The Day the World Lost Its Guardians Edit
Ms. Lisa Bonnet. A student from NYU and an intern who worked right beneath Lois Lane. As one would expect, there would never be a normal day following the guidance of the only woman capable of wrestling the heart of Superman himself. She had seen it all. From monsters and demons to humans who chased the unholy goal of surpassing their natural boundaries. But this was why she'd chosen to study journalism, for even as a teenager, the idea of these beings fascinated her. Perhaps one day, she could find herself a little superman for herself. She would often blush at the idea of an underpants wearing farm boy carrying her throughout the sky...but not today.
Usually Lois Lane would cover these types of story. But the hysterical newswoman couldn't make it to work today. One would think that with the previous death of superman and other league members, that this crisis wouldn't possess such a hold on this world. But the events of this weekend transpired like none other. A direct attack on the league by a mysterious force. One so convoluted and thoroughly executed that it took the world by shock. The earth was without its guardians and crime responded with the amazing news with a massive explosion of criminal activity in numerous cities. God knows what this world would do. But it was up to the media to keep civilians updated while the governments of the earth regrouped from the tragic loss. Plus, other heroic forces were beginning to respond to these emergencies with haste.
Ms. Bonnet sat down at Ms. Lane's desk and shuffled through paper. How could she report that after a week later, the league's whereabouts were still unknown. The Hall of Justice was completely empty. Kept only by the droids meant to service it. If not for the league's many sidekicks and affiliates, the world would've been destroyed already. However, the main faces of the league and their immediate protege's were hunted over the course of several months with the main show happening on a peaceful Saturday night.
"Good Morning America, this is Alexandra Bonnet with the Daily Planet reporting to you live with information regarding the massive attack which occurred this Saturday night. As many of you recall, there was a series of smaller invasions carried out by numerous villains."
She took a deep breath. A smaller screen appeared near her head, showcasing different battles. First, a caped crusader in all black was shown exchanging blows with a massive, muscular yet blob-like creature. Surrounded by hundreds of other mysterious creatures, the caped crusader and his two students fought long and hard. However, from their shadows, thousands of arms emerged from the ground - completely enveloping Gotham's most famous trio completely.
The famous Boy Scout of the Justice League, earth's greatest champion, flew throughout the sky after his cyborg copy. They fought against each other ferociously. Powered by the sun shining brightly above the noonish sky, one would've thought that the man of steel would've easily fell his opponent. But the sky darkened. Storm clouds gathering high above the earth during a time where this city suffered from heat waves. Rather than rain, black ink seemed to splatter against the earth. Eventually accumulating into a massive blob of darkness.
The Green Lantern. A beacon of hope and willpower. His emerald blast lit up the sky in its entirety as he fought off these flying creatures with several other earthen members of the Green Lantern corps. Something only a lantern could accomplish. As they were swarmed, the camera saw Hal Jordan reach for a red button. One with a crimson symbol, the insignia for a different lantern corps. A blood red mark...Unfortunately, these creatures managed to enwrap the lantern army completely. Absorbing the green light of will in a mass of darkness.
"This massive invasion came swift and fast. Leaving without much collateral damage and destruction. In the course of 24 hours, the entirety of the Justice League vanished. Governments of the world scrambled to gather their heroes and military in hopes of continuing the league's work. However, with the league gone, crime has skyrocketed. Thus leaving societies remaining forces of good stuck between investigating this mysterious attack and sustaining peace in the world.
In an elaborate attack on the league, the mastermind has assured that their protege's suffered similar defeat. Gotham news have reported that both Nightwing and Batgirl have vanished completely. Alongside Speedy, Kid Flash, and Blue Beetle."
Lisa Bonnet cleared her voice. "We will keep you all updated accordingly. A message from the Teen Titans. Please do not lose hope, for the League, wherever they are, are fighting to return home. Let's make sure we have a home for them to return too."
All of the League had vanished. Or so whoever launched this attack thought. People often thought that Superman represented Earth's greatest warrior. But there existed one of the founding members whose powers were so great, that Superman feared clashing with him. During the invasion, the green skin martian was able to narrowly avoid capture. The psionic powers gifted to him by birth allowed him to read this darkness's intention. It was something old as time itself and fouler than the deepest pits of hell. He'd hope that with the likes of Captain Marvel, Doctor Fate and Zatanna on the league, they would've been able to completely erase this sentient darkness. But, as spoken by Doctor Fate himself, it was a conscious older than the Lord's of Chaos. A being as large as an entire realm. Whoever opened the gates for it was no ordinary magic caster.
Just as fast as the invasion began, just as fast as it ended. Leaving the Martian, for the second time in his life, completely alone. Still, he hadn't the time for sentiment or sadness. The league needed him. His first stop? The Watchtower. He flew through the sky, afraid to use the boomtubes of the Hall of Justice, towards the massive floating fortress in the sky. Serene. Surely the leaguers aboard the watchtower would have survived the attack. However, as he approached the tower, he found himself unable to enter. Not due to any technological interference, but literally as if nothing was there. He could phase through it without actually shifting his density.
Even in his solid form, the Watchtower seemed to phase through him. He attempted to access it using every code and failsafe...but this was magical in nature. Something he possessed little power over. Something was up and he had to figure it out...
The Watchtower's compromise meant that the Hall of Justice would also become a likely target. He had to return to it...He descended back to earth.
Hours turned into days. And days into weeks. And society continued to break apart at the seems. Would this become a world without heroes? Martian manhunter could reveal himself and potentially become the new beacon of help. But he was currently outnumbered. Besides, his powers made covert operations much easier. It was better for him to investigate in the shadows. To go undercover and gather information. Meanwhile, the world would need new heroes to help. There were already splinter cells forming across the globe. But their appearance could upset the balance once the league returned from this crisis. And such, he required a team sponsored by the league itself.
Superman, Batman and Captain Marvel was already planning to create a more earth based team. With the reactivation of War World and Apokolips gaining power, the Justice League would become more occupied with intergalactic struggles. And such they would need a new team to act as an extension. Looking through the files at the base, this team already had two members. Superman's protege, Celeste Santana and the new holder of Shaazam, Pantheon. They wouldn't be enough. Martian Manhunter would need more. And with a furrowed brow, he decided to begin this mission...
A mission to create the league of tomorrow.
Something Wicca This Way Comes Edit
The Gathering of the Heroes of TomorrowEdit
Shopping Trip Edit
The plain hum of the light panels was the only audible sound that could be heard in the convenience store. Violet shuffled up to the register, a carton of eggs in hand. She slid it over the counter, taking out her phone to squeeze in a quick text home.
“Got the eggs. On my way home now.”
Violet hit the “send” button, and placed her phone back into her back pocket. “$3.37.” the cashier said blandly. He looked tired, as if he hated his job. “Sure.” Violet responded. She pulled out a crumpled up $5 bill, handing it to the cashier. “Keep the change.” Violet chirped. The cashier only nodded in response, handing the carton of eggs back to Violet. The young adult slid the carton into her olive-green bag, waving at the cashier with a smile on her face as she left the store.
Violet plugged in her headphones, deciding to listen to some music on her way home. She had gone down a few blocks when she noticed a group of men. They were wearing strange masks, with large duffel bags. A bank robbery? And despite the danger of the situation, Violet only smiled, and everything slowed down.
Actually it was more like Violet was going way too fast. To her, it seemed as if everything around her slowed down. She slid her bag off her shoulder, opening it. She took off her top and put on the white hoodie that was in the bag. She dug through it a bit more and found a cheap pair of sunglasses, the ones with a flamboyant appearance. The pair was coloured orange, and she put it on. She closed her bag and set it off against a wall. She walked towards the bank, everything still slow for her.
She gently opened the door and walked in. Then, everything returned to regular speed. One of the masked men turned towards her, their gun aimed directly at her. They pulled the trigger, and the bullet shot forwards. It slowed down as Violet began to speed up. She grabbed the bullet, and placed it between her thumb and index finger, crushing it between her fingers.
She slowed back down, and that masked man looked back at her, his head tilted to the side. Violet took out her headphones and jokingly pouted. “Not even a warning before you shot at me? Dick move.” she teased, a smile appearing on her face after. The man began to yell in a different language, and the rest of the men assembled around her. Violet’s smile only became a grin.
“Well, let’s get a move on then.”
Porcelain skin. Black eyes. And a body scarcely covered by the traditional rebellious punk clothing of her generation. She laid quietly on the couch at the center of the base's empty lounge. This was once their base. And such she found herself lost in thought about the news report which interrupted her earlier soap opera. They disappeared. Including the man who she grown to adore as the only positive male role model in her life. The closest thing to a decent father figure. She remembered watching him on the news fighting...that thing. He would return. He's survived much worst things. No way Superman was gone forever...
And now...now the world without its guardians was helpless against evil. All the minor organizations fought one another for the dominant power while criminals took their chances to band together. Criminal activity soared over the past few weeks...I can't think about that right now. Iris tried to remind herself. Uncle John said everything will be okay. Plus with that Shazam brat we'll be able to keep the city safe.
That's what Superman would want me to focus on...Right Uncle J'onn
Her eyes lowered as she lowered the music.
