Vumania was a lush, tropical island in the Mid-Atlantic that was the last remnant of a forgotten old European kingdom settled by Viking explorers. Only a small isle now remained of a larger landmass that had been swept into the sea by tidal waves centuries ago. Other than a few scattered ruins dating back to the Middle Ages, there were few signs that it had ever been inhabited.
The isolated isle, formerly used as a base of operations by the notorious Sea Gang before Superman captured those modern-day pirates, had once been almost completely barren of life. As a favor to his young pal, Superman had seeded the small island several years ago with palm trees and all kinds of tropical vegetation in order to eventually make Vumania a more desirable place to visit than it had originally been. In the years since then, it had grown into a veritable garden of paradise, though it had received few visitors during that time.
Now the island was undergoing a high-tech transformation to turn it into a technological wonderland in a virtual paradise on Earth, centering around the original Fortress of Solitude that Superman had kindly donated to Captain Comet for his new team’s use. With its vegetation and climate, Vumania could have been sold to real estate developers as a high-priced resort destination, but instead it would become home to Earth’s newest team of heroes. As the Man of Steel had predicted, his pal Jimmy Olsen had been thrilled with the idea of putting his long-abandoned island to such a good use. Adam Blake had even constructed a launchpad to house his interplanetary rocketship, the Cometeer. A great deal of work had already been done in a short amount of time.
Captain Comet carefully eased into place the teleportation devices that would provide rapid transportation for the team from this island to any city with a JLA transporter receiving unit. He had been fully versed on the operation of all Justice League equipment from the several times when he had worked alone on the orbital satellite or assisted his friends. One such friend now arrived through the device.
The smiling Winged Wonder called Hawkman stepped out and grasped his friend’s hand. “I understand you’re looking for heroes, Adam. How about this one?”
“Katar, we’d be thrilled to have you join us,” said Adam Blake. “But surely you’re committed to the regrouped Justice League?”
Hawkman nodded. “That I am. But behind me stands the young man I had in mind for your team.”
The transporter glowed once more, and out stepped a tall, handsome young man in his late teens who had dark hair and eyes and wore a blue cloak and trunks.
“The Black Condor!” said Comet as he greeted the newcomer. “This is an honor — but wait, you’re much too young to be the one from Earth-X, aren’t you?”
“I call myself Black Condor,” said the graceful man, “and I was raised in the mountains of Mongolia by a group of mutated birds. (*) My name is Richard Grey, although Hawkman informs me that there also exists a man with the same name and powers on another world.”
“We would gladly welcome you to the team,” said Captain Comet. “I suppose you can fly and talk to birds, and you have enhanced strength like your counterpart.”
“Exactly,” said Hawkman. “Richard, here, helped Shayera and I deal with some trouble recently. (*) We figured you could help one another.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Hawkman and Hawkwoman: The Bermuda Triangle of Rann, Chapter 2: The Black Condor.]
“I appreciate this,” replied Adam Blake. “Let me show you fellows around.”
The Fortress itself was a large spherical building with a laboratory, a communications center, a medical area, and a comfortable living quarters, as well as a prison area. It wasn’t quite as large as Superman’s more famous Fortress of Solitude in the Arctic, but it was larger than it looked from the outside, as half the building was located below ground.
“We may have to lock up criminals here before we can bring them to trial back in the U.S.,” Comet explained. “I hope the communications center will be especially useful. The JLA, Green Lantern Corps, the Outsiders, the Global Guardians, and the New Titans all gave us access codes for quick communication.”
Hawkman was impressed. He knew his friend could work miracles at times, yet he hadn’t expected to see this much accomplished in such a short time.
“A Wayne Foundation grant finances us, and Superman, G.L., and Firestorm all helped me set things up,” continued Captain Comet.
“It seems utterly magical to one raised in isolated desert regions as I was,” said the Black Condor as he scanned the building with keen eyes.
“Magic? That is where I come in!” said a dapperly dressed man who appeared from thin air.
“Hawkman, this is Nadir and his protégé June Moone, the Enchantress,” said Captain Comet, introducing the handsome Indian man wearing a turban and an elegant suit who had appeared with a lovely blonde woman in a skimpy pink outfit at his side.
“Pleased to meet you, illustrious hero that you are!” said Nadir, known as the Master of Magic.
