The Starros Like Dust

Following their battle with the Starro possessed heroes at the Batcave, the heroes were teleported to the street in front of the Iceberg Lounge, where they found the entrance blocked by a line of GCPD officers let by Commissioner Gordon–all with Starro spores attached to their faces. Chanting in unison, the officers and Gordon welcomed the heroes to the hive and invited them inside . . . to join them. Thanks to another teleporter glitch, not all the heroes had made it into Gotham, but their ranks were bolstered by the addition of two others–Booster Gold, who’d come in a time sphere to help prevent a temporal anomaly that would be caused by Starro’s conquest of Earth, and a Green Lantern, who’d been sent by the Guardians of the Universe to arrest Starro for his past interstellar crimes. The Green Lantern tasked with this duty, however, was Sinestro!

A wave of mental oppression had hit the heroes as they arrived, though Miss Martian quickly raised a mental shield over all those who needed it. As Starro-Gordon again invited the heroes into the Lounge–aka, the hive–and started to step aside to allow it, several of the heroes acted against the possessed police line. Livewire went electrical and entered the wiring under the street, shooting an electrical charge up at the officers, while Sinestro swept them off their feet and aside with a green energy net, even as Firestorm sent nonlethal nuclear bolts at them. Miss Martian again cautioned the heroes to avoid excessive force, as anything they did against the Starro spores also affected the people the spores were attached to.

As the police/drones were swept aside, Miss Martian and Sinestro led the other heroes into the Lounge to confront whatever was inside. (Livewire attempted to remove a spore from the face of one officer by polarizing the spore, hoping it would be repulsed from the man, but it held on, digging its hooks into his face, till she gave up the attempt.) Inside, they found the Lounge much as they’d left it, with all the same heroes and villains as Starro drones, along with all the other affected citizens. Only their ranks now included Black Canary, who’d been caught by a spore previously, and Man-Bat, who’d escaped the Batcave and flown back to the hive to warn that the heroes were coming.

Two other differences were that all the drones now seemed to be acting more in lockstep, as if they were now under greater mental control–and the huge block of ice that had been in the center of the Lounge was now cracked and misshapen, mostly melted into a pool of water in the recessed center. and the vague shape of . . . something . . . large could be seen inside. And it was moving! As the drones chanted in unison, “We are Starro!” and beckoned the heroes to join the hive, the remaining ice began to quake and break apart. Firestorm, in a bid to keep whatever was inside trapped, transmuted the ice to concrete–but was too late as the form inside still managed to break free to reveal . . . Starro the Conqueror!

The giant alien starfish was now reborn and free of the ice he’d been interred in. Though oddly, since Starro was known to be vulnerable to extreme cold, he seemed none the worse for his frigid entombment. In fact, the heroes were hit with yet another wave of mental oppression from the alien, one that Miss Martian was hard pressed to shield them from. As soon as Starro had emerged, Sinestro shot a spear of green energy from his power ring at the alien, though it bounced right off of Starro’s invulnerable body. Attacks by other heroes also seemed to have no effect on the Star Conqueror, and he bid his drones to take the heroes as he loosed a wave of spores at them.

Sinestro quickly raised a green energy shield to protect the heroes from the eyebeam blasts the drones started firing at them, while Troia used her bracelets to deflect as many of the beams as she could. Booster, Livewire, Firestorm and Miss Martian shot down as many of the spores as they could, while Plastic Man readied what he’d hoped would be their secret weapon against Starro–Mr. Freeze’s freeze gun, which Batman had given him before they left the Batcave. Plastic Man fired it and Starro was again coated in ice and frigid cold . . . and for a moment, not only did the mental assault stop, but so did the attacks from the drones!

And then there was a mental cry of victory and triumph, as Starro seemed to absorb the freeze ray energy and grow stronger and much bigger in size from its effects. Instead of being hampered, he sent out a new wave of mental oppression that almost sent Miss Martian to her knees in trying to protect the heroes. Then, too big for the Lounge to hold him, Starro smashed his way through the ceiling and up to the roof of the building, leaving his drones to deal with the heroes. Sinestro followed Starro up to the roof to try to contain him as the drones began to move on the heroes again. Plastic Man, puzzled as to why the freeze ray had the opposite effect from what the heroes expected, discovered he didn’t know how to turn off the freeze ray and ended up icing up the Clayface, Man-Bat, and Penguin Starro drones before it suddenly shut off.

On the roof, Sinestro attempted to trap Starro in a huge green bubble and then hurl the alien overlord out into space. He surrounded the creature with his green energy, but couldn’t manage to throw him into space–and suddenly Starro burst his way through the bubble! Just then Sinestro received a call from the Guardians sending him to another emergency elsewhere in the sector, so he flew off into space, leaving Starro for the other heroes to deal with. Starro then sent out another wave of spores to take over those in Gotham who’d not yet fallen to his influence. Meanwhile, down in the Lounge, the heroes continued to battle the drones. Booster Gold had tried hitting the Killer Croc drone, only to have little effect and be knocked back soundly by the possessed villain. Booster then had Skeets assail Croc with high powered sound waves, which quickly took the Croc drone out of the fight.

