Captain Comet: A Higher Calling, Chapter 1: Leaving Earth Behind

by Libbylawrence

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On a tropical island known as Vumania, a group of colorfully costumed men and women marked a sad occasion. In the distance, a well-maintained complex rose up beneath the heat of the island sun, but it was not merely the brightness of the light that caused one platinum-haired girl to weep.

“Dolphin, you promised you wouldn’t cry!” said Starman, a young man in a black and red costume with the emblem of a star on his chest.

“I’m sorry, Will. I guess the moment just caught me off-guard!” said Dolphin.

Will Payton nodded and looked over to where the famous heroes Hawkman, Hawkwoman, Green Lantern, and Superman stood with Lady Blackhawk and Captain Comet.

“Adam, are you sure this is what you want to do?” asked Green Lantern. “I know you cared for Lisa Snart, but I never had any confidence in that relationship. The woman put Barry through torment in her time as the Golden Glider! She’s not worth any regrets!”

“Lisa is a changed woman,” said Captain Comet. “She has reformed and made a new life for herself. It’s not a life that can include me, but that decision was mutual. She likes the life of a model/skater and never truly had her heart in the crime-fighting lifestyle. Her time on tour only made it all the clearer for both of us. We weren’t meant to be together! Still, you owe her the benefit of the doubt. She has repented of her past crimes!”

Green Lantern nodded but said nothing. His mind had been made up long ago, and he would never like the Golden Glider.

“I’ve had a relationship or two that failed, and I can respect your feelings on the subject,” said Superman. “Plus, the Glider owes us no apologies for quitting the heroic life! Sometimes many of us have contemplated what it would be like to hang up the capes, so to speak.”

“Breaking up with Lisa really had very little to do with my decision,” explained Captain Comet. “I was away from Earth for a long time, and the fact is, the desire to travel and see the wonders of the universe never truly left me. I’ve enjoyed my time with the Forgotten Heroes, and I’d like to think we’ve done some good, but I think my work is done in that area.”

Hawkwoman put an arm around the Man of the Future and said, “Adam, the world can always use another hero with your experience and powers! Plus, we hate to see a friend go away!”

Hawkman nodded and said, “Shay is right. I’ll miss our chess games!”

“All of you JLAers have been good to me,” said Captain Comet. “I’ll miss you all as well. Still, you have to see my point. In the six months after the Crisis, the Justice League was fragmented. You two were still dealing with the Shadow War of your homeworld. (*) Aquaman was going through some dark times, and his wife was secretly under the control of an ancient wizard. (*) I even wonder if that same wizard’s dark influence earlier led Arthur to make some of the decisions he made during his time with the Detroit League. Anyway, G.L., you’d only recently recovered your ring and had to deal with reining in a group of headstrong Earth-based Green Lanterns used to working alone in their own sectors, during a time when the Oans abdicated their responsibilities. (*) Supergirl and the Flash had died in the Crisis. (*) Superman and Batman were sidelined when Metropolis was loaded with kryptonite, and Gotham not only sustained two massive prison breaks but was also turned into a giant greenhouse by the Swamp Thing. (*) The Atom had turned his back on civilization altogether to live with tiny aliens in the jungle. (*) The Red Tornado’s body had been destroyed, and he thought himself no more than an elemental force of nature. (*) Wonder Woman had been turned into an infant. (*) In short, the Justice League was going through a transition period as individuals and as a group, and I tried to fill the gap with the Rehab Squad as best I could during that difficult time. (*) But now, the JLA is stronger than ever, thank goodness!”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Shadow War of Hawkman #1-4 (May, 1985 to August, 1985), Aquaman: Old Demons, New Hope, “Five Billion Years,” Green Lantern v2 #200 (May, 1986), “Setting Up Shop,” Green Lantern Corps #201 (June, 1986), “Beyond the Silent Night,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #7 (October, 1985), “A Flash of the Lightning,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (November, 1985), “Phantom Zone: The Final Chapter,” DC Comics Presents #97 (September, 1986), “Resurrection Night,” Batman #400 (October, 1986), “Natural Consequences,” Swamp Thing v2 #52 (September, 1986), “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Swamp Thing v2 #53 (October, 1986), “The Atom’s Farewell,” Sword of the Atom Special #1 (1984), “Force of Nature,” Justice League of America Annual #3 (1985), “Final Crisis,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #12 (March, 1986), and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Suicide Mission.]

Lady Blackhawk looked at her cousin and said, “Adam, I understand your desire to travel again, but what about the team?”

“Actually, the Forgotten Heroes will go on in one form or another,” replied Adam Blake. “Mayflower is back with the Force of July. I know Dolphin plans to divide her time between seeing Starman and visiting with her grandfather, Arion. So many earlier members have moved on in one manner or another. Poor Cheetah returned to crime. (*) The Golden Wasp is continuing to fight the good fight on his own in Bludhaven. Robotgirl was restored to a human form. (*) Roh Kar, the Manhunter from Mars of Earth-Two, is still out in space, probably searching for New Mars. Tharka has returned to Zor, Joannie Swift went back to college, and Volar is looking for a place for herself on Earth. Of course, Valor left to live on Rokyn much earlier. As for Rip Hunter, Cave Carson, and some of the other members of the original Forgotten Heroes, they have promised to come to the team’s aid when needed.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See Showcase: Artemis: Cat and Mouse Game and The Forgotten Heroes: Devastation (Unnatural Woman).]

The male Justice Leaguers shook hands with the mutant hero, and Hawkwoman kissed his cheek before they departed. Then Captain Comet turned to Dolphin, Starman, and Lady Blackhawk. “I appreciate your support and friendship. Will, you’ve already made me proud. I know you have big things in your future. ”

Starman smiled and said, “Thanks, Adam. I owe a lot to you. I know you’ve done more for me than you’ll admit!”

Dolphin kissed Captain Comet’s cheek and said, “I’ll miss you so much. You helped me grow in so many ways. Ever since the Crisis, you’ve been wonderful to me. I owe my very identity to you!”

“You have a family now, and they care for you as much as I do,” said Captain Comet. “You’ll be OK, Mara!” He hugged her, then took Lady Blackhawk’s hand in his own. “Zinda, take care of yourself. I’ll miss you, cousin!” he said.

Zinda Blake nodded and said, “I’ll miss you, too. Still, I’ll think about you every time I look up at the stars!”

Waving to the trio, Captain Comet then climbed into his sleek spacecraft called the Cometeer. As he flew off, piloting expertly into space, he glanced backward at the rapidly shrinking planet behind him. “I don’t know when I’ll return, but it’s comforting to know the planet is being taken care of by such a noble group of men and women. When I left Earth the first time, I had no idea that so many amazing heroes and heroines would come into being!”

Captain Comet remembered his first long-term departure from Earth back in the summer of 1954. Then he had been motivated by several feelings. “I always felt like a man apart from others. My mutant powers caused me to always see myself as separate from ordinary folks. Oh, I never felt better than them or superior. On the contrary, I often felt like a freak or misfit. Still, while I learned to use my powers to help others, and I never cared much for self-pity, I always hoped there might be something more for me out there in the darkness of space!”

Shaking his head, he concentrated on his piloting until he saw an strange craft hovering in space. “Strange, that ship doesn’t appear to be damaged, but something feels wrong about it! I can’t say I recognize the design, either.” He turned to adjust his communications system but failed to pick up any signal of distress or warning.

However, his keen mind felt a whisper brush across his thoughts. “Telepathy!” he said. “Someone inside that ship is trying to contact me with her mind!”

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