“Congratulations, Freedom Fighters – you’ve been suckered!” So taunts Sizematic, who, along with Copperhead, has lured Uncle Sam and Doll Man into a trap in Sun City, Florida.
That’s the splash page as penciled by Dick Ayers that would have appeared in SECRET SOCIETY OF SUPER-VILLAINS #17, had there been one. Instead, it is another part in (and this is another installment about) CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE #2.
As Copperhead wraps up Uncle Sam, Doll Man shrinks to escape the huge Sizematic, only to discover (as the Teen Titans learned when they faced the villain) that there are actually TWO Sizematics; one who can grow larger and one who can shrink. Though the heroes fight valiantly, both are eventually overcome.
And we switch back to SSoSV headquarters where the Silver Ghost has been watching the battle with Killer Moth and Quakemaster. After boasting about how he will see to it that all seven Freedom Fighters will die, the Ghost switches channels (and so do we) to Central City, where Black Condor and Phantom Lady are following their own lead to their foe.
As the heroes fly (Condor carrying Phantom Lady in his arms) above the city, Sandy asks him why he’s never made a pass at her the way The Ray and Human Bomb have. But, before he can answer, the world seems to turn upside down. Turns out to be the handiwork of the Mirror Master, creating a massive optical illusion. When Chronos tosses his Time-Toller, with which he can make time seem to pass incredibly fast or amazingly slowly, the two heroes are overcome and fall out of the sky right into the villains’ ship.
Back at the Sinister Citadel, with the four captured heroes encased in Lucite blocks, the Silver Ghost dispatches Quakemaster and Killer Moth to take care of the Human Bomb while he sets out to confront Firebrand himself.
Meanwhile, aboard a plane heading for Coast City, Roy Lincoln is explaining to Rod Reilly how he became the Human Bomb. As I’d done in issues of FREEDOM FIGHTERS with the other members of the team, I worked in a one-page recap of the Bomb’s origin. As the two men deplane in Coast City, they are confronted immediately by the Silver Ghost.
Quakemaster and Killer Moth battle the Bomb, defeating him after Moth covers him in a cocoon-spray that prevents him from using his explosive powers. As the fight concludes, Firebrand sneaks up behind the FFers’ foe. “Not too bright, Ghost. You’ve dropped your guard – let me walk right up and get you.”
“On the contrary, Firebrand, this entire battle has been orchestrated to bring us face-to-face again.”
“Again?! We’ve never met before.”
“Of course we have, Rod Reilly!”
“R-Reilly!?! You know my other identity?”
“Certainly. Just as you know who I am!”
With that the Silver Ghost unmasks and Firebrand shouts, “YOU?!” And as we stare at the unmasked face of the Silver Ghost, the bottom blurb (this being page 17, after all) advises us that the explanation will have to wait for next issue, leaving everybody wondering just who it is beneath the mask.
And THAT was all of the story that appeared in CANCELLED COMICS CAVALCADE.
BOBRO’S TRIVIA QUIZ:
1. Nephews Inky and Dinky had who as their uncle?
2. On Earth-2, she married Bruce Wayne; by nom de crime was she known?
3. Miniseries had who teamed up with Wolverine and as an Agent of SHIELD?
4. Original Batwoman, supposedly named for the creator’s first wife?
5. Rascally Hans and Fritz are better known by what name?
6. Eventually, whose Harvey title included “Mystery,” “Western,” and “Western Mystery”?
7. Mouse Herman was the regular antagonist of whom?
8. Ex big-game hunter turned criminal Thomas Blake took on what identity?
9. One Archie-published title featured a girl lead and her singing group; name them.
10. What was Gil Kane’s real name?
11. She was an Eclipse editor with a long-running column in CBG; name her.
BOBRO’S FUN FACTS TO KNOW & TELL:
1. Cats’ urine glows under a black light.
2. A CAT scan gets its name from “Computerized Axial Tomography” which creates a series of cross-sectional x-ray images of the body.
3. With its 6138th performance on June 19, 1997, “Cats” became the longest-running Broadway show in history.
BUT WAIT! THERE’S MORE!
Well, of course I wasn’t going to leave you hanging without the answers to the Freedom Fighters / Secret Society battle. Especially since the script had been written and I have (probably) the only existing copy.
“The Final Encounter” opens in the Sinister Citadel, where the Silver Ghost and his crew of villains have the six captured Freedom Fighters securely wrapped up. (The Ray, remember, was presumed dead, but instead turned up in his own back-up series in BLACK LIGHTNING.) In the center of the room, Firebrand is bound into a chair and the Silver Ghost is berating him.
“Twelve years, Reilly. For twelve years I’ve waited for you to show yourself on this Earth. That is how much revenge meant to me.” The Ghost explains via flashbacks that he is actually Richard Von Zell and that he was chief Nazi magistrate of America back on Earth-X. Firebrand, posing as a collaborator, would bring information about rebel movements to Von Zell. However, they would actually lead the Nazi agents into traps, where, as Rod Reilly, the resistance leader, he would capture or kill them.
Von Zell vows to kill Reilly, but learns that he had escaped to Earth-1. The villain, carrying an armload of silver bars to use to pay his way, crosses the dimensional barrier as well. But just as the journey changed or enhanced the powers of the Freedom Fighters, it turned Von Zell into a Midas with a silver touch.
With his new power, Von Zell became Raphael Van Zandt, amassing power and wealth. “When the Freedom Fighters appeared, I was convinced they had come looking for me. I created the Silver Ghost identity so I could destroy them! How fortunate it was that they lured YOU into the open before I was able to kill them.”
Though the Freedom Fighters expect The Ray to show up at any moment, the Ghost tells them their compatriot is dead; and that Firebrand will be next, with a bullet in the head.
But Firebrand has broken free of his bonds and a fight between them ensues. The hero charges the villain and grabs him, but the touch of the Ghost starts turning Firebrand to solid silver. Momentum carries hero and villain crashing through the window and they plummet to the ground far below, locked in a death-grip.
Back upstairs, the other five Freedom Fighters break free, leading to a free-for-all with the villains. With lots of teamwork, the heroes wrap up the seven villains.
The battle ended and the police on the way, Condor goes to check on Firebrand and the Ghost. “I was hoping Rod would have survived in that silvery state, but the impact shattered his body into a million slivers of silver.”
“What an irony,” says Phantom Lady, “that he should be the last casualty of a World War that took place on another world.”
“Rod Reilly – Firebrand – was a true American on any Earth,” adds Uncle Sam.
With the Silver Ghost dead, the Freedom Fighters realize they have no way to ever prove their innocence. Rather than continue to live as fugitives on Earth-1, they decide to return to Earth-X. “After being joined by newswoman (and soon to be Mrs. Darrel Dane) Martha Roberts, the Freedom Fighters add one more “crime” to their police records: An unauthorized use of the S.T.A.R. Labs transporter in San Francisco.”
And that, ladies and gentlemen, was how the story was going to end.
Next week, a look at the two back-up stories that would have appeared in SECRET SOCIETY #’s 17 and 18. Till then, I’m outta here?€?..
TRIVIA QUIZ ANSWERS:
1. Felix the Cat
3. Kitty Pryde
4. Kathy Kane
5. The Katzenjammer Kids
6. Black Cat
9. Josie & the Pussycats
10. Eli Katz
11. Cat Yronwode
This week’s theme is the longest-running musical in Broadway history: “Cats” – Though its slogan has long been “Now and Forever,” the show will soon be ending its run.
For more trivia, check out the daily Anything Goes Trivia.
Copyright ? 2000 to 2003 by Bob Rozakis. All Rights Reserved.