The men of Torma attacked the heroines and Nadir, master of magic. The first foe was met with a stunning spinning kick from the Golden Glider, who laughed and said, “He should be glad my blades retract!”
Dolphin grabbed another man who swung a mace. She overpowered him with ease and shoved him into the path of other angry men. “We came to help,” she shouted. “This is not getting us anywhere!”
Lady Blackhawk ducked a punch and kneed a man before slugging him with a right hook. “Dolphin’s right,” she said. “How about some distraction?”
The Enchantress smiled and chanted, and suddenly their attackers gazed left and right in confusion. “A spell of concealment should enable us to get back to the ship,” she said. “We’d better seek Captain Comet and the others.”
Nadir gently led them toward the Cometeer. He came from an earlier generation and the caste culture of India, yet even he could not understand such widespread contempt for women.
In the planet’s upper atmosphere, Volar crashed through an enemy ship and did not stop until he had shattered three more. Nearby, Starman and Captain Comet spoke hurriedly as the scornful captive struggled in their grip while they carefully brought her down to the planet’s surface.
“They used fear as a weapon,” said Captain Comet after a mind-scan of the woman. “Volar was immunized by their males, who are friendly. They did the same thing on Earth, and our pal Jimmy Olsen once fought them. (*) So the mates of the space Amazons tried to thwart their efforts and used Volar as a living antidote to the fear plague.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “I Scared Superman to Death,” Superman Family #179 (October, 1976).]
Starman grinned. “I have an idea. We reverse the plague.”
Captain Comet agreed. “I had that idea as well. Nadir could reverse the manner in which it is carried, at least temporarily, and give the women a dose of their own medicine. That would buy us time to repel them.”
Volar landed and said, “My magna-hearing caught all your plan. I need you to break my amnesia, now! I agree to a full and total mind-scan!”
“This is the time for it,” agreed Starman. “We need all the data we can get about this place. Too bad you were so reluctant before we got into the war zone.”
Captain Comet nodded, and perhaps the most powerful mind on Earth reached out to probe Volar’s hidden past. He gently broke through the barriers and frowned. “Great guns! I had no idea!”
Volar shuddered. “You did it. I recall all. The Amazons came and took our world, because the males of Torma had no use for women beyond decoration and thus were totally unprepared. I fought them, and their males used me as a carrier of a cure for the Amazon fear plague. When they captured me, my unique situation led me to get amnesia — an identity crisis. They chased me into space, and I crashed on Earth.”
“So what is your unique situation?” asked Starman. “Being a champion?”
At that moment, before the eyes of the crowds of Tormanians who had begun to surround them, an energy blast from above shattered Volar’s bio-mask and part of his costume.
Shocked cries rang out from the crowd as Starman gasped, “Volar is a woman!”
The shock stunned most if not all of the people of Torma. Their beloved champion was a woman. The protector of a male-dominated society had been a female all along.
Volar shook off the shreds of the bio-mask. She was revealed to be a beautiful woman with long, light-brown hair. She slowly began to speak.
“I had to pose as a male in public for years, since Torma could not accept a female champion. My father devised the costume and bio-mask with voice modulation, which allowed me to fool everyone. Supergirl of your world visited once and encouraged me to reveal my true gender. (*) I thought I had no choice, since the elements that enabled me to play my role were depleted. However, at the last minute, father came up with alternate sources. Thus I’ve hidden my gender when I was Volar… until now!”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Heroine Haters,” Adventure Comics #384 (September, 1969).]
She was fearful and concerned as in minutes the awe and reverence of a planet turned to scorn and disbelief.
“A woman!” cried one man. “Volar is a woman! No wonder we were conquered!”
Golden Glider and the rest reached the spot, and she gasped as she saw the curves of Volar. “Annie Lennox in a cape!” she smirked.
Dolphin covered her mouth with one hand in surprise. “Oh, my!”
Nadir had dissipated Enchantress’s spell so the team could see each other again. What a lovely young lady, he thought.
