by Martin Maenza and Doc Quantum, based on Super Friends #9 by E. Nelson Bridwell
Dressed in red, white, blue, and gold, the black-haired heroine thought over the facts the heroes had been briefed with before. The twins said that they overheard Grax say the last three bombs were on the two smallest visible continents and the one unseen one, Wonder Woman thought. That would mean the final bomb is here in Europe.
Suddenly, a figure soared alongside her as she ran across the Greek countryside. Dressed in red trunks and wearing a cape and helm made of golden fleece, the muscular hero kept pace with her.
“I thought I was pretty fast,” the amazing Amazon said, “but you’re keeping up with me.”
“Certainly,” said Aristides Demetrios, alias the Olympian. “I have the speed of Euphemos and the flying power of Kalais and Zetes. Would you expect any less?”
Wonder Woman recognized those names from her studies as a girl on Paradise Island. They were the names of some of the fifty Argonauts, heroes who had sought the Golden Fleece along with Jason on his ship, the Argo. She eyed his helm as they ran. Was what this man wore really the fabled item?
The Olympian caught her staring. “I can venture to guess what you are thinking,” he said. “You are wondering about my cape and mask, are you not?”
“Are they actually the Golden Fleece?” she inquired.
“Yes!” he said proudly. “From it I draw the powers and skills of all the Argonauts. I was blessed with this gift much like you bear gifts from the gods yourself.”
Wonder Woman nodded. He was correct about that. Suddenly, they started to slow as they approached an opening in a mountain range. “That cave,” she said, “is the only thing we found in Europe that has mysteriously appeared in the last few days.”
The Olympian nodded. “It clearly isn’t of natural origin. If a bomb is in there, we shall find it!”
Suddenly, bursts of energy shot toward them. “Look out!” Wonder Woman cried, leaping in front. She put up her wrists and deflected some of the blasts with her amazing bracelets.
“No danger for me!” the Olympian said boldly as the blasts bounced off his bare chest. “I have the invulnerability of Kaineus.”
The blasts continued, but the two were able to get closer to the cave and the source of the attack. “Guns!” Wonder Woman announced. She reached forward and grabbed one from its foundation. “My Amazon strength will take care of this.”
“And I will handle the rest,” the Olympian countered, smashing the metal with ease, “with the strength of Herakles.”
The two moved into the mouth of the cave, only for something to stir in the shadows. Suddenly, two large, humanlike forms rose from the shadows and lumbered forward. Slight whirs and hums could be heard from the metal warriors.
“By Helios!” exclaimed the Greek hero. “Now we have huge robots to deal with.”
Wonder Woman scoffed. “Is that all? I expected something more imaginative from a genius like Grax.” One of the robots took a swing at her. She ducked with ease and struck it back, landing her punch. “By Hera! These metal guards are awfully slow.”
The other one swung its fist at the Olympian, only for it to shatter its arm on his chest. “They’re not put together too well, either,” he said.
Leaving behind the wrecked robots, the two heroes pressed on into the cave. But around the next corner, a hissing sound could be heard. Suddenly, the air was thick with a colorful gas. The Olympian put his hand to his throat, choking but managing to croak out, “Gas!”
“I’ll handle it,” Wonder Woman said, reaching for the lasso at her side. Taking one end and spinning the rest over her head at a great speed, she created a wind to drive the gas up and out of their way. “There, that should help.”
“It does!” the Olympian said, regaining his strength. “Now I can take care of that pipe!” With his two hands, he bent the tube, crushing the end and blocking any further fumes from spilling forth. “That taught me a lesson. I put too much faith in my invulnerability.”
Wonder Woman nodded. She knew the story well — that Kaineus died of suffocation, according to the legends. While his body was invulnerable, his lungs were not.
The Olympian was not about to let his mistake stop him, though. “I’d better scan the place thoroughly — look through all the walls,” he said. “Just to make sure we get no further surprises.”
“You have x-ray vision — like Superman?“
“Something like that,” the bearded man said. “Lynkeus, the lookout on the Argo, could see through solid earth and stone. And I see this whole place is a maze of tunnels, but our goal is near.” He thrust his right fist forward into the rock wall. “All we need to do is take a shortcut.”
