Friday, June 14, 2013

DC '78 # 16: "The Teen Scene;" A WGBS Special Report with G. Gordon Godfrey


The click-clack of high heels fills the hallway of  the WGBS studios
like a rapid-fire machine gun. Secretaries and post-production and
tech and on-air personalities are clamoring about as tension mounts
and the air is palpable with anticipation.

Cindy Miles: So what's going on tonight? I heard programming got
scrapped for some special live report?
Ron Troupe: Oh, it's special all right.
Lana Lang: Uh-oh.
Lucy Lane: Yeah, 'uh-oh.' Let's just say that there's a new Unholy Trinity.
Ron Troupe: Did something happen with Luthor?
Billy Batson: Close enough; three words; Edge, Godfrey, Flashman.
Cindy Miles: Good God! What the hell are they planning?

(Lia Briggs overhears the conversation from an open office. She
thinks to herself, "I wonder what Godfrey's up to? We knew he
wasn't right when he attempted to infiltrate the Seekers...but his
psychic defenses were such that we couldn't read him. I'd better
keep an eye on this broadcast and suss things out.")

Jimmy Olsen: Hey, somebody get downstairs--'The Network' is
attacking MSCU on the Plaza! We need--uh, hey? Anybody?
Steve Lombard: Quiet--we need to hear this! Can somebody turn it--
Lana Lang: Thanks Ron.

The now-gathered throng listens attentively to the overhead speakers
in the hallway; "--and actor George Reeves talks the new Superman
movie, all on tomorrow's episode of "The Scene!" Join Lia Briggs,
Tana Moon, Tawny Young, Cat Grant, and Vicki Vale! Tomorrow
morning at 10 a.m., here on WGBS!"

"And now, tonight's SHOWCASE is brought to you with special
limited commercial interruption by our sponsor, Big Belly Burger."

(Just then in Studio One)
Josh Coyle: And we're live in 5...4...3...2...
G. Gordon Godfrey: Good evening ladies and gentlemen, and
welcome to "Showcase," where we bring you all the latest and
greatest trends and news of the day. Tonight, our news magazine
takes a bit of a departure. So much so, in fact, that we are airing
this special in place of our original programming planned for
tonight. But rest assured, we'll have that report on "Modern Cults:
From Jonestown to Manson to the Kali Yuga, and Beyond" at  a
later date.

Tonight, though, join with me, your host G. Gordon Godfrey, as
we look deep into an overlooked abuse upon our most important
resources; our children.

Opening up the show for us is psychotherapist Dr. Hugo Strange.
Thank you for joining us, Dr. Strange.

Dr. Strange: Of course, Mr. Godfrey--my pleasure.
Godfrey: We have an unprecedented rash of young people being
thrust into the danger of vigilantism, which has been all but ignored
in view of the earth-shattering repercussions of last year's Explosion.
Have we become inured with their endangerment by virtue of our
familiarity with the concept? Is it apathy? Have we become so de-
sensitized to such endangerment? Are we afraid of confronting the
guilty parties due to their status and powers?

Just last year there was a very public reveal that the former ward
of Green Arrow, one 'Speedy' of the Teen Titans, had been hooked
on drugs. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, hard drugs. A teenager in the
care of a 'super hero.' Surely the exposure to such a lifestyle served
to accelerate his downfall.

And now, we've learned that the newest team in New York, an
'offshoot' of the Teen Titans franchise, if you will, has as its leader
a young man called 'Protector,' who is also a dope fiend associate
of 'Speedy.' It seems they're infiltrating every area of our lives!

Also joining us are 'Funky Flashman,' self-styled businessman, former
publicist of certain 'super-heroes,' and Morgan Edge, owner of WGBS
as well as noted community activist leader, and frequent contributor
on our station's editorials. Good evening, gentlemen!

Edge: Thanks for doing such an important program, Godfrey. Yours is
always the voice of reason against a tide of insanity.

Flashman: GREAT topic, folks--GREAT! There's never been a more
stupendously significant strategy for undermining the youth of America
than the one undertaken by these stunningly strange super-folk! As a
selfless soul, I want--

Godfrey: Yes, well--time limits and the like...Let's get to some specifics
of this recent proliferation of powerful youth donning masks and claiming
independence from the law, shall we?

Edge: Well, in
Los Angeles, a team of youths attempting to begin a color-ful 'legacy' of second generation heroes, is off to an uproarious start.
The offspring of the vaunted 'Justice Society,' the group "Infinity
Inc." is an actual business! They require profit to save lives. And they're
being funded by the questionable Mr. Sylvester Pembleton. And among
the team members, the wayward son of Hawkman, the "Silver Scarab"....
or whatever nom de guerre he goes by this week.

Dr. Strange: And again with nepotism; the son of the career criminal
Brainwave, one Brainwave Jr--who is also the uncle of Pembleton--is
on the team, wearing a costume that pays homage to his murdering father,
and taking the name "Brainwave Jr."

Godfrey: Possibly affecting our minds to believe he's a hero, correct?

Flashman: I wouldn't put anything past these con-artists, my good man!Last year Green Lantern, Green Arrow and Black Canary were only
too happy to be seen training the inanely incompetent newcomer 'Air Wave,'
and made it all out to be a bodaciously beneficial boot camp, when in fact
it was an eventfully error-filled escapade!

Godfrey: At least he had powers as a defense--unlike the Justice League's
mascot, Snapper Carr...who's now gone on to herald a new group made up
exclusively of teenagers, this 'Young Justice.'

Just the presumptuousness of their names is galling. Are they deputized
law enforcement officers of any sort? Don't they tend to make their rules
up as they go along? Based on whims and personal agendas.

Edge: Exactly...and how many international incidents have been
attributed to the U.N.-sanctioned idiocy of "Justice League International,'
a ludicrous club-of-many-nations for teenagers? Not surprising for our
leaders to fail us.

What is behind the fascination with allowing--even coercing--teens and young children to dress up and play vigilante? How does this
occur in modern civilized countries where the authorities are meant
to look out for the interests of all their citizens.

Godfrey: Hear, hear! And let's be clear, there are unwarranted risks
on both sides; both the children led into this unsavory life, and the
innocents they presume to be 'helping'....who suffer the consequences
of the untrained.

Dr. Strange: Right...well, as you may know, before my tenure with
Belle Reve Prison, I was from and practicing in Gotham City, of
course renowned for the infamous team of Batman and Robin. There
has never been an effort to find out the identity of the young man in
his employ...believed to now have been multiple young men...nothing
has ever come from a handful of editorials questioning the wisdom or
legality of the practice of employing obvious juveniles.

