Following the battle of Metropolis, Black Adam streaked away carrying his unconscious wife, Isis, back to Kahndaq to recover from the effects of Lex Luthor’s telluric death rays. With her last words before passing out, Isis had indicated that the poisoning of the Earth had ceased. This seemed to have coincided with the efforts of the heroes and Adam to destroy Luthor’s telluric defense towers and their exploding. Zatanna had used her magic to clean up much of the damage, sending the volcanoes back into the ground and calming the storm winds. Superman gave chase after Adam to try to bring him and Isis back. Meanwhile, the other heroes gathered before the entrance of the park.
Black Canary, finally able to get a teleport beam to work through the interference from Luthor’s now silenced telluric defenses, joined the others from the Watchtower. Superman soon returned empty handed, Adam having eluded the Man of Steel’s pursuit. The heroes conferred and decided it was time to pay Lex Luthor a visit to discuss his part in the destruction that had befallen Metropolis, even as the remains of his telluric defense towers smoked and sparked above the skyline. This seemed especially appropriate since Luthor had given Troia his word that he’d shut down his telluric project . . . but obviously had not done so.
The situation was complicated by the fact that True American had telepathically discerned from someone at LexCorp that Luthor had been buried by an explosion, though there were no specific details. Superman attempted to scan under the city, but his super-vision was blocked by a lead-lined underground structure. His super-hearing, however, picked up Luthor’s voice telling his men not to worry about the doors, just to get the telluric generator back online. Canary suggested that they head to LexCorp and see if they could take the elevator back down to the telluric lab some of them had visited on the press tour. The others concurred and they headed to LexCorp, which had sustained some damage from the destroyed telluric tower on its roof, though mostly appeared intact.
Inside, the heroes found a pair of LexCorp security guards at the elevator. The guards at first refused to let the heroes access the elevator, as the building was on lockdown until Luthor said otherwise. But after Troia moved in on them, putting her lasso of persuasion on them, Superman pushed open the door to the elevator, and True American implanted a telepathic thought in their minds that Luthor was authorizing the heroes to enter, they two guards gave way and allowed the heroes to pass. The one in Troia’s lasso even gave them the code to get to the telluric lab. Within minutes, the heroes were arriving outside Luthor’s telluric control center.
The door, however, was blocked and bent inward by rocks that had fallen against it. But Superman, Troia, El Bagual, and Captain and Mary Marvel quickly began to move them out of the way, as Firestorm transmuted others to sand. Superman and the Marvels–watching to cover the Man of Steel in case Luthor had kryptonite defenses–lifted the ruined door out of the way, allowing the heroes to enter. The guards on the inside of the door were quickly–but gently–dispatched by Captain Marvel, and the assembled heroes walked toward Luthor’s central control area, where several lab techs and the project’s chief scientist, Dr. Wassermann, were trying to patch things back together at Luthor’s insistance.
In the center of the circle of control panels, a massive–and this time very real appearing–device was sparking ominously as the techs and scientists worked to bring the telluric generator back online to Luthor’s commands. A pair of guards near the opening to the control area had pulled guns and had advanced and were now standing nervously watching the heroes approach. They seemed determined to keep the heroes away. Zatanna used her magic to take their guns, but Black Canary quickly pointed out that they were there on Luthor’s private property and the guards hadn’t done anything illegal nor attacked them, so they couldn’t take the men’s guns. Zatanna reluctantly returned them. Several of the heroes told them they were there to talk to Luthor, with Troia’s voice the most forceful. True American planted a telepathic suggestion in their minds that Luthor wanted to speak to Superman, and they stepped aside.
As they arrived at the central command area, Black Canary cautioned the heroes not to let what had happened and the heat of the moment cloud their judgment. She then asked Troia to clarify what Luthor had said to her. Troia relayed the man’s promise to shut down the telluric project . . . a promise he’d clearly not kept. By now, the heroes could hear Luthor shouting that he wanted the unit back online so they could restore the telluric shield he’d erected below the city to block attacks from below and raise one above it now that the defense towers were destroyed, thanks to “the meddling of those so-called heroes.” Dr. Wassermann told him that they were working on it, but there was so much damage to the relays, it could take some time.
