by Martin Maenza, with Libbylawrence
It was late that last Saturday morning of January, 1987, in Los Angeles when Mal Duncan, the Herald, completed the weekly training session with his young recruits. The quartet retired to a small break area on the topmost floors of a downtown office building, the place where multimillionaire Loren Jupiter had set up shop. Arisia, Air Wave, and Kid Devil were chatting amongst themselves as they followed their teacher into the room.
Sitting on one of the couches in the lounging area was a man with wavy red hair dressed in bright blue pants, a white shirt, and a paisley tie. He put down his magazine when the teenagers entered the room. “‘Bout time you kids was done bandyin’ about,” Neil Richards, the designer known as the Mad Mod, said.
“Sorry to have kept you waiting, Neil,” the Herald apologized. “We had a few things that needed to be covered a couple times.” The African-American hero shot a glance at the three teenagers; they all kind of looked the other way to avoid it.
“That’s all right, guv,” Richards replied as he put down his tea cup. “Gave me time to catch up on me readin’, it did.”
“Mr. Richards, we can head off to that fitting just as soon as I catch a shower,” Arisia said. First she went over to the refrigerator and got out a bottled water. She looked to her fellow students. “Guys, you need anything?”
“I’ll have a water,” Air Wave said.
“Soda for me,” Kid Devil piped up.
Using her power ring, she created a couple of emerald energy hands to carry the beverages across the room. She handed the Herald a bottle of orange juice. “Here you go, Mal.”
“Thanks,” the Herald said. He sat down next to Richards on the couch and noticed the magazine. “So, anything good in that issue, Neil?”
“Slow news week,” the designer said. “Most of the issue covered that bloody alien invasion from last year. (*) Figured they mark the anniversary to move a few extra copies, they did. I’d expect as much from papers like the Sun or the Daily Mirror, but I see the Yank publishers are prone to it as well.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Strange Visitors.]
“The alien invasion?” Kid Devil asked as he picked up the magazine. “Cool! We’ve been talking about it in school.” As Air Wave chuckled, Kid Devil asked defensively, “What?”
“We could give you first-hand accounts,” Air Wave said.
“Really?” Kid Devil asked. “I’d love to hear about it.”
“OK,” Arisia said. “Let me start.”
At the time, I was hanging out with the Rehab Squad, a group led by Captain Comet that was formed by the government and often enlisted the aid of super-criminals on missions in exchange for reductions in their sentences. I hadn’t been with them that long, when suddenly two figures materialized in our team’s headquarters at the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency. The first was Harbinger, a blonde woman in blue armor with a red headpiece; she’d worked along with the Monitor during the Crisis the previous year. The other was a guy with purple hair dressed in white and green; he was known as Pariah and acted as a self-proclaimed prophet of doom who was attracted to disaster.
“Help me,” Pariah cried, “they’re coming! The invasion fleets are massing as we speak!” His eyes were shadowy, having almost a haunted look to them. The man obviously had problems sleeping, you know?
“Calm down, Pariah!” advised the platinum blonde woman named Dolphin. “What invasion?”
Harbinger took Pariah’s hand. “I fear we’re both the harbingers of bad news,” she said, making an unintentional play on the name given to her for her costumed identity. “A fleet of alien invaders is rapidly coming to Earth. You must rally the heroes to stop them.” She knew well of the capabilities of Earth’s champions, having spent a good bit of time when she was known only as Lyla cataloging them for the Monitor before the Crisis.
“Harbinger, I will stop them,” the brown-haired Captain Comet said. This champion in red had spent many decades in space before finally returning home. He knew all about dealing with alien races. “You have my word. But first, we must know what type of invasion are you speaking of.”
“We,” Harbinger started to say, “or I should say Pariah — came across the stellar formation of various alien crafts during his studies. The gathered races have set aside their various differences in order to form an alliance against the Earth, and they mean war. They see this world as a focal point of much unrest, including the recent Crisis that devastated many worlds. They blame this planet for that, merely because the Monitor dwelt near Earth for so long. It’s very similar to the issue of whether heroes create villains by their mere existence. But that’s only partly the reason. They also want to rid Earth of its high population of meta-humans; they fear that they will spread out into space and interfere in their business and, in future generations, even band against the universe’s tyrants when space travel becomes more commonplace. Pariah says they are closing in and may be here already.”