There have been no efforts by authorities to detain the Batman or
file charges of child endangerment. Where does it stop? Why hasn't
the Batman--obviously a real person and not the myth that the police
absurdly promote--why hasn't he been arrested for child endangerment?
Who has verified that the young man in the green underwear is not there
against his will, nor being abused?

Godfrey: They seem to have a special status--above the law--don't you agree?

Flashman: Oh, absolutely! And certainly they exhibit a proprietary
sense of privilege as a result of such preferential treatment and prosperity.
And the Flashman knows a little something about public perception! As
the premiere PR and promotions powerhouse on both coasts, I--

Edge: What about the reality of the repercussions of mere kids being
in such highly volatile and violent situations? Let's look at the hard
facts of what happens when they can't perform...when they fail these
responsibilities they should have never been saddled with; You'll recall
the death of Dr. Arthur Swenson due to the fact that he had been
placed in the care of mere children! And their penance?

Dr. Strange: They stopped wearing their colorful party outfits for a time.
But now here they are, bright as peacocks, parading around with a night
club, and three different additional teams! Loren Jupiter was a sound
influence, but he's no longer part of the picture. More rebelliousness
and unsupervised hijinks.

Flashman: There's another new congregation of teenagers that's emerged,  without the permission of the Teen Titans, whose name they procured as
their own. (Pssst--'Infringement' is a bad racket, kids!)--"Teen Titans GO!"
is promoting itself as a more proactive group, in direct defiance of even their
'predecessors' low standards of conduct.

Godfrey: You'll remember the youth riots from some years back in New
York City? The Teen Titans were involved in that affair, and the two 
brothers who escalated it are now in this new team, likely examples of a
new wave of radicalism as it has been rumored that the two are Blacks.
The heart of deception; wearing a mask and declaring yourself a hero in
order to hide your agenda.

Alongside them is the sister of another former gang member cum
'super hero,' Mal Duncan. Cindy Duncan publicly revealed her true
identity as the new 'Guradian' in her manifesto she and her 'comrades'
released, and made her family a target for any ne'er-do-wells that might
want revenge.

Edge: They also sport two brothers whose legal status in the States
is under investigation. And now joined by the mystery man, 'Red X,'
whose identity is not at all known.

Dr. Strange: Don't they also have a former powered criminal--'The
Ant?' And suspected arsonist, 'Hotspot?'

Godfrey: Oh, absolutely! And--and--that same suspect had a prior
'heroic' identity! God only knows why he changed identities. What's
he hiding?

Up until now, we were content to allow our children to be children,
being nurtured with homespun shows with family values. But now,
there is an effort...a seduction of our innocent afoot. There are forces
who would have us believe there is no correlation between this sweeping
hysteria of 'relevancy' and exposure to all the ills of the world...and our
children mimicking those evils here at home.

If you look around, you'll see folks acting as though we're the bad guys here; crying 'Chicken Little' if you will, instead of simply being the
concerned citizens we are. That such ills have been around forever and
only now are being noticed and addressed as our world has become so
much more 'linked in.' Poppycock I say. Convenient justifications and
balderdash.

There wasn't the amount of experimentation and addiction to drugs before this generation started sharing their stories in the press and
glamorizing it! And look at our movies, taking minor incidents and
isolated affairs such as human trafficking and prostitution and building
a huge industry selling these notions to kids as par for the course. Even
in its degradation, such supposedly 'harsh relaities' are appealing to our
vulnerable youth who merely want a life of excitement!

Teenagers feel empowered to take on all matter of Unholy Grails, such
as the report last year of a young girl who sped off alone adventuring
on a motorbike to confront unknown evils! Or the young man, Jason, who
similarly sought to take the law into his own hands on a quest to find
his sister! This is what we have social services agencies for! We have
a net in place to protect these children, and the very 'heroes' they imagine
teach them strength are in fact encouraging these impressionable
youth to place themselves directly at the Devil's Door!

Well, in addition to the immediate and obvious threat of danger
prescribed by these vigilante tactics, there's a long term issue at work
as well. The character and work ethic of this generation of kids is
affected by these antics. It's all inter-related, folks.

Come back in five as we continue to explore the issues affecting
our youth, right after this message from Big Belly Burger....

********************************************************

Saturday, May 25, 2013

DC '78 # 15: Deconstructed Cosmos--The Book of Judgment


My life was not horrible, not by any means, comparatively speaking.
Yet, there was much amiss, if only in my own head. I was dissatisfied,
and my only refuge seemed to be nonexistent realms--places I could
either reimagine as I pleased, or recall from my childhood memories.
There's a certain solace to revisiting an unsoiled place, safely preserved
from the changes and evils of the real world.

I never saw the harm in escapism; after all, everyone has their crutches.
I wasn't drinking and endangering others. I wasn't fanatically pushing
some concept of religion. I wasn't raging and intimidating my neighbors
or co-workers to feel superior. I just wanted some downtime with simple,
good old-fashioned release.

But, over time, the real world started creeping into my fictions. The dark
taints, the affects and characteristics. The place that was known for its
consistency became a place of turmoil and unrest--no longer where I
remembered. No longer the place I knew. No longer a place I wanted to be.

So I went on for several years, merely dissatisfied with my lot, my life,
the unfairness of the world, and resigned to not have any pass times
that provided a joyful escape.

So when I found The Book.....well, my heart stopped. And then it began
again with a song, and a renewed energy like I had never known. I felt
better than I knew possible! How can you know how badly off you've been
until you experience something tremendous that lifts you up and shows
you heights undreamed of?


I knew. I just--I don't know--instinctively ? Somehow. But I knew.
Deep in my gut. Like a spiritual revelation had tacitly revealed itself.
I, Walt Burns, had discovered a treasure reserved for no on else on
earth. I had been fortunate...blessed...maybe, I don't....however it
happened, I was special. That in itself was a magic feeling all its own.

And maybe that's why I did nothing at first. That hope was so fresh
and all-consuming....like the idea that you have the winning lottery
ticket before you check the numbers. Or how the 'Honeymoon Period'
in a relationship feels, before reality and repetition start to intrude.

I knew what I had, but I was afraid that if I tested it, I would be sorely
disappointed. (I guess once you get an idea in your mind of how life is
'supposed to go' you have trouble kicking it.)

