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DCU: The Animated Series

In DCU: The Animated Series, we propose stories which would introduce characters into the current "Batman-Superman Adventures," much the same way as the Flash, the Demon and Dr. Fate have already been introduced. These adaptations do not have to be in-line with current continuity or their in-continuity origins.

Last month, we offered to feature the best story offered by a Fanzing reader. Hence, we offer "Brothers In Arms". Featured character: VALOR!

Brothers in Arms
by Marc Araujo

The first scene is that of a shooting star over the night of Metropolis. It's late, so no one notices it.

In Lexcorp, computers identify the star as an alien spacecraft, activating an alarm program, that should start ringing in 4-3-2-1__The sequence is suddenly interrupted, and on the monitor, we see the message:

LAST REPORT: DELETED FROM ARCHIVE

In the city's Park, there is a golden spaceship, severely damaged after crashing on our planet. With a female mechanical voice, it says:

"…power cells at 30%…communications: unavailable…hyperdrive severed…condition: critical…"

In the cockpit, a young man, dressed in a red costume with blue boots and cape lies unconscious. He doesn't notice it when a menacing shadow approaches him and the ship. The stranger, looking at the pilot, says:

"This is rather…interesting."

A few days later, Clark Kent is in the Daily Planet, discussing plans of going to a concert with Lois Lane. On that moment, the windows burst due to a sonic boom, sending shattered pieces of glass everywhere inside the building. Luckily, no one gets hurt. Curious and frightened, Lois looks out a window and sees a strong man, whose physique could only be compared to Superman's, saying:

"I will not repeat it again, Superman. Come out from your hideout to pay for your crimes against the noble race of Krypton!"

"Crimes? Clark, do you think that…?" As she turns around to face her colleague, Lois realizes he isn't anywhere in sight. Then, she says, "Jimmy! Bring your camera here, NOW!"

Valor

Outside, Superman descends from the sky to meet Mon-El, who is still yelling. Tapping on his shoulder from behind, he says, with a serious expression.

"I'm already here. So, what do you want?"

Mon-El's answer is a hammering fist straight into Supe's chin. Caught by surprise, the man of steel is thrown at the other side of the city, ending up in an abandoned factory. Taking his hand to his face, with a stunned look, Superman says, "What a punch."

Hearing an almost deafening clatter as the sound barrier is broken, Superman barely starts moving when Mon-El zooms into the building, pounding Kal-El with hundreds of blows in a single second, giving him no chance to recover. Focusing on freeing himself from his assailant, Superman blocks the next attack and presses his wrist hard, rendering Mon-El on his knees.

"Now. Who sent you here and why are you trying to kill me?"

With eyes filled with rage, Mon-El says, "Traitor."

Then, his eyes go red and he burns Superman with a heat vision of his own. Kal isn't really affected by the flames, but the shock of seeing his own power turned against him makes him loosen his grip. Taking advantage of the situation, Mon-El quickly delivers a punch on Supe's stomach, bringing him down. Slowly, he walks towards the helpless Superman, pausing for a moment to pick up an engine from the floor. Raising it above his head, he says, triumphant:

"For the souls of Krypton, I…"

Suddenly, he feels a terrible fever, sweating. His face clearly shows signs of fatigue, and he drops the large piece of equipment. His legs tremble, and he thumps loudly upon the floor. Coming to his feet, Superman approaches his fallen enemy, who seems genuinely sick . He says:

"What's wrong with you? Is there anything I can do to help?"

Using all the strength left within him, Mon-El grabs Superman by his collar and says:

"I don't want your 'help'…son of Jor-El. I…know pretty well what it means."

"What are you talking about?"

"Don't…insult me. You know what your father…did."

The scene switches to a flashback of Krypton. Mon-El is talking to his father, who was responsible for guarding the criminals in the Phantom Zone. He tells his son about his brother Jor-El's plan to destroy Krypton and run away with his family. He said how he tried to warn the Council, but Jor-El had hypnotized all of them to blindly follow his orders. In less than two minutes, their planet would die, but Kan-El had other plans to his son. Opening a gate to the Phantom Zone, he saved his life, but he had to stay behind to avoid any criminal from escaping.

Helpless, Mon-El watched his father and friends die in the explosion. Like a ghost, he saw that Jor-El, despite his evil scheme, was a victim of his own plans. However, his son, Kal-El, survived, rocketing away to an unknown destiny.

