- On a busy Friday evening the aisles of the Metropolis Big S grocery store were full of traffic as shoppers hurriedly stocked up for the week to come. Many ofMessage 1 of 9 , Sep 3, 2003View SourceOn a busy Friday evening the aisles of the Metropolis Big S grocery
store were full of traffic as shoppers hurriedly stocked up for the
week to come. Many of them had rushed to the store after leaving work
and they still retained the frantic pace of the rat race world.
A dark haired man with glasses mumbled polite apologies as others
bumped into him or cut him off with their own shopping carts.
He attracted a few stares of recognition as he made his way through
the store and carefully filled it with various cans and bags and
bottles. This was typical since Clark Kent was well-known in the Big
Apricot from his previous job as TV news reporter and anchor man.
Although no one knew it, he was even more famous in his other
identity as the celebrated super hero Superman!
He glanced around the crowd and peered directly ahead as a girl in
designer jeans and a white blouse whispered to her companion.
"Man! You'd think a guy who worked on the TV would not be so
concerned about checking prices! The way Clark Kent is staring at
those cans of soup; he must be pretty tight with his cash. The big
shot is looking for the best bargain!" she whispered.
Clark smiled slightly as his super hearing picked up her words and he
thought to himself, "I am checking prices but I'm doing so for some
products on the far side of the store and I'm not watching money for
myself but for a friend!" he thought.
"Super vision can be a big help in a store this size. I can price
check items long before I physically come near them! That should
enable me to help my former good neighbor Mrs. Goldstein get the most
for her limited income!" he thought.
He wheeled his cart around and met an elderly lady who was sitting in
a chair near the front of the store.
"Clark, you are such a sweet boy to help me like this! And to think
you even made a special trip to get me since you no longer live in
our dear old building!" said the old lady as she reached over and
patted Clark's hand with affection.
He smiled at the gray haired lady and said, "My pleasure, Mrs.
Goldstein. Our friendship didn't end when I bought a house in the
burbs! When I moved away I told you I'd always be glad to help you
with any chores and I meant it!"
Clark reflected on how his life had changed since his move from
Clinton Street to a house outside of the city. He was now a parent
who cared for his late cousin's little girl. He was also involved in
a romance with a pretty red haired woman named Kristen Wells. She
shared his double life since she was secretly the heroine called
He helped Mrs. Goldstein finish shopping and loaded her groceries
into his car. They drove back to his old apartment building at 344
Clinton Street where he carried her groceries upstairs and helped her
place them in her neat cabinets and refrigerator.
"My! Such a tidy young man! Your mother taught you well! "said the
admiring old lady.
Clark smiled and said, "Well, my folks ran a grocery store back in
Smallville and I grew up amongst canned goods. I guess I should know
a lot about how to stock a cabinet!"
Mrs. Goldstein said, "Now, can you stay for a nice cup of tea? I have
Clark started to reply when a piercing sound struck his keen ears and
he winced in response.
"Great Krypton! Some type of ultra high frequency signal or alarm is
going off! I can hear it with my super hearing but it is beyond the
range of ordinary folks. I have to find it. It is almost like the
sound of Jimmy Olson's signal watch. Call it a hunch but I think
somebody is trying to get my attention!" he thought.
He said, "I'm sorry, Mrs. Goldstein but I have to polish a story for
the Planet. I'll take a rain check on those cookies if I may!"
Clark made a polite but hurried departure from the apartment and then
switched to his colorful red and blue costume. He stored his Kent
clothing and his glasses within a hidden pouch in his red cape's
interior. As Superman he flew at super speed across the skies of his
city and used his hearing to track down the piercing noise to its
Superman frowned as he drew closer to what had once been a modest
home. The small structure was now nothing but rubble as twisted wood
and metal and shattered glass covered a scene of destruction! The
alarm sound originated from one sheltered or reinforced part of the
broken house where a bank of machines still stood amidst the rubble.
Superman switched off the alarm device and surveyed the destruction
"How bizarre! The house has been almost totally devastated but there
is no sign of any disturbance to the surrounding area. The other
homes are fine. I'd suspect this was due to a lab accident since that
wall of advanced machines suggests that this was the home of a
scientist or engineer but the rubble clearly indicates that whatever
caused this tragedy came from outside. The windows and one wall have
been knocked inward by some outer force!" he thought.
