Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Heroes and Villains, Chapter 3: The Conjunction

by Libbylawrence and Immortalwildcat

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The Enchantress hovered in midair and chanted silently. Magical energies crackled over an inert form. Red and yellow markings highlighted this android male. The android had been assembled by the man freed by the Spook from State Prison — T.O. Morrow.

Winds roared their anger and dimensions split asunder as the mighty sorceress worked her spell of invocation. “I command thee, spirit of the storm, to obey me and enter this form! I command thee, Tornado Tyrant, to bow to my demands and enliven this hulk!” she screamed.

In the midst of the Crisis on Infinite Earths, the Red Tornado had been captured by the Anti-Monitor and sent on a rampage across Earth-One and Earth-Two. (*) It was then that an elderly Ma Hunkel — known in the 1940s as the original mystery-man called the Red Tornado — confronted him, demanding he stop hurting people and stop using her name.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “And Thus Shall the World Die,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #4 (July, 1985) and “Worlds in Limbo,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #5 (August, 1985).]

Surprisingly, the powerful Red Tornado stopped its rampage at that point, and a part of it broke free from the Anti-Monitor’s control. This part of it was called the Tornado Champion, and it was one-half of the split-personality being that had inhabited the android Red Tornado. It now fled into her body, giving the elderly woman youthful vitality and wind powers. She would later resume her heroic career on Earth-Two and become a den mother of sorts to the youthful super-team known as the Junior JSA. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See Junior JSA: Field Trip, Chapter 1: Who’s Minding the Store?]

The other half of the split-personality being was called the Tornado Tyrant, and it was only kept in check all these years because of the Tornado Champion’s presence. When the android body was soon destroyed, therefore, it was finally set free and allowed to battle the Justice League of America. (*) Only a plea by the android Red Tornado’s friend Kathy Sutton caused the Tornado Tyrant to relent from remaking the world in its image. It had disappeared during the Crisis, but it left with a warning that a day of reckoning would come someday soon. (*)

[(*) Editor’s note: See “A Flash of the Lightning,” Crisis on Infinite Earths #8 (November, 1985) and “Force of Nature,” Justice League of America Annual #3 (1985).]

That day had not yet come, but the Batman had almost miraculously managed to convince the Tornado Tyrant recently to join forces with the Justice League of America against the tyrant Despero, who planned to take over the world with the vast mystical powers he would gain from the Flame of Pytar. The Tornado Tyrant could not allow such a thing to happen for his own purposes, for that would make it a slave to this Despero as well, and it thus became instrumental in Despero’s defeat. But the Tyrant also vanished soon afterward to parts unknown. (*) Now, the Enchantress’ spell had lured it here, and despite itself, it was forced to submit to her mighty mystical power.

[(*) Editor’s note: See Justice League of America: Pyre, Chapter 6: The Conquest of Earth.]

But because the Enchantress’ spell was a powerful one, it also had repercussions elsewhere.

***

Earth-Two:

In the town of Islip, Long Island, a stout figure walked slowly along the streets, talking softly to herself.

“Mighty nice of Carter and Jay to offer to set me up with a place of my own. If I’m going to get into this super-heroing game again, it wouldn’t be a good idea to stay in the nursing home. Besides, I sure don’t need the help of the aides anymore.”

Mathilda Hunkel chuckled to herself, thinking about how, just hours earlier, she amazed Nick Garrafoloa at the home. The poor boy, caught under an equipment cart that had tipped over, was shocked to look up and find the eighty-one-year-old Mrs. Hunkel lifting the heavily loaded cart off his legs. She had quickly made a show of feeling pain in her back, but he knew better.

Her reverie was interrupted by the sound of police sirens. Looking up ahead, she saw them converging on a bank branch on the next block.

“Wow, this looks like a job for…” Ma Hunkel vanished in a blur of rushing air currents, which picked up the stray leaves and trash on the ground. When the wind subsided, in her place was the hovering red, green, and yellow-clad figure of, “…the Red Tornado!”

Hmm, she thought to herself, I hope Superman doesn’t mind me using that old line. Charging forward on a surging funnel cloud, she quickly overtook the police officers. As they marveled at the sight of the oversized super-heroine, she assessed the situation.

“Two bullies in the bank; I see one with a gun pointed at some suit. You fellas know if there’s anyone else?” she asked the nearest officer.

