It had been three months since the Zoo Crew — with the combined help of the help of the Just’a Lotta Animals, the Earth-Reverse-C Doctor Hoot, and the Siren Belles from both Earth-C and Earth-Reverse-C — bested the Nasty Menagerie, their more powerful evil counterparts from the aforementioned Earth-Reverse-C. (*) Thankfully, that was the only time the Crew had to face the Menagerie as a whole.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew: The Dark Side of the Crew.]
Granted, Fantastidrake escaped from Sting-Sting on his own a couple of times to stir up trouble for the heroes of Earth-C, and Swanky Poodle, Slashback, and Big Cheese pulled off a joint escape once and tried to frame their heroic counterparts Yankee Poodle, Fastback, and Little Cheese for a super-crime spree, but those were stories for another time. For the most part, things had pretty much settled back to normal for Earth-C.
Thankfully, there hadn’t been a single other-dimensional crossover in three months thanks to the fact that the dimensional barrier was strengthened considerably by the combined efforts of Alley-Kat-Abra, the good counterpart of Doctor Hoot, Zapanda, and Green Lambkin, who had further reinforcement from both the Martian Anteater and Aquaduck, using their latent telepathy to temporarily add their own combined willpower to Green Lambkin’s own.
Still, thanks to the dimension-vision device the good Doctor Hoot had given the Zoo Crew as a thank-you present for helping free his world from the Nasty Menagerie’s tyranny, the Zoo Crew could see that Earth-Reverse-C, while still far from a utopia, was still showing definite signs of improvement over the last three months. Crime had dropped considerably, as had the levels of that world’s pollution, and the landmarks and general buildings once regularly decimated by the Menagerie were being gradually restored and properly reinforced. With the steady decrease in crime, the more benevolent scientists — most notably the aforementioned Hoot — could focus more and more of their efforts on reducing famine and disease. Most importantly, a new Menagerie — a Virtue Menagerie — had made its rise over the past month on Earth-Reverse-C.
In addition to the Earth-Reverse-C versions of Dr. Hieronymous Horton Hoot and Samantha Drake, AKA the Siren Belle, this hero team also included Digger O’Justice, the Earth-Reverse-C counterpart of Digger O’Doom who, until after the Menagerie’s defeat, never got a chance to try one of the carrots from Ultra-Rabbit’s personal garden and thus was until then unable to assume his more powerful form. Another member was an Earth-Reverse-C mark-two version of the Salamandroid, possessing improved versions of the original Salamandroid’s powers, plus the added advantage of high-minded artifical intelligence and, fortunately, the heart to use both his brains and brawn to serve the side of virtue.
The rest of the team comprised a few good-hearted animals imbued with powers similar to those of fallen Earth-Reverse-C heroes. Just like the original Earth-Reverse-C Frogzilla, Frogzilla II gained the power to transform himself at will into a fifty-foot-tall amphibian powerhouse and maintain this form for extended periods, but Francisco Toadeus Frogington had two added advantages: a genius-level intellect, even in his more powerful form, and an electrified attack tongue. Solar Bear II, alias Greggory Grizzlimoore, had the same heat and light powers of the original, but to a slightly higher degree. Squawker II, alias Magina Von Sparrowsworth, had the same sonic powers as the original but with the added ability to absorb high-pitched sound waves to make her own powers stronger. And Cold Turkey II, alias Douglas Turkis Fowlerstein, had internalized versions of the same abilities as the original Cold Turkey’s cold gun.
The full details of the Virtue Menagerie and its origins were a story for another time, but it could be said that the team was created for two reasons. The first was because Doctor Hoot was not delusional enough to believe that another menace at least as formidable as the Nasty Menagerie had been wouldn’t eventually crop up, and the second was so that two of Earth-Reverse-C’s greatest heroes could have enough fellow heroes watching over their world to be able to go on their delayed honeymoon with a clear conscience.
But matters on Earth-Reverse-C had little effect on what was currently happening on Earth-C.
The Zoo Crew had just returned from a routine adventure when their recently installed, specially programmed super-computer’s early warning system detected the coming of something truly powerful — powerful enough to crack through the dimensional barrier in spite of all the aforementioned reinforcement.
Without a single word between them, the heroes instantly sprang into action, not knowing what to expect except that whatever it was would be ominously powerful.
Back on Earth-L — or, rather, up in deep space in the universe that contained Earth-L — a fearsome-looking spacecraft floated overhead. Inside this craft was a diminutive extra-terrestrial from Mars wearing an olive drab battle helmet and golden battle armor carrying a glowing sword. He was called the War-Ender, but his friends called him Marvin.
“At last, after decades of being trapped in that awful dimensional limbo, I can finally continue my campaign to destroy all sentient life everywhere in an effort to end all war once and for all, and thus free myself from that hideous curse I placed on myself in my callow youth. Oh, won’t that be lovely, hmmm?” said Marvin the Martian as he casually placed a giant glowing stick of space-dynamite into a cannon and prepared to launch it.
