Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Beginning of the End, Chapter 3: Tales of the Mirrorverse

by Libbylawrence

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I was tricked into that Mirrorverse, too, as I said,” explained the Golden Wasp as he flew in the skimmer alongside Captain Comet and Starman. “There I found a world much like this one, with a few things reversed. The few things are rather significant, since, as you’ll see, they truly are a mad reversal of life as we know it here.”

“How so?” asked Comet.

“Well, I was in Bludhaven as I normally am, but instead of being a hero, I — the Golden Wasp — was held to be a criminal,” said Cameron Van Cleef. “I was greeted immediately by my fellow partner-in-crime in that world.”

“Who was he?” asked Will Payton. “The Cavalier?”

“No, dear boy, think in reverse,” said the Wasp. “There, the darkest criminal of all was the Batman!”

“Incredible,” said Will.

“But true, to coin a phrase. So there I was, facing the man who had battered me senseless so often, only imagine my delight. Imagine the irony. In that world, he was the evildoer, and I had the chance to fight for law and order! Thus I did, as you shall hear. Uh, where are we headed?”

“We’re heading for an ally,” said Captain Comet, “who I hope will aid us in finding and restoring Lisa, Angela, Bree, Debbie, and Rachel.”

The Golden Wasp nodded and continued his tale. “So I found myself facing Batman again, but he had not sought me out to pound my teeth into powder! He had come seeking his cut of protection money. He assumed me to be a criminal Golden Wasp.”

“So you had a double of your own there as well,” said Comet. “Did you play along?”

“Exactly,” said Wasp. “I offered him cash and then attacked him! I fired my stunner into his chest and kicked him in the mouth before flying off. He gave chase, and as I expected from all-too-frequent experience with the real Batman, he found me!”

You seem mighty smug,” said Starman. “What happened next?

“I led him to where I lived in the equivalent of my home in that realm,” said Wasp. “He discovered the Golden Wasp of that realm and pummeled him senseless! I took the opportunity to flee for time to think things out. No sooner had I reached Gotham’s outskirts, then the mirror shattered, and I found myself here again!”

“I can only assume Dolphin and the others met something or someone within that weird realm that led to their bizarre behavior in our world,” said Comet.

“I thought you decided the ones we fought were evil doubles,” said Starman anxiously.

“I no longer think so,” said Comet sadly as he dropped the skimmer down over an estate in St. Louis. “I believe they are our friends under some spell or compulsion that Wasp, here, escaped.”

“Where are we?” asked Golden Wasp. “I recognize the city but not the manor.”

“It is the home of a good friend from Earth-Two,” said Captain Comet. “He can help us track them and cure them, if anyone can.”

“Earth-Two?” said Starman. “You mean the magician?”

***

Nadir, Master of Magic, opened the door and greeted them warmly. His handsome features, dapper suit, and jeweled turban looked oddly fresh for so early in the morning. “My friends!” said the former rajah of an Indian fiefdom as he ushered them within his new home.

A brief explanation led Nadir to frown. “I can help you, at that,” he said. “My pupil June Moon is within, too. You recall I cured her of her possession by the evil Warlock of Ys. (*) Now she serves me as my trusted aide, a role once served on my world by my life-long servant, Arcot. (*) I often wonder what became of him after Atoman stole me from Earth-Two in 1938. (*)”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: A Cosmos Imperiled, Chapter 1: Secret Society at Stonehenge, Nadir, Master of Magic, New Adventure Comics #17 (July, 1937), and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Whatever Happened To…?]

A blonde woman wearing an outfit of pink and purple came forth, smiling at the heroes. “Captain Comet, I am glad to see you,” said June Moone, the Enchantress. “You helped me find myself after I was driven to attack you all by the Warlock. How may I repay you?”

“No thanks are needed,” said a smiling Adam Blake as he admired the mansion, idly wondering if Nadir had conjured it out of thin air.

