There’s no real way to explain what this project is, because it sorta isn’t anything. Basically, I had the hankering to come up with pitches for/reimaginings of superheroes. (This is, admittedly, one of my more frequent hankerings.) So I made a list of characters and teams, and asked people to choose from the list, and I kept doing this until I had written up 24 pitches. Along the way, I started to connect threads between the various pitches, which I decided at some point were all in the same continuity. So to provide some sort of resolution for this vague web of connections, I came up with four Crisis events (all named after Disney attractions, natch) that would occur more or less simultaneously, each bringing together 6 of the 24 titles. The pitches are here grouped by the crossover they feed into, and each crossover has its own summary/writeup. Hope you enjoy!
None of the biggest-name DC heroes are centered here, but this is a continuity where they all exist, and more or less as you know them. There’s a Justice League (though Aquaman’s not a member of it), there was a Justice Society in the 1940s, etc. Rule of thumb is that, if I haven’t described it or if it’s not immediately relevant, you can assume it’s more or less the same as in current DC continuity. But feel free to ask lore questions in the comments! I will eagerly flesh out this world more upon request.
At the outset of World War II, President Roosevelt issued a special draft, enlisting all of America’s costumed crimefighters into a special organization known as the All-Star Squadron, consisting of four divisions. One was kept in the US to foil spies and maintain homefront safety. Two were sent to join the fight as special operatives on the European and Japanese fronts. And the fourth division, kept secret even from military leaders, was sent into the Bermuda Triangle, where Nazi scientist Per Degaton is attempting an incalculably dangerous experiment with time travel, aided by a menacing gynoid from the future calling herself Mekanique.
The Robotman, Doctor Mid-Nite, Bulletgirl, Liberty Belle, King Standish, the Harlequin, Sargon the Sorcerer, the Phantom Lady, the Sandman, Mr. Terrific, the Manhunter, and the Black Condor venture to Degaton’s island laboratory, and seemingly destroy his dangerous machine, but in doing so are thrust across dimensions unknown into a parallel timeline more fearsome and alien than they could have dared to dream, dominated by neo-feudal lords commanding modern technology, including Baron Bedlam, Baroness von Gunther, and Count Vertigo. The twelve heroes, pursued by the nigh-unstoppable Mekanique, fight to return home… if there is a home to return to.
After a catastrophic accident in a nuclear laboratory, English physicist Gardner Grayle has his body and consciousness unstuck from the space-time continuum, causing him to travel at random between the present day, the medieval past (in which he becomes a knight of King Arthur’s court), and a distant post-apocalyptic future where the wasteland is ruled by anthropomorphic animals.
Combining his unique position with his knowledge of nuclear physics, a specialized suit of atomic armor, and all the bravery and gallantry of the Round Table, Grayle sets out to prevent the future he partially inhabits from coming to pass. But principalities of evil are out to stymie his progress, particularly the androids of the Nuclear Family, who seem to move between Grayle’s three time periods willfully.
The Coluan mastermind Vril Dox, organic son of the AI Brainiac, has a long history of making changes to the galacto-political order, using his tenth-level intellect and knack for manipulation to do what needs to be done, rarely asking for permission, and never for forgiveness.
As the planet Earth begins to establish ongoing contact with alien civilizations, Dox comes to believe that humankind, despite their history of universe-saving, is uniquely volatile and poses a major threat to intergalactic peace. However, rather than attempt to destroy Earth like so many alien empires have arrogantly presumed they could, Dox has decided to diplomatically neutralize the threat.
Aided by his longtime allies Garryn Bek, Lobo, and Lady Quark, Dox aims to sabotage the construction of a new large-scale Zeta-Beam connector going from Earth to the planet Rann, which would serve as the human race’s formal entry point into the larger universe. But opposing his efforts is one of the few beings in the universe as ice-cold and unflinching as Dox himself: human bureaucreat Amanda Waller, leading a spacebound Suicide Squad (incl. Nightshade, Reactron, Parasite, Multiplex, and Master Jailer) to ensure the uplink’s establishment by any means necessary. The two masterminds face off in a game of galactic chess, where the stakes are the future of the universe. But Waller tips the odds in her favor when she makes a dangerous partnership with the original Brainiac, who shares her interest in connecting Earth to the stars.
