The women rushed into a frantic scene where the handsome, blond Achilles Dahmmon confronted both the Outsiders and the Rehab Squad. “You can’t stop me! I have mastered self-actualization, as these pawns will show you.” He gestured, and dozens of CEOs ran out to attack the heroes. “They give me their assets, and I use them as I see fit,” he said.
“There’s Stagg,” called Metamorpho as the old man joined the other mind-controlled millionaires.
“Don’t harm them. They’re civilian pawns,” yelled Batman.
Comet agreed and said, “I’ll take the fight to the real source.” He flew upward over the struggling mob and approached Dahmmon. Halo flew up as well, and the pretty blond teenager sent a purple tractor beam downward to shove several men away from the heroes.
Starman punched desperately with half his strength. Got to be careful. Don’t want to hurt these poor people.
Dolphin ducked a man that looked like Donald Trump and slapped him to the floor. “I tried to be gentle,” she said sheepishly.
Mayflower laughed, “Hello, luv,” as her vines roped around several angry women and men and tied them together in a cocoon. “Bringin’ folks together! That’s what I do,” she teased.
The Hooded Hangman watched the crowd, and something snapped in his mind. A red rage surged through him, and he clutched Batman from behind. “I’ll choke the life outta ya this time,” he said. Batman struggled against the rapid attack.
Geo-Force used his intense gravity powers to send several men to the floor under a crushing weight. His pal, Black Lightning, dodged as often as he could and reluctantly shocked a few pawns. Metamorpho enveloped Stagg to protect and contain the maddened old man. “Snap out of it! Remember Sapphire? It’s me, Rex. Why are you fighting me?”
“I know it’s you, you buffoon,” sneered the bitter man. “I just don’t like you!”
Metamorpho grinned. “Guess cutting you off from the sight and sound of Dahmmon broke you free, since he hadn’t had ya too long.”
“You can’t stop me,” echoed in Comet’s mind as he closed in on the tall, blond Dahmmon.
“I can match your mental powers. In fact, I can shut them down completely,” vowed a determined Captain Comet.
“Not if I make you my pawn,” whispered the man as sweat broke on his golden locks.
“I’d not advise you to try that — for your own good,” offered an ernest Adam Blake. Dahmmon laughed and sent a wave of mental might surging through Comet, who winced.
Then the man known as Dahmmon shimmered out of sight. In his place levitated a small man in a chair that floated above the ground. His head was huge in comparison to his withered body. “Hector Hammond!” said Comet. “I should have known it was you with those powers. Plus, Achilles killed Hector in myth, and Dahmmon is a virtual anagram for Hammond.”
“After my ill-fated partnership with Star Sapphire ended prematurely, I returned to Earth and found a ready new ally in one of Wonder Woman’s old foes,” Hammond said telepathically. “Doctor Psycho’s device allowed me to have a perfect body with which I could lure the CEOs here and gain control of all they owned. In return, I allowed him his arena where your teammates are now. I only wish I could have put that Zamaron bitch there with all the other women. It would have served her right after the way she tossed me aside.”
Suddenly, the CEOs stopped fighting, and Hector Hammond grew limp and still. “I warned you not to try to control me. That’s happened to me twice before, and I installed some mental safeguards that shut out anyone who tries to dominate my mind,” explained Captain Comet.
Batman slammed his elbow into the Hooded Hangman’s ribs and spun him over one hip. He fell to the ground and bounced upward, only to be met by a right hook from Batman.
Looker posed seductively and blasted the purple Hangman with a mental force. “We simply must do something about that costume,” she yawned.
Batman nodded. “He does lack your style.”
The Cheetah hurried over with her friends to greet Comet and his team. “You came for us,” said Golden Glider as she embraced Comet, kissing him passionately.
“I came for all of you,” said a blushing Comet.
“Stagg’s back to his mean old self, too,” said Metamorpho.
“I can still destroy you all,” Hammond thought audibly.
“Self-destruct device,” muttered Batman.
“Get everyone out!” ordered Comet and Batman, almost at the same time.
As the heroes ushered out the people, Catwoman and Batman exchanged greeting. “Selina. Nice to see you weren’t mixed up in this.”
“I’m a reformed little kitty, remember?” she said.
Starman pushed Hammond out as they raced outside the complex.
“Wait, where’s Psycho? He’s still in there!” said Swan.
“I’ll get him!” yelled Killer Moth, who had been oddly silent during the fight.
“My vines and plants can muffle the explosion a little,” said Mayflower.
“Should I get him out?” asked Geo-Force.
“Let Moth try,” said Batman. Moth nodded at his old foe and swung in the burning building as bombs rocked the structure. Psycho tumbled out, and Moth gave a thumbs up at the window. Before he could follow, the building collapsed on him. Dust rained down with the entire sagging building.
“Oh, no!” cried Dolphin as Starman flew forward with Geo-Force and Comet. They lifted the wreckage but found no body.
“Could he have escaped?” asked Comet.
“Moth is oddly capable. He has come back from seeming death at least once before,” said a grim Batman.
“Well, it’s true that he died a hero if we did lose him,” said Starman.
Comet felt Glider embrace him again, and this time he didn’t push her away.
The Outsiders hurried off with these words between the team leaders: “Captain Comet, Adam,” said the Batman, “I was wrong to assume the worst of you. Your team has a chance to reform, and I know you can make a difference in their lives. If you need my help, just call.”
“Yes, darling, call me anytime,” offered Looker.
“Thank you all,” said Comet.
Catwoman had slipped off, and Comet placed the Hooded Hangman in custody.
“I guess he’s just not ready to reform,” said Dolphin.
Starman hugged her and added, “I suppose some guys never learn.”
“I have an offer for you ladies,” said Comet to Thorn and Silver Swan. “How’d you like to join our team? I’ll explain all about it if you like.”
“Thanks. Find me if you need me, but I work best alone,” said Thorn.
“I can help you with that split personality problem,” whispered Comet.
“Problem? I don’t have a problem,” she said and walked off.
Silver Swan stepped up. “I would love to belong — somewhere,” she said tearfully.
As the Crimson Fox (Constance d’Aramis — her twin Vivian had slipped into the woods earlier to minimize the damage done to their trade secret) started to leave, Simon Stagg shouted, “Hold on! That young lady kidnapped me, and I want her in jail!”
“She was under Hammond’s control, like you were,” growled Batman.
“Still, a crime is a crime. I’ll bring her to trial and expose her identity,” he yelled.
“You creep!” shouted Rex Mason.
“Unless…” said Stagg, grinning.
“Unless what?” asked the now-concerned Crimson Fox.
“Unless you come work for me,” he grinned like a funeral display.