by Immortalwildcat, Martin Maenza, Starsky Hutch 76 and Doc Quantum
Near the center of the galaxy, where a planet of some import normally spun in space, there was darkness. Upon first glance, one might have thought that the planet Oa had been utterly destroyed. However, the more observant being would note that the space was totally devoid of light, even that from sources beyond the planet. The darkness that enveloped Oa was greater than a physical darkness, for it had cast a different kind of darkness over the galaxy — a galaxy that was now devoid of the light of the Green Lantern Corps.
Now, a ship approached the sphere of darkness, bearing those who would carry on despite that loss. “There you have it, folks. Total, impenetrable darkness. At least, according to Meadlux and the other Green Lanterns we heard from.” John Stewart stood on the bridge of the ship designated Darkstar One, looking around at his fellow Darkstars and their companions. “What do you think? Do we try to go in?”
“If you don’t mind my saying so, I doubt your friends could match the power of a god of New Genesis.” The being known at Lightray smiled, his glowing aura brightening just a bit. “I would consider it an honor to take the point on your planetfall.”
“I only hope it’s that easy.” Hal Jordan sat in the command chair of the ship. “Whoever or whatever has caused this blackout has also disabled the Central Power Battery. The darkness may be blocking its transmissions, or it may have been destroyed. Since the Guardians left our universe, the battery has been our only source of power. Now, it’s just us, our wits, and an arsenal of non-lethal weapons. If that’s all we have left to us, so be it. But not until we know for sure what has happened to Oa.”
“Yeah, yeah, Jordan, you’re always full of pretty speeches.” Heads turned toward Guy Gardner, the last Green Lantern selected by the Guardians. True to form, he wore his own distinctive version of the black, red, and gold uniform worn by his fellow Darkstars — a black leather jacket and black jodhpur pants, trimmed in gold piping and adorned with the red star of the group. “So, when do we go in?”
“After we meet up with the rest of the surviving Green Lanterns,” replied Hal. “They were going to gather on Mogo and wait for us.”
“Isn’t that the living planet, the one that was a Green Lantern itself?” asked Green Arrow.
“That’s the one. I’m surprised you’ve heard of it, Green Arrow.” John Stewart looked at the archer, pleased. “It’s not one of the better-known members of the Corps.”
“Hey, I try to keep up with what my buddy’s been doing.”
“OK, we’ve seen the situation for ourselves. Let’s meet up with the others, and then we’ll figure out our plan of attack.” Hal turned his chair to face the front view-screen and nodded at Katma Tui, where she sat at a navigation console. She nodded back and directed the ship toward the living planet.
Out in cold void of space, Supergirl approached the icy blue planet of Pluto ahead of the team’s ship. Now to see if there are any defenses left, Lydia thought as she passed through the atmosphere and swooped closer toward the surface.
Using her x-ray vision, the short-blonde-haired heroine in blue and red was able to scan the surface below, looking for the prison that was believed to hold the kidnapped people of Earth. It has to be somewhere around here, she thought.
Suddenly, laser blasts pierced through the sky as a trio of small fighter crafts suddenly appeared on the horizon. They opened fire on the super-heroine, attempting to knock her out of the sky.
Supergirl smiled. Just as Batman figured, she thought. Time to lead them on a merry chase so the others can slip inside.
She let one blast hit her squarely in the chest. It stung but was not lethal to her. She tossed her head back dramatically and let herself start to drop. The past year of on-the-job training as an actress were about to pay off in a surprising way.
The ships hovered as they watched her fall. Then, at the last moment, she recovered and took to the air once more, but not nearly at her full super-speed. Supergirl wanted to give these defenders an opportunity to pursue her. They took the bait.
Catch me if you can, boys, she thought to herself as she led them off. Eventually, Supergirl would take them out of action, but only after the others succeeded with phase one of the plan.
A single ship moved into the landing bay built in the side of a protective icy crag and docked in an open spot. The facility was rather vacant; only a few fighter craft and a pair of large transport crafts remained in the bay. Doors at the far side led deeper into the mountain. The ship’s engines cut off, and there was little movement coming from the craft.
