The Last Herald of Galactus #3
Written by Dannell Lites,
Edited by Marvelite
The Last Herald of Galactus
Continues from The Last Herald of Galactus issue #1 and issue #2
Kal-El surveyed the wreckage around
him, his ears filling with the din of battle and told himself that he was not a
fool. There was no way he could have foreseen this or prevented it. None. He
closed his eyes tightly and knew that he lied.
Martha Kent's fear filled voice began
"Jonathan! Clark!" she
called from the small living room of the Kent home, "come quick! My Lord,
" ... events remain confusing at this hour ... " the solemn anchorman on the ancient television screen reported. "But the battle seems to be centered on the famous Metropolis Daily Bugle building. Heroes have gathered to defend the city, perhaps even the earth itself, from the single unknown invader. Reports are coming in confirming the presence of Professor Reed Richards and his Fantastic Four*, Metropolis own local hero, Steel, Stark Industries Iron Man**, the mysterious, Batman, The Scarlet Spider***, Princess Diana of Themyscira, AKA Wonder Woman, the Flash, and others. We take you now live to the scene. Jimmy?"
(*The Fantastic Four - In the Marvel Universe, the Fantastic Four were among the first modern day heroes. Lead by scientific genius Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, the FF are basically a family unit. Reed Richards, his wife Sue Storm Richards, The Invisible Woman, his brother-in-law Johnny Storm, the Human Torch (Sue Storm's kid brother) and close family friend Ben Grimm, the Thing. Mr. Fantastic is able to stretch his body to - er - fantastic lengths ... (think Plastic Man or the Elongated Man heah!), The Invisible Woman's power is pretty self-explainitory. The Human Torch, not surprisingly, has flame related powers and the Thing has great super-strength, but an unfortunate appearance -- hence the name.)
(**Iron Man - In the Marvel Universe, the original Iron Man was master weapons inventor and industrialist Tony Stark who posed as his own bodyguard, Iron Man, wearing a gold and crimson suit of high tech armor. Iron Man's armor allows him to fly very swiftly, enhances his strength and does a good many other useful things. His main offensive weapons are his patented "repulsor rays".)
one is a bit complicated ... *sigh* The Scarlet Spider is Ben Reilly, a clone of
Peter Parker, the original Amazing Spider Man. He is gifted with the
proportional strength of a spider, super agility, and high-tech web shooters of
his own invention that allow him to ensnare his foes or web-sling from building
to building, etc.)
Kal-El did not need his eyes to tell
him that the flame-haired, freckled young newscaster was frightened. His voice
betrayed that despite his most valiant efforts.
"Thank you, Perry. Down town
Metropolis is the scene of chaos and carnage today as ..."
" ... first view of the invader ... captured on film earlier today by tourist Mark Waid's* camera ..."
little tribute to one of the finest writers in comics today. JMHO!)
On screen, the busy thronging life of
a Metropolis street, exploded with a great kaleidoscopic burst of harsh, bright
purple light and people fell back in panic and astonishment. In eerie silence,
the towering figure swept all before it like gnats swatted casually by some
Disjointed, in jerky fits and starts,
the camera lost sight of the giant alien, as the frantic camera-wielding tourist
found himself pulled along in the wake of the retreating mob. Like a salmon
swimming upstream against the currents of a mighty river, the photographer
fought the rising tide of coursing humanity. With a roar, the video camera's
sound system burst into strident life just in time to catch the clarion call of
a great, demanding voice that shook the steel and concrete canyons of the great
"Kal-El! To me, my Herald!
Galactus, the World Devourer, had
Kal-El's stomach clenched and his
world shrank to a pinpoint centered on Galactus' vast, square pupil eyes. He
heard the voice of Jonathan Kent soothing his uneasy wife.
"It's all right honey. Look!
There comes Steel, now. He'll take care of that character. You just watch."
The life he had briefly made for
himself as Clark Kent fell away in small shattered pieces, leaving in their
broken wake only Kal-El. Kal-El. Who was servant to Galactus. He backed away
from the television, filled now with scenes of fighting and destruction. Calmly,
he took off the discarded pair of Jonathan Kent's wire rimmed glasses he wore in
an effort to look more common and placed them carefully on the mantle so as not
to inadvertently damage them. Everything on this world was so ... fragile. He
glanced at Martha and Jonathan Kent. And some things were even more fragile than
"I have to go ... " he told
his foster parents, softly.
For several moments the elderly
couple watched him silently. It was Martha Kent's quick kiss on the cheek that
broke the tension.