Ms Iris. A familiar voice rang out in the deepest corners of her psyche. I can feel you reaching out to me. What is wrong my niece? The deep voice of none other than Martian Manhunter sent warmth resonated throughout her being. She felt safe knowing that there was at least one surviving member of the Justice League. And she could feel through their psionic bridge that her safety gave him a sense of security. That perhaps, maybe, he wasn't fighting this battle alone.
"Uncle J'onn..." She spoke aloud. "What're we supposed to do?"
We're going to continue prospering. I'm coming up with several plans and contingencies. Seeking answers from everyone who might've had a hand in the earlier disappearance. But your sadness is quite distracting little Iris. Why don't you go out for the day.
Iris smiled. "Fine. I'll go get dinner ready for me and Pantheon."
After deciding to follow in his footsteps, Iris decided to relocate to Mount Justice. Where members of the league would train their protege into becoming fine heroes and heroines. Unfortunately, both Pantheon and Iris were only several months in before this tragedy. Leaving the once busy base empty with distant memories. That's right...this fresh air was good for her. Just as she was about to put her headphones on, a gunshot rang through the night air. Someone needed help. Iris quickly dropped her bags and darted towards the commotion.
There she saw a young human standing against a gun toting idiot. Somehow, this human managed to catch a bullet. Something which she couldn't even accomplish. She felt the fiery blood of her father inciting her to violence. She wanted to crash down there and beat the shit out of the both of them. Hopefully the girl would provide a challenge. However, she took a deep breath. Her curiosity and desire to learn stronger than her father's thirst for violence. And such, she watched carefully from atop a roof.
"Come on boys," Violet began, a playful smile on her face. "Eight of you isn't going to make much of a difference."
The group of men only yelled louder at her, a few pulling out handguns and the others pulling out semi-automatics. They stepped closer, yelling. As if they were warning her to leave. "Are you sure you guys want to do this?" she asked. She didn't hear a response, they simply fired away.
And once again, everything slowed down. There were many bullets, at least a hundred coming her way. The four semi-automatics accounted for most of them, however. She walked around, gently grabbing each bullet and placing them into her other hand. Once she had collected them all, Violet crumpled them with her hand, creating a ball of lead.
She spun around dramatically, throwing the ball of lead at one of the men, straight towards their gut. Violet grabbed the same mans semi-automatic, jabbing it into the chest region of the man to her left. She turned to face the man on her right and gave him a backhand. She elbowed another in the nose, and kicked the fifth man in his genitals. The other two she simply shoved.
She stood back in the middle, and slowed back down. Everything suddenly happened at once. The ball of lead slammed into that mans gut, sending him flying backwards through a pillar. The man who had been jabbed with the semi-automatic crumpled to his feet, grasping onto his neck region as if Violet had broken a bone. The third man who had been slapped also flew backwards into one of the ATM's, breaking the machine in the process. The fourth man's nose was audibly and visibly broken, and he fell back clenching his nose. The poor man whom she had hit in the genitals simply collapsed from the sheer pain that rushed through him. The final two yet again flew backwards into the wall, crashing straight through.
"So," Violet began. "That's that."
Iris was absolutely shocked. In less than a blink of eye, she managed to take down eight men without the slightest hinderance. This babe reminded her of the Flash so much. She couldn't retain her excitement. Although her father wasn't the mystical type, those of the Justice League often said that coincidences didn't exist. Maybe...just maybe Uncle John saw this coming. They were talking about bringing others to the base to help with crime. And the fact Iris just witnessed something so...so...not normal! She couldn't help herself! And so, Iris leapt from the building and used one of the thieves as a landing pad. "Hey miss," She called out. Her southern accent quite confusing considering her obviously less-than-conservative outfit. She pulled up behind Violet with a giant smile.
"That was awesome! My name's Iris! I was wondering, are you a speedster?!"
Violet jumped into the air when she heard the new voice. She turned to face the woman and raised a eyebrow. She was dressed very scantily, not that Violet was complaining. Her accent was also something she hadn't been anticipating from someone like her, but who was she to judge? Violet blew her hair away from her mouth and began to speak.
"A speedster? Uh, I guess I am." she responded. "I kinda just...run really fast."
Violet wasn't sure what to make of the whole situation. A southern chick had appeared out of nowhere, with a scantily clad outfit and was standing on one of the thieves like a cushion. Violet was confused to say the least, but she couldn't do much about it. All she could do now was to simply go with the flow.
"You're a funny chick!" Iris laughed awkwardly. Yes! Today would be the day she could help Uncle John. But how?! This was the most Iris spoke to anyone since graduating. And someone so pretty! She was trying her hardest to seem normal. Or as normal a white skinned blue haired babe could seem. But this was becoming a train wreck mighty fast. So she decided to grab Violet's hand. Cause that's what girls do right? Grab each other's hands!
"Are you a hero?"
Violet had been staring at Iris until the woman grabbed her hand, jerking her back into reality. She looked her hand being held by Iris and just stared at it for a while until the question she had asked finally registered. Violet cleared her throat and looked back up at Iris. She didn't know what to do about the whole hand thing, but she decided to just not think about it. Not to let it be the only thought in her mind.
"A hero? Maybe? I just try and stop anything illegal if I know about it or anything. Nothing like the Justice League, if thats what you meant."
"That's exactly what I mean!" Iris screamed. She had to figure out this normal thing fast. Regardless, Violet would notice that even with Iris's lightest grip, it was abnormally tight and firm. Iris started to pull her new friend playfully down the street, seemingly lost in conversation.
"If I may ask, what compels you to get involved in those dangerous situations?!"
Violet didn't know what to do about the whole situation, but she allowed it to happen. As Iris dragged her down the street she raised a brow at the question. "What compels me?" she asked out loud. She hadn't really thought about the whole thing, it just kind of happened. She did what she did because she felt like it was her duty.
"A few months ago, this guy saved me. The Flash. I wad bleeding out, so we had a blood transfusion. After that, I became fast. Really fast. And then I realized, I could stop some bad stuff from happening cause no one could catch me. I was saved, so I decided to save people." Violet ranted. "...Uh, it's kinda corny, I know."
Of course! The philosophers of old spoke of fate and how the sisters would plan these timely meetings. A predecessor of the Flash directly. In this time of need, she would be a valuable addition to the team. She grinned stupidly, staring awkwardly at Violet. It took her a second to realize it and return to a more calmer visage. "Uhh. Okay. This will work perfectly! Listen, there's some trouble nearby..I needed some help with. I was on my way to a nearby bank robbery. Why don't you come help me out!?" She exclaimed. They turned another corner.
Violet tried to ignore the awkward stare, but it was difficult to look away from those amethyst eyes. It resulted in her also awkwardly staring back. Luckily, she was snapped back into reality by the sound of Iris' voice. "A bank robbery? Where? We have to go stop them!"
"Right here!" Iris shouted. Yes. It was a trap. She had secretly lead Violet to the bank, forcing the young speedster to join in the battle. Iris turned away and pointed to the bank, the doors completely destroyed and the wall smashed into smithereens. At the center of the smoke stood a massive figure. A muscle-head covered in fur and with doglike features for a face. People scattered. But the ground was littered with injured men and women. Even a crying child who was smacked towards a nearby building.
"With the league gone, low criminals like Mad Dawg here are prevalent. It's up to us to deal with this!" Without much more of a warning, Iris dashed into the building. Her arms pumping as she ran at top speed. But she was only able to reach speeds slightly faster than the average superhuman. This world made her feel sick... Not like when Superman took her to space where she felt so so so much stronger. Regardless, she still leapt at the giant werewolf with ferociousness, punching his stomach with all her might.
"Hey pup! Why don't you pick on someone the size of your IQ!" She joked lamely. Yeah...her jokes sucked.
"What ju say punk!" He grunted while standing. "I'm Mad Dawg! Tha realis der is!" Mad Dawg charged at Iris slamming her into the ground. His massive arm, the size of a small truck and filled with muscle tightened around her body. She squirmed. "Without tha league, can't no one beat me!"
The Red LanternEdit
”Are you Red Lantern Uproar?”
”Depends on who's asking.” Uproar retorted. He sat at the edge of a building. His face covered by a crimson hood as he wore a silver armor suit. The wind pushing back the massive cloak which stretched from his red hood. Although they possessed unique materialistic qualities and felt real, they were actual advance constructs born from his red ring of rage. After learning to suppress the fire within his spirit, he was able to bring forth complex structures only limited by his imagination and state of mind.
“I am Martian Manhunter. One of the founding members of the Justice League. I’ve endured countless adventures with Green Lantern Hal Jordan as both a partner and friend.. I understand you two were close.”
“Uproar chuckled. “What’d you want?”
“If I knew what happened to him, I wouldn’t be sitting here listening to those people down there argue right?”
“Hmph!” Martian Manhunter laughed. “Leave the investigative work to me young one. The League needs your help for different reasons. I’m gathering a team of potential heroes to help alongside the Titans of East and West City. I believe your training by his side will provide us with some much needed experience. Together, we’ll find out what happened and bring the League back while assuring that our planet stays safe..”
“I’m guessing I don’t have a choice.” Uproar smirked.