But eventually I pushed myself. Or, more accurately, my desire to please
my daughter pushed me. She had been doing somewhat poorly since her
mother and I separated, and I wanted to do something for her. Something
special. Something no one else would be able to do. After all, I was in part
responsible for her heartache, so who else could heal it?

So I took the book out of the safe I had bought, unwrapped it, and I
placed it on my kitchen table, still laden with jam and crumbs from
that morning's breakfast. My mind was singular in its pursuit, and I
could see nothing around me, nor anything to come.

 
I wrote of a wish for my daughter-- a world of fantasy, surrounded by
all the wondrous animals I had introduced her to with 'Tiny Titans'
and the Krypto cartoon, and the Amethyst comics she had requested
after she saw  the DC Nation short. I wrote as truth in the book, on
those crackly pages, that she had a world where she was a princess
and was caring for all the animals come together.
I wrote oh-so descriptively of the winged horses from mythology
and different corners of the comic book universe, and of Streaky
and Beppo and flying dogs. I wrote of a safe and favored place
from my childhood memories; the Kent Farm in Smallville, where
love was enough to handle any super-situation.

And as I set, milling over the passages, pages long, that I had written,
in a fan-boy effort of absurdity to try and bring a special world to my
only daughter--then it happened. The phone rang, tearing me from
my writing--now a dozen pages long--even as my eyes lingered at the
shimmering page.

My wife was hysterical. Dana had disappeared from in front of her.
She couldn't make any sense of it. Her words were barely discernible
as she shrieked and pleaded and cursed me for messing with her mind.
She was clueless and scared as a result of the mystery, but I was
attuned and so thus even more terrified.

I had not been clear enough. Instead of bringing my daughter's dream
to her, I inserted her life into the dream. Or, the reality from which
we are dreamed. Who can say? I don't know anymore. I don't know
the depths of how much I don't know. I am awash with ignorance.

For a writer, letting my mind race freely was always my best trait.
Asking questions is what we do. Now, suddenly, the premise of
"Just Imagine" had become a deadly proposition.

Following my panic and fear, I wrote endlessly about my daughter's
return. In my arms, safe, unaffected. I wrote of seeing her where she
was to know if she were safe or not. I wrote of everything conceivable
until my hand cramped and blistered and bled. Finally I knew..there
was no undoing what was created with the pen and page. It left a
change that once transacted, could not be undone.

So I did the one thing I knew to do. Only once again, I was foolish
and short-sighted. I wrote for 'realities' to be aligned so that I could
join my daughter. My fate and presence changed, not hers. Smart on
my behalf, right? Shakespeare was right about man's arrogance and folly.

In my haste, I was not specific enough. "Be careful what you wish for"
should be extended to "what you think upon," "what you write of,"
"what you surround yourself with," "what you speak of," etc. It all
comes back on you in the end.

My body buzzed and vibrated as I felt...the world ?--more than
just my world--shimmer and shake and convulse. After what seemed
a lengthy roller coaster ride within my own body, I had my vision
clear to reveal myself still in my house. But I could tell--just like I
knew with the book--that there was more than seemed to be. Would
this physical premonition be less disastrous than the last?

I went to the window, and there was a new sight through those
old frames. I saw new houses lining the street. Fields. Tractors
driving down the street. Could it have possibly worked?
I ran outside to take in what had happened. I was running, not
aware of it, still tingling and dizzy and pained, but not aware of it.
My mind was overtaken with finding Dana. I felt like a beacon
was pulling me to her. Parents can have that--no matter what the
skeptics say. That connection that can alert us, if we're attuned.

I saw a large grouping of animals ahead of me, gathered under a
tree by a barn, or a farmhouse...who the hell knew the difference.
I was from St. Paul, for crying out loud. Although apparently, almost
coinciding with leaping over Toto (who evidently is always underfoot,)
I didn't think I was in St.Paul anymore.


My memory banks were flooded with recall as I strode past the
menagerie; my subconscious filing away information even as I strode
on to my daughter--a writer's mind always on three things at once.
A talking raven...likely Matthew? Winged horses....Amethyst's
steed...A flying monkey? Damn--it's Buffkin! The Fables are here, too.

Finally I saw her--the most magical thing of all; my baby, feeding
Super-Turtle and petting Ace.

I cried, I laughed....I probably bruised her ribs squeezing her.
She seemed completely unfazed except for wondering why
her dad had lost it.

We contacted her mother through the police in Seattle; her phone
number didn't survive the jump. Even still, it took days to get in
touch--there was so much turmoil and conflict as a result of the
merge. It took a good deal of time to work through it all.

What I have discerned is this; my writing seems to have merged
not only my world and the one where I sent my daughter; it merged
all realities. There was far more going on in those moments (for me
at least) where I was vibrating and realigning 'here' on what I would
assume was originally Earth One. The merge was not an easy one.

Much was lost. Many were erased...although they won't be forgotten.
Transition isn't easy, even in a --well, what do I call this place?
It certainly isn't fictional--I'm here, living, breathing, pumping blood.
Along with what I had always known to be--even in my deepest
moments of escapism--to be comic book characters, cartoon
characters...creations of the mind and pen.

But they are real. Beautiful. Alive. Surrounding me. I think perhaps
my writing was somehow subconsciously influenced--that the magic
(or whatever you call it) itself was led by my inner vision. This blending
of the best of all worlds...and certainly us being brought 'back in time'
to 1978. It's a strange feeling...that I may run into 'another' me who's
younger. What a trip.

The book's magic can't be undone. My carelessness dissolved so many
worlds before this one was settled. I have hidden the book so no further
harm can be caused. It had proven impervious to all methods of destruction
I attempted.

Here, in this world I have created, however inadvertently, my peace
remains intact. Heroes are not killers, and even villains are mostly
sporting and crooked, not sociopathic. Here, Barbara Gordon has
not been assaulted, nor will she be. The Metal Men are fun robots.
Sue Dibny is fun-loving and alive. There is no undue darkness and
misery here.

Of course, maybe it is all fantasy. Maybe I'm nuts. Perhaps right now
I'm locked in a padded room or sitting drooped over the side of a chair
drugged into oblivion. Maybe all of this is a desperate release from a
reality I can no longer handle.

Maybe I'm not at all compassionate or kindly. I could be the biggest
sociopath in the world--imagining myself capable of making such grand,
sweeping changes. That I have the right to make such intensive and
destructive choices about these people's lives...what kind of ego does
that depict?
They say there are  more stories in one event than can be told.
Not only what happened, what the viewer thinks happened, and
what the reader thinks happened, but every variation thereof.

