by Starsky Hutch 76 and Martin Maenza
“What was that look that passed between you and Kristin Wells?” Lois Lane asked, giving Superman a suspicious glare.
“Uh… I’m afraid I don’t know what you mean,” Superman said, lowering her to the ground.
“Yeah, right,” Lois muttered under her breath.
Just great, Superman thought to himself. He had spent years trying to keep Lois from stumbling onto his secret, and now he had to worry about her prying into Kristin’s identity as well, or discovering the truth behind their relationship.
Mr. Mxyzptlk clapped his hands together in delight. This was going even better than he’d hoped. He really had the Super-sap over a barrel this time. With a snap of his fingers, they all disappeared from the underground dwelling.
When they reappeared, they were all hit with bright sunlight and the smell of salty sea air. A sailor stepped out of the cabin and onto the deck. At first glance, he appeared to be squinting into the sun until he came closer, and it was apparent that he was only squinting with one eye. “What’re ye landlubbers doin’ on me ship?” he snarled in a gravely voice. “Why, I’ll clobberize ya!”
Superman quickly stepped to the head of the group where the seaman could see him. “It’s OK, Captain Strong. They’re with me.”
“Superman?!” the pop-eyed sailor exclaimed. “What’s the meaning of this here clambake goin’ on the deck of me ship? Ya better have ya a good reason.”
“Oh, there’s a good reason,” Superman groaned.
“The best reason of all!” Mr. Mxyzptlk said, zooming forward to float before them. “A wedding! And you’re to perform the ceremony!“
“Well, blow me down!” Captain Horatio Strong exclaimed. He turned to Superman and muttered under his breath as he jabbed his thumb toward the imp. “While yer doing all this explainink, what’s the stery with that gooney-looking feller there? He surely ain’t the groom, is he? My gorsh! He’s so short, he can’ even touch th’ ground!“
“We can’t have a wedding!” Lydia Lee protested.
“Why not?” the imp balked.
Lydia looked at Kristin, who was equally trying to think of a way to stall the situation. “Um… well…” Kristin said, “…there’s no minister.”
Mxyzptlk smiled. “Don’t need one, toots! We happen to be on the open seas, and this musclebound swab happens to be a ship’s captain. That means he can do the ceremony all nice and legal.” The girls gulped.
“What about clothes?” Steve Lombard chimed in. “You can’t have a wedding in these ’50s get-ups.”
Mxyzptlk smiled again. “Leave it to your type to have fashion sense, football-head!” the imp sneered. “But you’re right. A proper wedding needs proper clothes.” He snapped his fingers, and suddenly the attire on everyone changed.
Lois Lane, Lydia Lee, and Gerta Gim-Ze were now adorned in pink bridesmaid gowns. Perry White, Jimmy Olsen, Steve Lombard, and Superman were now dressed in black tuxedos, the latter with a stylized S-shield on his lapel. Jasma Kent and Kent Shakespeare were now adorned in children’s versions of the same to serve the roles of flower girl and ring-bearer, respectively. Kristin Wells was now dressed in a beautiful white wedding gown with a long train.
Mr. Mxyzptlk was dressed in a tuxedo with matching black bowler hat. “There! We look like we stepped out of the style section of that rag White over there publishes.”
“Why, you!” Perry fumed.
“Easy, Chief,” Jimmy said, holding him back.
“There’s no music,” Gerta protested.
Mxyzptlk snapped his fingers, and an organ appeared on deck.
“Blow me down!” Captain Strong exclaimed. “That’s shur a beauty. Too bad me Olivia ain’t here ta play it. She does a mean Weddin’ March.”
“We don’t need anyone!” Mxyzptlk said. “It’s a self-player.” Indeed, the keys started to compress on their own as if an invisible man were at them, and music came forth from the pipes. “Any more details I’ve not addressed?”
Kristin could see that Superman had been quiet during all this. She hoped he was merely thinking of a way out of it all instead of being so bound by the imp’s magic that he could do little else. “Rings,” she finally said. “We need rings.”
“Done.” Mxy held forth his empty hand, and a pair of gold circles appeared in it.
“Uh-uh,” Kristin said, shaking her head. “No way I’m getting married with rings you popped up out of thin air. They need to be made of something real — tangible.” She thought she had him.
Mxyzptlk fumed. “OK, fine.” He paused for a second, considering. Then he plucked the crystal pipe from his tuxedo pocket. “How’s about this, then?”
Kristin said, “Well… that is real. But it isn’t a ring.”
Mxyzptlk concentrated. The crystal pipe became two perfect rings. “There! It’s tangible, just altered shape. Now you have no more excuses!” The imp floated over and placed them on a pillow that was in Kent Shakespeare’s hands. “Here, kid. Keep your eyes on these.”
Kristin swallowed. He was right. She didn’t have any excuses. She just hoped that Superman had some ideas on how to put an end to all this.