“Come to Mount Justice in three days. Welcome to the team.”
The Red Lantern turned around to find nothing. To think the Martian Manhunter would come hunting for him personally. Either way, he knew he had to do this. He owed Hal Jordan a lot. And this would probably make them more than even. He looked down to his crimson ring. It had been a year since it selected him. And he was only scratching the surface of the universe. Still, he needed to find out what happened to Hal Jordan. After all, it was him who allowed the Red Lantern of 2418 to retain his ring. And especially with his own plans to finally confront that beast...The Red Lantern needed all the help he could get.
The Reddest NightEdit
In the blackest of nights. Where the brightest stars littered the endless cloak of space, two beacons darted across the surface, almost racing one another towards a specific goal A blue star which shot with the speed and force of an airplane. And a crimson comet which followed promptly. They danced around one another. Leaving nothing but darkness in their wake. Children pointed. Other thought it a signal sent from the heavens above. But these two lights had a more mundane purpose. They were searching. Looking for the newest members to their respective corps...
"Eesh. Eesh!" Sharp exhalation. His breaths shot out in massive burst. His hands flew in rapid combinations as he demolished his opponent's defenses. His feet tapped against the canvas. Ezekiel, in his crimson shorts and white tank, had his opponent against the ropes. He threw his punches with power. Despite the anonymity of his opponent, Ezekiel fought with fire in his blood. It burned brightly. The decades of being called weak. Of being questioned.
"That's your fighter?" An older man asked his trainer. "How long has he been fightin?"
"Not that long honestly. Kid's been at this for about a year."
"A year, and he's throwing punches like that?" The older gentleman, donned in a brown suit, repeated with shock. "Kid's a young, black Marciano Ha!"
Yeah. It usually took fighters almost a decade to move like him. But Ezekiel was different. Even with his muscular condition, he chose to rely on something other than pure strength and toxic masculinity. No. He moved with the wind. Danced across the ring, weaving through the counters thrown by his opponents in order to locate a proper opening. However, with each punch which slammed against Ezekiel's body, the young fighter stole something from his opponent. Something which he fed to the furnace inside his stomach. Allowing him to return the same punches with twice the power. Where was this strength coming from? Where...it felt so good. Everything everyone ever said about him...he returned it onto this poor man's body. From grade school onward. Every little comment or quip. Ezekiel could never forget. And this was why he never wanted to.
"A man who cannot control his emotions, will be destroyed by them." The words of his father rang in his ears. But he always hated that saying. Shit, this anger felt so good. it made him stronger. It was the fuel which allowed his ambitious to shine so brightly. Each punch. Each grunt. His roars boomed from his stomach. A powerful left hook to the poor man's body. Slamming against his liver. He crumbled over before Ezekiel. The referee leapt between the two and began the usual count. Meanwhile, Zeke backed into his own corner. Staring at the lump of a fighter.
"I will be successful. I have too. I can and I will." His personal mantra. He believed in it so much that it fueled the fire burning through his skin. At the sound of the three bells, Ezekiel didn't cheer or celebrate. He dapped his trainer and followed him back to their locker room. The battle was won, but the war was just beginning...or so he thought.
Ezekiel exited the building. His gym bag in one hand and his new trophy in the other. His black sweatpants hung tightly to his toned legs. Ezekiel’s shirt, drenched in sweat, he took out his phone and placed his two red, wireless headphones into his ear. A night for his favorite genre of music, symphonic metal. The violins calmed him. The songs of old warriors fighting for their freedom lifted his spirits. Yes. He could do this. No matter what other people said...he was not weak. And tonight proved it to everyone in the neighborhood. His life had finally settled down. After 23 years of self-loathing, Ezekiel had finally found some inner-peace. The anger within him, the desire for vengeance against fate allowed him to preserver. To continue onwards until he could prove everyone wrong. He was finally getting his shit together. He had a great job. His own place. No one could take this away from him. And tonight, as he walked through the chilled air, Ezekiel finally felt content. He pulled out his phone looking for a new song to think too. Nights like these were perfect....
Ezekiel pulled out his phone, obviously expecting a notification from someone. But the young ebony man lived a pretty isolated life. So instead of a loving message, Ezekiel received another update for the nearby bombing in lower Manhattan. "The Justice League is fucking up." He whispered. Crime had skyrocketed across the country. With the numerous alien invasions and threats from different planets, the league was already stretched thin. And the Teen Titans were still rather too young to fulfill such large shoes. But that was besides him...for he felt a violent tug at his neck into a dark alleyway.
"Hey champ!" A dark voice grunted. "Nice fight tonight!" Before Ezekiel could make sense of what was going on, he was blinded by a blunt object smashing against his skull. He tried to fight back, regaining his footing and entering his stance. Boom! A bullet tore through his leg. He fell backwards and screamed in pain.
"I had a lot of money riding on that fight kid."
"And?!" Ezekiel the smart-ass. "I didn't think ya'll wasted ya'll time on amateur fights."
"Of course. Money is money. The feds watch the professionals so closely, us smaller sets have no chance of messing with it. Ya'll just a way to make a quick buck. Except you fucked it up for us."
"And so you're going to rob me? You do know we don't get paid for these fights." Ezekiel spat.
"Oh I know. And this ain't a robbery. Remember that fight next month? Well my boss has a lot of money saying you're going to forfeit it. But you a stubborn brat. I can see it in your eyes...So, we're going to make it easy for ya." He cocked his gun and aimed it at Ezekiel's head.
This couldn't be happening. No. No. No. His blood burned. He had to get up and run. But he couldn't. He hoped and hoped that someone would arrive and save him. Something had to happen. God couldn't give him all these things only take them away. Not like this. His heart pounded. The sound of the trigger clicking was drowned by the blood rushing in his ears.
He didn't die. They wouldn't kill him and make it too obvious. No. This was a random robbery with injuries that would prevent him from fighting. He tried to move but the blood rushing out his body made him woozy.
Why... Ezekiel tried to cry. But the blood rushing from his throat turned it to gurgles. He had to get up. He needed too. Finally he would get his life together. By himself. Find someone. Settle down. Help those in need. He knew why crime was growing. And by living to the fullest, he would become the beacon of social justice. But the hopefulness in his heart diminished. Even if someone came and saved him, there would just be more like them. More criminal scum. More violence. More. More. A never-ending cesspool of scum allowed by a crooked justice system. In his last moments, Ezekiel started to understand why he enjoyed fighting. Why his strikes were so strong. Hatred. All the hatred built up within his spirit.
A red light approached from the distance. Was this it? The angel of death. It shone brighter and brighter...
His mother often said that Ezekiel was a kind and loving child with a poisonous stinger. That when bothered, he would go to the ends of the earth to enact vengeance. Unfortunately he lacked the power to correct the wrongs done to him. Whether they were stronger physically, mentally or financially, Ezekiel could never forget...It burned inside him.
And it started to make sense that burning sun inside his chest. The exploding furnace in his stomach. He hated everything about this world. The unfairness. The unjust. And most importantly, himself. If only he could find enough power...just enough to fight the cruel fate. To become an agent of justice. Just as the angel of death swept over egypt to claim the life of the first child, he would rain a fiery vengeance for those unable to grasp it.
He lifted his hand, hoping that by grabbing onto it, it would keep its end of the bargaining. He slipped his ring finger into the ring as his world blackened…
A bright crimson star erupted. His vision was engulfed by a fiery flash of red. Every cell in Ezekiel’s body burned as if it erupted into a star. He could feel his blood rushing throughout his veins with such a force it snapped his spine. This pain!? He tried screaming but only what little blood he had left erupted from his mouth. And at the center of the massive crimson lake lied a lump of beating flesh. Ezekiel screamed. Napalm rushing throughout his veins and spewing from his throat, burning through the nearby garbage dump. How?! What was going on! He couldn’t process it. Suddenly, his body felt stronger...different. He punched through the nearby wall with enough force to shatter the brick into dust.
So much...hatred...anger. Ezekiel’s vision, tinted in crimson, cleared. No longer did the ebony fighter need glasses outside the ring. He could see far beyond what even the most advanced human could. His black sweatpants, t-shirt and hoodie combination transformed into a skintight suit which felt like nothing. Black and crimson with a unique symbol at the center of his chest. But among the chaos and fear, only one clear phrase hummed in the back of his psyche. Coming out as a gentle prayer from his lips.
“With blood and rage of crimson red…” He started. How did he know this? This wasn’t no song he’s ever heard of. But it came out like the most beautiful poetry. “Ripped from a corpse so freshly dead…Together with our hellish hate…” That’s right...hatred. He felt it. At the world. At the government. At some of his friends and at various members of his family. However, above all else, he hated the person who attempted to take away everything he worked so hard to gain...And he was going to pay.
“We’ll burn you all-that is your fate…”
A jump. His body rocketed into the sky with such force he felt the earth around him shatter. No doubt this man broke every record possible in that single second. Yet felt not the slightest shred of fear. He landed atop a rooftop and darted towards the source of his hatred. He could feel the anger of those around him. No matter how small. How insignificant. Regardless of the pettiness, he felt the raging flames in the spirits around him. Still, Ezekiel turned his attention towards that giant bursting of sun.