He moved rapidly as his x-ray vision detected a human form trapped
beneath the wood and metal.
He tossed the debris aside with ease and gently examined the injured
man. He wore a white lab coat and had dark hair and a mustache.
Superman frowned as he recognized the victim.
"T.O. Morrow! That former criminal genius had supposedly reformed but
even if he has slipped back into lawless ways, I hate to see him or
anyone suffer like this!" he said.
Morrow moaned and tried to speak as Superman gently supported his
"Morrow! Keep still. I'll get you to a hospital. You've suffered
broken bones but I think you'll be fine with proper care and
treatment," said the Man of Steel.
Morrow groaned and said, "He did this! I tried to warn you! You came
too late to stop him!"
Superman said, "I never received any warning until I detected your
signal. Who did this to you?"
Morrow said, "The Red Tornado! He finally tried to kill me for the
way I used him in the past!"
He slumped back into unconsciousness as Superman waved over
approaching police cars and an ambulance.
"While the artificial tornado winds Reddy can generate could do
exactly this to a house, I know better than to believe Morrow's wild
claim. Still, he apparently tried to get my help so this is a
definite job for Superman!" he thought.
- Meanwhile, the Red Tornado himself was dressed in formal wear in his other identity of John Smith. He moved elegantly across the dance floor and whirled KathyMessage 2 of 9 , Sep 3, 2003View SourceMeanwhile, the Red Tornado himself was dressed in formal wear in his
other identity of John Smith. He moved elegantly across the dance
floor and whirled Kathy Sutton in a graceful spin.
Kathy was a pretty blonde woman in a demure pink dress and high
heels. She laughed as John drew her back out of the spin into an
"John! This has been a delightful evening! The meal, the dancing, and
the view across the harbor have been like something from a dream. I
feel like a princess!" she said.
John smiled and said, "You are and ever have been the ruler of my
Kathy said, "You always know just what to say. You dance like Gene
Kelly. Is there anything you can't do, John?"
John said, "In point of fact my dancing is an exact recreation of the
movements of Mr. Fred Astaire from his film entitled "Easter
Parade." While, I have naturally allowed for variation based upon
the slight differences in the beat of the music, space allotted etc.
in other ways I have duplicated his precise movements as only one
with a computerized recall could do!"
Kathy said, "I was just teasing you, dear!"
John said, "I was joking as well. I find my delivery leaves something
to be desired. Perhaps, I should study Bob Newhart less and watch
Kathy nodded as John took her hand and led her back to their table.
She was in love with John Smith and in some ways she had been ever
since he first walked into her employment agency with that halting
and slightly helpless manner of his. She had found him work and she
had found love as she had grown to care for the wonderful artificial
man who was so needy for human contact and acceptance.
John Smith was an android. He had been created by a scientist named
T.O. Morrow and his basic essence had in turn originated with an
alien force of nature known as the Tornado Champion. In any case,
experience, personal growth, and a fight to assert his own self-will,
had eventually led John to embrace a persona that was uniquely his
own. He now cherished his independence and humanity which had been
upheld by a court when he adopted the orphan girl Traya.
He was developing certain personality quirks or nuances like those
found in any person born of flesh and blood and in both his heroic
role as the JLA hero the costumed Red Tornado or as bald and
unassuming John Smith, he was happy with the way his life had turned
John said, "Kathy, I fear we must end this night all too soon. I have
class tomorrow and I wish to review a few cases!"
Kathy nodded understandingly. She was proud of the way John balanced
fatherhood, heroism, temporary jobs, and the grind of being a
student. He was taking courses in order to become a paralegal. The
field was perfect for someone with his computerized memory and
attention to detail. He also liked the idea of serving the cause of
justice in his Smith identity as well as in his Tornado one.
They emerged on the dock that overlooked the harbor and John
stiffened suddenly as his sensors detected the activation of his JLA
He scanned the frequency and nodded slightly as he realized the
signal was a direct communication from Superman.
