Facing a firing squad, How Chu is about to be executed for his crimes, when a black sphere descends from the sky, and imbues How Chu with astonishing power. At that same moment, in Chicago, a black sphere descends upon stenographer, Claire Morton, influencing her to rob a jewelry store. Meanwhile, in London, yet another black sphere descends upon business magnate, Horace Rowland, influencing him to rob a bank. A fourth, and final, black sphere enters into the body of Marty Baxter, a former baseball player. Baxter immediately begins destroying Shore Stadium, disrupting the baseball game he had been watching. In the days that follow, all four individuals embark on a campaign of crime, each adopting a costumed identity to suit their criminal inclination. The Justice Society of America convenes an emergency meeting to discuss and deal with the threat. Their first order of business, however, is to induct Robin into their august body. Splitting up into four teams, the Justice Society of America heads out to confront their new nemeses.
Robin and Wildcat travel to Cortez Stadium, in Mexico. The two heroes rush Baxter, now calling himself the Smashing Sportsman, who is in the midst of destroying the stadium. Transformed by the black sphere, Baxter is a veritable superman. Despite their great fighting prowess, Wildcat and Robin are no match for the Smashing Sportsman, and suffer a brutal beating at his hands. Already unconscious, the Smashing Sportsman uses their bodies as human clubs and battering rams, and continues his mission to destroy Cortez Stadium. In Chicago, Wonder Woman confronts Claire Morton, now calling herself Gem Girl, looting the city museum. Gem Girl focuses her black sphere power through pearls to animate the skeleton of a Tyrannosaurus. It's fossilized jaws, though, prove unable to hold the Amazon Princess for long. Wonder Woman encircles Gem Girl with her golden lariat. This time, Gem Girl focuses her power through a diamond. The rope shatters into pieces, that then bombard the Amazon Princess in a hail of steel-like bars. Focusing her power next through an amethyst, Gem Girl beats the living daylight out of Wonder Woman. On the verge of unconsciousness, she makes one last valiant effort to take Gem Girl down, only to receive another terrible beating. The Amazon Princess lies broken and battered on the cold museum floor, as Gem Girl finishes robbing the African jewel exhibit.
Halfway across the world, in London, Hawkman and Mr. Terrific are on hand to try to thwart a bank robbery, perpetrated by Horace Rowland, now calling himself the Money Master. Mr. Terrific nearly breaks his hand on Rowland's jaw, when Rowland absorbs the properties of marble to weather the punch. Absorbing electrical energy from a wall clock, the Money Master charges himself with direct current, that locks Hawkman's grip on him. Mr. Terrific breaks the circuit by hurling a lamp at the Money Master, knocking him into the vault. The Money Master pelts the two heroes with a barrage of coins, before dropping a chandelier on them, ending the fight. Hourman encounters How Chu, on the road between Lanchow and Kashgar, indulging in a bit of highway robbery. How Chu hurls a spear at Hourman that emits a solid light barrier. Crashing into it, Hourman is knocked off his feet. Quick to recover, Hourman hurls the very vehicle, that How Chu had pulled over to rob, at his opponent, then lands a devastating upper cut to the Chinese bandit. How Chu allows the force of Hourman's blow to carry him into the air, then draws his sword and dives upon the cowled hero. Hourman shatters the blade with his forearm. How Chu conjures a powerful whirlwind that forms around Hourman and drives the Man of the Hour into the ground.
Utterly defeated, the Justice Society of America returns to their headquarters, to find Johnny Thunder waiting for them. After hearing the team's sorry tale, Johnny Thunder summons the Thunderbolt, and sends it to apprehend the four super criminals. A half hour later, the Thunderbolt returns, as battered and beaten as his teammates. Johnny Thunder next sends the Thunderbolt to collect the members of the Justice League of America, in the hopes that they can succeed where the Justice Society of America failed. The Thunderbolt returns with Superman, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, and the Flash. As it turns out, they, too, have just suffered a crushing defeat, at the hands of criminals very much like the ones the Justice Society of America has been battling. The Thunderbolt explains the alien nature of the black spheres to the two teams. An alien consciousness resides within the spheres, though, for the moment, it is dormant. The gathered heroes agree to team up to tackle the crisis, but Robin wonders if even their combined power will be enough to stop the four criminals before the aliens within them awaken.