Black Canary convened a meeting at the Justice League Watchtower of any heroes who could attend to discuss recent developments in what appears to be a coming Earth Crisis, proclaimed by–or maybe to be brought about by–the Goddess Isis, former wife of Black Adam, and currently ruler of the isolationist Middle Eastern nation of Kandaq.
Canary replayed for those heroes who missed it a vid feed of Isis’ original declaration in the skies above Metropolis a few days prior, in which she said the Earth was being poisoned by something centered in Metropolis. She gave the heroes 30 days to find and stop this infestation–or she would return and end the threat herself by destroying Metropolis.
Earlier that day Lex Luthor had announced a press conference in Metropolis Centennial Park, to be held in front of the Superman statue there. Because it was nearly time for the press conference and because Superman speculated on the possiblity of Luthor being involved in some way with this current crisis, Canary had Oracle pipe in the video feed from the press conference. This is how the conference went:
The camera focuses in on a podium with the LexCorp logo set up in front of Superman’s statue in Metropolis park. A female voice is heard saying . . . “We have word that Lex Luthor will be up and speaking in just a few moments. But first the Mayor will be introducing him, as if anyone should need an introduction to Lex Luthor . . . .” The last had just a note of disapproval to it.
The Mayor of Metropolis steps forth and clears his throat hesitatingly. “Citizens of our great city . . . welcome. Today we will hear from a man who needs no introduction . . .” (A feminine sigh is just barely audible on the feed.) “A man who has in some ways in the past been a controversial figure. But today, he comes as a man who is dedicated to making Metropolis an even greater city than it already is. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you . . . Lex Luthor!”
The Mayor steps out of view of the camera and a very familiar figure steps up to the podium . . . Lex Luthor! Luthor waves to the crowd, a gesture of both magnimity and superiority. His smile is both engaging and . . . somehow . . . unnerving. He looks around again and nods to his security guards. Then he addresses those gathered, an eye toward the press, as always.
Lex Luthor: “Greetings, my fellow citizens of Metropolis. I come to you today with an announcement of a great scientific breakthrough–one that will be of immense benefit to each and every one of you!” He pauses for effect, looks out at the crowd, and then continues. “My reseach teams at LexCorp have long been looking for ways to help the people of this great city. We have delved into many fields and many areas. And just recently, we’ve experienced a great breakthrough! One that will make life easier for every citizen of Metropolis, young and old, ordinary and . . .” he glances over his shoulder at the statue of Superman behind him, his pleasant facade falling for just a moment before he turns back to the crown, the smile back on his face . . . ” . . . extraordinary.”
Luthor seems to take a breath and continues. “Soon . . . very soon . . . my researchers will begin tapping into the energies of the ground on which we stand . . . harnessing and utilizing a new source of power . . . Telluric Current! This is an endless, clean source of power that will give first Metropolis and then the world all the energy we need to make this planet the utopia we have always dreamed of it becoming!” Luthor pauses again to let his words sink through as he takes a drink from a glass on the podium. “This clean, limitless, and inexpensive source of power will make want obsolete. It will be the beginning of the end of wars, of famine, of poverty, of the wretchedness in which all too many find themselves. And it will all be starting here . . .”
Luthor looks back at the statue of Superman again, this time a look of superiority and triumph washing across his face before he continues. “With this power source at our disposal–the power of Telluric Current–we can defend our own cities from the likes of super-powered criminals who may threaten us. No longer need we rely on vigilantes, aliens, and those who hold themselves above mere humans. Our first project is to harness the Telluric Current in defense of Metropolis, to repel threats such as this so-called “goddess” Isis, who has vowed to destroy our city because of some immaginary malignancy she alone can detect! Together, we shall stand against . . .”
Suddenly Luthor breaks off, a look of confusion crossing his features as screams are heard in the background. “What’s happening . . .” he can barely be heard to say to his security team. “Get back, Mr. Luthor,” one of them shouts as the camera pans around to show . . . things . . . huge, hulking, pale creatures of some sort, climbing out of holes that have just opened up in the ground. “Oh, my God,” comes the voice of the woman who’d spoken before. “Some kind of monsters are clawing their way out of the ground. They’re coming this way . . . watch out . . .” The voice feed cuts off with the sound of screams as the camera shows the crowd scattering in panic . . . before it falls to the ground and the video too goes dark . . .
As chaos–and monsters–overtook the press conference in the park, the League and its allied heroes teleported down to take in the situation. As they arrived, most of the crowd had managed to clear out of the area, but several people–including Luthor and his security team, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen, and a pair of Metropolis PD officers–were trapped around the statue by close to a dozen hulking, pale, dirt encrusted creatures who had clawed their way from holes in the ground–and more seemed to be following them! The heroes immediately sprang into action to protect those trapped by the marauding monsters . . . who, fortunately, seemed mainly intent on one target: Lex Luthor!
While instructing Mary Marvel to protect Luthor and the others near the podium, Superman tried the direct approach of tackling some of the monsters, while Troia attempted to lasso some of them in the hope of maybe compelling them to return from where they came peacefully. Firestorm tried using his quark vision to see if he could determine the creature’s makeup, while Ravager examined them for weak points. Black Canary tried a Canary Cry against one to see if it’s big ears might be especially vulnerable to sonics. She also suggested that Firestorm try to close off the holes to stop more of the creatures from emerging.