I live in Smallville now...a sleepy small town where an inviting and
quaint billboard welcomes people to the childhood home of
Superboy. But greatness isn't relegated to the past, stale memories
of simpler times.

This town is now home to another young Superboy--a young man from
a place called Earth Prime--once again providing refuge and solace
to a lost youth. He who lost everything due to my efforts receives the
proper love and guidance that will keep him in a good place. He is part of
a family here...a community...he has a home. He's growing strong again,
not merely relegated to being 'another lost soul, another tragedy.' A little
nurturing and positivity goes a long way. Funny--that's all most of us need.

As I've gotten older, that's what I see. Most of us just need a place to
belong-- someone to take us in and make us feel important. Nobody
wants their life, their hard work, tossed aside and forgotten.

The animals love it here. Plenty of camaraderie and companionship.
Even the anthropomorphic (did I spell that right?) fellas like Peter
Porkchop and Fox and Crow fit in well on these huge farms. What's
the difference between one talking animal and the next, right? The
Super Pets, the Zoo Crew, the Fables....it's nice to have some peace
and calm after everything that's happened.

Riverdale, a new post-Crisis neighbor, is only a stone's throw away, and
they seem to be adjusting well, too. A good fit, really.

Life is good. There's so much possibility here. And everyone here
is fortunate. No longer tossed aside...no longer the victims of arbitrary
whims and edicts. From here on, life is what we make of it.

********************************************************

Friday, May 17, 2013

DC '78 # 14:Teen Titans: Robin's Casebook (The Journal of Dick Grayson)



November 3, 1979

Normally I'm so tightly wound, but I do like to see the other side
on occasion. Mal's been excellent at booking diversified acts for
Gabriel's Horn, everyone from 'Scare Tactics' to 'The Electrics,
'The Familiars' to a 'Hawk & Dove' band! (Of course, our band,
'Rock, Paper, Scissors' gives it a go onstage once in a while, but
people aren't paying to hear me, Wally, and Roy play!)

But the real experience is when Duela drags me to CBGB's, or Lilith
takes me back to our old coffee shop for some spoken word or women's
rights music, or Karen and Mal bring me to Bradley's for some jazz!
That's what I like best--seeing new things through the eyes of my friends.

Because really, I don't sport taste of my own. My childhood was spent...
in other pursuits. Harsher environs. Bruce was great, but my education
was very one-dimensional. To be expected; you can't teach what you
didn't learn. The Teen Titans has served as the only place I've ever
developed as a real person--my only social outlet. The responsibility of
what I do weighs too heavily on me the rest of the time (and, according to
the others, even when I'm here.) 
Donna's friend from The Village, Bill Walko,
did up this cheesy drawing for our Christmas card this year.
I kind of love it.
Here, though...with my friends...my family...I'm safe to experience,
even experiment, with who and what I want to be. They broaden my
horizons, even if it doesn't seem like it. I suppose people see me as this
'together' guy--which I am--because I have to be. But under that surface
is an insecure kid....with issues like everyone else. Only I don't have the
luxury of tapping into them and exploring them. I have to be buttoned down,

the strong and professional one, or someone could get hurt.

Donna's the team's heart--The Mom. But there has to be The Dad, too.
Warm fuzzies won't save us from a death trap--someone has to deal
with the unpopular necessaries. I kind of hate being so rigid...but how
do you change midstream?

Barbara's good for me in terms of finding release--fun, outgoing, relaxed.
But I feel somehow like I need someone to completely pull me out of my
shell, or it'll never happen. Weird that I'm all about control but I want
someone else to be in control when it comes to something so...intimate.

I wish I could talk to someone about all of this sometimes, but after
Arkham, Hugo Strange, Professor Milo and all the rest we've dealt
with over the years, Bruce says it's too risky. Tells me I can always
turn to him or Alfred. He means well, but he doesn't understand--he
keeps everything inside and thinks it best.

Last year when the Titans and Infinity Inc. teamed with the Justice
League and The Justice Society, it was so cool to see the Earth 2
Robin in action. He's so filled out...confident, a real adult with a
uniform of his own. An individual.

His costume pays homage to his Bruce , but merged with his own
creation....still standing out on its own. It made me think it might be
time for a change. After all, I've been wearing this kid's outfit, the
outfit of a sidekick for over a decade now. I'm nearly out of college,
and I'm still wearing shorts. maybe the only male hero left who does.

Something to consider.

Speaking of change, the Teen Titans has taken on a life of its own!
Who would have thought that our little club for 'side kicks' would
evolve into something so substantial. Not only is our team at the
largest it's ever been, we have a West Coast affiliate team thriving
and now we're beginning another fully sanctioned team for training
new heroes, right here in New York City!

But with all good comes bad, like Cindy Duncan and the others
starting up a renegade Titans group; Teen Titans G.O.--an acronym
for Government Overthrow, of all things. I'm all for independence, but
these kids are asking for trouble. Not to mention, I don't want the good
work the Titans have done in recent years to be undone by bad publicity.
We barely survived the Swenson debacle.

These kids aren't ready; untrained, angry, rebellious. A bad combination.
They need our help, and they're sure not ready to do what they're doing.
Or is this just me acting as the world's policeman like Don Hall accused
me of? Maybe this is exactly how Bruce felt when we formed the Titans?

G. Gordon, spokesperson for 'The Revisionists.'
"Taking back America," indeed!
Nonetheless, sometimes I hear people like these Revisionists-- people
like Godfrey who want to change everything, control it--and I wonder.
I know they're bat-shit crazy (ha!) but beyond being dangerous loons who
want to sanitize everything and everyone to their specifications, part of
their message about unprepared teen heroes is on the money. There
needs to be some kind of regulation. Yet I know that's a slippery slope.

Of course, I want the kids trained for safety, and these agenda-touting
Revisionist bigots are worried about ex-cons like The Ant, immigrants
like Mas y Menos, black kids like Joshua, Jericho and Cindy (not to
mention her being a woman, I'm sure,) and Hot Spot who's an absolute
unknown quantity...except that he's a former H.I.V.E. Academy trainee!

(I wonder if they're just trying to stir things up--maybe they want the
attention? They could all have a place in the Titans...but I guess we--
I-- didn't offer it soon enough.)

I'm worried about stuff like the fact that the last time we saw The Ant,
he had been brainwashed by The H.I.V.E., and Cindy and Jericho are
mad because they feel neglected by the Titans. Not exactly instilling
my confidence in their effort.