Wonder Woman followed as he burst through wall after wall.
Finally, their path opened up into a large chamber full of equipment. There stood a man in a military-like uniform, holding a laser rifle. “Curse you, fools!” the man shouted, firing his weapon. “I am destined to rule the world. Neither of you shall stop Colonel Conquest!“
Olympian ignored the blasts. “Haven’t you learned your pitiful rays can’t harm me?” he asked, rushing upon the attacker. He snatched the weapon and tossed it to the Amazon. “Hmmm, this specimen doesn’t seem to have a bomb.”
Wonder Woman looked about the room. “We hit the wrong place! The final bomb was to go off in less than fifteen minutes!” She tapped her JLA signaler. “I must alert the others!”
Moments later in the Justice League satellite, Wonder Woman convened with the other Leaguers, Supergirl, and the Club of Heroes members. They stood before a map of the Earth with the various locations of the bombs marked in red.
“That suspicious cave in Greece seemed to be the right spot,” the Atom said.
“But the bomb was supposed to be on a small continent,” Jayna chimed in, “not the biggest.”
Zan turned to the Maid of Steel. “And she already found one of them there.”
The Musketeer shook his head. “I don’t get it. Supergirl went to Asia, not Europe.”
Hawkman suddenly realized something. “Great Polaris! What fools we’ve been!”
“How so, Katar?” Hawkgirl asked.
“We’ve been thinking like Earthmen, even though some of us are aliens as Grax is!”
“What do you mean?” the Legionary asked.
“We’re accustomed to calling Europe a separate continent,” Hawkman explained. “But together with Asia, it’s really one large landmass.”
“Of course!” Flash said. “That means that Grax left his last bomb on the one continent we overlooked — Antarctica!“
The Gaucho adjusted the monitor controls. “And there it is!” he cried, getting a visual confirmation. “An area of absolute zero is registering on the scans. It’s so cold the very air is almost frozen solid. And it looks like it is surrounded by a whole herd of weird monsters, too!”
“We’ve got to get there fast and deactivate that bomb!” Supergirl said, heading for the transporter.
“Hold it!” the Atom shouted, checking the readings from the Gaucho’s shoulder. “The instruments show that this bomb is rigged to explode if any heat gets within twenty feet of it! Even normal body heat. If anything raised the temperature a fraction of a degree above absolute zero — boom!“
“Ugh!” the Flash exclaimed. “Even Captain Cold would be stumped by this one!”
“Maybe not,” the Musketeer said. “There was one heroine I found with the computer while you were all off fighting. Icemaiden of Norway might just be the right person to help.”
“We have to contact her fast,” Wonder Woman said. “We have less than ten minutes.”
“I’ll get her!” the Flash said. “You all get down there and deal with the monsters!” He darted into the transporter and vanished.
“You heard the man! Let’s move!” Hawkman replied. Everyone made for the tube to beam down.
As the last of the group vanished, leaving the Gaucho behind with the Exor twins, Will MacIntyre appeared from the elevator, a sandwich in one hand. “Hey, what was all that racket?“
“Hopefully the cavalry charging off to the rescue,” the Argentinean hero said.
“What? I missed it again?” the Canadian youth grumbled, cursing his luck. “I don’t believe this!”
The Flash made a quick trip to Norway and then sped toward the frozen continent with a passenger in tow. It was a woman dressed in blue with white gloves and trim. Her mask was also blue and her hair a frosty white in tone. “Ja, Flash,” Icemaiden said, “I can cut off all my body heat easily. Will this help?”
“It sure will!” the speedster said. “Hold tight! Next stop: ground zero!” He picked up his speed, and in moments he was zooming to join the others.
In Antarctica, the Squire and the Knight were being pursued by a beast. Wonder Woman then dived into it, wrestling the creature to the ground. Hawkman and Hawkgirl led an aerial assault, attacking monsters with their mighty mace weapons. Red Tornado whipped up a storm of ice and snow to confuse the monsters, while Aquaman and Supergirl took them out with mighty punches.
The Flash and Icemaiden stopped at the far edge of the battle. “OK, lady, this is as far as I dare go,” he said, putting her down to her feet. “The bomb is just over that ridge! You go take care of it, and we’ll keep these brutes out of your hair.”
