by Comickook and Marc Drayer
In Doctor Hoot’s secret lair, the mad scientist was grumbling to himself as he paced about. “Blast it! I could have taken those four with this armor if those other four heroes weren’t already on their way, but I know from experience not to try my luck against all seven Zoo Crewers with only one ally left, especially when they had a guest hero present.”
“Why did you pull me out of there, master?” the Salamandroid asked. “I could have at least taken down Pig-Iron.”
“Well, I might need you later, and I’d rather have you undamaged for the inevitable rematch with those do-gooders. Unfortunately, I’m still going to need more help if I’m going to face the Zoo Crew and that flying forecaster,” Hoot answered. “I need an ally that’s easy to control, but still powerful enough to account for Stormwing’s powers and interference.”
“Like who, master?” Salmandroid asked out of sheer curiosity.
“Ohhh, like those four Looney Society members that I heard were stranded on our world. (*) Hmmm… perhaps while under some sort of mind-control. That’s it! Salmandroid, are you pondering what I’m pondering? Wait a minute, of course you are; I’ve programmed you that way. It’s so delightfully wicked, I’m surprised I didn’t think of it sooner. I can use my mind-control ray to take full mental command over those four Looney Society members trapped on our world. After we take control of those four, then we’ll bust out our cronies that were defeated before, and then not only will we have a twelve-to-eight number advantage, but four of those twelve will be friends of the Zoo Crew against whom they will most likely hold back in a fight. Of course, that would be a truly fatal mistake, considering the Bunny-Goddess’s strength, speed, agility, and stamina, the Skirt Chaser’s super-speed and super-skunk spray, the immeasurable energy powers of Duck L’Orange’s ring, and What’s-Up-Doc’s magic.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew: Crisis on Earth-L.]
“No disrespect intended, master, but how do you propose to find the Looney Society?” the Salamandroid asked, having been given just enough artificial intelligence to hold semi-intelligent conversations with his master. “I mean, unlike the Zoo Crew, they’re not exactly in the Yellowed Pages.”
“Simple, my android accomplice; we’ll find a way to make them come to us. Super-crime? No, that would attract the Zoo Crew’s attention, too. Think, think, think…”
In the Z-Building, Stormwing was reading one of Rova Barkitt’s fan magazines. There was one article in particular that interested him about some juicy gossip on Byrd Rentals. He was startled by the door to the conference room swinging open and Rubberduck’s head stretching out. He grinned and said, “I wouldn’t believe everything you read in there, Stormy.”
“I heard that!” said Yankee Poodle from inside.
The elongated duck chuckled and said, “Will you come in here for a moment? We have something to tell you.”
Stormwing followed the malleable mallard inside. The seven members of the Zoo Crew stood up. Captain Carrot advanced and shook his claw. “Stormwing, you did an excellent job helping the team against our foes, and we want you to know how much we appreciate your help.”
“Thank you, sir,” said Terry Dactyl.
“That said, we can’t offer you full membership, at least just yet,” continued the Captain.
“I… I understand,” said Stormwing, his wings drooping a bit as he turned around to hide his disappointment. “I guess I’ll be leaving now.”
“Just hold on there, Stormy!” said Rubberduck. “Cap’s not finished.”
“Let me explain,” said Captain Carrot. “We brought Little Cheese on board as our first new member since the Zoo Crew was founded, but we’d already worked alongside him taking down Fat Kat. So until we really get to see you in action a bit more, I’m afraid all we can offer you is provisional membership on a trial basis.”
“I couldn’t ask for more, Captain,” said Stormwing. The Zoo Crewers then surrounded him and slapped him on the back with congratulatory words, though Stormwing almost fell over when Pig-Iron did so.
“Thank you all,” said the winged weather wizard. “I will do everything in my power to live up to the confidence you have given me.”
