by Comickook and Marc Drayer
Meanwhile, in a small apartment in a nondescript building in the middle of Follywood, Pepe Le Pew (the Skirt Chaser), Daffy Duck (Duck L’Orange), Bugs Bunny (What’s-Up-Doc), and Lola Bunny (Bunny Goddess) were all chatting as Pepe used his super-speed to spin-change into his best tuxedo, and Daffy was recharging his power ring, just in case.
“Ehhh, hope ya two have a good time at dat Mista Retriva’s Easta charity ball,” said Bugs. “Lola ‘n’ I will continue to resoich ways ta retoin us ta Eoith-L.”
“You two had better find the way back this time,” Daffy said, fuming. “We’ve been stranded on Earth-C for almost three months, and I would really like to get back to our world — and especially my wife — sometime before the end of the year!” A bright orange glow surrounded his left hand as he spoke. “The only reason I even agreed to go to this charity ball was to shut Le Pew up about how I need to relax and take my mind off our failures thus far to find a way back to our world, even with the Zoo Crew’s help!”
“But Daffy, mon ami, being on this world hasn’t been all that bad, no?” said Pepe.
“Easy for you to say, Pepe,” fumed Daffy. “You actually get to see that poodle you’ve been so crazy about anytime you want to. Me, this is the first time since Molly and I were married twenty years ago that I have ever been away from her for more than a few hours at a time, and I happen to be worried sick about her!”
“Like you said, Daffy,” said Lola, “ever since we got stranded in this world following that battle with virtually all of the Looney Society’s greatest foes, we’ve been trying to get home. (*) However, even with yours and Bugs’ combined mystic energies and the help of the Zoo Crew, we haven’t been able to leave this world and return to our own. I still say there’s something wrong with the multiverse right now.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew: Crisis from Earth-L.]
“So, until we do find a way back,” suggested Pepe Le Pew, “we simply make the most of it, no?” At that, he super-sped out of the apartment and clear out of the building to pick up Rova.
“Meanwhile, Bugs,” said Daffy, “if you and Lola by some miracle do find a way for us to get back to our own world, be sure to contact me via telepathy, OK?”
“Ya got my solemn woid dat we will contact ya,” said Bugs, “along with Pepe ‘n’ da Zoo Crew da instant our resoich toins somet’in up, Duck.”
“Thanks,” said Daffy, sighing. “Well, at least I’m going stag, so to speak.” And at that, he teleported himself out of the hotel in a burst of emerald energy.
“Well, at least we won’t have to worry about one of Daffy’s temper tantrums ruining our concentration at crucial moments,” said Lola.
“Yeah,” said Bugs. “Dat means we’ll be able ta focus on our resoich unhindered.” Looking lovingly at Lola, he added, “Errr… ‘less, of course, ya’d like ta…”
“Sorry, Bugs,” said Lola, stopping him in his tracks. “No offense, but I’m just not in the market for anybody as anything other than a good friend, which I’ll admit you are. However, our relationship can never go beyond the platonic.”
“Ahhh, well,” said Bugs, shrugging. “Can’t blame a rabbit fer tryin’.”
On a far-off beach, a very lonely looking male platypus in a long black trenchcoat was sitting down, sulking. At one point “Doc” Bill Platterpuss had been a stunt-mammal, and a good one, too, at least in his own eyes. However, when that lousy Byrd Rentals decided to do his own stunts for The Canine-Bull Run, he lost an employment opportunity, which was made worse after he was busted for trying to sabotage Rentals during the filming under the guise of Power Platypus. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Road to Disaster,” Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #17 (July, 1983).]
Now Platterpuss had a prison record. One of the few good points of being a lightweight criminal (especially compared with the likes of the Armordillo, the Squawker, Cold Turkey, and the members of the Nasty Menagerie) was that he had gotten off with a relatively light sentence and had already served his prison time. But now that he was out, he had nothing to do except think some more about what he had done. Why couldn’t he live up to his chosen code name of Power Platypus? If only he had the power of those big-name baddies, then he’d show them all.
As Bill Platterpuss was kicking through the sand, he came across a bottle that looked like it had something in it. Curious, he examined the bottle carefully and tugged on the cork. Though the cork was on tight, the former stunt-mammal was able to eventually get it loose.
Suddenly, the whole beach was filled with red smoke. “At last I’m free — free to seek vengeance on she who had imprisoned me!” the smoke cloud said as it slowly assumed a more solid form and stood revealed as the evil genie Gnudini. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Great Gnudini,” Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #18 (August, 1983).]
Platterpuss started thinking to himself that this could be his big chance — to have the power to be taken seriously and get revenge on Rubberduck. “Excuse me,” the ex-convict began, “but as a genie, you are contractually bound to grant the wishes of the one who released you. Mind you, I want revenge on those who have wronged me, too, but…”
“I will deal with you after I have taken care of Alley-Kat-Abra,” Gnudini replied.