Enough of the doom and gloom--on to more positive stuff. We put
out a feeler to Supergirl for membership, but she's laid down roots
with the Doom Patrol in Chicago. I appreciate loyalty, and we have
enough raw power on the team. Besides, she knows she's always
welcome.

All right...all that's out of the way...I guess I'm 'well' now!
On to the actual Case File.


Teen Titans Case Files # 69J
Mr. Jupiter and King Faraday got us on the horn to help with cleanup
after the Crisis. One of our tasks was to investigate the Time Warp in
Panama. Teen Titans East and West got yanked into a time displaced
doozy, and only the team-up for the ages could save them! (Man--I see
what Bruce means! All those years of puns have gotten to even me!)

So we saw 'cavemen' and other throwbacks from all ages...coexisting
in one place. Strangely enough, there were some dinosaurs and other
creatures there which shouldn't have been, but I guess that's no worse
than a mixing of Paleolithic Era beings and cavemen (homo sapiens)
and Neanderthals, as well as mixes of African, Spanish, and--see? The
rest of the gang was just like "Cool! Cavemen!" while I was stuck on
the endless record groove of "Time anomalies...yeesh!"

It was pretty radical, though; we met all these different kids....some
of whom had a sort of sign language, others who could grunt and emote
enough to discern meaning, and others who used sand drawings and
wall paintings to communicate. (And then we just kind of had Lilith
do her 'attunement' thing to help figure out the rest, with some help
from our resident caveboy.) But basically beating the snot out of
King Kull was a pretty obvious objective for everyone.

Still, meeting (hopefully these translated sufficiently) Anthro, Korak,
Bomba, Kong, Ur, and Mightor was a blast, and having them team-up
with Gnarrk was great for him. We all try, but he's so lonely here.

We took Kull's gem, left the Warp Zone, got decontaminated again,
and filed our report with CBI. Then we headed back for pizza at the
club before going our separate ways.

Sometimes this life I live is such a blast....I wish things could stay this
way forever. But the realist in me knows that's too much to hope for.
Just have to make do with enjoying the hell out of things while they're
so good.

Time for a quick workout before hitting the books and then heading
out on patrol. So, incenerator time for my short-lived journal entry
tonight. Sorry, my friend. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

DC '78 # 13: The Future Foreseen--THE GREAT DISASTER

To the immediate attention of Director Bones:
Re: Coverts Ops 78ASeek
Field Update
September 21, 1978

***

The formation and maintenance of the group known loosely
as "The Seekers" (sometimes "Persuasion") has not been
arbitrary in the least. These Oracles, these Lookers are gifted with
insights and abilities to read the minds and desires of other people.

Some are now also seemingly cursed with foresight of impending
events. These visions and premonitions began in earnest after the Crisis.

Each member of the group came together, as 'foretold,' to attempt
thwarting the Great Disaster that each envisioned. The one common
factor--despite their precognitive insights showcasing different
locations--was that the Disaster was likely super-human in origin.

As reported by the The Bleed Council of Lost Worlds, there were stories and
rumors from seers and time-travelers of some form of 'End Times'
on each planet Earth out there. All of these 'Elseworlds' share too
many commonalities and consistencies to ignore this fate as improbable.

To think we don't share a connection merely because of superficial
differences of evolution would be ludicrous. I think of it in this way;
there are only 3 basic colors, but look at the world of difference
in what we do with them! This game is the business of possibilities
and prevention, as well as policing.

(It is known that prior to "The Great Disaster" there was a swell
of super-human activity which probably culminated in a power
struggle that precipitated or directly caused the end of civilization.)
(Refer to Agent Raynor's illustrations for facsimiles of the described earths.)
This massive loss of life as a believed result of super-human action
is what led the group to take it upon themselves to monitor
the 'super hero' groups of the mid-to-late twentieth century,
infiltrating and spying on them from within.

The veracity of their claims and powers are impossible
to determine, but so long as they are operating and there is
a chance they truly hold precognitive abilities, we will monitor
their activities. If their claims pan out, it's in our interest
to be prepared. There may be greater applications as well.

These are summaries of the visions that the fourteen members saw.
Madame Xanadu herself was given a view
of an all-out war between heroes, ending in devastating nuclear
destruction. Lilith Clay saw a future where only a boy survived the
end of civilization, surrounded by beasts and constructs.


Always centering around a devastated climate and geography,
typically with only a smattering of survivors from unlikely
divergent groups, these visions foretold a dark future wherein
no significant remnants of civilization could be found.

Maria De Guzman is a second-generation meta human, daughter
of former hero 'The Jaguar' and his wife, Lydia Fellin, a former
criminal. It's believed she derived her psychic skills from her
mother's side, but she has only had some disturbing dreams
of late regarding an aged Batman presiding over a young
techno-Batman, but seeing as how she's untested and new to
these things, it could be a case of late night pizza for all we know. 
Perhaps more detail will develop in time.

Purportedly, the organization's goal mirrors our own;
to keep superhumans (or meta-human as the agency now
refers to them) observed and answerable to someone at all times.
However, as we knew, they are unregulated and unproven,
thereby likely as dangerous as the people they're monitoring.
Lia Briggs saw a variant of the ruined future, this time with a man
and mutates. Few other humans remain here, save as slaves.

There are such similarities to these constructs, we speculate
they are imagined interpretations of the same world through
different eyes, or if perhaps the erased earths' divergent futures
were absorbed into this one new reality, pulling at the minds of
psychics and precognitives. (See Professor Palmer's attached
report regarding his conclusions re: realigned energies.)

Lucian Crawley believes these are all segments of the same
earth having befallen the same horrors, yet each region developing
its own unique identity. His view was of  advanced AI or robots of
some sort--electrical warriors. And still there was darkness and strife.
In most cases, the subjects of these clairvoyant episodes
did not experience precognition prior to the Crisis.  It would seem
likely that the advent of such abilities is likely to have occurred
in such individuals as these, who were already possessed of telepathy,
telekinetics, and related skills, but the exact trigger is unknown.

M'gann M'orzz  has a vision of the despot Darkseid having overrun
the planet, destroying most and keeping the remaining
people alive as mental slaves and target practice. There's
also something to do with a Philosopher's Stone, so that one
may bear careful watching. Talk about a double dose of terror.

A red-headed young woman (that seems a common theme) whose
name we haven't discerned was assigned to keep watch over
Superman and Batman. She tells of a future where a single hero
is corrupted and betrays the rest, leading to true Armageddon.
A time-displaced western warrior fights with future
technology in a mad world struggling to rebuild post-disaster,
as related by William Dawson.

