DCM Zone

Part I: The Great Destroyer
by Bob Young

Adam Strange

The large, fiery stone flew through space, all that was left of a once magnificent planet. It hurtled across the stars, the result of its release from a greater gravity, like a slingshot. Despite its small size, it was incredibly dense, as if it carried the weight of an entire planet within its tiny crust.

The runaway heavenly body rocketed through our own solar system. En route, it passed between the Earth and our moon, causing a global seismic disturbance. The Earth was rocked. Earthquakes and tidal waves followed. Weather was disrupted all over the planet. Super-beings, as well as normal human first responders, rushed into action to protect the lives of innocent people.

Thor, the Asgardian God of Thunder and member of the JLA, flew through the clouds. He used his divine powers to control the weather, trying to ease the weather phenomenon. He dissipated a tornado and ended a storm. He descended from the clouds, to see what other situations he could set right.

To his surprise, he spotted a mountain, which seemed to be moving, slowly inching its way towards a town. "By Odin's blood! Yon mount twill crush such a tiny town. I must prevent it!"

Thor struck the mountain with such a blow from his enchanted hammer that it shattered to pieces. Once the town was safe, Thor spun his hammer Mjolnir and took to the air once again, ready to defend the defenseless.

Superheroes all over the world followed suit, doing their best to stem the loss of life. Slowly, after an hour, the climate anomalies began to fade. There was still a lot to do in the wake of these disasters, but the immediate threat had ended.

Soon after, Thor received a mystical summons in his mind, a call from his father, the Lord of Asgard. Thor hated to leave Earth at a time like this, but the summons was most urgent. Thor did not want to alienate himself from his sire at a time like this, when all his instincts told him that a great threat was on the way, therefore, he would have to trust that the other Earth heroes could manage the damage control without him. Reluctantly, he returned home.

Spinning his hammer again, he created a time/space vortex, which would transport him to the realm of the gods!

Elsewhere on Earth, in the United States:

Adam Strange reappeared on Earth after an elongated absence. He had been on the planet Rann, a world many light years from our Earth. There, he learned of the horror that was approaching the solar system of his birth. This massive power, unlike anything else he was had seen or heard of, was moving on a heading that would take it to Earth.

He wanted to warn people, but what could he say? Telling them that their planet was soon to be destroyed would only start a useless panic. There had to be a more productive course of action. He didn't know of anything that existed which could stop the planet-destroying threat that approached, but if there were a way, he would find it! Somehow, some way, he had to save the Earth from the Godwheel!

Bifrost, the Rainbow Bridge, fabled footpath to Asgard:

Thor appeared on Bifrost, just in time to see Balder the Brave preparing to depart. "Tis my most valued comrade in arms Balder, about to set forth upon some mission. I must greet my good friend before he departs."

Balder saw Thor approaching. "Thor, my friend and prince. Well met."

"Well met, faithful one," Thor said. "How fares thee?"

"You have saved me a journey, good Thor."

"Give words to thy thoughts, loyal one," Thor said. "Of what nature was thy mission?"

"I am under direct orders from Great Odin himself," Balder said. "He commanded me to speed thy arrival, should thou have chosen to dally on Midgard."

"What is the occasion of this haste?" Thor asked.

"He must tell thee himself," Balder said. "Suffice it to say that he is sorely disturbed. I am ordered to bring thee at once!"

Thor and Balder headed to the palace of Odin.

"What can be amiss?" Thor wondered. "Surely Odin fears nothing."

"Have thou forgotten thus soon?" Balder asked. "'Tis the long awaited day of trial by fire."

Thor had forgotten. He'd been so busy on Earth that the momentous occasion had slipped his mind. "Of course. The day predicted in the book of Enchanters. This is the day when I prove my worth as champion of gods. Alas, that it should fall at such a time. A time when Earth doth need me so."

"Asgard doth need thee as well, my friend," Balder said.

Soon, they reached Odin's royal palace. Balder dismissed himself and Thor entered the royal presence.

Mighty Odin stood regally, a golden helmet on his head, as he stroked his white beard with consternation. He was reading a large book, on a podium.

"Good my Lord," Thor said, bowing his head respectfully. "Thou hast summoned me and I come."

"Come forth, flesh of my flesh," Odin said. "We have much to do. Thou must surely remember what this day does hold for thee?"

"Aye, Father."

"'Tis time for thee to show thy fighting heart and make thy Father proud," Odin said. "Though I be sorely troubled at the fate that may befall thee."

"I must be true to my duty," Thor said. "Command, and thy son shall obey. What is thy will?"

"I have thought long and hard about the test that thou wilt take," Odin said. "It must be worthy of thy mighty and bravery. Recently, a matter hath come to my attention and I do believe that it shall prove thy ultimate challenge!"