Just then, Luthor finally noticed the heroes’ arrival and began to bluster at them that they were trespassing on private property and that if they didn’t leave, he’d have them arrested. He appeared livid especialy at the Man of Steel, but looked away guiltily for a moment on seeing Troia–before returning to his bluster. The two guards moved to cover Luthor, though they seemed unnerved at the prospect of having to confront the heroes to protect their boss. Superman tried to reason with both the guards and Luthor, but finally felt the need to push past the guards to get to the business mogul. Troia, following him, confronted Luthor for breaking his word to her, showing the man that she most definitely was not happy. Mary and Captain Marvel raised the spectre of Black Adam seeking to avenge Luthor’s attack on Isis, and Zatanna even threatened to to teleport Luthor into his hands.
As Superman pushed past the guards, they drew weapons–which didn’t appear quite to be ordinary guns–and the Man of Steel felt a wave of weakness. Seeing Superman falter, Captain Marvel called on Firestorm to transmute the kryptonite in the weapons to something unharmful, like salt-water taffy. The Nuclear Man quickly complied, restoring Superman’s strength, while El Bagual confronted the guards. Black Canary, with aid from Mary, continued to try to get the heroes to calm down and use restraint, as she was afraid that if they weren’t careful and went too far with their actions, Luthor would be able to use that as an excuse to elude the justice he deserved–provided they didn’t hand him over to Adam for a messy end, which wouldn’t have been what heroes should do. (Especially after all the effort they’d expended to rescue Luthor from the Mole Men.)
Troia readied her lasso of persuasion to use on Luthor, calling him to keep his promise. But Luthor countered that unless she had a witness or had it in writing, any so-called promise she claimed he’d made was invalid–especially if it were forced under duress. He stood defiant, asking the heroes whether they intended to kill him and show their true nature. Troia moved toward him, and the guards turned their weapons toward her, only to be disarmed by Batgirl’s batarangs. Troia ensnared Luthor in her lasso, and as the heroes discussed the implications of what was happening, she tried to use its power to get Luthor to shut down the telluric lab. Luthor tried to fight it, but was about to issue the command when suddenly the complex shook like it had been hit by something powerful, and parts of the ceiling began to cave in.
Captain Marvel immediately took to the air to hold up the ceiling, and as the dust cleared, floating down into the midst of the control center was Black Adam! He’d returned and his face was twisted with hatred as he looked to Luthor, telling the man that he would return with Adam to Kahndaq to face judgment and execution for his crimes. Adam let loose with a powerful thunderclap to knock back the others and do what damage he could to Luthor’s equipment. The guards and techs were knocked off their feet, and the central electrical column was knocked akilter, though it still seemed to be functioning at least as well as it had been. Adam then rushed at Luthor, attempting to grab him by the throat and carry him away.
As Adam had threatened Luthor, Black Canary shouted to the others that they had to protect Luthor–he needed to face justice, not be carried off to be slaughtered. Mary had moved to help Captain Marvel with the ceiling, but Superman told them both to deal with Black Adam, as he moved upward to take their place holding up the roof. Captain Marvel immediately moved to intercept Adam before he could grab Luthor, and managed to hold the Black Marvel at bay, as he and Mary tried to pursuade Adam to leave Luthor to the heroes and return to Kahndaq to care for Isis. Troia tackled Luthor to the ground to protect him as she, too, attemped to reason with Black Adam. Mary swooped in to shield Troia and Luthor from Adam’s sight and stand with her brother.
