Friday, March 13, 2009

DC Comics Presents #28 (December, 1980)

"Superman and Supergirl-- Together in an adventure that spans the universe! They soar through the infinite vastness of space as if it were their natural element-- and perhaps in a way it is!" The cousins and survivors of doomed Krypton raced to stop Mongul from orphaning others by destroying their planets, should he find and utilize the mobile Warworld! "From what you've told me, that space-skunk plans ahead... he sends you... to obtain a certain Crystal Key... J'Onn put up a heroic battle to save the key-- but in the end, he was simply no match for you... just as you proved to be no match for Mongul! Even after you'd rescued your three friends, Mongul took advantage of your combat fatigue to zap you one-- then he and the Crystal Key simply... disappeared!"

So wait, Martian Manhunter was no match for Superman, but Kal-El used their fight as an excuse for getting owned by Mongul? Aaaand, it wasn't J'Onn but the "Man of Steel" who saved Lois, Jimmy and Steve? No wonder Superman liked to keep his cousin Kara sheltered as his "secret weapon" all those years-- helped her remain gullible before his lies!

"And that's why I came looking for you, Kara-- after I returned Lois and the others to Earth! We've got to find Mongul and the key-- before he can unleash Warworld!" Superman explained what Warworld was, until reaching an empty area of space where "according to J'Onn, this is where it was hidden!" Mongul had already used the Crystal Key to make off with Warworld, though Supergirl suggested following a stream of sub-atomic particles emitted from its nuclear engines to pick up the trail.

Superman continued to expound on how impressive and dangerous Warworld was, until the pair came into range for their telescopic vision to actually view the artificial satellite. Their eyes were filled by impressive sights, not the least of which being a six panel pullback to reveal one missile the size of a large city. They also spied Mongul just outside the Control Room, over a single "somewhat newer" grave among countless others, as he crossed the threshold to take command of his outrageous super weapon.

An alarm klaxon warned Mongul of the approaching heroes, even across a great expanse of space. The merciless alien established psychic rapport with Warworld's computer core through a headpiece, located the Super-cousins, and determined "They merely provide me the perfect guinea pigs with which to test Warworld's capabilities! It should prove a most interesting test indeed! This time everything has been taken into account! This time I must not fail! I've already known the bitter taste of failure once in my life-- and once was more than sufficient!" Mongul then launched into a one page origin sequence, the closest he ever came to a proper back story, until "Bah! Enough pointless reminiscing! Let the exercise begin!"

Superman decided to send Kara away and test his invulnerability against the first missile that came at him. "I've faced a lot of weapons in my time-- from Brainiac's Shrink Ray to Luthor's seemingly endless arsenal-- but comparing them to Warworld is like comparing the first club to the atom bomb! What if I'm finally in over my head this time?" The missile approached over another six panels, ending with the tip nearly as large as Superman himself while still at a distance. The Man of Steel ran away at the last second, while the explosion disintegrated small planetoids across countless miles, and nearly took Kal-El with them! Dazed, Superman asserted to a concerned Kara Zor-El "We could never survive a collision with two of those-- Oh... My... God."

The super-cousins were nearly killed by a pair of missiles before escaping. "We can't let our guard down, even for an instant-- or it'll be the death of us both! The death of us... Of course-- that's it! ...Kara, I think I know how to defeat Warworld-- but we'll have to face everything that satellite can throw at us to prove it! Are you game?" Supergirl replied, "Are you kidding? Who wants to live forever anyway?"

As Superman and Supergirl sped toward Warworld, Mongul exclaimed, "The incorrigible cretins! They barely survived a confrontation with the least of Warworld's weaponry-- and yet they persist in their suicidal attack! Very well then! If it's a war they want... then that's precisely what they shall have!" Supergirl was instructed to evade the macro-laser beams to the best of her ability, and remote detonate missiles with her heat vision, while both she and Superman continued to force Mongul to unleash as much of Warworld's power as possible. "Do you remember that mountain of graves we noticed on Warworld? That's what gave me the answer! The Warzoons weren't buried in a mass grave as there'd be if the race was destroyed by some great illness!" The Warzoons died one at a time, each burying the last up until the Largas found and committed their final member to the earth. The demands of the Control Helmet in the Command Console burned every one out in turn!

Mongul fell victim to the same psychic energy-drain, rising up and out of his seat before suffering a cerebral hemorrhage. Though freed from the life-sapping helm, Mongul's jaundiced brow soon slammed into the floor with the rest of his massive form. Supergirl could see Mongul's unconscious body from space, and the direct attacks had ceased, but automatic defenses still rose up to prevent the super-cousins from reaching Warworld itself. While Superman continued to draw fire, Kara flew a galaxy distant, then fired herself at Warworld like a supra-lightspeed bullet. The Girl of Steel rocketed straight through Warworld, punching a hole in its computer core, though the damage was being repaired even as Superman followed Kara's pathway.

"Before Warworld can turn its inner defenses against me, I've got to reprogram the computers-- then I'd better grab the unconscious Mongul and get out of here-- fast! What--?!? The Control Room is deserted! Mongul isn't here! And I can't spare the time to search for him!" You see, the Last Son of Krypton had "redirected the satellite's defense-systems on itself!" Warworld self-destructed so thoroughly, no trace could be found of its existence. "The universe has been saved-- at least from this menace! Perhaps wherever they lie, the Largas will rest easier now... and perhaps J'Onn J'Onzz will someday forgive me! And that leaves me with just one small problem... What in blazes has happened to Supergirl?"

"Warworld!" was by Len Wein, Jim Starlin & Romeo Tanghal Follow the link to read about this issue's back-up feature, "Whatever Happened To Johnny Thunder?"

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