Category Archives: 90s DC

A Superman Will Rise (part 2 of 2)

Happy Holidays, Unspokenites! And welcome back to my look back at the Elseworlds epic from “Superman: The Man of Steel” Annual #3! I know it’s been awhile since part one dropped, but rest assured, your loyal Symbifan never forgot about you. So, that said, I present my gift to you all. Let us return to the conclusion of our story‚Ķ..

Gotham City. The only place on Earth free of the Kryptonian ultranet and therefore free of the invaders’ supervision. But that didn’t stop them from trying. Presently, an ultranet command outpost had secretly been erected on the outskirts of this old, war-torn city. This had come to the attention of the Human Resistance. Now, armored humans from this secretive sect raised their devastating weapons and fired at the before-mentioned structure. Bazooka shells exploded upon impact at the building’s support beams, causing considerable damage. That is until the lead Resistance fighter is hit in the back by a strange, foam-like substance! The others turn to see Lex Luthor’s high-tech goons hovering close by! (Speaking of bazookas, who remembers when Bazooka Gum had actual comic strips in them? What about what now constitutes as a “prize” in a Cracker Jack box? This now concludes my rant about how I hate the internet. Now, back to my online blog…..)

That’s when a large, metal cable suddenly surrounds Luthor’s men! It then pulls taught and they’re all yanked off of their hovercrafts and into the air by a flying man garbed in red, blue, and gold, the colors of the Human Resistance! It was Kal-El! But he now went by the name that was stitched into the uniform that Batman had gifted him, Superman! (My name’s stitched into my undies. It’s so I don’t forget they’re mine and just how cool I am. Studly.) Superman sets his captives aside and unleashes his heat vision upon the various satellites atop the building! He then utilizes his superior strength to finish off the supports, toppling the entire structure! Swooping to the ground, he lands to check on the band of “renegade” humans’ leader. He is not exactly greeted with open arms.

The captain removes their helmet revealing a woman underneath. She not only doesn’t thank Superman, but states how his Kryptonian aid is not needed. Human beings will win their own planet back. And they’ll do it without the help of one of their oppressors. Her name is Lois Lane. She orders the others to retun to base. As they leave, Superman suddenly takes her into his powerful arms and rockets into the sky! Once they’re alone, her tone of voice changes drastically . She tells him how much she has grown to care for him since he saved her life a mere couple of months ago. Superman hold her tighter as he descends into an apartment building window. They kiss passionately as he carries her towards her bed. (The next part of this scene is rated “R” for graphic, off-panel sexual situations.)

But not all were pleased with this union. Jor-El looked on with the elders of the ill-fated Krypton with looks of revulsion and horror. Superman’s birth father then switched off his overhead monitor. He’d seen enough from the secret viewing device that was planted within Lois’ bedroom. (He watched his own son get busy?! Talk about sick! Not only that, but the old farts from the council watched too?! I think I’m gonna need therapy just from reading this!) The Council of Elders waste little time in proclaiming their verdict. As Kal-El was Jor-El’s son, this was his problem to resolve alone. After the Elders disappeared from view, Jor-El wasted no time in contacting Luthor. He demanded that the human resolve this issue immediately. Lex merely responded that Jor-El possessed the same exact powers as his son. Why not get his own hands dirty for once?

Kal-El awoke and dressed himself. He found Lois at her coffe table, pouring over numerous documents and blueprints. She remarked about the building that Batman had died trying to gain entrance to. The ultranet files on it were definitely incomplete. What was inside that was so important that Bruce would give his life for it? They decided to find out. Lois had heard of the infamous Batcave, so she gave Kal directions as they flew. Soon, they were inside the secret, technological marvel that was Bruce Wayne’s hidden sanctuary. They approached a large computer system and tried to gain access to the files they needed. Sadly, this was to no avail. Password required. Both were then surprised by the voice of a young man that seemed to materialize behind them. (Bruce left an orphan out. He really should take better care of his sidekicks.)

They questioned the youth, but the boy wouldn’t even give his name. All he would say is that he and Bruce had worked together in the past. He did admit that even he didn’t know Bruce’s password. Kal was then struck with inspiration. Wasn’t it rumored that Batman once had a trusted butler? Lois gave Kal a more human name to go by for this next step. She named him after the cigarette brand she used to smoke, Clark. (I smoke Aunt May’s personally. Remember kids, with the act of smoking comes great responsibility.) He added the last name of his beloved foster parents to that and Clark Kent was born. The couple then dresses accordingly and makes their way to a nearby retirement home. It didn’t take long into the conversation to come to the realization that this old man, Alfred, was hopelessly senile. But presented with the name to the building in question, he said one word that struck Clark Kent like a fist, “plague.”

