"Fortune Quest" Part 1/3
Written by Crazy Ivan
Edited by Tomb Raider

Ted Reilly gets up and changes Monitor 3 to the Weather Channel. With two other monitors tuned to news networks, he sees no purpose in overkill. Especially since the Young Heroes For Hire aren't available to respond anyway.

"This is a crock!" he complains out loud. "When I was in the Judgment League: Work Force I never got left behind on Monitor Duty!"

"That's because they needed you for Comic Relief," Johnny Carter responds. "With the YH4H the whole team is comic relief!"

"Yeah, but that's no reason to leave us behind! What if they get in trouble and we aren't around to pull their fat out of the fry-daddy?" Tiring of weather already, Ted again changes channels, this time to a rerun of Magnum Steel.

"You mind turning that down? I'm trying to watch Gilligan's Fantasy Island." John fumbles with the remote to boost the volume on Monitor 4.

"It's the one where Tattoo finds the Catseye jewel but Professor Rourke doesn't believe it's really magic!"

A Klaxon alarm interrupts both programs. "Someone's breached the West Perimeter! You know what this means?"

"Sure do," Ted replies as he vaults over his recliner. "Chinese delivery is here!" They both race to the front door and disable the security system so the delivery boy can enter. Moments later they are once again watching television, with CNNBC and SRCBC being drowned out by episodes of Alf & Mindy.

The Young Heroes For Hire headquarters is a fairly unassuming building, located in the heart of St. Louisville. It is owned by the team's leader, Hard Cage. No one on the team knows his real name, but that's par for the course with this group. Only Ted Reilly and John Carter have been open about their secret identities. The other members; Tigerfire, FrostKnight, Ant-Kid, Off-Fist, Thundercules, and Hulkgirl; all maintain their private lives away from the others. At least, away from Ted and John.

"You know," Reilly says after finishing his General Tao Chicken, "I don't believe Hard Cage for a second. That line he gave us, about the mayor only offering enough money to cover the seven of them, that had to be an excuse."

"I thought so too. And that so-called emergency was really lame! I've never heard of a 'Harmonica Convergence' before." John takes another bite of his Moo Goo Gai Pan and continues; "Can you imagine a convention of New Age harmonica players?"

"Right, and it's really a front for the Psychic Friends Network News in an effort to produce the exact audio frequency needed to free the Great Kazoolhu from sunken Ry'Dell Hi!"

Both men bust out in a hearty "Bwa-ha-ha-ha!" and nearly double over in laughter.

Several chuckles later, Ted notices something. "Hey, you never ate your fortune cookie. Want it?"

"Yes I want it! I PAID for dinner, remember?"

"Just asking. What's your fortune say?"

Carter cracks it open and reads: 'Help! I'm being held captive in a fortune cookie warehouse!'

"Really? Mine says, 'You will be lucky in love and life. Lucky Numbers are 18, 24, 44, 61, 68, 92'."

"Do you realize what this means?"

Ted thinks for a second. "I bought the wrong Lotto ticket?"

"We already knew that! The stupid ticket is three months old now. I keep telling you they don't re-use those things! I'm talking about MY fortune. It's obviously a cry for help!"

"You're right! Somebody must be pretty desperate to hope a fortune cookie will save them. Let's go!"

"One sec there, Teddy. Don't you think the rest of the team might get a wee bit upset if we just abandon our post on Monitor Duty?"

"Right again, Johnny. I remember how mad Hulkgirl got when she found out you used her bikini wax on your car." After several more moments are lost in laughter, Ted continues, "So we can't go anywhere till they get back? That bites."

"We're overlooking the obvious," John reassures him. "All we have to do is get the team's faithful butler to keep an eye on the news for us, and relay our location to the gang where we're going."

"Two things: first, we don't know what our location will be yet."

"What's number two?"

"We don't have a butler."

"I knew we should have signed Clorax the Cleaner on retainer."

"Hold on there, John-Boy. Isn't Clorax an imaginary character? I recall he took on Lobo the Duck recently."

"So? Lobo crossed over into the mainstream continuity back when he met Cindy Sue and the Sea-Monkey."

"Really? I thought that was a What Else? story! That means Evil Elmo is real, too?"

"Reality Check, Theodore. You need to back away from that fourth wall a little."

"Oh, sorry."