He smelled his own blood-or perhaps his old blood-not too far away. The splattering of his flesh landing on the clothes of his attacker created a trail easy for him to follow. Before, Ezekiel could barely smell the spiciness of a pepper. Now he differentiated his own scent from a city of funk. Perhaps he would’ve noticed that he ran faster than the cars below and lept over gigantic spaces between buildings. Even without tapping into the vast powers of the ring...But every second he lessened the distance, his body glowed brighter with rage.
Only then, when he saw him standing at the corner of the street holding his child, did Ezekiel stop. The man who almost took everything away from the young fighter. Vengeance would be his. And such, he jumped before the two.
“Reeeemmber?” His grunts rattled from the shadows. So much burning napalm burning fromhis throat, he felt it sizzle as it dripped. THe intense hatred masking his consciousness to the point he could only growl. He couldn’t speak. For every word required intense restraint to keep from launching at the man. No. Ezekiel has to enjoy this. The man jumped, almost dropping his child. His eyes widened upon seeing Ezekiel. “Look like you’ve seen
“T-the fuck happened?! You ain’t supposed to look like that?!”
“Remmeemmmbrrrrrrr.” Ezekiel tried once more. “Scummmm?”
“Stay away from me ya fucking freak!” The thug held tightly to his child.
“Puuuuuut hm down…” Ezekiel spat venomously. The hellish napalm-like blood falling from his mouth sizzled through the earth itself.
“W-what..please...don’t hurt him!”
“I….wntttt….you...vennngennncee.” Ezekiel approached slowly. The man which took his life tripped, dropping his child several feet from him.
“Wait!” The thug screamed. “Do what you think about doing...and you’ll be condemming him to your fate! Think about this dude. I’m sorry. I’m so sorry. This isn’t personal. I don’t know you. This was for him. He starts school. And soon...soon he’ll be in college..I don’t have money. I dont have opportunities. But I can risk my life so he can eat...take that away and...and…”
Perhaps on a normal day his words would’ve struck the magical chord of forgiveness. Perhaps Ezekiel would’ve walked away knowing that he scared this man on the straight path. But today was nothing but normal. See, even though these words meant nothing to the ravenous mind of a rabid Red Lantern, Ezekiel also knew that this man would serve as a powerful example. That his child would grow up in fear, knowing that the avatar of vengeance existed.
Ezekiel regurgitated. It was similar to that great release when one barfs up all the toxins in thier body. A massive blast of crimson, liquid fire which covered far beyond the man. Spreading to the end of block, leaving nothing but a deep trail of smoke and dust. The child screams awoke the neighbors….Ezekiel had to escape.
“Vennngeeeance…” He whispered before flying off….Leaving naught but a child’s cries and police sirens behind. Vengeance was served.
Whatever happened...it felt so right. Not just for himself, but for the vengeance of those who suffered at that piece of garbage hands. But that wasn’t enough. Not even close. Even in this neverending sea of madness, Ezekiel could feel the rage of others. The slight thoughts. Racing hearts. He gained an almost empathetic link with the universe itself. There were those who needed punishment. Vengeance. Vengeance. Loss. It pissed him off. Feeling the loss and unfairness of the universe. Reading the stories of those around him. It seemed to power him. The ability to delve deep into the hearts of others and pull upon their rage. To understand and comprehend.
He wasn’t no normal lantern. Or some boy scout superhero. He could feel every rape in progress, every murder every injustice taking place in this entire sector. It drove him mad. Even with a mind blinded by anger, Ezekiel understood his purpose. And such, he blasted from the cemetery where his parents were buried. He darted across the sky, transforming into a crimson shooting star across the night sky..
There. A woman being mugged by some common thug. Ezekiel landed with a violent crash. Startling both the victim and perp. Nothing but a sizzling “Veeeengeeance…” to alert them of his presence. He creeped towards the criminal who pushed the old lady in an effort to run. Too late. The Red Lantern exploded towards the thief, slamming his hand into his chest and crushing his heart. To which he turned to the old lady, quivering in fear. Unable to speak. He noticed her grabbing onto her cross so hard that blood dripped from her hands.
“Vennngeance…” Once more...His black hair waving in the wind before he started to float off. THe angel of vengeance. The holy spirit sent by God to deliver his wrath. Or so he thought...
A Heart Too StrongEdit
Weeks have passed since the fateful incident. Ezekiel lacking the necessity of sustenance spent his days and nights delivering vengeance to those of a pained heart. Unfortunately, in his rabid craze, he realized that there were several reports of an angel of death. A new hero whose means weren’t quite acceptable in the modern world. Still, the Red Lantern made sure to peel out of every situations before backup arrive. He was finishing up with some petty thugs when his ‘’heart’’ twanged. A pulling sensation like none other, something big was about to happen. And such the Red Lantern left his prey a bloodied yet breathing mess...for now.
He flew to the main hub of Central City where there was a train speeding atop the airborne tracks. It accelerated by the second. Still, the Red Lantern was able to fly next to the windows. There. At the center of the panic and fear rested a man whose heart glowed brightly with anger. Anger that he was about to lose his life to some madman. Up ahead, Ezekiel noticed another flame of anger raging on. The conductor! He could see it all. The affair. The lies. His daughter embracing a new man...this pain. So much...Ezekiel understood it clearly. The conductor was going to end it all by driving the train off a rail. These people were just companionship since death was always scary by itself.
Even in madness, Ezekiel’s instinctual quick thinking caused him to speed ahead of the train and attempt to stop it pysically. He grabbed the front and placed his feet against the tracks. But the sheer speed coupled with his own insane physical prowess meant nothing as he destroyed the tracks beneath him. With no footing he had to think of something. He punched through the glass, slamming the screaming conductor against the wall. Ezekiel’s fiery eyes burning through his soul. He saw how to stop the train….except the brake was destroyed. Of course in a city of heroes the conductor would take the extra step.
He had to think...Well the closest to thing to thinking capable for a rabid animal. There! Ezekiel held onto the front of the train once more and was getting ready to spew out his flaming blood. Without wheels, how would the train run! His mouth opened wide…
He has taken thousands of punches. But this one hurt the most, especially considering it was a gigantic emerald fist which slammed him against a nearby building. He regained his senses and saw the blinding light of the famous Green Lantern.
“So you’re the one who's been killing those criminals. What, bad guys ain’t get your blood going enough? Now you’re going to take it out on that train?!”
Ezekiel tried to answer. But talking wasn’t his strong suit since putting on this ring. “Trrrainnnn-” Ezekiel tried to fly off but found himself slammed back into his makeshift crater by a green bat.
“Yes, that’s called a train. You Red Lanterns tend to be so dumb. Listen, calm down and I’ll have Saint Walker come down and take care of you. Name’s Hal Jordan, maybe you’ve heard of me?!” He joked.
“Idddioooot!” How could he not see that something was wrong? How?! Could he not feel that something was indeed wrong!? That that wasn’t the normal express train! Ezekiel roared, causing an explosion of red energy. He darted after the train with Hal in his wake.
“Hang on you Red Flashlight!”
Ezekiel caught up and attempted to dig his fingers into the train. He felt a chain wrap around his waist as Hal attempted to pry him off. “Geeeeet offfff!” He grunted, cutting through it with his own plasma blast.
Hal Jordan tackled the Red Lantern, slamming him onto the ground with immense force. Three punches and a sphere pressed around his body. “This’ll hold you!” Hal teased. Ezkiel pounded the emerald construct to no avail. It was too strong. How could someone break out of this!? He continued pounding and pounding. With enough force to break through steel. But his failure only fed the fuel….And the anger he felt from the doomed train only made it worst. For the first time in weeks...since wearing this ring..he started to feel helpless...weak. Just like when he was human.
“Sorry buddy, you’re not strong enough-”
“I’mnoooot weaaaak.” Ezekiel spat.
“I’m...Not...Weak!” His first complete sentence. Ezekiel regurgitated a blast of crimson liquid. His firey blood burning straight through the construct and scorching the Green Lantern’s skin. Hal screamed in pain, backing off as he attempted to get the rage-filled blood off. Rather than finish the job, Ezekiel continued after the train. From the conductor’s memories, the unfinished track was only seconds away. Seconds away before tragedy. Ezekiel had to hurry. The anger at Hal. The anger at feeling that weakness ignited the furnace in his stomach. With a sonic boom, the Red Lantern caught up to the now airborne train….there was no way he could catch it in time...no way…
“No!” He roared. His arm shot forward and from the ring a gigantic claw emerged. It wrapped around the train, catching it seconds before collision with the ground beneath it. The crimson light of his rage igniting the midnight sky. Unfortunately, the anger and rage coursing through his mind made what Hal made look so easy quite a troublesome task. He grunted and growled. Fighting his instinct to go back and fight that glowing green power ranger. No. He needed to bring vengeance to the conductor.
A bright green light wrapped itself around the train, assisting with placing it slowly on the ground. Hal Jordan’s voice caught his attention. “It’s like no matter how far into space I go, the more weird shit happens here." Hal groaned. "Let’s put this down so we can talk." With enough focus, Ezekiel was able to put the train down before his construct vanished. The anger from the train disappearing again. Another success. He felt Hal Jordan approach.
