by Steed703 and Doc Quantum
Los Angeles, Earth-One:
A green-glowing figure, rocketing through the air at incredible speed, came to a stop on the Los Angeles rooftop where Buddy Baker had been waiting. “All right, Baker,” said Guy Gardner, doing an unintentional impression of John Wayne. “Where’s this giant fr–?”
The one, true Green Lantern was struck by a giant red tongue, which knocked him into the side of an electronics building. Animal Man flew over to meet him.
“Ask a stupid question…” groaned Guy.
“Sorry. Should’ve warned you,” said Animal Man, reaching out his hand to help the Green Lantern up. “Umm… When you’re coherent again, you think you can contain him… without wrecking my home town in the process?”
“Oww…” groaned Guy. “First, screw you, Baker. And second, where did this overgrown Sugar Smacks commercial come from?”
Then Fastback sped over to Buddy and Guy. “Uhh, it’s from mah universe.”
Guy Gardner stared at the anthropomorphic turtle with a look of strange amusement. As a Green Lantern, he’d already become used to seeing stranger beings, fellow Green Lantern Ch’p being one of them, and G’nort another. “And just who are you, short stuff?”
“Walll, in my neck o’ the woods, or I oughtta say neck o’ the universe, I’m Fastback,” said Timmy Joe Terrapin. “I guess I’m mah place’s version o’ the Crash.”
“He means the Flash,” said Buddy.
“Right, right,” said Fastback. “Cain’t seem ta ‘member that name. Sounds so… foreign.”
There was a moment more of seriousness, and then Guy Gardner bent over double in laughter. “Bwa-haa-ha-ha-haa-ha! OK, now I seen everything. Bwa-ha-ha-ha!“
Fastback didn’t know what he was laughing at, but despite his laid-back, easygoing nature, he was sure he didn’t like it.
At that moment, Yankee Poodle made her dramatic entrance, having traveled across the country via her stars and stripes express. She’d managed to slip into her costume along the way, having kept it in her purse.
“Heyyy, Rova!” drawled Fastback, happy to see a familiar face in this strange world.
“Did I miss the party?” said Yankee Poodle. Guy and Animal Man looked at each other for about a minute.
“You’re the Conglomerate leader, Guy,” said Animal Man, raising his hands in the air. “This one’s all yours.”
Guy stared at Rova. “Lemme guess. They call you the Star-Spangled Cocker-Spaniel… no, no, wait: Yankee Poodle! Am I right?”
“Uh… yes?” she said, but failed to understand why Guy doubled over in laughter once more.
“Captain Carrot!” said Guy.
“Ya’ve heard of ‘im?” said Fastback.
“And the Zoo Crew — bwa-haa-ha-ha-ha!” laughed Guy. “I don’t %&$%# believe this! Let me remember: there’s Alley-Kat-Abra… uh… Pig-Iron, Rubberduck… hee-hee… and — bwa-ha-ha-haaa! — Little Cheese!” Yankee Poodle and Fastback nodded at the names, but looked at each other as if this man was crazy.
“This is too insane!” Guy said. “An’ here I thought Garfield Logan had made that whole story up!”
“Changeling?” asked Yankee Poodle. “He’s from your world? From this one? Then that means this is Supermax’s world!”
“Superman,” corrected Buddy.
“Isn’t that what I just said?” replied Rova in an annoyed tone.
“I was playing in a high-stakes poker match with Cyborg and Changeling a couple months back,” explained Guy. “We got to talking about the business, and the subject came up of the weirdest adventures we ever had. I really thought Logan was pullin’ my leg about his story about followin’ Gorilla Grodd inta a world where funny-animal super-heroes lived. (*) Thought he was playin’ me for a fool, an’ I nearly tore his head off in a fight afterward. Turns out that all this time he was tellin’ me the truth!” Guy started laughing again, all the while Frogzilla was still rampaging through downtown Los Angeles.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Naked Ape,” Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew #20 (November, 1983).]
Yankee Poodle was standing there with her arms folded. “And just who are you guys, anyway, Tweedledee and Tweedledum?”
“Don’t ya mean… Tweety-dee or somethin’ like that?” said Guy, wiping tears from his eyes after laughing so much. “Everything on your world is some kind of animal pun, right?”