Luthor, unappreciative as ever, screamed for the heroes to let him get his telluric generator back online so he could deal with Adam, obviously not totally grasping the peril he was in. The two guards tried to help shield Luthor as three of LexCorp’s heavily armed guards who’d been covering a steel door at the back finally acted and moved in to position, firing upon Adam. Their bullets, of course, had no effect on the Black Marvel, though they did begin to ricochet precariously around the area. Hearing Luthor’s words, Adam walked to the tilting electrical tower, deciding that it was the generator responsible for the attack on Isis. He then called down the magic lightning with “Shazam!” But Adam used his speed to get out of the way as the lightning streaked down and into the electrical device, causing it to explode, destroying it completely.
Fortunately, El Bagual, Batgirl, and Black Canary had already begun to help up the fallen scientists and techs and move them from the area, so when the electrical column exploded, only those able to take the force of the blast–or protected by others–were close enough to be affected. Zatanna had already cast a spell to draw the water out of the surroundings in the building and turn it to ice to help hold up the ceiling, so was also protected from the explosion by a magical aura. Almost unnoticed, two other figures appeared in the complex . . . Raven, who’d sensed Adam’s return and followed him there, and an a tall oriental-looking woman who emerged from the elevator in a flowing, cold fog.
Meanwhile, Canary had noticed the heavily armed guards firing at Adam, and the cascading effect from the bullets bouncing off him. She quickly used her Canary Cry to subdue the soldiers, as there were still too many civilians and heroes at risk for such indiscriminate gunfire. The new woman–Yuki–used her own power to suck moisture out of the air and send more ice up to the ceiling to help hold it in place, freeing the Man of Steel from that task. But it seemed the destruction of the electrical column had satisfied Adam, as he felt its demise had avenged Isis for Luthor’s attack on her and was satisfying to the gods who’d released him to protect her. With a final threat to Luthor–telling the man he would not forget what had happened–Black Adam flew upward, crashing through the ceiling, and away, back to Kahndaq to tend to his wife, the arguments of the Marvels that he should forego his revenge to make sure Isis was cared for finally having gotten through to him.
As Adam disappeared from sight and the heroes began to recover from his unexpected reappearance, there was yet another unanticipated event, as a bright burst of light appeared in the room, out of which a spacesuit clad figure appeared–one familiar to some of the heroes . . . Adam Strange! Strange–Earthman protector of the planet Rann and now an operative for the private interstellar security agency L.E.G.I.O.N.–called out to Superman and the other heroes he’d met before, indicating that he seemed to have gotten there in time. Though as he stated this, the magical heroes began to sense a vague stirring . . .
As Troia used her lasso to order Luthor to destroy his telluric devices, including files and blueprints, the heroes asked Strange what he meant. He in turn responded by asking them if they’d destroyed the “Earth Seed.” He told them he’d been trying to get there ever since they’d detected its emanations at L.E.G.I.O.N., but the interference it was throwing up had kept the Zeta beam from working. Puzzled, though concerned, the heroes asked Strange what he was talking about. He explained that the Earth Seed was a powerful Dominator weapon, and they’d picked up indiations that one was active on Earth. He told them it was a weapon of tremendous potential for mass destruction–even of causing the entire Earth to detonate, like Krypton had in the past.
This information concerned the heroes, and Troia renewed her efforts to get Luthor to destroy his work, even as he tried to resist, while Captain Marvel wondered if the telluric generator that Black Adam had destroyed was the Earth Seed. Strange told them to wait–he needed to get a colleague down here as well, and he called for another zeta beam, out of which stepped–a Dominator. This caused more concern among the heroes, but Strange quickly introduced the newcomer as Xylon, a former fleet admiral of the Dominion who was now working with L.E.G.I.O.N. since the Star Conqueror had overrun the Dominion homeworld. Unfortunately, in response to the attack on their homeworld, the Dominators had created what they considered the ultimate weapon, bringing together their most powerful scientists and mystics to formulate the Earth Seed.
