Monday, April 7, 2008

The Second Book of Despero

Just a few months later, Despero would attempt his revenge. "The last time that you saw me, Snapper, I was the defeated one, being taken by Jasonar back to my dimensional world for punishment... That ‘punishment’ took the form of a rehabilitation program during which my third eye-- the hypnotic one that gave me all my powers-- was surgically removed. I was a model citizen for a while. But what Jasonar-- and no one else knew-- was that my body possessed regenerative powers! Because of my high mental rating, I was assigned to a scientific research laboratory--where I "honestly" did a good day’s work---while my third eye kept developing..."

Despero had camouflaged his third eye to escape detection during this time. "It was simple to fake an explosion--after which the only trace of me ever found was my belt..." Despero then secretly made his way to Earth, where he caused several Justice Leaguers to age rapidly through radiation, while the rest he trapped in individual hourglasses. "I could never have captured any of you super-heroes without the use of the unusual energies you all possess!" Though he had chronal energy enough to set the dominoes falling with Snapper Carr, the energy he stole from the various heroes using their powers in turn provided the fuel for his traps.

The Leaguers confined under glass were further traumatized by having their bodies convert to sand. "Even now I have created three alternate earths of which reptilian life-- insect life-- marine life-- have evolved into the dominant life-forms! ...Though my Kalanor nature will not permit me to slay you, I’ve arranged for you to travel to these chronal worlds... but---on these worlds you will be even more helpless than you are on your own world---for you shall no longer have your super-powers! Though you have changed to chronosand, you still possess enough life-force to understand the completeness of my victory! Your failure will be as bitter ashes in your mouths for the rest of your futile lives!"

There should be some doubt about Despero’s "creation" of these worlds, not only because he lacked the power, but because three parallel Desperos sought to conquer these planets. One was defeated by Flash, another by Green Lantern (despite this Despero having stolen and wielded Jordan's power ring,) and a third by the Aquaman/Manhunter team (all aided by friendly natives, naturally.) On each earth, Despero had failed to reckon with the inhabitant’s ability to replicate the heroes’ former powers when in physical contact with them.

In a bid to salvage his scheme, Despero cast the illusion of himself as a withered Superman to imprison the Leaguers at the Sanctuary. Wonder Woman wasn’t convinced though, knowing Superman could only be affected by magic or kryptonite, not chronal energy. She bound him in her lasso, forcing the restoration of the League. Flash questioned, "Now the problem is--what do we do with Despero?"

“Four Worlds To Conquer!” was written by Gardner Fox and drawn by Mike Sekowsky with Bernard Sachs.

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