“Ummm, no, that’s it, ma’am,” stammered the young rookie.

“Piece of cake!” She whirled into near-invisibility and found an unlikely entrance to the bank — a ventilation shaft. The mistress of the winds snaked through the ducts and emerged from the air to return directly over the hostage-holder.

“Let him go, ya mook!” she cried, as she kicked the startled gunman in the head.

“What the–?” The second thug looked up, trying to make out the blurred form of the Red Tornado. Before he could react, she gathered both of them up in a whirling air current, pinning their arms at their sides. She carried them through the door.

“Here you go officers, all ready for a nice, comfy — whoooaaa!”

Without warning, Ma Hunkel felt the wind-borne powers at her command increase dramatically. She tried to pull back, but before she could, the two criminals were flung through the window of a nearby police cruiser. Then, as quickly as it came, the extra power was gone.

“Sorry about that, Captain. I don’t know what came over me!” She landed on the ground and halted the whirlwind that had surrounded her. “For a couple of seconds there, it felt like my power doubled, and I almost lost control.”

“Not from here, Tornado. Far as I’m concerned, you just gave the Delancy brothers a little extra incentive to stay out of trouble the next time they get out of jail.”

***

Earth-One:

Meanwhile, worlds away from the Earth-Two Red Tornado, the Enchantress completed her spell, installing the Tornado Tyrant — split from the Tornado Champion during the Crisis between two parallel Earths — into the inert android body of the Earth-One Red Tornado.

The android form, suddenly animated by the enslaved storm elemental, arose and spoke mechanically. “The Red Tornado hears and obeys you, My Queen.”

“Excellent! All is well,” said the Enchantress.

***

At the same time the storm winds screamed at the command of the radiant Enchantress, Rachel Green was screaming as well while the Floronic Man’s chemicals coursed through her veins. The pretty brunette’s discarded Pilgrim outfit lay in shreds, and her beautiful body writhed in pain. Her features contorted and changed, as did her body. Her skin turned deathly white, and her hair elongated to flowering golden strands that reached her knees in the back. Flowers bloomed across her chest and waist in a bikini formation.

“Now you look like my daughter!” screamed the insane, ranting Jason Woodrue. “I think I’ll name you Blossom!”

Blossom, the former Mayflower, smiled in mute agreement and said to the Floronic Man, “The trees outside say Blossom’s friends are here. Now you’ll pay for your crimes.” Her diction was oddly formal, and she had begun to speak in third person. Was there anything left of the perky Rachel Green?

The Floronic Man shuddered. “What have you done? I sense nothing from the outside. You’ve cut me off from the Green! How dare you? I have been undone by you, child!”

Blossom smiled grimly.

***

The Enchantress screamed as Captain Comet burst into the room. “Stop him! I must not fail before the Conjunction!”

As Starstriker ran forward to meet him, Adam Blake shouted to his team, “Leave him to me!”

The blond, mustached man smiled and said, “Good! I want this rematch!”

But when Captain Comet merely shoved him down, Starstriker seemed to slow down and freeze as if he was a machine whose batteries had run dead.

“Our powers are so alike that I was able to instill a little failsafe in your mind, as I warned you I would, though not in the same way as the first time,” explained Adam. “You shut down in my presence. I did this to you after I beat you at the prison.”

Starstriker could only blink in understanding, helpless to do anything to resist as long as Captain Comet was here.

The Hyena pounced on Dolphin, who used her mighty seaborne muscles to slam the furry creature into a wall. “I am not your snack!” she cried as the beast tried once more to eat the blonde. Spinning rapidly, she caught the creature and tossed her into a machine. Electrical sparks radiated from it, leaving the Hyena bruised and panting for breath.

As Starman caught the glowing Star Sapphire in midair with a smile, she said, puzzled, “You seem unharmed by my power.”

“I actually feed on it,” said Will Payton, grabbing her tightly. “I am a living stellar core myself, if you must know.”

The Cheetah crossed the room rapidly as she finally recognized her friend. “Rachel! What have they done to you?”

“Blossom is fine. Blossom has just realized her true potential,” said the flower-bikini-clad blonde. Jason Woodrue, the Floronic Man, now wilted in a corner, since his child had somehow severed his tie to the natural world.

As the Cheetah was grabbed from behind by T.O. Morrow, she flipped him over her head, then raked his face with her claws deep enough to bleed but without forming scars. “Hands off, Dr. Frankenstein!” she cried. A second punch left him stunned. Grabbing his baton, she fired it at the cowering Spook, who cried out in pain as energy blasted him.