The Dominators decided that if they couldn’t stop the Star Conqueror, they’d make his conquest of their world a hollow victory by sending out Earth Seeds to all the planets he’d conquered already, where they would drain away the life blood of each world on which an Earth Seed landed. This was what is known on Earth as telluric current, but also is known to the mystics as the Worldsoul. Once an Earth Seed was planted on a world, it would drain it of its telluric current, its Worldsoul, storing some and returning the rest back into the planet in a corrupted form that would result in earthquakes and the destruction of plant life, literally poisoning the planet. Black Canary affirmed to Strange’s question that they’d been experiencing both phenemona, and that Swamp Thing had warned them that The Green–the embodiment of plant life on Earth–was dying.
Those heroes with magical connections continued to sense a growing unrest . . . somewhere near, and though Zatanna tried to zero in on it, it remained vague. Strange went on to explain that the Dominators failed in their attempt . . . mostly. They did manage to send out three Earth Seeds in unmanned starships before their world was overrun. Two were shot down by the Star Conqueror’s forces, and the third was hit and likely damaged but managed to escape. Based on the energy signatures that L.E.G.I.O.N. had picked up coming from Earth, they believed that the final ship with its Earth Seed must have crashed on our world. And apparently, someone had found it . . . Xylon chimed in to tell them that the Earth Seed must be destroyed or their planet was forfeit.
Trying to gather what had happened from the heroes’ comments, Strange asked if it was Isis who’d stopped the Earth Seed. Luthor, resisting Troia’s lasso one last time, managed to call out that he had found it–and used it to save the Earth. Then, lost in that last delusion, he fell to the persuasion of the lasso and started ordering his techs to destroy all of his telluric work. But one of the techs apologized and informed him–and everyone else–that the telluric generator just came back online . . . and wouldn’t shut down again. The heroes seemed confused over this revelation, but Xylon quickly told them that, while the Earth Seed can use other sources of power, it doesn’t need them–that it can regenerate and function on its own.
Still, the heroes seemed uncertain, speculating that Luthor had found and used the Earth Seed, but thinking that Black Adam had already destroyed it. Until the helpful lab tech told them that what the “mad man” blew up was Luthor’s original telluric generator–but that he was using it to power the actual tellluric generator so that he could draw that power into his telluric defense towers. He said when the towers had been destroyed, it had shut down, leaving only Luthor’s original device working–but now it seemed to be back online and wouldn’t turn off. Remembering the alien looking device Luthor had been using to target the Mole Men’s realm, Black Canary asked if that might be the Earth Seed. And if so, it was in the other room of the complex before–the one the heavily armed security personnel had been guarding before Black Adam’s attack.
The magically based heroes were sensing the growing power of whatever they’d detected before, and it was beginning to feel very alien in nature to them. Troia used her lasso to compel Luthor to tell where he’d found this other telluric generator, and he confessed to one of this teams having found it in a crashed spaceship in South America. They’re brought it back to LexCorp and Luthor had managed to repair the minor damage to it and hook it up to his own telluric generator, which he’d not been able to get to work previously. But with the new device connected in tandem with it, they both came online, giving him what he thought was a source of clean, cheap energy to use for the city–especially to defend it from “cretins” like the heroes. Using his X-ray vision, Superman confirmed the presence of the alien device in the sealed off room, and the heroes headed for it in an attempt to shut down the Earth Seed.
Superman ripped the steel door off its hinges and the heroes entered the telluric generator room. The guards inside started to protest, but quickly thought better of it and stepped aside. Black Canary identified the huge alien looking device as what Luthor had used to attack the Mole Men, and Xylon confirmed that it was the Earth Seed. He said he could try to shut it down, but with it activated again, having run so long previously, he might not be able to do so in time. He added, however, that if it is not stopped, it will kill the planet. The heroes quickly confirred on whether the mystics among them might be able to dispose of it or if Superman or the Marvels could remove it, taking it into space. Luthor, whom Troia had dragged into the room still in her lasso, protested that it was not his fault. How could he have known? He blamed all the aliens and their toys, always inteferring with the planet and endangering mankind.
