The women rushed into a frantic scene where the handsome, blond Achilles Dahmmon confronted both Batman and the Outsiders and Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad. “You cannot stop me! I have mastered self-actualization, as these pawns will show you.” He rose one hand, and dozens of wealthy business leaders ran out to attack the heroes. “They give me their assets, and I use them as I see fit.”
“There’s Stagg,” called Metamorpho as the old man joined the other mind-controlled millionaires.
“Don’t harm them!” shouted Batman. “They’re civilian pawns!”
Agreeing with a nod of his head, Captain Comet said, “I’ll take the fight to the real source.” Flying up over the struggling mob, he approached Achilles Dahmmon himself. Halo flew up as well, and the pretty blonde teenager sent a purple tractor beam down in order to shove several men away from the heroes.
Starman punched out desperately with only half his strength. Got to be careful. Don’t want to hurt these poor people.
Dolphin ducked a man rushing toward her that looked a lot like Donald Trump and slapped him to the floor. “I tried to be gentle,” she said sheepishly.
Mayflower laughed and said, “Hello, luvs!” Her vines roped around several angry women and men and tied them together in a cocoon. “Well, isn’t that just ducky!” she teased. “Bringin’ folks together! That’s what I do.”
As the Hooded Hangman watched the violent crowd of business-suited executives attack, something snapped in his mind. A red rage began surging through him, and he suddenly clutched Batman from behind. “I’ll choke the life outta ya this time!” he cried as Batman struggled against the unexpected attack.
Geo-Force used his intense gravity powers to send several men to the floor under a crushing weight. His pal, Black Lightning, dodged the executives as often as he could and only reluctantly shocked a few pawns.
Nearby, Metamorpho enveloped a maddened Simon Stagg to protect and contain the old man. “Snap out of it, Stagg! Remember Sapphire? It’s me, Rex. Why are you fighting me?”
“I know it’s you, you buffoon!” sneered the bitter old man to Rex Mason. “I just don’t like you!”
Metamorpho grinned. “Guess cutting you off from the sight and sound of Dahmmon broke you free, since he hadn’t had ya too long.”
“You cannot stop me,” echoed in Captain Comet’s mind as he closed in on the tall, blond Dahmmon.
“I can match your mental powers. In fact, I can shut them down completely,” vowed a determined Comet.
“Not if I make you my pawn,” whispered the man as sweat began to break beneath his golden locks.
“I’d advise you not to try that — for your own good,” offered an earnest Adam Blake. Dahmmon laughed and instead sent a wave of mental might surging through Comet, who winced.
Then the man known as Achilles Dahmmon shimmered out of sight as if he were a mere phantom. In his place now levitated a small man in a chair that floated above the ground. His head was huge in comparison to his withered body.
“Hector Hammond!” said Captain Comet. “I should have known it was you, with those powers. Plus, Achilles killed Hector in myth, and Dahmmon is a virtual anagram for Hammond.”
“After my ill-fated partnership with Star Sapphire ended prematurely, I found a ready new ally in one of Wonder Woman’s old foes,” Hammond said telepathically. (*) “Doctor Psycho’s device allowed me to have a perfect body with which I could lure these titans of industry here and gain control of all they owned. In return, I allowed Psycho his arena, where your teammates are now. I only wish I could have put that Zamaron witch in there with all the other women. It would have served her right after the way she left me to rot on that Pacific atoll, where my physical form would have remained had I not reached out to find this kindred soul.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Five Billion Years,” Green Lantern v2 #200 (May, 1986).]
Suddenly, the business executives stopped fighting, while Hector Hammond himself grew limp and still.
“I did warn you not to try to control me,” said Adam Blake. “That’s happened to me twice before, and I’ve since installed some mental safeguards that shut out anyone who tries to dominate my mind.”
Batman slammed his elbow into the Hooded Hangman’s ribs and spun him over one hip. The former wrestler fell to the ground and bounced upward, only to be met by a right hook from Batman.
Posing seductively, Looker blasted the purple-clad Hangman with a mental force. “We simply must do something about that costume,” she said, and yawned.
Batman nodded. “He does lack your style.”
The Cheetah hurried over with her friends to greet Captain Comet and the rest of the Rehab Squad.
“You came for us!” said Golden Glider as she embraced Comet, kissing him passionately.
“I came for all of you,” he replied, blushing at the attention.
“Stagg’s back to his mean old self, too,” said Metamorpho.
