Wonderous

This past week I took an evening for myself and watched Wonder Woman. Spoiler: it was a good movie and an excellent representation of what female superheroes should be.

WW3

Beautiful. And I don’t just mean Gal Gadot, the Woman herself, but the entire movie. It was moving, fun, action-y, and thought provoking. While the DCU has been very lackluster and straight-out bad, they went where Marvel has yet to venture with all it’s success: a female directed, female led movie about a female superhero. From little girl Diana shadow boxing while Amazonian warriors spar to adult Diana deflecting bullets with shield and bracers above the trenches of World War One, this film delivered on almost all of it’s promises.

Without going into a bunch of detail, or long plot discussion, I will say this movie was excellently written, with witty dialogue, good themes, foreshadow, callbacks, delightful fight choreography, and great casting. As I write, I am listening to the score, and that is fantastic as well. From start to finish, this film was well constructed. However, it isn’t perfect.

I felt that a few moments were unearned, and that lessened my opinion, but not enjoyment of, the movie. First unearned moment, and perhaps a big one: when Wonder Woman and her love interest (I loved typing that phrase just now! finally not a hero and his love interest!) supposedly have sex. Earlier in the film, Steve and Diana discussed sex and reproduction, and Diana (having grown up on an island entirely populated with women) admits that men are necessary for reproduction but unnecessary for sexual pleasure (!) but seems uninterested in trying heterosexual relations for herself. But then, in what a few days, or weeks, maximum, she is inviting Steve into her bed and arms (again, supposedly, the movie suddenly cuts to the outside and shows nothing but gently falling snow and only implies the union). I do like that Steve was about to leave in the scene, having escorted Diana to her room, but then Diana herself invited him in and initiated the first kiss between them. It was nice to see Diana not only taking the lead on the battlefield, but also in the bedroom. Too often the man imposes himself in near sexual assault, so it was nice to see a reversal here. Still, though, the love story had barely developed by that point and I thought that it was unearned. Small quibble.

Secondly, it was a little ham-fisted setting up General Ludendorff to be the big bad, Ares God of War. I knew from the beginning it wouldn’t be him, as he was just a little too evil and intent on conquering the world, which no one really was in World War I. As I understand history, the war to end all wars was more about protecting self-identity and honoring alliances. Anyway, without a mustache to twirl, Ludendorff was too twirly for me to believe him as Ares. Interestingly, the guy with the mustache I missed completely as Ares until he showed up to reveal himself. I was thinking there was no Ares in this film, as the story was developing, and indeed didn’t need him to be for the story it was telling. (But what is a superhero movie without a big boss battle? A better superhero movie, in my opinion, but then, this is DC.) Anyway, the reveal of Ares I thought was pointless except to give Diana a boss to battle at the end while Steve was actually, you know, fighting for something.

Now, to the real Big Bad: World War I. In the comics, and history of comic-book Wonder Woman, she saves Trevor who I believe was originally a World War II pilot (and then every conflict thereafter? in updates) but never a WWI pilot. Setting the film in World War 1 was a brilliant move for the story they were telling, which was that Diana believed she could end war, and bad men, by killing Ares the God of War who was supposedly the machinator behind the scenes. If you have this set in World War 2, there is a clear Ares: Adolf Hitler. And killing him would have almost definitely ended the war then and there, thus proving Diana right without her learning anything about mankind or conflict. However, WW1 is a war without sense, purpose, big bad, or natural end. It was simply a meat grinder. Without a big bad to kill, even if you mistake Ludendorff for Ares, you must come to grips with the reality that mankind carries within each person the capacity for depthless evil and insurmountable good and it is a personal choice for each one of us which path we follow, God of War or no. This is a lesson that Wonder Woman learns the hard way when she does kill Ludendorff and nothing changes. It was, for me, the climax of the film.

Lastly, the final unearned moment of the film: Steve sacrifices himself to stop the Germans from gassing a bunch of people, and Diana goes ballistic, enabling her to defeat Ares, whom she is battling thus far without success, because she loves Steve and is devastated by his death. Like I said when I was discussing their maybe-sex scene, it didn’t really seem like she had loved him that deeply. Obviously he did her, but not her him, yet. Minutes ago she even thinking Steve was as evil as everyone else on the planet. And then he dies and she is all “but I love you!”. I just didn’t buy it. That and the unnecessary battle with Ares ruined the end of the movie for me, but not enough for me to not enjoy the movie as a whole. Bigger nit.

Wonder Woman, despite it’s flaws, is a good film, and a better one for what it is, the first film in which a female leads, and leads well, and where the men around her are equals or content to follow her obvious expertise. I enjoyed it, and will probably own it. I cannot say the same of any other DCU movies to date, or even in the future as I can foresee it.

League of Justice #3.1: “The Dogs of War”

Deep Space

On a dark rock spiraling through the blackness of space, two members of the Black Lantern Corps met.