“This is the Ruby of Life,” Nadir said, holding up a strange stone. “Or at least, it is this world’s version of it, I should say. It is identical to the one from Earth-Two, which my friend Sargon the Sorcerer wears. I made it a point to seek out such a tool after I left your team in our last case together to return to this world’s version of my homeland, India. Sargon needs it not, so I gladly found and employed it to supplement my own powers.

“I once relied completely upon this–” continued Nadir, holding up his left hand to display a ring, which looked to outsiders like nothing more than a wedding band, “–my magic ring. It was handed down to me through many generations by my ancestors, the rajahs of a small province in India. It was, in truth, the secret to my uncanny power, and with it I could accomplish unheard-of feats. Without it, I was little more than an ordinary human being. That is, until my trip to this world. Somehow, the interdimensional journey transferred all the supernatural power of this ancestral ring into my body, much like Tharka the Superwoman was transformed into an actual super-woman when she arrived here, and Joanie Swift regained her amazing super-speed.

“No, I don’t truly need the Ruby of Life,” explained Nadir. “But it is quite a formidable tool in my arsenal against crime. Yes, based here in St. Louis, I have decided to continue my life’s mission to wage war against crime in memory of my departed parents. For though they were murdered a world away by criminals long since dead by now, the innocents here on my adopted world still need protection from such knaves as they. Do you not agree, Captain?”

Captain Comet nodded, smiling in approval. “Well said, Nadir. I am glad you decided that you were not yet ready for retirement.”

“Far from it,” said Nadir, who was indeed still a relatively young man no older than he had been in 1938. “Now let us go save our friends.”

***

Dolphin had not met her double at first in the Mirrorverse, but she did find herself deep below the ocean as soon as the ray from the Mirror-Man’s device struck her shapely form. She had frowned in dismay, assuming herself to be merely transported to the ocean until she noticed the rich and ornate structures that covered the ocean floor. Cities — nofortresses lined the ocean floor while steely eyed troops guarded the gates of Atlantis.

I don’t understand how the city could be so vast, she had thought. It was ruined partly by the Crisis, yet here I find it grander than ever.

She swam nearer and was immediately attacked by a woman in gold chain-mail. “Aquagirl!” she cried with confusion as she struggled with the angry brunette. “What madness is this? You — you’re dead! But do you not recognize me? I’m Dolphin!

“I know who you are, and I’m going to pay you back for seducing my man!” shrieked Tula.

Dolphin knew she spoke of Aqualad, yet she barely knew the Titan. Ducking a punch, she slapped Aquagirl in the face. “I think we’d better go to Aquaman,” said Dolphin. “He’ll make you see the light.”

Aquagirl nodded. “He will settle things, truly, but not to your satisfaction.”

They entered the palace royal and approached the throne of Aquaman. He sat stiffly, and to her dismay, he waved one hook in place of a hand. He wore a dirty beard, and his hair reached his back in an unkempt mess.

So, little vixen, you dare flaunt your feminine wiles again in my land?” he leered. “You insolent tramp! Come to your lover, and perhaps you’ll be forgiven.” Dolphin was shoved forward into his arms, and he kissed her passionately.

Aqualad raced inside and cried, “You minx! You were with me last night. How can you betray me like this?”

Dolphin struggled free, wondering what madhouse she had fallen into. She fled from both men as they circled each other in anger and jealousy. She had no more left the palace when a strange force entranced her, and she knew no more.

***

The other women who had been sent into the Mirrorverse had experienced similar fates. The Golden Glider had battled an evil Flash, alias Barry Allen. She had marveled at how strange it felt to be the good girl in a fight against a twisted version of Central City’s hero. Moonbow had been placed in a position where she had to try to out-shoot an evil Green Arrow. The Cheetah had fought all her old demons when she faced an evil double of Wonder Woman. Mayflower had been even more confused when she met a good version of her father, Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man.

All of them struggled to reconcile their past experiences of what was the norm with the bizarre versions of life in the Mirrorverse. After doing so, they were each struck by some mental bolt that planted a compulsion to run wild within their minds when they returned to their own universe.

