by Marc Drayer and Comickook
This was a battle supreme that the Species Wrestling Federation (the SWF) would be proud of.
Pig-Iron wasted no time with Jailhouse Roc, clobbering him instantly. That left him to tackle the more dangerous foe, Armordillo. The porcine powerhouse gave punches as Armordillo swiped with his razor-sharp claws. Who would win? It was too close to call at the moment.
Captain Carrot was in a predicament. He didn’t want to hurt the Bunny-Goddess, and he leaped out of her way with incredible speed, looking for a way to break the hold Doctor Hoot had on her.
Alley-Kat-Abra noticed that the control was spread over three heroes. Doctor Hoot couldn’t possibly maintain it and fight Stormwing as well. Or could he? She aimed blasts from her Magic Wanda designed to try to shock What’s-up-Doc into reality.
Stars, stripes, and sound were scattered as the Squawker and Yankee Poodle had a rematch, going at each other with full force.
Meanwhile, a mini-tornado had formed as Fastback and the Cheshire Cheetah each tried to get an upper hand on the other.
Rubberduck was having trouble with Cold Turkey’s frigid attack, as he felt his stretching ability lessening with the cold. He blew up a fist to giant size and gave a glancing blow.
Little Cheese just barely avoided being flattened under Kongaroo’s foot, shrinking to microscopic size. What could he do against an actual giant? He leaped up, growing as he did, giving a one-two that the mega-sized marsupial nevertheless barely felt. “Stay flattened, mate!” said Kongaroo with his Aukstralian accent. “It’s for your own good!”
Skirt Chaser, realizing that his odorific attack was useless against Salamandroid, had to rely on his speed and wits as the android whirled around and around, looking for the slightest opportunity to total the skunk. But how long could either keep it up?
The biggest battle was between the battle-suit-enhanced Doctor Hoot and Stormwing. “Come on, you prehistoric peabrain,” cried Doctor Hoot. “Let’s see what little hope your lightning and other weather skills have against me.” The nefarious fowl grabbed the pterodactyl and punched him, sending him skidding against the ground where the weatherbeast finally came to rest.
“You can’t possibly win, you extinct refugee,” laughed Doctor Hoot. But suddenly the battle-suit began to strain against incredible forces, and sparks began to fly. “What is happening?!” cried the owl.
Stormwing had whipped up a super-low-pressure area around Doctor Hoot, and it was taking its toll on the battle suit. Hoot was immobilized as the battle-suit shorted out; still, his most dangerous weapon was not the suit, but his razor-sharp mind. Even immobilized, he was as dangerous as Hector Hamhock on Earth-C-Minus was to Green Lambkin. He still had control of the other super-heroes from the Looney Squad of Toomerica from Earth-L.
Eventually, Skirt Chaser was able use a set of super-speed after-images to cause the Salamandroid’s heat blasts to hit close enough to Rubberduck to counteract Cold Turkey’s cold attacks, but not so close as to pose a serious danger to Rubbercuck.
“Thanks, Fur-renchie,” Rubberduck said gratefully as he quickly took away Cold Turkey’s freeze-gun, while Skirt Chaser trapped the Salamandroid in a super-speed whirlwind.
As soon as the Salamandroid was about two hundred feet off the ground, Skirt Chaser stopped the whirlwind in its tracks, causing his enemy to hurtle down from the sky at breakneck speed. Unfortunately for the super-powerful android, even with the improvements Doctor Hoot made on him, he still couldn’t fly. And even if he was tough enough to survive the fall, it would still take him a while to climb out of the hole he had made in the ensuing crash.
“Not a problem, mon ami,” Skirt Chaser said as he aimed his super-skunk-spray carefully at Cold Turkey and the Squawker, while super-speeding Yankee Poodle out of the line of spray. He gave her a quick smooch as he did so, and she playfully mock-swooned in response.
Little Cheese was doing a pretty decent job of tickling Kongaroo into submission, or at least tickling the mega-sized marsupial in areas guaranteed to provoke him into taking swings at those areas with enough force to cause great pain, though he sustained a delayed reaction because of his great size. By dodging those areas at the last split-second, Little Cheese was able to maneuver Kongaroo into eventually taking himself out.
Skirt Chaser, meanwhile, helped Fastback against the Cheshire Cheetah. Not only did the Cheetah have to deal with two fellow super-speedsters instead of one, but one of them had a personal spray that took him right out of the fight.
Stormwing, meanwhile, was dealing with a mind-controlled Duck L’Orange. The trouble with this fight was that, no matter what weather tricks Stormwing thought of, the energy powers of Duck L’Orange’s ring were enough to block the winged weather wizard’s efforts and shoot them back four times magnified. Hoot watched with sadistic glee as his three Looney Society super-puppets were facing off with Captain Carrot, Alley-Kat-Abra, and Stormwing.
