Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Whatever Happened To…? Chapter 1: Mystery Men

by Libbylawrence

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The Weather Wizard had hit Bludhaven like a sudden summer storm. His combination of lightning bolts and winds had allowed him to loot the city while the police watched helplessly. Then the Golden Wasp showed up in answer to the frantic cries of the outgunned cops. He flew down on silent wings and saluted the men in blue. “You know how Twain said everyone talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it? Well, gentlemen, I’m going to prove him wrong.”

“Go get him, Wasp!” called a policeman.

Weather Wizard frowned. He had heard that Bludhaven was ripe for the picking, since no hero lived there, or did the city now have a defender? He waved his wand, and a hurricane force wind tore at the Wasp, who landed quickly to avoid the powerful blast of wind and fired a small capsule. Wizard sneered as his winds dropped it short of his body. “You’re fighting the winds, and you’ll never hit me!”

“I don’t need to, old man,” said the Golden Wasp.

The capsule exploded on the ground in front of the Weather Wizard, and magnesium flares blinded him. “Arrrgh!” he cried as he lost sight of the world around him.

Golden Wasp took the moment afforded him and slammed into his green-suited foe. He slapped the wand away and, with an easy right hook, knocked the otherwise-powerless Wizard cold. “That puts an end to this unseasonable weather,” he said with a bow. He dropped the Weather Wizard at the cheering policemen’s feet. “I’ll be back when needed, my friends, though you boys in blue are the true heroes,” he said with a final wave.

“What a hero,” said a cop.

A reporter spoke up as well. “I’m going to plaster his photo on the front page,” she said. “Look out, Gotham City, you may have Batman, but Bludhaven’s got the Golden Wasp! He’s got more style to him than that somber Batman.”

As he made his way back to a plush penthouse, the Golden Wasp heard all on his helmet radio, taking true pleasure in his fame, his success, and in being rated better than Batman. “Ah, I do hope to outdo you at your own heroic game, old foe,” he said as he doffed his helmet, revealing the handsome features of Cameron Van Cleef, AKA the former Killer Moth.

***

The lovely, platinum-blonde Dolphin gazed longingly out to sea as she walked the beach. Her outfit was a bikini of light blue with a white swirl on the bottoms. “This new costume is nice and very feminine, but I still feel so… identity-less. If I only knew my true background. The life I led undersea was lonely and so empty of human connection. While Will and Adam — and even Lisa — are friends to me now, and I have a place on their team, I still wonder — just who am I other than Dolphin?

She was watched via an unseen camera by a woman with dark hair and a metal mask who gazed at her longingly on a monitor. “I must have her. She will be perfect for my plans. Soon, I’ll be ready to claim her for my own.”

Dolphin’s boyfriend, Will Payton, was all too aware that he was the hero called Starman due to a fluke. He had been hit by a mysterious ray from space that gave him the power of a stellar conductor. Now, while he didn’t know the source of his power, Captain Comet had worked with him to help him learn the limits and potential uses of his strange gift. He loved Dolphin to distraction and wished he could help her find her roots, too.

Still, she had emerged from her shy shell lately, and that had to be good for her. Years alone in the sea like a little mermaid had made the girl shy and uncertain around people, yet needy as well. She did not know that, at that moment, the team’s meta-human coordinator, Lyla — also known as Harbinger — had located a man named Argus who had received his own powers from a similar ray at the same time Will had received his own. Dolphin tossed back her blonde locks, newly curled in a fashionable style, and pondered the source of Will’s powers and the motive of the giver, if any.

Dolphin’s reverie ended when she noticed a blur flash by at inhuman speeds. She turned to see a reddish flash speed by toward the seaside research laboratory owned by STAR Labs. The figure could have been the Flash, since she knew of no other super-fast being who merely ran. Superman, Captain Comet, Valor, and the new Supergirl all preferred to fly.

She herself ran toward the lab out of curiosity, her shapely legs easily covering the distance relatively quickly, for — although she was no super-speedster — she was quite fast herself. “What is it?” she asked as a running lab worker burst out of the entrance.

“Some super-freak is racing over the facility doing damage and looking for something,” he said. “I’d head back to the beach, Barbie.”

Dolphin hurried past the rude man and soon saw the blurred reddish figure from before. This speedster was tearing apart the laboratory at top speed while workers and guards were knocked away by sheer momentum. “Stop!” cried Dolphin as she spotted the figure. Her own reactions were slightly faster than normal, and she managed to focus in on the speeding figure when she drew closer.

The super-speedster in question was a young woman whose strawberry blonde hair was shorter and darker than Dolphin’s own platinum-blonde locks. The woman’s face was covered by a black mask, and she wore a red top with a black, wing-like pattern and yellow hot pants over red tights and yellow boots.

“What is it you want?” asked Dolphin. When she received no answer, she timed herself carefully, snatching the woman’s arm in midair, and held firmly, but the figure continued to whirl around at super-speed and swept Dolphin off her feet, pulling her strong arm almost out of its socket, or so it felt. Got to hang on! Dolphin thought as the lab became a vertigo-inducing blur.

She fought forward with all her formidable strength, honed by the great pressure of the deep sea, as she would against a current and managed to tackle the woman. Dolphin was much stronger than the runner, but she nevertheless found herself battered backward by a thousand super-speed blows. She staggered back and sat down hard as the velocity of her foe’s takeoff left her stunned and alone.

Nice try, Esther Williams,” called the runner as she disappeared with a stolen device.

“Are you OK, legs?” asked a guard.