“Tweedledee and Tweedledum ain’t from our world,” explained Fastback. “They’re from Wonderland. We went there last year. Helped saved both Wonderland and the land of Oz from bein’ purt-near taken over, in fact.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See The Oz-Wonderland War #1-3 (1986).]
“Bwa-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” laughed Guy. “O’ course you did! Man, this is too rich. I haven’t had a laugh like this in years! I gotta take you little guys to a party sometime.”
Yankee Poodle just continued to glare angrily at him.
“I’m Buddy Baker, the Animal Man,” said Buddy, reaching his hand out to her and smiling as he tried to defuse the situation.
“An’ I’m Guy Gardner, the one, true Green Lantern!” said Guy with a challenging stance.
“Green Lantern?” said Fastback. “Don’t ya mean Green Lambkin?“
Just then, before Guy Gardner could crack up once more, a mighty roar sounded from Frogzilla. All four heroes looked over to where the giant frog was still causing all kinds of property damage.
“So, any ideas?” asked Animal Man.
“Aw’right, Frogzilla’s a mutation,” said Fastback. Frowning as an idea came to him, he turned to his fellow Zoo Crewer and said, “Rova, at the lock-down where he was at–“
“He was contained with radiation,” finished Yankee Poodle. “Though with what genetic formula, I don’t remember.”
“What are you guys talkin’ about?” said Guy Gardner.
“Guy, use your head,” said Animal Man. “You know how, when we fight some super-villains, we have to contain them in a specific way? Like when J’onn J’onzz placed that vision in Despero’s mind that made him think he’d conquered the Earth? (*) Or when Sargon the Sorcerer stopped the Gray Man by–” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Pyre, Chapter 6: The Conquest of Earth; this is an untold Conglomerate story.]
“Yeah, yeah, yeah. So?” said Guy, suddenly losing his good humor at the mention of the Martian. He hated it whenever someone other than himself was praised, but his teammates in the Conglomerate had become fed up with having to tiptoe around his thin skin all the time, so they’d given up trying. The only way they’d been able to pacify him lately was to let him play the role of team leader.
Without waiting for another moment, Yankee Poodle hit Frogzilla with a starburst, while Fastback tried out his new sonic-boom dropkick, which knocked out Frogzilla for a few minutes.
“I’m impressed,” said Animal Man as the two funny-animal heroes returned.
“On our world,” said Yankee Poodle, “tall, dark, and green, here, needed some kind of stimuli to change him from ordinary J. Fenimore Frog into Frogzilla. Certain kinds of chemicals work, but a heavy source of radiation was the only thing that could maintain his size indefinitely. What’s the equivalent of that here?”
On a hunch, Fastback raced straight across the United States and returned a few minutes later. “He was at someplace called Three Mile Island!” he shouted when he returned.
“I guess that explains how he recharged here,” said Animal Man.
“I wish we knew how to make that negative reversal beam,” said Yankee Poodle.
“Ah ain’t no scientist, but ah think ah remember the basic principle,” said Fastback. “Any labs ’round these heah parts?”
“There’s a STAR Labs not too far from here!” said Animal Man, snapping his fingers.
“All right, all right,” said Guy Gardner. “You guys go on ahead. I got an idea.”
Yankee Poodle looked at the Green Lantern and tried to figure out what he was planning. “I’ll help out,” she offered.
“How’re you gonna keep up with me?” asked Fastback.
Buddy Baker grinned. “I think I’ll do just fine, turtle.”
“Terrapin,” corrected Fastback. “Timmy Joe Terrapin.”
“Then follow me, Timmy Joe!” said Animal Man, and he disappeared in a flash, a sonic boom in his wake.
“Whoa!” said Guy. “I had no idea Baker could do that!“
“Must’a copied my powers, since I’m a turtle,” said Fastback with a shrug, and a moment later, he had disappeared after him.
“Well,” said Guy with a smirk, “looks like a nice day for ‘frog baseball,’ don’tcha think?”
