Captain Comet had hastily arranged a meeting with Superman, Batman, and Green Lantern at the JLA Satellite. As a reserve member, Adam Blake had rarely worked alongside the Justice League of America, but had a sterling reputation with the team and had inspired many of them. He was a hero’s hero. It was obvious that he had something extremely important to get off his chest.
“So I was called up for review a second time this year alone before three military leaders named General Logan, General Castle, and General Cable — all considered to be hawks at the Pentagon — who said they had problems with my team and the way I’ve been leading it. They applauded our success but insisted that we be willing to compromise our ethics. They also didn’t like the name I’ve been using — the Rehab Squad — and wanted to go back to using the name of Colonel Flag’s old team, the Suicide Squad.”
Superman frowned. “What did you tell them?”
“I said rehabilitation was my goal for these former felons, along with public service,” replied Captain Comet. “They asked if I was willing to have expenditures or lose a member if logic dictated it or mere governmental policy.”
“Really?” said Green Lantern, raising his eyebrows in surprise. “That’s cold and heartless — almost inhuman!”
“As distasteful as it was, I understand the point they wanted to make,” said Batman. “They were testing you in order to see if you’ll bend your ethics for more extreme and covert missions.”
“Well, I refused,” said Captain Comet. “Then they asked about why I had so many female members. I said I could surely work with who I chose if it worked. Finally, they questioned the publicity that the team — especially Valor — had received, and I said it was good for the public to see people make positive changes in their lives. Valor, for example, is now a super-heroine on Rokyn.”
“I forgave Lesla-Lar for her past, so why can’t others?” said Superman, shaking his head.
“Exactly. So I resigned, as did Dolphin, while the Cheetah has earned a pardon. Rick Flag has decided to remain as director of the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency.”
“The JLA would love to have you on the team full-time,” said Superman.
“Thanks, but I still want to help other would-be or forgotten heroes,” said Captain Comet. “That’s why I asked you three here. In your opinion, if I form a new, independent team, can I make it work?”
“I don’t see why not,” said Green Lantern. “You could even take the name from my absent mentors and call yourselves the New Guardians.”
Captain Comet smiled. “I like it. Where could we meet? Who would fund us?”
“I can arrange funding through the Wayne Foundation,” said Batman. “You won’t have to answer to any government overseers that way.”
“Great!” said Captain Comet. “Thank you both.”
Superman spoke up as well. “And I can provide you with a headquarters. Before I built my current Fortress of Solitude, I had a smaller one that I based first in space and then beneath the Earth. (*) Well, even though I gave it up for the Arctic one, it still exists, and with teleportation devices installed like those in our JLA Satellite, no location will be too distant as a base of operations. My pal Jimmy Olsen owns a tiny island in the Atlantic Ocean called Vumania. (*) It’s totally deserted, and I know he’d be thrilled to see your headquarters there with my old fortress as its base.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman’s Fortresses of Solitude,” Action Comics #261 (February, 1960) and “Sir Jimmy Olsen, Knight of Metropolis,” Action Comics #231 (August, 1957).]
“Thank you,” said a happy Captain Comet. “The New Guardians live.”
Later that day, Captain Comet explained what had occurred with the four heroes to Dolphin. “It was exactly like a dream I had a few months ago,” he said. (*) “It makes me wonder if precognitive vision might be part of my untapped mental powers.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: The Suicide Squad, Prologue: What a Dream.]
“So what will happen with the Rehab Squad?” asked Dolphin.
“That’s up to the government and whoever they pick to run things for them. I wish them well. As for us, we have a team to recruit and a headquarters to equip,” he said, smiling.
“So it’s goodbye to our association with the MHRA?” she asked.
“Yes,” said Captain Comet. “I walk away from it with a renewed determination to seek justice and help people on my own terms — without government red tape. I know of a few other forgotten heroes who could give back to society.”
Dolphin touched his arm. “I’m with you, Adam. We could be the core for a new team. But if I might make a suggestion?”
“Anything,” said Captain Comet.
“As a name, the New Guardians is simply awful,” said Dolphin, causing Comet to laugh. “And it’s too similar to the Global Guardians, anyway. Why not call our team something familiar but not currently used? How about the name of my old team — the Forgotten Heroes?”
Captain Comet nodded and put his arm around the platinum blonde girl. “I’ll think about it,” he teased.
Meanwhile, back at the Meta-Human Rehabilitation Agency, a grim man in a military uniform with graying hair spoke to two other men in a private meeting room. “He walked,” said General Tim Logan. “Now we can eliminate him without any trouble from the government.”
General Chuck Cable nodded. “Let the others form their new Task Force X team in an image not as pure as Comet’s.”
“They won’t notice our agenda,” agreed General Ben Castle. “They won’t notice that we plan his death while their new team takes up all the time and attention of Waller, Flag, or whoever they appoint to lead it.”