“They wish to strike now to eliminate any further threats!” Pariah added.
“The Green Lantern Corps should know about this,” I said. I knew that the G.L.s covered the entire universe, even those places where the races hailed. Through the Guardians guidance, we’d been doing so for centuries. Now that the Guardians were gone, the Corps was responsible for themselves. It was possible this Invasion Alliance was taking advantage of that as well. “But we’re scattered a bit. Ch’p has taken off somewhere, and Green Lantern of Earth and Kilowog are with the JLA. I’ll head off to find them and warn them.”
“Go to it,” Captain Comet said.
And with that, I used my power ring and took off. I knew where to find the first Green Lantern who was native to Earth. So on my way to the Justice League satellite, I used my power ring to communicate with the other Green Lanterns who operated out of the Green Lantern Citadel here in Los Angeles.
“An invasion, eh?” said John Stewart, the African-American ring wielder who had operated as Earth’s second Green Lantern. Katma Tui, the red-skinned female G.L. from Korugar stood by his side. “You can count on us! I’ll alert Salaak and Kilowog as well.”
“Good,” I said. “I’m heading up to alert the Justice League.” In no time, the satellite was approaching. I was a bit reluctant about doing this, but I knew it had to be done.
The Justice League members were nearly finished rebuilding their satellite base, which orbited 22,300 miles above the Earth. It looked impressive, like a watch post over the whole planet below. Surely, I thought, they’d be the first to know if an invasion fleet entered the solar system. Nonetheless, I knew we had to take advantage of whatever time that Pariah and Harbinger bought us.
My power ring easily allowed me to phase into the satellite itself. Green Lantern himself was there working on some of the systems when I arrived. “Arisia? What brings you here?” asked the brown-haired man in the green and black uniform. The rest of us had modified our uniforms a bit when we came to Earth to help distinguish ourselves and reflect our unique personalities. He, however, chose to stay with the traditional uniform of the Corps. “I hope it’s not about… you know.” I knew what he was talking about. “I thought I was pretty clear the last time we talked. I hope I don’t have to go into all that with you again.” He had that lecturing tone in his voice.
“No, it’s not! And you don’t!” I said sharply before I regained my composure. “Sorry. It has nothing to do with our recent talks. I’ve just come from planet-side, where I’ve been hanging out with Captain Comet and his crew.”
“Really? Comet?” Green Lantern said. “How is he doing? It’s been a long time since I spoke with him.”
“Well, right now, he’s preparing for an invasion,” I said.
“What?” Green Lantern asked surprised.
I proceeded to tell him about the arrival of Pariah and Harbinger and what they told us. He listened very intently, as I expected he would. Despite any past differences, he was still a member of the Green Lantern Corps. One of the finest, in fact. When it was time for action, he was all business.
Green Lantern rubbed his chin. “I see,” he said when I finished. “You can let Captain Comet know that they can count on the Justice League to help out.”
“Good. I will,” I said, nodding. And with that, I took off again. I figured there was no sense in hanging out there any longer than was totally necessary. My new associates could probably use my help, so I returned to Earth. As it would turn out, though, the Justice League wouldn’t be able to lend us much of a hand. Immediately after I left the JLA Satellite, in fact, they found themselves embroiled in a battle with a new, more powerful Despero. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Pyre.]
Neil Richards interrupted Arisia’s narrative. “Luv, I hate to be a bother,” he said. “Lord knows I love a good yarn as much anyone, but…”
“Right,” Arisia said. “The fitting. I almost forgot.” She grabbed her bag on the floor. “Just let me get that quick shower, OK?” The young blonde alien girl with the golden skin darted out of the room.
“Darn,” said Kid Devil. “Just as it was starting to get good.”
“Relax, Gopher,” Air Wave said. “Let me pick up the story from here.” And with that, the hero in blue and yellow began his part of the tale.