Eventually, a single Gordanian guard approached the vessel after engaging the bay’s environmental shields. A blaster rifle was holstered over his golden-armored body. The large reptile moved to the ship’s hatch and tapped upon it loudly with his fist. “Hey! You there! What’s taking so long?” he barked. “Got more stinking humans for testing?”
He heard the locking mechanism on the hatch door disengage, and the door cracked open near the top. Before the Gordanian could step back, there was a hiss to the air, and a noxious gas shot out to engulf his head. The alien coughed and choked, first waving his hands to try to dissipate it and then clutching at his throat. The gas seemed to have a life of its own, hovering stubbornly around the creature. Finally, the Gordanian fell back to the metal floor with a loud thud.
The gas hovered there for a moment longer and then started to take shape. In a moment, Metamorpho re-formed into the form of his multifaceted body with a white face. “We’re clear!” he called into the ship.
The hatch opened the rest of the way, and the heroes began to file out quickly. Hawk stopped to examine the fallen alien, reached down, and took the rifle from the body. “Nice job, Meta-man!” he said. “Didn’t know you had it in you.”
“I didn’t kill ’em,” Metamorpho said defensively, “even though he’d deserve it if anything’s happened to my wife! He’ll be sleepin’ for a good long while.”
“Find a place to hide his body,” Batman ordered. “We need to keep our presence here a secret as long as possible.” He approached a computer station with the Atom on his shoulder and Mister Miracle by his side. “We need to find out quickly where the prisoners are being held.”
“Not a problem,” Mister Miracle replied as he produced his Mother Box from the inner folds of his green cape. “Allow us to interface with this alien system.” Putting the wondrous device next to the computer system, Mother Box began to ping softly. The system responded to her unique abilities, and a holographic image appeared in the air with a blinking green spot and a couple of blinking red dots. “One schematic, as requested.”
Batman studied the image and then turned to the group. “OK, everybody, listen up! It’s time to get this prison break started!”
Superman slammed into Mongul with everything he had. The two of them crashed through the outer rim of Warworld and into the level below. The surface shook with the fury of the titans clashing below.
Superwoman started to fly after them, when what looked like several miniature models of Warworld flew out and began firing at her and the other heroes. They were roughly five times the size of a basketball, but they packed a very substantial blast. “Ugh!” she grunted as one of the blasts connected with her. “Should have figured this place would have some sort of a self-defense system!”
“The hole is closing up!” Steel said, dodging a blast from one of the lethal globes.
“Great. This place is self-repairing, too,” Firehawk said, firing back at one of the globes and blowing it to bits. “That’s gonna make it a whole lot harder to bring it down.”
“From the way this place is shaking,” Firestorm said, converting three globes into soap bubbles, “Superman and Mongul may do that for us!”
“Do you honestly think you can beat me, Kryptonian?” Mongul said, bringing his fist up into Superman’s side. “You’ve tried before and failed. You had to resort to trickery to beat me.”
“You mean the same trickery you tried to use on me?” Superman said, bringing his left fist across Mongul’s jaw. “I still owe you for what you did to me.”
“The Black Mercy shows you your heart’s desire,” Mongul said, kicking at him. “It’s your own fault that you could not allow yourself to be happy.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “For the Man Who Has Everything,” Superman Annual #11 (1985).]
“Some of us prefer to live in the real world,” Superman said, catching his leg and swinging him around to send him flying through a wall.
Mongul rose from where he landed and charged at Superman. “If you believe you still have that option, you are sadly mistaken, flea.” He collided with Superman’s midsection, and they fell through three more floors.
Steel shoved his hands into the rapidly closing hole and winced as it closed on them. He jerked his hands back, ripping the hole open as well as the synthetic skin covering his knuckles, revealing the machinery underneath.
“You should have let me do that,” Superwoman said.
“Guess I should have,” he smiled sheepishly. “Give a fellow a lift?”
“Sure,” she said, smiling as she wrapped her arm around his midsection and lifted him up to fly through the hole, followed by Firestorm and Firehawk. A few more heroes managed to make it through before the hole closed again, leaving the remainder to deal with the multiplying force of Warworld’s defense system.