Red Tornado: Stellar Wind
Years ago, an alien spirit and wind elemental named Ulthoon was called to Earth and captured by a scientist named T.O. Morrow. Morrow harnessed a strange and mysterious energy source called “futurenergy” to cast a “mold” of Ulthoon’s elemental abilities and contain them within an android, named the Red Tornado. Morrow, who himself barely understood futurenergy, believed that Ulthoon’s conscience had been contained within the Red Tornado, merely having lost his memories. In truth, though, Ulthoon escaped back to space, his power severely drained and his mind full of hatred for the planet Earth.
Now, however, Ulthoon’s power resurges, and the Red Tornado, along with the teenage hero Cyclone whose powers come from the same technology, find themselves called to venture into space, pulled to Ulthoon by the mysterious bonds of futurenergy. The twin twisters pass through alien civilizations, encounter others wielding the elemental forces, and uncover the secrets of the energies that created them, as they draw closer to Ulthoon and deeper into the web of the cosmic archivist Brainiac, whose sights are set on the secrets of futurenergy.
Team Titans: Mal and Cisco’s Excellent Adventure
Testing a new technology that uses sonic vibrations to cross the space-time continuum, amateur teen inventors Malcolm Duncan and Cisco Ramón find themselves flung 60 years into the future, into a cyberpunk dystopia ruled by the unseen Monarch (who, spoiler alert, is neither Hank Hall nor Captain Atom). Mal and Cisco are taken into shelter by the resistance fighters comprising the Team Titans, including the electric Kilowatt, the soaring Redwing, the hacker Prestor Jon, and the vampire Dagon. Seeing an opportunity to travel back in time and prevent their dystopian world from coming to pass, the Team Titans elect to help Mal and Cisco rebuild their machine. But their mission becomes deadlier when Monarch becomes aware of it, and is revealed to himself be a time traveler: Terry Sloane, formerly Mr. Terrific of the All-Star Squadron.
Tomorrow Woman: E.P.W.O.T.
After discovering the mysterious and potent energy source he dubbed “futurenergy,” T.O. Morrow devoted the rest of his life to finding sinister applications for it. While his other robot creations such as Red Tornado used futurenergy in their design, Morrow’s final and greatest creation was given direct power over futurenergy itself, granting her powerful telekinesis and telepathy among other latent abilities. This “Tomorrow Woman” outlived her creator, and now attempts to atone for his destructive life by fighting for justice.
Morrow stored all the surplus futurenergy he generated in a pocket dimension accessible from his laboratory in central Florida. Futurenergy naturally molding to the imagination of its wielder, the pocket dimension slowly took on the form and appearance of the hyper-technological dystopia Morrow dreamed of creating and ruling. However, futurenergy also exercises a mind of its own, and after his death, it began to evolve past his vision into something far stranger, and perhaps even deadlier. Tomorrow Woman journeys into the pocket dimension to make first contact, venturing into a weird and wonderful land of pure imagination, inhabited by robots who know nothing of the Earth’s existence.
CRISIS OF TOMORROW
Three dark future timelines–the neu-feudal world in which the All-Star Squadron is pursued by Mekanique, the cyberpunk dystopia of the Team Titans, and the apocalyptic animal world seen by the Atomic Knight–turn out to have paradoxically all caused one another. After the All-Star Squadron returned to 1942, Mr. Terrific, horrified by the backwards and superstitious society he had seen, retreated into the shadows to establish power and prevent such a thing from ever happening, eventually becoming Monarch. The Team Titans, in their efforts to prevent Monarch’s rise to power, lose the stabilizing influence that would prevent the nuclear holocaust from causing the animal future. And the Atomic Knight, trying to bring order and sanity to the world, would establish a nuclear knighthood that would develop into the neo-feudal society.
This paradox was engineered by Brainiac-8, aka Indigo, aka Mekanique, also the guiding force behind the Nuclear Family, and also the collaborator who guided Brainiac 1 into working with Amanda Waller (so that her machinations on Earth could affect the whole universe) and stealing the secrets of futurenergy from Red Tornado (futurenergy being what powers her time manipulations). Indigo’s plan is to collapse all three possible futures into the same present, “weaving” them together like a cord to create a timeline strong enough to defeat the Time Trapper, a cosmic being who waits in Indigo’s home year of 5252 to consume the timestream itself.
