DCM Zone

Part IV: In Apprehension, How Like a God!
by Bob Young

Wonder Woman
Wanda Mason
Adam Strange
Captain Marvel

Hercules had arrived in New York. Exiting Penn Station, he walked the streets, enjoying the sights and looking at the women. As usual, they just gravitated to him. One rich socialite invited him to a party on 5th avenue. She had rented out a whole restaurant for a big shindig. Hercules attended and became the life of the party, especially for the ladies. He remembered why he had always thought of Earth as the closest thing to Olympus he had ever found.

Hercules was surrounded by a crowd of adoring females. "No need to crowd, damsels. This place doth please me. I shall not depart from it soon."

The sounds of horns honking and general commotion from outside started to annoy Hercules after a time.

"What is that caterwauling?" Hercules said. "It doth grate on mine nerves! I demand that someone tell them to stop!"

"I don't think we can do that," the rich woman said. "Its one of those superhero slug-fests. Its out of our league."

"But not out of mine!" Hercules said. "I will attend to it with all speed!"

Hercules stepped outside. Less than a block away, he saw the tree blocking the street. "Another fallen tree causing yon mortals grief? One would think that people who can build flying machines could find a way to handle this vexing dilemma."

Hercules marched out to the site of the fallen tree. To everyone's amazement, he tossed the tree back into the park.

A hundred yards away, in Central Park, Orion saw the tree sailing back toward him. He dived out of the way. He assumed that there must be another foe awaiting him nearby. It was no wonder that the Source had directed him here. The place was overflowing with servants of the darkness.

Orion ran to Fifth Avenue. He saw the large, muscular figure of Hercules being stared at by a crowd of mortals. That must be the one! he thought.

"You there!" Orion cried, pointing at Hercules. "Did you throw that tree?"

"Who art thou to question the mighty Hercules?" the Olympian said.

"I demand that you answer my question!" Orion shouted.

"What monumental insolence!" Hercules said. "How dare you speak to your betters in such a way. Begone, scurvy knave, else I shall be forced to smite thee!"

"Are you too cowardly to admit your guilt, you crawling thing?" Orion cried.

"No one calls the Prince of Power a coward!" Hercules said. "Thou must hold thy life very cheaply to dare such a foolish thing! The son of Zeus may never be trifled with!"

Hercules marched toward the New God Orion. "Let all present bear witness!" Hercules said. "This is the fate of all who wouldst dare to disrespect the Prince of power!"

"Come ahead, vile cur!" Orion hissed.

The two powerful gods locked up in a furious battle.

Adam Strange arrived at the Hall of Justice, headquarters of the world famous JLA. Jarvis didn't know who he was, but his earnest pleas and strange technology convinced the butler to admit him. Almost all the JLA members were out at the time, on various adventures.

The only member present was Captain Marvel, who had volunteered to fill in for the absent members on Stand-By duty, in case an SOS came in. One did come, in the form of Adam Strange, champion of the planet Rann.

"Well, we meet again, Adam," Captain Marvel said.

"Sooner than either of us imagined, I'll bet." Adam answered.

"So, what can I do for you?" Captain Marvel asked.

Adam Strange told Captain Marvel of the approaching threat of the Godwheel. Most of what he knew was legends and rumors, but if half of them were true, Earth was in deadly danger.

"This thing will make Godzilla look like a tame kitten." Adam Strange said.

"That's a scary idea!" Captain Marvel said. "How much time do we have? Should I summon the rest of the JLA?"

"I'm not really sure how much time we have," Adam Strange said. "We . . . "

Jarvis came running in. "Captain Marvel, sir!" the butler said. "Turn on the TV. Look at New York news channel."

Captain Marvel turned on the TV set. The NY news channel was covering the battle between Orion and Hercules. They were tearing up a section of 5th avenue, off of Central Park.

"Uh oh!" Captain Marvel said. "I have to attend to this first. Care to tag along?"

"Sure," Adam Strange said. "I'm not super-hero, but maybe I can help."

Captain Marvel led Adam Strange out of the hall of Justice and they raced to the site.

Sif arrived in the Sahara desert. She had no idea what to do next. She had come to investigate the alien who was selling weapons to an unspecified buyer somewhere in this desert. She had promised her beloved Thor that she would look after the mortals of Earth in his absence. So here she was, in the middle of a massive desert, not knowing where to go or what to look for.

She wandered, unbothered by the intense heat of the desert sun and sand. She wished she knew where she was going. "I doth feel like a complete fool!" she muttered.

Someone spotted her from up above. Another powerful being was passing nearby and sensed her presence. It was the Black Pharaoh, recently returned from New York and his battle with Orion. When he spotted Sif and sensed her goddess power, he knew where his duty lay.

He landed on the sand in front of her. "You, girl! Attend my words!"

Sif didn't know what to make of this new arrival. This was such a confusing planet. "What doth thou wish to say?"

"I give you the ultimatum to leave this little globe, or by Horus, I will be forced to destroy you!" he said.

Sif pointed her sword at the Pharaoh. "You speak to a goddess, you arrogant fool! I run from no one!"

"The enemy recruits more than one god to do its bidding, does it?" the Black Pharaoh said. "If I must fight another god, then so be it!"