“Ewww!” said Yankee Poodle. “And I suppose you guys eat legs off of frogs, too.” As Guy put his tongue deep in his cheek and grinned a sickening grin, Rova stared in horror. “Ewww! That’s just… ewww!“
Creating a giant baseball bat with his power ring, Guy Gardner swung it smoothly and with a lot of force, hitting Frogzilla in his stomach, painfully. Yankee Poodle shot magnetic stripes from her left hand that caught Frogzilla, then pulled him back and slammed him to the ground.
Frogzilla swung at the Green Lantern but missed, though the gale of wind created in the effort was enough to knock Guy to the roof of a building before he could stop himself. Yankee Poodle hit a blast of starts from her right hand at Frogzilla’s back, and the giant frog tried to backhand her in return, knocking the side of a building off.
“OK,” screamed Yankee Poodle, “can we try to not destroy any more skyscrapers today?!”
Guy Gardner painfully arose from the rubble on the roof. Catching a glimpse of himself in the reflective metal paneling, he said, “What the hell? I’ve got serious acne now!”
“That ain’t acne, babe!” said Yankee Poodle as painful warts began to spread all over Guy’s body. Then Frogzilla wrapped his big tongue around Rova. “Hey! I so don’t tongue on the first date… well, not anymore, anyway.”
Finally, Animal Man and Fastback sped back to meet them.
“What the hell?” said Guy, picking at the warts forming on his face. “Did you guys stop off to eat or something?”
Ignoring his comment, Animal Man said, “Fastback and I set it up, but we need a serious power station on the level of a central battery. We can generate enough energy, but we still need the force of a concussive blast.”
Fastback shrugged and said, “It’s the only thing that’ll put us over the top.”
“Don’t look at me, Baker,” said Guy. “I’m due for a recharge. All’s I got left is enough to keep me from harm and head back to the Bunker.” At his fellow team member’s annoyed look, he said, “What? It’s not exactly like you gave me a lotta notice or anythin’!”
Yankee Poodle, still wrapped up in Frogzilla’s tongue, shouted, “I gut a idrea!” The Zoo Crewer then rolled out after shooting a starburst on the roof of Frogzilla’s mouth.
As Fastback began hit the giant frog from twelve-thousand different angles at once, he asked, “What’s yer plan, Rova?”
“Guy,” said Rova, “I need you to make huge, Frogzilla-sized handcuffs. Your power is just like Green Lambkin’s, so it’s based on light, right? I know you’re running low, but…”
“Wait,” said Guy. “I think I know where yer goin’ with this…”
Rova hit Guy Gardner with a small starburst, and Guy then hit Frogzilla with handcuffs. Fastback, meanwhile, raced at high speed until he was able to perform his sonic-boom dropkick, which first stunned, then staggered the beast. Then, as a small dimensional vortex started to open up, Yankee Poodle blasted stars and stripes into it to feed it energy, and Animal Man did likewise, copying the poodle’s abilities the same way he had duplicated the turtle’s. A moment later, Frogzilla was pulled straight in.
“So long, boys!” shouted Yankee Poodle.
“See y’all later!” said Fastback. At that, Rova Barkitt and Timmy Joe Terrapin leaped through the vortex themselves before it closed in their wake.
“Well, that was one for the books!” remarked Buddy Baker.
“I’ll say,” replied Guy. Holding up his now-powerless ring, he added, “Say, uh, Baker… would you mind…?”
“No worries, Guy,” said Animal Man. “I’ve still got Timmy Joe’s super-speed for a few more minutes. I can spare a moment or two to get you back to the Bunker for a recharge. Hop on.”
“You’d better not tell anyone about this, Baker,” threatened Guy as he uneasily climbed atop Buddy’s back.
Buddy laughed and said, “Hey, I really don’t mind. In fact, it’s kind of nice. Cliff and Maxine are both a bit too old for piggyback rides now.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” grumbled Guy. “Jus’ get movin’. The faster, the better.”
But what the two Conglomerate members didn’t know was that a local TV news crew had arrived during the battle and had caught the whole thing, including the infamous “piggyback ride” video clip that would haunt Guy Gardner and amuse not only the rest of the Conglomerate, but all of America for months as late night talk show hosts like Johnny Nevada played out the recurring joke for as long as they could. As the country laughed at his expense, Guy’s mood soured even more, making the Bunker a very uncomfortable place for his fellow Conglomerate members.