“At once, Flash!” Icemaiden said.
Up in the satellite, Zan turned to the Gaucho. “What would happen if that bomb were to go off?“
“Best guess?” the Gaucho said. “Probably something like produce a massive amount of heat, enough to melt the polar icecap. That, in turn, would create a terrific flood across the globe, washing through some of Earth’s greatest cities. But worse than even that, amigo, it would throw the whole planet off-balance, possibly even sending it spinning out of orbit.”
“Whoa!” Will replied. “That’s major!“
“Indeed!” a sinister voice exclaimed. “But you four will not live long enough to witness it! Especially these two from Exor who ruined my plans! You I will destroy myself!” The quartet turned to see a blue-skinned alien man with four arms charging out from the shadows.
“Grax!” Zan exclaimed, recognizing the alien villain.
The Gaucho cursed in Argentinean Spanish and said, “How’d he get past the defenses?“
“Fools!” Grax spat. “With all the comings and goings, it was easy to analyze and duplicate the transporter beam the League uses. Then I beamed from my ship to here undetected! With the others gone, no one will save these whelps from my vengeance!”
The Gaucho sprang to his feet. “You won’t get away with this…”
Grax pulled a blaster from his belt and fired at the hero. The Argentinean went down with one shot. “Fool! I already have!”
“Gaucho!” Will cried, rushing to his side. He put his hand on the man’s wrist. Though the breathing was shallow, there was still a pulse.
The Wonder Twins, meanwhile, touched hands and activated their special powers.
“Form of a phlong!” the girl said, becoming a large horned beast from their homeworld.
“Shape of a wave!” the boy said, taking on a complete watery form.
“So,” Grax said, aiming his weapon. “Trying to overwhelm me, eh? I don’t think so!” He fired a shot at the beast first, and the creature fell to the ground, hard.
“Jayna!” the wave cried out. “If you hurt my sister–“
“What? You’ll soak me?” Grax mocked. “Please!”
“Zan, do it!” Will shouted out. The wave turned as if to question the command. “Do it, I said!”
The water form turned again and lunged for Grax. The alien villain laughed, not bothering to put up a defense.
Will gritted his teeth and thrust out his hands. Time to be the hero, he thought. Sparks flowed from his fingertips and arced through the air. They shot toward the wave that was Zan and, in turn, flowed directly onto and around Grax.
“Aaa-aaa-aaa-aaahhh!” the surprised villain screamed out as wave upon wave of electricity coursed through his form.
Zan moved out of the flow and touched the phlong, and the two transformed back into their normal human forms. “Jayna!” Zan cried.
The girl started to stir. “What happened…?” she groaned.
“Just a little Science 101,” Will crowed triumphantly as the villain fell to the ground. “Water conducts electricity.”
The Gaucho started to stir, too. “Way to… go… kid,” he said. “You beat… the bad guy.”
Will MacIntyre smiled. All in a day’s work for Canada’s newest super-hero.
Meanwhile, in Antarctica, the assembled super-heroes were still quite busy battling the monsters and keeping them away from the bomb.
Icemaiden, her body temperature now at absolute zero, found it very difficult to move in the frozen air. But even though it was like trying to walk through a thick wall of gelatin, she was able to defuse the bomb exactly as she had been quickly instructed to do.
Pulling one final wire just seconds before the bomb was set to detonate, she said, “There, that should do it!” Icemaiden paused for a tense moment as she waited for the bomb to count down to zero.
When it did, nothing happened.
“That did it!” she cried. “Not only is the bomb harmless — the air is returning to normal temperature — and the beasts are vanishing!“
Indeed, the monsters that the heroes were battling suddenly faded completely into nothingness.
“She pulled it off!” shouted the Flash. “I knew you had it in you, Icemaiden!”
But Sigrid Nansen’s thoughts were elsewhere. While defusing the bomb, she tried to keep her mind on the job at hand, but given that the fate of the world was in her hands, it was hard not to remember the last, hurtful words she had told her lover mere hours ago. And Sigrid vowed to never take her dear, sweet Anna for granted ever again, even if she had to give up being Icemaiden altogether. She was not so unique; perhaps someday soon someone else would take her place as Norway’s hero.