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DC COMICS: Legion of Super-Heroes




On board a Legion Cruiser on a trouble call, Lightning Lad talks to a group of men who are worried that the United Planets ships won't arrive in time, and the storms are getting worse. Bouncing Boy, at the helm, says with the turbulence outside the ship might not be able to handle it. Lightning Lad says they have to - it's not just any planet in trouble, it's his home planet of Winath.

An anxious Lightning Lad tells Computo to bring up the history files so he can brief the other Legionnaires on Winath. The planet is the breadbasket of the galaxy and supplies most of the food for the entire quadrant, and its silos can hold a decade's worth of food. Cosmic storms in the sector had always made Winath a target for destructive weather until they built the core diffuser station, which turns the storms' energy into usable power. But the storm on its way is several times more powerful than the station was built to withstand, so their first priority is to make sure the station doesn't overload. The Winathians are in the central storm shelter, afraid, but safe - including his parents. Entering Winath orbit, the Cruiser is buffeted by the storm, and since it wasn't built to withstand that kind of turbulence, they can't land. Lightning Lad recommends that Bouncing Boy and Triplicate Girl stay on board while the rest leave for the surface in the Battle Pod. Lightning Lad guides them in for a hard landing near the station, and once inside they find Cosmic Boy, to the joy of everyone except Lighting Lad. Saturn Girl gives him a hug, Brainy shakes his hand, Colossal Boy high-fives him. Cos meets Superman for the first time and tells him that he is (or will be) a hero to him. Cosmic Boy was on the way back to Earth and diverted to Winath to see if he could help, along with new hero Ferro Lad.

Lightning Lad is less than thrilled to see Cosmic Boy, and reasserts command of the Legionnaires, telling Superman and Saturn Girl to come with him to check out the core diffuser - but Cosmic Boy, the elected leader, changes those plans, and orders Superman, Lightning Lad, Colossal Boy, and Ferro Lad to help shore up the building while Brainy, Saturn Girl, and Cosmic Boy will go to the core. With malfunctions everywhere, Brainy can't repair anything until the core is contained, so Cosmic Boy tries to magnetically contain it as long as possible. Outside, Lightning Lad is peeved that Cosmic Boy brought in a new member without an audition, while he and the others repair damage and try to get the generators running again. As soon as it runs, the generator overloads and blows out. The winds and the storms are too much. Debris is flying everywhere, and lightning strikes make it too tough for Cosmic Boy to hold the core. He and Brainy are thrown by the overloading core, and call for Superman to help since the radiation levels are too high. The flight ring's communicator doesn't work, but Saturn Girl's telepathy still does. Superman flies in to pick up the core and takes it out to explode in space. He gets zapped by the lightning on the way up and the core's explosion throws him back.

Saturn Girl can't get a read on Superman via telepathy, but Bouncing Boy swoops in with the Cruiser to pick up the unconscious (and floating) Superman, with the encouragement of Triplicate Girl. On the surface, Colossal Boy and Ferro Lad alternately dodge falling rocks and try to move equipment, while the storms get worse. Brainy reminds the team that without the core, they can't control the weather. Cosmic Boy says they've got to get the power station back on line, while Lightning Lad counters that with the core gone, the rest of the planet will soon be as well, so they should spend their time saving whatever they can. Colossal Boy and Ferro Lad offer to go with Lightning Lad, but Cosmic Boy reminds Saturn Girl that she's their only communication link now, so she apologizes and stays behind with Cosmic Boy. Ferro Lad and Colossal Boy help Lightning Lad repair a monorail trestle, and Ferro Lad notes to Lightning Lad that he can tell he doesn't like him. Lightning Lad says he doesn't trust anyone whose face he can't see, but Ferro Lad replies that it's better this way that nobody can see his face. The three race off to try to stop a bursting dam. On board the ship, Triplicate Girl tends to Superman while Bouncing Boy notices a pattern to the weather, whereas the Legionnaires on the ground are just doing damage control. Bouncing Boy tells Lightning Lad that he thinks he can predict where the next weather system is coming from, if they can tell that then they can fortify the structures in that area first.

