by Libbylawrence and Starsky Hutch 76
Todra Than-Ol had seen her father at his best and at his worst. He had been a community leader in Kandor and had once used his influence to sway the bottled populace into anti-Superman feelings.
This act had led the Man of Steel and Jimmy Olsen to develop the original Nightwing and Flamebird identities, modeled after both Batman and Robin and the Kryptonian birds called the nightwing and the flamebird. (*) Even after Superman’s heroic status was restored in the city, the identities of Nightwing and Flamebird served a noble purpose in the able hands of Van-Zee and Ak-Var. (*) Neither hero would have been created without the initial impetus of Than-Ol. It was true that he had not had the intent to bring about crusaders of justice in the bottle, but this was what had occurred.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman in Kandor,” Superman #158 (January, 1963) and “Beginnings,” Superman Family #185 (September-October, 1977).]
Than-Ol had even been the one who erected statues in honor of Nightwing and Flamebird. But for his crimes of sentencing Superman to death on a false charge and for nearly causing the destruction of Kandor itself, he was sentenced to the dreaded Phantom Zone. His loyal daughter Todra, a Kandorian healer, later tricked a justiciar into showing the pretty blonde the Zone Projector, and thus she joined her father in his limbo-like exile.
As mere phantoms, they watched and waited and took no part in the actions of the other inmates. Todra had been drawn instantly to a noble youth named Mon-El who had been placed in the Zone purely for health reasons. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superboy’s Big Brother,” Superboy #89 (June, 1961).]
She stayed near his side as often as she could leave her father. The Phantom Zone worked much good in Than-Ol’s case, for the older man saw firsthand how much sacrifice Superman and Supergirl took upon themselves to try to restore the city. He knew he had erred, and he was regretful.
When his Phantom Zone sentence ended, Than-Ol was released on Rokyn when the city was transplanted, and Todra accompanied him. But she missed Mon-El and longed for his warmth and friendship.
Thus it was that on a night on the planet Rokyn, the young woman stood alone and gazed skyward. She thought over her past and her future prospects.
The world of Rokyn had much to recommend it to any Kryptonian. The red sun and Gold Volcano made it seem much like the lost world. Plans were under way to recreate other splendors of Krypton like the Jewel Mountains and the Fire Falls.
As Todra glanced upward, a shiny craft sped downward to crash at the Gold Volcano. She flew forward with an antigrav belt to investigate.
Todra stood at the cavernous crater that was the mouth of the Gold Volcano and saw the golden lava burning its way into a spacecraft. She flew down to see a wounded alien in the craft. His yellowed features and tentacled limbs were still.
“Let me help you out of here!” she cried. He remained still, and she realized that he had died.
The crash or the yellow lava must have killed him, she mused. Looking at his clothing, she was astonished to recognize the symbol on his chest. He wears the uniform of the legendary Green Lantern Corps. She carried him to safety as his craft was lost in the lava.
She buried him with help from a robot servant and slipped his ring upon her finger. “I can do more good with this than I could as just a healer,” she vowed.
Yllura knew that Don-El was occupied with the changes that had recently come to Rokyn. Crime was on the rise, and she suspected the criminal Zo-Mar was at least partially to blame. She had learned through a study of Superman’s recent cases made known to Rokyn that he had fought Zo-Mar last year and that the criminal was placed in the Phantom Zone after his capture. She knew from Kryptonian history that Zo-Mar had once attempted to use his glyph card to take over Fort Rozz, Krypton’s chief military base, but was stopped by none other than General Dru-Zod. It was that act, in fact, that had been responsible for General Zod gaining a promotion to the higher rank of commanding general. Jor-El and Zod together placed Zo-Mar in a satellite prison capsule in suspended animation for his crimes and shot him into orbit around Krypton.
Apparently, the capsule in which Zo-Mar had been placed eventually made its way to Earth, where he freed himself. But for a reason unknown to him, Zo-Mar did not have any super-powers on Earth. He captured Superman, along with the Challengers of the Unknown, in order to discover the secret behind his powers. Frustrated by Kal-El’s lack of answers for him, Zo-Mar enslaved Superman and sent him on a destructive rampage that was only stopped when the Challengers defeated him and took away his glyph card.
Ironically, Zo-Mar then gained his full Kryptonian powers on Earth once separated from the glyph card, which Superman surmised was some kind of mutated kryptonite. After a short battle, Superman was able to defeat Zo-Mar thanks to his experience in battle and use of super-powers, and he used the Phantom Zone Projector to send Zo-Mar into the Zone. (*) That had taken place just before the Crisis on Infinite Earths, so he had only spent a few short months there until the Phantom Zone itself was emptied and seemingly destroyed. No one knew what had happened to him after that, until now. Zo-Mar was back, and he had killed Yllura’s husband.