“A son of Krypton has survived.”
“We told Jor-El he would endure unharmed.”
“Not the son of El. Another has lived. Our enemy.”
“Where is he?”
“He lives on the same planet as the son of El.”
“Then war will descend on them both.”

On an Unknown South Pacific Island

Green Lantern thought hard. Her ring manifested a bulletproof shield. Wading into battle, she fired her gun from behind it while bullets bounced off, ricocheting in various directions. To her left, Wonder Woman also shielded herself from bullets, but with her metallic bracers. The military scientists that Hal and Diana worked with only concluded that they were made of an as of yet unknown element, which they promptly nicknamed wonderflonium after their heroine, Wonder Woman.

Diana moved superhumanly fast as she deflected bullets with her forearms and beat the daylights out of the rebel soldiers. Green Lantern and Wonder Woman had been sent in to quell an uprising and take out a rebel leader. This they were doing handily. Hal’s gun ran out of bullets. Without stopping her assault, she concentrated and her ring manifested another magazine full of ammunition. She kept firing. She didn’t know how her ring worked, but she was glad it did. The items she manifested only persisted for about thirty minutes. After that, the bullets she created would vanish, wherever they were, whether buried in a concrete wall or someone’s brain matter. Where they vanished to was as big a mystery as where they manifested from, but her scientist friends muttered something about the conservation of matter and energy. She hadn’t really been paying attention.

Wonder Woman fought her way to the main building on the rebel compound. She kicked down the door and waited. It was a good move as bullets flew out. She waited for magazines to empty, then cleared the room with her bare hands. None survived. Green Lantern set down her shield. Manifesting a shotgun, she entered the room. There she saw bodies strewn all over, most resting at impossible angles that told her Diana had been taking no prisoners. Diana nodded towards a closed door and mouthed There! indicating that the rebel leader had taken refuge inside the closet.

Green Lantern spoke: “Come out and surrender and face justice or be killed like the coward you are. You have about five seconds.”

Her answer was gunfire. She shrugged and emptied her shotgun into the closet. Not bothering to check, she manifested a cube of C4 explosive and stuck it to the door. Setting a timer, she and Wonder Woman started to leave the building.

Seconds later, the building exploded. Another victory for Wonder Woman and the Green Lantern.

Gotham City

Batman’s fists both connected with the chest of a thug, shooting him backwards into a brick wall. A quick roundhouse kick to the jaw put him out of action. Batman turned to the other would-be robber.

“This is your one chance to surrender.”

The crook foolishly thought he could shoot faster than Batman could pummel him into a bloody mess. He thought wrong. Batman broke the shotgun in half with his reinforced Bat-Armor. This new suit was working out better than his defensive Kevlar-Titatium suit. Made from Carbon fiber and metal alloys, as well as Kevlar, the suit was reinforced with actuators and a mechanical exoskeleton. This gave Batman a much faster, and stronger, physical presence than mere muscle and human reaction time. Nodding to the store owner, Batman grabbed both criminals and dragged them outside. By that time Detective Gordon had arrived with two squad cars. Gordon had just enough time to shout.

“You’re under arrest,” in a somewhat uncaring tone of voice before Batman’s grappling hook took hold of the building roof and hoisted him out of reach. “Oh well, another time.” Gordon shrugged and handcuffed the men who were now coming around from their Bat-beating.

“You have the right to remain silent…”

Cleveland, Ohio

The Flash flashed into the middle of a busy intersection.

“Whoah!” fortunately, he was becoming as well known as Batman and Superman. Cars swerved to avoid him with only a minimum of swearing and honking of horns.

“Gotta get better at re-entry timing.” Barry Allen muttered to himself. He was hot on the trail of an illusionist thief calling himself Mirror Man. Barry’s information led him to believe that the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame was next on the list of high priority targets. Barry hoped to get here before Mirror Man and set up an ambush.

Once he reached the safety of the sidewalk he looked around and saw Progressive Field, home of the Cleveland Indians. Smoothing out his red leather jacket, and mask, he swore.

“Dammit. Not only did I flash into traffic, I’m off the mark.” Barry shook his head. Teleporting still wasn’t as easy as he first thought it would be. Rather than risk another incident, he hailed a taxi.

“Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, please.”

“Hey, you’re that Flash guy! Hey buddy, ride’s on me!”

A week or so ago the Flash had stopped a ring of corrupt cab drivers from stealing from their partners and passengers. Now, no matter what city he flashed into, he was the recipient of free rides. Fighting crime did pay. Occasionally. Now to get to the Rock and Roll and set up his trap for a Mirror Man.

Metropolis

Superman flew as fast he could. The mission was desperate and the need dire. Only a superhero could save the day and the hour. Faster than a speeding bullet, over tall buildings, up in the sky Clark Kent raced for class. If he was late again he would be failed for having too many absences. Sometimes superheroes needed to save themselves from themselves. Clark had been so busy hopping the planet rescuing ships in distress, planes with engine failure, cats from trees, and even helping with the occasional high speed pursuit, that he tended to lose track of time and miss class. If he was going to graduate from Metropolis University with the degree in journalism he was also pursuing, he needed to find a way to balance saving the world and studying. Dropping from high in the atmosphere to a dark alley a block from his building, Clark Kent emerged running for class. He made it with just seconds to spare. Another superhero victory!

