Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2
By Christopher W. Blaine (cwblaine@gmail.com)
DISCLAIMER: This work of fiction contains characters and situations that are ©2006 by DC Comics Inc. and Christopher W Blaine. DC Comics has not given permission for the use of their characters or situations. This work is done for fan entertainme only. This original story is ©2006 by Christopher W. Blaine.

The story thus far… The Infinite Crisis is over. Superboy-Prime has been defeated and is imprisoned on Oa by the reformed Green Lantern Corps. Alexander Luthor has been murdered by the Joker. The original Superman from Earth-2 has die heroic death. The Time-Guardian has sacrificed himself to save the pocket dimension he helped to create. A new Earth has been formed from the realities of so many others. Gone are the Wardens who saved all of creat more than once. In their place stands the Justice Guild of America, a group dedicated to protecting the innoce citizens of the world from the combined might of the worst villains ever imagined. These are their stories.

New Kids on the Block Part 1
Gotham City, New Jersey Batwoman raised her line gun and depressed the activation stud. Compressed gasses pushed a cylinder out tha opened into a grappling hook halfway between the building she stood on and the next. It was something that she knew how to do better than breathing, because it was the first thing her father taught her. Helena Wayne was a beautiful woman by any standard. Both of her parents had been athletic and attractive and their genetic combination had produced an even more appealing offspring. Had she chosen to do so, Helena coul have been the darling of Gotham Society, but fate would have her travel a different path. Her father had been Batman, the protector of the city, a city she had grown to love just as much as he had. In her mid-teens, she had begun her crime fighting career as the Huntress, foregoing the tradition of becoming Robin. To her, Robin would always be male and she did not want there to be any confusion in that aspect. She was a woman and proud of it. Swinging across to the next building, she saw that several members of her “family” were gathered already. Gotha City never had just one protector; ever since men and women began putting on garish costumes and masks in order to battle injustice, they had always managed to have allies in their efforts. In the so-called Golden Age it was Lantern, Black Canary and Johnny Thunder. Decades later it was Batman, Robin, Batgirl and Black Lightning t name a few. Now she was the top dog, or bat of you preferred. She knew that the city was far too big for one person to carry on her father’s mission and vision. Landing, she straightened up and proceeded to where her hook had latched so sh could retrieve it. Conversations stopped and her team began to form around her. First there was Nightwing. Tall and muscular, with definite youth to his features, he was by far one of the experienced members gathered. Jason Todd was technically her brother as he had been adopted by Bruce Wayn years ago, but she did not consider him so. She could not put her finger on it, but their relationship was different than what one would have expected. Jason had taken over from Dick Grayson, who was now Batman, when he felt like it. Dick had decided to purs

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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justice from a different perspective and was instead heading up a dozen charities in the name of the Wayn Foundation. Years of battling the forces of evil had not dampened his spirits, but when he had seen how Helena had blossomed from sidekick to hero, he understood that Gotham was in capable hands. There was no Robin now, but there was a Batgirl. Kathy Kane was a beautiful young lady who had shown she could give and take a punch with the best of them. Her mother, Francis, had tried to win the affections of the origina Batman years ago, but nothing ever came of it. She stood next to Nightwing with an expression of youthf exuberance. Inwardly, Batwoman smiled because she was thinking about how young these two were when the truth was sh wasn’t much older than them. However, being raised by Bruce and Selina Wayne and the expectation they had fo their children was enough to make anyone old. “Do you have the voting results?” the Huntress asked. Batwoman regarded the woman who had taken up her ol name. By coincidence they had the same first name, but Helena Bertinelli, who went by her chosen baptismal name of Joan, was not at all like her. Joan had been the daughter of a Gotham City mob boss that had been murdered along with the rest of her family. She had been taken and placed in a Catholic orphanage to be raised. In her early teens, Joan had been taken to Italy where she was inducted into the Titans, a Vatican-backed super-team that dealt with supernatural threats to mankind. Specifically, Joan had been trained to fight vampires, but a chance encounter with a master vampire had changed her. Her metagene had been activated and perverted by a psychic link with the undead. Joan claimed that it was only her faith and the guidance of the Virgin Mother that kept her from sliding into a world of darkness and debauchery. She had left the Titans because she could not continue fulfilling her vows. Now she lived in her city of birth, working to make it a better place. “Yes, the votes are in,” Batwoman answered as she returned her equipment to their proper places on her utility belt. Black Robin stayed in the background, as she normally did. A more reluctant member of the team, she had spen years working alone and on the very thin edge between law and vigilantism. Batwoman was not quite sure that sh had not crossed that line once or twice. A former prostitute, Cheryl Montgomery was a true mystery to Batwoman not even Dick Grayson had been able to dig anything up on her. However, Helena Wayne had a lot of resource expend and she had one of the best private investigators in the world looking into the matter. “Me, Nightwing and Huntress are in,” Batwoman told them. She hated seeing the look of rejection on Batgirl’s face, but there was nothing she could do about it. The Justice Guild of America was akin to a union for super-heroes. Every three years all members voted for who the active membership would be. Batgirl was hoping to be accepted, but Batwoman had known it would be a long shot. Batgirl was still inexperienced and unknown to many members of the super-hero community and Batwoman wondered if that was partially her fault. More than once she had considered putting forth the backing needed to start a group for the younger heroes, so they could be trained properly and get exposure. Because Batgirl had been a minor at the time of the voting, she was ineligible for membership. She had hoped that she would at least b considered for active reserve status. Unfortunately, as Batwoman had tried to explain, there were no active reserves in the JGA. “Titan made it as well but I’ll let his father tell him.” “Of course he did,” Batgirl groused. “Look at his background and references!” “You can’t seriously be upset at Hip because of his parentage?” Nightwing asked. Batgirl shook her head. “It’s because I’m gay, isn’t it?” Nightwing slapped his forehead. “Not this again? Nobody cares that you like girls?”

