Captain Comet and his current Rehab Squad team reached the seminar address and spread out. Dolphin and Starman kept a careful eye on Killer Moth, the Hooded Hangman, and Mayflower.
“This place is quite posh. I expected less here in the Colonies,” teased Mayflower.
Killer Moth admired the pretty British girl’s figure in her tight Pilgrim costume. Nice legs on that one, he thought.
As the Hooded Hangman clenched his fists as if he was spoiling for a fight, Dolphin leaned close to Starman. “If there’s trouble, you watch Moth, and I’ll watch the other two,” she whispered.
Will Payton nodded. “I only have eyes for you, but I’ll do my best,” he said. The platinum blonde smiled as she punched him playfully on the arm.
Then seven figures appeared from the shadows. “Mayflower?!” said Halo with concern. “Then where are the rest of those Force of July creeps?”
“I recognize Killer Moth, too,” muttered Metamorpho.
Katana spun around and challenged the Hooded Hangman with her sword. As if he was back in the ring, the Hangman crouched and began to circle the swordswoman warily.
“Wait, Batman — you know me!” yelled Captain Comet.
The Dark Knight nodded and said, “I don’t like the company you keep these days. Moth and Mayflower are felons, and I put the Hangman away twice before.”
“I can explain. Just call off your team,” said Captain Comet, moving rapidly to block the charging Geo-Force from reaching Dolphin. The sudden impact dropped Geo-Force to the ground, but he arose quickly and reached out his hands. As intense waves of gravity hit him, Comet struggled to keep from collapsing to the ground. “We’re — with the government,” he said between gritted teeth.
“That makes it better somehow?” asked a sarcastic Metamorpho, whose morphing form managed to ensnare Starman, but all too briefly. The stellar-powered hero rocketed out, and the element man sloshed into a messy pool.
“I’ll wrap you up for Father Christmas!” cried Mayflower, and tendrils of leafy bark snaked up to pin the blonde teenager called Halo in its embrace at Mayflower’s command.
Black Lightning ducked as Killer Moth lashed out at him. “Got to be faster than that,” he said, “or I’ll break out the Raid, Bug-Man!” An electrically charged punch caught the agile Moth, and he reeled back.
“Dust in your eyes, Reddy Kilowatt,” sneered the Moth as he tossed a blinding dust into Black Lightning’s face.
Dolphin leaped up, then kicked out at the tall redhead called Looker, only to be deflected by a mental blast. A drawling voice said, “Looove those darling hotpants.”
Meanwhile, Katana delivered several fast blows that dropped the lanky Hooded Hangman many times in a row. Starman charged into Black Lightning, and a quick series of punches knocked out Jeff Pierce. Geo-Force’s teeth shook at the force of Captain Comet’s right hook.
“This is needless,” Comet tried to explain. “We’re here to rescue our abducted teammates. This is a front for some crook!”
“Stop!” said Batman in a deadly calm tone. The Outsiders froze at his words. “I believe you, Captain Comet. Sorry about the mixup. I know your record is flawless, but I have doubts about the viability of criminal rehabilitation.”
“I’d love to do something with your hair, and something else to you, honey,” said Looker to Dolphin and Starman, respectively.
Killer Moth rubbed his arm and offered a hand to the groggy Black Lightning as he stirred. “No hard feelings, old man,” he asked.
“Nothing I can’t forget after a good eye rinse,” replied Jeff.
The entranced Constance d’Aramis sat on her legs, crouching as the handsome Achilles Dahmmon stroked her blonde locks as if she was his pet. She did not bat an eye. Simon Stagg sat entranced nearby as well. “You were very naughty not to come to my self-actualization seminar, but now you are here, and you will sign your assets over to me now,” said the mellow-toned Dahmmon.
Stagg sweated and said, “Not my money!”
Strange how the old man still resists, thought Achilles.
A loud crash echoed through the complex. The Outsiders and the Rehab Squad charged inside. “Give up Cheetah and Golden Glider, and let Stagg go!” ordered Batman.
“Oh, I prefer to fight,” said Dahmmon.
“Sounds good to me,” said the Hooded Hangman.
In the arena nearby, the Cheetah curled into a ball and spun through the netting. She crashed into Doctor Psycho, who had moved too close to watch the mock fight between the women. Clawing his face, she hurled her full body weight against his tiny frame, overcoming him completely.
The newly liberated Silver Swan carried Golden Glider with her as they soared upward to freedom. “You know, you’d make a great skater in that outfit,” said Lisa Snart. “I could see you in a wonderful version of Swan Lake.”
Swan smiled. “I was a ballerina, once.”
“We’ve got a lot in common,” said Lisa, returning the smile.
They soon helped Thorn, Crimson Fox, and Catwoman climb out, then watched as Cheetah continued to beat the stunned Psycho. “Easy, Deb, you’ve already got him,” said Glider, touching her friend’s shoulder.
“I did it! I beat this mind-controlling creep!” said Debbi Domaine in triumph. If only I could get Kobra into my hands as easily! she thought, recalling the international cult leader who had brainwashed her into becoming the new Cheetah after the death of her aunt, Priscilla Rich. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “One Super-Villain: Made to Order,” Wonder Woman #274 (December, 1980).]