The Black Pharaoh locked up with the Lady Sif. She was the more agile and skillful, but he was stronger and his scepter was more formidable than her sword. They fought for 20 minutes, with neither gaining a clear advantage.

Sif cleverly maneuvered the Black Pharaoh into a position where his left flank was unguarded and she could slip her sword under his left arm. But before she could strike and finish him off, she was attacked from behind by a wave of divine energy. It made her dizzy and weak. This left her easy pray for the Black Pharaoh who finished her off with a solid blow from the same left hand that Sif was targeting moments ago. The Goddess fell, defeated. She blacked out.

The Black Pharaoh looked to his benefactor. It was an ebony Goddess named Nutt.

"I thank you for your assistance, dear Nutt," the Pharaoh said.

"It was my duty and pleasure to assist you, Black Pharaoh," Nutt said. "Is she with the enemy?"

"She must be," the Black Pharaoh said. "She is the second such being I've run into in as many mortal hours. It can be no coincidence."

"Still, I would prefer not to slay her until we get some information," Nutt said. "Leave her here. I cast a spell to keep her weak and sleeping until we return."

"That will be satisfactory," the Black Pharaoh said. "Come now. Let us return to the Pyramid. We have much to do."

"Yes," Nutt said. "And so little time to do it in."

They left Sif in the desert. But she was not alone for long. A mere hour later, two strange looking beings passed nearby, crossing the area in a hover air-car. Their sensors were scanning for the strange readings they'd been detecting in the vicinity. They had no idea of the existence of the pyramid, hidden below the desert sands, only a few miles away. They sensed a non-human life form lying in the desert sands and investigated.

They found the unconscious Lady Sif lying helplessly at the foot of a sand dune.

Not far from where Sif lay, Wonder Woman and her companion Agent Wanda Mason - a.k.a. the Phantom Blonde - closed in on the location of the desert stronghold of the Blood Spider Society and its financier, the Sheik Farnoq Dahl.

"You'd better go back now," Wonder Woman said. "As an FBI agent, you have no authority here. I'll take it from this point. Go back and report what has happened, even that mysterious pyramid. Tell them I'll be checking it out after I finish with Dahl and free his enslaved girls."

"You sure you don't want to check out that pyramid now?" Mason asked.

"Maybe I should, but I'm not going to," Wonder Woman said. "Dahl is capturing and selling young women. I have a passionate hate for this kind of activity. I'm anxious to find such a man and throttle him!"

"I know what you mean," Mason said. "Go get the bastard! Good luck."

Mason slipped off, leaving Wonder Woman to handle the Blood Spider Society, confident that the Amazon Princess can handle the situation easily enough.

Wonder Woman moved toward the secret fortress. But she was distracted by a sudden flash of light. For a moment, it looked like a hole in the fabric of space. When the light faded, Wonder Woman was no longer alone.

The newly arrived woman was even taller than Wonder Woman herself was. She was rather attractive, despite her muscles and intense demeanor. She wore a tight, red body suit, which matched her long red hair. She carried a chain.

"You must be the one," the big woman said to Wonder Woman.

"The one what?" the Amazon asked.

"The one I must destroy!" the woman said.

"Destroy?" Wonder Woman asked. "Why? We're sisters. We should be united."

"Ironic you should say so," the woman said. "We will be, after you are dead! I regret this, but it is necessary!"

"What kind of absurdity is this?" Wonder Woman asked. "Who are you?"

"I am Thundra, the Femizon!"

"Femizon?" Princess Diana asked. "Is that another name for Amazon?"

"No more talk!" Thundra insisted. "I am forced to kill you. I wish it could be otherwise, but this is the way of fate. Defend yourself!"

Thundra attacked Wonder Woman!

Thor and Balder had gotten the information they needed from the Kree Green Lantern. He used his ring to create a map hologram that told the Asgardian duo where the Godwheel could be found. Since they were gods, they could speak in the vacuum of space, and Balder voiced his reservations.

"Can we trust that Kree slime?" Balder asked.

"I believe so, my friend," Thor said. "Despite his irrational challenge, I sensed something honorable about him. I am content to follow his directions."

"I trust thy judgment, good Thor," Balder said.

Soon, the two gods came across a large, worn alien vessel heading in the opposite direction, coming from the exact heading where they were going.

"Should we not investigate?" Balder asked. "They may know something."

"Mayhap," Thor answered.

Thor ordered Tooth'nasher and Tooth'grinder to make a close pass on the ship. Suddenly, the gun ports on the ship opened and targeted the chariot.

"Eh, I like this not!" Thor said, warily.

A hatch opened on the top of the ship. Out came a strange looking hybrid alien, with body armor. He was 6 foot 7 and had a horse-like head. He pointed a laser-type weapon at the two Asgardians.

"Keep your distance!" he ordered. "This ship is under the protection of Beta-Ray Bill!"

"Hold, sir," Thor said. "We mean you no malice. We merely wondered if you could give us some information. Thou didst come from the direction in which we are heading."

"No, you mustn't go that way!" Beta-Ray Bill said. "The beasts of nightmare are coming this way! Unspeakable savage demons nip at my heels! Go no further, or you will meet certain death!"

Next issue: Unions are formed and battle lines are drawn.