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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Huntress put a reassuring hand on Batgirl’s shoulder, but it did little to brighten the younger girl’s mood. “The why?” “It’s a vote, dear,” Batwoman reminded her. “There is no why; there are only winners and losers.” “So, I’m a loser now?” Batwoman did not know what else to say, so she let it drop. She noted a smile on Black Robin’s face, but there was no surprise in that. The other hero seemed to enjoy seeing tension in the team. Batwoman said nothing to her because it would have done no good; Black Robin did not respond well to authority and only marginally considered herself a team player. Huntress approached Batwoman and asked her to step to the side. When they were out of earshot, she spoke to leader in low tones. “Have they decided the team leader?” Batwoman sighed. “It’s me with Super-Woman acting as vice-chair. I didn’t want the job, but it was either me or Dark Flash, and Walter still needs to work on his people skills.” She glanced back over to Batgirl, who was still being consoled by Nightwing. “You don’t think anyone knows she’s gay, do you?” “She is young and full of love she wants to express; I don’t agree with her preferences but I do respect her willingness to not hide who or what she is,” Huntress explained. “She is strong and strong people do not like obstacles they cannot get around. For the next three years, she will have to work around this seemingl insurmountable one.” “How do you feel about being added?” Batwoman asked. “I wanted a life of servitude,” was the jovial reply. “I can be a slave to your leadership here or somewhere else doesn’t matter.” “I’m not as bad as my father,” Batwoman remarked. “No, but are you as good?” Batwoman gave Huntress a friendly punch in the arm. She liked the mobster’s daughter, but wished she had a lit more of a wild side. She could see the two of them in miniskirts and halter tops, hitting the clubs and breaking hearts; laughing all the way back to Wayne Manor for ice cream and romance movies. She sighed. There would be no clubbing for her for at least another three years. St. Roch, Louisiana “I don’t care what sort of interstellar, science fiction credentials you have, you winged son-of-a-bitch,” the troo began. “You cannot arrest someone in the name of Thanagar!” Hawkman bristled at the law enforcement officer’s language. “That is not what I said,” the Winged Wonder attempted to explain as he wiped some blood from his mace. The rain was coming down pretty hard and the trooper’s disposition had not gotten better with the cloudburst. “What my partner is trying to say,” an attractive woman in similar attire, only with skin the color of warm chocolate, interjected, “is that as a law enforcement official stationed on Earth from Thanagar, he has been trained in proper arrest techniques…” “Listen, baby,” the trooper said, waving his hand back to where a smashed up pickup truck sat, “I don’t think beating the crap out of the suspect’s vehicle after he has been taken into custody is within the state criminal code!”