“Volar, this means nothing,” said Captain Comet. “Prove yourself to be the heroine you’ve always been. Help us take back your world!”
“This is an irony,” said the captive Amazon. “A woman poses as a man to defeat women who wish to give the feminine sex dominance in a male-oppressed society!”
Captain Comet said, “The best society is one in which all individuals are respected based on merit and not upon superficial factors of birth, gender, race, or economic status.”
Volar nodded grimly. “I’ll hold them off with your help while Nadir reverses the fear plague.” She soared skyward, and Starman and Captain Comet followed.
“A valiant woman to fight on when she has lost her world,” mused Nadir. He gathered the Enchantress to his side, and together they used the Ruby of Life to take the captive Amazon’s fear-projection device and alter the chromosomes upon which it was carried.
The super-strength of Captain Comet, Starman, and above all Volar was used to drive back engines of destruction and block powerful energy discharges while Torma’s citizens watched in shock. Meanwhile, Nadir worked his magic and hoped for the best.
In seconds, the women invaders fell to their own plague, while the Tormans rallied to drive them off to where their disapproving smaller males waited to try once more to futilely turn them from conquest. Cheers rang out as they fled, defeated and timid for the time being.
Later, the heroes all regrouped except for Captain Comet, who left to speak with Torma’s leaders.
Dolphin said, “So now the Amazons are afraid because Nadir made the plague affect females and not males?”
“Exactly,” said Nadir, “but it was more Enchantress’ doing than mine. It will fade soon. Hopefully, the males may curb the warlike urges of their mates.”
Golden Glider placed both hands on her hips. “Now, what about this place?” she said. “The men here treat women like it was the Dark Ages or something!”
“My sister would flip!” said Starman.
Lady Blackhawk placed a gentle hand on Volar’s shoulder. “Honey, you saved your home,” she said. “Maybe now you can be free to live as a woman in your costumed role and your secret I.D.”
A worried man rushed forward to greet them. “Ren, my child,” he said. “I never thought the day would come when you would be exposed. I fear the worst!”
“This is my father,” said Volar. “My given name is Ren — Ren Uoxon.”
At that moment, Captain Comet returned and said to the assembled group, “I just left a type of congressional session — impromptu, of course. They have decided to rethink their whole culture. It won’t be the work of days or even of years, but it’s a start. Seeing what women can do and what a woman has done for this world for years has given them all much to think about.”
“Baby, we’ve come a long way!” said Dolphin, smiling.
“Here comes one dignitary,” said Nadir.
A bald man approached with a graying woman. “We are admitting women to the Council,” he explained. “Our world nearly fell because we were so prejudiced against the idea of equality among the genders. That must teach us all a lesson. Development of gradual equality is our goal. However, we all feel such development must be on an equal footing, with no citizen more powerful than any other.” He turned to Volar and said sadly, “Thus, we ask you to leave.”
The woman nodded. “I am to act as a co-council. I feel your exposure is too fresh a wound or shock to bear. Volar, we ask you to leave Torma. You are exiled for the immediate future.”
“That’s crazy,” said Starman indignantly. “She saved you and has kept order for years.”
The bald man shook his head. “And now we feel the best thing he… she can do would be to let us fight our own battles without super-powered beings of either gender.”
Volar embraced her father tearfully. “Father, I have no choice but to leave you.”
He held her silently and said, “May the Creator bring you safely home once more.”
Captain Comet led her toward his rocket. “Ren, there is a place for you — the real you — with our team on Earth.”
The pretty young woman nodded. “I thank you. I will be appreciative someday, but for now all I can feel is pain… and sorrow, and a bit of anger. My people will change for the better, but I won’t be allowed to enjoy the fruits of that change.”
Dolphin held Starman’s arm as she said, “To lose a heritage and a world must be worse than what I went through in lacking any knowledge of one.”
He kissed her. “Yes. It shows you that, even when a world changes for the better, individuals can still suffer. She’s still saving her people in a way, though.”
It was a silent and mostly solemn group that returned to Earth.