"John, I need to talk to you. Please meet me at Metropolis Mercy
said the Kryptonian champion.
John replied via an electronic link and then turned to Kathy, "I must
meet Superman on League business. I am sorry for the sudden end to
He scooped Kathy up into his arms and then carried her skyward as his
lower body became a swirling nimbus that lifted them into the air
without disturbing anything around them.
Red Tornado's control of his winds was so precise that he could
direct those powerful winds with the finesse of a sergeant.
Kathy said, "Be careful, John. I'll stay with Traya. There's no need
for us to keep the sitter any longer!"
John nodded as he carried his beloved to his own apartment in record
"Thank you, Kathy. Please be certain that Traya does not stay up past
her bedtime. Also, tell her I have located the Poet Smurf she wants
for her collection. It is at a Kansas store and I will order it
tomorrow. I found it via an electronic inventory search of several
dozen toy shops."
Kathy kissed him as he lowered her to the ground in front of his
He flew off and she sighed as her gaze lingered on his trail and she
prayed silently for his safe return.
- Two nice starting chapters. A good balance with the personal lives of the two stars of this DC Comics Presents tale.Message 3 of 9 , Sep 3, 2003View SourceTwo nice starting chapters. A good balance with the personal lives
of the two stars of this DC Comics Presents tale.
- Thanks. I hope you ll like the rest of it.Message 4 of 9 , Sep 4, 2003View SourceThanks. I hope you'll like the rest of it.
- Later, a grim Superman conferred with the red, blue, and gold costumed Red Tornado as they stood on the roof of the hospital. Morrow will recover in time. TheMessage 5 of 9 , Sep 4, 2003View SourceLater, a grim Superman conferred with the red, blue, and gold
costumed Red Tornado as they stood on the roof of the hospital.
"Morrow will recover in time. The doctors assure me that he will pull
through. He still isn't talking though since he's on heavy sedation.
However, when he did talk back at the wrecked lab, in addition to his
claim that you attacked him, he said he had tried to reach me before
but that I came too late. That sounds as if he expected to be
Red Tornado stood silently for a moment and then said, "My apologies
for my delay in responding, Superman. I was running a systems
analysis on the JLA signal devices we use via remote link. It appears
as if Professor Morrow did indeed attempt to override the system in
order to contact you directly through your JLA signal device. The
improvements we have made to that system since our encounters with
entities like the Construct prevented him for doing so; however, I
was able to detect his efforts to do so when I made a deliberate
search for such evidence!"
Superman nodded in approval. "When that failed, he activated that
crude but effective alarm in the hopes that my super senses would
detect it in time. He's fortunate that it survived the destruction of
his lab or I might never have gone there at all!"
Red Tornado said, "Superman, I must assure you that while Professor
Morrow's past manipulation of me has left me with a certain natural
concern for his future deeds, I do not wish him any harm nor am I
responsible for this attack."
Superman smiled and placed one hand on Red Tornado's shoulder.
"Reddy? It's me. I'm your friend. You don't have to explain or
convince me that you are not guilty. I never suspected you. I just
wanted your help," he said.
The Red Tornado nodded and said, "For someone possessing a
computerized mind and total recall, I do appear to require to
necessarily learn the same lessons about friendship again and again.
You and my other friends in the League honor me with your trust and
understanding. I have grown to accept this as a fact but at times I
am still oddly moved by the sensation!"
Superman said, "Reddy, do you have any idea why Morrow would subject
himself to such risk? I can't see this as any scheme on his part to
frame you in spite of the similarity of your powers to the type of
damage his lab experienced."
The Red Tornado said, "I concur. Professor Morrow is fearless only in
his pursuit of science. He would not endanger himself even out of
malice for me. He and I reached something of an understanding when
last we met. I think he was truly a victim in this case. We must seek
an unknown party to find the one behind this. I believe he merely
assumed I was the one threatening him. His kind can be paranoid at
Superman raised one eyebrow and said, "His kind? You mean humans?"
The Tornado shook his head. "No. I mean former criminals often see
only the bad in human nature. They expect the worst from their fellow
man. Do not fear, Superman, the days in which I wrongly saw myself as
one apart from mankind have ended. I have grown since then!"