“So, let’s try this one more time-” Before Hal Jordan could finish his sentence, Ezekiel launched a straight right at the Green Lantern, sending the veteran hero soaring into a nearby building. Now with his focus back on fighting, the Red Lantern darted after him. Hal regained his footing and struck at Ezekiel who managed to weave through each punch. Fighting had become instinctual in the boxer’s subconscious. And even in completely madness he was able to counter with another punch to Hal’s stomach.
“Shit!” Hal spat. A blast of emerald blast sent Ezekiel soaring backwards. The Red Lantern, so consumed by his rage couldn’t make out what the Green Lantern was saying. He justed wanted to win. How dare this man take away from his mission?! To interrupt him! He soared at Hal once more. Shooting forth a blast of corrosive liquid which melted through Hal’s shield. Hal managed to dodge it just in time. However, Ezekiel seemed to thrive in this condition. This love for battle he loved it.
They continued clashing, becoming two emerald and crimson stars dancing with one another. It wasn’t until Hal slammed Ezekiel into the roof of a lower building that Ezekiel noticed it. His ring glowed brighter. Almost pulling him. Soon his hands shot up with several lantern symbols pulsing. Hal landed on the same rooftop.
“If that means what I think it means-” But once more, before Hal could finish, Ezekiel found himself soaring into the darkness of space...followed by a bright green light.
The Blood Ocean of YsmaultEdit
Ezekiel had a bank account of several thousands dollar saved for traveling. He always wanted to see the world but lacked the time and resources to. Well he definitely was seeing the world now. Seeing it shrink as he soared deeper and deeper into space. Until it was nothing more than just darkness. Only the stars and the bright light of Hal Jordan on his trail to keep him company. And if not for the immense rage in his heart, he would’ve felt a weird concoction of wonder and amazement. It seemed as if years past. But really only minutes until he encountered a crimson planet. A red rock of death and acid and sulfur. Poison. He would’ve surely died in the clouds if not for this ring. This ring which dragged him to a nearby red ocean.
Even in anger..he was disgusted and hoped that-
Copper. His mouth tasted copper. An ocean of blood. How?! What was happening? Rather than swimming, Ezekiel sunk lower and lower until his back touched the bottom. Memories flashed through his mind. Things that his rage suppressed. Everything. Hatred of his former life Of being weak. Of those who left him. Who abandoned him. The sadness and loneliness he felt. The hatred of lost time...and of that night. It burned….
‘’Life isn’t fair...but that’s only because humans choose to make it unfair.’’
But something else came with those memories. The feeling of accomplishment from enacting vengeance. Of becoming stronger and being able to show the universe that he wasn’t someone’s punching bag. Ezekiel smirked. Yes. He wasn’t some random beast. No. He had a life and dreams. And this ring didn’t take them away from him...no...it chose him for that very reason. Now, Ezekiel had the power to bring change to this world. And so, he swam up. Swam through the past. Through the present and towards the future…Until Ezekiel climbed onto the shore of the burning planet.
“How was your little swim?” The voice of his attacker. He wanted to continue this fight of course. But Ezekiel...yes...Ezekiel knew better. Instead, he smirked.
“Quite refreshing actually.”
“Glad you can finally. Listen kid, let’s get you back so we can get that ring off. It’s not a toy-”
“I know what it is...and I want to keep it.” Ezekiel smiled. He stook up and looked at Hal Jordan in his eyes for the first time since their meeting.
“You think I’m going to let you run away with that thing, so you can burn more criminals to a crisp?”
“Who died and made you the boss?”
“Well I’m a Green Lantern kid, that’s what we do. Anyway, how’d you know about the train?”
“The same way I knew about the lady. And that guy who was getting robbed. Same way I knew about all those other crimes I stopped. I can feel it. The hearts of those around me. I felt the conductor’s rage. His anger at the world for giving him a cheating wife. The guy who hated himself for not living to the fullest. Rage and anger. They call out for me-even now-screaming for help and assistance. And just like I did when I needed it most, I answer. Except before I couldn’t think straight.”
“So you want to continue this little crusade?” Hal Jordan asked. “You Red Lanterns are quite troublesome!”
“There’s others?” Ezekiel asked.
“Yup. And this is your homeworld, the source of all your power. See, you know so little, how can I trust you won’t go back to madness or worst, serve your leader Atrocitus?”
“Atrocitus?” Ezekiel questioned. Hal was right. There was so much more than boxing and anime. Shit. He needed to go further. This piqued his interest. “Listen Mr. Jordan,” Ezekiel started. “All my life I’ve felt nothing but weak. Even when I trained, I could feel the financial strength of others. There was always something or someone oppressing me. And now...I feel this power. This chance to make a difference. Not just for myself but for others. You didn’t even know the train was hijacked. Had I not been there, it would’ve been probably one of he worst incidents in history. Does that not show you can trust me?!” Ezekiel made sure to keep his temper in check. “I don’t know who this Atrocitus is. But he hasn’t found me yet. And if he’s going to cause anger and hatred, I’ll sense it and stop him myself. And the same goes for you if you try to stop me.” Ezekiel held up his ring, ready to engage.
“Listen kid, I’ve worn that ring and I’ve had several close friends go through the same experience. We know how hard it can be...I just...Letting you take such a task on by yourself wouldn’t sit right with me. Come back to earth with me, let me explain to you the full details of this life. And I’ll let you decide.” Hal Jordan replied. Ezekiel nodded and followed as the two soared back to earth
The Day the Heroes Went MissingEdit
”Are you Uproar?”
Uproar. That was his name. And he served as Green Lantern Hal Jordan’s first sidekick. One would think that Hal Jordan would’ve found someone else before Ezekiel, but Uproar’s resolve and stubbornness was right beneath the Green Lantern’s. Together, they took care of countless problems in Sector 2418. Uproar’s ability to sense the distress of others allowed the lanterns of 2418 to better save those in need. And such, Hal’s division had become one of the most efficient in several months. While others disagreed with Hal’s choice, they overlooked it and tallied it up to his usual recklessness.
“The Red Lantern’s aren't evil. Hell, we all know Atrocitus’s story and the fact ‘’’we’’’ were behind it.” Hal Jordan spoke. Ezekiel noticed the small blue skinned men on the screen. The Guardians.
‘’There goes that name again…’’ Ezekiel thought. ‘’Atrocitus...the first Red Lantern and a being of immense hatred and anger...I wonder what those midgets had to do with pissing someone off like that.’’
“You know more than anyone that within the wielders of the Emotional Spectrum, there aren’t any inherently evil emotions. Even now, we’ve seen the Red Lanterns travel throughout the star systems to deliver their own twisted sense of justice.”
“Green Lantern Hal Jordan, that sense of justice does not work-”
“Oh please!” Hal Mocked. “Who’re you to talk about justice not working! They’’re just as much as a force of good as anyone else. However, they lack the boundary and control. The restrain to stop at the line. That’s why I say let me keep this Red Lantern under my wing. Even when he was one of those ravenous beast, he spent his time saving those who needed it most. Those who the Green Lanterns of this sector overlooked! If we train him and teach him the proper way to harness his powers, there might be hope for all future Red Lanterns. Right now, I have Sain Walker teachin the kid meditation and what not.”
“Hal Jordan, we trust your judgement as you’ve saved our lives countless times. However, any mess will be yours and yours alone to clean. Out.”
Hal smirked. “God kid. Lesson #1, never deal with anyone several eons old.” He joked.
Ezekiel remembered that night clearly. Tomorrow, he would be following in Hal Jordan's footsteps and join this weird team. Although he wasn't fond of teamwork, he hoped that perhaps...maybe...
Regardless, Uproar found himself floating among the clouds peacefully as he meditated. Calming the massive anger surging through his veins. This ring was finally beginning to feel right.
"Being angry and letting anger control you are two different things. Never forget that." Ezekiel repeated. Tomorrow would be the first day of a new life.
The Most Beautiful ColorEdit
The quietness of nighttime. J'onnn would never get used to it. Even as the last martian, Martian Manhunter had found a new family. Friends and loved ones who he cherished. The same loved ones who vanished several weeks prior. But this trip would potentially help him find out what happened by allowing him to focus on the investigation. The team was ready. They would arrive at the base tomorrow. But even though there was already a leader, J'onn needed something else. Someone who could help these young heroes of tomorrow grow. A woman whose heart could bond and understand all.
They'd worked together on several other small cases. His psionic abilities and her Star Sapphire ring could tame the most demonic, devilish fiend. And plus, being a mother, she possessed a certain softness which would surely come in handy. Nevertheless, he trusted that she would help nurture this team into something great. However, he had to find her. This woman was quite difficult to locate, even psionically. But she was not without weakness. As all mothers tend to be, she was connected to her son. A known criminal but exceptional genius. With them both on this team, Martian Manhunter might be able to save the league.
Either way, this journey lead him to a small neighborhood in New York. The perfect place to raise a family...but not one suspecting to host two potential heroes. J'onnn transformed to his more human disguise. John. A dark skin man of impressive height. He walked up the steps to a decent house and knocked.