Then Skirt Chaser grabbed the Bunny-Goddess’s lasso and used it to tie her up at super-speed before hitting her with enough of his spray to knock her out without hurting her.
“Thanks for the assist, Pepe,” Captain Carrot said he leaped up toward What’s-Up-Doc, grabbed the mind-controlled lapine arch-mage by his legs, and started spinning him around and around in an effort to subdue him without hurting him. Fortunately, between Abra’s efforts and Cap’s centrifugal force, What’s-Up-Doc was finally snapped out of his mind-controlled haze.
“T’anks, Cap. Ya too, Abra,” What’s-Up-Doc said as he trapped Duck L’Orange in a mystic energy vise, while using some portion of his magic to help Abra snap the power-ring-bearing black-feathered canard out of Hoot’s control. With some effort, they succeeded.
Now that he and Duck L’Orange were free of Doctor Hoot’s control, What’s-Up-Doc used his magic to increase Pig-Iron’s strength and speed enough to defeat the Armordillo with incredible ease, while Duck’L Orange conjured up an energy surge in the Salamandroid’s circuits that overloaded him from within and caused him to collapse, just as he was climbing out of the crater he’d caused after falling two hundred feet from to the ground.
Using the cold gun he snatched from Cold Turkey, Rubberduck froze all the defeated villains solid so that they would remain trapped until they were all safely locked away again, while What’s-Up-Doc and Duck L’Orange combined their mystic energies to free the Bunny-Goddess from Hoot’s control. Unfortunately, Doctor Hoot himself got free of the suit during the confusion of the rest of the battle and snuck away before any of the exhausted but victorious heroes could notice him. Once he was far enough away to use it, Doctor Hoot activated his one-shot personal teleporter to teleport himself to an alternate hideout elsewhere. It would take a few hours for the teleporter to recharge so that it could be used again, but at least now Hoot would have a few hours to plan.
It was only when the heroes were able to put the other villains on ice that they finally noticed Hoot’s absence. “Blast it! That ornery owl got away again,” said Captain Carrot, stating the sentiment of virtually all the Zoo Crewers — well, all except Yankee Poodle. She and Skirt Chaser had snuck off for a private moment immediately following the battle.
“Ehh, sorry for all this, Cap, but if somebody hadn’t so consoined ’bout his wife back home as ta neglect da fact dat da summons could have been a trap in da foist place…” What’s-Up-Doc began, first looking at Captain Carrot, then glaring at Duck L’Orange.
“Look,” Duck L’Orange responded honestly, “I know it’s not any of our faults that the dimensional barrier has been so reinforced as to make it so that, even with our combined mystic energy and the help of the Zoo Crew, we still haven’t found a way to get back home. But I can’t help being worried about the woman that, up until a few months ago, I have never spent more than a few hours at a time away from in over twenty years!”
The Zoo Crew, together with their allies from the Looney Society of Toomerica, had returned the super-villains to their cells, putting them back on ice. And Stormwing took his leave of them for a while, as he had a broadcast to do. He was a little sore from his battle with Doctor Hoot and his cohorts, but that went with the territory.
“Beep me if you need me, Captain. I’ll be back shortly,” said Stormwing.
“Will do,” said Captain Carrot. “Good job. One of these days, we’ll catch Doc Hoot as well.”
The flying forecaster nodded and took off. He changed back into his civvies just in time to get to the studio.
“And now the news, with Lani Badger, Terry Dactyl with the weather, and Barry Bovine with the sports report,” started the announcer.
The anchorbeast started. “Our top story is that a new hero has taken the Zoo Crew by storm. Although we haven’t yet learned his name or if he’s actually joined the Zoo Crew as its eighth member or is merely working alongside them, this new winged hero with his amazing weather-controlling powers is certainly a formidable hero. Reports from here in Los Antelopes and from North Dakitta indicate that the Zoo Crew and this new hero battled Doctor Hoot and several of his super-villain allies twice today, first at the Z-Building at then at Mount Thrushmore, before they subdued the felonious cadre. All were rounded up with the exception of their fowl leader, and it’s anybody’s guess when he will be back.”
The news continued with other sundry items, then Terry did his weather report.
“Smog is at a low level for the first time in a week,” began the weatherbeast. He proceeded to the weather map, showing the patterns and forecasting a forty percent chance of rain for the next day, with mild temperatures. After a few more facts, he turned it over to Barry for the sports report.
After a great report about the Rams, they each gave their summaries of their reports. Lani Badger turned to Terry Dactyl and said, “It looks like you now have some competition in the weather department, and somebody who can change the weather to suit him.”
