“And so it is with great pride that I declare this Teen Titans Day!” a middle-aged politician said to the crowd of spectators. He stood at a lectern on a wooden stage. Behind him stood nearly the full membership of the New Teen Titans: Nightwing, Wonder Girl, Starfire, Cyborg, Raven, Changeling, and Kid Flash.
“Glad you could make it today, Wally,” Nightwing whispered to his longtime friend, “despite your retirement.”
“Thanks,” Kid Flash whispered back, thinking about his condition. “But I still wouldn’t miss this. It’s a shame Garth couldn’t make it.”
“I know. Can you believe it’s been over eight years since the three of us first met here in Hatton Corners?”
“Time runs faster than I do,” Kid Flash observed.
“And now we have the leader of the Teen Titans to say a few words. I give you… Nightwing!” Mayor Corliss turned the lectern over to Nightwing amid thunderous applause. Nightwing felt slight amusement at the knot in his stomach. He’d faced dangerous villains like the Joker, Doctor Light, and Brother Blood without blanching, but public speaking still terrified him.
“Eight years ago, three young heroes met here to stop a menace to freedom. What they didn’t know was that, as they did so, they stood on the edge of history. They were setting a trend, were starting something wonderful that would continue, would be perpetuated by other young heroes to follow. They–“
“–Talk too much,” a voice from the crowd shouted. All eyes turned in the direction of the voice and saw a man whipping off his hat and coat to reveal a green and purple costume, a bald head, and a sinister gleam in his eyes.
“Lex Luthor!” Nightwing gasped. “Everyone please disperse! Give this man a wide berth! He is one of the most dangerous–“
“Look!” Starfire cried, pointing into the sky. Everyone did and saw something flying down toward them — something in a human form.
“Who is that?” Raven asked as the flying form came into view.
“Beats me,” Cyborg said. “It looks like Superman, but — dang!“
The group echoed Cyborg’s sentiments. The flying figure did resemble Superman, but something was terribly wrong. Where Superman’s costume was brilliant blue, this one’s was a flat and lifeless black. Where Superman’s was bright, candy-apple red, this one’s was the deep crimson of blood. The familiar S-symbol was enclosed in a red prohibit. And the face — well, Superman’s face never looked like that.
“Teen Titans, let me introduce you to Supremo,” Luthor crowed. “He’s like a son to me… mostly because I created him. Supremo, say hello.”
Wordlessly, the one called Supremo puffed out his cheeks and blew. A gale-force wind struck the Titans, bowling them over.
“X’hal!” Starfire cried. “This must cease!” With that, the alien warrior fired twin star-bolts at the one called Supremo. To everyone’s surprise, the bolts were stopped in midair by a glowing green shield.
“What the heck was that?” Changeling gasped. “If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that shield was made by a — power ring?“
“The cigar goes to lettuce-head,” Luthor chuckled. “Supremo, you see, has all the powers of the Justice League of America!”
As if on cue, Supremo conjured a green bow and arrows with his power-ring energy and proceeded to fire them with surgical accuracy. The New Teen Titans narrowly avoided them.
“A couple of years ago I had Amazo, the one-man Justice League, in my possession,” Luthor explained. “Before I sicced him on Superman, I did a comprehensive scan of his android body to find out what made him tick. It took me a while, but I managed to exactly duplicate his construction.”
“So why attack us?” Nightwing asked. “Not that I don’t relish the opportunity to thump your bald head, but–“
“Don’t you get it?” Luthor asked. “Your deaths will only be a bonus. I came here to add the powers of the Teen Titans to those of the JLA that Supremo already possesses! With all that raw might, Supey won’t stand a chance!”
As if to illustrate Luthor’s words, Supremo launched twin star-bolts at the startled Teen Titans. Starfire was unused to being attacked with her own power, and she was startled.
Cyborg pressed the attack, launching waves of white sound at the powerful android. Supremo shrugged it off and retaliated by blasting Cyborg with a miniature tornado.
“Wally, you don’t have to be in this fight,” Nightwing whispered to Kid Flash. “We all understand if–“
“Later for that,” Kid Flash snapped and broke into a swift run. He raced straight at Supremo, ready to pummel the android with a flurry of super-speed fists. But Supremo, endowed with the speed of Wally’s uncle Barry as well as his own, was too quick for him and swatted him away.