Smallville

Canary found she quite liked living in small town America. Ma Kent had taken her in and given her what she hadn’t had in a very long time: a family. As a result, Dinah hadn’t killed anyone in almost a year. She was looking forward to celebrating the anniversary. She didn’t regret any of the scum she had put under the ground, but she didn’t like the darkness in herself. Besides, this was what her small town exile was all about. With Clark’s help and Ma and Pa’s guidance, she was emerging from her shell of hate and fear and becoming a full woman again. She volunteered with the Smallville Police Force as a crossing guard and truant officer, helping to guide kids into school and off the streets. She sang in the church choir, for once using her voice to build rather than destroy. Dinah, for the first time since her mother was murdered, had found some measure of peace. A victory for a super heroine if there ever was one.

Bermuda

AquaMan surveyed the heavens with growing unease. He couldn’t put his finger on it yet, but something wasn’t right. His satellites and sensors that he had placed in orbit were more sensitive than NASA’s or those of other countries, so it would be some time before the governments of the world were aware of what he was tracking, but even AquaMan didn’t know what that was yet. He floated in his tank and checked his readings again.

“This can’t be good.” He whispered to himself.

League of Justice #3.0: “Their Currents Turn Awry”

There they found an emaciated looking man floating in a pool on water, kept afloat by two wolphins.

“Welcome. My name is AquaMan. I believe some of you know each other, but I am pleased to introduce you all to each other: Batman meet Superman meet Green Lantern meet Canary meet the Flash meet Wonder Woman and as I said, I am AquaMan. Pleased to meet you all.”

Earlier:

Batman was working on his supercomputer at his secret underground bunker at a Wayne Enterprises Applied Sciences satellite facility, a place he had come to call the Batcave. He got an anonymous instant message, that try as he could, he could not trace.

YOU’LL FIND OTHERS LIKE YOURSELF HERE. There was a set of coordinates.

Bruce Wayne later chartered a jet to Bermuda, wanting to take a holiday; perfectly normal for the billionaire college student.

***
***

Green Lantern and Wonder Woman were sent on a covert operation. Their orders were to infiltrate a hidden terrorist base on Bermuda and apprehend a fugitive who had just been added to the most wanted list. They left immediately.

***
***

Superman was asked to help a family in desperate need in Bermuda, their house was flooding and all their possessions would be lost if it could not be moved. A place was named. He flew off to help.

***
***

Canary won an all expense paid trip to Bermuda. What the hell, she thought. She’d never been on a vacation in her life. Sounded like a good time.

***
***

The Flash flashed into a dark cave. Standing there was a most unusual group of people. There was a man dressed as a bat, a woman in a green combat suit, another woman wearing tight robes who had bracers on her forearms and a lasso at her side. Another black woman wore motorcycle leathers and looked ready to rumble, and finally there was a man floating in the water. Allen himself was dressed in a red leather jacket with a lightning bolt patch on the left shoulder and a face mask.

“Hello.” he said. The rest nodded. The man in the pool of water spoke…

***

“I want to talk to you all about joining together for common purpose. For over 100 years I have watched the world, and wished for extraordinary people who would step up to lead, to protect, to serve the world when the world needed them. Quite without my planning, here you emerged. You are all superheroes, of one sort or another, each with a unique set of abilities, what some call powers. One by one, you are all formidable, and all have walked dark and sometimes lonely paths to get where you are today. I ask you not to abandon your current duties or tasks, indeed, you are all needed where you are, but I do ask that you make a pact to here come together again when I call, when there is a global need that cannot be met by just one or two of you, but a need that requires you all. I ask you to join my League of Justice, to stand and fight when the world is in peril. Will you join with me against that day?”

For a day they talked, sometimes argued, sometimes agreed, and at the end, all joined with AquaMan. All pledged their allegiance, for the good of the planet.

And thus, a superhero team was born: the League of Justice.

That terrorist was found to be a friend and ally. The family’s home was saved. Flash went home. Canary had a great vacation. AquaMan smiled, content that earth was safe.

Which it is. For now. But in space, sectors away, an old menace is awaking. A blackness is descending towards earth. It won’t arrive soon, but it will come, and maybe even the League of Justice will not be enough to stop it from destroying the entire planet…

League of Justice #2.9 “By Any Other Name”

Central City

Barry was exhausted. Phil helped him to arrange a flight home from Tunisia, and Iris was there to meet him at the airport, but it took several weeks to heal from the physical, and what was more, the emotional trauma of being a prisoner and a lab rat at the mercy of Lex Luthor’s scientists.