“Nicely played, mon cher,” said Fox.
“Not done yet,” groaned Psycho. He hit a button on the wall that activated an advanced machine of his own invention, and glowing light materialized several costumed figures.
“Wonder Woman?!” shrieked the Cheetah.
The distinctive figure of Wonder Woman did suddenly appear, charging forward in silence. Cheetah felt rage surge up in her chest. She was back, and she would spoil everything. She’d make Debbi Domaine the bad girl again. Ducking the spinning golden magic lasso thrown at her, Cheetah tugged hard on the end. Wonder Woman held fast on her own end, and a tug of war began.
Golden Glider started to intercede when she saw a green-clad man spinning toward her. “Roscoe! But how–?” she whispered as her ex-lover, the long-dead Top, spun into her with jarring force.
Thorn shuddered, not from her brief little bikini but from the sight of a fierce-looking but demure blonde in a pink turtle neck and long wool skirt. “I am taking over,” said the blonde. “For Rose Forrest to live, you must die, you wicked harlot!” Thorn knew subconsciously that this could not be, since she was Rose. Yet here was her alter-ego.
Vivian and Constance d’Aramis made another mirror-like encounter possible as the twin pair of Crimson Foxes wrestled madly. “Mon cher, it is moi. Fight this madness!” said Vivian.
Catwoman snarled as the golden-suited Cat-Man grabbed her in a passionate embrace. “C’mon, baby, we were made for each other — or you could just die,” he said, squeezing the purple-dressed beauty.
Silver Swan also circled warily above a second Wonder Woman who menaced her relentlessly. “There can’t be two Wonder Women! It’s a trick — an illusion created by that machine Psycho activated,” called the astute Swan.
Ignoring this advice, Cheetah suddenly let go of the magic lasso, causing her Wonder Woman to fall backward from the slack. Debbi then leaped on her with her full weight, and they crashed to the floor. Wrapping the lasso around her foe’s neck, Debbi ordered her to sleep. The false Wonder Woman did so suddenly, and a fiercely angry Cheetah raised her claws above her hated foe’s pretty neck.
Debbi Domaine hesitated, though, as Captain Comet’s earlier words of praise echoed back to her. “No! You won’t rob me of this new chance. I’ll show you up by becoming twice the heroine you ever were,” she vowed, and left the prone Amazon alone.
Meanwhile, Thorn reeled away from her other self. “I can’t fight you. I can’t fight you,” she moaned. Rose closed in on her, until a sudden sonic blast from the Silver Swan rocked her to the ground. Thorn smiled at this new help and immediately snapped out of her revelry. She kicked up like a Rockette and knocked the second Wonder Woman back from the blonde Swan.
Silver Swan smiled. “A trade-off.” She blasted Rose with a second blast of sheer sound that stunned the demure blonde.
Catwoman kneed her foe below the belt and clawed his face. Cat-Man groaned as she tore away his cloak and hit him again. “Not so tough without this little item, are you?” she taunted. With a growl, he charged blindly even as she spun to the side, and he ended up tripping over the stunned Wonder Woman. Cheetah and Catwoman added a few more punches that sent him down for good.
“We’re a regular team,” said Catwoman, “the Cat Squad!”
“Anything but the Kitty Litter,” quipped Debbi Domaine.
Lisa Snart knew Roscoe Dillon, the Top, was dead, but he had been capable of anything. She also knew she could take him in a fight. So the Golden Glider lashed out at him, and with the skill of an expert spinner, she upset his balance and sent him reeling into the other fighters. Catwoman kicked him in the back of the head, and he fell dazed. Glider added a sudden dropkick, and he fell still.
“I’m sorry, Roscoe,” she murmured.
The other Wonder Woman grabbed Thorn and hefted her in the air with ease. Although Thorn raked the Amazon with her nails relentlessly, her grip did not slacken. Finally, she took a note from Cheetah and draped the magic lasso at her foe’s hip over one arm. “You’ll smash that machine to dust!” she ordered, and sure enough, the Amazon did so with grim efficiency.
Doctor Psycho roared his anger. “Not my new ectoplasmic extractor!” As he rushed up to save the device, Silver Swan kicked him in the chin and slapped his face.
That left the twin d’Aramis sisters wrestling furiously in a fight that neither could truly win. “Sister, it is moi! Fight this power,” said Vivian.
As if waking from a nightmare, the wide-eyed Constance suddenly stopped, then embraced her twin desperately and whispered, “I am myself again! That horrible man enslaved me.”
“So you two are twins,” said Golden Glider, smoothing her blonde curls.
“Oui! But it ees, how you say, a trade secret,” replied one of them.
As the room fell silent, the newly freed women heard the sounds of a fight nearby and silently moved out as a group to investigate.
“It was Achilles Dahmmon who enslaved me, so I guess his control must have ended abruptly,” suggested Constance. “By those sounds I hear, he must be otherwise occupied.”