After deciding on an appropriate course of action, Ted Reilly and John Carter hit the road in a lime-green El Domino that smells suspiciously like bikini wax. As one of the Substitute Four, John Carter used to be one of the celebrity heroes of the year 2099. He and his teammates Brick Boy, Mister Elastic, and the Infectious Woman all lived in the spotlight. That was before he discovered they were actually clones created as part of the Legionnaire Morituri project. Not too keen on the idea of going out in a blaze of glory, Jonathan Scott Carter traveled to the Twentieth Century in hopes of finding some big-brain at Cadmus who could diffuse the so-called Suicide Gene he carries. Eventually he wound up on Hard Cage's Young Heroes For Hire.

Ted Reilly, on the other hand, grew up believing he was a clone, and only in recent years discovered that he was born a normal human. Kord Industries used the young man as a Guinea pig to test some theories before creating Dan Kord's prodigy Benjamin, better known as the Purple Palmetto. When Benny became a success the geneticists abandoned Theodore Reilly, and he wound up a drifter. Migrating from Chicago to New York he served with the Teen Warriors for a while before packing up again and joining the California-based Judgment League: Work Force. When that team fell apart he was asked to become a member of the Young Heroes For Hire. And who is he to pass up a legitimate paycheck?

Later that night Thundercules, Tigerfire, and Ant-Kid stop by to see if Ted and John did anything interesting while they were out. All they find is a half-finished plate of Am Al Gam Pork and a yellow sticky note attached to Monitor 4 (currently showing "Beauty and the Hunchback of the Opera" on the Disneylodeon Channel).

'Gone to save the world. Back in a few. Signed, the Scarlet Scarab and Golden Torch.'

Next Issue -- The Justice League: Avengers!!


Spring is here once again, and here at Amalgam that means one thing. No, not the new summer fashions; I'm referring to the Spring Line-Up of new titles! In order to accommodate all the books I've taken on, I will no longer be supporting last year's books! With the exception of Alpha Guard, don't expect to see the same old comics shipping from my office! Most of the Comics Shipping This Week are brand-new titles, with a few old favorites thrown in, just to see if you're paying attention!

Don't worry that the old books are being canceled, though. Most have already been picked up by new authors. Look for new runs on Spider-Boy and Iron Lantern to hit the stands any day now. Thanks to the Untold Tales Of Amalgam, more people than ever are diving in to the Amalgam pool, and I gotta tell you; the water's starting to get a little warm! So I'm branching out to let everyone else have a shot at these great books. Why should I have all the fun?

Who knows, I might even feel the urge to WRITE one or two of these books!

Till next time, Always Ask About Amalgam!


Captain Ham and his 'Mazing Moo Crew face the threat of the Salamandarin and Dr. Hootie! The Aniverse may not survive, unless Dark Paw succeeds in freeing the JLX-Bugs from the villainous Felix Faux!

Thorion the Celestial is on the move, and his first act will be to judge whether or not the Earth is fit to survive! Can the New Asgods save the world? Will they even try?? The last being to oppose Thorion was Thanoseid, and he wound up turned into a giant stone statue!

The Golden Age's unsung heroes burst into war-torn Europe each and every month! Paper-Man, Blonde Phantom Lady, Johnny Quicksilver, Blue Atom, and True Believer blaze their way into Axis territory!

From the pages of TEEN WARRIORS, Night Thrush stars in his own series as he goes home to Belfry NJ, and find a city in dire need of a hero! Moon-Bat may be gone, but the Gaslight City still has plenty of criminals to go around!

Judgment League: Work Force's Scarlet Scarab and Young Heroes For Hire's Golden Torch team up for a road trip across America, and the start of the wildest ride this side of the Split Infinities! FORTUNE QUEST begins here!

A new VERGE Imprint title covering various characters that use or deal with magic and the supernatural, and the over-all quest to end the threat that the DARKHOLD contains! The first story arc features Brother Power the Voodoo Geek and Eternity Kid!

Disclaimer: These characters are all mine! You can't have them. Just keep your filthy little grub-worm fingers away!! Okay, that was uncalled for. But seriously, the NoWhere-Men were created by "Donovan" Scott Dempley and myself over ten years ago; although the Scarlet Scarab and Golden Torch are based on the concept of Amalgam Comics, as is the Young Heroes For Hire. So this particular story belongs to me, but the characters are amalgamated without permission from DC or Marvel. Good thing I'm not getting paid for this! This story is dedicated to Scott Dempley (1969 - 1996)

Crazy Ivan (

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