At a mere gesture from Blossom, moving vines clutched the Super-Scavenger, who tore through them; such an act against these plants would no longer cause her pain, as she had moved beyond this weakness. Flying into Captain Comet, the yellow-and-red-clad Super-Scavenger pummeled him at super-speed.

“You’re a real Superman, aren’t you?” grunted Adam Blake.

“I’m better! I’m the next generation,” crowed the Super-Scavenger. But his smile soon faded to a look of awe as Lesla-Lar, alias Valor, suddenly crashed into the room. The Enchantress gasped as well.

“Sorry I’m late!” said Valor. “Lyla told me where to find you.” Slamming into the Super-Scavenger, she fired heat-vision into his chest.

“You look like my lost love — the woman I owe my power to,” muttered the Super-Scavenger, whose real name was David Grahm. He had been a gang leader posing as a college student at Vandyre University when he sustained a brain injury that threatened to leave him a vegetable. Supergirl saved his life through a radical procedure by donating some of her brain cells to him, which regenerated his own as expected, but it also had the unexpected side effect of temporarily granting him super-powers identical to her own, which he used to commit crimes and battle the Girl of Steel. (*) He had lost those powers almost as quickly as he’d gained them years ago, but the Enchantress had given them back to him.

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Borrowed Brain,” Supergirl #4 (March, 1973).]

“I remember you from — from watching Supergirl!” cried Valor as she kneed him below the belt.

Valor was then grabbed by a powerful, six-foot-tall redhead wearing a green swimsuit-like outfit and a black mask. “I’m Knockout!” she roared as she choked the Kandorian. “And that’s what you’re getting now!”

“Not gonna be that easy!” shouted Karin Grace, who had followed Lesla there. Clad in her Goldstar power suit, she made a gesture with her hands, and energy suddenly blasted out of the Star-Band she wore, striking Knockout and sending her crashing into the floor.

The Golden Glider and Dolphin were doing their best to fight the furious winds generated by the enchanted Red Tornado as he swirled around the chamber. Then, as Karin flicked her wrist, several little pink beings charged at her command, beating their way through the storm and bringing down the android by sheer mass of numbers.

“Excellent, my Starlings,” said Goldstar.

“Karin, keep those… Starlings, did you call them? …on the Tornado while we stop this operation for good,” ordered Captain Comet, who struck the fleeing Enchantress with a mental blast.

The Enchantress cried out a spell and managed to swirl away, vanishing with the magical cloak. With her also disappeared the angry Knockout, the Super-Scavenger, and Star Sapphire.

Dolphin and the Cheetah took a quick stock of the fight, and found that the Hyena, the Spook, T.O. Morrow, Starstriker, and the Floronic Man had been captured, while Killer Frost was still at large, having never appeared at this base.

“I recognize that woman, the Enchantress, from seeing her fight Supergirl,” said Valor, “though she had dark hair and a green witch’s costume at the time. (*) Did you know that she used to be a hero, once? Hopefully she can be again.”

[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Earthquake Enchantment,” Superman Family #204 (November-December, 1980) and “Magic Over Miami,” Superman Family #205 (January-February, 1981).]

“Yes, I’d heard that, and I agree,” Captain Comet replied, smiling at hearing the troubled Lesla-Lar refer to Supergirl as a separate being. That was progress.

“I knew her only as an enemy when I was with the Forgotten Heroes,” said Dolphin.

“The Floronic Man did something to May,” insisted the Cheetah. “Just look at her!”

“Blossom is unharmed,” said the former Mayflower. “Blossom likes her new ascension.”

“Do you know this Super-Scavenger guy?” asked Captain Comet.

Valor nodded. “He was a romantic interest of Supergirl’s, and gained duplicate powers to hers.”

Nearby, the Golden Glider looked at the still android body the Red Tornado. “He seems shut down,” she said.

“Bring him along with the villains,” said Captain Comet. “Hopefully I’ll be able to restore him.”

“Who was Knockout?” asked Valor. “She packed a mean punch!”

“I don’t know, but with the three of them out there with more allies like Star Sapphire and Killer Frost,” said Adam Blake, “we’ll be hearing more from this newest version of the Secret Society of Super-Villains. I’m sure of it.”

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