He pressed charges against Lex Luthor, but without hard evidence, the allegations and legal proceedings halted before they started. To further exacerbate his wounds, when Lex heard about the charges, while denying them all, he made the grand humanitarian gesture and paid for all of Barry’s treatments and medical bills. Barry hated him for it, but poor graduate students can’t be choosy about how expenses get paid.

Barry spent much of his time thinking. He had discovered that he had the ability to teleport over long distances. This ability was triggered by stress and focused thinking. Once home, he practiced , at first with a frustrating lack of results, but then with repeatable frequency until he could flash at will. He could even choose the direction and location of his flashes. He decided then that something must be done with this power.

With great power comes…something, and that something should be for the good of all humanity, Barry thought to himself. But what he planned to do couldn’t be in the name of Barry Allen. For one thing, his experiences with Luthor proved that there were people who would always seek to abuse his power for their own gain. Second, he couldn’t be certain that Luthor still wouldn’t come after him. So, he needed an alter ego, a persona that could be seen by the general public and the media and that would protect Barry from their scrutiny.

Given that it was a flash of lightning that created who Barry was now, and that his teleportation events felt like flashes, it seemed only natural that he would call himself The Flash.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

Smallville

Clark Kent awoke in his parent’s hay loft and for a moment was confused how he got there. Then he remembered: the hurricane, the Abby Gale, the flight round the world. But it seemed like all of that happened to someone else, a different person. He snuck out of the barn, being careful not to be seen by his folks, after all, he was supposed to be at college and didn’t want to have to explain how he was all of sudden home. It was still dark in the predawn, so he took advantage of his abilities. He flew to the edge of town, then walked over to his favorite diner. He pulled his hood up, and ordered a coffee. Drinking it, he sat in peace, but only for a few minutes.

Another patron walked over to him, a woman, dark skinned, and dressed in biker leather. She sat down next to him and peered at him intently. Without preamble she said:

“It’s you, isn’t it? You’re him!”

Clark wanted to ignore her, but couldn’t.

“Him who?”

“I saw you flying into town last night.”

Clark looked around in panic, but no one had heard.

“Don’t worry, your secret is safe for me. But how do you do it?”

“Who are you?”

“Dinah Drake, but they call me the Canary.”

“Canary. I don’t know how I do it. My name’s Clark Kent, by the way.”

“Nice to meet you Clark. You know, if you don’t want people to know you can fly, you should be a bit more careful.”

“Wait…it was you on the motorcycle wasn’t it?”

“Yeah, just got in from Gotham.”

“Gotham? That’s a long drive.”

Canary smiled. “Not all of us can fly. Besides, I like my cycle. It gives me freedom.”

“I bet.”

“So where were you flying from?”

Clark hesitated, but it felt good to tell someone. Over a breakfast of scrabbled eggs, bacon, and toast for him, pancakes and fruit for her, he told her the story about the hurricane. In return, she told him about Gotham. About growing up. About always being on the run. Humbled by her experiences, Clark revealed his heart. He told her he was an alien from a dead world, that that was the source of his powers. They bonded over being misfits and outcasts from human society.

“You know,” Clark said, “My mom is a wonderful woman. My earth mother. She would love to meet you, and she would give you a place to live. You don’t have to always be on the streets, alone. And I don’t know. If you tell her about what you’ve been through, maybe she can help. She does that very well, helping people. What do you say?”

Dinah strangely found herself trusting this man from another world but also from her world.

“I’d say that sounds wonderful.”

Clark took Dinah home to meet his parents. Within minutes, Ma Kent had her set up in Clark’s room and was shooing Clark back to Metropolis and college. He told his parents what he had done, and rather than be upset at the blatant use of his power, Pa Kent had tears in his eyes. “I always knew you were destined for greatness,” he said.

On the bus ride back to college, Clark did some thinking about what he had done, and how much he wanted to keep doing it. There were always people in trouble and always people who needed help who up until now had to take their chances. Clark wanted to help the people no one else could. But, he needed a way to do that without drawing attention. He needed a way to keep his ear to the ground. So he got online, Clark plugged into social media, and landed a job writing for the Daily Planet, a world wide online, grassroots newspaper. It was run and contributed to by people all over the world, normal people with an internet connection sharing stories about what happened around them. It was a global news source by the people the news happened to. But, Clark couldn’t tell his stories about himself. They had to be about someone else, someone larger than life. No one would believe that a simple guy from Smallville, Kansas could life a fishing boat or fly around the world anyway, so Clark told the stories about someone else. In a flash of hubris, but also good storytelling, Clark made up a character called the Superman. It was the Superman that saved the Abby Gale. It was the Superman who was on the lookout for more people who were in need of rescuing. The fishermen and sailors he saved were already spinning their own tales, so the internet took the Superman in stride. In fact, it wasn’t long before stories began pouring into Clark’s inbox, telling of other people in need of help, if only he could get a message to the Superman. And so Clark had plenty of things to write about as a globe trotting reporter, and the Superman had plenty of people to save. Based on his clothes, Clark even concocted a costume. He donned lightweight, form fitting blue exercise clothes and a red hood to hide his identity. In flight, the hood trailed behind him like a cape.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

Gotham City

Vicki Vale was a reporter for the Gotham Times. She was given the assignment to write about the takedown of the Scarecrow Killer by this vigilante called the Batman. After interviewing Lt. Gordon, lead detective on the case, she had her story and a front page article on Gotham’s newest criminal at large.