Terry grinned and replied, “Well, I will have to keep on my toes to keep up with him, then.”
“I’ll lay odds on the new hero,” said Barry.
The pterodactyl rolled his eyes and answered, “Everybody’s a comedian.” They all laughed, and the telecast ended.
A messenger came aboard and whistled for Terry. “Looks like somebody’s messing with your forecast, Mr. Dactyl. A big cloud of smog just rolled in, darkening everything around.”
Terry glared out the window just as his beeper went off. A super-hero’s work was never done. Excusing himself, he found a storeroom to change back into his Stormwing costume, then flew up into the darkened sky.
At the Z-Building, Captain Carrot was already discussing the strange new possible menace with the rest of the Zoo Crew and the four Looney Society members when Stormwing arrived.
Perching on the bar that would soon be known as Stormy’s Roost, Stormwing said, “Whatever that cloud is, it’s not a natural occurrence. Any of you got any leads yet?”
“We’re working on it, Stormy,” said Captain Carrot. “Find anything, Doc?”
“Well, dis cloud has a magical energy signature to it, Cap, so we are dealin’ wid evil sorcery this time around. Powerful stuff, too,” What’s-Up-Doc told the Zoo Crew leader after a careful scan.
“Sorcery? Well, at least that’s something we’re well-equipped to handle, Doc,” Captain Carrot began. “I mean, between Abra, you, and Daf…”
“Daf?” Stormwing asked.
“Duck L’Orange’s real name is Daffy Duck, Stormy,” Rubberduck explained before he remembered that, in all the confusion, the seven veteran Zoo Crewers hadn’t yet divulged their real names to Terry. Oh, well. They could take care of that when things quieted down. Unfortunately, the way this day was going, that wasn’t going to be anytime soon.
“Don’t feel too bad about not telling me your real names yet, Rubberduck, since I’m only a provisional member for now,” Stormwing said understandingly. “Believe me, I knew the dangers and potential long hours of the super-hero gig before I even tried to sign on, and I’d like to earn your trust first.”
“Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha!” an evil voice cackled from within the middle of the cloud, which burst all around in a massive glow of gold and green power. Once the brightness of the glow had subsided, the twelve heroes saw a very well-muscled, black pterodactyl about seven inches taller than Terry, due to all of the muscle, wearing a dark blue cape, with an amulet, a helmet, and a gold ring. “Prepare the face the power of… the Pterror-dactyl!“
“Pterror-dactyl?” all the heroes repeated in unison.
Alley-Kat-Abra, What’s-Up-Doc, and Duck L’Orange immediately scanned the newcomer. “He’s an evil clone of Stormwing,” explained Abra, “who’s been enhanced by the super-strength, speed, stamina, and endurance of the Bunny-Goddess and the combined mystical energies of What’s-Up-Doc and Duck L’Orange.”
“Must be based on some trace blood samples that Hoot picked up from his battle with you, Stormy,” Captain Carrot deduced. “He must have mixed that with energy signatures he acquired from Doc, Daffy, and B.G. during the time they were under his control to create one foe with the combined powers of all four of you.”
“Well, Hoot did hit me pretty hard, even if nowhere near hard enough to knock me out,” Stormwing admitted.
“Well, that’s still only one villain with the powers of four against twelve heroes,” Captain Carrot said.
Duck L’Orange used his magical ring’s power to increase Stormwing’s speed and weather-control powers twentyfold, but even that super-charge didn’t provide enough energy to turn the Pterror-dactyl’s own super-storm against him. But What’s-Up-Doc had magically super-charged the powers of Fastback and Skirt Chaser, allowing them to produce powerful twin winds with their arms, and that plus Pepe Le Pew’s super-skunk-spray and a well-aimed blast from Abra added to Stormwing’s powers proved to be enough to take the Pterror-dactyl down for the count.
“That was downright chilling,” said Stormwing after the battle with the Pterror-dactyl was over. “He was my twin, but evil! It was like battling myself.”
“You’ll get used to it in this line of work,” said Rubberduck. “Ever heard of the Nasty Menagerie? (*) I’ll have to tell you about it sometime.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Carrot and the Zoo Crew: The Dark Side of the Crew.]
“Well, that takes care of another of Hoot’s attempts to get us,” Captain Carrot interrupted, “but we’d better split up into six teams of two in order to search for Hoot’s new hideout before he has a chance to strike again.”
“Ahhh, you just want a chance ta be alone with Abra and try to make up fer your date getting interrupted,” Pig-Iron said in good-natured ribbing.
“Actually, it depends on how the team arrangements work out, P.I.,” Captain Carrot said in a brisk, businesslike manner, albeit with a very subtle trace of blush. “Now, let’s figure out these team arrangements.”