ISSUE #22 (March 2020)
Written by Tobias Christopher
The planet Apokalips, where the adopted children of Clark Kent & Lois Lane, along with Superman’s cousin Kara and good friend Jimmy Olsen, have been scattered throughout the domain of Darkseid, which is now a snow-covered wasteland due to the fire pits having been extinguished thanks to Darkseid’s latest scheme to acquire the anti-life equation.
“I need to get to Apokalips,” Superman told The Highfather. “If Lois and the kids are there, I have to help them.”
“I’m right here, Smallville,” Lois said as she arrived alongside Big Barda. “The kids are there, we’ve already searched for them.”
“Darkseid apparently sensed your boom tube opening and intervened,” Highfather told them. “He tried to separate you, perhaps to pick off those he could before you found each other.”
“I will monitor you from here,” Barda told the duo. “To make sure nothing else happens. When you are ready to return, just contact me and I’ll ensure safe passage back to Earth.”
“Thank you, Barda,” Superman said as he looked at Highfather. “I’m going to make sure both of your worlds survive and I’m taking my son home. No one else dies.”
“I have faith in you, Superman,” Highfather said. “May good fortune smile on you.”
“What’s he talking about?” Lois asked as the boom tube opened.
“I’ll explain along the way,” Superman told her. “When we find the kids, I want you to back to Earth with them, no matter what. I have unfinished business with Darkseid and it’s best Jon not be witness to it.”
Mad Harriet, known among the Female Furies for her psychotic fighting style, had been itching for a fight for some time. The son of Superman had been deemed to scrawny for her tastes, she wanted someone who would be capable of giving her a challenge. Then Supergirl entered the palace…
“You bear the shield of one of Darkseid’s most hated foes,” Mad Harriet said as she powered up her spiked gloves. “For this, you must die.”
In a mad rush, she charged toward the Girl of Steel, unleashing a barrage of hits that Supergirl easily blocked before a surprise punch to the gut sent Kara Zor-El flying through the wall and landing in a child’s bedroom, which fortunately was empty at the moment. Supergirl quickly stood up and flew back at full speed, punching Mad Harriet out through the other wall, where she fell several stories before landing in a courtyard.
“I have to find Jon,” Supergirl said as she turned around as Mad Harriet jumped back through the hole to tackle her enemy before punching her.
“You think I can’t survive a simple fall?” Mad Harriet asked. “I fall out of buildings for fun!”
“Then let’s have some fun now!” Supergirl said as she punched Mad Harriet off of her before grabbing her by the shirt and flying back outside, spinning around at super-speed before launching the Female Fury several miles away. “Now that we’re done here, I have a friend to find.”
Chris headed toward the palace as he saw Mad Harriet flying past him as he looked up into the sky.
“Dad or Kara must be up ahead,” Chris said as he took to the air and started flying.
Granny Goodness had one hand around Conner’s neck as she easily lifted him into the air.
“Clearly you are the runt of Superman’s liter,” Granny Goodness said as she squeezed, causing Conner to have trouble breathing. “In this world, the weak are weeded out and exterminated. But I do like to have my fun first.”
Jimmy watched helplessly as Granny carried Conner toward a chair. Granny gave Jimmy a loving smile as she walked forward.
“Of course, I would never kill you, my little darling,” Granny Goodness told him. “You’ve somehow found your way into Granny’s immensely large and loving heart. I’ll mold you into the perfect killer, one who will have only one priority in your pathetic little life: Protect Granny.”
“Protect Granny? And here I was going to do this,” Lois said as she used a steel beam to knock Granny Goodness into the wall, causing her to drop Conner. “Protect Jimmy!”
“Yes, ma’am,” Conner choked out as he rushed over to Jimmy to put an arm around him. “It’s going to be okay.”
“Oh, another naughty little welp in need of Granny’s tender loving care,” Granny Goodness said as she stood up. “Aren’t we lucky to have such a loving person willing to help rehabilitate you?”
“Oh, yeah, I’m just so fortunate,” Lois said sarcastically as she jumped forward to punch the enemy.
“L- Lo- is?” Jimmy stuttered as Conner smiled.
“That’s right, buddy, Lois is here,” Conner told him. “Which means Superman can’t be too far behind. We’re going to get you home and fix what that they did to you.”
“Home?” Jimmy asked. “Where is home?”
“We’re going to show you,” Conner promised. “Real soon.”
As Chris got closer to the palace, he suddenly found himself attacked several parademons that swarmed all over him until 12 of them overpowered the hero. They forced him to the ground as they attacked, punching and slashing at him. Their orders were to find Superman’s family and capture them, with Power Boy being the first that had been spotted. He fought as hard as he could, but the twelve parademons had become too much for him. It looked like this could be the end as he prepared for the end.
