The Outsiders: Outsiders and Insiders, Chapter 1: Misadventure Inside Earth

by Libbylawrence

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“What are you doing?!” Windfall cried as she walked into her friend’s room and saw her holding scissors. “Don’t even think of cutting your hair short again! It’s so beautiful when it’s long!”

Gabrielle Doe, the super-heroine known as Halo, had sported a short hair look after cutting her hair last summer, but it had regrown and would soon be as long as it once was. “Oh, I was just thinking it was getting a bit long,” said the pretty blond teenager. “I also thought about changing my costume to a white one, but if you think that’s a bad look, then I’ll stay the same.”

Windfall grinned. “I wish I could get my hair to look like yours.”

Gaby turned to hug her young friend. “Well, since you’re starting a new life here with us, why not get a new look to match your new name and home?” she suggested.

Windfall, who now called herself Wendy Doe, smiled and said, “Thank you — and Tatsu, too — for letting me move in with you. I guess with Becky… hating me, I’m all alone.” (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “Agents of Change,” Adventures of the Outsiders #36 (August, 1986).]

A Japanese woman, who had overheard the conversation, now entered the room. “Not anymore, Wendy. We’re your family now,” said Tatsu Yamashiro, who was the swordswoman known as Katana.

***

“This place is downright bizarro,” said an amazed Coldsnap.

Heatstroke smiled at her beloved and said, “I think it’s like one of those Edgar Rice Burroughs novels.”

“I didn’t know you could read anything except Cosmo,” snapped New-Wave.

Shakedown was unhappily shouldering a clear glass, coffin-like object and sadly followed his punk princess leader. “How much longer do I gotta carry this thing around, Becky?”

“Don’t ever call me Becky again!” she snapped. “And you’ll carry it as long as I tell you to!”

“Say, you really throw your weight around, hon,” said a redhead who leaped close to New-Wave. “I like that in a leader.”

“Stick with me, Syonide, and you’ll never regret joining the Masters of Disaster,” said New-Wave.

They traveled deeper within the enormous crevice that led into the inner world miles below the Earth’s crust. “This place is weird. Why’d we come here again?” whispered Shakedown.

Heatstroke whispered back to the bald giant, “It’s where they can restore him — or so Becky claims. I think she’s right, since she did lead us right to these underworld tunnels.”

“Yeah, but why do we want to revive or restore this stiff?” asked Shakedown. “He was mean to us.”

“He has that evil genius flair, and he pays well,” said Coldsnap.

New-Wave thought she had made a wrong turn. “That creep who contacted me swore this was the right pathway and that he could revive the Baron for us. I hope he didn’t steer me wrong.”

“I’d never do that, my dear,” said a muscular man with long black hair who wore a golden cloak with a sword hanging over his bare shoulder, looking like a Barbarian from the cover of a sword and sorcery novel.

“Who the–?” gasped New-Wave as she turned into an evil-looking cascade of water.

“No need for a shower, my pet — I am the one who contacted you before,” he said. “I am the leader of the underground people. I am Kyack. (*) And with my machines and magic, I can revive your fallen employer, Baron Bedlam!”

[(*) Editor’s note: The Earth-Two version of this story, upon which the Earth-One version is based, is 4th story, Superman #13 (November-December, 1941).]

***

In the land known as the Inner-World, far from where the Masters of Disasters met with Kyack, several families shuddered and ran in fear. “He’s coming! Run! Run!” they cried as they glanced at the white, glowing sphere that illuminated their subterranean world.

Look! Up in the white light spectrum!”

“It’s a behemoth!” others shouted. “It’s one of Kyack’s legion!”

“Worse — it must be poor, mad Prince Raynor!” cried a third.

Then a strange craft appeared from below the powerful energy source called the white light sphere. The people had already fled, and none saw the true shape of the machine as it crawled through the Inner-World.

“This place is amazing!” said a pretty blond woman. She was the renowned geologist named Christie Madison. “That power source is worth the trip in itself.”

“I can’t see! Damn it, sit still, Lena!” cried a big red-haired man to a dancing lemur. He was Bulldozer Smith, a strong ex-convict and former sandhog who was an expert on tunnels. Lena was the name of the monkey who often accompanied the group on their missions.

“Oh, Ben, she is smarter than you, so let her look,” said a handsome blond man. This was the famed Johnny Blake, a devil-may-care spelunker who had once been romantically involved with Christie.

“Hardy-har-har,” sneered Bulldozer. “Johnny the pretty boy just made a funny. Call Mr. Ripley.”

“Quiet, you two — Cave’s making vital scientific adjustments,” scolded the demure blond as she pointed at him.

“Remarkable!” said their brave leader, a bearded, brown-haired man, as he scanned instruments in their underground tunneling vehicle, which was called the Mighty Mole. “This subterranean land is like nothing I’ve ever seen before — and the four of us have seen a great deal.” This man was known worldwide as the king of the underground explorers, Cave Carson.