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Give Me Power, Give Me Your World,” DC Comics Presents #84 (August, 1985).]
“I can’t believe he could be free, but then the Zone was altered so much by that magical imp, according to Kal-El,” said the worried Don-El after Yllura informed him of everything. A new crime wave and a newly discovered sister, all in just a few days, is a lot to absorb, he mused.
Yllura had dried her widow’s tears quickly. There would be time to mourn later. She waited as the justiciar led her into his uncle Zor-El’s home. “I appreciate your willingness to see me,” she began.
Zor-El stopped her. “I recall the year you won the Science Council honors award for your scholarship in archaeology. I am grieved to learn young Ar-Vor was murdered.”
“Murdered?” she said eagerly. “You believe my tale of his dying accusation of Zo-Mar?”
Lesla Nim-El entered. “I believe you, too. The hallmarks of Zo-Mar’s past crimes have included mind-control such as that which compelled a young man with a wife and successful career to end his life.”
Yllura teared up. “I wish to bring him to justice for Ar. I spent all last night having the surgical droids perform a special procedure. I implanted the microscopic infrascanner in my eyes and ears. Now I have greatly enhanced vison and hearing. It was Ar’s planned next experiment, before…” She stopped speaking as she forced herself not to start sobbing once more.
“It will take more than that to handle a madman like Zo-Mar,” said Zor-El. “Let me give you something.” Leaving, he returned shortly with a solid white dress and long red boots. “I have embedded an exo-skeleta-cyborg within the lining of this uniform that will allow you to have superhuman agility, flight, and strength. My daughter used it under her own costume after her powers were tampered with by an enemy, causing her to have on-again, off-again super-powers, which temporarily forced her to be a part-time Supergirl on Earth.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Super-Girl?” Adventure Comics #404 (March, 1971).]
Yllura donned the uniform in a nearby room. She entered again and flew around the room. “The anti-grav belt along with mini-rockets in the boots allow for easy, maneuverable flight!” she said joyfully, then wobbled a bit uncertainly. “It will just take a bit of getting used to.”
“Yes. And the exo-skeleta’s wrist activators will grant you super-strength and super-speed,” said Zor-El. “It is powered by activator power discs that will need to be replaced at least once a month, or sooner depending on use. Take care, however, not to allow yourself to be injured as the exo-skeleta does not provide invulnerability.”
Lesla was watching closely, recalling all too well how Supergirl had used the exo-skeleta-cyborg at the time. “I’d like to help you, too.”
Yllura smiled her thanks.
Zo-Mar laughed madly as he fondled the Lana Lang android. “The fools hope to duplicate all that was old Krypton, including the weather-controlling machines. Well, I have plans for those, or should I say for the trusted men who operate them!”
He led the android across the city to the high ridge overlooking New Kandor, where a weather regulator perched like a metal vulture.
“Sleep!” said Zo-Mar, waving the card with the glowing glyph. The men and women working the powerful device fell into deep sleeps as he smiled and activated the machine.
“A raging storm shall threaten to wipe out the city and will only strike where I wish,” he said. “Thus will I extort control of the city and its wealth for my own use.”
The Lana Lang android smiled and stood supportively by the madman.
As a torrential wind tore into New Kandor, Lesla flew off to investigate as Valor. Alura called to the speeding blonde, “Be careful, dear!”
Valor nodded. “Don’t worry. I’d say it’s just some malfunction.”
Yllura flew off after her. “This uniform is a dream! I can almost keep pace with Valor. My vision can help out, too.” She scanned the hill where the weather and climate machine rested and frowned. “Rao — there’s Zo-Mar!”
The blonde in the white minidress and red thigh-high boots veered toward the laughing madman. Valor frowned as she, too, caught sight of him. A huge burst of thunder heralded a downpour that rocked the flying heroines.
Then they were joined by the new Green Lantern of Rokyn, Todra Than-Ol, who wore a green mask and had pinned up her blonde hair. She wore a green skirt and a green and black top with the symbol of the Corps in its center.
“I am the Green Lantern of Rokyn — by default. How can I help?” she asked.
Valor smiled. “I believe we are witnessing a plot by Zo-Mar, who stands below. He is mad but deadly.”
Spotting them from below, Zo-Mar waved his glyph card and ordered the women, “Fight to the death!”
Valor gasped as Yllura slammed into her from the side. Todra hesitated, as if struggling against the glyph card, which had no effect on the energy-powered Valor.
Valor blasted Yllura aside with her energy release and tried to reason with her. “Fight it! Remember what he did to Ar-Vor!” she said.
Yllura’s face was pained and grim. “I do! I know what that fiend is doing, but I can’t resist! Poor Ar must have suffered so,” she said.