Superman said, "From looking through the wreckage in his lab, I did
determine that he had recreated his old machine that allowed him to
view the future. Perhaps, he used it and saw his fate. He saw
himself buried in wreckage from tornado force winds or power and
jumped to the conclusion that you were coming to attack him. That
would be reasonable for someone who only knew of your history and
your power but did not know the kind of person you are!"
Reddy said, "That is logical based on what little evidence we have.
However, I have made a search of phone transaction records for
Professor Morrow's lab and he was in contact with the following
individuals or companies in the recent past. If he has wronged
someone and they have sought revenge in such a way then perhaps, one
of these names could hold the secret we seek!"
He held out a piece of paper and Superman studied it for a moment.
"You tapped into phone company records to get this! Clever, and
justified under the circumstances! I think the name near the bottom
may just hold the key to the puzzle. Will you join me on a trip to
the wilds of New Jersey?" asked Superman.
Red Tornado agreed readily and they flew off in search of their
- The heroes reached a home in Newark, New Jersey and Superman turned in mid-flight to address Red Tornado. The house below has lead shielding. I can t seeMessage 6 of 9 , Sep 5, 2003View SourceThe heroes reached a home in Newark, New Jersey and Superman turned
in mid-flight to address Red Tornado.
"The house below has lead shielding. I can't see through it but I do
hear activity. Emilia Storme is one of the names on Morrow's phone
record and her home is below us. I figured we should check her out
for several reasons. Her late brother Emilio was an old foe of mine.
He used the name Whirlicane and his gear allowed him to generate
powerful wind storms. His m.o. would explain the damage to Morrow's
home. She must be making use of his old gear! Perhaps, the whole
thing comes down to a falling out among crooks."
The Red Tornado nodded as they landed and he added, "My own audio
sensors detect the hum of machines. She must have a lab of her own
within the house behind the lead shielding your X-ray vision
detected. I would advise caution. If she has the power to destroy a
house with such malice and precision then she may be capable of any
number of violent acts!"
Superman said, "Don't worry. I'd say we can handle her. As the
Whirlicane, her brother could fly and generate powerful winds but our
powers can match or best hers!"
Before they could continue their conversation the front door of the
house opened to reveal a red haired woman in a one piece white
bodysuit with high boots of the same color. Her neckline formed a
stylized "W" as did the headdress she wore.
"You've found me quicker than I expected! You may as well come
inside!" she said.
Superman and Red Tornado entered the house and Superman said, "Ms.
Storme? I can see that you've adopted your brother's costume and gear
for your own purposes. I would have hoped his death might have
taught you the folly of his ways."
Emilia Storme said, "You have some nerve to speak of his death since
you were the man who murdered him! You defied him and you dared to
try to control him. His genius alone made him a man apart from the
common herd. You should have revered him for his brilliant mind but
instead you feared him and you killed him!"
Superman said, "That's not true. I don't kill. That in itself is well
known. Your brother was brilliant but he turned that talent to crime.
He tried to use his inventions to rob and to finance an extortion
scheme. His death came about when one of his own creations turned
Red Tornado interrupted aburptly to say, "Superman, we are not alone!"
- The heroes turned to see an agile figure dart forward to attack them. His entire body was a gleaming gold and his movements left a trail of sparks in his wake.Message 7 of 9 , Sep 5, 2003View SourceThe heroes turned to see an agile figure dart forward to attack them.
His entire body was a gleaming gold and his movements left a trail of
sparks in his wake.
He raised his arms and bolts of lightning surged into the heroes even
as Superman struggled forward to shield the Tornado.
""Reddy, get back! That android is not called Lightning for nothing.
He is capable of stunning even me with his level of electrical
power!" he said.
The Red Tornado whirled forward to help Superman but the blazing
bolts struck so swiftly that Superman had fallen before the robotic
hero could aid him.
Superman gritted his teeth and struggled upward again as repeated
blasts of lightning struck him. Finally, even his efforts ended as he
lurched forward to the ground.
