Legion of Super-Heroes: The Universo Agenda, Chapter 4: Dark Allies

by Libbylawrence

Return to chapter list

Soon, one group of the heroes stood on the sands of the world called Oa. This planet, home to the legendary Guardians of the Universe and their Green Lanterns, wasn’t remarkable for its development. Only one huge structure dotted the desertlike landscape.

“That’s their base,” said Element Lad. “Within those walls we’ll find the big Central Power Battery that Universo is somehow tapping into.”

Phantom Girl frowned. “Even though the Lanterns have been banned from Earth for years, they are lawmen and as such should be our allies!”

“Yes, well, tell that to the welcoming committee!” said Sun Boy, gesturing to the sky where a group of twelve ring-wearing aliens approached them with hostile intent evident upon the faces of those who were humanoid enough to register such emotions.

“Get behind us!” said Ultra Boy as he, Mon-El, and Blok jumped forward to use their invulnerable bodies to shield the rest from a concentrated blast of emerald energy.

Phantom Girl changed to her ghostly form as Sun Boy and Shadow Lass took cover. “My darkness-casting ability has no effect on them!” cried Tasmia Mallor as she blanketed the Lanterns in her inky field of night.

“My solar bursts have not slowed them, either,” added Sun Boy. “Looks like neither brightest day, nor darkest night can blind them!” He smiled as a heat burst did send one Green Lantern reeling. “Great! This frequency of solar energy weakened him! Must be the yellow hue to the energy!” He flew higher and dodged a hammer-shaped projectile that materialized and narrowly missed his speeding form.

Mon-El had charged into a green shield created by another Green Lantern. This alien was huge and vaguely hog-like in appearance. “That poozer’s tough, but he’s no match for me!” said the looming figure. Mon-El glanced to where Ultra Boy was switching his ultra-energies from speed to strength as he caught a weird alien energy construct before it could crush his allies below.

Element Lad noticed how the others had occupied the Lanterns, and he concentrated as they had planned. Gold spheres covered the rings worn by all of the figures. Some wore them on their hands, and one seemed to carry his embedded within his amorphous body. Still, the yellow covering blocked all of their ring energies. “They’ll be able to get around that in time. Heat the air or something to cause it to expand away from their rings, but by that time, we’ll have found their masters!” declared Element Lad.

Phantom Girl had flown ahead and was now entering the headquarters of the Green Lantern Corps. She saw the impressive green Central Power Battery from which all of the Lanterns received their power, either directly or via their portable lantern batteries. She hoped they could shut down its power and thus end Universo’s theft of the amazing energy. “Goodness!” she gasped as she saw a short, blue-skinned man in a red robe suspended in space above the battery. It was clearly one of the Guardians of the Universe. “He’s in a coma of some kind!” she said as she bent over his silent form.

“That is how I wish him to remain,” said a ghostly figure.

Phantom Girl saw the apparition. He was insubstantial, but he was clearly also an Oa native. He was much taller than the typical Guardian, though he shared their blue complexion. His eyes were dark and evil. “You are a spirit being!” she said.

He laughed. “As are you, child! However, my mental power allows me to trap the old fool, and it shall allow me to slay you as well!”

At that moment, Ultra Boy and the others raced inside to join Tinya Wazzo. “Great bird of the galaxy! That’s one big Guardian!” muttered Ultra Boy.

“He’s a ghost, but I can feel his evil like a palpable force!” said Phantom Girl.

The blue man laughed again. “My mind allows me to exert power!” he said boastfully. “I told you that! I lack a body, because those old men turned me into pure mental energy and banished me through space long ago. I never died, but I plotted my eventual revenge. When there were so many of them I was helpless as a mere wraith. But when I learned only one remained behind while the others have departed for some benign crusade of their own, I struck!”

“He’s the one feeding Universo power via the battery,” concluded Mon-El. “That’s how he is getting it!”

“He’s also the one who defeated the Guardian, or he’d stop this misuse of their power,” said Element Lad.

The big man said, “Their power? Say our power. I was one of their kind, although I lacked their spineless scruples. I am Krona, and they fear me. I once sought to learn the origin of the universe, and for my efforts I was stripped of form and substance by my weaker brethren.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Secret Origin of the Guardians,” Green Lantern v2 #40 (October, 1965).]

“Viewing the origin of the universe was what Universo tried to do all those years ago when he turned evil!” said Sun Boy.

Krono chuckled. “Indeed. ’Twas then that I first whispered to his mind. His corruption enabled me to speak to him. Something in his sharing my old goal led me to touch him ever so slightly. I could do nothing more but whisper like a phantom until the Guardians departed from this universe of late. I felt them leave and touched Universo with my full mental might. Concern that they would detect me doing so prevent me from acting in such a way before. But I linked with his powerful mind and fed him their green energy with which he enslaves your world. He will eventually aid me in restoration of my physical body. Then I shall rule the universe, and he shall dominate Earth!”

“You’re mad!” cried Mon-El. “We won’t allow it!” He flew upward and took a yellow inertron shield in his hands as Ultra Boy took the other end.

Element Lad had formed it from thin air, and the powerful youths covered the gleaming power battery with the shield. Inertron could contain the energies for a while, and the yellow made it proof against the ring energies.