June smiled her own greetings. She was still recovering from years of domination by the evil Warlock of Ys. But Nadir had freed her of her possession, and since then he had shown her compassion, training, and even love. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: A Cosmos Imperiled, Chapter 1: Secret Society at Stonehenge.]
“Nadir came from Earth-Two,” explained Captain Comet. “He was plucked right from that Earth in the year 1939 and is thus still a young man. (*) He uses the Ruby of Life from this Earth that is a twin of the one that Sargon the Sorcerer brought with him from Earth-Two.”
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Whatever Happened To…?]
At that moment, Dolphin came in from the ocean and greeted everyone. “Hello! I was out for a swim. It’s lovely here!” said the gorgeous platinum blonde girl. She smiled warmly at the new arrivals and said, “It’s so nice to see you all. This team means so much to me. I hope we can do a lot of good.”
The Black Condor admired the stunning beauty and remained silent. Years of growing up with only the birds as companions had left him uncertain around humans, let alone young women.
“I guess I’d better head out,” said Hawkman. “Good luck to you all. And, Adam — Shayera sends her love.” At that, he departed.
“I think we are off to a good start,” Captain Comet said to those around him. “But I still want to talk to a few other forgotten hero types who still hope to serve mankind.”
Dolphin thought about her old love Will Payton. She missed him, yet her old attraction to Comet had stirred once more, and she wondered if he might be the right man for her. She was determined to talk it over with her recently found sister, Angel O’Day. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: In Search Of.]
While Captain Comet showed the Black Condor around the island of Vumania, a graying man in Washington, D.C., plotted against the Man of the Future.
“I want Comet destroyed!” he shouted. “I want him ruined. He ruined my plans, and I want to do the same to him.”
His aide nodded. “All is in readiness. Allow me to bring in our ally.”
A dapper-looking, sinister man entered. “I am the Wizard! I understand we have a common foe in Adam Blake.”
“Yes, indeed, we do! Tell me more!” said the grinning man behind the large desk.
The Wizard smiled and said, “You intrigue me. You are not what you appear to be, but then, neither am I! You think that you know me, yet I have my secrets, as did you!”
The gray-haired man coughed nervously. “What I am is not open to discussion. You led a team of super-villains once, and Captain Comet opposed you. Will you do so again for me?”
The Wizard laughed. “I expected such a request when first you contacted me and I learned your true nature.” He turned and said, “Come in, my dear!” A black-haired woman in pink entered.
“The Star Sapphire!” gasped the aide.
“Not exactly. She is the second one,” said the Wizard. “Her name is Remoni-Notra, and she retained a remnant of the power of the missing Zamarons from the past when she and I warred against Comet.”
“I did not know myself back then,” she said in a sultry purr. “Now I am content with my true self and my remaining power.”
“Wizard, you anticipate me,” said the smiling politician. “Please do assemble a team and destroy Comet if possible. Defeat his team but do not slay him, for that is something I have waited for so long!”
The Wizard grinned. “It shall be as you wish.” He vanished with the woman in a puff of smoke.
“Sir, I thought he was from some other world,” gasped the aide.
“He is if he is the same Wizard who fought Captain Comet before, and I have my doubts about that,” replied the older man.
A pretty, dark-haired woman wearing a long trenchcoat entered the laboratory of Dr. Martin Phillips, ignoring the fact that it was late and that she had no business in the research lab. She moved effortlessly with the grace of a predator or the superiority of a queen.
The elderly scientist glanced up from his desk as she spoke out of the darkness. “Dr. Phillips, you are needed by an elite group of which I am numbered a member,” she said.
“Get away! I’ll call the police,” he said, reaching for the phone. “That nightmarish part of my past has been over for a long time!”
“Tsk-tsk!” she chided in a mocking tone as purple energy blazed from her eyes to sever his phone cord.
As he backed away from her, she dropped her coat to reveal the costume of the second Star Sapphire. “Come, come, Dr. Phillips! Let me bring out the man in you!” she teased.
Her energy struck his frail form, and even as he started to collapse, a new figure materialized next to him.
This purple-and-orange-costumed being apparently lacked a head beneath his finned orange helmet, though his costume appeared to be tight enough to reveal strong muscles in spite of this anomaly.
“Who wakes the Invisible Destroyer?” he said. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “The Invisible Destroyer,” Showcase #23 (November-December, 1959).]
“I am the Star Sapphire!” she said. “I bid you join like-minded Forgotten Villains in opposing those who would rob you of your rightful power!”