On a sidenote, there are others who seem to have
particular insights as to future events, many of whom are
rumored to be part of a 'Skull & Crossbones' type underground
organization known as The Light. All accounts have chalked
such individuals, like Loren Jupitor, John Constantine, Harry Chawney,
Steve Dayton, and Max Lord--all of whom were already on our
radar, incidentally--as being mere futurist individuals...
shrewd businessmen and progressive by all reports.
A band of family and friends become rebels against
throngs of tyrannical guards and other threats in a post-nuclear
landscape, as seen by 'Fiona Webb.'

A version of 'Hercules, the demigod, was witnessed by Leah
Wasserman surviving a nuclear holocaust and fighting to keep men free
in yet another vision.

Seeing as how we have approximately 9 different documented
Hercules/Herakles running about, there's no telling if this is one of
the current guys or someone new ...if he's the 'actual' Hercules at all.
Another nuclear wasteland, tyrants and mutates rule and only
a small band of adventurers stand against them with but crude artifacts
 and weapons; this is the sight of Kari Limbo.
A collapsed society where mutated rats have overcome the world,
albeit it in a benevolent capacity, as man in fact devolves, was the
experience of one Henry King, Jr.

Headquarters for the group continues to be a secret embedded
section within "Lookout Mountain," Georgia, from which they
fancy themselves witnesses to the world below. The funding for
the lair as well as technologies seem to come from one Ruby Ryder
(yes, of 'richest woman in the world' and Ruby Ryder Enterprises'
fame) although her agenda has not yet been made clear. She has
not made an appearance at the gatherings.

Investigation has proved difficult due to the nomadic existence
of most 'members.' In fact, the group is really in name only; after
having established themselves as a dedicated front, there hasn't
 been much in the way of interaction (occasional, but not significant.)

Reports are filed electronically, and since the plants are embedded,
there is minimal contact. A few members sleep at the facility, but
socialization and communications are minimal.
Adrianna Tereshkova tells of a future where the offspring
of a Teen Titan has become a crazed warlord and created
a militaristic rule. Entire teams of 'Titans' are running amok.

The Warp Zones may offer insights, if one of them is perhaps
comprised of a time in the future either before or significantly
after these events. However, the results from those preliminary
expeditions have been slow to process, and other agencies aren't
exactly bending over backwards to disseminate the intelligence
reports. I would recommend sending Blue Trinity, Black Orchid,
or shape-shifters in--someone with knowledge of covert ops that
can gain Intel without upsetting the balance inside the Zones.

We know there are more variables than 14, so if they are
 all being foreseen, we can assume there are that many other
psychics, etc with mental abilities and enhancements out there
who haven't come forward. Agent     is checking up on the current
status of known telepaths. Some known contacts of Xanadu who
are not believed to be associates are a 'Charity' in Opal City, Rose
Psychic (CWU,) Brainstorm (incarcerated Mt. Olympus,) and Lady Zand.

Given that some will be looking to get their own piece of the pie
based on any insights garnered from future-insights, so also gathering up time travellers and sequestering them seems valid.
There has been enough trouble from these escalating 'Legends of the
Dead Earth.' Further precautions are advised.

Would also like someone (Agent Prince?) to check with
'Harbinger/Lyta' who was the accomplice of the guy who was monitoring
everyone. He seemed to 'know stuff' as it were; what happened
to him in the end? Could that explosion have been a
means of passing on his energies and powers to others?

We still know so little about 'The Explosion.' I still think
she knows more than she lets on, but I'd like to send a crew
out to Paradise Island to verify. As yet, visions have not been clear
enough to determine if these are different parts of the same future
on earth, or if each is a different possible outcome.


However, the relentlessness of the visions and the whelmingly
negative view gave pause to the various pre-cogs and psychics
who suffered them, bringing them together to find a solution.

We thought Crisis was the big hit, but since it was a bullet
dodged, the 'Evil Forces' lot seem to have amped up their game.

Just as the 'Seekers' have infiltrated various super-hero groups
and individuals' lives, so too do we have an undercover agent
in their team's midst (pursuant to Executive Order 15323.)
We will continue to monitor their dealings and investigate
whether or not their claims have any basis.

Sincerely,
Agent Cameron Chase
DEO Investigator, Badge 4321

cc: Sergeant Steel, Checkmate Division
King Faraday, CBI
Amanda Waller, Task Force X

see also attached files:
* The History of the Seekers
*Individual Profiles for Looker, Mindgrabber Kid,
Miss Martian, and Brainwave, Jr.
* Professors Runk and Palmer's Report on
Energy Displacement and Conversion
* Time Anomaly Construct Studies by Professor E.N. Bridwell
* T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agent Menthor's assessment
of his own newly developed visions


***

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

DC '78 # 12: The Soldiers of Star City

by Yolanda Montez,
on assignment for Rolling Stone
The new park, created with architectural assists from John Stewart
and long hours from city planners and an extensive construction crew.
As part of the millions spent on gentrification and development
during Star City's tourist hey-day in the earlier part of this decade,
expressionist artists Christo and Jean-Claude were contracted to
create one of their controversial and stimulating designs.

The effect, which entailed the bulldozing and demolition of
several miles of Star City's inner city streets to make way
for an over-the-top lush park in the middle of the city,
drew extreme criticism from all quarters.

  Yet, in a time when drug proliferation and violence
had brought the burg into the "Top Ten Worst Cities in
North America,"* people were desperate for some sort
of marked impact signalling change. Unfortunately, things
have come full circle, and Star is once more in the grip of despair.

.
But all hope is not lost in this fabled city, with its rich
history and once-lucrative port of call. The rebellious
archer known as Green Arrow, a street-level fighter
with a checkered past (mostly for his outspoken politics and
quick temper) has left his prestigious post within the
Justice League of America to devote himself to taking
back the streets of his city.

To that end, the former billionaire has enlisted help from
his immediate 'Green Arrow Family' as well as outside
connections to help win the battle over the soul of his
hometown. And it has decidedly become an all-out war. 


Green Arrow (who last year publicly revealed his true identity
to the world when he commenced his bid for mayor) is ably
aided by his second-in-command, his son Connor Hawke,
whom Queen only recently discovered. (Details of the union that
produced Connor as well as his whereabouts have understandably
been kept hidden, however. Neither Queen nor Hawke was
forthcoming for this interview.)

