Tag Archives: Superman

When in rome

With my Prophet series now at a close, I thought I’d return to DC Comics. And what better way to usher in my triumphant return than to write about a character that I personally feel deserves more respect, the Alpha Centurion? What’s that? Who’s the Alpha Centurion? You see, that’s my point. This character made a large impact in the pages of Superman’s titles. He was even a member of the famed “Superman Family”! But, like many characters in the 90’s, he pretty much disappeared as if he never existed at all. So, join me as I take a look back at the Alpha Centurion Special! (Damn! I rambled way too much! I wonder if anyone’s still reading this?)

We begin our story as the Alpha Centurion has decided to leave Metropolis and strike out on his own. He has chosen to look into possibly serving as the protector of Washington D.C. (Yeah. Great place for a superhero to find some crime to fight. Of course, the biggest criminals are most likely employed in high offices!) As he looks down upon our nation’s capitol, he suddenly finds himself under attack as an energy blast hits him in the chest! It doesn’t take long for his hidden assailant to make herself known. She calls herself Ephemera and she fancies herself the keeper of history. It seems that she has just stolen important documents from the national archives and believes the Alpha Centurion was sent to stop her!

The hero quickly recovers and retaliates. He flies in quick, energy blade and shield at the ready! As he attempts to grab the misguided villain, he passes right through her! (Women! Always playing hard to get!) She states that she will have these documents and they will be added to her personal library in order to better preserve history. Not to be defeated, he quickly takes another airborne pass. Same result! It’s then that Ephemera recognizes him. She exclaims that, as a Roman soldier of days long past, he is a piece of living history! He exclaims that He will not be added as a relic to her strange collection. But, she replies that she has other uses for him in mind! (Oooooh! Me thinks someone’s about to get a supervillain booty call!)

The Alpha Centurion ignores her and examines the woman’s wardrobe in detail. He notices a strange clasp holding her cape to her body. Remembering that it reacted ever so slightly when he passed through her intangible form, he attempts the same attack once more. But this time, as he passes through, he smashes the clasp! It explodes in a flash of light! Outraged, but now powerless, she begins to plummet toward the earth below! Victorious, the hero rescues her and her loot and descends. He releases her into the waiting arms of the authorities.

Met by the flashing cameras and a barrage of questions from the amassed media, the hero decides to bow out and fly up to his awaiting spacecraft. He leaves them with a promise to get to all of their questions at a later date. While aboard, the Alpha Centurion attempts to relax. Peace however doesn’t come to him as his ship’s scanners notify him of a non-human entity requesting admittance inside. Suspiciously, he grants it. (Wow! Talk abou trusting! I lock the bathroom door when I’m alone! That’s my biz!) In walks a green-skinned alien being from a race he’s all to aware of, a Virmiru. The very race that made him into the powerful being he is today!

The creature wastes little time in getting to the reason for his visit. When the man that would become the Alpha Centurion, a Roman warrior by the name of Marcus Aelius, was given the chance to leave ancient Rome for the stars, the Virmiru left a representative of their own to learn the ways of man. But now that Marcus has returned, his replacement should now return home as well. But, the alien has refused. His people now fear that madness has overtaken their comrade and that he might attempt to harm the Earth to end his long exile here! (A bit extreme, isn’t it? Well, I guess I’ve thought about nuking my house on the holidays when my father’s side of the family show up, even with me inside, to end my misery.) He must be apprehended before this can come to pass!

Unsure, the Alpha Centurion at last agrees. That night, the rebel alien receives the coded message that the others of his kind left for him. It calls for a meeting. He accepts but wishes for it to be at a place of his choosing, a formal event for the upper class of D.C. Shedding his armor and weaponry, Marcus Aelius attends the strange meeting place. Even though he appears as one of them, he is still noticed by all for his role as a very public superhero. A female press agent even approaches him and begins talks of representing him. Her words fall upon partially deaf ears however as the hero spies a statue from his era on display. He soon loses himself in thought. (Uh-oh! I sense an origin flashback coming on. We’ll let him get away with it this time though. It’s not like Spider-Man doesn’t do this every ten pages or so and nobody seems to care!)

