The Crimson Fox, now attired in her reddish-brown costume, watched impatiently until the skimmer carrying the Outsiders landed. She had called them in through an annoyed Simon Stagg, who apparently had some tie to the team. But she was dismayed to see that, of the group, only Metamorpho, Looker, Halo, and Geo-Force had arrived. Their leader Batman was absent, as were the powerful Black Lightning and the fighting female called Katana.
“The Goldface gang is gone!” she said as she hurriedly joined the team on their skimmer. “They have fled, and the tracer I left behind is already fading out.”
“Look, doll, we got here as fast as we could,” said the white-faced Metamorpho. “It’s not like we’re at Stagg’s beck and call. He may be my father-in-law, but we’re not exactly on the best of terms.”
“Now, darling, don’t bite her head off,” said a bored Looker reclining in the back of the skimmer. “We can boost your little device or something with the computer.”
Geo-Force nodded grimly. “The signal should grow as we close in, and the lock mode will keep us at a reasonable distance.”
Halo smiled at Fox. “I think your make-up is rad! How do you get it to look like that?” Looker frowned, obviously displeased at the addition of another stunner to her circle.
Vivian smiled. “I can teach you much, ma petite.”
The skimmer soon arced toward a warehouse and slid skillfully into an open door. Energy sensors kicked in, and guards streamed from all sides. “They must have been expecting someone else,” said Halo.
“Don’t ya just hate it when unexpected company drops by?” said the grinning element man called Metamorpho.
The Crimson Fox pounced out of the skimmer into a mob of thugs, gracefully kicking out at two while clawing a third. This bettair be the last little job I do for Stagg, she thought after a bruiser hit her directly in the stomach.
Halo sent three thugs floating helplessly aside with her tractor beam, while Looker mentally blasted a gang of four into sleepy smiles. “Darlings, there’s enough of me to go around,” she teased. Metamorpho expanded over the nearest group, and his calcified state held them tightly.
The man called Goldface rushed out from a private room. “Not now!” he yelled. His gold armor gleamed as he slammed a fist into Metamorpho, who crumbled into white powder.
This jerk is strong, the pliable hero mused as he swelled himself into a large metal fist to crush the armored man. Goldface ducked and fired his gun at Looker. She mentally deflected it and blew him a taunting kiss. The villain then felt a hard blow from Metamorpho that struck full-force, and he decided to do one thing at a time. He shot the element man, who turned to gold — then switched back to normal. “That doesn’t work on a special guy like me,” he boasted.
“This will!” vowed a newcomer who flew in and literally blasted the skimmer to burning shreds. He flew toward the startled Halo, and intense heat radiated from his every pore. “Pretty! So pretty,” he said as he crushed her in his arms, ignoring her protective halos.
“Get back, you jerk!” she cried, then fainted from the radiation he emitted.
He fell back as Geo-Force charged up to fight. “By my Markovian ancestors! Your power is awesome!” he cried.
The Fox danced over and shoved the armored Goldface to the floor. But he got up and grabbed for her. “Too slow, ma cher,” she teased as she leaped away. It was true that she moved too fast for Goldface to touch, but she could not harm him, either. His massive armor protected him well. He fired his gold gun at the skimmer’s burning sides, and it collapsed in on itself.
Metamorpho saw a few thugs stunned nearby and raced to snatch them away from the burning metal. Nice dude. Kills his own men with no concern, he thought. The slide he formed scooped them to safety.
Looker tried a new trick. “Oh, yoo-hoo, tall, shiny, and deadly! I want you to use that little toy gun on some costume jewelry I have. Do you work nights?” She smiled a dazzling smile that slowed him and even attracted him. The last minute led to her downfall, for he waited until he could reach her and belted her swiftly to the floor.
“My armor offers me protection against various kinds of attacks — including mental domination,” he said smirking.