When armies from the three dark futures start pouring into the 21st century, Vril Dox comes to Earth and unites a small army of heroes, including Tomorrow Woman, whose control of futurenergy is the only possible threat to Indigo herself, and Mal and Cisco, whose time tech allows Vril to send heroes to all three futures and dismantle the futurenergy devices folding them into the present.
Amethyst, Princess of Gemworld
Two years ago, a teenage Amy Winston was transported to the magical realm of Gemworld, where she discovered her true heritage as princess of the house of Amethyst. Wielding a gemstone sword and the powerful magic of the Lords of Order, she overthrew the tyrannical Dark Opal and restored hope and joy to Gemworld.
Now, having settled into her political life on Gemworld, Amy is called to return to the planet Earth. Accompanied by her winged unicorn Max, she must hunt down twelve stones of unbelievable power that originally belonged to Gemworld, were loaned to the founders of Atlantis on Earth, and were lost when Atlantis fell and severed their realms’ magical connection. The twelve stones are the only thing that can save Gemworld from the fissures arising from the planet’s core and slowly creeping outward, threatening to eventually crumble the planet itself.
But Amy and Max are opposed by someone of even greater magical power. Mordru, one of the Lords of Chaos, has begun speaking to a young and conflicted telepath named Lucian Crawley, grooming him to become his host in the physical realm so that he can establish a new despotic regime on Earth and the other physical realms, including Gemworld. With every stone Lucian finds, Mordru is able to channel more of his power through the youth, making him a formidable opponent for Amy.
Aquaman: Seven Seas
The raw life-energy of the planet Earth flows into its oceans from an extradimensional source called the Secret Sea, overseen by the Lady of the Lake. However, six other realms, existing in parallel realities to Earth, draw from the Secret Sea as well, namely Skartaris, Gemworld, the Blood Reef, the Nightshade Dimension, Azarath, and Limbo Town.
The original fall of Atlantis disrupted the network of magical tunnels connecting the seas of these seven realms, but when Aquaman’s brother Orm uses an ancient Atlantean ritual to reopen the gates, Aquaman and his wife Mera have a mess on their hands, as Earth’s already-vast oceans are once again connected to realms of wonder and horror alike. Meanwhile, Orm is recruiting sorcerers from the other realms, including Deimos, Dark Opal, and Klarion, to enact an interdimensional ritual that would give them power over the Secret Sea itself and make them master of all seven realms.
Every day, ships enter and leave the harbor of New Orleans carrying hard drugs and human trafficking victims. Politicians rub elbows with crime lords, and justice is rarely served. But the wealthy and powerful men of New Orleans must learn to beware strangers and friends alike, for among their number may lurk a vigilante of many faces, a flower covered in thorns who can confuse the mind with pheromones, and who no man has bested in fisticuffs. The Black Orchid is the scourge of the cruel and corrupt. No one knows where she comes from, and thanks to her incredible powers of shapeshifting, no one can ever know if they’re safe from her.
Two other wielders of magical mystery intermittently feature in the Black Orchid’s crusade for justice (and, intermittently, in her bedroom): the English warlock John Constantine, and the powerful, capricious elemental Tefé Holland. While neither shares the Black Orchid’s level of zeal in taking down corrupt power, they find themselves frequently joining forces when magical threats like the voodoo enchanter Papa Midnite, Tefé’s necromancer grandfather Anton Arcane, and murderous zealot Mister E show up on the mean streets of the Big Easy and in the darkest depths of the bayous.
In the North Maine Woods, the nights are pitch-black, the winters are bitter cold, and it’s easy to wander for days without finding another human soul. As any locals will tell you, these woods are full of dark and horrible things—the eerie wendigo, the vicious razor-shins, and most recently, the horrid Man-Bat.
Having fled Gotham City to find solitude in the wilderness, the mutated Dr. Kirk Langstrom has regained his human wits in his beastly form, and now lives off wild game in the wooded shadows. Like the inverse of his name, he becomes a dark symbol of justice, inflicting terror upon those who would harm the innocent. Unlike the caped crusader, however, he rarely leaves survivors. But beings of pure malice lurk in the woods whose potential for violence dwarfs even the Man-Bat’s, including the druid Blackbriar Thorn and, most horrifyingly, the witch boy Klarion.