“Someone needs to hold that bad boy down,” Changeling announced, “and I’m just the one to do it!” With a thought, the impulsive young hero changed into a large green octopus, tentacles flailing.
“Gar, no!” Wonder Girl cried. “Supremo can–“
But before Wonder Girl could finish, both she and Raven were caught in Changeling’s undulating tentacles.
“Blast Gar!” Wonder Girl cursed. “Supremo has Aquaman’s command over sea creatures, and I can’t break these tentacles without hurting Gar! That stupid–“
“Do not blame Garfield,” Raven said calmly, struggling against the tentacles holding her. “I felt Supremo touching Garfield’s mind with his own. He used the telepathic abilities he absorbed from myself, or possibly from the Martian Manhunter, to plant the suggestion of changing into an octopus in Garfield’s mind.”
“I had hoped you kids would put up more of a fight,” Luthor said, smirking. “You’re not giving Supremo much of a workout.”
“Maybe I will, Luthor,” a powerful voice boomed from above.
“Ah, so it’s you, my old friend,” Luthor said warmly as Superman flew into view. “News travels quickly these days, and you even moreso.”
“Give it up, Luthor,” Superman demanded, “before any innocent people get hurt.”
“I like that,” Luthor laughed mirthlessly. “Innocent people. Like, for instance, the people of Lexor? Get him, Supremo!”
With that, Luthor’s android turned its full fury on Superman. Star-bolts hammered into the Man of Steel’s chest, followed by a power-ring blast and then an attack of pure white sound. Superman stood his ground but buckled slightly under the intense assault.
“Come on, Titans!” Nightwing rallied the team. “Superman needs us!”
With Supremo’s attention focused on Superman, his concentration wavered from Changeling, and the young hero fought off his mental commands. Thus released, Wonder Girl and Raven joined the attack. Supremo erected a green force-shield to protect his back as he continued to pummel Superman, but Wonder Girl cracked it in two with her golden lasso. Supremo turned to the Titans and attacked them all with a two-pronged sonic assault, combining Cyborg’s white-sound blaster and Black Canary’s sonic cry. As the New Teen Titans reeled under this, Superman drove his way through Supremo’s energy-blasts to land a roundhouse right on the android’s jaw.
“Give him all you have, Supremo!” Luthor encouraged. “Give it all to him at once!“
Supremo obeyed. A combined assault of star-bolts, power-ring blast, white-sound blast, and heat-vision struck the Man of Steel. Superman quickly countered with his own heat-vision; the energies met in the air in a dazzling display of light and power.
When the spectacle faded, the battlefield had somehow gained two participants.
“Wha — who the devil is that?!” Luthor exclaimed.
The two orange-skinned men looked around at their surroundings, then at each other. When their eyes lit on one another, their startled expressions changed to ones of pure hatred. Instantly, they drew their pistols and aimed them at each other.
“Oh, no you don’t!” Superman shouted. “Titans, don’t let them fire their guns!” At super-speed, the Man of Steel flew toward the aliens. One of them was too quick for him and swung his pistol around at Superman. He squeezed off a blue-white bolt that clipped Superman in the shoulder. The Man of Steel grunted in pain.
“I don’t know who those two are,” Luthor cackled with glee, “but if they’re against Superman, they’re on my side! Supremo — press the advantage!”
Without giving any other sign that he had heard the command, Luthor’s android blasted Superman with star-bolts.
“I don’t know what the heck’s going on,” Cyborg said, “but if Superman says don’t let them fire, I don’t intend to let them fire!” With that, the cybernetic Teen Titan charged the alien nearest him. Cyborg closed ranks with the alien before he could fire his gun and grabbed the being’s wrist. The alien’s strength was incredible, and Cyborg tussled with him, neither giving an inch.
“Need a hand, Victor?” Wonder Girl asked as she lassoed the alien around the waist.
“Anytime, Donna!” Cyborg grunted as he attempted to force the alien back.
The second being leveled his gun at the combatants and gently squeezed the trigger.
The orange-skinned being blinked in amazement as his finger closed on empty air. He looked around him and saw Kid Flash, standing a hundred yards away, holding his gun.
Nightwing came up behind his longtime friend, who was gasping for breath.
“You OK, Wally?” Nightwing asked.
“I’m… fine,” Kid Flash insisted. “The super-speed stuff just… takes it out of me… now. I got… his gun.”
“And I just realized something!” Nightwing said. “I’ve seen these orange-skinned goons before!“
“Huh?” Kid Flash said, confused. “I just figured out I have, too! Where’d you see them?”
