Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1968 – Issue 14 – Part 1: Squids and Candy

6 March, 2022

Picking up directly after Issue 13 with the dirigible Leonard calling for help!

Cover: A Question Mark divides the cover, on one side is Leonard, the airship, being attacked by sky-squids, the other side will be revealed later!  Across the bottom is “New Challenges for our Young Heroes!”

Opening page:  Leonard high over New York being attacked by three sky-squid!  “I am under attack!  I am under attack!” he broadcasts.

Next page:  The heroes waking up to Leonard’s call for help.  “I am under attack!” echoes through the room.

Rockefeller_Center_(60939116)“Where are you?” demands Roboto.  Leonard replies with a set of coordinates.  Roboto checks them on the map of New York City mounted on the wall.  Leonard is right over Rockerfeller Center!

808 has already left as soon as they had a location, Roboto checks the fuel level in his new jetpack (acquired in Issue 11) and take to the air, followed by Horizon carrying Shadowfist and Vulpix.  808 arrives first and recognizes the attacking creatures as Sky-Squid fromthe strange dimension of AquaAeras, a place when sky and sea blend endlessly into each other is endless patterns of clouds and waves.  Travel there is dangers as the local creatures, such as Sky-Squid, tend to attack anything that is not native to their realm.  He relays this information to the team (and readers).

When Horizon arrives at the center, he drops Vulpix off at the Plaza and Shadowfist at the top of the RCA Building at 30 Rockerfeller Plaze where a news crew from NBC (who have studios in the building) is filming it all.  Whereupon Rick Blankman, of NBC news, turns to her and asks, “Shadowfist, can you tell us what is going on?”

“Sky-squid, zeppelin, tuesday,” she replies.

Horizon gravity grabs one of the Sky-Squid and tosses it against 30 Rock.  Shadowfist rushes to engage the flailing squid but it has already started to slip down and one of its tentacles lashes out and grabs a cameraman pulling him perilously close to the edge and a mutlistory drop.

Roboto flies up and peels one of the Sky-squid off of poor Leonard who is starting to loose lift from all of the tears in his covering.

808 uses an energy dome to trap the one Sky-Squid against the side of the building which also has the effect of severing the tentacle holding the cameraman whom Shadowfist pulls to safety.  Horizon is having trouble catching the Sky-squids that are left without accidentally harming Leonard.

808 has the brilliant idea of creating an illusion to scare off the remaining pair of Sky-Squid and has a PteroWhale (a whale with four pairs of pterodon-like wings) emerges from the cloud above which successful terrifies the Sky-Squids, who jet away, and the bystanders below.

Horizon and Roboto head off and chase the Sky-Squids through and around the skyscapers before finally capturing them and bringing them back.  Vulpix calls the Misfits of Science (last seen helping with the gate in issue 12) for help with Leonard, Dr Grey works with 808 to get temporary patches on the exterior while A-C provides a muched needed power boost to start Leonard’s self-repair systems (“I did not become a hero to act as a mobile battery,” he mock-complains.)

Once Leonard has had some time to rebuild itself, 808 uses Leonard to open a gateway to return the Sky-Squid to their home, only a little worse for wear.  While waiting, they have a late breakfast with the Misfits of Science, lots of bystanders and tourists try to get autographs and photos.

Inside Leonard there is a note that reads, “Sorry, getting Leonard out from the grip of the Gosovians was tricker than I had expected.  -Miss Ood”  808 remains incensed at Miss Ood’s theft even if Leonard was returned.

They spend the rest of the day making sure that Leonard is properly repaired, catching up on rest and letting everyone know that they are safe.

The next day, at Vulpix’s urging, they decide to try and track down the Puzzle Master and see about getting Captain Kraken’s sword (acquired from the old pirate in Issue 7) back after it had been stolen on Chrismas Eve and replaced with a giant purple and green candy cane.  The Puzzle Master is one of the reoccuring villains that oppose the heroic Night Cat who is basted out of Boston.

They take the candy cane and head to Boton in search of the source of the giant candy canes.  Having searched through Boston newspapers on in the New York Public Library, they think that the Candy Castle, run by the Castle family since 1874, in the likely source.  Flying up to Boston in Leonard, they land outside the Candy Castle, which has a facade that makes it look like a castle.  Alice Castle is excited to help a group of heroes, she is quite a fan and get them to sign her autograph book.  Looking through their records, Alice finds that ten candy canes in that styles were ordered by Mayor’s office to celebrate capture of criminals over the last years, along with other color combination to represent the other criminals captured.

The order was placed by the mayor’s assistant in charge of interoffice relations, A Daropax.  Which they quickly realized was an anagram of A Paradox.  They head to City Hall, they get a bureaucratic runaround trying to track down A. Daropax, but they do find that he organized the whole end of year party (which went swimmingly, by the way).  Of course, there was no need for purple and green candy canes at the party as the Puzzle Master had not been caught.

They find a partial address of where a set of duplicate files had been sent by A Daropax.  Approaching by air, it is old building not quite a mansion made of stone with a newly resurfaced driveway that, from the air, looks rather like a question mark.  A nice garden in the back with a fountain with a statue of Hermes in it.  There is no sign of anyone being home.

jigsaw-puzzle-magnifying-glassVulpix breaks into the upper floor, finding a guest room with a book on the bedside table (it is a book on Xeno’s Paradox naturally).  Moving into the hall, the lights come on, there are photoelectric sensors that active them.  There are portraits of philosophers along the hall.  The others join in and spread out.  Music starts echoing up from downstairs (the “Danse Macabre”).

A full search of the house failed to find anyone but they do find:

  • In the basement, it is full of half complete projects, including a map of Miami with chess pieces marking various things.
  • An overstuffed library with books everywhere most with bookmarks and pieces of paper sticking out of them.  On the one empty chair, an issue of the New York Times from Christmas Day is draped over one arm.
  • The music comes from a record player in the dining room which must have been triggered by something.
  • The kitchen and its refrigerator are clean of anything that could spoil in the near term.
  • There are a set of letters in a basket addressed to Professor Vivamus.

The heroes decide to head to Miami to find and confront the Puzzle Master!

End of Part 1!  Next time, Part 2.

Notes: On the day of this game, my work computer decided to stop working and I spend much of the day trying to get it fixed.  So, the return of Leonard and the Sky-Squids were prepared everything else was at the players initiation so I had to make up a lot of things on the fly.

The Night Cat is Earth-H’s analog to the Batman and he has the same sorts of wacky supervillains to confront.

Photos upper: Rockefeller Center by Miguel Castiblanco found on WikiMedia Commons and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.  Lower photo found on PublicDomainPictures and is also in the Public Domain.

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