Years later, Mon-El was rescued by Brainiac, the living computer that also managed to escape Krypton's dark demise. The robot wanted justice to be done, and thanks to his technology, located Kal-El here on Earth. Mon-El could finally have his revenge.

After listening to the whole story, Superman says:

"Brainiac? Where is he now?"

Before losing his senses, Mon-El says, "The moon…"

Carrying 'his cousin' in his arms, Superman heads to the moon. Outside of our atmosphere, Mon-El quickly recovers, remembering his real identity.

"I…what? I remember now…I am Lar Gand, from Daxam…they call me Valor and…"

He pauses for an instant, as he recalls the name of the monster that fooled him.

"BRAINIAC!"

Like a missile, he hits Brainiac's spaceship, followed by Superman, who disables its engines. The ship lies dead on the moon's surface now. Combining their super-strength, the two heroes tear open an entrance for themselves. As they enter the ship, Brainiac is sitting there, waiting for them.

As soon as their feet touch the floor, the walls around them seem to be teeming with life. Mechanical tendrils envelop their bodies from feet to neck. Then, a secret compartment is slid open, revealing a stone of kryptonite! Weakened by the deadly radiation and struggling to free himself, Superman says:

"How?! I thought you were…UNGH!…dead!"

Another flashback while Brainiac explains why he is here now. Shortly before Superman's cowardly use of SkySentry against him, Brainiac created a force field to protect his body. Earlier, without Luthor's knowledge, he had ordered Lexcorp technicians to build him a new version of his ship, according to his specifications. It was very simple to send a transmission code to it after the fight, so that he would be rescued. Since then, he had been waiting for the perfect opportunity to eliminate Kal-El, the only sentient being who has ever defeated him.

That chance came when a space anomaly was detected in the Lexcorp computers. With his mind still connected to the building, Brainiac arranged it that he would be the only one to find the alien device. As he got to the Park, he was intrigued to see that the pilot had an energy signature almost identical to that of Superman. Using a mind probe, he manipulated Gand's memories as it suited his plans, making him believe he was Kal's cousin, whose father failed to save Krypton because of Jor-El's insane project.

AT that moment, Valor says, "You know what's funny, Brainy? I'm NOT a Kryptonian."

With his heat vision, Valor melts the tendrils that held him and Superman. He grabs the kryptonite and takes it to the Sun, safely away from Kal-El. Meanwhile, inside the ship, Brainiac attempts to fire a blaster at Superman, but is easily disarmed. When Lar Gand returns, Superman is holding the villain by both arms, ready to arrest him. Brainiac's eyes glow with a green brilliance as he reaches a dramatic conclusion:

"I cannot be defeated. Prison would be humiliating. Logical line of action: selfdestruct."

As he says that, he is struck by golden lightning generated by a laser cannon and atomizes himself. Silence reigns in the room for the briefest of moments, and Valor says:

"Do you think it's over?"

"Not by a second."

Epilogue:

Valor and Superman shake hands back at the Park.

"Planet Daxam, huh?"

"Yes, Superman. It's a planet on the other side of the galaxy, very similar to Krypton, orbiting a red Sun. It developed interstellar trips early in its life, and most of its people are dedicated to biology studies. Years ago, I left my home to explore the universe, find new adventures." Smiling, he says, "I guess I did."

Gand heads for his intelligent ship, which has finally finished its needed repairs.

"So, what are you doing now?"

Taking his place in the pilot's seat, Valor presses some buttons and flicks a few switches over his head. The throttles come to life, and he slowly pulls the stick to bring his ship up.

"I'm not sure. Working here with you made me see that people like us should use their abilities to protect the universe from creatures like Brainiac. I hear there's some kind of intergalactic police force established on planet Cairn. Maybe that's where my destiny is."

The ship takes off, and before leaving to space, Valor waves his hand at Superman, who says, "You will do well, Valor. Good luck, my friend."

In the final scene, the Sun sets and Superman stands proudly near the shores of a lake, looking at the sky with his cape flagging behind his back.

Valor: Christopher Daniel Barnes

All characters are ™ DC Comics
This story is © 1998 Marc Araujo
Artwork is © 1998 by Bob Riley

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