And with that, a new superhero was born.

***
***

U.S.S. Enterprise, Atlantic Ocean

Hal Jordan presented her report on the alien encounter the night before and got yelled at by Admiral Russo, but there was little she could do. She was transferred from his research division, along with Diana whom she refused to leave without, and was transferred to a top secret operations unit. They were tasked with the impossible missions that even Seal Team 6 or other elite military units couldn’t complete. Hal already had a codename, the Green Lantern, and after Diana demonstrated her superior fighting skills and superhuman physical condition, she was codenamed Wonder Woman. They started completing missions immediately and with great skill.

And thus, two new superheroines were born.

***
***

Bermuda

Aquaman floated in his tank, and watched it all unfold. It was time to initiate the dream he had dreamed since he was a child: assembling a team of unique people to watch over the earth with a purpose. That purpose? To protect and serve and to provide justice for the down and out, the downtrodden, those in need and those with problems the authorities and local agencies could not solve. This would be a league of people united in that purpose. This would be a League of Justice.

League of Justice #2.6: “We Few”

U.S.S. Enterprise, Atlantic Ocean

Admiral Russo was speaking.

“The foreign object made splashdown at oh four hundred this morning. NORAD tracked it coming down, and it slowed before impact. As of now we are classifying it as an extraterrestrial object. Our mission is to go in, assess the wreckage, and recover what we can.”

An actual UFO? Hot damn. I never thought I would see the day when we made contact with an alien species. And my mother said that joining the NAVY was going to be a dead end job that would take me nowhere. Hal thought.

“I’d also like to introduce Ms. Diana Prince. She is a new addition to our team that I know you have been getting to know.”

Heh. Getting to know. If only the Admiral knew… Hal thought.

“She is a civilian contractor with special skills that will be assisting with special operations.”

After defining some mission parameters, the meeting broke. A few minutes later, the team was gearing up. They would be taking a helicopter to the location of the underwater craft, then diving to check it out. Also on the team was Dr. Maria Kyle, team scientist, Dr. Alan Craig, team engineer (who designed the crashed jet), and Lt. Steven Markus, the only other soldier on the Admiral’s roster.

They geared up. As usual, Diana wore her metal bracers, but left her lasso off her gear list, for obvious reasons. Wearing wetsuits and scuba gear, they boarded the helicopter. It rose off the deck of the U.S.S. Enterprise. The entire team had transmitters in their ears, under their gear, so they could hear each other. Talking was done by subvocalization, so that while they were breathing through the breath mask they could still communicate.

It was a twenty minute ride from the aircraft carrier to the drop zone. They said little, but were excited for what might be.

Once there, the helicopter hovered, the rotors whipping up the ocean into a spray, and making the sea just below more than a little choppy. One by one they dropped from the chopper into the ocean and began swimming. This part of the ocean covered an undersea mesa, and thus wasn’t very deep. The object was embedded on the edge, hanging over the deep blue.

Hal kicked her fins and looked over to Diana, who seemed to be swimming like she was born a fish.

“How’s it going, D?”

Diana flashed a thumb’s up.

Not far under the sunlight dissipated and the team engaged their powerful search lights. The few fish that were around scattered from the intruding divers. Slowly the ocean floor came into view. It was craggy and rocky; here and there crabs and other crustaceans scuttled out of the light to hide behind plants or rocks.

“Does anyone see it?” that was Dr. Kyle.

“Negative.” Lt. Markus.

“The Admiral gave a bearing of oh point four. It must be just ahead.” Hal.

“I think it see it. Look one o’ clock.” Diana.

“I’ve got it. About four meters, oblong, silvery.” Hal.

“Wow. Look at the size of it.” Dr. Craig.

The divers converged, and examined the outside. The craft was shaped like a cigar, but fat in the middle. There was a bubble of a cockpit emerging from bulge, but other than that the craft was smooth. There was no visible means of propulsion.

There was a gasp over the comm.

“There’s a body!” Dr. Kyle.

“Is it alive?” Lt. Markus.

“Negative, unless this species lives with dents in their skulls.” Dr. Kyle.

Her search light illuminated a humanoid, purple skin, and bright blue blood, slumped against the canopy.

“He must have smashed his skull against the cockpit on entry. I’m guessing earth’s gravity is heavier than he is used to. Of course I’m using the male gender speculatively. This species could have none or multiple genders. But the cockpit looks intact. I don’t see water. We should lift this entire ship out of the ocean before opening it.” Dr. Kyle.

“I concur. If there are working electronics or onboard systems, we don’t want to damage them with water.” Dr. Craig.

“Let’s get to work.” Hal.