The neighborhood was perfect for the life the two had wanted to lead. Cheap enough so that Lavender's part-time job, the only job she could hold down due to her duties as a Star Sapphire, could pay the rent and utilities while nice enough so that she wouldn't have to worry about Alex falling in with a bad crowd. Not that he went out enough to socialize anyway, but it was still important. It was also unsuspecting and allowed her to hide in plain sight, which was absolutely perfect.
It wasn't completely undetectable, which was obvious due to the strange man on their doorstep. There yelling from the inside of the house, some form of argument between the two individuals within. After a minute of this the door opened to reveal a short teenage boy that looked more than a little miffed at having to open the door. He looked up at the dark skinned male and narrowed his eyes a bit. They flickered back and forth over the adult's features for a long moment before speaking "Martian Manhunter. Real name: J'onn J'onzz. Main alias: John Jones. Affiliation: Justice League and other associated organizations."
His voice was monotone, with little to no inflection, as though he were a robot speaking from a script. Once done he blinked as if coming out of a haze and leaned against the door frame, eyeing up the man as though unimpressed "What are you doing here? And by that I mean how did you find us. I made sure that we have absolutely no presence on the web, no paper trails to follow, no finances in our own names, and mom's ring is aces at blocking psycho-fuckery. I need to know where to amp up our security."
"Simple." John laughed. "I scanned the minds of everyone in the neighborhoods of the Bronx. You're not as hidden as you'd like to be." J'onn J'onzz could only smile at the little knucklehead. As uptight as the day the Martian met him several years back. He was happy that he had a loving mother who nurtured him. He would surely make quite the addition to the league...or a deadly enemy to justice. Regardless, Martian Manhunter hadn't the time to contemplate alternate realities. No. "Nice try though. May I come in, Mister Alex?" He asked rhetorically, literally stepping through the boy with a smirk. "Is your mother home? I have an important request for the two of you."
Alex glared at the man as he just brushed past him, thinking of several ways he could have him framed for a dozen international crimes and wanted as a criminal on a global scale within a matter of seconds. Of course that was, as his mother put it, "extremely vindictive and impolite" so he wouldn't act on the impulse. But he could dream. He closed the door before calling out to his mother in fluent Japanese "Mama! Koko ni anata o sagashite iru gaikoku hito ga iru. Sūpāmande wanai terepasu."
Lavender made her way from the kitchen mumbling back to her son about manners and being polite in her native tongue as well, offering a smile to the League member in her home "John! Great to see you. I would offer a hug or hand shake but I was in there trying to bake but as my son will tell you, I'm a shit cook." She motioned to the flower, egg and other ingredients coating her hands and the front of her apron "What brings you here?"
John smiled at the sight of Lavender. Truly a woman as beautiful as her name implies. Some would think that a Martian couldn't find attraction in a human, but the way his cheeks flush said otherwise. But he wasn't sure if it was from himself or radiant energy vibrating from her ring. Instead, John cleared his throat and smiled a smooth chocolatey smile. "Long time no see, Star Sapphire Lavender. I wish this was more of a pleasant meeting but...I need your help."
He pulled out a small device and placed it on a nearby table. From it, a blue holographic screen started to rotate. "As you may know, the league has disappeared." Images shifted as he spoke. Horrific screams. An image of a red cape engulfed in green crystal. A man in a black costume sent hurling towards space before disappearing into nothingness. So on and so forth. One by one, great heroes were picked off. "Luckily I was working with Storm Watch during this cataclysmic battle. Hyperspace isn't that realiable when it comes to receiving S.O.S's." John joked...That damn ring...This wasn't the time for little quips.
"I have some help investigating the source of this mysterious disappearance. However, the earth is left unprotected from itself. Crime has skyrocketed without the Justice League. So I'm gathering a team of individuals who wield enough potential and heart to stand in the League's spotlight. Sort of like a comedian extending his routine until the main act arrives."
Alex, leaning on the wall and listening to everything the man had to say, rolled his eyes "If you're talking about something so grave, and honestly depressing as all hell, could you try not to hit on my mom?" He pulled a face as his eyes flicked to her and then back "Especially when I'm right here. Her ring isn't even that strong and I would think with the number of Green Lanterns in the League you'd be used to blocking emotional electromagnetic interference with your psycho-mumbo jumbo. Seriously, there's like fifteen of those fuckers you need to step your game up."
"Alexander Cho!" Lavender gave him a withering look, to which he responded with a shrug "Language and manners. I know I instilled them into you." He rolled his eyes once more and mumbled something that resembled an apology. Lavender sighed, knowing that was the best she was going to get from him, turning her attention back to John "Sorry about him, he's house broken but still bites sometimes." Alex looked offended by the comparison to a dog, but his mother payed no mind "Those with enough skill to replace the Justice League competently are most likely busy with handling the increase in activity in their own areas. You said potential so..." Her eyes slid to her son and then back to the hero before her, an eyebrow raised "Sidekicks? Another Teen Titans situation?"
J'onn had ignored the child's rambling, as a father would a son he knew too well. Instead he found it quite cute and charming. Hell, he found a few girls who had Alex on their mind during his search. But today was not the day to discuss highschool sweethearts. John leaned against the wall with a sly smirk. "Yeah...that's the part I was hoping you wouldn't catch but you've always been wiser to mysterious situations. Once the league disappeared, earth's heroes jumped on the opportunity to replace them. Creating a civil war of sorts. The Titans have become something akin to a splinter cell, solving these issues on their own." He took a deep breath. "I'm hoping this team, due to being formed by my own hands, would be able to hold the League's spot during this crisis. I'm taking sidekicks, friends, those without cause or reason but with a pure heart.
This will be an extension of the league, as the Teen Titans once was. But not a team exactly. It'll be a force for Justice." The device showed several other members. One wearing a unique son insignia and shouting a word so familiar that it called down thunder. Another, a woman of pale skin who resembled the famous bounty hunter who terrorized space. "I have a few candidates. And your son will fit in perfectly among this team. But like him, they too need to be housebroken." He clicked a small device. The screen switched to a young man cloaked in red energy, angrily blasting away at meteors which approached earth. Followed by a young woman speeding through the streets to stop a mugging 20 blocks away. Among others...
"You're the only person I trust with this assignment Lavender."
Lavender thought about it for a moment, opening her mouth to politely turn John down but Alex interjected quickly, his tone factual yet bored "She's planning on saying no. I can tell by the micro-expressions in her face. I also know that she's a softie and will fold when pressed. You're very persistent and will bring up the importance of someone to guide this team along the right path. We don't want a team full of Red Hoods or angry vigilantes after all." He pushed off the wall and moved to the table to pick up the device, examining it closely while still talking "She'll eventually say yes after some convincing. Then you have me and my rebellious streak. We'll argue, I'll probably throw things, you'll say something along the lines of "You're going whether you like it or not and that's final!" I'll give up and go along with it, angry all the while. Can we just skip all that and jump to the part where we start packing?"
Lavender raised an eyebrow at her son and realized he was most likely right in his predictions. Though the times where he was wrong were few and far in between. She took out her power ring and slipped it on, violet light whisking away the mess across her front, leaving her pristine and lovely "Go get your bags together then." Alex nodded and turned on his heel to go to his room, taking the device with him and throwing a peace-sign to John over his shoulder. Lavender watched him disappear and then turned to her fellow hero "He's a handful and you're right. If he isn't molded into a force for good then...I'm so scared he'll turn into one of the threats we have to fight." Her voice quivered a bit, causing her to clear her throat "This will be good for him. Very much so. And I've always wanted more children. You'll have Augur and Star Sapphire in the ranks of this...Justice Force, J'onn." She gave him a small smile and held out her hand to shake.
J'onn smiled, transforming to the skin within which he was born with. A green man who stood taller than lavender and with the body sculpted by the gods. He wore his signature uniform. His red eyes meeting Lavender's with a soft expression. "He's a smart kid. Too smart for his own good. But a kid nonetheless. And kids aren't known for their enjoyment for battle against their mothers." He spoke with a certain firmness. Each word a gentle stroke spoken by the spirit of paternity. "He'll meet others like him and undergo situations where his mind will be challenged. He'll see that even if you can calculate every formula involved in the situation, there's still a large chance for failure due to the mysterious hidden variable known as sentient consciousness. That sometimes, life doesn't follow the rules and regulations dictated by the universe itself." Martian Manhunter smiled. "And he'll grow through these experiences into a hero unrivaled by many."
"However, for now, I must say thank you Lavender. I have to go prepare your other children." He clicked the device, which showed directions to the hideout. "I don't know if you've been to Mount Justice before. But we're using the old hideout as the base for the new team. I'll see you in a few days!" With that, Martian Manhunter began to levitate backwards before he phased through the door completely.
The Blue LanternEdit
The Blue Lantern Ring is considered perhaps the strongest ring in existence. Due to the importance of hope, it is crucial for any team to have a strong foundation. And such, Martian Manhunter consulted with the famous Saint Walker to find a suitable balance to the brashness of Hal Jordan's angry sidekick. This lead him to his old apprentice. A man who, like Uproar, suffered at the hands of fate. However, he chose to walk a different path. The heroic martian found himself in a California neighborhood, where he noticed a blue clothed individual meditating above a house. "Long time no see, my friend."