"You be careful now, Clark Kent,
you hear me?" she demanded. She hurried into the safety and comfort of her
kitchen, still warm and fragrant with the smell of baking bread. Jonathan Kent
walked with his foster son out into the fields of growing corn. Neither of them
spoke. The old farmer peeled back the shuck from an ear of corn and tested the
firmness of the kernels beneath with a practiced touch. He gathered the juice of
one burst kernel on a finger and tasted it and Kal-El waited.
"Not quite ready yet," he
judged, "not sweet enough. Be around another week, I reckon." With
care he replaced the shuck over the exposed cob and sighed. The sadness in his
eyes was difficult for the alien youth to bear but the trust that also lived
there would never leave him. Only living things did that.
"I guess you know what you have
to do, boy. No need for this old man to tell you that." He squeezed Kal-El's
shoulder. "Mind what your Ma said and be careful, now," he admonished
in a voice he hoped was stern.
On his flight to the city of
Metropolis, Kal-El discovered that he was not alone, after all. All the way
there he carried the faith and love of Jonathan and Martha Kent with him.
He was never going to be alone again.
The battle, when Kal-El caught up to
it, was not going well.
"Who the hell is *that*?"
snarled Guy Gardner, the self-styled "one, true Green Lantern (accept no
"Help maybe?" ventured the
hopeful voice of The Flash, panting with exertion, dodging around the giant
alien's left leg.
"Naaah, prolly some wimp in a
used spandex supersuit," Gardner sneered, pounding at his foe with a huge,
green power-ring spawned hammer.
"Somehow ... I don't think
so," opined Reed Richards, Mr. Fantastic, noting the speed with which the
stranger was approaching. Using his malleable body, he stretched his torso,
forming a shield to protect his wife, the Invisible Woman. Darting forth, his
right hand snaked out and caught the falling Batman and set him gently down on
the rooftop once again.
"This isn't getting us
anywhere," observed the pliable scientific genius. "Brute force isn't
going to work. We need a plan."
"Noooo kidding!" cracked
the harassed voice of the youthful Scarlet Spider. "Tell ya what, buddy ...
You grab his ankles and I'll jump up and down on his big toe!"
Galactus ignored them all.
It wasn't until the stranger stood
hovering in the air, watching, hawk-eyed, that Galactus left off construction of
the gigantic Machine with which he would drain Earth of its energies. Turning to
face his Herald, Galactus frowned. The assembled heroes fell back, murmuring
expectantly. Reed Richards unobtrusively joined Steel in examining The Machine.
Wonder Woman took the hotheaded Guy Gardner by the shoulder.
"Wait!" she hissed.
Reluctantly, he took her sound advice.
"Hey, Wonder Babe, after we can
this sucker, what say you and me ... " Perhaps fortunately for Guy Gardner,
the rest was drowned out by the booming voice of their foe.
Pointing at the hovering figure,
Galactus demanded, "Who are you? Say your name."
"And *who* is Kal-El?"
Kal-El's face stilled itself into
smooth lines, reflecting no expression at all, giving.no clue to his inner
"Your ... Herald ... " he
replied, after a moment's pause. If his hesitation concerned the World Devourer,
he gave no sign of it even to Kal-El who was used to reading much into the
silences and few words of his grim Master.
"And why do you live,
"Be - because you saved
"Even so," Galactus barbed
words struck deep. "You would do well to remember that."
"I have not forgotten," Kal-El
defended himself. "I have searched, I - "
"And your search has been
fruitful, loyal one. This planet is rich with energy; Galactus shall feast here.
Well done, my Herald, well done. You have redeemed yourself in the eyes of
"Why do I not like the sound of
that?" muttered the Flash
"No!" Kal-El cried in a
harsh voice. "Not here! I - these people have been kind - no ..."
"And what matters their kindness
to me? I am Galactus. I am a law unto myself; none may judge me, Herald. Not
even *you*" The hovering man faltered for a moment and then seemed to catch
himself. His eyes closed in pain.
"Master, please ... we can leave
this place ... " His voice gained strength and enthusiasm although his eyes
told a differt tale. "Let me find you another place to satisfy your hunger.
It's only one insignificant planet, after all. There are many others. I'll find
you a better. Come away ... Together, we can ... Together ... " The voice
was almost pleading now, but still there was pride in it. For a moment, if only
a moment, the giant alien hesitated. He regarded his Herald silently, as if he
were considering the possibility. Kal-El thought of his foster parents, Jonathan
and Martha Kent and his heart clenched in fear and hope.
