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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Issue 12 – The Road to Jaiipuur

12 December, 2021

Tanks looking something like this.

Picking up right after Issue 11, with our heroes back on Earth, briefly

Cover: The team fighting a group of soldiers in vaguely (but not really) Eastern European uniforms with automatic weapons as Roboto tears the turret off of a tank, in the background a burning derigible fall from sky among tall slender buildings.  “It is WAR!  Are our young heroes ready?”

Opening page: The heroes in Vulpix’s swinging pad.  “How can I get back to Jaiipuur!?  My world is in danger!” says 808 hammering his fist on a table.  The rest of the team looks concerned.

Next page: 808 tries to contact Earth Ape (who they worked with agents from in Issue 5) but no luck.  Then he decides to fly back to the warehouse, accompanied by Horizon, and see if there is anything usable there.  Using his good rapport with the NYPD, 808 talks their way past the patrolman keeping guard on the warehouse which, honestly, is a bit of a wreak after the battle with Zyxyz.  They hunt around gathering up what they hope are bits of the gate, 808 writes out a reciepe and tries to teleport himself, Roboto and all the bits and pieces back to Professor Van Dyne’s lab . . . and manages to get himself, Roboto and most of the technology there.  Van Dyne looks over the technology and frankly admits it is beyond him (much to Roboto’s disappointment) but he knows someone who can, the Professor makes a call. 

Soon Doctor Grey and the Misfits of Science* arrive!  (Having flown in from their base in upstate New York.)  Doctor Gray with the aid of A•C. Living Magnet, 808 and the Professor, while Lady Defender and Tigershark mostly chatted with the rest of the team and ocasionally moved something heavy.  After a few hours, they have a functioning gate, probably, 808 does his best to set the coordinates.  A•C powers up the gate and the Living Magnet holds the thing together while Doctor Grey and the Professor keep the coordinate settings steady.  The team steps through and finds themselves . . .

lookingbeyonOn a blasted plain with a few odd plants with hexagonal leaves.  808 recognizes this as the world of November, which suffered from a unique atomic disaster which created unique high atomic elements that are mined and used by Jaiipuurian transdimensional technology.  It is still a slightly radioactive wasteland though so one they should not stay long.  Horizon finds a piece of scrap metal that can be used as a sled to transport the rest of the team.  808 uses his communicator to locate the nearest Jaiipuurian base, Mining Outpost 741, which is surprisingly well fortified around a central panopticon tower.  

They are welcomed by the mining director who explains they they mining stations have been in full security seal since the word of the attack reached them.  But as all Guardians are required back at Jaiipuur, they have already contacted Jaiipuur Central and they are readying the transport portal.  Just then, the alarms go off in the outpost and there are sounds of fighting outside.  “Get through the portal, we will handle things here.”  Our team did not hesitate and passed through the portal.

Arriving on Jaiipuur, they are met by 1307 who welcomes 808 back and the rest of the team to Jaiipur before taking them to the top of the Guardians Pinnacle, showing a city under siege.  In the distance there is a vast force of Gosovians are pouring through a gate, with tanks and other armored vehicles armed with black light and anti-derrigible weapons.  “They came prepared.  There is some sort of disruptor keeping us from teleporting closer to the invasion gate and any airship that gets too close is shot to pieces.”  As if to make that point, one of the derribles falls, wreathed in flames, towards the ground.  [This would be a two-page spread in the comic with the tower in one corner, looking across the Gosovian force as they advanced into the city.]  The team volunteers to try and punch through and disable the Gosovian gate or at least knock out the anti-teleport device.  Technician 57-32 takes them to the armor where they get protective goggles, a jetpack for Roboto and a variety of other equipment.

On the way to the front, Horizon scoops up a set of structural beams from a building site with his gravetic powers.  808 uses his light powers to holographical conceal them which allows them to get over the outer Gosovian forces before a black light searchlight strikes Roboto revealing him and exposing him to anti-dirigible Horizon rains down structural steel upon the armored vehicles (which in best 60s fashion, give the crew time to bail out before they explode).  When an officer attempts to rally the troops, Shadowfist and Vulpix take them down while 808, Horizon and Roboto focus on destroying the invader’s heavy weaponry.  They fight their way closer to the invasion gate and Horizon draws upon the power of gravity to deform the gate which caused it to destablize and implode.  With the gate closed, much of the Gosovian weponry is redered useless, not long having access to the broadcast power from their home dimension.  The Jaiipuurian Guardians quickly overwhelm and capture them with minimal casualties.

There is much rejoycing!  Afterwards there is a huge party in the central tower with our heroes being celebrated and praised as heroes of Jaiipuur.  It all weighs heavily on Horizon who steps out onto one of the balconies to look over the city.  One of the Jaiipuurian women officers approaches him.  “What is the matter?  You are the hero of the hour, your actions changed history today.”

“But at what cost?  How many people did I hurt to win this battle?”

“It was war, surely they know the risks?”

“But did they?  They just seemed like people, they were not expecting someone to throw I-beams at them . . .” he lapsed into silence.  “Please I just need some time alone.”

The woman nodded and headed back into the party.  Shadowfist had been keeping an eye on where Horizon was, fearing he might have fallen into a black mood,  Seeing the woman, she recognizes her as Miss Ood!  She tells Roboto, who is slightly confused by the news, and follows.

Shadowfist catches up with Miss Ood next to one of the lift shafts.  “Stop!”

“I was hoping to talk with you Shadowfist,” Miss Ood replies.  “Come with me.”  She stepped into the lift shaft and Shadowfist followed.

“Don’t think you can escape.”

“I am not trying to escape.  I am trying to show you what is happening here.”

“You mean why you started this war?”

“It was meant to end two Empires but I feat it has only harmed one.”

“What?” said Shadowfist stepping in close.

“Jaiipuur is as bad as the Gosovians.  Its wealth is based on slavery and control, let me show you,” Miss Ood pleaded.

Shadowfist was stunned and let Miss Ood lead her into one of the command rooms beneath the tower, she got past the guard by telling them that she was showing one of the heroes who saved the city around.  Once in the control room, she showed Shadowfist realtime images of the captured Gosovian soliders being marched through a gate to the mining outpost on November, where they were marched into barracks under armed guards.  Slave labor, we are helping people who use slave labor, thought Shadowfist and looked to Miss Ood who nodded.

Final page: Five panels: upper left, 808 laughing with his fellow Guardians, obviously having the time of his life.  Upper right, Shadowfist staring at the viewscreen, looking horrifed.  Lower left, Horizon, face in shadow looking over the city, where plumes of smoke still rise.  Lower right, Roboto, still at the party but unsure where everyone else is.  And in the center, an oval with a question mark inside with “And what has happened to Vulpix?” written below.

End of Issue 12. Next issue 13 “Jaiipuur Rising” is on the drawing board!

Notes: *the Misfits of Science are my homage to the Doom Patrol, probably my favorite superteam, and they have cameoed in issue 6 of Heroes Inc as well.  Finally got to the big reveals that Miss Ood is not entirely a villain

Photos upper: T-62 tank photo found on Getarchive and in in the Public Domian.  Lower photo found on Phys.org, copyright status unknown.

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