Lightning Lad declines, saying they've got things under control, and since he's the one on the planet, he knows the situation better. Superman has to leave to get back to the surface. At the core station, Brainy says they should be able to replace the core with an anti-fusion magnetized storage system. While he works on that with Cosmic Boy, the three Legionnaires in the field are still trying to plug holes in a leaking dam. Lightning Lad flies off to save a nearby farm when Superman shows up, and Lightning Lad tells him that if they keep destroying the hail stones until the storm passes, the farm might stand a chance. But it's too much, and the farm is hit. Superman tells him that they've got to go, but Lightning Lad flies back to the farm. He goes inside and grabs a photograph - of his family. He gets out just before the farm is destroyed.

Lightning Lad tells Superman it was his home, but he just couldn't do enough to save it. Saturn Girl telepathically contacts them with the news that Brainy and Cosmic Boy have repaired the power system, and the storms should start to subside. Saturn Girl tells Brainy and Cosmic Boy that she's going to the shelter to calm the people, but Cosmic Boy tells her that it's too dangerous and she's too vulnerable. She angrily replies that while he was gone, she went through a lot worse and he doesn't have to treat her like a child. In orbit, Bouncing Boy sees another storm coming, and it'll hit before they can get the power station back on line. He predicts that it'll rupture the hydroelectric dam, and the resulting water and mudslide will flood the basin and create a sinkhole, right where the underground shelters are. Cosmic Boy says they've got the new storm covered with the power station, but Bouncing Boy tells him it's going to hit before they can finish. Cosmic Boy worries about Saturn Girl at the shelter. Superman and Lightning Lad offer to start the evacuation, but Bouncing Boy tells them they'll never get it done in time. Only from his vantage point in orbit can he see the big picture - they can use the storm to their advantage and stop things in their tracks, but only if they do what he says. Triplicate Girl is impressed. He tells Colossal Boy to go to the dam, Lightning Lad and Ferro Lad to the forest, and Superman to the fields. He sends the precise coordinates to their flight rings. First, Colossal Boy has to reopen the hole in the dam that they just fixed. In the shelter, Saturn Girl sends calming thoughts to the Winathians.

Bouncing Boy then tells Lightning Lad to start a fire, so the intense heat from the flames will divert the water to where he needs it to go. Then he tells Superman to divert a tornado, where it gouges a trench for the water to be harmlessly diverted. Meanwhile, Brainy finally has the power station back online, and the storms abate. Just as the storm stops, the United Planets rescue ships arrive. Lightning Lad finds and hugs his parents. En route back to Earth, Brainy tells the Legionnaires that he made upgrades to the station that will allow it to withstand a 600 megabar storm. Lightning Lad takes that moment to challenge Cosmic Boy - how could he leave the team for months and come back and expect to lead? Cosmic Boy replies that he's out there every day trying to bring the team legitimacy, as a lot of people still don't trust them. Lightning Lad replies that maybe he ought to be team diplomat instead of team leader. Cosmic Boy suggests putting it to a vote, and Brainy tells Saturn Girl that according to the Legion Constitution, they can have an impromptu election if there is a challenge and a concurrence. Lightning Lad challenges, and Cosmic Boy concurs. With other Legionnaires voting and present via holo-screen, Brainy tabulates the votes and announces the new leader: Bouncing Boy! He demands a recount, but Triplicate Girl tells him that he proved himself in that crisis, and kisses him on the cheek. Everyone congratulates him, and Lightning Lad tells him that he'll be proud to follow Bouncing Boy's lead. Bouncing Boy still can't believe it, and Lightning Lad tells him that with all of their enemies locked up, his term will be a breeze. As they leave, a mysterious figure arrives.(to be continued...)