On another plane of existence, two dueling sorcerers accidentally open a rift to Earth, with their combined mystical might. Through the rift, their mystical energies wash over a petty crook, known as "Sad" Jack Dold. Meanwhile, Wildcat is in the midst of foiling a grocery story heist. The aging crime fighter, though, is off his game. The two assailants gain the advantage, then begin mercilessly beating Wildcat. Only the timely arrival of the police saves the hero. Dejected, Wildcat returns home. Restlessness, though, drives him back out onto the streets, looking for trouble. Spying the tell tale beam of a flashlight at the Knickerbocker Historical Museum, Wildcat investigates, finding two men robbing an exhibit of exotic, extinct birds. This time Wildcat's fighting prowess doesn't let him down. One punch per thief is enough to drop them both. Upon further investigation, Wildcat encounters "Sad" Jack Dold in another wing of the museum. Dold shrinks back in terror, as the crime fighter closes on him. Stammering out the word "Stop", Dold is astonished, as is Wildcat, when the Feline Felon Catcher suddenly freezes mid-action. Dold hammers Wildcat down, then collects his two associates, before fleeing the scene. Back at their hideout, Dold brags about his takedown of Wildcat. As he punches the air in demonstration, his accomplice flies across the room, as if struck. Impressed with Dold's mysterious new abilities, the gang plans their next crime.
The next night, at Knickerbocker Stadium, undefeated, retired heavyweight boxing champion, Ted Grant, is on hand, making an appearance at an elimination tournament. Dold and his gang arrive to take the box office receipts. Recognizing them as the same gang that robbed the museum, Grant dons his Wildcat costume and wades into them. Once again, with a single word, Dold paralyzes Wildcat in mid-action. Dold's cohorts carry Wildcat into the ring, while Dold issues commands, not just to the audience in attendance, but to those watching the fight on television, as well. All are told to stay put and watch, and they all do. Dold unlocks one of Wildcat's arms to give the paralyzed crime fighter a "fighting chance". Wildcat lashes out, but, cannot connect. Dold literally wills Wildcat down to the canvas, leaving him in an unconscious state. Thanking the audience, Dold releases them as soon as his gang makes their getaway. The Spectre arrives and revives Wildcat. The Spectre had been watching the fight within his human host, JIm Corrigan, when he detected Dold's immense mystical power. Power, it seems, that held sway even over the Spectre, as the Ghostly Guardian was incapable of moving, until Dold released the audience. Dold abandons his two cohorts for more ambitious goals, leaving them paralyzed in "Thinker" poses. Dold's use of power allows the Spectre to track him. The Spectre arrives at the hideout, quickly taking out Dold's old associates, then returning all stolen monies to the proper authorities. With nothing to do but wait until Dold uses his power once more, the Spectre returns to Wildcat's home.
The Spectre finds Wildcat, as Grant, in a deep depression. Grant's entire life has revolved around his boxing career, and his nocturnal activities as Wildcat. Retired from the ring, with age slowing his fighting prowess on the streets, Grant realizes how empty his life has become, devoid of purpose. The Spectre counsels Grant, suggesting a new avenue for the ex-heavyweight champion to explore. Dold returns to his old stomping grounds in Gateway City, and promptly decides to destroy it. Fashioning an outlandish costume for himself, Dold flies high above the city, then generates the explosive energy of an atomic bomb. Dold hurls the energy at the city, but the Spectre, alerted to Dold's location by the crook's power usage, blocks the throw, absorbing all the energy into himself. The Spectre hurls the power back at Dold, who redirects it into space. The Spectre alters the way Dold perceives the passage of time, causing the world to blur before Dold. With Dold thus distracted, the Spectre attempts to draw out the mystical energy from Dold's brain, but finds it cannot be done passively. Dold must use the power so the Spectre can wrest it away from him. Restoring his normal perception of time, the Spectre attacks Dold with the Mississippi River. Dold throws up a shield. The moment Dold brings his power to bear, the Spectre draws it out of Dold's mind, then deposits the power at the edge of space and time. Dold is turned over to the authorities. Weeks later, the Spectre, within his human host, Corrigan, pays a visit to Grant, who has opened up a gym in Knickerbocker City. Having taken the Spectre's advice, Grant has found fulfillment in his life, teaching under privileged children the "sweet science" of boxing.