Livewire, meanwhile, went electric and surged through the ice coating the roof of the Lounge, turning it to water raining down on the drones, and used it to send electrical charges into them, rendering several unconscioius. The Clayface drone, though iced by the freeze ray, managed to break out of his icy coating to attack Plastic Man with a huge clay hammer fist. Plastic Man tried the freeze gun again, but it failed to fire, though Troia launched herself at Clayface and distracted him from his attack on Plastic Man. She became mired in the clay, as several drones fired their spore’s eyebeams at her. A voice from behind the drones chided Plastic Man, asking the hero if he thought he’d really allow anyone else to use “his” freeze ray. The figure who’d spoke then stepped into sight to reveal himself as Mr. Freeze himself–but without a Starro spore on his face!

Freeze was holding up what appeared to be a remote control unit, which he’d used to disable his freeze gun. He gloated that it was his freeze formula that had made Starro immune from the effects of extreme cold, making the Star Conqueror more powerful than ever! In exchange for his help–since Starro couldn’t get a spore on Freeze’s face through his helmet–Starro had promised to let Freeze rule Gotham after he’d conquered the Earth. At that moment, the Black Canary drone let out a Canary Cry aimed at Miss Martian. She’d already been distracted by a drone nearly attaching to her face, though she’d gone insubstantial and it had passed through her instead of sticking. But Canary’s attack took the Martian by surprise and she dropped her mental shielding for a moment from the distraction.

The drones used that opportunity to advance on the heroes, but fortunately, Livewire had used her electricity to magnetize the ceiling, drawing metal objects to it–including the remote control that Mr. Freeze had used to shut down his freeze gun. Then Freeze himself went flying to the ceiling as the metal in his containment suit was affected. As the drones were now distracted by having their metal objects pulled from them, Plastic Man used the freeze gun to again freeze up Clayface, though Troia had been hit by multiple eyebeams and had been knocked out at the villain’s feet. At that point, Oracle called the heroes on their comm to tell them that waves of Starro spores were inundating the city–her windows were covered with them and her defenses wouldn’t hold for long unless the heroes could act swiftly to stop Starro. Miss Martian, her mental shields back in place, realized that they couldn’t waste any more time with the drones and needed to face Starro itself. She called for Plastic Man to grab Troia and for the heroes to head for the roof.

Miss Martian phased through to the roof, while the other heroes came up through the hole Starro had created when he ascended to the top of the building. He’d grown even bigger by now, dwarfing the heroes as he sent out wave after wave of spores into the city. So insignificant did the heroes seem to him now, he scarcely noticed them–even when Miss Martian engaged in direct psychic battle with him. Even this had little effect on Starro, but from it, Miss Martian realized that Starro had been blocking something from her mind–something J’onn had told her about past battles the League had had with Starro . . . another way to defeat him other than with extreme cold! But . . . the alien continued to block what it was from her conscious mind!

She asked the other heroes if any of them knew what other method had been used to defeat Starro, though none of them knew. It looked almost hopeless, as the Star Conqueror continued to send out his spores . . .until providence stepped in and another hero who’d been away in space picked that moment to return: Wonder Woman! She’d stopped at the Watchtower and learned what was happening in Gotham and beamed down to the roof of the Iceberg Lounge to join the heroes in what she knew, from her past experience, would be a tough battle. She arrived in time to hear Miss Martian ask if anyone knew what else the League had used to defeat Starro other than cold. As she’d been present at the League’s first battle with the Star Conqueror, she remembered what they’d used that time to stop him: quicklime!

Given the answer, Miss Martian bade Plastic Man to use the freeze gun to cover Starro with ice and, before the alien could use the cold to power himself further, for Firestorm to transmute it into quicklime. Plastic Man coated Starro and Firestorm used his nuclear powers to effect the transmutation, and Starro found himself totally coated in quicklime! The Star Conqueror’s mental anguish washed through the minds of the heroes as the gigantic alien suddenly wilted and his mind went silent. Meanwhile, Booster had instructed Skeets to whip up a temporal vortex, given extra power by Livewire, in the hope of pulling the Starr Conqueror off into the timesteam. As Starro went inert, the vortex sucked his huge alien form into itself–and he was gone! At the same time, all the Starro spores began to fall inert from the air. Oracle reported by comm that those coating her windows were gone and the streets of Gotham filled with the inert spores. Down below, in the Lounge, all the spores dropped from the drones’ faces, and they were all themselves again.

The heroes down in the Lounge, freed from the Starro spores, gathered up and restrained Freeze and the villains who’d been drones and saw to the rest of the former drones. (Penguin, now freed of his spore, was not happy to find himself trapped in ice and to see the damage done to his club.) Troia finally regained consciousness but needed to be taken to the Watchtower infirmary by Wonder Woman to fully recover from the energy blasts she took. Booster and Skeets departed in the time sphere that had brought them, as Plastic Man turned into a balloon and drifted away. Firestorm, Livewire, and Miss Martian went about cleaning up the inert Starro spores that now filled the streets of Gotham. And Starro the Conqueror, his latest plan for domination foiled, was lost in the timestream . . . for now . . .

The End!

Heroes Present: Booster Gold (and Skeets), Green Lantern (Sinestro), Livewire, Firestorm, Plastic Man, Troia, Wonder Woman, Miss Martian, Oracle (by comm).

Heroes Present as Drones: Black Canary, Batgirl, Batwoman, Huntress.

Villians Present: Starro the Conqueror, Starro Spores, Killer Croc (drone), Clayface (drone), Man-Bat (drone), Penguin (drone), Mr. Freeze.

Others Present: Starro Drones (citizens), Starro Drones (GCPD officers), Commissioner Gordon (drone).

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This entry was posted in Amazons, Gotham, Iceberg Lounge, Justice League of America, Justice Society of America, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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