But, then, he saw the hunger, the
*need*, sweep all else from those vast purple eyes and it sank like a stone.
Despair gripped him with sharp talons as he heard Galactus reply.
"There is no need," said
Galactus simply and turned back to constructing The Machine. Kal-El's hands
knotted themselves into fists at his side.
"Forgive me ... " he
whispered and flew at Galactus.
The Devourer of Worlds did not turn
to face his attacking Herald. Steady and unhesitating, his massive hands
continued their task of building the great energy siphoning Machine. Seemingly,
it was only his voice that struck, ringing out over the din of battle as the
assembled heroes once again engaged him. And like flies, Galactus swatted them
away. But this time he did not neglect his Herald.
"You forget, Kal-El, the Power
Cosmic is mine to give."
When Kal-El struck the impenetrable
energy field protecting the World Devourer, it seemed to reach out for him and
grip him. It flared and sparked and he writhed within it.
"And mine to take away,"
Galactus reminded him.
Dazed and burning with pain, he went
tumbling from the sky once more, his Master's voice resounding in his ears.
"Hear me, my faithless Kal-El!"
echoed the voice of the World Devourer, Galactus. "You have betrayed
"In your ear, buddy!"
cracked the voice of the spider-powered youth who called himself the Scarlet
Spider. The webbing he unleashed at the giant alien never reached it's target,
but fell harmlessly to the rooftop of the Daily Bugle building that was their
unlikely battlefield. The well-placed repulsor blast aimed at his foe by the
determined man in the gold and crimson armor was little more effective. Ironman
fought well. But he did serve well enough to distract Galactus from his errant
KL-El struck the ground hard and
again it shook at his rough, unexpected embrace. His nerves were on fire and for
a long moment he lay panting on the cool concrete of the city streets.
"Get back, people! Back! Maggie
Sawyer, Metropolis Special Crimes Unit!" warned the voice of an armor clad
woman, carrying a large gun in one waving hand. A policeman? Kal-El could not
focus on her long enough to decide. She was not very much like the friendly
Police Chief, George Parker of Smallville, Kansas, at any rate. When a young
brown haired man, the flash bulbs of his camera popping like mad, ducked under
the yellow tape cordoning off the Daily Bugle Building, Kal-El saw the woman
"Back behind the line,
Parker!" she threatened.
"Aw, Maggie! Gimme a break! Your friendly neighborhood shutterbug Peter Parker's* gotta make a living for cryin' out loud! I've got tuition!" A silent wave of her arm sent the disappointed youth reluctantly scurrying behind the Police line.
Parker - In the Marvel Universe perennially broke and beset grad student Peter
Parker often earned money as a photographer for the Daily Bugle. He was also the
NOTE: This story was written a while back, so all characters may not fit into
"That goes for you, too, Lane!
Same as your partner, Parker! Nice try, though!" Kal-El could hear a
grudging smile in her commanding voice when Sawyer addressed the dark haired
woman busy surreptitiously sliding around her right side like a wraith.
"I'm deeply hurt, Maggie,"
smiled Lois Lane, sweetly. "My Pulitzer won't get me through, huh?"
"Not even those big blue eyes,
sister," Maggie informed her with an equally bright smile. "You're
cute... but not *that* cute." In a lower voice that did not carry to the
rest of the frightened, noisy crowd, Maggie Sawyer whispered to the smaller
woman. Had Kal-El's ears been any less keen, he might have missed it altogether.
"Lois, you know, I can't."
She pointed to the battle raging atop the the Daily Bugle Building.
"Christ, just *look* at that ... Be a friend, okay, and don't give me any
trouble. I don't need it right now!" Sawyer's sharp eyes spotted a tall,
shapely blond woman, microphone in hand, inch her way past the cordon, cameraman
in tow like a tugboat caught in the wake of a sleek racing yacht.
"Bullock!" she shouted,
"get your lard-butt up here and catch that idiot Grant before she gets
herself killed, for God's sake! This is a battlefield, damnit," she cursed
at the Society editor of WGBS news, "*not* a photo op! Get away from here!
And take Vale with you while you're at it!" She gestured at the slight
red-haired woman edging inconspicuously alongside Cat Grant.
"Bullock!" she cried again,
"get those people back! *Now*!"