However, that ultra-powerful space explosive was surrounded by two glows that each produced a powerful force-field. One glow was green, and the other was golden; one glow came from the beam of a ring, and the other came from the beam of rod. Those two force-fields contained an explosion powerful enough to destroy the entire universe, just as another golden glow appeared in front of the extra-terrestrial. This glow brought What’s-Up-Doc, Sniffles Thunder, the Bunny-Goddess, the Skirt Chaser, and the PoultryGhost into the villain’s ship.
“The time has come for you to face cosmic retribution for your countless acts of genocide, War-Ender, so come along quietly, or we’ll have to muss you up,” the PoultryGhost threatened as the War-Ender shot out a blast from his energy sword that nailed the supernaturally charged chicken hawk.
“Resistance is futile. Prepare to be assimilated… Oh, dear, where did that come from? I’ve got the wrong script,” the War-Ender said in response just before he was nailed by a massive bolt of mystical energy.
“Ehhh, I had a li’l sum’tin’ ta do wid dat. I magically switched scripts in yer head, Marvin,” said What’s-Up-Doc with a light glow around his paws from the blast he just nailed the War-Ender with. Just then, the PoultryGhost recovered from the blast and surrounded the alien villain with supernaturally strong chains.
Though the chains didn’t hold the War-Ender for long, they did hold him just long enough for Moon-Howler to destroy the War-Ender’s cannon with a blast from his Acme Cosmic Control Rod and for Duck L’Orange to save the Moon-Howler from starting a 120,000-mile fall after his rod clunked out just after that blast. “Thank you, old friend,” read the sign the Moon-Howler was holding as the hero set to work trying to get his Acme Cosmic Control Rod working properly again; he succeeded just as Duck L’Orange teleported them onto the War-Ender’s ship.
Onboard, the Bunny-Goddess nailed the genocidal Martian with a superb double kick that was followed up by a super-speed haymaker and massive super-skunk-spray, both courtesy of the Skirt Chaser. This, in turn, was immediately followed by a combined energy blast courtesy of Witchbolt — under the command of Sniffles Thunder, naturally — What’s-Up-Doc, the Poultry-Ghost, Duck L’Orange, and the Moon-Howler.
From there, the heroes all attacked the War-Ender en masse, never letting up and throwing everything they had at the ominously powerful extra-terrestrial. Still, the villain managed to reach a lever on his ship that suddenly flashed the words, Back-Up Super-Weapon Initiated.
Instantly, the entire ship was surrounded by a massive glow that was getting larger and brighter by the instant. Fearing that it may be a self-destruct bomb designed to be powerful enough to take out the entire universe, What’s-Up-Doc, the PoultryGhost, Duck L’Orange, Witchbolt, and the Moon-Howler all combined their energies to create a double-edged force-field that would contain the blast on both ends, protecting the universe from the ship’s explosion and themselves as well.
Little did the heroes suspect that this was actually a portable super-black-hole generator intended to suck the entire universe into oblivion, and that they only succeeded in localizing the vortex’s pull to that ship and everybody onboard, including themselves.
“You’re dethpicable!” Duck L’Orange shouted at the War-Ender as he, his comrades, and their foe all got sucked down to who knows where.
On Earth-C, the Zoo Crew lay in wait at the area Alley-Kat-Abra’s mystic senses indicated the other-dimensional entity would most likely appear.
“For crying out loud,” grunted Pig-Iron. “We just got done putting Cold Turkey, Digger O’Doom, and the Cheshire Cheetah in the cooler, and now we’ve got something even bigger coming our way!”
“Well, look at it this way, P.I., it has been three months since we’ve last had to deal with other-dimensional visitors. For us, that’s pretty good,” Rubberduck said honestly as a huge flash appeared in front of them. Abra’s mystic shield protected the Crew from the full brightness of the flash, and the heroes all saw a flaming spaceship crash-land in the middle of Follywood.
“Aw, tarnation. Looks like this good ol’ boy’s got a fire ta put out,” Fastback said as he zipped over to the source of the fire and ran around the flames so fast as to create a vacuum.
Meanwhile, up in space, seven other super-animals under the protection of a green bubble reinforced by energy from four other sources just finished sealing up the black hole that brought them and their quarry to this universe before anything else could be sucked in.
“Well, now that that’s taken care of, let’s go deal with the War-Ender,” Duck L’Orange said as he added a giant outboard motor and steering wheel to the bubble.
“Ehhh, no offense, duck, but I’d betta lend a hand,” What’s-Up-Doc said as he used his magic to increase the speed of Duck L’Orange’s outboard motor, improved the sensitivity of the steering wheel, and even added a good set of brakes.