“It was — duck!” Nightwing shouted, pushing his friend out of the way. The alien whose gun Kid Flash had stolen was attacking with another weapon, some sort of bladed throwing object. It missed the two Teen Titans by inches.
Supremo, meanwhile, was taking advantage of the confusion. He had used the Martian Manhunter’s ability to turn invisible and had snuck up behind Superman. The android now had the Man of Steel in a full Nelson hold, using all his mighty strength to keep Superman in place. His eyes were mere inches from Superman’s skull as they began to glow.
“Oh, man,” Cyborg said, watching Superman’s plight. “Take over, Donna! I’ve got something to do!”
“Roger, Vic,” Wonder Girl said, hauling on the lasso that held the alien prisoner. Cyborg dashed across the battlefield, changing the module on his wrist as he did so. Mere moments before Supremo’s super-vision would have flared forth, Cyborg’s metal hand touched the side of the android’s head. Superman burst free as the android went limp like a marionette whose strings had been clipped.
Superman stared at the fallen android for a moment. “How on Earth did you do that, Victor?”
The young hero smiled at Superman, who had always been an idol to him. “Easy, S-man! I figured this bargain-basement C3P0 had a computer brain. All I did was interface with it and shut it down.”
“Wish we’d had you on hand all the times we fought Amazo,” Superman remarked. “But right now we’ve got another problem on our hands! Namely, those two alien killers!”
One of the aliens was already helpless. Under the influence of Wonder Girl’s magic lasso, he became subservient and submissive. The other, however, continued to press the fight.
“Time to put an end to this once and for all!” Kid Flash said to Nightwing.
“I agree,” Nightwing said. He took one of his special throwing-disks and handed it to his longtime friend. Kid Flash threw the disk at super-speed; swift and accurate as a bullet, it sped to its mark and struck the alien in the temple. Kid Flash watched him sway on his feet and then go down, praying he had not misjudged the alien’s strength. But he saw the orange-skinned being’s chest rising and falling and knew that his foe was only stunned.
“Good job,” Superman said to them.
“Just who the dickens are these guys, anyway?” Changeling asked, looking at the defeated aliens.
“I — think I may know,” Starfire said. “I have only heard the legends, but they remind me of the N’rajd. A warrior race from the same stock as Tamaran, but without our appreciation for peace and beauty. They live only to kill and destroy. Many centuries ago, their race was imprisoned on a phase planet, a world drifting in and out of dimensional space, so that they could harm none but themselves.”
“Seventeen years ago, when I was Superboy, these two appeared in the sky over Nebraska trying to kill each other,” Superman said. “They must have found a way out of their dimensional prison.”
“But what happened to them?” Cyborg said. “And how did they show up here?“
“During our battle, we were all knocked out of the sky,” Superman explained. “We crash-landed in a circus in Blue Valley. Two very small boys ended up in the field of battle with me, one child of the circus performers and one boy from the audience.” Superman smiled. “Those boys are here today.”
Nightwing and Kid Flash looked at each other in astonishment. “That was you?” they said simultaneously.
“Anyway, both of the aliens then trained their strange weapons on me,” Superman continued. “I met the energy-blast with my heat-vision, and they vanished in the resulting energy-flare. They must have somehow been hurled into some kind of pocket dimension, where they were trapped.”
“I get it!” Nightwing said. “You, Wally, and I must have absorbed some of that weird energy. When you and Supremo made another powerful energy-blast, with all three of us present, it reopened the portal between dimensions and set them free!”
“Hey,” Kid Flash said. “Two years ago, when we fought the Mirror Master in Australia, he said something about seeing faces in the blast created by your heat-vision stopping his laser!”
“Garth told me he saw faces, too,” Wonder Girl said, “when we all fought the Terrible Trio all those years ago!”
“All three of us were present those times, too,” Superman said. “The energy produced must have been strong enough to let us peer into their dimension, but not sufficient to free them.”
“They’ll go back to their prison-world now,” Starfire promised. “The high council of Tamaran will see to that!“
“Hey, I hate to be the bearer of bad news,” Changeling said. “But Luthor’s gone!”
“Made good his escape when he saw Supremo go down,” Superman mused. “Well, we can’t win them all. And we saved a lot of lives today; that counts as a win in my book.”
“Ours, too, Superman,” Nightwing agreed. “Ours, too.”