Captain Comet had not, in fact, been destroyed, but merely transported aboard a huge starship. This command vessel led the aliens from its central communications chamber. A Dominator watched as a tiny green creature manned the controls. “Captain Comet is now our prisoner!” broadcast the green alien as its master watched. “With the Man of Steel weakened and otherwise occupied in a battle with Despero, Comet is among the most dangerous meta-humans on Earth. His death is assured in the arena.”
Sure enough, Captain Comet soon found himself roughly pushed into an arena, where doors surrounded him on every side. “You will die for your efforts against us!” blared from a speaker above.
“I reckon I can call out the Comet hombre all on mah own,” drawled a weird space cowboy who walked out with spurs jingling. This was Terra-Man, a longtime foe of Superman.
“His death shall crown my second Earth landing,” vowed a grim Thanagarian wearing a magenta pterodactyl-like hood. Captain Comet recognized him to be Kasta the Thrill-Killer of Thanagar, having read an account in Colonel Flag’s files of the Thanagarian’s battle with Superman and Hawkman during the Crisis. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Big Kill,” DC Comics Presents #95 (July, 1986).]
“I beg to differ, Kasta! I may slay him first,” declared a hulking brute dressed oddly like Alan Scott, the Green Lantern of Earth-Two. His blonde hair and red and green costume were colorful, but the power ring on his finger was what stood out. This could only be Lord Malvolio of the Green Flame, Comet realized, a villain he had heard about during his space travels but had never previously encountered.
“Okay, do your worst!” Captain Comet declared to the evil threesome after sizing up his foes.
Ripping Terra-Man’s yellow shirt from his chest, Comet slammed him down, then spun with the shirt wrapped around his fist and caught the shocked Malvolio offguard as the yellow allowed him to burst through his emerald energy shield.
Kasta the Thrill-Killer blasted him with weird energy, and he staggered. Then Terra-Man got up and aimed a six-shooter at him, firing black energy that stung terribly. Comet forced his body to twist in place, forming an energy link between himself and the energy wielded by Kasta’s hands. Using it like a rope, the Man of the Future pulled the magenta-clad Thanagarian directly into Terra-Man, who screamed as Kasta’s radiation hit the space cowboy.
Captain Comet flew upward, only to find Lord Malvolio on his trail, laughing madly the whole time. Comet suddenly stopped and aimed his belt rocket at the hulking man. The yellow energy flared, and Malvolio flinched in pain. The enraged space villain used his power ring to create a huge green fist of energy that surrounded Comet, but also inadvertently shielded him from the blasts of Kasta the Thrill-Killer and Terra-Man. Got to keep using them against each other, he thought as the fight raged on.
The team that Captain Comet had assigned to protect Australia now sat in the Sky Skimmer that hovered outside the energy-blanketed landmass, watching nervously as a young brown-haired man strained to understand the cage that blinked around the Land Down Under.
“Stand back,” said the young man who wore a yellow and dark blue costume. “I’ll see if I can phase into the field to understand it.” Having said that, he used his incredible ability to convert himself into radio waves in order to better understand the electromagnetic field. The young man’s name was Hal Jordan, and as the son of the original Air Wave, he had succeeded his father in his heroic identity. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Rider of the Air Waves,” Green Lantern v2 #100 (January, 1978).]
“The kid’s a wimp. He’ll faint in a minute,” declared the black-and-blue-costumed man known as Multiplex.
“Give him a chance,” said the Golden Glider.
A second man sat quietly. Next to him, Mayflower gave him a nudge and said, “Perk up, luv. You’re being quiet, even for a guy called Silent Majority.”
The next man, clad in a Medieval-inspired green costume and holding a musical instrument of his own invention, watched in amusement. Hartley, ol’ man, this is more fun than battling the Flash — may he rest in peace, thought the Pied Piper, alias Hartley Rathaway.
Next to him sat a redhead in a tight purple outfit. “Plastique is bored, even though you find this entertaining,” she said, referring to herself in the third person. The Canadian separatist posed seductively, drawing all eyes toward her slender, bosomy form.
The Golden Glider smiled in mute recognition of the woman. She loves attention, observed Lisa Snart. Maybe as much as I do.
Turning back into solid form, Air Wave said to the others, “I have good news and bad news. I can read the radio-waves — or whatever this alien frequency of energy is — and I can almost match it with my transformation, but it may drain me of all power for a while.”
“Look, Air Wave, if you can breach the field, we’ll do the rest,” said the Glider, stepping away from the Sky Skimmer to place a reassuring hand on his shoulder. “Don’t worry about the strain.”
Air Wave nodded and said, “I’m guessing that the field alternates between radio waves and pure sound. That where you come in, Piper.” He turned toward the man in green.
“Have horn, will blow,” the Pied Piper replied with a smile. “Good luck, kid.” Accordingly, he played on his weird pipe as Air Wave transformed himself back into sparking energy.
Air Wave in his energy form soon began to blend his own immaterial body with the cage of energy surrounding Australia, and as the sound of the Pied Piper’s music pulsed visibly in red note glyphs, the energy cage began to shudder, and then it finally dropped altogether.
With a cheer, Golden Glider flew the Sky Skimmer in, and her team soon assembled on the beach. They expected alien troops to arrive at any moment to investigate what had caused the breach in the energy cage, and they needed to be ready.