He said, "Superman's respiration is steady but weakened! You have
hurt my friend and I will not allow that to go unpunished!"
He created a powerful tornado that swept across the lab but Emilia
Storme or Whirlicane II merely countered his actions with a whirling
wind storm of her own. Clearly, she was using her sibling's weaponry
in her white costume.
"What's the matter, machine? Do you aspire to humanity? Do you dare
to pretend that you have feelings of concern or desire? How utterly
absurd!" she cried.
The Red Tornado ignored her cries as he drew closer to the amazingly
agile gold man.
"Fascinating! Whirlicane has created an android capable of generating
elements of a storm much like my own abilities although different in
nature!" he mused.
As fast as the silent gold being was, Red Tornado was more
experienced in combat and thus, he managed to dodge a barrage of
bolts long enough to slam into the other being with crushing impact.
The golden man slumped to the ground as Whirlicane II shrieked in
"You witless wind up toy! If you imagine for one moment that you've
beaten me then you need to go back to the factory!"
The Red Tornado flew closer to her and said, "You are the one who is
in need of alterations of mind and attitude. Your artificial winds
are formidable enough to injury beings of flesh or structures of wood
and metal but I am made of sterner stuff!"
He mentally calculated the speed and power of her storm winds and
carefully matched and countered them with opposing movements of his
He nodded in calm approval as his own power subdued her own and she
dropped to the floor beneath his whirling nimbus.
"Morrow built you well. That is why I wanted him to help me with bio-
tech work of my own but he refused me and thus, he sealed his fate. I
taught him not to dare to insult the memory of my brother! I made him
pay and in doing so I framed you for my actions! You stupid metal
nightmare!" she shouted.
Red Tornado said, "Superman stirs already. Professor Morrow will
recover as well. My established JLA status with the authorities
rendered me secure from suspicion. Your hatred has done nothing but
place you in serious jeopardy."
She smiled coldly as vibrations shook the lab and the room grew
darker. A massive dark figure loomed over the heroes as the fallen
Lightning transformed into a hulking brute known as Thunder!
The black metal being laughed and brought two hands together directly
in front of the heroes. Superman had just managed to rise to his feet
when the thunderous blast caught them both and left them reeling.
"When Lightning strikes, Thunder roars!" shouted the Whirlicane as
her android drew closer to the duo.
- Superman said, Lightning and Thunder are a composite being. Separate personas mask a single physical being. Thunder s the powerhouse. He flew forward andMessage 8 of 9 , Sep 5, 2003View SourceSuperman said, "Lightning and Thunder are a composite being. Separate
personas mask a single physical being. Thunder's the powerhouse."
He flew forward and brought his own power to play as he punched away
at the bigger being.
"The original Whirlicane used the same type of android. He lied about
its nature and told it that it was a petty crook with mutant powers.
When it uncovered his deception, it took its own life and killed
Storme too! Maybe, I can use that to my advantage!" he thought.
"Thunder! You don't have to obey her just because she made you! You
can think for yourself!" he said as he staggered backward from a blow
from the creature.
"Thunder knows better! Unlike poor Emilio, I never allowed my weapon
to think itself more than a useful invention! You won't find longings
for humanity in that cold metal chest!" said Whirlicane.
Red Tornado said, "Nor should you wish to do so. Thunder, you have no
reason to kill us. You have no motive for hurting others. You may
resist such programming and live in your own right. I was also
created to serve an evil scientist but I have made a life for myself
Thunder hesitated and then grappled with Superman even as the Red
Tornado tried a desperate ploy.
"Superman, contain him for a moment and I will try a new tactic that
may render senseless combat unnecessary!" he said.
Superman nodded and tried to restrain the hulking Thunder. He could
do so but even he could not keep him immobile for long.
He flew directly toward the much bigger android and opened his own
chest to reveal a delicate and complex array of wires and circuits.
He moved around to the back of the struggling android and connected a
wire from his body into the creature's own network of circuits and
Red Tornado downloaded countless images and memories from his own
computer mind to Thunder's mind. The other android experienced
memories in which Red Tornado found friendship, love, family, a sense
of purpose, and a role in society in his own right. Reddy carefully
avoided transferring any data that would compromise his allies in the
JLA or his country.