Unfortunately, Superman found that the creatures were tougher than they looked as they were knocked down–but not out–by his attack. Troia discovered how strong they were as they pulled her down toward them by grabbing her lasso. Ravager managed to scope out some vulnerable points on the creatures, and Firestorm discovered that they were composed of very dense, though living, matter . . . and had some kind of metallic device at the base of their tiny brains, though in the heat of battle he didn’t get the chance to share this last point with the others. The one Canary hit was only momentarily stopped, but it turned from attacking those at the podium to lumber toward Canary. The other creatures seemed to ignore most of the heroes and the civilians–except when the latter were in their way–in targetting Luthor.
Hearing Canary’s question to Firestorm, Superman used his heat vision to begin sealing up some of the holes out of which the creatures were pouring, stemming the flow. Despite his protests, Mary managed to grab Luthor, along with Jimmy Olsen, and whisk them to safety, even as Luthor’s security team was taken down by the creatures, one of them thrown toward Mary as she carried Luthor and Olsen to safety. Troia attempted to use the power of her lasso to persuade the creatures to return from where they’d come . . . but something else seemed to be compelling them, counteracting the commands of her lasso to them. Lois Lane, meanwhile, picked up a broken tree branch and began to attack one of the creatures who was closing on one of the MPD officers.
Firestorm, in response to Canary’s suggestion, went intangible and dropped below ground where he loosed a nuclear concussive blast to try to collape the holes from which the creatures were emerging. Ravager attempted to get the remaining humans to vacate the area as she stood against the creatures. Seeing her first Cry had little effect, Black Canary upped the power on her next sonic attack on the creature who was coming toward her. Troia’s commands on the monsters she’d lassoed finally seemed to override whatever was keeping them from obeying at first–but they were unable to leave when Firestorm’s blast collapsed all the remaining holes. The creature Canary’s cry hit suddenly went down–and there was an explosion at the base of its head. And then the same thing happened to all the rest of the monsters–before they suddenly went totally berserk, now attacking everyone and everything in sight.
As one of the creatures turned on Lois Lane, Superman flew to her rescue and, using his superspeed, rushed the remaining civilians out of harm’s way, leaving only the downed security team and the two police officers in the path of the monsters. Mary took the brunt of the hit from the man thrown at her, and managed to get Luthor and Jimmy to safety, and to keep the security man from dying from being thrown. Troia, seeing she had no other choice, flew directly at the two creatures she’d lassoed to try to take them out of the battle quickly. Firestorm began to turn the ground into water under some of the monsters, causing them to drop out of sight. Ravager finally cut loose against the creatures, killing one with a sword strike to its eye. Canary took down another with her Canary Cry and directed Superman to get the remaining humans out of the monster’s paths and to get those injured to the hospital, which the Man of Steel did, saving everyone left from near or certain death.
Suddenly the monsters were going down faster and easier than they had before, which Canary thought might have something to do with the explosions at the base of their skulls, though she didn’t have time to think on it as the heroes worked to take down the remaining creatures. One by one, the monsters fell to the heroes’ attacks . . . only this time, they stopped moving entirely when they fell. When Superman dispatched the last creature, the battle was at last over. Though as the monsters lay still, some of the heroes could hear a distant rumbling sound and feel a slight tremor in the Earth . . . When the MSCU arrived on the scene, they discovered that all the creatures were now dead! Meanwhile, another LexCorp security squad arrived to whisk Luthor off to safety.
As the police began to collect the bodies, Black Canary asked Superman to scan them with his microscopic vision at the point where their heads exploded to see if he could determine the cause. He discovered traces of metal and sillicon and other substances even he couldn’t recognize–evidence of something that had been controlling the creatures and had exploded as a result of Canary’s cry setting off a chain reaction in the devices. Superman then used his X-ray vision to trace the remnant paths of the holes out of which the creatures had emerged–and discovered them converging on two bigger holes looking as though they’d been created by something mechanical and heading straight down till they disappeared beneath some lead deposits.
Just then, Oracle sent Canary a broadcast from KLEX radio in which Luthor was proclaimed the hero of what had happened and the heroes themselves blamed for the injuries suffered and the damage done. As the broadcast ended, Batman arrived on the scene and began his own investigation into what had occurred. Together the heroes decided that something had been controlling the monsters . . . something or someone alien from below the surface of the Earth. And for some reason, they’d been after Luthor–perhaps because of his Telluric current research. It was unclear, however, if this was the threat Isis was referring to or if it was something else . . . But the heroes determined that they would get to the bottom of it . . . literally, if necessary. They departed, tasked to research what they could about subterranean threats, from the League archives, from the myths Troia would know of, and from other sources as well.
Heroes: Superman, Mary Marvel, Troia, Firestorm, Ravager, Black Canary, Batman.
Villains: Lex Luthor, Luthor’s security team, Mole Monsters.
Civilians: Lois Lane, Jimmy Olsen, MPD officers, various attendees at the press conference.