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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“Baby?” Hawkgirl said, putting her hands on her hips. “Did you just call me…” Hawkman put a restraining hand on her shoulder. His biceps flexed as he did so and the trooper noted, for the fir time, exactly how big Hawkman was. His bare chest revealed a skin tone that was very, very tanned; as if he had come from the Middle East. Not the most enlightened person, as his sexist comments had proven, he wondered if the hero would kill him because of some perceived insult to his woman. “Look,” the trooper began as more officers showed up. He began to reason that it would be just best to end this once and for all. “I’m sure the local sheriff loves the work that you do, but we prefer to issue tickets to speeders of…this!” “He was breaking the law. He refused to stop and when I warned him of possible action, he extended his middl finger at me,” Hawkman told him. He let his hand drop from Hawkgirl’s shoulder. “ I then took action as a deputized county law enforcement agent.” “You can’t smash up their car after they are apprehended!” “I’ll pay for it then,” Hawkman replied with a wave of his hand. The trooper bit his tongue, turned and stomped away. Hawkgirl glared at him and then turned to her partner. “Y know he might be right,” she said. He shrugged. “Perhaps what the criminal element of this county need is a wake-up. Breaking the law and no suffering any consequences is simply ignorant. If you ever want to be considered a true Thanagarian police office you need to understand that.” She nodded. Six months earlier she had been simple Alaina Stone, niece of Victor Stone, a super-hero called Cyborg. She had been working as a model when she had encountered Hawkman and had realized that there was whole universe out there for her to experience. He had taken her on as his partner, training in her in the ways o people. “Are you really going to pay for the vehicle?” He laughed. “No. Let him sue me.” “He’ll sue the sheriff.” He took a deep breath and mentally calculated the expense. “Fine, but I protest it. Criminals should be punished, not paid.” “How about the punishment fitting the crime?” she asked as they both leapt into the air. Their wings flew o stabilizing them even as the material their costumes were made out of allowed them to defy the effects of gravity. “How about punishment for crime?” he responded. She smiled; he was a good teacher, despite his black and white attitude about things. Perhaps that was what attracted her to him, professionally. Certainly he was good to look at as well and the fact that he was not in lea modest had provided her ample opportunity to “size him up”, as her girlfriends would say. But he was her partner, not her lover. He was her friend, not her husband. She had to maintain that status quo if their partnership was going to work. It was damn shame, though, she told herself as she watched his chest move u and down as he breathed. “You are aware that we have been accepted into the Justice Guild?” he asked her. “Is that a good thing?” she asked. He nodded. “It will give us more resources to use in my search for Fel Andar,” he told her. “Above all else, we must

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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never turn down an opportunity to get more information. He will be found and he will be brought to justice.” Headquarters of the Secret Society of Super-Villains Thomas, would you please attend me? Dr. Thomas Morrow pushed back the welding mask and shook his head. “Coming, Hector,” he said aloud as dropped his work. He looked down at the android body he had been working on and with a grimace of disgust, pulled off his welding gloves. He would get back to his work eventually, but the constant interruptions by his “leader” were starting to get annoying. He stopped and counted to ten. Hector Hammond was more than the leader of the Society; he was also provid Morrow with the financial resources he needed to continue his work. His many felony convictions for everything from terrorism to attempted rape had drained him and only by agreeing to work for the Soceity could he hope t realize his dreams. He walked briskly out of his lab and passed by a young, dark-haired woman in a revealing black skirt and emblazoned with a golden lightning bolt. “Good morning, Wendy,” he said to his teammate. She gave him a nod, but that was all. Most people would have considered her a slut, because she was very “free” with herself with most men. Because she would not even give Morrow the time of day, he privately referred to her as “bitch”. He only tolerated her because she could tear him in two with her bare hands. Please hurry, Thomas. The mental command made his head ache, but it was the only way Hector could communicate. He had managed to get himself evolved into a being with a huge head and lifeless body. He could only speak with his powerful mind That was why he needed Morrow so badly; he was to create an android body for Hector to become mobile in. Th trick was creating one that would simulate all of the more pleasurable features of being able to move and feel. He entered a room that contained a large chair in which the mutated body of Hector Hammond sat, being attended by various technicians and scientists that had performed some crimes in their pasts that had forced them into criminal servitude. “I’m here, Hector,” he announced. I am sorry to interrupt your work, but I thought you would like to know the Guild membership voting has concluded and the results have been announced. Morrow held out hope that his finest creation, Tomorrow Woman, was among the heroes selected to man the guild for the next three years. She had disappeared two years before and he was confident the super-hero community knew where she was at. She is not among the candidates. Morrow cursed. “They know where she is at!” he said, smashing a fist down on a control panel. “They are hiding my love from me!” Do you not find it strange that you are infatuated with a robot? Morrow gave him a wry look. “No,” he answered flatly. Tomorrow Woman was perfect in her design. She was warm, covered with artificial flesh. She was soft in the right places with lips that were damp and full. “I made her to be my mate because I have issues with real women.” Indeed. I wonder if all of us have flaws?

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Beyond the 52 Issue 2

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“Of course we do, Hector; it’s why we’re criminals! I want to have sex with a robot. You want to be a robot havin sex. Wendy is walking sexual anger. Don’t even get me started on Scarecrow; he’s a mass murderer who thinks Stalin was an underachiever!” He laughed aloud. It felt good to do so. “It is because of these things we will never fit into their society!” You are correct, my friend; the only thing we can do is change the society and make them the outcasts! “Which brings me to my next question: are we going to free Scarecrow from Arkham?” he asked. Morrow would have rather replaced him with someone else, but Hector seemed to like him. I have tasked Harley Quinn and Star Sapphire with the job. Once Stephen is safely here, we will begin reviewing plans to see what we can do to distract the Justice Guild while we pursue our main activities! Morrow hated himself for the question he was about to ask, but it was what Hector was waiting for. "What m activities, Hector?" Why, try to take over the world!

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