A Man Made GodEdit
The light of the sun creeped into his room as he slumbered. Rays of light landed on his face and he began to stir. As he awoke, Gabriel threw on some shorts and a shirt as he walked out of his room. He began to make a simple breakfast as he heard a knock on the door of his apartment. He moved here in the chance his identity was discovered, wanting to protect his parents from the role he played. He signed and went towards the door.
As he opened it, a large man clad in red stood in its frame. "Cadet! How are you-" Captain Marvel tried to ask before Gabriel pulled him into the room and slammed the door.
"Are you some sort of idiot! Don't exclaim who I am in public in my private home! And I'm not 'Cadet Marvel' anymore, I am Pantheon!" the blonde man shouted in response.
"I know you feel like you are different still, Cadet, but you are still much like me, Sergeant Marvel, and Lieutenant Marvel. You absorbing your powers into your being doesn't mean you are no longer one of us, Gabriel. You are still Cadet Marvel to me." Captain Marvel looked down at the food and his eyes enlarged. "Have enough to share?"
Gabriel sighed. "Go ahead, it's fine." He made both of them plates. "Even if I'm not different, I still feel like I am. You guys are champions of the gods, I am slowly becoming one. It just feels... weird. I'm not sure who to turn to on it Captain."
"Maybe one day you can loan me your powers then. Solomon, Hercules, Atlas, Zeus, Achilles, Mercury, and Pantheon! Shapzam!" laughed the Captain as he quickly ate. "But before you groan and sulk about it more, that's why I'm here. You may not feel like you have anyone to turn to, but locking yourself in here isn't the best option either my friend. Come with me. Use your power! Say the word!"
Gabriel sighed once again and from his will his costume materialized. "'Shazam' doesn't help me anymore, but whatever. Let's god see what you mean." The two heroes walked out of the apartment and flew off.
A team. Captain Marvel showed Gabriel the idea of a new team that would act as a subpart of the Justice League and showed him documents on some of the functions and possible members. While it was interesting, Gabriel said he would have to think on it.
Now it is the only option for Pantheon. Captain Marvel disappeared, along with much of the of the Justice League. While Pantheon was unsure of himself and his abilities, he couldn't sit by and let his mentor and heroes be lost forever.
The Son of a DemonEdit
Of Ripping Waves and High TidesEdit
Queen Mera looked in on her most promising disciple at work, a small smile on her lips. Right now he was working on the complex incantation that would turn a normal scrying pool into a portal to traverse vast distances in an instant. It was complex and usually took months to master, years if you went about it in a particularly slow and careful fashion, but he had almost perfected it in a matter of days. His skill was always something to marvel at, and not all of it could be attributed to Mera's teachings alone. Even when he had just started learning the mystical arts, the rate at which he learned spells and became proficient in their use was far greater than many of the adept sorcerers she taught.
An arm snaked around her waist and Mera turned her head to place a kiss on her husband's cheek "Hello darling. I don't see you in the tower often, has something important come up?" Arthur simply buried his face in the crook of her neck and gave a noncommittal grunt to his wife. This prompted a melodic chuckle from the queen, her hand snaking up to card through her husband's blond tresses "I can't know your purpose for being here if you don't use your words, dear. Not everyone can read minds."
He laughed and lifted his head to nuzzle her cheek "I can't read everyone's minds, only those who have a connection to the sea. And it's harder with complex minds so my 'telepathy' doesn't really count as such." She rolled her eyes and swatted the back of his head playfully "Ouch. I've come here to talk about the little tadpole over there. He's been sequestered here for most of his life, he should get out and interact with the world more."
"Lethe and I walk about the kingdom frequently. And he goes on ventures out himself, he is hardly trapped here."
"I know, my love, but I had something else in mind. The League decided to put together several teams, much like the Teen Titans, to cover different areas. With his skills I think Lethe would make a good addition, plus it would give him a chance to explore an entirely new world."
Mera looked at her young charge with a glimmer of worry in her eyes. Her motherly instincts extended to this child as much as it would her own children, so it was only natural that she was worried about him leaving the nest "It...would be good for him. But are you sure he's ready?"
"We should ask him don't you think?"
Lethe looked into the scrying pool and focused on the incantation. He had to be sure that he didn't mispronounce or forget any words or else the results could be disastrous. The words of the chant and the feel of the magic filled his senses and blocked the world around him. As the spell reached its apex he reached out a hand and placed a finger within the pool. He swirled it in a counterclockwise motion as he finished the spell, pulling his hand away and looking at his handiwork.
The pool stayed still for a long moment, making him worry he had done something wrong or not put enough power behind the spell for it to hold. But then the pool rippled and began to swirl as if caught in a storm and a smile overtook his features. After a long moment it settled and revealed a dark part of the ocean that he had never seen before. He had been aiming for one of the bazaars in Atlantis, but this was unexpected. He was sure he'd never seen this place before, but it was familiar somehow. It beckoned to him, like a beautiful siren song. Almost as if something was calling him home...
Queen Mera's voice broke the trance the scrying pool had on him. He realized that he was just inches away from diving into the pool and taking himself to an unknown place. He blinked several times and swiped his hand across the surface of the water, dispersing the spell and the scene the pool was showing and returning it to a regular puddle of water. He turned to his mentor and King with a timid smile, his hands folded in his lap "Greetings, Your Majesties. I didn't know I had an audience."
Arthur returned his smile and gave a nod to the pool "Your skill with sorcery never fails to inspire awe, little minnow. You've grown nicely." He looked at Mera and she arched a brow at him questioningly. They seemed to have an entire silent conversation with only facial expressions, of which Arthur seemed to be on the losing end. After a minute or so of this, he sighed and turned to Lethe, slipping away from his wife to walk closer to the young magic practitioner "I had an idea that I think you may be interested in."
Lethe perked up at that, motioning for Arthur to continue. The king looked back at Mera and she motioned for him to continue as well. He sighed again and pondered how to go about this. He had never been good at interacting with Lethe, hence why he spent more time with Mera "Those I work with, the Justice League, are planning on establishing more teams for greener heroes to get experience and I was thinking that you could join them."
"Now before you say no, I'd like to say- wait did you say 'of course'?" Arthur looked a bit taken aback, looking from Lethe to Mera and then back quickly.
Lethe chuckled and nodded, jumping up excitedly "I did. I've always wanted to go to the surface, but I never had an excuse to give. Atlantis is my home, yes, but the experience to see and explore the surface is just too good to pass up!" He was rambling now, moving around his workspace and collecting certain materials "Plus I have heard tales of the League of Justice and their exploits, the comrades my King has come to know and bond with. It would be amazing indeed to be able to do so myself! When are we leaving?"
Arthur chuckled and held his hands up to calm the boy's speech and quick movements around the area "Not immediately, be still. I'll tell the team you'll be arriving. We'll leave in three days time, I think. Should be long enough to gather whatever you might need or want to take with you and say goodbye to whoever you feel you need to. Does that sound acceptable?"
"Definitely! Oh, there are so many things I'll need to collect. Souvenirs to make sure I don't get too homesick, materials for rituals and spells, maybe I should bring some Atlantean delicacies for the surface-dwellers? Is gift-giving customary when you are first meeting others? So much to do!" He rushed out of the room, though returned quickly to give Mera a hug and shoot a quick "thank you" to Arthur.
Once he was gone Arthur sighed and ran his finger through his hair "He has so much energy, it's exhausting just watching him." Mera beckoned and they both left the room as well, Arthur grumbling about a speech he had prepared to try and convince Lethe to join the team and Mera laughing all the while.
A Broken ManEdit
Sometimes even an evil man reaches his limits. Does something he can't undo, does something he can't forget, does something he can't forgive. Reaches the point where he can't look himself in the mirror anymore without realizing just what he is, just what he has become. Reaches the point where he simply can't stay the course any longer. He realizes that the path he's on only leads to destruction.
Kai Leng was one such man. He had dedicated his life to seeing the enemies of his masters dead. He was damn good at his job. Politicians, generals, businessmen, and even heroes had fallen in front of him. But like so many, he had a breaking point. He had killed, killed, and killed, and killed some more. His masters thought he was the perfect assassin, emotionless and effective. Armed with some of the most advanced tools in the world, he was the ultimate killer.
But Kai had never lost that little voice inside of him that knew what he was doing was wrong. Even the monsters that had forged him could never quite extinguish that.
Even now he could see the day where he walked into the heart of the FBI and surrendered to a man who had spent a decade chasing him. He remembered the look on the man's face when Kai confessed to everything. He remembered the scorn he had earned from those around him as he laid out the life of death and destruction he had lived. He watched those looks change from anger to shock as he started naming names, selling out those monsters who had used this demon to do their dirty work. He remembered the press's reaction after an 'Anonymous tip' led to the arrest of nearly a third of the leadership among the Triads. He remembered the deathly glares he got from his old masters as he took the stand. He remembered the shock he felt when he was pardoned, absolved of all his crimes for his services in taking down part of one of the most prolific crime organizations in history. Absolved in name, but not in his soul.