"I stand ready to face any challenge, Noble Father," Thor said. "I will be found a worthy champion."

Odin nodded, satisfied with Thor's courage and dedication. "Well said, my son. Now, listen well. Days ago, the royal astronomer spied an object, like nothing ever seen before, even by myself. Mimir the prophet predicts that it is a bringer of death, and the Norn Fates say that a great evil shall soon descend upon the seven worlds and chaos will come with it. I believe that it is no coincidence that this menace arrives on the day that thou art to prove thyself the greatest of warriors."

"Thou needs sayeth no more, my liege," Thor said. "I will discover the secret of this coming menace and deal with it accordingly!"

Odin patted Thor on the shoulder. "Well said. The Royal Astronomer will tell thee where thou must go. But I pray thee, do not underestimate this threat, my son. It is a bringer of great destruction. The Norn Fates called it . . . the Godwheel!"

"Then it will surely take a champion of gods to bring it to heel!" Thor stated, "Wish me well, my Father. I go to bring glory on our house."

"The blessings of the All-Father go with thee, son of my heart," Odin said.

Thor bowed and proudly marched out of the royal presence. Odin watched him go, hoping that this was not the last time he saw his son. "Be brave and true, my beloved son. I bid thee safe return," Odin whispered.

Outside the castle-keep of Odin, Thor headed to make preparations for his departure. Those watching saw no fear in his eyes. Yet even the mighty Thor felt a pang of nervousness. He was off to face unknown dangers.

Balder met him outside. "Is the quest set, Milord Thor?" he asked.

"Aye, my good friend," Thor said. "I leave now on a voyage that will test the limits of even the most stout heart."

"But what of thy friend Balder, Prince Thor?" Balder asked. "May I not accompany thee on this most mysterious journey. As I do recall, on the day of trial by fire, the champion may bring one along with him. One who will act as witness and squire, and who will step in to continue thy quest should the God of Thunder fall. Who better to accompany thee than he who hast ever shared thy troubles, and who hath long been thy closest friend, through weather fair and foul? Will thou not let Balder share in this battle also?"

"How could I deny thee, brave one?" Thou asked, "Surely, I could chose no better. We will be two, against a madness of which I dare not speak."

As they walked, Thor spotted a woman approaching them. She was tall and beautiful, with raven hair and the grace of a goddess, which is what she was. Lady Sif, goddess of the harvest.

"Beloved," Sif said, looking a bit peeved, "did thou plan to depart without even a word to thy lady?"

"Had time allowed, thou would have been the first who I did visit, fair one," Thor said, as he embraced his lover. "Mine eyes have been starved for thy beauty during my days on Midgard. But alas, Odin did decree that I depart with the greatest of haste."

"Woe, that fate ever keeps us apart, my love," she said. "Are thou now off on thy trial by fire?"

"Aye, fair Sif," he said. "I go to face the unknown with Balder at my side as witness and companion."

"I was hoping that t'would be I who wouldst accompany thee," she said. "But I see the decision has been made. Thy boyhood friend is an excellent choice, for none in the eternal realm are braver than Balder."

"Thy words do me honor, milady," Balder said.

"But can I not help thee in some way?" she asked. "Is there nothing I can do to support thee in this hour?"

"Aye, good milady," Thor said. "I am distracted by thoughts of Midgard. I left it in the midst of a great crisis. My brow will be eased if thou wilt descend to Midgard and act in my stead, to defend the mortals."

Sif hated the fact that Thor was so smitten with the land of mortals. His constant visits to that world have kept them apart for far too long. She didn't understand it. But still, if promising to protect the mortals would free his mind so that he could better accomplish his mission, then it was the least she could do.

"I so vow, Milord," she said.

"I thank thee, my love," Thor said. "And now, I must take my leave of thee."

"I shall miss thee, my prince," she said.

"And I thee," Thor said, kneeling and kissing her hand. "I leave the only heart I own with thee. Until we meet again, fair one."

"Fare-thee-well, my one true love," Sif said.

Thor and Balder walked away, leaving Sif to sadly watch him go, fearing for his safety.

Later, Thor and Balder had made all their preparations. They stepped onto Thor's royal chariot, which was hitched up to the flying goats Tooth'nasher and Tooth'grinder. "Let us be off!" Thor announced, "What ere danger stands before us, we shall face it as true warriors born! Off, to face the Godwheel!"

Tooth'nasher and Tooth'grinder took to the air, and the pair of gods were carried off to an uncertain fate.

From his palace window, Odin watched them go. His royal Vizier stood at his side.

"They are brave, Vizier," Odin said. "Braver than any gods before them, or any who will come after, I think. Would that I could go with them, but Asgard holds me here. There is much that must be done, in preparation for this crisis, should it emerge."

The saga has just begun . . .