The Alpha Centurion recalls the events that led to his creation exactly. He, a Roman commanding officer, was just returning from a successful battle and was being welcomed with open arms by the emperor himself. The celebration was cut short when a strange craft suddenly appeared above them in the skies! Thinking it was their gods, the Romans stood transfixed as it landed. But what came from inside were not Gods at all. They were an alien race! Called the Virmiru, they had come to find the greatest example of a human being. They would then take this human with them and leave one of their own behind. The chosen one would be trained in fighting techniques and futuristic weaponry over a period of many years and then returned, a protector for his home world! (Um. Shouldn’t the Romans be a little less trusting here? These are Romans! They’re not exactly known to be, shall we say, friendly with other people’s beliefs! Food for thought….)

It is agreed and a contest is scheduled. Marcus, as expected, passes all tests with flying colors. Soon after, he finds himself in deep space, leaving his home far behind and recording his thoughts as the training begins. And as promised, Marcus Aelius was introduced to many wonders. He was granted an education almost beyond his comprehension, learned the ways of sophisticated technology, and trained in numerous ways of combat. Finally, the day came when his benefactors proclaimed that he was at last ready to return to his home world. Many, many years had passed since he had stepped upon Earth’s soil and Marcus found himself to be nervous. But regardless, after the gift of his own personal starship, he returned home. (Anyone else hearing the Motley Crue song, “Home Sweet Home”, in their heads? No? You kids today with your cell phones….mumble….grumble….)

And so it was to the city, Metropolis, that he first re-entered the human race. The first being he met was of course the legendary Superman. It was even he and the reporter, Lois Lane, that gave him his new name, the Alpha Centurion. (End origin flashback. And what have we learned, boys and girls? If a stranger offers you a ride into space to become a mighty superhero, go on and take a chance. Sheesh! The dude’s lucky he didn’t end up on ancient Roman milk cartons!) The Centurion is brought back to present day by a man requesting he go with him. The Virmiru will see him now.

Marcus follows the man into a comfortable-looking, higher class den. He is introduced to the alien sitting in the high-backed chair. The Virmiru begins with the typical pleasantries but the Alpha Centurion is not deterred from the matter at hand. He asks why the creature has not been in contact with his home world point blank. The alien sidesteps the question and tells the warrior that he may now return to the party. He has learned all he needs to about the Roman by their brief encounter. He will contact the Centurion later.

Deeply annoyed, the Alpha Centurion sits within his craft a short time later. The gall of dismissing him in such a rude manner! (There’s no accounting for alien manners! Look at how rude the Vulcans are! Okay. So we’ve established the fact that I’m a nerd some time ago.) It is only a small amount of time before the Virmiru rebel requests another meeting. This time, it’s upon the roof of a government building. The Centurion follows the alien’s words to the letter and waits. Before long, the Virmiru arrives, but he’s wearing battle armor!

As it turns out, the rebel extraterrestrial has already assumed the Centurion has come to bring him in and he doesn’t plan to go quietly! The armored alien attacks! And as he does so, he tells the Alpha Centurion the truth about his “noble benefactors”. He reveals that the so-called protectors that were taken, were done so to conquer their home planets upon their return! This would then pave the way for a massive invasion force! He is nothing but a pawn in the grand scheme of things! The hero denies this with outrage in his tone! He is a protector, a hero! (Things’re getting deep now, folks! It seems you can’t trust anyone these days! Not even an alien species! What a universe we live in!)

The brutal battle continues back and forth until the Virmiru stands triumphant! But, as he’s about to deliver a killing blow, he yields. He has come to admire the human race in his time on Earth and will not kill a human that was betrayed. The Alpha Centurion gets in one last mighty blow before he finally hears the other’s words. He reaches down to help his opponent up. They have much to discuss. (Was that last hit really necessary? The green guy gave up already! Man, this really makes the hero look like an a-hole! Too long since the last sexual conquest, my Roman friend?)