As the parademons were ready to finish the job, a shadow loomed over Chris as he saw something blurry floating high above him. The next thing he knew, he heard the screeching of parademons as they were pulled off and tossed away while others started attacking Superman.
As the Man of Steel was distracted, two of the parademons grabbed Chris and flew off with him.
“Chris!” Superman shouted more parademons attacked him.
“Jon?” Supergirl asked as she searched the next room. “Jon? Come on, I’m here to—Are you swimming and having fun?!”
Jon sat in a huge pool with multi-colored pool noodles floating all around.
“Kara?” Jon asked. “What are you doing in my pool room? And also, what are you doing outside my dreams?”
“Jon, I came to save you,” Supergirl said as she as she tossed a towel to him. “Get dressed, we’re leaving.”
“You’re not real,” Jon said as he put the towel around his waist. “My family doesn’t exist. I’m king here. I have to save my people.”
“Your people are on Earth,” Supergirl told him. “Your family is on Earth. Your parents, your brothers, me. Don’t you remember?”
“Grace says you’re all figments of my imagination,” Jon told her. “She said it was just a trick to get me to betray Apokalips.”
“It’s not a trick, Jon,” Supergirl told him. “Your family is real. Your friends are real. Don’t you remember any of us? What about your new friend Ricky? You were so excited to find out he was coming to visit.”
“Ricky?” Jon asked. “We were supposed to go… to go…”
“Camping?” Supergirl asked. “You were going to spend the whole weekend in the woods. Camping, fishing, hanging out with your best friend in the world. You have to remember!”
“I— I remember Ricky said he wasn’t a good swimmer, and I was going to help him,” Jon told her. “I think I’m starting to—“
Supergirl screamed as an omega beam struck her from behind. Her unconscious body fell to the floor unconscious, revealing Darkseid standing behind her.
“I arrived just in time, sire,” Darkseid said as he kneeled before Jon. “Before this siren used her powers to lure you into a trap. She was sent to make sure that Apokalips dies a frozen death.”
“Thank you for saving me,” Jon said as he stared down at Supergirl. “What do we do with her?”
“Others will follow,” Darkseid told him. “If you will permit, I have a plan to trap your enemies while we prepare you for the ceremony.”
“Yeah, okay, do what you have to,” Jon told him. “What ceremony?”
“The ceremony where you save your planet,” Darkseid said with a devious smirk. “Where you cement your legacy as the hero that saved Apokalips.”
As Lois fought with Granny Goodness, the Female Furies showed and grabbed Conner as Jimmy watched. He tried to stand up to help him, but Malice Vundabarr stood in front of him.
“So, you’re the pathetic Earthling I had to switch bodies with to make this plan work,” Malice laughed as she pushed him to the ground. “Pathetic. You deserve your fate with Granny Goodness.”
Malice left as Jimmy tried to get up, while Lois continued using her cyber suit to throw Granny Goodness through the wall.
“That’s for messing with my family,” Lois said as she turned to the traumatized Jimmy. “Where’s Conner?”
Jimmy remained speechless as Lois tried to help him up. “We’ll find him, Jimmy. Are you going to be okay?
Superman smashed his way into the palace to find his missing children.
“DARKSEID!! Show yourself now! We need to talk!”
“Ah, Kal-El,” Darkseid said as he stepped out, his eyes glowing red with his omega beams. “I’ve been expecting you.”
“You have three seconds to release those kids before I tear you apart,” Superman said with gritted teeth.
“Ah, the angry Kryptonian,” Darkseid smirked. “ How I enjoy seeing this version of you. Your pathetic brats are safe for the time being. They’re at the stadium, waiting for us. If you wish to see them stay safe, you must fight for their freedom.”
“What’s your game, Darkseid? I know about your plans for Jon, and I won’t allow it,” Superman told him.
“Unfortunately, you don’t have a choice,” Darkseid said. “You must face my champions. Three of them, one for each of your captured children. If you win, I release one of them. If you lose, one of them dies for each failure. Or I can kill them all now, your decision.”
“What about Jon?”
“Oh, I think I’ll keep him, but there is always room for negotiation,” Darkseid said. “Do you agree?”
“Yes, for my children and Kara,” Superman told him. “I’ll face your champions, and I’ll win. I’ve beaten your people before.”
“We shall see,” Darkseid told him. “Ten minutes at the coliseum.”
Jon had been dressed in a flashier version of his Superboy costume as he was led to the fire pits.
“Are you ready to give yourself for your world?” Amazing Grace asked. “To be the savior you were always meant to be?”
“Yeah,” Jon said. “Not a fan of the dying part, but there’s little voice in my head that says I have to risk everything to save even a single life. So, when are we doing this?”