The large man who obeyed her harassed
order lumbered forward. Even through the haze of pain that gripped him like a
vise, Kal-El could see the rough unkept shadow of a beard that dotted the
stranger's face, the shaggy mop of greasy hair that sprang from his skull. And
even before he saw it with his eyes, his nose brought him the odor of the cheap
cigar gripped tightly between large, broad teeth. When he spoke, ash from the
cigar fell onto the chest plate of his somehow rumpled, dull, and unpolished
"I hear ya, Maggie, babe, don't get yer bikini in a knot," snarled Harvey Bullock, grinning at the prospect of action. "DeWolf!* Leech!** Front and center! Move it, move it!" Two female figures trotted forward and Kal-El groaned.
(*Jean de Wolf - In the MU the late lamented Jean de Wolf was a detective with the NYPD and a very good one. She was also a friend of Spiderman who assisted him many times in his crime fighting efforts. In memorium to a grand character, Ah have made her a member of the Metropolis S.C.U.)
Leech - okay ... so ONE more DCU character to explain! Roxy Leech is a companion
of the Post-Crisis Superboy. Since she has recently joined and trained with the
Hawaiian branch of the ubiquitous S.C.U. Ah thought Ah would include her!)
"Lois! I said get *back*!"
demanded a furious Maggie Sawyer. Already half way across the street, the
journalist didn't even pause.
"Maggie, he's hurt! He needs
help! Call an ambulance or something!"
Maggie Sawyer was so intent on Lois
Lane that she almost missed the dark shadow that lightly touched down behind the
reporter, until one dark gauntleted hand reached out and grabbed the woman by
"Do as she says, Miss
Lane," commanded the Batman and the feisty woman did not struggle when he
thrust her gently but firmly to his back, in the direction of the Police
Watching the determined Sawyer drag
back the equally determined Lane, Kal-El struggled to his feet. None of the SCU
had hurt anyone it was true, but the crowd seemed to fall back before them and
that was for the best. Beneath Kal-El's blazing form, the concrete of the street
smoldered and melted, popping and hissing, throwing off dull red sparks of heat.
When he touched the bumper of an
automobile to use as a lever, the chrome metal shrieked in protest, turning to
slag in his hands. Without support, he collapsed back onto the street. Beneath
him, the street shook under the onslaught of the battle far above.
Wailing, the crowd fell back,
running, stumbling, desperate to avoid the large chucks of masonry and steel
falling from the sky, dislodged by the ongoing fight atop the now battered home
of the Daily Bugle. The huge stylized metal Bugle, world-renowned symbol of the
great Metropolitan newspaper, tottered and, with a scream of rending, protesting
metal, plunged earthward.
A scarlet blur and a great howling
wind that whistled and sang were the first signs of salvation to reach the
horrified crowds scrambling below. Tornado force winds engulfed the falling
concrete and masonry with pinpoint accuracy, diverting it from the helpless
people. With a resounding crash the debris landed safely in a wide lot, it's
only victims a good many parked cars. Forlornly, auto horns honked and wailed,
their lonely cries lost in the rising cacophony.
"Warning!" threatened a
stern, electronic voice, unheard above the din. "You are too close to the
vehicle! Please step back!"
"I've got the rest of it
Flash," said the calm voice of Iron Man. Repulsor rays lashed out and the
remaining chucks of falling building joined their compeers in the devastated
parking lot. Below, the crowd struck up a weak, nervous cheer.
"Yer working too hard, Shellhead," cracked the voice of Nick Fury*. Deprived of his trade mark cigar, the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D** was headed for a nicotine fit sometime in the near future, but for the moment he concentrated on the palm held controls of his LexCorp flight boots. "Time to let my boys have some fun." Unconsciously, his gloved hand rose to adjust his eye patch. Nick Fury might have only one eye left, but he didn't miss much. He still saw clearer than most men with two.
(*Nick Fury - In the MU, Nick Fury is a decorated veteran of WW2 where he was the fearless leader of Sgt. Fury's Howling Commandos. Nick is a Colonel now and the Director a world wide law enforcement and peace keeping organization known as **S.H.I.E.L.D. - Acronym for Scientific Headquarters International Enforcement Law Division; the aforementioned world wide organization. Very gadget prone and oriented.)
"Castle*, Grayson, Ryan, Wilson, Kyle, Rock," he barked off the names of his subordinates, "get down there and help those SCU people! On the double, you combat happy Joes!" With a pleased grin, he watched the men and women of S.H.I.E.L.D's crack Easy Company peel themselves out of formation one by one and head for the ground.