A short amout of time passes before the Alpha Centurion requests entry to the waiting enemy Virmiru craft. On his way in, you can see that the rebel is now his prisoner! But, it is soon revealed to be a ploy! The Centurion attacks! (They pulled a trick like when Chewy acts as if he’s Han and Luke’s prisoner in the original Star Wars! Yeah. I know. Further proof of my nerdhood….) Throughout this clash of warriors from two worlds, Marcus Aelius continues to attempt to force the alien to admit the truth, but again and again he denies it! The hero’s resolve will not break! He’s sure now of whom is using whom. Finally in anger, the creature admits it! Still shocked by hearing the truth, the Centurion is nearly fatally wounded by a well-placed energy blade swipe!

The rebel Virmiru comes to his aid and the two aliens are now locked in mortal combat! (Good game. Awesome fatalities and cool characters. Umm. What was I talking about?) The enemy’s armor is way more advanced than the rebel’s however and the tide begins to turn. But, before the final blow is struck, Marcus Aelius recovers and strikes the enemy alien down! He turns to check on his comrade but the villain is not yet defeated! He pulls a hidden dagger from his armor and strikes! The rebel notices this move and strikes with a hidden blade of his own! And that’s that. Just that simply, the fight has ended.

Later, we find the Alpha Centurion tending to his wounds within his own ship. He leaves his healing waters and begins to place his armor back on. (Healing waters?! I want a hottub with those! I have fibromyalgia, damn it!) He turns to his new friend and asks if there might be any truth to what the villains said of an invasion. His reply is hardly comforting. Only time will truly tell. Until then, he truly is the protector of Earth like he has always wanted. It’s time to act the part.

End.

This article is dedicated to both of my children, Jade and James. These poor kids have had to grow up their whole lives hearing about this superhero or that, opening presents that only their comic nerd daddy thinks is cool, and watching every Marvel or DC film ever produced! And they’ve never complained in all of these years. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is! I love you both.

-Symbidad

Dark Reflections (part 2)

RCO001_1469409605-1-1Howdy y’all! It’s me, that danged varmit, Symbifan! Yep. I’m back with that part two y’all were waitin’ fer! So, sit on back, get yerself comfy, and lissen while I dish out them fancy word-vittles yer all a wantin’! (Yep. That energy drink has definitely screwed with my brain.)

As we return to our Elseworlds tale, we find Superman and Lana Lang embracing within a hidden sewer tunnel after so very long apart. (Does anyone else think ol’ Clark should have chosen Lana over Lois like me? Lana always seemed to love Clark, Clark. Not Superman. Clark. Lois never seemed interested unless he was decked out in blue spandex. This says all kinds of things about her sexually. But alas…..) They emerge into a hidden complex where the heroes and their small army of human resistance fighters are training for battle.

RCO010_1469409605-1To say things aren’t going well would be an understatement. Batman is training everyone much too hard in hand-to-hand combat, The Flash is firing at falling debris with a handgun at super-speed but panics and emotionally shuts down when the situation calls for him to run, and Green Lantern seems too grim and fierce. It seems like he simply wants this war to end so he can die. (Those are our heroes folks. Kind of dark and depressing, huh? Yep. It’s like someone slapped them all with the Marvel Comics stick repeatedly!)The upside is when the mouthy and cocky Superboy spears with Wonder Woman. All seems to be going well until the young hero actually plants one on a surprised Amazonian princess! She clocks him so hard that you’d swear his head’s gonna snap clean off!

It’s then that Metallex makes his appearance and scares the holy hell out of Lana! (Dude does kind of look like a freaking terminator. I’d wet my panties too!) The robot scans her for hidden listening or tracking devices. Satisfied she’s clean, he and Superman talk war plans and about finding and rescuing the missing Lois Lane. To this, Lana interjects that she’s been doing some undercover work and may just be able to reunite the two love birds tomorrow night! They make plans to meet in front of the debris that once was the Daily Planet building.