Just then, a device on Stormwing’s belt buzzed. He picked it up and examined it. “I thought so,” he said. “I secretly put a bug on Armordillo and Jailhouse Roc, since I’d guessed Doc Hoot wasn’t through with us yet, and I wanted to be alerted if he tried to break them out again for another encounter, and it looks like he has.” He chuckled and added, “I picked the idea up from a Batmouse comic-book. But this means we’ve got trouble, and it’s coming soon.”
The other seven looked at each other. “We need to set up some plans,” said Rubberduck.
Doctor Hoot had just busted out eight super-villains, but had replaced a few. In place of Solar Bear, he recruited Cold Turkey, since he didn’t want another heat wave from that flying forecaster to ruin his carefully laid-out plans. And in place of Digger O’Doom, he had recruited Kongaroo, the giant Aukstralian kangaroo who had been a member of Brother Hood’s ACROSTIC.
“Excellent!” said the felonious fowl. “Now all we have to do is get our four mind-contolled ‘heroes,’ and we’re in business.”
Armordillo scratched his ear, and a device fell off. Salamandroid picked it up. “What is this, master?” he asked, handing it to Doctor Hoot.
The onerous owl examined it and crushed it in his hand. “Curses! It appears one of them is a lot smarter than I took him for. That one is mine, and I can guess which one it is.”
At the makeshift hideout of four stranded members of the Looney Society of Toomerica from the parallel world of Earth-L, What’s-Up-Doc, the Bunny-Goddess, Duck L’Orange, and Skirt Chaser picked up a telepathic message that sounded like it was coming from a familiar source.
“Gee, Mr. What’s-Up-Doc, sir — Mr. PoultryGhost, Moon-Howler, Miracle Mouse, and I finally found a way to get through that dimensional barrier,” the telepathic message said. “Sure, it may have taken us many weeks to find a way, even with the combined scientific skills of Moon-Howler, Miracle Mouse, and the combined mystic power of PoultryGhost and my trusty ol’ Witchbolt. If you would be so kind as to come to us, we can all go home together.”
“Ehh, I detect a considerable measure o’ energy from a source so great dat it could be our ol’ pals from Oith-L,” What’s-Up-Doc began. “On da otha hand…” But he didn’t have a chance to finish what he was saying.
“Yahooo! Don’t worry, Molly, baby! Ol’ Daffy’s finally coming home!” Duck L’Orange shouted out as he teleported himself and his three super-companions to the source of the supposed telepathic message. Unfortunately, Daffy Duck let his eagneress to return home and his concern for his wife cloud his fifty years of super-heroic experience.
Thus, when the four Looney Society members appeared at the scene of the message, they found a carefully programmed special telepathic communicator with disguised thoughts option and a portable super-atomic generator. Unfortunately, before any of the four heroes could say a word, a powerful beam came streaking at them. The Skirt Chaser just barely spotted the beam in time to dodge it himself and watch helplessly as his three teammates were struck by the incredibly powerful mind-control ray and were seemingly frozen solid.
Out of the shadows stepped Doctor Hoot and the Salamandroid. Though the Skirt Chaser wasn’t under Hoot’s control, he guessed his super-skunk-spray would have no effect on Hoot while he was wearing his armor, which he presumed would also make Hoot strong enough that easily snatching the ray from Hoot’s hands to free his teammates was highly unlikely. As for the Salamandroid, well, Skirt Chaser had dated Yankee Poodle long enough over the months he and his fellows had been stranded on Earth-C to have access to the Zoo Crew’s files. As such, he knew the Salamandroid was a robot and thus also immune to his super-skunk-spray.
“Well, I knew using a fake telepathic summons using the thought voice of one of your Earth-L amigos would bring you four here, and I also knew that portable super-atomic generator would provide enough of an energy reading to reinforce the decoy,” Hoot cackled. “Now that you are all completely under my mental control, we can now bust out my fellow super-villains and go after the Zoo Crew.”
