Whazzzz upppp?! (I’m sorry! There is no, and I mean no excuse for that intro!) It’s me again, Symbifan! I’m here to deliver my musings once again to you, my favorite retro-junkies, pertaining to the exciting subject of 1990’s comic books! And, boy oh boy, are you in for a treat! That’s right! Besides the honored privilege of reading my words, you are about to be transported to another dimension! But it’s not a bright and sparkling one. No. It is one of pain and tragedy. Welcome to one of the infinite number of realities that make up DC’s Elseworlds! So strap in tight and prepare yourselves. This one’s a doozy!
We begin as an alien force that the human race later dubbed The Horde advances upon the Earth! The Horde’s ultimate goal is to conquer. Simple as that. The heroes that protect our planet of course come to our aid. As is expected, the battle begins with The Horde being completely caught off guard as superheroes of all types band together and work as a powerful unit against a common foe. For a short time it seems as if they might even succeed. That is until their leader lets himself be known.
He calls himself Grend’ll. Grend’ll decrees that one thousand humans will be slaughtered every time a being with powers is sighted, five thousand should they dare to even raise a fist against his people! Coast City becomes their killing ground. Green Lantern wastes no time in attacking with a small group of heroes. They succeed in retaking the city but over seven million people are executed as promised. One is a reporter. Her name was Lois Lane! The story of “Ghost City”, as this event was later called, is not forgotten. The Horde need do nothing now but sit back and watch. (Man, E.T. got downright vindictive after his movie career went down the toilet, huh?)
The humans turn upon their heroes, most violently! The governments of the world help by using their resources to hunt them down like animals! It isn’t long before the superheroes of Earth are forced into hiding, lest they hurt in defense those they were sworn to protect! The Horde had won. But, it was whispered that one remained. A “Shadow Warrior” that left no proof his existence after an attack. (Gee. I wonder who that is! That’s right! It’s the “Dark One” himself….Ambush Bug! Sorry. It was just too easy! Uh-hem….Back to our grim setting….)
Within one year, most of the human race were in camps as The Horde took control of the world! We were meant to keep them supplied and strong. During one exchange, Lex Luthor, Director of Human Affairs, was meant to present them with new technology upon the Watchtower. Instead, a button was pushed and the Watchtower defenses went down, allowing non-powered heroes and those without their costumes to enter and attack!
This did not go as expected. The entirety of this human resistance party was easily extinguished! There were no survivors. Lex Luthor himself was killed by Grend’ll himself, his corpse left on display to remind others of what would happen should this ecer be attempted again. The message was received. There was never another uprising. (Let us take a moment to mourn the loss of not only these brave resistance fighters, but Lex Luthor’s long red hair and beard from the 90’s. R.I.P.)
Nine years have passed. Jimmy Olsen sits in an alleyway with others, warming his hands over a fire within an old metal barrel. He speaks to the others of his race of change, of revolution. These words don’t fall upon deaf ears. No, they are heard. The problem is that they are heard by the enemy! A clawed hand belonging to a Horde soldier throws Jimmy to the ground, a large lazer-rifle aimed at his face! But, before the trigger is pulled, the soldier is halted by the words of a superior officer. Strangely enough, that officer is human!
The creature calls her Councillor Lang! She takes Jimmy into her hovering vehicle and speeds away. Later, safely away from Horde ears, Lana Lang and Jimmy Olsen speak on a rooftop together. Jimmy thanks her for all that she has done in helping the resistance as a double agent. She in turn thanks him for his service and asks if the others are prepared for a fight. He seems unsure as he speaks of the loss of life from nine years ago. She smiles and reassures him that this time will be different. This time she knows where Superman is! (As long as no-one says “Martha”, there may just be hope!)
We next visit what seems to be a prison and a familiar-looking guard that sports a broken pair of glasses. He calls himself Clark Small and he’s about to have a shocking reunion. As he walks the prison corridors, he’s ordered by a Horde guard to enter a nearby room for a visitation of some sort. Confused, he enters a sees Jimmy Olsen and Lana Lang. The Horde guards are ordered to leave the room by Councillor Lang as she will see to this reunion between brothers personally. Once alone, the secret to Clark’s identity as Superman is discussed (Jimmy didn’t know! Seriously? He looks shocked when Lana tells him! Oh wait! He WAS wearing glasses. Okay. That explains it. Moving on. Hehehe…..) and the reasons as to why he hasn’t been fighting the “good fight”.
He tells them that he couldn’t bear the deaths of so many on his conscience if he were to fight. Plus, after the loss of Lois, he had lost the will. That’s when a note is given to him. It states that “the neverending battle continues” and tucked within it, a lock of Lois’ hair! She lives! Wasting little time, Clark Small rips the wall apart, as if it were made of paper, revealing a familiar and iconic costume! Moments later, Superman bursts through the prison walls with Jimmy Olsen held close! He shoots off into the air, gone before the witnesses below know what hit them! Lana, feigning attack by Clark, puts the Horde guards’ minds at rest. After all, what can one man hope to do against the mighty Horde?