Superman set Lois gently down on her feet in her apartment upon their return. He looked shaken. When questioned, he told her of a genetic flaw that plagued his people. A flaw that was a leftover from Krypton’s Clone Wars. (I wonder if that villainous Emperor Palpatine was up to his old tricks against the Jedi? Yeah. I know. You all saw a Star Wars joke coming. Have I become that predictable? Sigh…..) It was almost as if their very planet wanted them all dead. Being born here, Kal-El was immune. And now that Clark knew what that building contained, he knew what he must do. Come morning, he would break into this complex and release this plague upon the world. It wouldn’t take long before he was the last remaining Kryptonian on Earth. Lois tried to comfort him throughout the night. But when she awakens the next the morning, Clark is gone.

Panicked, Lois grabs for her phone. Surprisingly, the man that answers on the other end is none other than Lex Luthor! Lois begins by telling Lex that the plan has gone awry. Luthor replies that if anything has gone awry with their plan, it’s that she’s letting her feelings for this alien cloud her judgement. Ignoring this, she reports that Kal-El is gone. Before Lois can continue, Jor-El bursts in through her front door! Terrified, Lois goes for her gun, but using his heat vision, he melts the weapon! Grabbing her up by the throat, he demands to know his son’s whereabouts. Lex answers through a planted spy device that he’s pleased to see Jor-El finally lifting a finger himself. What’s his next move? Jor-El looks to the device’s screen with obvious rage and replies that he’s bringing his son home, no matter the cost! The screen goes dead, leaving Lex Luthor to ponder if he has just overplayed his hand. (This place has more bugs than a roach motel! Am I right, folks?)

Clark sat at the Kents’ dinner table in Kansas. After his adoptive father returned from tending to the fields, Clark rose to his feet and asked both of the people that had raised and cared for him if he could keep the Kent name. Of course they were overjoyed. He then asked for their advice. If he were to release this plague, Earth would be free. But he would have committed mass-genocide upon his own people. What should he do? Before much could be said, a voice from the doorway spoke. It was Lex! He was sorry to interrupt, but there was a situation….. (Is it me, or is Luthor in almost every scene, working every single angle in this issue? I don’t know how he keeps track of which side he’s on at the moment! No wonder he was elected President of the United States in later storylines!)

Superman rocketed through the skies at top speed! When he reached Gotham City, his fears were confirmed. Jor-El had gone mad! He was hovering above the people with a large vehicle raised over his head as a weapon, firing heat vision down at the screaming crowds! He demanded he see his son right now! Superman rams his shoulder into his father’s ribcage with all of his might, sending the crazed Kryptonian flying! He then catches the plummeting vehicle and sets it down on the street carefully. But this action took far too long! Seeing his chance, Jor-El blasts his son off of his feet with a full blast of heat vision! (It’s definitely on now! I don’t see a Father’s Day card in Jor-El’s future! Maybe a tie, but that’s a given.)

The battle then takes to the skies! Back and forth fists are thrown that could topple mountains! But Jor-El simply doesn’t have the fighting experience that his son does. Superman throws him through a nearby water tower. And before he can fully get back to his feet, Clark unleashes the fullest extent of his heat vision! Jor-El falls, unconscious at last! Superman arrived at the building in question in a flash. He punched through the thick steel of the wall and flew in. Lex Luthor sat nonchalantly in a lawn chair on the other side! In his hand was a drink with a little umbrella leaning lazily inside. Superman went for the proper panel to release the plague. Nothing. Luthor had rewritten the circuit board! (Does anyone get what side this guy’s on? I feel like I’m trying to do algebra here!)

Lex explained that the Kryptonian race, though arrogant, didn’t deserve to die. Kal could teach them a better way. Tired of Luthor’s numerous head games, Superman grabbed him up by his armor and smashed him through several floors of the building! He demanded that Lex fix the panel. Luthor’s reply was a blast of green energy from a cavity within the armor’s chest! As he stood up, he grabbed an large iron bar. He explained that Jor-El had equipped him with a weapon powered by a small rock called Kryptonite. He then finished by gleefully striking the hero again and again with the weapon! Kal stirred to rise, but Lex revealed a large chunk of rock within his armor! It seems that Luthor wasn’t content to simply subdue Superman, he was going to kill him! But as he raised the bar for a final strike, he was shot from behind! Lois Lane stood with a smoking energy rifle! (Now she’s on Superman’s side?! Anyone have a scorecard I can look over?)