The group has engaged in some controversial tactics; they are
renegades operating outside the law, but with open consent of
 law-makers and denizens of the beleaguered city. Vigilantism
seems not as frowned upon when it involves members
of the masked hero and spandex variety. (Editor's
 note; It should be noted in the interest of fairness that Miss
Montez is the goddaughter of the Earth-2 Wildcat, Ted Grant.
She is also an Earth-2 transplant herself.)


Keeping to the shadows and blending in is a big part of what
the Arrow does in his mission to fight blue collar crime in his alter ego,
getting into the places that Mayor Queen (following his successful
campaign last November) is unable to reach in his war on the
corporate demons that seek to capitalize of Star's misfortune.

This goes a long way to explaining his choices for operatives in
protecting the city. Many have questioned why he didn't bring
in big guns like the Justice League to assist him in securing the citizens,
to which he scoffed rather angrily before laughing out loud.

"Those guys are the opposite of invisible.
People don't trust them; they're bigger than life, and regular Joes
can't relate. The only way to get anywhere doing undercover work
is to fade into the woodwork." Queen advised me.

I asked the same of Roy Harper. Not the Roy Harper who grew up
here as Arrow's protegee; he's serving in the Teen Titans in New
York. This is an older, darker Roy who now goes by Red Arrow,
and came to us from one of the merged earths destroyed in the
Crisis. This Roy says with a sorrowful forlornness that "..the battle
we're waging here isn't for soft sorts. It's bloody. It's complex.
The fight isn't fair, the stakes are high, and a traditional 'hero' who
thinks goodness and light will win the day isn't going to work."

When questioned if this meant that these soldiers they have gathered
were picked because of their willingness to break or bend the law,
Roy merely stared blankly and added; "We do what we have to
do to survive. High morals are not a luxury we can afford now."

There are plenty of other things the city and its administration
can't afford, as well, thanks to the high level of corruption, graft, and
misuse of funds under former mayor, Thomas Bolt.**  Bolt's
excesses and theft left the city devastated from within, as their
infrastructure is barely able to maintain the basics of monthly
expenditures even on a Queen-devised emergency budget.
Star City International Airport, site of last
year's incident with Count Vertigo
When the Arrow initially recruited his band of outlaws
(the ironies not lost on his advocates nor his opponents)
he started off calling themselves the 'Seven Soldiers of
Star City,' a nod to his 'Earth-2' counterpart who had
passed in the Crisis. Originally, the other Green Arrow
and Speedy were founding members of that team.

This starting effort on our earth included Arrow, the Earth-2
Speedy, Onyx, Arrowette (daughter of the Golden Age
heroine/athlete,) Artemis, his son Connor (also going by the
moniker 'Green Arrow,') and a mysterious new Crimson Avenger.

Quickly they realized this would not be a sufficient force to crack
down on the growing epidemic of organized criminal activity
that now saturates Star. (Queen gruffly dispatched the notion
that he would need to rename the group; "If people can't count,
that's not my problem.")


According to local police representatives, (evidently
under some duress, as they are currently undergoing investigation
themselves from direct order of Mayor Queen's office,)
there has developed a gang war of sorts here.

It's unknown what the catalyst was, or what possible unique
properties Star holds that have driven this land grab from the
underworld, but such major players as the assassin Deathstroke and
international financier Ra's Al Ghul have both been implicated
in arrests over the past six months.

(So far we have identified through sources that H.I.V.E.*** and
Intergang also have agents operating large cells in the city, and
rumors abound that the Bertinelli family is looking to set up shop as well.)

Photographer  Donna Troy was allowed to photograph the
interior to the vaunted 'Operations Central' of the
resistance. (She was escorted in blindfolded, however, and it should
be noted that the clock face is merely ornamental, not longer
 part of a building's facade.)

According to the characteristically frank Queen, it's
much deeper than that. He points out a minimum
of six major organizations vying for control of his city,
many of them led by super-powered criminals. He, too,
is uncertain for the impetus of this new and undesired
attention his fair city has received.

But Queen remains resolute, certain that he and his team
are capable of handling all that the admittedly tough
coming months will bring.

I asked him about the visibility of his team membership
during a ride-along with the chief of police. He daringly
stated his defiant response; "I want them to know we're
here. I want them to know we're coming for them, that
we're prepared."

The mayor further explained that he and his crew
don't wear their well-known costumes when patrolling the city.
They are given to undercover work and disguises more
often then not, eliminating the concern for standing out.

My skepticism was palpable, and Queen recognized it. "I've
got some surprises in my back pocket, too; my cards aren't
all on the table. I'm like a Boy Scout; always prepared."

Surprises, possibly, like the presence of other known
vigilantes Arrow counts as friends. The Black Lightning has been
spotted on occasion, linked to unconfirmed reports of the criminal
organization 'The 1000,' as well as another new Huntress.

And distance does not make connections impossible; longtime
lady love Black Canary, former ward Speedy, and the newest
female Speedy, although departed from home, use Justice League
teleporters to quickly return in times of need--such as last Winter's
S.K.U.L.L.**** assault of S.T.A.R.*****  Labs' Star City location.
If police reports and underworld buzz is any indication is
accurate, he needs an army. He and Star City certainly have
no shortage of enemies. If hard streets indeed require hardened
heroes, said heroes in turn draw out hardcore enemies.

There are other groups that reportedly work outside the law in
such a fashion, including those in such places as Gotham,
Spiral City, Iron County, and Bedlam,  but these are only rumors
as the operatives work in secret. These groups, if they exist, are comprised
of unnamed, unknown  quotients, and stay off the grid.

Arrow, on the other hand, has been above board about his activities,
which may actually work to his detriment in the long run.
All that we could find out about the mysterious new 'Arsenal'
is that his father was the original 'Red Dart,' and the Arrow
was instrumental in helping him get turned around.
Most notably, Jack Ryder referenced a group of 'outsiders' in an
unconfirmed piece he did on Nightline last fall, calling for a need
for tighter sanctions against such groups--that one supposedly
operating between the divergent cities of Gotham and Metropolis.
Likewise, columnist Michael Jan Friedman and photo-journalist
Luke McDonnell recorded actions of a modern day group of
not-so-merry men located in the swamps outside Biloxi, Mississippi
in a "This Nation" piece in Life magazine last fall.
And Vicki Vale championed the notion that an all-female group
of operatives is working in unison on cases outside government
jurisdiction, also not-as-yet grounded in hard facts (although one
wonders why such a group would not be front and center with
women's lib in full swing!)


