The Forgotten Heroes: No Place Like Home, Prologue: Lost Identity

by Libbylawrence

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On Vumania, the island base of the Forgotten Heroes, Captain Comet smiled as Joanie Swift entered in a blur.

“So far all seems quiet,” said the perky blonde. “The renewed activities of the JLA, the New Titans, and the Outsiders make us Forgotten Heroes seem unneeded!

“There’s always a need for heroes of all kinds,” said Adam Blake. “Still, this lull makes me think about taking a vacation of sorts. I want to reconnect with my roots, as the pop psychologists say.”

“That’s right,” said Joanie. “In your own way you are as much a person out of time as we victims of Atoman are. You journeyed through space for so long that the world changed a lot in your absence.”

Captain Comet nodded. “Exactly. And I made a lot of errors when I first returned. I didn’t acquit myself as well as I should have during my first cases back then. If I had not made good friends like the Hols, Superman, and Green Lantern, I’d have been even worse off.”

Joanie said, “So, are your folks alive?”

Adam shook his head. “No. My parents and my mentor, Professor Emery Zackro, are dead. I have one relation who is a black sheep of sorts, while another was a heroine in her own right. Actually, I was thinking about some friends instead of family. I think I’m going to try to go back home to visit them.”

Joanie looked wistful. Her own life was not only decades but a whole parallel world away. She had been torn through time and space from Earth-Two by Atoman during the Crisis on Infinite Earths as part of an ill-fated plot the madman had hatched against his own Earth. (*) She wondered if her friends, family, and boss Johnny Chambers were still alive.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Whatever Happened To…?]

***

Elsewhere on the island base, the Vigilante shot a row of cans with ease. He grinned and looked up at the muscular young man who watched the expert marksman.

“I reckon I ain’t lost mah touch!” he said.

The Black Condor agreed. “Shooting with a mirror over one shoulder is like something one would witness on the television,” he said. This young man, whose name was Richard Grey, was the Earth-One counterpart of the more famous Black Condor of Earth-X. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See Hawkman and Hawkwoman: The Bermuda Triangle of Rann, Chapter 2: The Black Condor.]

“Shucks, it ain’t so much,” said Greg Sanders. The Vigilante had been recruited to join the Forgotten Heroes after coming out of retirement a few months ago. (*) Although a younger man had used the name of the Vigilante over the last couple of years, that Vigilante had not been seen by anyone since last year. Greg had figured it was time for the original Vigilante to try his hand at the crime-fighting game once more, at least until he got too old to do this anymore.

[(*) Editor’s note: As seen in Hawkman and Hawkwoman: Mind Games, Chapter 1: As the World Slept.]

“Where’s Angela?” Richard asked.

At that moment, the pretty platinum blonde appeared out of the water nearby. Ever since she had learned of her origins as the long-lost sister of a detective named Angel O’Day, Dolphin had used the name Angela O’Day. (*) Although she had never been known as anything but Dolphin for most of her life, the name Angela had grown on her over the last few moths. Now she was sorrowful, and it showed.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: In Search Of, Chapter 3: The Secret Origin of Dolphin.]

“Dolphin, what is it, honey?” asked Greg.

“Rich called me Angela,” she said. “That’s… that’s not my name. I just learned it this morning. Angel O’Day called. She had some genetic work done, and the results show we are not sisters!” She fought back tears and cried, “I don’t know who I am!”

***

Golden Wasp, alias Cameron Van Cleef, looked thoughtful as he flew over Bludhaven. He had taken the opportunity to fake his death to turn his back on his villainous past and become a true hero to the people of the beleaguered, crime-ridden city. (*) After he revealed his true identity to Captain Comet, he had even won a pardon for his past crimes as Killer Moth, although that had taken the persuasive skills and good word of Comet to bring about. (*) Since then he had signed on as a reserve member of Captain Comet’s heroic new team, the Forgotten Heroes. He could not abandon the feeling of appreciation that he enjoyed while serving as the city’s lone hero.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Suicide Mission, Chapter 6: Mental Domination, Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Heroes and Villains, Chapter 1: Leave of Absence, and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Beginning of the End.]

The former Killer Moth also had old business that kept him away from the lush island base used by the Forgotten Heroes. He wanted to see an old friend, and he was nervous, since it could ruin their relationship. What he proposed might meet with scorn or worse. But he decided the chance was worth the risk.

He put his golden helmet on and flew off toward nearby Gotham City. “Mort, I hope you give me a chance,” he mused.

***

Dolphin wept gently in Captain Comet’s arms. He had assured her that mere genetics didn’t have to rob her of a loving sisterly relationship with detective Angel O’Day, and she had readily agreed. “Oh, I know. Angel said she cared for me like the sister she lost so long before — the one Phaeton turned aquatic, or so he claimed,” she said tearfully. “I guess that child died, after all. I mean, how likely is it any way that a small child could have survived alone at the ocean’s floor? Our basic features were alike, and my abilities matched all she knew of her missing sibling. Phaeton certainly accepted that I was the child he stole from Mr. O’Day and turned into a water-breather.”

Captain Comet cupped her face in one hand. “We could still find your true origin,” he said reassuringly. “Valor wanted to do so before she left Earth. Tell you what — I’ll make it my top priority.”

“Angel’s test was just part of a case,” said Dolphin. “She did it for a lark, but I’m almost sorry we learned the truth!”

“Something about your past tests made the answer seem correct when it wasn’t,” mused Comet. “It’s like your genetic pattern is… adaptable.”

She nodded. “So, who am I?”

He held her and tried to think of a reply.

***

Later, Dolphin and Captain Comet sat together near the base communications computer.

“I did something I should have done long ago,” he said. “We know Aquaman to be an expert on undersea lifeforms, so I called him and spoke to him in addition to Mera and Aqualad. They told me something that might give us a clue. Following the Crisis, the rebuilding work in Atlantis down below, and some personal problems, Aquaman rejoined the JLA, and of course, they’ve been pretty busy, too. Anyway, he said that right after the Crisis he had a case that should interest you and might shed light on your mysterious origin!”

Dolphin’s eyes grew brighter. “Tell me more!”

And he did.

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