“Not all of us are under your control, Monsieur Hoot,” Skirt Chaser said as he fired his super-skunk-spray at his mind-controlled teammates, now that he knew they were mind-controlled and not merely frozen. But an energy shield produced by Duck L’Orange under Hoot’s mental control blocked the super-speedster skunk’s spray, and a massive wind magically produced by the mind-controlled What’s-Up-Doc propelled the heroic skunk clear out of the area and caused him to slam into a row of garbage cans so hard as to be knocked for a loop. Hoot’s mind-control ray was so powerful that he didn’t even have to voice his commands to the three mind-controlled Looney Society members; he could tell them what to do merely by thinking it.
“Well, we still got three out of four, and even if that skunk does help out the Zoo Crew, we’ll still have the numbers advantage,” Hoot cackled as he teleported himself, the Salamandroid, and the three brainwashed members of the Looney Society of Toomerica back to his lab to meet up with his recently released allies.
As he came to, the Skirt Chaser super-sped off to find the Zoo Crew to help out with the upcoming battle with Hoot and his cronies.
At the Z-Building, the seven Zoo Crewers and their provisional teammate were deep in discussion as to what to do. They were interrupted by a rapping on their door. It opened to reveal Skirt Chaser.
“Pardonnez-moi for barging een like this, but we ‘ave got a problem,” said Skirt Chaser in his thick Fur-rench accent. “Doc Hoot has just taken three of my companions — What’s-Up-Doc, Bunny-Goddess, and Duck L’Orange — and placed zem under mind-control. Zey will be fighting you instead of them.”
“That is serious,” said Captain Carrot. “I don’t relish the thought of fighting fellow heroes.”
“Unless I can break Doc Hoot’s control over them,” suggested Alley-Kat-Abra.
“Looks like we’re looking to you again, Stormy,” said Rubberduck. “You had the foresight of placing two bugs on them instead of just one. Can you trace it? Maybe we can surprise them.”
“Working on it,” said Stormwing. “Ahhh, I think I have it.”
Quickly, he programmed it into the Zoo Crew computer and showed them the location, giving them a very good reason why the Whether Channel wanted to hire Terry Dactyl so much. “I could have never believed it. Right there, of all places.”
With Stormwing’s permission, Alley-Kat-Abra scanned his mind for the location of the transmission and then teleported the Zoo Crew and Skirt Chaser to that location. It was a very small laboratory that had been built within Mount Thrushmore itself, specifically behind George Waspington’s face. One of the eyes served as the lab’s window.
“Blast it!” cried Doctor Hoot as the number of individuals in the lab doubled. “They must have planted a second tracker on one of my allies!”
“Errr, no offense, Hoot, but this is kind of a small lab for all of us to be in,” said Captain Carrot. And it was true; the heroes and villains alike were now standing nearly shoulder to shoulder in the criminal scientist’s lair.
With Hoot’s merest thought, What’s-Up-Doc teleported everybody to the park outside Mount Thrushmore, where there was much more fighting room. Alley-Kat-Abra took that moment to nail both What’s-Up-Doc and Duck L’Orange with a double-blast just potent enough to throw off a little of their mystic energy. This was just enough to prevent the two mind-controlled, mystically powered Looney Society members from trapping the heroes in an energy bubble, just in case Hoot had that thought in mind.
“OK, everybody, take a hero, and don’t forget — Stormwing is mine!” Hoot commanded.
Under Hoot’s mental control, Duck L’Orange and What’s-Up-Doc together attacked Alley-Kat-Abra. The two mind-controlled heroes were a mystical energy combination that would, to say the least, require a tremendous amount of her concentration to deal with.
Captain Carrot’s opponent was the mind-controlled Bunny-Goddess. Luckily for the heroic hare, he had gotten over his crush on Wonder Wabbit last year, or else this battle would be even harder for Cap than it was already going to be, because of the Bunny-Goddess’s superficial similarities to Wonder Wabbit.
Meanwhile, Jailhouse Roc and the Armordillo went after Pig-Iron, the Squawker singled out Yankee Poodle, the Cheshire Cheetah singled out Fastback, Rubberduck was faced with Cold Turkey, Little Cheese was up against Kongaroo, the Salamandroid targeted the Skirt Chaser, and, true to Doctor Hoot’s word, he reserved Stormwing for himself.