Blurred lines allow for more effective working, since the same laws
that are being broken often limit and kneecap the very mystery men
that are seeking to produce justice. These tactics--and the state of Star
City--have brought the vigilantes under the scrutiny of groups like the
DEO and Checkmate, both governmental teams regulating the super
hero community.
During my week stay in Star City, I was privy to see not only the inner
workings of the mayor's office, a drug sting being finished up by the crew,
personal interviews, and a police ride-along, I also did an extensive
tour of Queen Industries...yet another front on which Queen is
making strides to improve the city.

Queen Industries leads the nation with environmentally friendly
products and packaging, and has initiated statewide recycling
programs, an "Every Day is Earth Day" Program, amnesty
days for getting rid of toxic and non-recyclable items, as well
as creating over 1,200 jobs in the first quarter of this year
alone. Queen's business acumen almost seems to run counter
to such community standards, but he asserts it isn't difficult, but
rather business owners are complacent and lazy.

Although Star compares to nearby Seattle and Portland for having
a large counter culture movement as part of their makeup, inclusion
of such high-profile associates as the homosexual-rights advocate,
Rainbow Archer, still have drawn some public criticism. Arrow
dismisses those complaints outright, using words not allowed in this 
publication to describe "a bunch of hair-brained religious zealots
who are at the core of what's wrong with this society's new direction."

The Rainbow Archer was not specifically in the closet, but when
attacks on bars and gay couples in Star's "Little Castro" district
started, he felt it imperative that he make himself known. "Visibility
is the answer," he told me. 

     "Whether fighting ignorance or drug dealers of corporate
crime, you have to stand up to it and say 'That's enough!'"


Queen's plans for riverfront development have blossomed,
with his plan to give contractors and builders a piece of
their investment in exchange for their sweat equity.
Progressive thinking outside the box is what has
established Queen as a successful businessman in a
volatile market, and he is applying those same tactics
to his restructuring for the city.

"We can't let development and our import/export
businesses falter. That's our bread and butter. So you
can see the scope of this gargantuan puzzle; keeping
the public safe, stopping organized crime, saving
existing businesses, developing new ones, keeping
the nation and the world's faith in the city solvent...."


He seemed to become distracted, reflecting on
the fate of his city, as a parent would a fragile child they
were steadfastly fighting to save, not knowing what
the future might bring. His icy and snappish facade
skipped a beat.

"It sounds whelming...quite intimidating," I offered as he
collected himself. "Oliver Queen hasn't seen the
problem yet that he can't find a way to beat.
We're survivors here in this town....believe that."

I do believe it. And therein lies the strength of
Queen's campaign, on multiple levels; his is
a passionate and endearing presence, one that rallies
people and demands self-empowerment.

He's an everyman success story that helps others
on the bottom aspire to same. It's about underdogs, the little
guys, and overcoming tremendous odds.
I always have loved a comeback story.

-Yolanda Montez works out of Los Angeles
and makes frequent trips adventuring around
the globe. Her passions range beyond journalism
to boxing, fashion, and criminal law.

**********************************


                                                                                                                                                                       
                                                              
Behind the Scenes: Profiles and Backgrounds
A little something extra with the Answer Man, Robert Rozakis
....
Well, for a hero junkie like me, just making it to this
'new earth' alive should be reward enough, right?
But add to that an assortment of masked wonders
who are more plentiful than ever before, and this
former comics scribe is a happy camper.
It's One Year Later and we still need a map
and a genius to figure out half of the dynamics
as to "Who's Who?" on this patchwork world.
It's a regular mosaic of mythological proportions.
So this month I'm here to give some extra
behind-the-scenes scoop on some of the new
personalities running around Star City!
Chloe Sullivan is new to 'our' earth (as mentioned,
along with yours truly and a few billion more!) and she hails
from a small town experience that certainly  didn't prep
her for the hustle and bustle of the down-and-out Star
City. She's an old soul, though, and has quickly made
the transition not only to the big city, but also the
reverse-engineered computer technology brought to us courtesy
of some of our time-lost friends and dwellers in the Time Warp Zones.

Chloe is a mathematical genius, with a great sense for
coordinating and strategizing. She helps coordinate all
the activities and divisions in the city...a daunting task
to say the least.
Next up comes a 'new' Black Canary, who at first was thought
to have been reunited with Arrow after a highly publicized
breakup last year when they both departed the Justice
 League (geez! I feel like Rona Barrett with the gossip report!)
But we discovered that this is an older Black Canary
who, like our world's known entity, came to this earth from another.
On the earth this new Canary was from, where there was
never a Superman, she lost her Green Arrow during the Crisis,
even as he resided in a new android body. His sacrifice allowed
Canary and several dozen inhabitants of their earth to make
safe passage to our earth before the Great Explosion closed
off all those many other worlds. 

Arrow originally took a lot of heat when the Canary we know
as a long-time Leaguer originally returned to this earth from
her home on Earth 2, romantically linked to the significantly older
Queen. Now, with rumors swirling that he has taken up with another
'version' of Black Canary, he is under attack again.


 ARTICLE NOTATIONS:

*Star City ranked lower only that the following cities, all judged
on economic growth, poverty levels, school capabilities, drug use,
and gun violence; Dakota, Detroit, Gotham City, Hub City, and
Los Angeles. Definitely not statistics they wish to be tied to.

** Former Star City mayor Thomas Bolt was not only
indicted by a grand jury on 16 different counts--ranging from
misappropriation of funds to cronyism, bribery, and extortion-- but
there were allegations raised at his trial that he also masqueraded
as the city's nefarious drug lord, Steelclaw.

Bolt denied those charges to the end, and now a possibly new
Steelclaw is loose in the city while the former mayor sits behind bars.

***H.I.V.E. (Hierarchy of International Vengeance
and Extermination) (No, we kid you not!)
Obviously a super-villain terrorist organization with cells
around the world. Built from the embers of C.Y.C.L.O.P.S.
and other such organizations. Little is known, except that
they have been implicated in several FBI and CBI reports,
but their existence was revealed when the Teen Titan Bumblebee
went undercover in one of their 'Youth Training Programs.'

**** S.K.U.L.L. is a criminal organization with known
ties to scientific stakes, and formerly headed by the Atomic Skull.

***** S.T.A.R. Labs (Scientific and Technological Advanced
Research Laboratories); worldwide company with facilities in
most major cities. S.T.A.R. does R & D, meta-human studies,
housing and study of alien artifacts, and much more.

***