Several years ago, Hal Jordan — Green Lantern of Space Sector 2814 — came upon a planet he soon discovered possessed intelligence. As the planet (which named itself Green Lantern in honor of his visit) explained, it had entered the Milky Way Galaxy about a billion years ago after traveling through the dark void between the galaxies. It was in search of another like it — another being with intelligence. Since that time it had searched our galaxy but found only cold, dead worlds devoid of intelligence. Finally it sensed intelligent thoughts emanating from the relatively tiny member of the Green Lantern Corps who passed it by in that otherwise planet-less part of the galaxy.
Its first attempts at communication were crude and taken as hostile. It shifted a continent, forming it into the shape of Green Lantern, and shot yellow missiles at him in an attempt to bring him down to the planet, not hurt him; it had known from his thoughts that the power ring was vulnerable to the color yellow. Once Hal Jordan landed upon the planet, it was so overjoyed at contact with another intelligent being that it temporarily lost control of itself, attempting to embrace him in ways it quickly realized would be dangerous to the small creature. It then took images of others Jordan knew from his mind to create duplicates of them, but it was unable to speak to him through them. Finally, however, the planet was able to communicate to the Green Lantern directly through his power ring.
Soon after the planet explained himself to Hal Jordan, the world began experiencing earthquake activity that threatened to destroy much of its surface. Investigating, Green Lantern traveled to the center of the planet and found a mass of boiling magma that was able to protect itself from his attempts to cool it. He found that he was able, however, to take the entire mass and pull it up through the surface crust and fling it into orbit around the planet. What had happened was that the planet had given birth to its moon, and Hal Jordan had played the role of midwife. The moon was also intelligent, though it was by comparison an infant and would remain so for millions of years until it reached maturity. The planet called Green Lantern would never be alone again, with its satellite companion always in orbit around it. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Strange World Named Green Lantern,” Green Lantern v2 #24 (October, 1963).]
Shortly afterward, when the need for a new Green Lantern came about in the sector of space that this planet had settled in (the previous one had been killed in battle with one Bolphunga the Unrelenting), Hal Jordan suggested that the planet itself be granted the power of the Green Lantern. The world that had already called itself Green Lantern was overjoyed at this and accepted immediately, taking the name of Mogo to distinguish itself from the others in the 3600-member Green Lantern Corps.
Soon, Bolphunga the Unrelenting came to the planet in search of the new Green Lantern of that sector in space, not knowing what Mogo looked like. After a search on the surface of the planet that turned into months and then even years, the dimwitted Bolphunga the Unrelenting, son of Boff, made a shocking discovery upon consulting the many maps he had made that caused him to relent for the first time in his life: the planet itself was Mogo, the Green Lantern. As fast as he could rocket off into space, Bolphunga fled in terror, looking back to see the symbol of the Green Lantern across the width of the planet made of trees and foliage, and never bothered anyone in that sector of space ever again. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Mogo Doesn’t Socialize,” Green Lantern v2 #188 (May, 1985).]
Now, Hal Jordan returned to the strange world named Green Lantern with a smile on his face despite the mission he was on. It was good to see Mogo once more. As it was said, “Mogo doesn’t socialize,” but that was by necessity, not by choice, for the planet itself could never attend the regular meetings of the Green Lantern Corps on the planet Oa, as its gravity field would pull Oa and itself apart.
“Guys, look!” said Valura Tur-Thol, the Green Lantern of Rokyn, as she pointed to the scene below them that they could see through the transparent aluminum.
“Oh, my!” gasped Katma Tui.
“There must be more than a thousand of them gathered here,” John Stewart said with great respect. Although the Milky Way Galaxy was the home of Oa and indeed had more Green Lantern-patrolled space sectors concentrated in one place than anywhere else in the universe, it had nowhere near a thousand Green Lanterns.
“Space sectors aren’t uniform in size, Valura. There are several space sectors in our galaxy which are patrolled by Green Lanterns, but certainly not this many,” Hal Jordan said to the Kryptonian Green Lantern from Rokyn. At her questioning look, he added, “What this means is that hundreds of Green Lanterns from other galaxies and sectors have journeyed here despite the risk that their homes could be attacked without their protection in their absence.”