The Green Lantern tried a new tactic as she also was freed from Zo-Mar’s glyph. The power ring must be doing it. I can’t affect that yellow glyph on his card, but I can stop Zo-Mar himself, she thought, creating a green energy canark and sending the Kryptonian ape jumping down on Zo-Mar.
“Ha! I can stop you all. Block the creature, my pet!” he ordered the Lana Lang android, who wrestled with the energy construct as Valor held off the fighting mad and helpless Yllura.
“Now I’ll bring destruction to the city below and show that Zo-Mar is not to be trifled with!” He adjusted the climate machine, and the red sun flickered as a filmy fog of acidic nature was generated.
Suddenly, without any warning, the Lana Lang android turned and ripped the glyph card from his hands.
“What are you doing?!” he screamed in fury.
Valor blasted him to the ground as Yllura dropped down and pummeled him senseless. “This is for Ar-Vor and all your victims!” she said.
As Valor scanned the glyph card, she said, “It’s lined with a tiny bit of kryptonite inside. So that’s why Zo-Mar could not hold it and also have super-powers that time he fought Superman and the Challengers of the Unknown on Earth!”
The Lana Lang android turned to watch as Valor readjusted the climate device and returned her world to normal. “How did you resist his control?” Valor asked it.
The pretty, red-headed robot spoke in a voice that was nothing like Lana Lang’s. “We are the Host, and we could not let him ruin our world. We took control of this mechanical being for that purpose. Otherwise, we could not have touched him.”
Yllura scanned the robot, growing scientifically interested. “There is a wraithlike being within the robot. In fact, there are hundreds of them all around us,” she said.
Green Lantern’s ring brought them all into focus briefly. Hundreds of men and women suddenly surrounded them.
“We are the Host,” said the ghostly beings. “We have dwelt here on the world you named Rokyn for eons. We are wraithlike to your people’s perceptions and cannot touch your race. Thus we have allowed your people to settle here, since you cannot harm us or our lifestyle. Zo-Mar’s device would have ruined our climate, so we stopped him by dominating the machine woman.”
Valor grinned. “So Rokyn never really was uninhabited after all. There are ghosts, as we call them, among us. Kind of a new Phantom Zone of sorts.”
They led Zo-Mar off to the authorities as the Lana Lang android returned to its normal programming.
Lesla Nim-El ran into the room at Zor-El and Alura’s home, eager to tell Lydia-7 of her recent triumph as Valor against the villain Zo-Mar with other new super-heroines of Rokyn. “Lydia, you’ll never believe what took place today!” She was cut short by the sight of Lydia packing.
“I know,” Lydia said, smiling sadly. “I saw the story on the holo-news — you, the new Green Lantern, and the one in white the news is calling Ultra Girl. You are doing very well for yourself here.”
“Some still have doubts,” Lesla said.
“But many more are positive,” Lydia said. “This is a world still trying to grow, and it needs its heroes. Zora Vi-Lar and others like her have stung them when given a second chance, but your deeds prove to them you deserve yours.”
“I suppose you’re right,” Lesla said.
“I know it’s hard,” Lydia said, taking her hand, “but it will get easier over time.”
Lesla looked at Lydia’s bags sadly and said, “You’re leaving.”
“It’s time,” Lydia sighed. “You’ve found everything you were looking for, and I’m happy for you. My quest wasn’t so successful. I may never know the whole story behind my heritage.”
“I’m so sorry,” Lesla said. “I know how much it meant to you.”
“It was foolish of me to expect a definite answer, considering how many years have passed between this era and my own. I still had to hold out some hope.”
“I know that feeling,” Lesla said.
“In the end, that’s all we have,” Lydia said. “At least I know we’re related. We’re cousins, of a sort.”
“After all we’ve been through together, I consider you my sister,” Lesla said, embracing her.
“Thank you,” Lydia said, sniffing. “You don’t know how much that means to me.”
“You’ll always have family on Rokyn,” Lesla said. They said a tearful farewell, and then Lydia walked toward the spacecraft that would take her to try to put together what life she could on Earth. As she watched her leave, Lesla knew she would have a similar struggle ahead. But with newfound family and friends, she would have a far easier time of it than Lydia would. She did not envy her.
Light-years away, on the planet Makkor, the planetary champion Salkor looked down at the little girl who lay sleeping in her bed. She was approximately three years of age in Earth years.
“Perhaps I should have told the one called Superman of your existence,” he said sadly. “I miss your mother so. She was his cousin, so I know he grieves. But I couldn’t bear to share the one thing I have left that is truly a part of her. You look so much like her. You even have her golden locks, which no one else on Makkor has. If only she could have looked on you as you left the birthing matrix. My treasure, my little Jasma.” (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Supergirl: Bride of X?” Superman #415 (January, 1986).]