“Perfect — one of my enemy’s teammates,” said Bill, grinning. “I can take care of the entire Zoo Crew at once with your help. I’ll finally be able to live up to my chosen code name of Power Platypus!”
Gnudini considered the situation silently. This odd-looking mammal was just greedy enough and obsessed enough with revenge to be easily manipulated into doing Gnudini’s dirty work for him. “Very well. What is thy wish, O master?” Gnudini said with an evil smile.
“I wish to possess all of the combined powers of the Armordillo, Digger O’Doom, the Squawker, Solar Bear, and the entire Zoo Crew, including that new guy I’ve heard about — Stormwing,” Power Platypus replied. “Furthermore, I want all the powers to be permanent, and I don’t want my outward physical appearance to be altered in any way. That way, my newfound powers will be kept secret from the Zoo Crew until it’s too late.”
Gnudini nodded, eagerly granting the ex-stunt-mammal his wish. “From now on, Power Platypus, you will easily live up to your chosen code name. So it has been said, so it has been done,” the evil genie replied, not being able to resist ending a bit dramatically.
Now utterly crackling with incredible power, Power Platypus tested his new Squawker power on a nearby boulder and his newfound Solar Bear powers on yet another boulder, shattering the first into dust and melting the other into slag. He also tested his newfound super-strength — the combined strength of Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, the Armordillo, and Digger O’Doom — on yet another six boulders, juggling them all very easily and, after a while, slashing through them with his new super-claws.
“Look out, Zoo Crew,” the former stunt-mammal cackled, “the new, vastly improved Power Platypus is gunning for you!”
The newly energized Power Platypus then tried out his new weather powers. Immediately, hail and lightning fell all around him. He smiled evilly. He waved a paw and vanished.
In Bel-Airedale, the Skirt Chaser zoomed out to open the door just as Rova Barkitt and Byrd Rentals exited the mansion.
Having stopped along the way at the jewelry store, where he purchased a golden necklace for Rova, Pepe Le Pew said, “Ah, mademoiselle, you look exceptionally magnifique tonight.” He gently kissed Rova on her front paw, then held out the gold necklace he bought for her. “A gold necklace, but not even a quarter as lovely as its intended recipient, no?”
Rova, blushing, accepted Pepe’s offered gift with gratitude. “Why, thank you, Pepe!”
“May I give you and Monsieur Rentals a lift to the party?” asked Pepe.
“You can give Rova a lift, Pepe, if she wants you to,” said Byrd, looking at his watch. “Me, I’m just waiting for my limousine, which should be here any minute. I still have to pick up Samantha.”
“Very well, Pepe, dahling,” said Rova. “You may give me a lift. After all, I know your special invisible aura protects you and anyone or anything you carry from the friction of your great speed. Just slow down to normal walking speed and place me down gently once we get near the Retriever mansion.”
Pepe Le Pew smiled and said, “But of course, Mademoiselle.” Gently picking up Rova, the Skirt Chaser carried her at super-speed out of Bel-Airedale.
The Zoo Crewers had just finished listening to the newly arrived Captain Carrot and Alley-Kat-Abra’s story about meeting the Cosmic Watch-Hare while everyone completed their preparations for their Easter dinner. Miraculously, they had managed to set a table full of delicious food without Pig-Iron spoiling their plans.
“That looks like enough fer me, but what about the rest of you?” said the porcine powerhouse, already munching on some snacks. Captain Carrot and Alley-Kat-Abra just groaned.
Just then, the lights went out, and a fierce snowstorm suddenly howled outside. “This wasn’t in my forecast!” said Stormwing. “Just when things were settling down, all you-know-what breaks loose!”
Sinister laughter broke from outside. “How do you all like my new powers, Zoo Crew? Prepare to meet the revenge of the newly powerful Power Platypus!”
The assembled Zoo Crewers were soon out on the roof of the Z-Building in the middle of the giant blizzard. “So you like weather, do you? Try this on for size,” said Stormwing. A hailstone twice the size of the platypus came hurtling down.
Power Platypus merely struck out at it, and it shattered into a million pieces. “Strike one!”
“We could be in trouble with this one,” said Alley-Kat-Abra, preparing an attack of her own with her Magic Wanda.
“Speak for yourself, kitty-cat,” Pig-Iron said as he charged the now-super-powered former stunt-mammal with both fists posed for action.
“Wait, P.I. — let’s not go rushing in recklessly,” Captain Carrot said, trying but failing to restrain Pig-Iron. “You saw how that super-sized hailstone harmlessly smashed against him!” But the heroic hare figured that, if he couldn’t stop the powerful purple pig, he might as well try to help him. With that thought, Cap leaped into the fray himself, both of his feet posed for a double-legged seismic kick.
Power Platypus grinned as the Zoo Crew’s two physically strongest members rushed him simultaneously and posed himself for their double-teamed attack. Fastback saw this and zoomed in at super-speed for an attempted double haymaker. However, the super-speed-adjusted senses of the now truly powerful platypus enabled him to see the hyper-fast terrapin coming. Thus braced, Power Platypus just smirked as Pig-Iron, Captain Carrot, and Fastback all nailed him with simultaneously, Pig-Iron with a double-uppercut, Captain Carrot with a double-kick, and Fastback with a double-haymaker.