Valura was the newest member of the Green Lantern Corps and one who had never yet attended a meeting. Hal realized she felt the same way now that he had felt the first time he attended a meeting of the Green Lantern Corps. Indeed, he had only known about the Green Lanterns through the dying Abin Sur for several months until he met his first Green Lantern, the late Tomar-Re. Likewise, Valura Tur-Thol knew about the Green Lantern Corps only through her predecessor, Todra Than-Ol. And, like Abin Sur, she had died before she could tell the young woman much more than the bare necessities. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Superman: Rokyn Attacked, Chapter 2: Successor.]
The Darkstar One landed upon the surface of Mogo, and those within were greeted by the thousandfold now-powerless-but-still-valiant Green Lanterns. The membership of the Green Lantern Corps consisted of the best of the best the universe had to offer. With or without the ring, they were a force to be reckoned with.
More than half of them were still in their Green Lantern uniforms, while the other, smaller number was bedecked in the same Darkstar uniforms that the Green Lanterns of Earth now wore — black jumpsuits with red and gold trim, and embroidered emblems of a black star within a green circle on the upper left of their torsos. The great numbers of Green Lanterns who had chosen to don the emergency uniforms of the Darkstars was certainly impressive to see grouped together as they were. They nodded at the similarly attired Darkstars of Earth as they stepped out of their spacecraft, while many of the Green Lanterns seemed to frown, troubled at the sight of the famous Hal Jordan of Earth wearing not the green and black of a GLC member but the black, red, and gold of a Darkstar.
“Greetings, Green Lanterns — or should I say, Darkstars — of Earth,” said Meadlux, the Guardian-like, blue-skinned Green Lantern who was a judge on his homeworld and was the one who had originally contacted the Green Lantern Corps as a whole when the problem of the power depletion in the batteries began to occur. “I see that most of you have chosen to become Darkstars as per the contingency plan we once suggested upon an emergency situation such as this one. I must admit, though, I never thought I would live to see the day when that plan would ever be needed. Who could have foreseen first the Guardians leaving the universe and then the Central Power Battery on Oa being cut off from us, seemingly forever?”
“Hello, Meadlux,” Hal Jordan said, smiling as he shook the judge’s hand in human custom. “The situation on Earth called for us to don the uniforms of the Darkstars, though I hope that, by the end of this day, I’ll be able to proudly wear my Green Lantern uniform once more.”
“One among you is unfamiliar to me,” said Meadlux, staring at Valura in such an intense, judge-like way that she wanted to look away, but instead she met his eyes with a strong gaze that belied how intimidated she felt as the newcomer.
“My name is Valura Tur-Thol,” she said loud enough for all to hear. “I am the Green Lantern of Rokyn, successor to Todra Than-Ol.” At this, a murmur came over the crowd. Few had known the Kryptonian Green Lantern, who had herself still been a rookie at the time of her death, but her name was known to several, mostly due to the fact that she had been the first Kryptonian Green Lantern. They all knew the legend of the man who was supposed to have been the first Kryptonian Green Lantern (and would have been the successor of Tomar-Re) had things gone differently — Kal-El of Krypton, better known throughout the universe as Superman.
“I am glad to meet you,” Meadlux said, shaking her hand firmly. “Your natural Kryptonian strength will be an invaluable aid to our mission today.” Valura smiled and nodded; she knew that this was about the greatest compliment she could ever have received from the stern figure. “But come, come: The others wish to meet all of you and your companions.”
At that, the Green Lanterns stationed on Earth — Hal Jordan, John Stewart, Katma Tui, Kilowog, Ch’p, Salaak, and Guy Gardner — along with Green Arrow and Black Canary, Lightray, and Valura (who walked next to Hal; he had subconsciously taken her under his wing) stepped away from the craft and into the midst of this extraterrestrial army.
“This brings back some memories, pretty bird,” Green Arrow said to his lover. “Ever since we stopped palling around with Hal on a regular basis, our cases have been a lot more, uh…”
“Domestic?” Black Canary said, grinning.
“Something like that.”
Hal Jordan and Valura found themselves surrounded by their fellow Green Lanterns, many attired in the Darkstars uniforms as he was. They were all familiar faces to him, but meeting them again here, under these circumstances, made it seem to him all the more special. Something wasn’t quite right, though, even considering the threat they were all under. As he looked over to John and Katma and the others and caught their eyes, he could tell they felt it, too.