“Where’s Air Wave?” said Mayflower. “The poor lad never came out.”
“I bet the kid bought it,” sneered Multiplex. “He put the suicide back into the Suicide Squad.”
“Shut up,” said an annoyed Pied Piper.
“Now for Plan B,” announced Lisa Snart, unaccustomed to leadership. All but two of the others hid themselves from view, while Lisa herself stripped down to her bikini.
Soon, arriving Khund soldiers marched up and ogled the beauty. “Hello, boys,” she said, smiling as she made an act of stretching seductively.
“I could like these Earth cows if they all looked like this treat,” said one Khund in his guttural language, “even if she could use a bit more meat on her bones.”
The other replied, “You think we have time for her?”
“Certainly — she only has two companions, and we’ve got our whole squad.” Around her, forty assembled Khunds were ogling Lisa. Her two visible allies were Silent Majority and Multiplex. As the Khunds rushed in, Silent Majority split into dozens of duplicates who fought fiercely without speaking.
The man in black did the exact same thing, to the shock of the now-evenly matched Khunds. “They don’t call me Multiplex for nothin’,” he laughed as he fought the troops.
Golden Glider donned her special skates, gliding into the fight with ruthless skill and speed. The nearby foliage then drooped down to crush several Khunds as Mayflower commanded her babies. “Play now, luvs,” she called with a girlish laugh.
Plastique tossed metal discs that exploded with amazing accuracy. Khunds fell left and right, and the redhead’s smile grew broader. “Now this is living!” she declared.
Leaping upward, the Golden Glider executed a perfect split. As her boots sliced outward, she wounded two Khunds on each side. Her next spin enabled the pretty blonde to trip one and stun the other. “Applause?” she called teasingly.
“You do put on a nice skin show, girlie,” called Multiplex as he led his many duplicates into battle. Nearby, Silent Majority fought with quiet dignity.
The Pied Piper used his mesmerizing music to lead a line of Khund troops in single file toward the sea, where they kept walking until they sank. As their stunned bodies bobbed back up, he grinned. “Must be too soon after they ate.”
Mayflower had her plants dig their roots and tendrils even deeper into the soil, locking a tank’s grinding gears into immobility. “I guess you aren’t going anywhere,” she declared.
Soon enough, the team looked up in victory as their Khundish foes lay beaten. “I’d say that, thanks to our two-man armies, we just liberated Australia!” said the Golden Glider.
“Not the whole continent, just this city,” corrected the usually taciturn Silent Majority.
“Oh, now he decides to talk,” said a winking Lisa Snart as they headed inland to continue their efforts.
Plastique blew up several squads of aliens, taking the time to smile and stroke her long red hair from time to time. Her allies fought bravely as well. The Pied Piper sent sound waves cascading into Thanagarian Wingmen. The Golden Glider skated through the sky as her skates created an icy ramp beneath her shapely legs, leading the troop of Silent Majority duplicates forward. With Mayflower dancing about, creating plants that menaced every alien trooper, and Multiplex’s own army slamming into the invaders, they soon captured all of the local Australian coastline.
Eventually, the Rehab Squad team took rest in an alien laboratory at the Golden Glider’s direction, after its occupants had been defeated. As they reclined to catch their breath, looking around at the floor and walls with odd grids upon them, the Squad talked informally.
“Mayflower, why so glum?” asked Lisa Snart. “Is it about Air Wave? Look, I’m sorry we lost the kid, too, but we’re in a war. Besides, there’s still a chance that he might be alive. He was kind of cute, wasn’t he?”
“I wasn’t thinking about Air Wave, actually, God rest ‘is soul,” said the delicate-featured brunette in the Pilgrim costume. “I’m thinking about me mum back in England,” “What’s happened to her — to everyone back there?”
“What about your dad?” asked Lisa.
“I never knew the bloke!” replied Mayflower. “Mum says he was a real ne’er-do-well.”
Golden Glider said uncertainly, “I’m sure the others will find the missing land, or…”
The Pied Piper smiled reassuringly. “Don’t you worry, honey. The heroes of this world have beaten me so often that I just know there’s nothing they can’t do.” Mayflower nodded and smiled appreciatively.
Glancing at Silent Majority, Plastique sidled up to the taciturn man and decided to flirt with him. “You fight well. I admire that in a man.” No response was given, even when she rubbed up against the quiet man. “Don’t you ever talk?” she asked, annoyed as several long moments of silence became awkward.
“Nope,” he finally said in an impassive tone.
At that moment, an electric current suddenly shot through the room, and the Rehab Squad team fell all at once.
Multiplex merely laughed as a tiny double crawled back to merge with his main body outside. “The fools! The energy just feeds me, but knocks them out cold! They never even noticed my mini-me slip off to flip the switch.”
Racing off in the night, the man in black made good his escape in the Sky Skimmer that had brought them there.
Golden Glider woke up a couple of hours later, only to find herself wearing a slave collar. Her allies were bound in similar ways. Sadly, she realized that their alien captors had reclaimed them, even if Australia had been lost to them.
“Yes, we did lose the landmass after your team and some of this land’s inhabitants defeated our army and ruined our equipment, but we still have you as our prisoners!” explained an alien mind-reader.
Lisa frowned as she saw her fellows chained and helpless. Oh, Adam! she thought. Where are you when we need you most?