Cripes on Infinite Earths Part 5: Liberty Files (2 of 2)

January 30th, 2012 by | Tags: , , , , , ,

Guest article by Fletcher “Syrg” Arnett

When we last left off, our heroes were… oh, that’s right, it looked like the war had gone to hell and in the aftermath of the brawl in the desert, The Owl was injured and currently resides in a nearby hospital.

The two spies are to meet with a field officer for debriefing, Terry Sloane. I’ll bet some of you will be absolutely shocked to discover that he has a mocking nickname from his underlings, “Mister Terrific”. As Terry dines with a beautiful woman, the two spies go to check up on a local contact.

And thus we meet the antagonist of book two, a Nazi spy/torturer known as the Scarecrow. He’s already killed the Owl (who held out against his techniques before dying), but the dead contact has given him all the intel he needs. The Bat cautions that he’s dealt with the bastard before and they need to use guns. The Hour ignores this, pops his pill, and lets everything go to hell.

The Bat and the Hour chase after the Nazi, and Terry is left with Eva in his arms. The ring he had been palming to propose to her does him little good as she slips away.

Cut back to: 1939, somewhere inside Germany. Hitler attends a demonstration by one of his scientists, who believes he can open a wormhole to other times, places, or dimensions. Something unseen emerges from the portal – something bulletproof. As the few guards in the room are cut down by their own ricocheting ammunition, Hitler places a pistol to the back of the other survivor’s head and fires, walking forward to greet the being, and give him a name.

And that’s how Hitler invented the original Green Lantern power battery.

Back in 1942 we flow out of the spy segment of the book and into the final chase: The Bat and the Hour need to stop the Scarecrow, make their way to the old castle the wormhole was opened at, and stop Hitler before he can pull his alien superman out and crush the Allied forces. As they hunt for the torturer, we get all the backstory you really need on the madman:

Hearing the two, the Scarecrow hurls a gas bomb of some sort at the spies and completes his escape while the two spar in a trainyard. It takes a rather darkly-masked man hurling a crate down at the two to break them up, and with a smackdown attached.

Incidentally, I know it’s his fiancee’s dress he’s using as a mask here, but I’ll be damned if all I keep seeing when he has it on is Baron Zemo, what with that crown of stitches.

To reach the castle quickly, Sloane calls in the last of his favors locally and gets them disguises and train tickets. Expecting to be pursued, they keep to a car of their own, to minimize danger for others and keep from being picked off singularly. Eventually, the Scarecrow shows up and crawls in through the bathroom window… and Rex Tyler, genius that he is, takes his fucking pill again, knocking a hole in the car’s roof and pulling the Nazi up with him, away from his allies.

Bruce Wayne, as always, was prepared for this.

Just like the climactic fight in the first book, each man gets his time to shine (Sloane with his fencing foil to keep at a distance), and after a particularly brutal sequence, the Bat finishes off their pursuer by shoving a grenade into one of his wounds and kicking him off the train. This time, there’s absolutely no way he’s coming back.

The rest of the train ride is smooth, but their spy in the building is the lone guard left, and has some bad news: Hitler has taken Johann and his closest staff, along with a good deal of armed forces, back to El Alamein. They’ve got to head all the way back to Egypt. Luckily, the nearby airfield is barely guarded. Sadly, this puts them at a massive disadvantage time-wise.

El Alamein is a powder keg. Nobody wants to make the first move, but an Allied general authorizes making use of “Operation Countermeasure” should nothing change in the next two minutes’ time. The tension builds, until…

…Bruce Wayne flies in on a jetpack like the goddamn Rocketeer, and strips off as much clothing as he can before forcing himself on Johann. Having been told by the mole that Johann is telepathic when in contact with someone, he tries desperately to get him to read his thoughts. It works, and then things go very, very bad.

For Hitler.

It’s not shown what he does to the German forces, but you get two hints: there are helmets being loaded into an Allied truck by… well, the truckload, while fires burn over a dune, and agonized shots of the army itself fit inside a shattered swastika over the whole thing. Nobody knows how to get the Martian home, and the Bat refuses to be his guardian, saying that there are better people who can aid him. He’s just glad the war is over and he can finally go home.

The generals, on the other hand, get to keep their Operation: Countermeasure under wraps a little longer.

I wonder where the sequel’s going to go? Because yes, next time, we’ll focus on the post-war years for the survivors, in JLA: The Unholy Three.

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4 comments to “Cripes on Infinite Earths Part 5: Liberty Files (2 of 2)”

  1. Wha… I didn’t even know there WAS a third one!

  2. @Derek: It’s actually a two-issue sequel (same length as this one). It will probably go into one post though.

  3. With all of the hints being dropped about J’onn’s identity, I didn’t see it coming. I kept thinking Superman, and I got blindsided. As for Operation: Countermeasure? He has his own twist.

    Nice panel with The Owl. “You know, if you ladies turn off the lights, I can actually see your g-spots.”

  4. I like the fact that the soldier whose name we can make out in the El Alamein page is Private Ryan.