Though the combined attack knocked him back a few feet, the platypus was still on his feet. With a super-fast motion, Power Platypus grabbed Fastback and threw him hard into both Captain Carrot and Pig-Iron. Immediately afterward, the ex-stunt-mammal nailed all three with a combination sonic blast and heat blast. “Strike two,” Power Platypus said with an evil smile.
Meanwhile, at the Retriever mansion, Jackson Retriever and his servants were making the final touches on the preparations for the charity ball, the proceeds of which were going toward the Easter Seals, a charity that helped the disabled and those with special needs. But already the guests had begun to arrive, the first of which were Rova Barkitt and her date, Pepe Le Pew, thanks in secret to Skirt Chaser’s speed.
Byrd Rentals and Samantha Drake arrived at the mansion in a fancy limousine a little while later, and Byrd had been uncharacteristically quiet during the ride. As a famous and sought-after actor, he had been a ladies’ duck for all of his adult life, having had several short-lived relationships with Follywood starlets such as Loni Antelope, but there was just something about Ms. Drake that reduced him to a teenager when he was around her. Now he just wanted things to go smoothly so nothing would mess up his rare chance with her.
The limo came to a stop, and Byrd gallantly took Samantha’s hand to help her out of the vehicle. She was stunning in her silvery blue dress, and Byrd found his heart pumping quicker than ever. “Care to join me, milady?” he said as he offered her his arm.
“Why, I do declare you’ve turned into a gentleduck!” Samantha said, laying her natural Southern accent on a bit thickly. “Will wonders never cease?”
“You haven’t seen anything yet,” Byrd replied with a wink as they stepped into the Retriever mansion and were announced to the other guests.
Samantha Drake, the Siren Belle, began to wonder if she had been wrong about Byrd; she’d assumed he was merely interested in her as another romantic conquest. But this famous Follywood actor seemed genuinely nervous around her, like a schoolboy with a crush. Despite herself, she found it endearing.
Byrd just couldn’t stop grinning as they walked in, arm in arm. Finally, after all this time and despite all odds, he and Samantha were together at last. He hoped this night would never end.
However, unknown to Rubberduck, back at the Z-Building, a battle was occurring with an old enemy of his that would prove to be very unfortunate for his love life.
“I don’t get it,” said Alley-Kat-Abra, even as Power Platypus trapped Stormwing in a series of Yankee Poodle-style bio-magnetic stripes. “From what Byrd told us, the last time Rubberduck fought Bill Platterpuss, he was nothing but a joke in a costume then. Where did he get the power to take down Cap, Pig-Iron, and Fastback single-handedly?”
“Not to mention Stormy,” Little Cheese replied. “It’s like this guy has all our powers combined.”
“Not just your powers, Zoo Crew, but also those of the Armordillo, the Squawker, Solar Bear, and Digger O’Doom!” Power Platypus shot back, obviously picking up Little Cheese’s comment with his new super-hearing. “And I overheard your comment about being a ‘joke in a costume,’ little witchie!” he added. “Say, where’s my old punching-bag Rubberduck, anyway? I was hoping I’d have a chance to make up for the way we left things last time I saw him. Heh-heh-heh…”
I wonder… Alley-Kat-Abra thought to herself, and she magically unleashed a blinding flare that was especially rough on Power Platypus’s new super-eyesight. She followed this up immediately with a series of ultrasonic vibrations even more potent than the Squawker could produce to wreak havoc on his super-hearing.
With the ex-stunt-mammal momentarily blinded and deafened, Abra quickly cast a healing spell on Captain Carrot, Pig-Iron, and Fastback while trapping Power Platypus in a whirlwind. While the wind kept the newly super-powered platypus busy, Fastback and Captain Carrot proceeded to tie him into a big series of knots while she focused on freeing Stormwing. Before Power Playtpus could free himself, Alley-Kat-Abra and Stormwing combined their powers to produce an absolutely freezing wind that trapped the ex-stunt-mammal in a rather sizeable glacier.
“Fortunately, he may have had our powers, but not our experience in using them,” Alley-Kat-Abra said. “Now all that remains is to find out who gave him these new powers.”
“I haven’t the foggiest,” said Stormwing. “This Power Platypus seems to have all the power anybody could wish for.”
“Wish!” said Alley-Kat-Abra. “That kind of thing could only come from a genie, and I can think of one whom I fought long ago — the Great Gnudini!”
“If only we could wish this here Power Platypus powerless,” said Fastback. “He’s th’ most pow’ful villain we’ve done fought!”
“Time to send out search parties again,” sighed Captain Carrot. “So much for our big Easter dinner.” But the Zoo Crewers had run out of options, so they split up into teams and began their search for Gnudini.