In the small kingdom of Modora-Granaco, the sultry Cassandra De Granaco smiled as she surveyed her land. She had become more beloved than ever before as the peoples of both small nations came to view her as a glamorous and caring leader with charisma and vision. She knew that she was loved, and she relished the sensation simply because of the power that accompanied such adoration.
She gently fingered one of the new stamps with her image, which celebrated the union of the two small neighboring lands. “I do not care for that picture,” she said. “I must have them do another portrait.”
“Green never was your color, my dear!”
The words hung on empty air as Cassandra whirled to look for the speaker. She frowned as empty air resolved into the form of an armored guardsman.
“How dare you enter unbidden?” she cried imperiously as a bearded man stood before her insolently. “Why are you wearing that armor? I vowed it would only be used rarely, if at all! Who is your commander?”
The man’s visage changed, and she saw him transform himself into her husband Bito Wladen, the villain known as Sonar. “Bito?” she cried. “How is this possible?”
He smiled smugly and said, “You heard what happened at my trial. I am a free man. I am free to resume my place by your side, beloved!” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The New Titans: The Zandia Solution, Prologue: The Summit.]
She scowled and said, “How did you enter this land unseen? How did you appear as a mere guardsman?”
He crossed his arms and said, “Surely you recall one of the very first purposes to which I turned my sonic science was the stimulation of certain parts of the mind? I can make anyone see what I choose! I once made Green Lantern think the very world around him had turned yellow!” He laughed and approached her slowly. “You have not mourned for me? You do not regret banishing me, do you?”
“I had no choice but to act as I did for the betterment of our people,” she said. “It was mere political expediency that forced me to do so!”
“And it is that same motive that makes it necessary for me to keep you alive,” warned Sonar. “Otherwise, I would slay you for your treachery!”
“The people cherish me!” said Cassandra. “You have seen as much if you have truly been here for some time.”
Sonar nodded and said, “I fear that is true. Greatness breeds respect, but superficial charms create admiration and affection. I will keep you here as what the Americans call a trophy wife.”
“How have you gained such power?” she said.
“I was asked by Doctor Cyber to eliminate an Eastern hero named Thunderlord,” he explained. “But I used her resources for my own higher purpose. I equipped a dupe with a version of my nucleo-sonic armor. It fed upon the hero’s sonic screams. I realized he would deduce as much and figure out a way to shatter it by releasing one terrible burst of incredible sonic power! While my pawn’s armor could never contain such raw energy, my own armor could not only store it but channel it into any number of remarkable uses! Thunderlord’s unique metabolic energies make me stronger than ever before! I am a man to be feared. As for Doctor Cyber, she has no hold on a man of destiny like myself.”
She smiled and stepped forward with one hand out before her. “I am yours to command,” she said.
He laughed and took her hand. “Indeed you are, since the same power that let me control your senses will also give me control of your very mind!”
She stepped into his arms and held him as he laughed.
Had he been able to see her expression, he would have been shocked to have seen a look of supreme contempt. Dolt! she thought. I took steps long ago to make myself immune to your sonic mind-games! Creating an illusion is a far cry from controlling my mind! I will allow you to strut and preen like the genius you think yourself to be, and I will act the part of dutiful wife, but I will find a way to take your new power for my own uses. And on that day, you will regret your actions, dear husband!
Sonar little realized that he was placing himself in a far more dangerous situation than he could ever have imagined.