After escaping their imprisonment at metahuman test facility in Siberia, four queer teenage monsters (the vampire Scream Queen, the hillbilly werewolf Fang, his gilled boyfriend Lagoon Boy, and the ghost girl Secret) take on the guise of a horror-themed punk band and hit the road, running from their captors as they tour Europe and get into trouble with all sorts of authority figures. Along the way, they pick up the magic-absorbing Black Alice, who becomes their roadie and Scream Queen’s girlfriend.
Scare Tactics rapidly becomes an inspiration for marginalized youth throughout Europe and in the world at large, seen as a model for how to strike fear into the hearts of oppressors. Aside from being constantly on the run from the law, however, their journey westward is complicated by encounters with other supernatural entities, some friendlier than others. Among them are Baron Winters of Wintersgate Manor, Klarion the Witch Boy, Brother Blood and his demonic cult, the Gentleman Ghost, and Secret’s murderous brother Harm.
A soulless zombie, an aberration against nature, Solomon Grundy has no capacity for love or joy, and has always brought pain and suffering wherever he treads. But when Grundy saves the children of a Mexican village from a ruthless group of cartel members, the superhero angel Zauriel takes notice.
Zauriel makes a bet with the avenging Spectre. If Grundy can, in one year’s time, successfully walk from Mexico City to Zenith Point, Nunavut, without taking a single human life, he will have his soul restored and be given another chance at a true human life. But if he fails, the Spectre will take Grundy to the lowest pit of the Nine Hells to suffer for all time. Grundy journeys through the emptiest parts of North America, opposed by superheroes, law enforcement, and angry mobs of civilians, without spilling blood… and at the end, he may himself become less empty.
CRISIS OF TERROR
The cabal of sorcerers mentioned in Aquaman: Seven Seas is on the brink of enacting the magical ritual that would give them control of the Secret Sea–until, seemingly on a whim, Klarion decides that he finds the prospect of ruling all existence boring. Instead, Klarion (whose magical power comes from somewhere much more chthonic and fundamental than the others’) magically enthralls Ocean Master, Deimos, and Dark Opal, and brings them to Earth to set about a new plan that may destroy the very fabric of existence.
Wintersgate Manor is a sentient, mobile pocket dimension, appearing as a house in the physical world, but containing a perhaps infinite labyrinth of shifting corridors and mysterious rooms. The house’s master, Baron Winters, is actually just a manifestation of the house itself, and as such is unable to leave its walls. And the house serves a specific metaphysical purpose–just as Earth and its connected realms receive life energy flowing from the Secret Sea, Wintersgate Manor is the ultimate estuary for that energy, collecting the surplus and depositing it into the void. If, as Klarion plans, the manor is transported into the Secret Sea, the entire structure would likely collapse, ending all life in all seven realms.
The idea was actually given to Klarion by Mordru, who has finally manifested his full power in the body of Lucian Crawley. When Klarion realizes this, hating the concept of being manipulated, he immediately murders Crawley and absorbs Mordru’s power into himself, taking Mordru’s place as the greatest of the Lords of Chaos. While the now-nigh-omnipotent Klarion scours the Earth for Wintersgate Manor, champions including Aquaman, Mera, Amethyst, Tefe Holland, Solomon Grundy, and Man-Bat attempt to hold him back, while John Constantine, the Black Orchid, and the teens of Scare Tactics hide inside the manor and try to figure out how to keep it from him. The plan they come up with hinges on Black Alice’s power to channel the sorcery of others, but with Klarion’s power being so inherently chaotic, what can truly be planned?
The Crimson Fox
Vivian and Constance D’Aramis are twin sisters and research chemists, both working in the perfume and cosmetics industry in Paris. Both share metahuman powers, including retractable claws and superhuman strength and agility. On a lark, the two develop the costumed identity of the Crimson Fox, developing a variety of pheromone-based chemical weapons and faking Constance’s death so that both sisters can split their time between fighting crime and maintaining Vivian’s career.