“I can still destroy you all,” Hammond thought audibly.
“Self-destruct device,” guessed Batman.
“Get everyone out!” Captain Comet and Batman each ordered, almost at the same time.
As the heroes ushered out the civilians, Catwoman and Batman exchanged brief greetings. “Selina,” he said quietly. “Nice to see you weren’t mixed up in this.”
“I’m a reformed little kitty, remember?” she replied.
The two said nothing more to each other; whatever feelings Batman and Catwoman once had for each other had withered away even as Gotham City was struck by one disaster after another in the months after the Crisis, from the mass breakout of Gotham’s prison population to the transformation of the city into a gigantic greenhouse at the hands of an angry Swamp Thing. (*) But that was merely circumstantial. All Selina Kyle really knew was that Bruce Wayne had abruptly stopped returning her calls, and she was too proud to ask why.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Resurrection Night,” Batman #400 (October, 1986) and “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” Swamp Thing v2 #53 (October, 1986).]
Still, as she slipped away from the others unseen, Catwoman did wonder what had brought Batman back into the Outsiders once more, since he had earlier told her how he’d quit the team following their case in Abyssinia, when they’d taken on Looker as a new member. (*) Batman had privately confessed to Catwoman that he had been proud to see them strike off on their own, much as he had been to see Robin become Nightwing. Now, though, he appeared to need them as much as they’d once needed him. Good luck, folks, she thought, feeling sorry for the Outsiders after allowing themselves to fall under that stubborn man’s stern leadership once more. You’re going to need it. As for this little kitty, it’s never been a better time to put Gotham City in the rearview mirror.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “A New War’s Winning,” Batman and the Outsiders #32 (April, 1986).]
Starman pushed Hector Hammond out in his floating chair as everyone raced outside the complex.
“Wait, where’s Psycho? He’s still in there!” said Silver Swan.
“I’ll get him!” yelled Killer Moth, who had been oddly silent during the fight.
“My vines and plants can muffle the explosion a little,” suggested Mayflower.
“Should I get him out?” asked Geo-Force.
“Let Moth try,” said Batman.
Killer Moth nodded respectfully at his old foe and swung into the burning building as bombs rocked the structure. Moments later Doctor Psycho tumbled out, and Moth gave a thumbs-up at the window. But before he could follow him out, the building collapsed on him. Dust rained down along with the entire sagging building.
“Oh, no!” cried Dolphin as Starman flew forward with Geo-Force and Captain Comet. They lifted the wreckage, but found no body.
“Could he have escaped?” asked Comet.
“Killer Moth is oddly capable,” said a grim Batman. “He has come back from seemingly certain death at least once before.”
“Well, it’s true that he died a hero if we did lose him,” said Starman.
Captain Comet felt Golden Glider embrace him again, and this time he didn’t push her away.
Soon, the members of the Outsiders began to hurry off, but the team leaders needed to exchange words first.
“Captain Comet… Adam,” said the Batman, “I was wrong to assume the worst of you. The members of your team have a solid chance to reform, and I know you can make a difference in their lives. If you need my help, just call.”
“Yes, darling, and you can call me anytime,” offered Looker.
“Thank you all,” said Adam Blake.
Catwoman had already slipped away, and Comet placed the Hooded Hangman into custody.
“I guess he’s just not ready to reform,” said Dolphin.
Starman embraced her in a hug and said, “I suppose some guys never learn.”
“I have an offer for you ladies,” Comet said to Thorn and Silver Swan. “How’d you like to join our team? I’ll explain all about it if you like.”
“Thanks,” said Thorn. “Find me if you need me, but… I work best alone.”
“I might be able to help you with that split personality problem,” whispered Comet.
“Problem? I don’t have a problem,” she said, and walked off.
Silver Swan stepped up. “I would love to belong — somewhere,” she said tearfully.
As the Crimson Fox (Constance d’Aramis — her twin Vivian had slipped into the woods earlier to minimize the damage done to their trade secret) started to leave, Simon Stagg shouted, “Hold on! That young lady kidnapped me, and I want her put in jail!”
“She was under Hammond’s control, just like you were,” growled Batman.
“Still, a crime is a crime!” yelled Stagg. “I’ll bring her to trial and expose her identity!”
“You creep!” shouted Rex Mason.
“Unless…” began Stagg with a grin.
“Unless what?” asked the now-concerned Crimson Fox.
“Unless you come work for me,” he grinned like a funeral display.