Troia wondered whether Raven might be able to contain the device within her soul self, and Raven agreed to try. She used her magic to form a shield around the device and touched it with her soul self. For a moment both vanished from sight. But then, shimmering back into view, the Earth Seed returned! Xylon told them that the device had defenses–mystical as well as physical–which is why it didn’t work. They weren’t at full strength yet, but would get there soon. He suggested that if the heroes hit the device with everything they had, it might knock down the defenses and allow the mystics, working together, to send it away. Or it might cause the device to explode, taking the Earth with it. If not, however, and the mystics couldn’t handle it, the Marvels and Superman might be able to carry it off into space, though they’d have to get it far enough away that it could no longer reach out to the Earth’s electrical aura. In any event, they needed to act fast. Xylon’s readings indicated the Earth Seed was near detonation.
Black Canary made the decision and told the heroes to hit it with everything they had, and she opened up on it with a powerful Canary Cry. Mary and Captain Marvel, Troia, and Superman began to deliver powerful punches on it, as Yuki hit it with her cold field and Firestorm delivered concussive nuclear blasts against the device. Xylon, checking his instruments, indicated it was working and the device’s defensive shields were wavering. Then the air around the Earth Seed shimmered and Xylon called out that its defenses were neutralized and they needed to remove it now. Canary told the mystics to try to dispose of it. Zatanna, Captain Marvel and Mary all focused to lend their magical energies to that of Raven, while Superman stood ready to attempt to fly the device off the planet if they failed.
Raven concentrated all her mystical power and that she’d received from the others onto the device, and suddenly the Earth Seed semed to shimmer and grow transparent . . . and then it was gone! The earth tremors that had started with it coming back online also ceased and everything was quiet. Except for Luthor muttering, “Damn–back to the drawing board.” The heroes soundly rebuked the man, pointing out that he was responsible for the near destruction of the entire Earth. Unrepentant, Luthor countered that by the time his lawyers were done with the heroes, they’d at best be on community service, working for him. The heroes were unphased by Luthor’s threats, but divided on what to do with the man now. Adam Strange meanwhile confirmed for the heroes that L.E.G.I.O.N. was reporting to him that the Earth Seed’s energy signature was gone, and the threat ended.
Xylon reiterated that if they hadn’t managed to stop it, the Earth Seed would have been tearing the planet aparty by now. And would already have done so if it hadn’t been shut down temporarily. He added that they were in debt to whoever had caused that to happen. Black Canary pointed out that it was Isis’s attack and the subsequent destruction of the telluric defense towers by the heroes that had shut down the Earth Seed. And if Isis hadn’t identified a problem in the first place, it’s likely Luthor would have continued using the device until it had corrupted and destroyed the Earth. So even though Isis had gone about things the wrong way, she had at least played a part in saving the Earth . . . as she’d claimed she was doing all along.
At that point, the heroes noticed that Raven had collapsed from the exertion of removing the Earth Seed from this plane, and rushed to see what they could do for her. Canary suggested they teleport her to the infirmary at the Watchtower, though Troia thought it might be better if Raven were taken to Titans Tower, as they already had her medical records there. Canary had the League teleporter transport Raven and Troia there to see to the unconscious heroine. Adam Strange meanwhile told them that he and Xylon had to leave for another assignment, so the two rode Zeta beams away. As for Luthor, the remaining heroes decided to leave him for the authorities, and they headed out to do what they do best . . . help the city and people of Metropolis recover from the ordeal just ended.
Heroes present: Superman, Troia, Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, Firestorm. Zatanna, Batgirl, El Bagual, True American, Raven, Yuki, Black Canary, Adam Strange, Xylon.
Villians present: Lex Luthor, Black Adam, the Earth Seed.
Others present: Lexcorp security guards and lab techs, Dr. Helmut Wassermann.