The long red hair of the newcomer flowed back into a mane as he blasted a sweating Geo-Force. “Can’t take the radiation,” the hero muttered, then fell as his foe exploded above him with a red glow.
The man re-formed after the explosion and moaned in a childlike way, “So pretty,” as he saw Halo to the side.
“Yes, Rayburn. Very pretty. Now blast the freak!” ordered Goldface.
The Crimson Fox twisted and knocked his gold gun free, then fired at Rayburn, who shrugged off the ray and closed in on the sultry Fox. She felt faint from radiation and passed out.
“Now blast the element man!” ordered Goldface as he pounded Metamorpho from behind.
The radiation hit Metamorpho, and he fought to stay awake. “Too… strong…” he gasped as he melted into a pool of liquid.
“Scoop him up,” ordered Goldface. “We can’t take a chance on anyone following us.”
“And pretty?” asked the man-child called Rayburn.
“Of course. Take all the pretties to the transporter.” In a flash, all were gone, along with the gang and their equipment.
The Outsiders woke up in a lush, sunlit room where jungle foliage hung decorously above their cell. “Where are we?” muttered Geo-Force. “The heat is intense.”
“Halo, are you OK?” asked Looker.
“Yes, but I have quite a tan,” she replied.
“It’s from that Rayburn guy,” said Metamorpho.
“He’s a radiation-generator, from what I saw,” offered the Crimson Fox.
“He is indeed mighty,” agreed Geo-Force.
“He joined that Goldface guy after he caught us,” offered Jimmy Olsen who, along with Argus, was also in the tropical cell. “He doesn’t realize who he’s dealing with,” vowed Mr. Action as he pushed a button on his watch. No sound echoed from the signal watch. “Come on — zee-zee-zee, already!” urged Jimmy.
“No use, kid. They’re blocking all signals,” said Argus. “I’m already aware that this place restricts some frequencies of light, so why not sound, too?”
“Correct,” said Goldface from a tiny screen that suddenly lit up. “You’ll rot here in this city for daring to cross me! Just be glad the boss hasn’t killed you all already. And as for you, babe–“ He leered at the Crimson Fox. “–he may just give you to me as a reward.”
“I’d rather die!” she said.
“That’s doable, too,” he added.
Looker smiled. “I’m sure we can get out easily enough. I can work my magic on any male guard that comes with food. Just allow a girl to do her thing,” she said, flouncing over to the door and posing seductively. She winked to the others as footsteps rang out. “Hello, darling,” she said as the door swung open.
She screamed and jumped back from the guard as he came into full view. He was a large, hairy gorilla. “Salutations,” he said as he placed a tray in the room and shut the door again.
“That old magic of yours isn’t animal magnetism now, is it?” teased the Fox.
Looker frowned and stomped the ground in frustration. This just wasn’t her day.
“We’re in some kind of city of the apes,” muttered Metamorpho as their hairy guards hushed them down a corridor toward the boss. Sure enough, their captors were all gorillas — talking, human-like gorillas, true, but all the same, gorillas.
“Welcome to the home of the New Age Movement,” said the gorilla boss, almost suavely. “I am its founder, Grodd. I am using this base outside Gorilla City in the heart of the continent you call Africa as a staging ground for my bid for ultimate power over that place and the world as a whole. You are privileged to witness the birth of true greatness. You will not be harmed if you follow my orders.”
“Ya got to be kidding me,” said Metamorpho. “This sounds like some Rod Serling story.”
“Keep quiet, Rex,” urged Geo-Force.
“The power you seek is exactly what?” asked an astute Jimmy Olsen. “Those high-tech weapons you’ve been giving Goldface?”
“Very good, young man,” continued Gorilla Grodd. “I did indeed provide Goldface with some inventions of my own design in exchange for his locating and bringing the real power source to me. If you behave, I’ll show it to you all.”
Oh, Vivian, mon cher, what have you gotten yourself into thees time, thought the Crimson Fox as Goldface eyed her passionately from the sidelines.