Through it all, however, he remembered one thing more than anything. Kai remembered most of all the face of the child who had been his last, and hopefully final victim. He remembered his final straw.
A large thunk and crack could be heard in the clearing, a small meadow in the heart of the Rocky Mountains. A young man, nearing the end of his twenties, was currently chopping apart logs to be stored as firewood for the winter. Young in body, but in mind he was ancient.
Kai Leng was a free man on paper, but in reality, it was far from true. He had few friends and many powerful enemies. The remaining Triads had many resources to see him dead, and even more reasons. He isolated him in the heart of nowhere, hours from the nearest civilization. He simply lived alone in this one bedroom shack, his only regular contact with people that of the FBI agent assigned to watch over him. Assigned to make sure he never went back to what he had become.
It was a hard life, no amenities that most people had gotten used to. But here was the one place he could be, the one place that he couldn't harm any others. This was his prison, this was his peace.
He didn't even know that the league had fell.
The Crimson King Edit
Water dripped from the ceiling, the droplets plopping softly into the puddles below. Ryan Thatcher moved slowly through the empty halls of the Pike Place Market, a very famous attraction in Seattle. In the dark of the night though it was utterly abandoned and eerily quiet, even as the rest of the city sat wide awake. He proceeded further downwards, tightening his hoodie so it masked his face in darkness. His sneakers squeaked and he panicked a little, freezing in place as he glanced around. His ears were met with no other noises and he continued on carefully.
Ryan soon came to a store with a large painted sign above it reading Mundo's Toy Emporium. The store was close by a large steel gate, held in place by a lock. Ryan gulped as he reached out to the lock, steadying his breathing he wrapped his hands around it. The tips of his index fingers pressed against the sides of the lock as it began to split apart. The metal ripped cleanly, barely making a noise as he removed it from the gate. He placed the lock on the ground and gripped the gate, pulling it back he made his way into the shop.
The store looked normal enough, filled with various games, pranks, and stuffed animals among other items kids enjoyed. He moved behind the counter, glancing at the register. One upon a time that would be all he was here for, he was different now though. He grasped the knob of a door in the very back of the shop, twisting it as he entered an old storage room. "It's got to be in here somewhere." He whispered to himself as he began to push boxes around, examining the floor of the room. As he moved a large chest of Batman action figures he finally found what he was looking for, a maintenance hatch to the sewers below the building. He gripped the hatch, lifting it from the floor to reveal a barely lit ladder into the abyss. "I have to find him."
As he stepped off the ladder, Ryan found himself surrounded by darkness however his body was soon lit by many red dots. A hoarse voice called to him from the gloom.
"Don't be movin now lest ya wanna be swiss cheese. The boss requested any excess company tonight be escorted to him." The voice paused briefly. "Come on now and follow." The man tapped a wall to indicate the direction. Ryan simply nodded to the shadows and followed, figuring he'd make less of a mess if he could. The man led him through a maze of tunnels before finally making his way to a door with light flowing in from the other side. "Go on." He stated, keeping his aim on Ryan's head.
Ryan approached the door, slowly opening it as he stepped into the room. Even with the bright light briefly blinding him he could feel the guns pointed at him. "So this is the Court of the Crimson King? Feels like it should be darker to me." He commented as his eyes began to adjust to the light. The room was vast, almost like a warehouse. Had they really made their way to the docks?" The platforms of the upper floor were filled to the brim with gunmen, their sights trained on the new visitor.
"Well now isn't this a surprise, a visitor has come to our meeting." A voice boomed through the room. The voice belonged to the leader of all organized crime in Seattle, the Crimson King. "So how did you find me huh." He paused a moment. "Ryan." Ryan's eyes bulged out, worry covered his face. A fist hit him from the side, knocking his hood off and sending him to the floor. "I knew someone was breaking up my crimes, didn't take a lot to figure out who. You leave your prints everywhere." The Crimson King laughed. "You're some petty criminal metahuman that thought he could redeem himself after jail time. The truth is that you're still just a criminal and you're gonna work for me. If you want your family to live." Ryan's eye twitched as he picked himself up from the floor.
"If you did anything.." He started.
"I didn't but I can very easily make a call." The Crimson King replied, standing from his chair. His red robe hung loosely around him. "So I hope you'll put that power of yours to better use." The villain pointed a finger at Ryan. His head felt hot, really hot.
"What the.." He stuttered, struggling as his mind began to feel warm. "What are youuu..."
"You've got a neat ability but it seems to require concentration so I made up some bullshit till I could get to burning your brain." The King replied. "I sent an order out as soon as the cams picked you up you damn amateur. "Least you won't have to think about their deaths, or at all very soon."
"No..no.noooo." Ryan coughed as he struggled on the ground, his whole head felt warm. "No they can't just be...that's not how...he...me...wanted..work.." His train of thought was getting cluttered, burning away. And then it happened he couldn't concentrate, couldn't keep it in check. The heat disappeared immediately as the air around him began to contort. "What's going on..." His thoughts mumbled as he watched the entire area constrict before blasting outwards.
People looking at the docks would see a massive eruption as the warehouse exploded outwards, pieces of human, wood, metal, and other objects rocketing outwards in every direction. The very dock it was on blew apart spraying concrete and water out in a large radius as it peppered the docks. Amidst the chaos stood a lone platform where Ryan stood. Holding his head in disbelief, he'd lost it again.
Psionic energy is a powerful force of nature. All of life. All consciousness was connected on a metaphysical level. The level where thoughts converge and ideas communicated with one another. To think was to exist. To know is to be. And such, disruptions in the psionic field was easily one of the most detectable things to beings such as Martian Manhunter. Regardless, he couldn't ignore such powerful waves which stretched beyond the state's boundaries. And such, the emerald hero searched throughout Seattle Washington for the source of these palpitations. Leading him to a destroyed building. Littered with limbs and corpses and surrounded by the horrific aroma of burnt flesh.
Martian Manhunter peered to the man obviously in distress. He would have to arrest him. But rather than risk anymore destruction, he chose to speak to the fragile mind. Young one, Martian Manhunter's voice vibrated in Ryan's psyche. A warm, deep voice shaking outwardly. What has happened here? Who did this?
Ryan breathed heavily as he stood from the cold ground, his body was shaking as he observed the destruction he had wrought."I did this.." He sputtered. In that brief moment he had lost control, what was meant to simply push away his foes has shattered the dock entirely. Mangled corpses littered the chaos he'd caused. "No. Not this I didn't mean to do this." His mind began racing as he contemplated the possibility of going back to jail. It was then that a voice filled his head. "What the!" He shouted as he held his palms out defensively, surveying the area. "It...it wasn't my fault. He was trying to kill me I was just trying to get him off of me. Away from me." His voice cracked, "I didn't mean to kill them all they just. It just. It just happened." His vision darted around the area, still attempting to locate the person behind the voice.
Don't worry, Son. I have read through your memories. I'm sorry about your family. Among the debris, Martian Manhunter landed in front of Ryan in his original form. This poor...J'onnn could feel the mixture of pain, fear and loss. A deadly cocktail which would surely cause him to lose control once more. A petty criminal, Martian Manhunter read through his entire life in a matter of seconds. And such, the seasoned hero was overwhelmed by wave of sympathy. Jail would only lead to more catastrophe. Plus, metahumans which lacked control over their amazing powers were prime targets for more horrific organizations. Perhaps...Maybe this calling was something more. Maybe he could help steer this misguided soul into a better life.
You've committed wrong not for pleasure but for sustenance and protection. I'm too afraid to put you into the systems. And the government doesn't have the best track record for super powered humans. Martian Manhunter approached the lad, placing his hand on his shoulder. Do you believe in Justice?
Ryan shuddered looking around for the voice. "How did you do that? Where are you?" He spun frantically, shouting to the wind. He was clearly dealing with some sort of telepath, not to mention an invisible one. However as he spun once again he notice a shape before him. He also attacked him reflexively but stopped. This was no enemy, this was one of the saviors of the world. One of the men and women he looked up to, who inspired his attempt to change. "M-m-Martain Manhunter!?" He taken aback. "Wh-what are you doing here? How did you find me? Why did you find me?" His mouth and mind were racing. The hero continued his speech though, leaving Ryan to only listen.
Did he believe in justice? That was an absurd question, of course he did. He nodded to Martian Manhunter. "Yeah I do I believe in it." He spoke confidently.
I could feel you calling out for me several thousand miles away. That's right, Martian Manhunter, perhaps the strongest telepath in this sector. And as one of the final heroes of this world, I could never ignore a cry for help. However, I fear that you're a being of immense power. One which cannot fall into the wrong hands. Their eyes met as he pulled Ryan into a different plane. An alternate reality filled with peacefulness. The destruction surrounding them was no more, for they stood in that place where Ryan felt safest. The last time he felt secure and protected.
"Do you believe that you're in control of fate or that fate is in control of you?"
"I..I don't know." He sighed, looking up at the hero. "I like to think I can control it, change it. That I can do something with it. But what happened today." He paused to breathe. "This destruction, my family, everything I, I couldn't do anything about it." He shuddered. "I think I need control, stability too. I need to figure out just how to be what I am."