Later, Superman and Jimmy Olsen ponder their present circumstances. Superman asks if Jimmy knows if other heroes are still active and if they’d be willing to join their cause. Jimmy States that Batman is known to still be fighting but in secret and that he knows where the third Flash, Wally West, is hiding. However, he doubts Wally would be willing, as he was nearly crippled by an angry mob. Just then, they are interrupted by the sudden appearance of Wonder Woman! (Great hiding place, fellas! I mean, Wonder Woman says that she only found them due to the words of magical Greek oracles. Me? I think that it’s more like the “animal-like attraction” between Supes and Double W. Call me crazy, but if he is “super” in all ways, why not “super-sexiness”? Let that sink in…..) Without hesitation, she joins the cause!
Batman is found soon after. He is found by the trio after blowing up a Horde-controlled oil refinery in Texas. He stops what resembles a “Bat-Tank” in its tracks when Superman lands in front of it. Batman asks after a bitter exchange, “Tell me, do you bleed?” (HA! I got you! That was from the movie! It was just too easy! Uh. Anyway…..) What’s really said is that Batman accuses Superman and Wonder Woman of abandoning the Earth while he’s been fighting continuously for ten years. He doesn’t say whether he’ll join or not, but grumbles something about having their fun for now with their “little war” and that they’ll abandon them all again when it ceases to be fun. (Uh! Batman needs to lighten up! It’s like he’s PMS personified!) He then drives away, leaving the heroes in the dust.
The next stop is Coast City, or “Ghost City”, as it is now called. When the heroes arrive, they are met with a scene that angers them. They witness a man in green, attempting to bury the bones of one of the unlucky ones from the attack so long ago. He is besieged by Horde graverobbers of some sort that are toying with him as he sets about his grim work. This will not stand! The heroes get to work defending him. As they begin, they are interrupted by the appearance of a boy in his teens, wearing a leather jacket and sporting the Superman symbol upon his chest! The boy makes quick work of the aliens but they are finished off by the sudden arrival of Batman! It seems the Dark Knight has changed his mind! (Big surprise! Glory hound!)
The boy begins to get a bit mouthy with Wonder Woman. She uses her staff to put the cocky teen in his place, on the ground! This moment is interrupted however as they hear the man in green as he recites the name and profession of the owner of the bones he is carefully laying within the dirt. (This moment’s sad. I’d take this time to listen to some uplifting music as you read this paragraph. I suggest “So What” by Metallica. Trust me. Hehehe!) Superman tells the man that he knows him to be the Green Lantern. After a moving pep talk from the Man of Steel, the man speaks the solemn oath of the Green Lantern Corps aloud as he powers up! And just like that, another great hero joins our motley band! The boy isn’t quite as lucky. It is agreed that he is too young and reckless to be of help and he is forcibly removed by the Green Lantern’s emerald power beam.
Next on the list is Wally West. The man in question walks to the outer door to his apartment and turns the key. As he does so, a familiar ring with a lightning bolt upon it is seen. When he opens the door, he is met with the group of superheroes, already inside! The look on his face is one of shock and then fear. He stammers that his hero days are behind him and shows them mechanical braces upon both legs that allow him to walk to further illustrate his point. It’s then that Superman illustrates a point of his own. He throws a bunch of large books directly at Wally, all of which are caught at super speed!
(Kind of a jerk move really. What if he had some sort of mental block and it prevented him from catching those books? With super speed and strength, Superman could have caved the poor guy’s head in with an encyclopedia! Can you imagine the obituary? “Man dies in severe reading accident!” HA! Imagine an episode of Reading Rainbow like that!) But alas, he remains frightened of what would lie ahead should he join them. Understanding, they turn to leave. As they do, they hear a sound behind them. Turning, they see Wally dressed in the Kid Flash costume from his youth! Ladies and gentlemen, we now have a Flash!
Finally, our group heads stealthily to Metropolis. When they arrive, they’re met with Horde soldiers’ bodies lying everywhere and a very smug and familiar superpowered youth leaning against a wall, surrounded by them! Unimpressed, Batman scolds him that many others of the Horde must have escaped the youth’s onslaught and that many would surely die now in retribution! (Uh-oh! Looks like a certain Superboy is in need of a bat-spanking!) It’s decided to take the boy with them to the Resistance HQ, before he gets in any more trouble.
When they arrive, the alarms within go off almost immediately! The humans emerge, not to greet their heroes, but to attack them! The boy then admits that he set the alarm off on purpose. This was to get everyone’s attention. He states that if those with powers and the human race don’t stand unified, there will never be freedom. (Makes you think of the speech from Mel Gibson in Braveheart, huh? You know? Back when he had a career?) The speech is met with clapping. Clapping from the holographic body of Lex Luthor! Turns out that ol’ Lex had his brain preserved when his body was destroyed! The brain now occupies the metallic body of one of Superman’s other enemies from the disrant past…..Metallo, complete with kryptonite heart!
But Luthor, or Metallex as he now calls himself, wishes no harm to the Last Son of Krypton. He wishes to join them because he is, after all, a human being too. (More or less.) It is then, that the superheroes put their differences aside with the one-time supervillain. The superteam of the future has now officially been born! The Horde will rue the day that they ever heard of the Super Seven!
To be continued…..
This article is dedicated to my daughter, Jade Leigh Miller. Though we have had our hardships, my love for you has never waned. I will love you until I breathe my last. You are and will forever be my little Supergirl.