Thunder suddenly lowered his arms and said, "You are like me. You are
a machine in human form but you live as an equal with humans. They
trust you. They respect you. They love you?"
He said, "I have been created for the purpose of an evil woman's
revenge. I would find the acceptance you have found. I served her
since she told me I had no choice. She insisted that all I could be
was a tool. You have shown me data that disproves her claims!"
Superman smiled and said, "Red Tornado here is living proof that the
mechanical and the organic can exist as friends. Now, as for you
Whirlicane, I'd say your plans are over."
The angry woman in white said, "Oh, my plans are far from over. You
may have won over my robotic pawn but you have not seen the extent of
She gestured to a control board and said, "While you had your gear to
gear talk with Thunder, I activated my brother's greatest creation.
The Storm Bomb will destroy all of Newark and that destruction will
serve as a testament to his genius!"
Superman said, "Great Krypton! While the original Whirlicane wanted
to hold the threat of using the Storm Bomb over Metropolis for
profit, Emilia's only after revenge!"
- Superman froze the frantic woman against a wall with a concentrated blast of super cold breath then he flew off into the air and frowned as he saw the effectsMessage 9 of 9 , Sep 5, 2003View SourceSuperman froze the frantic woman against a wall with a concentrated
blast of super cold breath then he flew off into the air and frowned
as he saw the effects of the atmosphere altering device. Storm clouds
were gathering over the city at an alarming and unnatural rate.
Lightning began to flash with explosive force.
"That thing is like a bomb in terms of its destructive potential I
can't let the fact that Lightning's own energies hurt me, stop me
from trying to stop a menace whose power is far greater than his own!"
He flew around the clouds at super speed and tried to create a
whirlwind that would entrap or contain the deadly energies before
they could damage the community below.
Superman increased his speed as he saw Red Tornado and Lightning join
him. The Thunder android had reverted to its smaller, faster golden
form and was riding through the sky on bolts of lightning.
Red Tornado said, "Superman, I have often stopped natural storms by
matching their velocity with counter vibrations of my own. I fear
this storm's magnitude may be beyond my capabilities but I will do my
He thought of Traya and Kathy and how countless people like them
lived in the city beneath the Storm Bomb's raging energy. He could
not fail them.
He began to spin in the opposite direction and he and Superman soon
generated a tightly formed whirlwind that managed to contain the
storm clouds and halt their progress.
Superman noticed the manner in which the contained energies were only
growing more powerful.
"The whole thing could still explode like some type of normal bomb if
we can't remove it. I'd hoped to carry it into airless space where it
would fall apart but even with Reddy's help, we're not doing more
than holding it in one place."
Red Tornado had made the same conclusion; however, he had an idea of
"Perhaps, if I unleash all my own power as what remains within me of
that being who was once the Tornado Champion, I might halt this
nightmare creation but to do so might be to surrender my very self-
He started to channel his internal energies but before he could do so
Lightning shot past him and hurled himself into the heart of the
Superman and Red Tornado were flung backward as the surging clouds
flashed with a brilliant light and then vanished as if drawn into
some type of unseen suction device.
They fought to regain their positions as the clouds parted and a
gentle rain fell over the city.
"Superman, I fear Lightning sacrificed himself to destroy the Storm
Bomb! My words and images truly made him find his own humanity but at
what cost?" asked Red Tornado.
Superman stared into the sky and said, "Don't be so quick to assume
the worst, Reddy! I see a humanoid form gathering itself together in
He gestured to where the air had grown heavy and a shape had begun to
Lightning appeared before them and raced across the sky to join them.
"I have managed to stop the Storm Bomb. I wish to make amends for my
past service to Emilia Storme!" he said.
He placed a hand on Red Tornado's arm and said, "Please, will you aid
me to become as fully human as you are?"
Red Tornado smiled and said, "Yes, I will. I will gladly help you. I
can always use another friend!"
Superman said, "You can rely on me to help as well but I know you
couldn't ask for a better friend than Red Tornado here!"
Lightning's golden features remained expressionless but it was clear
that the android was smiling in his own way as well.