such ideas into the kid’s head. Especially if they had turned out to be wrong. But hey what good’s a hero if you don’t give a guy hope. ‘Specially a guy who’s just starting out in the hero biz and sees you as an idol. I hoped that he would never have to know about the sort of stuff some of us got up to AFTER all those happy endings. Even after that little pep talk though, the kid was still down.
‘’I…I failed…couldn’t beat him. C-couldn’t…’’
Knowing what he was probably gonna say next I raised my hand.
‘’No way kid. You did as much good against Dynaman as any other of those heroes.’’
He looked at me with a confused expression on his face and I couldn’t help but chuckle. I stopped when he looked at me funny again.
‘’Sorry. The point is you kept on fighting. Dynaman knocked you down but you got up again and kept on hitting at him. And that’s what being a hero is all about. Anyway, you were the reason Dynaman got gored in the 1 place. He was spending so much time trying to kill you, he never saw liberty belle coming. Like a decoy duck.’’
I suddenly froze as I realised what I’d said. I could not believe I had just said that to the guy. ‘’Stupid!’’’ I thought to myself. ‘’That’s no way to raise the guys moral!’’ I had meant it really as a joke, but now I wasn’t sure how the kid was gonna react. Was he gonna get steamed and walk out? Was he gonna feel depressed? What was he going to do now I’d opened my fat mouth?
I soon found out.
There was a medium silence. And within seconds I heard the unmistakable sounds of chuckles coming from the kid’s mouth. Pained laughter due to the fight damage but laughter never the less. Now it was my turn to look at him strangely. His laughter was kind of infectious though, as i saw when looking over at Libby who was holding back a flurry of giggles. Call it corny but I guess the reason was that up till now we’d had little to laugh about, and something as simple as laughing instead of slipping into depression seemed to brighten things up a little. As they say, Laughter’s the best medicine. He calmed down after 12 seconds. After all it wasn’t THAT funny a joke.
‘'Funny cause it's true Mr. Quick...Um, can I call you that?’’
I smiled at him. The newbie was eager to please.
‘’Please. Call me Johnny.’’ I said, reaching out my hand to shake his. He responded in kind. ‘’And you would be?’’
I had decided that since the kid didn’t seem to wear a mask and since he’d been so open in the day light, he wasn’t exactly a Mystery man. In which case he’d have no qualms about sharing his name with us. Sure enough, we got our answer.
‘’Adam. Adam Blake.’’
Well, now I had a name to match the curly haired head and face. I tilted my head slightly.
‘’Not picked a codename yet huh?’’
Adam blushed slightly and rubbed the back of his head in embarrassment, chuckling nervously as he did so. It was clear he hadn’t picked a name yet.
‘’It’s…a work in progress, Johnny. B-but I’m getting there.’’
As I said, eager to please. Libby giggled and patted him on the shoulder playfully. Despite all the hell going on back in DC, she acted playful.
‘’Well I…We’re sure you’ll pick a great name Adam. But in the meantime me and Johnny would like to take some time to talk to you.’’
I was a little confused at first, but one look from Libby and I soon Understood what she meant.
‘’Yeah Blake. Sit-down a while and we’ll give you some pointers.
And I kid you not, the moment we said that, Blake looked like All his dreams had come true at the same time. ‘’Umm, sure.’’ He said sitting down next to me and Libby. Well, to cut some time, the pointers we gave him were as follows. 1 we asked him about his powers. Now Adam’s powers were still mostly undiscovered at this time. But in the coming months he would discover just what he could do. For now though, he talked to us about his photographic memory and his supposed genius level I.Q. Not to mention his flight through mental propulsion stuff and super strength. Though why a guy with a supposed genius level IQ was doing acting like this was anyone’s guess. I suppose is anybody’s guess. I guess it’s a youth thing. I should know. We all should.
We also mentioned his costume, but just said it needed…work. I think he took it well.
After a while, Adam and ourselves had said all that we had to say and Adam eventually insisted we return to Washington to help with the clean up. Wish I had been as noble as that kid that day to think that 1st.
‘’We’d better help the injured 1st.’’ I suggested. ‘’Hero or civilian it doesn’t matter. They all need help right now.’’ All agreed. ‘’Adam, You help out with medical supplies. Libby and me will help tend to the injured. Sound good.’’ The reply was one I expected without question. ‘’Got it. Anything I can do to help.’’ There was a fire, a passion coming from Blake’s face as he said that. Like that was the only thing on his mind and nothing was gonna get in the way. ‘’That’s the attitude kid.’’ I called back as he rose into the air. ‘’Most importantly, let em know you’re there when you get to the city. Be like a comet. Loud and flashing. That’ll let em know you've come!’’
As we made our way back to DC, I little suspected that I was to be the inspiration for the name of the man who would usher in the next generation of heroes. Nor did I know that in a very short time, the world we knew would be changed forever...