Dolphin fumed and said, “I have been considerably better, thank you!” She hoped to get a rematch with this unknown female speedster.

***

Lesla-Lar, the villainess-turned-super-heroine known as Valor, smiled as a crowd cheered her appearance in a San Francisco suburb near Vandyre University. I loved it here, she thought, then caught herself as she realized that she had fallen once more into remembering things from Supergirl’s life and not her own. Thanks to the memories implanted in her mind at some point in the past, Valor knew that the Maid of Might had been a co-ed at Vandyre years ago. Valor’s sightseeing was based on someone else’s life, yet she still enjoyed the nostalgia. I wonder if there would be a teaching or research position for a blonde named Leslie Larson, she mused.

Remembering Supergirl’s romance and fight with the Super-Scavenger here, Valor felt an odd mixture of pain and displeasure as the feelings of betrayal of Kara Zor-El’s for her old beau-turned-foe came back to Lesla. (*) “I’ll bring him to justice, along with my… her… foe, the Enchantress, for her memory and my own good, too.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Borrowed Brain,” Supergirl #4 (March, 1973).]

Valor streaked downward, and her keen super-hearing picked up a distress call originating in space. She rocketed upward as wind swept back her golden hair and fluffed out her pinkish miniskirt.

The NASA satellite is being attacked, she realized as her super-vision spotted a woman terrorizing the crew. The beautiful, blonde, and obviously super-powered woman in question was literally tossing the crew through the air into a shuttle. She seemed bent on emptying the communications satellite of all its crew.

Hold it, girl! The cheerleading practice is about several thousand miles away,” said Lesla, noting the girl’s orange miniskirt and green cape.

“I am no pom-pom girl, as you Earthers say, though I must admit you have gall to talk of me that way, seeing as how you’re dressed like some Goldwyn Girl,” she quipped.

Lesla frowned at the language used. “Earther, pom-pom girl, and Goldwyn Girl? You’ve been out of touch for a while, haven’t you, honey?” she said as she caught a flung crew member and placed him gently down, ensuring that he was able to flee to the shuttle and wait.

The powerful blondes squared off, and a wrestling match ensued. She’s very strong! Maybe as strong as I am, thought Lesla, noticing a stylized T emblem on her chest that looked somewhat similar to Superman’s S insignia.

The other blonde flew upward, dragging Valor with her. The two fought in midair, with neither one gaining an advantage, until the blonde in the orange mini-dress and green cape blew with super-breath at a control. This caused the shuttle, with its full crew, to launch into space. “Go save them, princess!” cried the laughing blonde girl.

Valor slapped her across the room and flew off to rescue the crew. She soared through the airlock and sped up to snatch the falling shuttle. Fighting to keep a steady grip, she slowly inched the craft to a stable position. With a determined effort, the lovely Lesla-Lar landed with the craft and crew intact on land below. By the time she returned to space, however, there was no sign of the satellite or her foe.

“No radiation or sign of teleportation device residue, either, and my eyes should have been able to pick up either. That leaves one alternative — magic,” she mused with her hands on her hips. “That woman owes me another chance. Next time, I’ll show her who the better woman is.”

***

In space above, unseen by Valor or anyone on Earth, hovered a small ship. Within it reclined a beautiful redhead wearing a green and gold outfit. Her name was Maxima, and she had come to this part of space to find a mate. Her current candidate was none other than Adam Blake — Captain Comet.

“He is handsome, heroic, and resourceful, and he has mental and physical advantages over every other male I’ve encountered! But when to make the offer? Do I wait and observe him more, or just gift him with my divine self?” she pondered, rolling over on her silky sheets to dream of him.

***

Captain Comet, meanwhile, was blissfully unaware of this honor as he flew over the city of Washington, D.C. He knew the quiet would likely be brief. He had driven off alien invaders, battled super-villains, and recruited and reformed former criminals, but now he enjoyed just flying freely over the city with no pressing business on his mind.

“Spoke too soon,” he said when a crime came into his field of vision. A suave man, wearing a black suit and a jewel-encrusted turban like that of a Hindu prince, was robbing a government shipping vehicle. Comet flew down and landed in front of the regal man. “Sorry, pal, no withdrawals today,” he said.

The man, who had a pencil-thin mustache and looked vaguely South Asian, smiled and replied, “Ah, my good man, you must allow me the easiest of withdrawals — namely that of myself from this locale,” he said with a laugh. Comet reached for him, and the man rippled out of view like a bad TV picture. “Sorry, but I’m not quite so easy to catch!” he taunted from behind Comet.

Rather than grab at another illusion, Captain Comet used his mental powers to probe for thoughts nearby. He soon found the elusive trickster and spun around to land a hard right on his chin. The magician crumpled to the floor, appearing in the flesh a few inches away from where he had appeared to be. “I defer to your wit,” he said, rubbing his chin. “You are worthy, good sir. I’m confident the Metropolis Daily Star shall honor you muchly.”

“Surrender now, and I’ll go easy on you,” demanded Comet.

The dapper man smoothed his black suit and said, “A noble offer from a chivalrous foe. You are worthy in every way, but I must exercise the better part of valor and merely bid you a fond adieu!” He vanished again as an explosion rocked the empty truck.

Captain Comet swooped down, lifted up the burning truck high in the sky, and made it safely miles above the ground before it exploded anew. He got away, mused Comet. That mystery-man was certainly clever. He didn’t really seem to be evil, either, acting almost apologetic for his actions. I’m going to have to get to the bottom of this.

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