Digging with short spades, Hal and the rest worked to move rubble away from the craft. Other than the fact that it had crashed into the ocean floor, and was crumpled in a few places, it seemed relatively undamaged. Overhead a search and rescue craft had been moving into position. Lt. Markus swam to the surface to coordinate with the above team. Shortly a bunch of self-inflatable bags were lowered and secured to the alien craft by large, sturdy straps. Either end of the craft was accessible, so it was merely a matter of looping the straps around and cinching them tight. The bags were activated, and they inflated against the water, and with a gentle push from Diana, the craft began to rise to the surface. The divers swam with it, guiding it and making sure it didn’t rock or tip. Soon it was floating on the surface of the ocean and was secured to the side of the rescue craft.

The team hauled themselves out of the water and removed their masks. Hal was grinning broadly, and she threw a wink to Diana.

“A real live alien craft!”

“And a real dead alien.” That was Dr. Kyle. She was examining the creature in the daylight and muttering to herself. She moved all around trying to get a good look. Dr. Craig was measuring the craft, eager to get started analyzing it.

The rescue craft turned slowly and headed back to rendezvous with the U.S.S. Enterprise.

Half an hour later, they met up with the larger vessel. Under cover of a tarp, the alien craft was taken on board and stowed in a large lab that had been specially designed and added to the aircraft carrier for just this purpose. A few hours after that, the team got to work. The alien was carefully removed from the cockpit and laid on a stainless steel table. His purple skin gave off a slight shimmer under the artificial lights. He was wearing a close fitting uniform of dull green, and he was vaguely humanoid, though his proportions were all wrong and he had a third eye in the centre of his forehead. Each hand had four fingers, and on the left hand, there was a metallic green ring.

“What’s this?” Hal reached out to touch the ring.

“Don’t!” that was Dr. Craig, and that was too late. The ring, somehow under its own power, shot off the alien’s hand and zoomed onto one of Hal’s fingers. Try as she might, she couldn’t remove it. And then it glowed green. With a shimmer of green, Hal vanished.

I was taken to an alien world, or what looked like one. It was nowhere I’d ever seen on Earth. There before me stood the alien from our table, or one like him.

“I am Abin Sur. I was the Green Lantern for this sector of space. My craft was damaged and I tried to make an emergency landing on Earth. Unfortunately, I did not survive. What you are seeing and hearing is my last thoughts and feelings. I am from another world. You may be shocked to know this, but Humans are not alone in the universe. You have been chosen to replace me as the Green Lantern. You will be visited by another shortly after receiving this ring. They will explain to you what your responsibilities are to be. If you choose to become a Lantern, you will then swear the oath, and take up after me. If you decline the honor, another will be chosen. Until then, the ring will protect you. Defend Earth. Defend the Galaxy. Shine Green Lantern’s light. Farewell.”

There was a shimmer of green light and then I was back in the lab.

Hal returned to the lab and promptly collapsed. Seconds later, she awoke.

“Well, that was an experience. I think this guy was some kind of cop.”

She related what she had seen and heard. Obviously she wanted to accept the role of a Green Lantern, whatever that was. After all, how could she refuse the first alien invitation Earth had ever received. Besides, she still couldn’t get the ring off. All Admiral Russo said was, “We’ll see. And be ready for the next visitors.”

It wasn’t long before they arrived. Later that night, in Hal and Diana’s quarters, two beings like unto Abin Sur suddenly appeared.

“Hallie Jordan, greetings.” They spoke in unison. “We welcome you to the Green Lantern Corps. The Green Lanterns are charged with protecting their home planet’s and the surrounding sectors of space. We come from the planet Ungara, which is not far from Earth. Abin Sur has been protecting Earth for the last hundred years. Since his death, a new protector is needed. The ring chose you. Should you choose to accept, the duty will be yours.”

“Um. What will I have to do?”

“For now, as Earth is young and you are inexperienced, you will only protect your planet. The ring will guide you as you go. It is now connected to your brain, and will respond to thought and will. The task of defending the sector of space will be handled by other Lanterns. Will you accept the honor?”

Without a second thought, Hal said yes. After all, if the deed was done, she doubted Admiral Russo could do anything about it.

“Then repeat after us the oath:

In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who twist Lantern’s light,
Beware my power… Great Lantern’s Might!”

Hal did so.

The beings spoke again.

“The ring is a ring of power. It will create what you think. It will form what you summon. Any object, any device, any substance. These you use in the performance of your duty. Should you need help, we can be summoned by tapping the ring and uttering the oath. Do you require further assistance?”

“Uh. I don’t think so. Thanks.”

“Then farewell, Green Lantern.”

With that, they vanished.

And Hal Jordan became Earth’s next protector, Earth’s new Green Lantern. She stared down at the ring in awe. A few seconds later she turned to Diana, who through it all had been silent.

“So now what do I do?”