Mxyzptlk snapped his fingers, and the organ began to play the wedding march. Jasma walked along the path on the deck designated the aisle, spilling flowers from a basket. Gerta, Lois, and Lydia followed behind her. They, in turn, were followed by Perry White, with a very nervous-looking Kristin Wells on his arm, to the spot where Captain Strong stood with Jimmy, Steve, Superman, and the impish groom.
As Kristin moved to the spot before the sailor and next to her intended groom, Superman slipped her what appeared to be a note. As Kristin glanced at it, a look of relief came over her.
“We’s is gathered here today to celebratesk one o’ life’s greatesk momensk, to give recognishkun to the worth and beauty of love, and to add our best wishesk to the words which shall unite dese two ins holy matrimonsky,” Captain Strong read. “Shoulds there bees anyones whos gots cause why dis here couple should not be unitedsk in marriage, they must speak now or forever hold their peacek.”
Everyone looked around at one another, but no one said anything, so Captain Strong continued. “Who is it that brings this woman to dis gooney little feller?”
Perry White stepped forward and sighed, “I do,” before stepping back.
Mxyzptlk then eagerly zoomed forward and took Kristin’s hand in his. “OK, OK, let’s get on with it!” the imp said excitedly. “Give us the Reader’s Digest version so we can get on to the honeymoon.” He gave Kristin a wolfish leer.
“Wait a second,” Kristin said. “A girl only gets one wedding, if she’s lucky. Here are some special vows I’d written for the occasion.” She held a piece of paper out to Mxyzptlk and gave one to the Captain.
“Special vows?” Mxyzptlk chuckled. “I knew you were just playing hard to get.”
“Okey-dokey, ma’am,” Captain Strong said, taking the sheet of paper from her. He turned to the imp and said, “Do you… er… hmmm. This is quite a moniker you got here, little fella.”
“Yeah, yeah, it’s a family name,” the imp said with a shrug, rolling his eyes. “Get on with it.”
“Do you… Miggyspits…”
“Do you, Pixiesticks…”
Behind the imp, Steve, Jimmy, and Perry began to snicker at the imp’s dilemma. Even Superman was struggling to keep a straight face. Kent, the ring bearer, was making no such effort and laughed out loud.
“Mxyzptlk! Mxyzptlk! Mxyzptlk!” the imp shouted, jumping up and down in midair. He floated over to Captain Strong’s side and jerked the piece of paper out of the sailor’s hand and shouted, “Look here, you squinty-eyed buffoon! It clearly says Kltpzyxm!“
“Well, blow me down. So it does,” the sailor said smugly.
A look of horror crossed the imp’s face as he began to disappear in a puff of smoke. “Aw, heck.”
“Gorsh! I cain’t believes it woiked!” Captain Strong exclaimed.
“Thank goodness it did,” Kristin exclaimed. “You played your part beautifully, Captain.”
“Gullible little cuss,” the sailor said.
“Mxyzptlk has a way of getting caught in the moment,” Superman told him. “You wouldn’t believe how many ways we’ve had to trick him into doing the same thing over the years.”
“Why are we still here, though?” Lois said. “In the past, things have always gone back to normal after he said his name backward and was returned to the fifth dimension. We should have been sent home.”
Superman’s gaze drifted to the cushion Kent was holding where the two crystal rings rested. “It must have something to do with the crystalline entity Mxyzptlk was bonded to when he cast the spells. Because of that, the magic he worked is permanent this time.”
“Oh, great,” Kristin said. “That means I’ve still got a society of mole-people living underneath my home.”
“Don’t worry, Ms. Wells,” Superman said, turning to her with a half-grin. “I’ll be more than happy to relocate the mole men underneath Clark’s and your house.”
“So is the bond severed now?’ Jimmy asked.
“It certainly looks that way,” Superman said.
“Ya reckon he kilt it when he split it in two like that?” Captain Strong asked.
“I doubt it’s possible to kill something like the crystalline entity,” Superman said. “But at the very least, I think he’s put it in a sort of inert state.” He lifted the rings off the decorative pillow Kent held. “And it’s time the entity left Earth again so it can’t cause any more trouble.” With that, Superman reared back in a stance that would make any Major League pitcher proud and threw the rings into the sky, where they soared up into the heavens and then into space.
The rings continued their voyage through space at high speed, then passed through a wormhole that sent them back through time to the past. This was, of course, no mere quirk of fate.
On a faraway planet called Exor, a few years in the past, a pair of purple-clad twins strolled through a lush green field, followed by their blue-furred, simian-like pet. They were nearly identical, with their black hair, golden skin, and sharp features and pointed ears. The only discerning feature between them was that one was male and one was female.
They looked up as they saw what appeared to be a falling star plummeting to the ground. They raced to where it had fallen and were surprised to see that it was actually a pair of rings. The male twin reached down toward it and lifted the crystalline rings up, holding one out to his sister as he smiled broadly.
And Zan and Jayna would use these rings to become the youthful heroes called the Wonder Twins, soon traveling to the planet Earth to warn them against a plot by the evil Grax to conquer their world. (*) But this was the past, and all this had already happened.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Secret Origins: The Global Guardians: Times Past, 1982: Heroes of the World, Unite!]