RCO014_1469409605-1The next night, the Super Seven enter the wreckage of the once proud city of Metropolis. Scouting ahead and moving carefully, they head to the meeting place. They are stopped suddenly by the cries of a frantic Lana Lang. She screams that it’s a trap! And a trap it is! A large force of Horde warriors teleport in and surround them! Wasting no time, the heroes charge into action! Their training may have been messy and unorganized, but in battle? They work as a well-oiled machine! The sight is awe-inspiring! The Justice League truly lives on, even in times as dark as this. Especially in times as dark as this. (That’s right, kiddies! The big guns are back and they’re mad as hell! Nerdgasm alert!)

RCO017_1469409605-1Yes. All seems to be going amazingly! That is except for The Flash. He freezes in horror at the very thought of running in battle again. (Yeah. To be honest, this does get kinda old throughout the story. Man up, you wuss! Oh, yeah. He can’t hear me. Come to think of it, I should stop talking aloud anyway.) While the battle rages on, Superman swoops  Lana up in his arms and gets her to safety, by Jimmy Olson. It’s then that a Horde soldier makes a mistake. It begins to try and protect Lana! She orders the Hordesman to stop this and treat her as if she were the enemy! Yes, it seems as if Lana Lang is in fact a traitor! (Okay, let me go on record here by saying that Clark should be with Lana instead of Lois in the NORMAL reality. Not this Elseworlds story. See. So my early comment is still correct as I see it. Whew! I almost looked foolish there!)

RCO021_1469409605-1Jimmy pulls a gun, kills the horde member, and then aims it at her! He says that he’d rather kill her and have Superman think him the traitor than let him think his childhood sweetheart was in fact the backstabber. But alas, he cannot force himself to pull the trigger. Lana teleports away just as Wonder Woman arrives. Having seen and heard everything from above, she tries to comfort him. This doesn’t last for long though as a Horde soldier emerges and fires at Jimmy! A true heroine to the last, Wonder Woman takes the shot in his place! She dies soon after Green Lantern smashes the enemy. (No! You’re too important to the world to die like this! I ask you, who’s really gonna miss Jimmy “goofy bowtie” Olson? Exactly! Not even his mama!)

Before the heroes can begin to comprehend what has just happened, a Horde ship descends from the heavens. A holographic figure and booming voice are seen and heard by everyone in Metropolis. It is the supreme ruler of the Horde! He tells the people how disappointed he is in them for allowing this little metahuman skirmish to happen and that tomorrow, every last man, woman, and child within the shielded city will perish in retaliation! (Wow! Talk about a punishment! And I thought being grounded from my Nintendo for a month was a living hell! Granted, my punishment did last longer by comparison so, draw your own conclusions as to who suffered more!)

RCO025_1469409605-1The group escapes into a safe house to rethink their situation. While they do this, Superboy decides to go catch some Z’s elsewhere. He is soon met by Batman. He discusses attempting a secret mission that only involves the two of them. Happy to please, the youth agrees. That’s when Batman gasses him from a compartment within one of his gauntlets! We next see Batman, within Horde armor, attempting to gain entrance into a Horde ship with his metahuman prisoner! After some typical Batman persuasion, he and Superboy’s unconscious form are teleported within! (I hate to point out the obvious Star Wars plan here. You know where Han and Luke dress as stormtroopers and pretend Chewie’s their prisoner to gain access into the Death Star? God, what have I been doing with my life? Sob…… Psyche! A nerd’s life is the life for me!)

RCO031_1469409605-1-1When aboard, Batman quickly disposes of the Horde armor. He then gasses the unconscious Superboy with an antidote, waking him immediately. Before the youth can pose a question, Batman reveals that the power to the shield over Metropolis is contained within this very vessel! They quickly locate the power source and spring into action against a legion of Horde warriors! They do well but the size of the enemy force finally gets the better of them. Superboy is forced through a window by Horde soldiers while Batman finally is overtaken. But, before he breathes his last, he presses a button concealed underneath the bat insignia on his chest. The explosion that follows sends the craft smashing into a nearby skyscraper! The shield falls soon after! (Rest in peace, Batman. Why, oh why didn’t you carry your aerosol can of Bat Horde Repellent that day? Why?!)