League of Justice #2.5 “Thoughts That Deck Our Kings”

Lt. Hallie Jordan and Diana, woman of nowhere, only spent a few hours at sea. It didn’t take long for the NAVY rescue choppers to find them. When they did, they were puzzled as to where Diana had come from, but they didn’t ask questions. That would be for Admiral Russo.

Admiral Russo was the commanding officer for this particular test aircraft program, and he was Hallie’s direct superior officer.

“So, Lt. Jordan. Care to explain where she came from?”

“Sir. Yes, Sir. She rescued me, sir. I crashed on an uncharted island, and she and her tribe pulled me from the water. Unfortunately, the aircraft did not survive. It broke up on impact. All I managed to recover was myself and my life raft. Being that her people were unknowns, I incinerated the aircraft, thus preserving the secrets it contained.”

“Horseshit. I don’t suppose I’m going to get a straight answer. Should I court martial you here or wait until after breakfast?”

“At your earliest convenience, please sir.”

“Fine. You are charged with insubordination and willful destruction of NAVY property. I hereby sentence you to drift aimlessly at sea for 36 hours.” He smacked a closed fist on his desk. “Now, considering time already served, I hereby release you from custody. You are dismissed, Lieutenant.”

“Yes, sir.” Hallie saluted and left the office. Diana remained.

“Now, miss, what are you and where did you come from?”

“In actual fact, Admiral, much of Lt. Jordan’s story is true. However, my people wish for total anonymity and seclusion. Lt. Jordan does not know where our island lies and I will not tell you. It is highly unlikely the United States NAVY or any other force on the planet will find it unless we wish them to.”

Admiral Russo cocked an eyebrow.

“That so?”

“It is.”

“Very well. So what do I do with you?”

“I request asylum in the United States of America as a foreign refugee.”

“Request granted. Look, I don’t know who you are or where you came from. I can’t formally do anything about you except either throw you in the brig or put you off at the nearest port. But, I do have a rather large jurisdiction when it comes to this program and its personnel. I will hire you as an outside survival consultant. How’s that? You won’t be a citizen, but you can apply for citizenship later. For now, you’ll work with Hal and under me. That work for you?”

“It does. Thank you, sir.”

“Welcome to the American NAVY, miss…?”

“Diana.”

“Diana. What, you don’t have a last name?”

“Diana Prince.”

“Welcome to the American NAVY, Miss Prince.”

With that, Diana was part of the team. As she was to find out, Admiral Russo’s unit was an oddball mix and one extra person suddenly part of the team raised few official eyebrows. Admiral Russo managed to concoct and present some of the best special equipment the US Armed Forces had ever seen, so he did indeed have much freedom to do whatever he damn well pleased. His superiors didn’t want to accidentally disrupt whatever good things he had going.

***

Well, that went well. I figured the Admiral would go for Diana. Besides, she’s pretty hot. I can’t imagine anyone turning her down. And, I’ve now got the hottest bunkmate on the ship. All those poor sailors are going to be so disappointed. Well, now to find that weasel who designed my jet and give him shit. After all, encounter an invisible force field and immediately go nuts a crash? What kind of jet is that?

***

Diana and Hal returned to Hal’s quarters. First order of business was to shower and get stowed. After that, they went to the mess for a hot meal. After a few hours of R&R, Hal and Diana felt almost human again. Nothing makes a body weary like being lost at sea. There were a few curious glances at Diana, but a few “Classified”s later and people started to ignore her. Anyway, she was with Hal and everyone knew about Hal so most people assumed that not only was Diana part of a top secret something, she was also playing for the other team. Whether she was or not was actually to be determined, something Hal wanted desperately to know, but wasn’t sure how to bring up.

***

So, do you want to have sex with another girl? Do you girls do that sort of thing where you’re from? Doesn’t really seem appropriate ice breaker territory. No, I’ll just have to play the long game on this one and see where it leads. Patience, Hal. Patience. All good, hot sultry things come to those that wait.

***

General Russo, given Hal’s ordeal, was kind enough to give her a few days leave. Besides, the plane was gone and there wasn’t much to do at the moment anyway. A test pilot is usually good only for flying things. With nothing to fly, no need for a pilot. So, Hal made use of the time well. She taught Diana all about American culture. Together they watched Star Wars, played ping pong and poker, had a hilarious night getting drunk and teaching Diana to swear, and no small amount of flirting. Diana, as it turned out, was a switch hitter. Nothing made Hal more happy. They hit it off well, and in no time were getting in plenty of batting practice. All in all, it was the best few days of Hal Jordan’s life.

Then, for the first time in known human history, humanity made contact with an alien race. That the alien died soon after contact was unfortunate, but also not the fault of humans. As first contacts go, it wasn’t too bad. But the nature of that contact changed the course of humanity’s future and Hal Jordan’s life forever.

League of Justice #2.2: “Conscience Does Make Cowards”

Isla Paraíso

“The air of paradise will stifle me till all I am is a shadow!” Diana was incensed. She had brought Hallie Jordan from the crash site to a luncheon in the meadow, and the matriarch had graciously agreed to let Hal return to the outside world, provided that she respect the secret of the island.

