Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Sixth Book of Despero, the Reborn (July 1986)

An unidentified and undetected molten mass "hot enough to vaporize flesh and blood" struck Maine near the Canadian, "as if guided by some invisible force." It lay in its woodland berth until late the next day, "its one passenger waits... and broods... and dreams." A hunter and his dog wandered near, only to be grievously assaulted by forces physical, mental, and perhaps even spiritual. "Where... are... they? Answer, and I will let you die. Where... is... the Justice League? Fear and pain block your thoughts. I must know what is in your brain. I will take your mind." The hunter was shattered in every sense and absorbed into Despero. "So. I see. The League that helped banish me to the prison planet of Takron-Galtos... is no more. But there is a new League... led by an old enemy. Through them, I will find and destroy those who dared oppose my dream of conquest. And they shall be but the first to die..."

Soon, Despero caused an inferno to erupt where Gotham City once stood. Human beings were transformed into demonic shapes and persuasions. The city itself was reconfigured into a wretched vision. Batman would not stand for such an offense, if he had any choice in the matter. "Around him, the air is furnace-hot. The sky a tortured crimson. He ignores the heat, ignores too the pain of raining lava against his costumed flesh, and charges the vaguely humanoid figure at the heart of the madness. Laughing, forehead agleam with alien energy, the figure gestures... and the madness explodes." Despero's form distorted into a horror, then the Dark Knight was charged by a molten mammoth and collapsed.

"The Batman, isn't it? Yes, I thought so. I remember that this was your city. I saw it, once, in your mind. Have you summoned your friends? Yes, I see you have. Good. We'll await them, you and I, and I'll speak of the changes that have occured to me since last we met."

The Dark Knight struck Despero in the face, with Vixen following in the belly, forcing the despot into the blaze of his making. Batman collapsed from his injuries, while Vixen looked on as Despero emerged unscathed. "Pathetic humans... don't you yet understand? I survived the Flames of Py'tar... and in that sacred pyre, all that I was, stripped away. No longer am I flesh as you know flesh; I am energy and hate incarnate. What is molten rock to such as me? Non-organic... non-living... I AM A NEW BREED OF BEING. I AM DESPERO THE REBORN!

A flare of power exploded across the city. Hell had come to Earth, drawing the rest of the Justice League to Gotham. The Martian Manhunter, instrumental in Despero's last defeat, was at the fore, and recognized his handiwork.

"How perceptive. As always, Martian, you are a keen observer of the obvious. I owe you special consideration, for your part in my imprisonment. I shall save your destruction for last." The Manhunter's features sank to reveal his dispair in the face of this horror. From atop a cathedral, Batman and Vixen chained to his left and right, a declaration was made:

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