(*Frank Castle - In the MU Frank Castle is the Punisher. A multi tour vet of Vietnam, Frank Castle came home to his wife and children only to lose them to gang violence during a picnic in Central Park on a sunny day. A *highly* trained Marine combat soldier, Frank Castle declared war on crime and criminals. Big guns ... lotsa dead bodies.)
"Rock, you're in command
dirtside; Grayson's you're second. And Castle? Wilson? Watch the body count, you
two maniacs! Any civilians bite it and I'll have yer butts for breakfast! And
that's not a threat ... that's a promise."
"Roger that, Nick buddy. All
right, you heard the man people! Let's go help the heroes, boys and girls."
Obeying Frank Rock's command, Dick
Grayson, Selina Kyle, Red Ryan, Slade Wilson and Frank Castle joined the fray.
Selina Kyle swung herself in a tight
circle, guided by the armored flight boots snugly encasing her feet. The agent
of S.H.I.E.L.D barely avoided the still falling huge metal bugle from atop the
constantly raging battleground of the Bugle. She might, in fact, have struck it
but for the quick reflexes and power of the man in the dark blood-red and purple
costume. Hovering in the air, the Master of Magnetism, the most powerful mutant
on earth, reached out and, with one elegant gesture, grabbed hold of the
multiple tons of plunging metal. His blue-gray eyes danced with actinic fire and
miniature lighting sparked between the fingers of his upraised hand. At his
bidding, electrons shifted their orbits and the Earth's magnetic field, like a
well-trained hound, hurried to obey the will of it's Master. As lightly as a
feather, almost weightless in the grip of primal forces, the gigantic metal
advertisement lay itself obediently down atop the other debris in the now very
crowded former parking lot.
"Magneto!*" cried Kyle, "I could kiss you! Kitty-Cat has just about used up all her nine lives. You're a lifesaver. Literally."
- In the MU Magneto is The Master of Magnetism. He has been described variously
as "The most powerful mutant on Earth" and "virtually a force of
nature". He has almost total control, of the Earth's electromagnetic
spectrum, particularly in the realm of magnetic phenomena. A survivor of
Auchwitz death camp, Magneto has good reasons for believing that unless stopped
humanity will commit genocide against it's mutant offspring. He's seen it happen
before. He's determined it won't happen again. He has been portrayed both as a
villain and a hero.)
Even filtered and distorted by the
electronic microphones of his helmet, the softly accented voice of Eric Magnus
Lehnsherr, Magneto, was eloquent.
"You're quite welcome, Miss
Kyle," he said, then doffed his helmet to reveal long silver hair. Encased
in his protective bubble of magnetic force, he did not even feel the backwash of
her passing when Selina Kyle waggled her gyrostabilizers at him in a saucy
salute of gratitude. One sardonically arched silver eyebrow and a small smile
told quite a tale, though.
"Yes, ladies and gentlemen!" crowed the excited voice of a garishly clad telenewsman. "You saw it first! Live and in color! Magneto, mutant terrorist and his outlaw X-Men*, fighting on the side of the angels! Or *are* they? Stay tuned for Summer Gleeson's 'Gotham Insider' Special Report: 'Magneto: Threat Or Menace?' This is Jack Ryder signing off, live and on the scene! Bringing you the news as it happens!"
X-Men - Do Ah *really* have to explain this one?? Very well. For those of ya'll
who have been living on another planet for the last twenty years, the X-Men are
a group of mutant superheroes banded together to assist mankind and protect them
from evil mutant menaces and all manner of such like:):) They are feared and
often mistaken for villains by a frightened humanity. In the MU they are lead by
the redoubtable, telepathic Charles Xavier, Professor X. Had things been just a
bit different, they might very well have been lead by the man who became their
chief adversary: Magneto.)
Cautiously, The Batman approached the
burning figure. The heat was still considerable, washing off the figure in
stifling waves. But the odd clothes the stranger wore did not seem to be ablaze,
so perhaps it was no ordinary fire that engulfed the unknown man kneeling before
him. With deft, quick hands the dark clad figure removed his heat resistant cape
and threw it over the other man. For long moments it smoldered, acrid smoke
rising off the asbestos-laced cloth. But, eventually, the fires were smothered
beneath the capes weight and The Batman drew closer.
"Can you understand me?"
" ... Galactus ... stop him
..." the stranger gasped.
The Batman put out a swift hand to
steady the other.