Another was chosen to escort Hal back to the shore and give her the rubber raft found in her jet and to point her in the direction of her fleet. Diana had wanted to be chosen. Diana had wanted to go all the way, to experience the entire world.

“Absolutely not! The Sisters of Paradise are exiles from the world. Out there is evil and death and the scrabbling of mad beasts. Here is civility and peace. You will not go!”

“Why is this the way of us?”

“In our good conscience, we cannot allow our gifts and abilities and our purity of soul be tainted by those beyond. The Sisters of Paradise seek true tranquility, and that is only possible in sequester.”

“Our conscience will make cowards of us all! If we are so much better than everyone out there, then we should be leading them! We should be helping them make themselves better! There is no superiority when it is hoarded, there is only selfishness and greed!”

“You are a foolish, small girl to not understand what is our purpose. You should meditate and think upon your sins. Return with a pure heart to ask forgiveness.”

With that, the interview with the Matriarch was over. And Diana’s decision was made. There would be no turning back. In the history of Paradise Island not a single woman had ever left. There was a hill, near the cliffs, were the sisters buried their own, year after year, and set an ornately carved statue over their grave. No statue would look over Diana’s grave. She knew not where her bones would crumble to dust, but it would not be here.

Diana returned to her dwelling, a small hut built into a tree. She gathered there her most precious possessions, really all she owned that was unique to her. She collected two bracers of an unknown metal. Long ago a meteor had crashed down upon the island. It was mostly rock, but at its core was a metal like none the Sisters had encountered. Her mother, a smith, had shaped it into beautiful bracers, covering from wrist to elbow. To date they had proven impenetrable and unscratchable. When her mother had died in an unfortunate accident, they passed to Diana. Her mother had been of the ruling line, third in line to be Matriarch. As such, she wore a singlet in honor of her office. That, too, had become Diana’s. She packed that, after all, she was a princess, even if it was of a people she was about to leave. An exiled princess…it had a melancholy ring to it. Next Diana grabbed a length of rope, more a whip than lasso. It was woven of high tensile cord, yet soft to the touch. It coiled tightly and resisted water and heat. Diana was an apprentice weaver and the rope was her graduation project. All that remained to make her a master of the craft was time and practice. Practice she doubted she would now get.

Diana dressed. She pulled on tall boots, tight breeches, a red corset, and over all a snug cloak of deep blue. Her crow black hair she pulled back into a tight braid. Beneath her sleeves her corsets gripped her arms. At her side her whip hung, waiting for action. Diana was ready, a woman seeking the wonders of a world beyond.

Before she left, she climbed to the top of the cliffs, and looked out over Paradise Island. She never intended to return, and wished to bid it farewell. Once there, she breathed deep of the island air. It was full of ocean, tinged with the earthiness of deep jungle, and the tantalizing fragrance of a thousand island flowers. She would miss her home, but she knew she must leave. Diana’s destiny was beyond the shores and shield, beyond the trees and tribal rules. Diana’s destiny was somewhere out there, in the wide world beyond.

Quite unintentionally, Diana found herself chanting a soft song of farewell:

Paradise, my paradise
I will see you no more
Paradise, my paradise
Sleep now and forever more
I will see you again, once upon a dream
I will walk your paths, bathe in a stream
I will run and drink your wind
To you my soul I will send
When I die, greet her warmly
Shelter her from the world’s storms
Paradise, my paradise
Remember me

Tears falling, she ran across the tops of the cliffs to a waterfall. Taking a single large, last stride, she leaped, into the empty air, down down down with the falling of the water, throwing her life to the fates. She crashed, splashed down into a deep blue pool at one end of a lagoon that led to sea. Breathing deep, once she reached the top of the water, she dove down again. Stoking hard, she swam out of the lagoon and into the ocean. It was cold and crisp and blue.

After about half an hour of swimming she spotted a yellow raft, with a single small figure off in the distance. Almost there. Diana’s freedom bobbed on the waves, guided by a female hand. Diana drew comfort from that, the fact that she was swimming from a mother’s embrace into the embrace of one that felt a sister to her, though they barely knew each other. A smile stole across Diana’s face, and she kicked harder. One last dive beneath the waves and she would be there.

Bursting forth from the water, she saw she startled Hal Jordan.

“What the hell?”

“Hal. It’s me, Diana. Can I come with you? I seek asylum in the United States of America. I can no longer stay in Paradise. I need to see the outside world. I need to walk it. Please, can I come with you?”

“Uh. Yeah. Sure. Though I don’t know how I will explain you to my commanding officer. But yeah, come aboard, sailor.”

Hal threw a mock salute and reached down to help pull Diana from the sea.

Diana brushed water from her face.

“Don’t worry, I’ll think of something.”

Her smile refused to fade. Everything now was new. Behind her the island had vanished into the night behind the Sisters’ shield, but Diana did not see it. She was looking ahead to the future. Grabbing a paddle, she helped guide the small craft across the ocean depths.