Krona gasped. “You have robbed me of my power! Still, I shall enslave you all! I need nothing but my mind to do so!” He stood firm, and the heroes shuddered as a powerful mental force rocked them all to the ground. Krona laughed in mad glee as they fell at his feet. Even Phantom Girl’s ghostly form had felt his evil touch.

***

Back on Earth, the other heroes were closing in on Universo. The rows of military battle-bots that lined the plaza reminded them of the ones that still surrounded their own headquarters.

“Machines like that are just what I need to unwind on!” said Timber Wolf. “I can really tear loose and not worry about hurting some poor guy under a spell!”

Lightning Lass smiled at her man. “Yes, and one good power surge from me could help shut down most of them or block the remote-control devices their operator uses!”

“Plus, I can do a real number on their wiring from inside!” said Shrinking Violet.

Blok rumbled his approval. “I admit that I also wish to release some pent-up frustrations!”

“While you four take down the battle-bots, the rest of us will beard the lion in his den, as they used to say,” Saturn Girl remarked.

Chameleon Boy laughed. “You’ve been hanging around Rokk too long. His passion for Old Earth history and language has rubbed off on you, Imra!”

Imra Ardeen smiled back at the Durlan. “True. I miss him and Garth and our baby. I hope we three old timers can reunite soon and enjoy our golden years.”

“Admit it, you jumped at the chance to suit up again,” said Cham. “Garth can’t take the Legion out of the girl! He may be more domestic than you are, but he’d follow you back in an instant.”

“No,” said Saturn Girl. “He is truly content as a house husband.”

“I have enabled us to arrive unseen,” said Sensor Girl. “Now let me focus my attentions on getting us inside while our friends occupy the troops and their machines without!” She created an illusion of an empty complex as the group raced into the main office building and burst into the presidential palace.

Saturn Girl punched a trooper in the jaw as she led the team she had founded so long ago. She touched another trooper and left him mentally dazed long enough for Chameleon Boy to sweep him aside with one flap of his elephantine wings. He soared over them and landed in the thick of a group of other guards, dispatching them to sleep with skill and precision. The Durlan was careful not to inflict any serious injury, since he was all too aware that they were mere pawns. He shaped his hand into a squared wedge and opened the door by matching the exact configuration of the lock. “Now for Universo!” said Cham.

Reflecto shattered a robot with a burst of heat-vision and followed them inside. After doing so, he glanced backward to watch Violet’s progress with his super-vision. She was boldly ripping wires and shorting out robots with her customary zeal.

Nearby, Timber Wolf dodged several of them before smashing back into them with acrobatic precision and devastating force. Lightning Lass sent her current surging and blew apart the controls in the hovering craft where three guards stood helplessly as she ruined their controls. “Don’t touch, boys! I’m too hot to handle!” she warned with her normal compassion. Blok merely marched forward to break apart a battle-bot with little reaction.

Back inside, Universo scowled in dismay. “Back so soon? I knew you’d return. How you escaped before is a mystery, but I’ll waste no time. All of you are my slaves from this moment on!” he said with a shout of triumph.

Saturn Girl winced as she fought his hypnotic power with her own mental conditioning. The blonde girl from Titan refused to yield as sweat beaded her brow.

Sensor Girl thought, A vision of a fake triumph may throw him off guard! With that in mind, she created an illusion in which all the team fell humbly to their knees before the villain.

Universo laughed and raised both hands. “I have mastered them at last!” he cackled as the heroes submitted to his will.

Moments later, he frowned and nodded to himself as if he was pleased with something he had done. “Clever girl,” he said. “Now I see through your illusion. I dismiss it so!” The reality shifted to reveal the true scenario in which the team struggled onward but had not yet fallen. “Once fooled, but never twice. I know your power, and I defy it, girl!”

Sensor Girl turned to the others. “He has overcome my efforts!” she called.

“I can add my own mental telepathy to block his efforts!” said Reflecto, straining to do so as Saturn Girl continued her own battle.

Chameleon Boy changed to a bear-like being and said, “Long live the Legion!” as he charged their foe.

***

Back on Oa, Krona’s victory seemed assured until the captive Guardian of the Universe suddenly broke free from the coma and contained Krona’s spirit-self in a nimbus of energy.

“You caught me by surprise,” declared the Guardian. “That alone enabled you to triumph. Now these youths have distracted you enough for me to free myself and return you ever more to the void of space, where your spirit shall never encounter sentient beings again!”

Phantom Girl and the others stood back up in relief. “You saved us!” she cried.

The Guardian turned to where his now-free Green Lanterns had entered. “We thank you, for it was your efforts that gave me the time to do so,” he said. “Had you not occupied him so, we might still be his slaves!”

“Can you shut off the energy drain?” said Mon-El. “Universo tapped your battery with Krona’s expert help!”

The Guardian gestured, and the energy bubbled around the now-expanded inertron. “It is done! Vidar shall never use our energies again! My brethren have departed for the outer realms in which they seek to initiate a new evolution among lesser beings. Still, I remain and will not falter again. I see a need which I may meet as well. Come with me, Legion!”

At that, they vanished in a green flash.

Return to chapter list