Luthor lies there demanding to know why. Her only reply as she helped Superman to his feet was that she loved him. Not to be defeated yet, Lex’s armor shot out several blasts of energy! Unfortunately for him, he missed his intended targets. He did however hit the weakened support beams above him! A large chunk of the complex came crashing down upon him. It was over. Superman never did use the deadly Kryptonian plague. Instead, he began work on teaching them a better way. Luthor was right after all. Speaking of Lex Luthor, though badly injured, he managed to survive too. As Superman raised the new flag of humanity atop a large building, he looked down to see a strange black car race by below. Batman sat within with a familiar youngster dressed in a colorful costume. Batman slowed the Batmobile long enough to smile at Superman and say, “Welcome to the party, pal.” (Batman survived too?! I feel like my brain just turned to jelly! This comic had more twists and turns than a “Pirates of the Caribbean” flick! Jack Sparrow 4-Life, y’all!) Superman smiled back and flew onwards. Batman was right. The fight had only just begun.

End.

Feelin’ Blue: The Tragic Story of Cobalt Blue

Captain Cold. Mirror Master. Gorilla Grodd. The Reverse Flash. Yeah. Them you know. But do you know the most underappreciated Flash villain of all? I’ll give you a hint. His name’s in the title. That’s right! Cobalt Blue! What? Who’s that?! Well let me educate you…..

(By the way, I was tempted to list “The Turtle” above just for laughs, but I held back for you Unspokenites. See. I can be serious sometimes.)

The scene unfolds in a cemetery. Wally West, the third man to carry the heroic name of the Flash, lies in utter anguish. Every part of his body feels as if it’s been broken simultaneously. He had meant to use his super-speed to vibrate his very molecules, allowing him to pass harmlessly through the nearest headstone. Instead, his powers were torn from him while he was halfway through by the maniac that currently looms over his shattered body! This action also caused the tombstone to explode! The Flash looks to the name still present on the grave marker. This was his predecessor’s grave, Barry Allen! The man who now appears to be standing, quite alive, before him! (Damn! Talk about being in utter pain! I mean, that’s gotta be worse than hemorrhoids!)

Barely able to even crawl, Wally remarks that this can’t be the man that he admired. To this the villain replies, with a menacing sneer, that he isn’t Barry Allen at all. With a strange, blue energy flowing all over his body, he seems suddenly lost in thought as he thinks back. (Great! It’s monologue-style origin story time. Ugh! The most horrific power in a villain’s arsenal! That monster!) Flashback to many years earlier. He is a little boy named Malcolm Thawne and his father has just stopped near a house where an elderly woman works on her garden out front of her home. He tells his father that he doesn’t want to do what’s expected of him. The man mutters through gritted teeth to leave the car and go earn his keep. Malcolm approaches the lady and stops. He looks to her shakey hands and remarks that his dad could cure the arthritis she’s suffering from. His father then walks up. He scolds the child to leave this nice woman in peace. She replies that the boy was simply remarking about the pain in her hands. Malcolm begs his father to help her. With a sigh, he takes her hands in his and applies a strange salve that he carries upon his person. It glows with an eerie blue flame for a moment and, before you know it, the pain is nonexistent!

The father remarks that this was a power that he was granted from birth to help people who suffer. She will be without pain for a few days. Amazed, she asks in wonder if this power could possibly heal her pain permanently. The boy pauses and his dad shoots him a warning look. Malcolm then says that it can with a full jar of salve. He then pleads that his father give her a sample. He does so and she insists to pay for this miracle cure. At first he replies that he couldn’t possibly take payment for his gift. He finally relents when she persists. Soon, all of her elderly friends are purchasing jars. Later that night, in a motel room, Malcolm’s mother asks how the boy did. His father then says with obvious rage that the kid about missed his mark. Not to worry though, this won’t happen again. He pulls off his belt and approaches the terrified child! (Guys…..I’m sympathizing with the villain here! His plan is working! Help! Must…..resist……sad story!)

The Flash tries to taunt his attacker, buying himself time. Thawne simply kneels and pushes hard on the hero’s ribs, causing mind-blowing pain. He then continues. The secret of the healing was in the blue flame. The salve was a fake. The family all seemed to be able to conjure it at will. All except for Malcolm. (I’m guessing more Taco Bell is needed in his regular diet.) He would beg his father and siblings to teach him the power, but he was denied at every turn. Finally, his mother blurted out that the reason he couldn’t do it was because he was adopted! His dad struck her and scolded her that he was needed for the con as Malcolm ran away in tears.