RCO037_1469409605-1Superboy returns with the news of Batman’s sacrifice but Superman has already called the heroes into action. The Horde has come to make good on their threat! The Super Seven make their final stand. Each of the remaining heroes fights like a champion. Showing no fear, they battle on like the Horde has never seen! Metallex is the next to fall. Once again it is only the number of enemies rather than their fighting prowess that wins the fight. Green Lantern fights like a man posessed! Using his inner demons as fuel, he incinerates Horde soldiers by the handful! But, he is so full of rage that he fails to see a golden arrow launched at his back! Seeing this, the Flash battles his own inner demons and runs like never before towards his friend and ally! The arrow strikes home and the Flash dies instantly. He dies a hero. (Damn! Who wrote this, George R. R. Martin? People be droppin’ like flies!)

RCO040_1469409605-1-1Superman and Superboy manage to make it into the Horde mothership undeterred. They fly through the corridors until they suddenly find themselves in front of the leader of the Horde forces himself! The ruler of the invading force stands in full battle armor. To his right stands Lana Lang in the shadows! Superman mistakenly thinks it to be his beloved Lois. It’s then that she steps into the light and reveals herself. It is also revealed that Lois perished ten years ago! She has it out with Superman, that if he had only shown her any interest since the team’s formation, no one would have been killed! Before much can be said in return, the Horde commander disintegrates her with a wave of his armored hand! (Talk about jealousy! You know, I’m starting to think Lana might just be a bad person…..)

RCO048_1469409605-1The outraged heroes fly into action! But before the fight can truly begin, Metallexs’ still form falls to the ground from above. It’s then that the kryptonite heart lowers from another panel in the ceiling, right over the already weakening Superman! Superboy goes into a fighting frenzy! He beats the surprised alien from one end of the room to the other! But before victory is his, the Horde commander hits the young hero with a powerful hand blast! He then walks forward to finish him…..only to be impaled through the heart from behind by Metallex! The Horde leader is dead! Sadly, upon closer examination, it’s revealed that Superman is as well. Lana calls to the young hero. Surprisingly still alive but quickly dying, she whispers that Superman can still live. Moments later, Superman flies through the top of the Horde mothership in all of his glory! The corpse of his enemy held over his head, he exclaims to the now halted battling masses that the ruler of the Horde is dead! In that very instant, everything changed.

RCO051_1469409605-1Time passes. The new Superman meets Metallex atop a high building. Before the boy can say much, the once Lex Luthor tells him that he doesn’t care that he didn’t get the credit for finally defeating the enemy. After all, the world needs it’s symbols. They bring it hope and hope is what the human race will need. Green Lantern makes a brief appearance as well. He’s been doing better with his anger and guilt. In fact, he is wearing his old costume and plans on finding and training the next generation of superheroes. When he leaves to do so, Superman goes to leave as well. He is halted by the veiled threat from the former villain. To remember that there can only be one man of steel in the city of Metropolis. Also, that he just finished killing the most powerful man on the planet. He’ll have no problem doing it again. (What did we expect? This is Lex friggin’ Luthor we’re talking about here!) If these words bother the new Man of Steel, he doesn’t show it. He simply smiles and flies off…..up, up, and away into the future!

RCO055_1469409605-1My next dedication may be surprised that I have chosen him. I’ve chosen to dedicate this article to my brother, Eric James Miller. Not just because he loves this story and has read and re-read it more that even I, but because this story has reminded me that the future is uncertain and, though we have our differences, you should never take a loved one for granted. Life really is too brief.

End.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dark Reflections (part 1)

RCO001-1Whazzzz 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.

RCO004He 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!

RCO010This 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.)

RCO013-1Nine 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!)

RCO020-1We 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?

RCO024-1Later, 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!

RCO027_w-1Batman 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.

RCO033-1The 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!)

RCO035-1The 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.

RCO041-1Next 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!

RCO047-1Finally, 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!

RCO054_w-1But 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…..

RCO056This 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.