Rumble Down Under
Heading to Australia in search of Air Wave, lost during the alien invasion, Green Lantern instead soon finds himself in battle with a strongwoman called Aurora, who seems to want nothing more than a good brawl!
Continued from Green Lantern: Fury and Sound
From Tom Kalmaku’s Green Lantern Casebook, May, 1986:
After his discussion with the reformed Pied Piper, Hal Jordan decided to go to the Australian scene of his cousin Air Wave’s final battle during the alien invasion. He was hoping against hope that in some odd super-heroic twist of fate, the younger Hal had not truly perished while bringing down the alien’s energy-barrier. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See Captain Comet’s Rehab Squad: Strange Visitors, Chapter 3: Battleground Australia.]
“Hartley Rathaway, the Pied Piper, was kind enough to allow me to ring-scan his mind and get the exact memory of that faithful day like an image from a VCR tape,” he told me as he departed from Ferris Air. “Now I’m going to ring-scan the scene in case I can pick up any slight trace of poor Hal.”
Mr. Smith had emerged in his customary black suit and shades, and he smiled coldly as Hal turned to walk away. “Jordan, I granted your leave request, since things are slow, but I’ll expect you back here in a week. Ferris Air can’t do without your services,” he said.
Hal frowned and turned to face the new leader of the company. “Look, Smith, I’ll be back, but I might as well just clear the air here once and for all. I don’t like you. I don’t trust you or your whole Con-Trol company. You treated Clay Kendall and April O’Rourke like dirt. You have entirely too much influence over Carl Ferris. Hey, I don’t even like those stupid glasses you always wear.”
“And…?” drawled Smith.
“And, I’ll stop you from doing whatever it is you are planning,” said Hal. “That’s a promise!”
Smith smiled as Hal left the area. “Strong-willed, isn’t he?”
I didn’t reply. I just went back inside my work area and studied the light engine plans. They were nearly completed, but Dr. Hoshi was still missing. Life was never dull around Ferris Air.
Green Lantern skimmed across the Australian continent, flying along the coastlines. He had grown tired, because his last few hours after his arrival there had been filled with increasingly futile efforts to find any signs or traces of Air Wave, missing in action and presumed dead.
“Nothing!” he said in frustration. “It’s as if he was never here, or more likely, his signal just died out over time like some faulty radio broadcast.”
With a deep sigh, he landed upon the beach close to the location where he disappeared during the invasion. There, he solemnly used his power ring to generate a smooth granite monument along the rocky cliffs, then engraved words on a plaque made of bronze:
AIR WAVE II: HE GAVE HIS ALL FOR HIS FELLOW MAN.
That should serve as a reminder of what my brave young cousin did, he thought to himself. I wonder if there are many other such memorials to those who died in either the Crisis or the Alien Alliance Invasion?
Long moments passed as Hal Jordan mourned silently for his young cousin Hal on that lonely, deserted stretch of beach. Finally, he stirred himself.
“I suppose it wouldn’t hurt for me to do a bit of sightseeing while I’m here,” he said. “After all, I’d like to see a some of this land that Hal gave his life for.”
Taking to the air, he began to fly north. Having done a bit of reading about Australia prior to his trip here, he recalled some facts that had piqued his interest. Maybe I’ll check out the northern area where mining is the big industry, and the Kimberley Plateau aborigines form ten percent of the population. I still have a few hours of ring power left, after all.
When he reached the red soil frontier area and admired the grassy hummocks, his power ring crackled to life, and he heard police alarms.
“The ring was still set to pick up any radio signal, but it registered a police alert instead!” he said. “I suppose the Ranger or the Tasmanian Devil can’t be everywhere at once in the Land Down Under. I’ll lend them a hand, or a ring as it were.”
Reaching an isolated mining community in the north, he saw a costumed woman lifting a Jeep over her head with one hand. She laughed and tossed it through the air as Green Lantern raced to catch it in a heavily fibered energy net. He placed it on the ground and faced the woman.
She had long black hair and a small, delicate-featured face. She wore no mask or cape, but her red and white one-piece bodysuit was clearly a costume. Her legs were bare, and her red slippers stopped below her ankles. “Green Lantern?! I little expected to see you here!” she said. “This may be a bit of fun!”
The hero shook his head. “No obvious robbery. Just malicious damage! Is that your idea of fun?”
She laughed again, obviously amused by his indignation. “A girl has to make her own fun in these parts!” she said. “Everyone knows to keep out of the way when Aurora’s playing!”
“Aurora?” he said. “The Northern Lights?”
“That’s your perspective,” she said. “Aurora is my name, but it is also the name for the Southern Lights, as you’d call them. Either way, I’m Aurora, and you’re ready for a fight — I hope!”
“Always!” replied Green Lantern.
Aurora laughed and jumped into the air to slam into him with shattering force. Her blows nearly broke through his energy aura as he landed, and she dropped down on top of him. He swatted her away with a rapidly created springing swatter, and she rolled through the ground to emerge at his feet.
Green Lantern elevated and contained her hands in green cuffs. She strained against them and said, “These are sturdy!”
“They’ve held stronger criminals than you!” replied the hero.
Aurora tossed her long hair and said, “Criminals? I’m just a girl who loves a giggle or two. Call me Amy. Amy Pruett, that’s my given name.”
“This isn’t a social,” said Green Lantern. “I’m bringing you in for property damage and endangering others!”
“Well, well, well!” said Aurora. “High and mighty, ain’t you? Aurora is up for anything!” Flexing, she broke free of his cuffs and kicked dirt into the air.
Green Lantern moved forward through the sudden cloud of soil and received a left hook for his efforts. “You are stronger and faster than you were when we first fought minutes ago!” he said.
She nodded. “Like my name says, I get power directly from the Earth’s electromagnetic field! I can channel it to my muscles or my agility or other areas!”
“Then what’s say we shield you from all such energies!” said Green Lantern.
As a tight energy bubble closed around the woman, she cursed in anger as the situation dawned on her. “Your pretty little bubble can change light passin’ through it,” she cried, “and keep out anything you like! That ain’t fair!”
“She’s actually weeping,” he remarked to himself. “I think this woman is mentally ill!” Carrying her into town, he explained his tactic to the local police.
“Good work, Lantern,” said the officer. “We’re near a Vandyme Science Lab, and they can house Aurora. She rampaged across the whole northern region until you captured her. We thought about calling in the heroes of our nation, but most are based down south.”
“She’s a mutant,” said Green Lantern. “They can be tricky, from what I’ve read.” The hero signed a few autographs and demonstrated his ring’s power for a few delighted children before flying away.
Ultraa’s living here, or at least was living here the last time I heard of him, he recalled. (*) I wonder what Jack Gray, Earth-Prime’s first super-hero, is up to these days. I hope he’s doing okay.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “A Hero for All Seasons,” Justice League of America #201 (April, 1982).]
As he flew away, he did not realize that Ultraa’s present location would matter far less than his future circumstances, but that would be another tale.
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