Now obsessed to find his true family, his search would lead him at last to a Dr. Gilmore of a small town called Fallville. Gilmore turned as the young man entered his office door. He would exclaim, “Barry?” Malcolm immediately demands to know who this Barry is. Does this man know who he truly is? Gilmore would finally tell the truth. That night was the night of a dangerous storm. Two pregnant ladies would hastily come in his door that night, ready to give birth immediately. One had the last name Thawne, the other was Allen. The doctor had been drinking heavily that night. Using poor judgement, he would accept both patients. (Excellent idea, doc. Who could ever see this situation going wrong? It’s not like this can be done while drunk. It’s not like a prostate exam!)

First he attempted to birth the Thawne child. The birth was a tricky one, however, and with Gilmore intoxicated and the sudden power outage due to the storm, he couldn’t save the baby. He quickly ran in near-darkness to the Allens’ room. He birthed what ended being twin boys into the world. But before anyone noticed, he would cover one child’s mouth and carry him to the Thawne couple. The Allens were later told that one of their twins had been stillborn. As the loving couple clutched their newborn and sobbed quietly, the others would take their “child” and leave town that night. With the story now ended, an outraged, Thawne would raise his fists and beat the elderly doctor until the breath left his body for the final time! (That’s what I’d like to do when my doctor keeps me waiting for over an hour in the waiting room. What? So I’m a tad impatient.)

Wally continues to goad the villain, forcing him to speak onward while he flexes his muscles secretly, trying to heal and regain his super speed. It works famously. With blood-soaked hands, Malcolm Thawne made his way to the Allen home. He left streaks of crimson on the windows as he peered inward. Inside he saw his twin brother and his parents at dinner. They were laughing and smiling. They were happy. It was too much to bear. He ran back into the cold night. Years passed until Malcolm felt comfortable enough to approach his brother, Barry, again. He would confess the murder and all of the bad things he had done since. That’s when he saw that Barry had become a police officer. (Well, scratch that idea. Cops are notorious blabber-mouths. They could never keep a secret of murder to save their souls. Sad really.)

While Barry worked diligently as an officer of the law, Malcolm grew to secretly despise him. Why should his twin have so much in life when he had been given nothing but misery? He kept an eye on him nonetheless, even working maintenance within the police station. But on that fateful night, when lightning had struck the chemicals his brother was working with, Malcolm witnessed the incredible! Barry had been granted super speed! He had been reborn as the new Flash! That was enough! Thawne left the station and searched out his “father’s” mother. It was rumored within the family that she knew the secrets of the blue flame. (It’s on now! I sense that Cobalt Blue is about to be born! No need to thank me for pointing that out for you. I don’t mind helping out my numerous fans.)

The old woman had little love for her offspring it seemed, so she was happy to teach Malcolm. As it turned out, the flame did more than just heal. It gave you the power that you craved just as long as you had the passion within to wield it. Malcolm had plenty of passion. Unfortunately, that passion was in his hatred for his twin sibling. Under the old woman’s tutelage, his mastering of the blue flame became so strong, that he was given an amulet to contain it. It was a cobalt blue gem. (See! His name makes total sense now, huh? You already figured that out for yourselves? Well, you know what? I curse you all to be forced to watch the later seasons of “DC’s Legends of Tomorrow” on repeat forever! That’s right. I know you’re sorry.)

With the gem came a prophecy. The old woman said that the fire would burn for one thousand years and consume two Flashes before claiming the life of his enemy, Barry Allen! Thawne left the old woman behind as her house burned down around her that night, ready to make his dream of vengeance a reality! He fashioned a costume for himself and wasted no time in confronting the Flash and his young partner, Kid Flash. But when he knew he was about to face defeat, he made his enemies believe he had become the victim of the very fire he manipulated! In truth, he healed and waited.(I…..hehehe…..um…..love…..hahaha…..cough…..his first costume. Seriously! I do! HAHAHAHA! I apologize. Moving on…..snicker.)

Cobalt Blue looks off as he finishes his tale. He states that he’s already dealt with the first Flash, and now that he has Wally within his grasp….He’s interrupted as the Flash tells him that this was all for nothing, Barry Allen is already dead! As he looks down to his foe in disbelief, he notices that the Flash is no longer beneath his feet! That’s when an uppercut at blinding speed catches him under the chin, propelling him through the air! Almost before he lands, the super speedster pulls the blue gem from Cobalt Blue’s chest! The villain falls, defeated. He murmurs how this can’t be, the prophecy can’t be false. Wally replies that he never put much stock in prophecies. That’s when he looks down at the gem within his hand……and sees the dark future to come. A future engulfed in a blue inferno!

End.