"We're trying," he
answered. "Can you help us? What do you know of him? How can we fight
The urgency in the Dark Knight's
voice spurred the other man and he tried to rise. As he watched the small
struggle, a thousand unanswered questions blossomed in The Batman's mind. Who
was this man? *Was* he a man, for that matter? Recalling the speed of his
approach to the battle, The Batman prudently decided not. But whatever he was
... how could he be of use to the embattled heroes? Even as he watched the
stranger seemed to catch his breath.
"Keep fighting him," he
said. He shook his dark dressed head as if to clear it. Pain lived in the depths
of his blue eyes, but he ignored it. He laid hands on The Batman's shoulders and
even through the Kevlar and leather of his costume, the Dark Knight could feel
the vast strength there.
"You've got to keep distracting
him," Kal-El pleaded. "But you can't defeat him with force ... "
Stepping back, out of range of those hands, The Batman's eyes narrowed beneath
"Why is he here?" he
demanded. "What does he want?"
"He ... hungers," whispered
Kal-El. "I think he's very close to dying of what you would call starvation
and that's my fault ..." For an instant he looked so very lost that The
Batman frowned. Then the other man seemed to gather himself with an effort and
"Galactus feeds on energy much
the same way you feed on lesser life forms. He consumes the energy of planets to
survive. And he's here to dine on your world." It took The Batman a moment
to absorb that. But only a moment.
"How can we stop him?"
Kal-El drew a deep breath. It was
betrayal and he knew it. There would be no turning back after this.
"Aboard Galactus vessel there is
a device that could stop him. A terrible weapon. If we had that ... "
The Batman, who did not miss that
inclusive "we", regarded the other closely. "Can you get this
weapon?" he wanted to know. Kal-El shook his head and the dark curl on his
forehead bounced and danced as if in ironic merriment.
"No," he replied, "I
can't." He glanced up at the top of the Daily Bugle Building where the
futile battle still raged. "Your friends will need my help to keep Galactus
distracted. I can't go." He looked back at his dark clad companion.
"But *you* can."
The Batman froze. Trust was a
difficult thing for him. It did not come to him naturally. As a child, his trust
in the world had been brutally violated by that world and the people in it. Six
year old Bruce Wayne trusted the world to be safe; to be an orderly place that
made sense, that he could understand.
And the world left him frightened and
grieving, kneeling in an alley in a slowly spreading pool of his parents blood.
No, trust was not an easy thing for
him at all.
And yet ...
And yet ...
This Kal-El was trusting him, was he
not? Trusting a total stranger with "a terrible weapon" ... Trusting
The Batman to succeed. Where had he come by such a precious thing as this trust?
Surely not at Galactus side. Then where? Was it some innate part of Kal-El that
not even Galactus could crush?
And did he have a choice but to trust
the young alien? God knew what sort of trap it *could* be. And God help them all
if he were wrong.
"How?" he asked quickly.
"How can I get this weapon?" Kal-El's face flooded with relief.
"I can send you to Galactus
ship. The thing you seek lies at the very heart of the vessel. The way is
fraught with many perils. Once you have it, the weapon itself will bring you
back. Please, there isn't much time." Steeling himself, the hero of Gotham
stepped forward and gave himself into Kal-El's waiting, trusting hands.
With the last vestiges of the Power
Cosmic left to him, Kal-El sent The Batman on his desperate journey. The crowd
murmured and retreated a bit at the blinding flash of pure white light that
engulfed the Dark Knight and sent him on his way.
"Parker!" shouted Lois
Lane, "you got that, right? Tell me you got that!"
"Nobody move!" growled
Frank Castle, pointing his LexCorps M-18 laser rifle at Kal-El.
A stunned Dick Grayson's lips moved,
whispering what might have been a name, but the only one close enough to hear
him was Selina Kyle.
"My God, Dick," cried the
former cat-burglar turned S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, "what happened? What did he
do to Br - "
"Castle! Stand down!" Dick
Grayson's voice lashed out and the former Marine in Frank Castle responded.
Reluctantly in the face of an enemy, he lowered his gun and glared in frustrated
fury at the younger Grayson.
Selina Kyle lay her hand on her
adopted son's shoulder in comfort. She and Bruce Wayne might be divorced, but
she had never lost her love for the man nor for their son, despite all that lay
between she and her ex-husband. Through the heavy padding of his uniform and the
flack jacket covering his chest and back Selina felt Dick Grayson tremble for
the safety of the man who was the only father he could remember.
"Rao protect you,"
whispered Kal-El to the disappearing form of The Batman, remembering his
father's last words.
Continues in Last Herald of Galactus #4
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