Now, all of them assembled in the mansion of Debbie Domaine, where they plotted against society. It was there that Captain Comet, Starman, the Golden Wasp, and Nadir the Master of Magic traced them. It was there that a fight began that altered Comet’s team forever.

Captain Comet had never really doubted that Nadir could find the renegade women. Nor did he doubt his own ability to subdue them. He did fear, however, that their experiences within the Mirrorverse might have altered them forever. He knew how delicate the mind could be. In the case of Debbie Domaine, he feared for her sanity with good reason. She had been the most maddened from her life as the Cheetah before therapy had finally soothed her demons. He prayed she would not be found in a condition even worse than her first state of health had been months before.

Nadir only hoped he could save them without having to perform any severe act of mental alteration upon them through his magic. Such control was the path to villainy, and he would not risk such a fate.

Starman only hoped that the sweet girl he had come to love in Dolphin had not been lost to him. Thanks to this experience and others, even he had begun to doubt the value of the heroic life.

The heroes burst into the lofty halls of Domaine Manor, where they saw the altered women. “Dolphin, it’s Will!” cried Starman. “I love you. Don’t run away!”

The platinum blonde merely smiled and approached him with a raw confidence unlike her normal demeanor. “I won’t run. I will force your insipid words down your throat!” she said as she swung at him. He gasped and caught her arm, only to be elbowed in the face.

The Golden Wasp fired a bolt of energy that shattered Moonbow’s bow, and he followed this up by wrestling her to the ground, only to be kicked in the stomach as she twisted aside. Can’t underestimate her — she can really fight, he mused.

Captain Comet stood still as Golden Glider and Mayflower launched attacks upon him. He knew neither one could hurt him, so he remained still, then probed Glider’s brain gently with his own powers. He found much there that alarmed him. A compulsion to rage and violently attack society had been planted within Lisa Snart’s mind. The pattern was very familar to him, since the mind that had done so resembled his own future intellect.

Great Scott! A Captain Comet from the Mirrorverse turned them evil! What an insidious trick, he thought. The plants the wrapped around him were easily ripped apart, and nothing Glider could do could hurt the hero.

Nadir touched the pouncing Cheetah and said, “I command you — relax and find peace!”

Her pretty face contorted with mixed emotions as she raised her claws, but she finally obeyed his mytical command. “Nadir, what — what came over me?” she said in halting tones. Nadir soothed her briefly, then touched the fighting mad Dolphin. She slapped him across the room, only to fall as Starman grabbed her from behind.

Captain Comet tried to unlock the mental prison that held Golden Glider’s will. He succeeded only after reading her inner thoughts more deeply than his personal code of honor could easily tolerate. She fell into his arms even as Dolphin was cured by Nadir’s touch. Mayflower and Moonbow were subdued as well, as Golden Wasp knocked Moonbow cold in a final desperate struggle.

***

Back at the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency, the unconscious women awoke to their normal selves. There, Captain Comet received bad news.

“I cannot continue with the team, now that I have seen how easily I can be first framed, and then altered,” said Lisa tearfully. “You should know this already from reading my thoughts when you cured me. I hope you will understand.”

“You are free to go, since you have served your time, but why can’t you stay?” asked Captain Comet. “Even I’ve been possessed before. I don’t blame you, nor does anyone else.”

Lisa smiled. “I just need time away. After seeing how my own brother Len could go to such lengths to bring me back to crime, being framed so easily by Kate, and even fighting an evil Flash — it all makes me need some time alone.”

She kissed Adam Blake gently, then walked out. He allowed her to go. But her departure was not the last.

“I also want to take leave,” said Starman, reluctance in his voice. “I-I can’t fit into the heroic life I always admired. To be a worthy Starman, I need more purpose, more direction. Dolphin and I are… well, we’ve talked, and we’re also splitting up. She can’t leave the heroic life, and I may not be able to stay within it.” He shook hands with Adam, smiled firmly, and left the building, flying westward.

Captain Comet slowly walked toward Dolphin’s room, where he heard soft sobbing.

Continued in The Forgotten Heroes: The New Guardians

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