“Great Scott!” Cave cried as his saw a blur enter his scope. A moment later, a man slammed into the Mole, and it rocked backward from the sheer impact.

“He’s crazy!” cried Bulldozer. “Some kinda Superman just knocked us for the proverbial loop!”

Indeed, an orange-and-blue-costumed figure with a handsome face and brown hair had flown down and was smashing through their craft as they struggled to stay on their feet.

“Ben, Johnny, get back! Protect–” began the leader. Then all went black as the powerful figure’s rapid fists knocked them all cold.

The costumed titan frowned at his own work. “Well done, Prince Raynor. You have served your master perfectly,” echoed a voice in his head. He gathered the fantastic foursome and carried them and the Mighty Mole down to his waiting master.

***

Sapphire Stagg-Mason could be very adorable when she chose to do so. Now she used all of her considerable charms to persuade her loving husband Rex Mason — the Outsider known as Metamorpho — into doing something he would really rather not do.

“Please help Daddy just this one time,” she cooed. “He’ll like you if you do, I just know it. Now that we’re married, and he can’t change that, he’ll come around if you’ll be the bigger man.”

Rex smiled, for he saw how much it meant to his shapely blond wife. “OK, babydoll,” said the element man. “I’ll bail out your old man, but I’m doin’ it for you, not for old Stagg. And also for his poor dupes, Cave Carson, Ben, Johnny, Christie, and that stupid lemur o’ theirs.”

Sapphire flung herself into his arms. “Oh, Rex, thank you! Daddy was trying to help all of mankind by financing the latest Carson underground expedition, and now they’ve vanished. You just have to rescue them!”

Metamorpho thought to himself, Yeah, old Stagg is a real humanitarian, just like I’m Diane Sawyer! If he forked over enough dough for them to go sightseeing below the surface of the earth, then he sent them there for a purpose all his own. And I bet it has somethin’ to do with lining his wallet or making my life miserable. But Carson is a good Joe, and I’ll save him, anyway.

He led his blond bride out to their living room, where a handsome black man named Jefferson Pierce sat idly beside the handsome, hulking figure of Brion Markov.

“Jeff, Brion, I got a job for us,” said Rex. “We need ta pull Cave Carson and company outta their latest crisis. We may even need the rest of the Outsiders.”

Jefferson, also known as Black Lightning, smiled. “Cave Carson! That’s a name I haven’t heard in years! I’d be glad to meet that guy.”

Brion, alias Geo-Force, said solemnly, “His name is known even in my homeland of Markovia. I shall aid him, too.”

“Thanks,” said Rex. “You guys are real pals.”

***

Windfall didn’t really like Lia Briggs at first, but she had to admit that, since her transformation from plain Gotham City bank teller Emily Briggs to the gorgeous Looker, she had mastered the arts of makeup and hair styling. She sat still as Looker worked on her blond locks. She and the other female Outsiders were in costume, since Looker had sensed they would soon be needed by the others.

“Now, darling, a bit of gel, and you’re ready to break hearts,” she said.

Halo smiled as her friends bonded, while Katana sat by them looking rather bored. Then Looker stiffened.

“Oh, dear!” she gasped, and fell forward. “Something is reaching out to me mentally — a cry for help from the Abyssians!”

Windfall used her powers to create a gentle updraft that cushioned her fall, and Halo and Katana ran to her side. As they gathered near the fallen redhead, a sudden pulse of energy swept over them, and they suddenly found themselves transported to the underworld land called Abyssia.

“By my ancestors, you’ve brought the heir and her allies!” cried an old man. “We may be saved yet!”

A tired woman nodded. “Please, Looker, save us from the invaders from the other inner realms. They threaten all of Abyssia, and you are the heir to our great ancient ruler.”

Looker glanced at Halo, Windfall, and Katana, and smiled. “Certainly, dear. But first, tell me… does anyone have a blow dryer?”

***

Later, as they gathered around a banquet table, the female Outsiders listened to the woman’s story.

“I am Rema, current leader of the Abyssians,” she explained. “We have two neighboring inner-world kingdoms. One is ruled by Kyack the Cruel, and the other is ruled by good King Nobic. Of late, we have found ourselves caught in a war betwixt the two nations. Kyack’s monsters and legions of soldiers have attacked our border, even as a maddened Prince Raynor, son of Nobic, has raided us from the other side. We turned to you out of desperation.”

“You say this Raynor is normally benign?” asked Katana. “Why would he suddenly turn berserker?”

“We do not know the cause of his madness, but we fear him greatly, for he has power akin to that of the upper world’s Superman!” said Rema.

“Superman?! Gosh!” cried Windfall.

“Dear, don’t be troubled by the super part,” said a calm Looker. “I can handle him because of the last part of his name — man.”

Then sirens echoed as an attack broke out.

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