“In five minutes,” Amazing Grace told him.
TO BE CONTINUED…
The continuing adventures of Sideways & Robin!
“The next stop, I say we find a lake or something and take a bath,” Robin said as he sniffed his glove. “I feel like I could use a good long after all this.”
“Agreed,” Sideways told him as he held up his mask. “And maybe wash our costumes while we’re at it. My mask is starting to smell funky. Who knows how long it’ll be before we find our way home.”
“Okay, you ready to open up a new portal?” Robin asked.
“Let’s do this,” Sideways told him as he made the ’s’ symbol in the air. “Hopefully this is the last time we’re here.”
A portal opened as Sideways and Robin fell a good ten feet before landing on a sandy beach. Sideways sat up and pulled off his sand-covered mask as he saw the ocean not too far away.
“WATER!” Derek shouted as he started pulling off his costume.
“Salt-water, but at least we can clean ourselves,” Robin said as he started stripping off his costume as he ran to the water. As the two teens jumped into the water, they were being watched from the trees not too far away.
“Alright, we see if there’s any fruit growing in those trees,” Matt said a short while later as he waded out of the water. “Maybe we can catch some fish and have a good meal before we head to The Bleed.”
“We can spend the night here and let our costumes dry overnight once we’ve washed them,” Derek said. “You look for food, I’ll gather firewood for a fire and… Matt, where are our clothes?”
“They were right there,” Matt told him. “They were in the sand! Someone else is on the island. And now I have no utility belt.”
“I have an idea,” Derek said. “We have to find some vines and the biggest leaves we can find.”
Twenty minutes later, Derek had made fig leaf loincloths for the two.
“There, at least we don’t have anything hanging out,” Derek said. “They’ll do until we can out who else is here. You can fight, right?”
“Still learning, but I can hold my own,” Matt said. “You?”
“I’m a blue belt,” Derek told him. “Just never fought anyone naked before.”
“Let’s hope it doesn’t come to that,” Matt told him as his stomach rumbled. “I am starving.”
“Maybe we should get some food first,” Derek said. “How good are you at fishing?”
An hour later, the young men had managed to make a meal of fish and fruit as they sat around a campfire.
“Not bad for two guys who’ve never cooked a meal in their lives,” Derek told Matt. “I am full and ready to kick the ass of whoever stole our stuff.”
“Wait,” Matt said as he went to grab some sticks, leaves, and vines. “Can’t go unarmed.”
Matt used the vine and leaves to assemble two bo-staffs, handing one to Derek.
“Sweet,” Derek told him as he twirled the staff before accidentally hitting himself in the back of the head. “Not so sweet.”
“Would you stop fooling around?” Matt asked. “We have to track down our gear.”
“I think we’re off to a good start, look!” Derek said as he pointed to Matt’s gloves hanging from a tree.
“We’re walking into a trap,” Matt realized. “You realize this, right?”
“Duh,” Matt told him. “But I want my pants back, so the trade-off is kind of worth the risk.”
As the two headed into the jungle forest, a lone figure started following them.
“Alright, we’ve found our gloves and masks, but where’s the rest of our stuff?” Derek asked as he pulled his mask off. “I can’t wear this without the rest of my costume, I feel like I’m going to another S&M dungeon.”
Matt just stared at him blankly.
“I thought I was going to a friend’s birthday party, I got the address confused,” Derek said. “Don’t judge me.”
“We’ve been walking for hours, I hope we’re getting close,” Matt told him. “The sooner we get our costumes back, the sooner we can go back to The Bleed and start over. Unless you want to leave without them.”
“Yeah, no, I already grew out of my running around nude phase,” Derek told him. “Well, publicly, that is, I still do it at home sometimes when my brother’s out. Just be prepared for anything.”
“Leave this island now,” a voice whispered as the wind started to blow.
“What was that?” Matt asked.
“Our thief,” Derek told him. “Which means we’re close. We should keep going, I have a feeling we’re about to nail this son of a bitch.”
The two continued forward until they found a clearing with a waterfall.
“What world do you think we’re on?” Matt asked as he kneeled down and took a palmful of water. “Oh, that’s refreshing.”
Derek sat down next to him to get some water. “I don’t know, but it looks like an island I was trapped on a few months ago. I got kidnapped with a bunch of other kids and— That voice, it sounded just like— Matt, RUN!”
The two quickly got up as a blast of energy sent Matt to the ground. Derek quickly tried to open a portal before he was sent to the ground as well.
“Well, if it isn’t the little brat that trapped me in this hell,” the King of Fables said as he stood over them. Their costumes standing upright on their own as if they were alive. “Now you’re going to free me from this prison, or you’re going to die.”
TO BE CONTINUED…