Long Live the King! (part 2)

Gather around, my fellow Unspokenites, and let me tell you a tale! A tale of one of the coolest, yet frequently forgotten, characters in all of the Aquaman mythos! I speak of course of King Noble, ruler of the underdwelling people, the Lurkers. When I last left you, Aquaman and Noble had gotten into a fierce fight. A fight that Aquaman ultimately won. But when the sea king attempted to make the defeated Noble swear allegiance to him, the surrounding Lurkers pulled their weapons and took aim at the King of Atlantis!

Aquaman mentally commands Mera to strike now and strike hard! Mera musters all of her might and commands the very water within the Lurker ships to expand, exploding several vessels in their armada! Next, Tempest is let loose on the unsuspecting Lurker soldiers! First he tries to freeze the water around their bodies, but this does little as these creatures are used to the frigid depths of the ocean! He then changes strategy and blasts flame from his hands at them! That has the desired effect! This attack defeats several of the Lurker warriors! (And people thought Aqualad was lame. Well, the little boy has grown up to become a badass! It’s gotta be the facial tattoo. It makes Mike Tyson look stupid, but on Tempest, it just works!)

Finally, Aquaman gives the command for the Atlantean army to attack the Lurker soldiers! While the battle commences, King Noble gives a rallying speech to his people. There will be no surrender. (This part really reminded me of “Braveheart”. Minus Mel Gibson’s superior acting skills. You know, back when he had an acting career?) Noble turns and orders one of his people’s large war machines to open fire upon an Atlantean structure! The mighty spire collapses from the blast! Sharpened rubble propels downwards, toward a petrified Atlantean child! Surprisingly, Noble pulls the youth to safety at the last moment!

This action doesn’t go unnoticed. Mera, witnessing the whole thing, questions Noble. Why would one who brings war to Atlantis, save an Atlantean? He merely replies that the young one was innocent in all of this and does not deserve to become a victim in this fight. Mera, obviously shocked by this, attempts to reply. This is however cut short as a mentally-commanded whale slams into the King of the Lurkers with all of its tremendous bulk! Aquaman orders Mera to flee to safety, thanking her for this “distraction”. She opens her mouth to protest just as an enraged King Noble bursts back onto the scene! He roars about cowardice and deception! (I’ve gotta agree with the King here. Talk about a cheap move! Waiting until Aquaman was busy elsewhere in order to show off to his woman! How distasteful!)

King Noble hurls himself at Aquaman with unfathomable ferocity! The two udersea kings seem to shake the very foundations of the city around them as they trade mighty blows! That is until Aquaman makes the mistake of calling himself the king of all that resides below the water! Noble had not heard this boast until this very moment! He is now noticeably even more angry! How dare this man claim to be a king of something that he himself has ruled underneath of for the entirety of his life? He turns with a look of unbridled fury! (It’s really on now, folks! Aquaman’s in for the fight of a lifetime! And I mean a fight more difficult to win than the fight to tame that wild, long hair while it’s sopping wet!)

The fight continues. It rages from one end of the kingdom to the other! Neither of them holding anything back! Finally, while King Noble is distracted by a living wall of commanded fish, Aquaman leads the fight to his bed chambers. When Noble comes crashing through the wall, he finds his opponent armed with a new, seemingly cybernetic, golden hand! (Groovy! Did you youngins out there get that “Army of Darkness” quote? Let’s pretend you did so I don’t weep over how ancient I’ve become. Deal?) The King of Atlantis strikes the King of the Lurkers with such force, that he actually momentarily stuns him! He then uses this opportunity to begin forcing Noble towards the surface world above!

Mera ponders out loud, what could the Sea King’s ultimate goal be? Tempest answers that it appears as though his mentor means to see how Noble handles a serious case of the bends! Noble howls in pain as he clutches his skull, in agony from the sudden change in pressure! It’s then that Aquaman stops. Instead of killing this powerful enemy, he talks sense into him! They both obviously care a great deal for their respective people, but this pointless fight needs to end. Noble seems utterly shocked as his foe lowers him back to Atlantis. (Awww! Makes you feel warm all over, doesn’t it? Unless someone just peed in all of this water…..)

A short time passes. Both kings shake hands. Aquaman declares that not only will Noble continue to lead the Lurkers, he is making him his right hand! Shocked but touched by this sign of respect and friendship, he accepts. Well, that’s it. Who’s to say that comic books can’t have a happy ending? And I’m sure that the two undersea kings’ friendship will be a strong and lasting thing for years to come. In fact, let’s peek ahead at a cover of Aquaman just a few months later……

Well crap! Until next time, Symbifan out!