The Crimson Fox prowls the Parisian arcades and alleyways as a merry and enchanting swashbuckler, making quick work of master thieves like Andre Le Blanc and hired killers like Henri Dumas. But in the course of fighting mundane crime, Vivian and Constance run afoul of a dangerous brotherhood of subversive autocrats with power and influence, including the shapeshifting femme fatale Madame Rouge, the ancient mastermind General Immortus, and the mad scientist Warp. The group’s leader, the “Brain,” works in the shadows, only speaking through his simian associate Monsieur Mallah. This brotherhood of evil worships a horrible chthonic document called the Bible of Crime, and speaks of a coming age of evil ushered forth from another world. When Vivan and Constance learn far too much, the Crimson Fox is declared enemy number one by the Brain, and they must fight for their lives while unraveling an unspeakably sinister conspiracy.
Fire and Ice
Beatriz da Costa, Brazilian supermodel and member of the Ticuna tribe, spontaneously manifests latent superhuman powers when attacked by a superpowered robot that had taken the place of her photographer. Now able to manifest a flame-like green plasma, she takes advantage of her international connections and financial resources to investigate the widespread rumors of robot impostors, “Manhunters,” attacking metahumans.
Beatriz tracks one Manhunter to an isolated Romani community in Norway, where she meets a sweet local girl named Tora Olafsdotter, whose metahuman power over ice has been in her family for generations. The two of them successfully fend off the Manhunter and save Tora’s village, and sparks of romance begin to fly between them. Now, the two elementals live a life of globetrotting intrigue together, adopting disguises and uncovering clues to weed out Manhunters and protect people from them wherever possible.
Along the way, they catch the interest of one Amanda Waller, a US intelligence official who, impressed by their success against the Manhunters, wants to recruit them into government service. When they refuse, Waller begins framing them for crimes and sending the agents of her Suicide Squad after them, with the intention of arresting them so they’ll have no choice but to serve on the Squad themselves.
After refusing to sink a civilian vessel that had accidentally borne witness to state secrets, China’s state-sponsored team of “super-functionaries” is disowned and smeared as defectors. The Great Ten seek asylum in the floating city-state of Superbia (established by the deserters in the International Ultramarine Corps), where their rebellion is seen as heroic.
Once established in Superbia, the Great Ten suffer an informal schism. Half the team (August General in Iron, Seven Deadly Brothers, Immortal Man-in-Darkness, Mother of Champions, and Ghost Fox Killer) fully embraces Superbia as their new homeland, devoting all their energy to defending it and advancing its journey toward international recognition. Meanwhile, the other half of the team (Accomplished Perfect Physician, Socialist Red Guardsman, Thundermind, Shaolin Robot, and Celestial Archer) is beginning to question the idea of national loyalty altogether. Guided by a spiritual vision of the Jade Emperor received by Accomplished Perfect Physician, the five journey back to China in disguise to investigate a long-lost mystical secret, something belonging to a China that’s more than just a nation.
Tired of the Flash continually standing between them and ill-gotten riches, the costumed crooks making up the Rogues (the veterans Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, and Pied Piper, and the rookies Trickster and Mirror Master) decide to try something new, something that could even the scales. A top-secret STAR Labs facility houses a four-dimensional hyper-gyroscope designed by the Top that, augmented by Abra Kadabra’s future tech, serves as an artificial Speed Force engine, granting anyone access to the levels of kinetic power wielded by the Scarlet Speedster.
The five Rogues secretly board a ship transporting the gyroscope with the intent to steal it while it’s in transit. But one thing leads to another, the device slips through their fingers, and the Rogues end up on a globe-trotting chase to get their hands on it, while slowly discovering that other parties are seeking the same treasure as them, including Gorilla Grodd, Intergang, the League of Assassins, and most threateningly of all, agents of the Crime Syndicate of Amerika.
Secret Society of Supervillains
After Lex Luthor is arrested and sent to a super-prison in space, a power vacuum opens in the supervillain community’s internal politics. While figures like Vandal Savage and Ra’s al Ghul take this opportunity and rush to expand their reach, one unexpected player swoops in and establishes power. Executing a complex plan designed by his superhuman intellect, the gorilla-shaped mad scientist called the Ultra-Humanite recruits eight other supervillains (Giganta, Black Manta, Killer Moth, Livewire, Rainbow Raider, Terra-Man, Floronic Man, and Clock King), seizing large supplies of untraceable funds and super-tech. They establish a base near the South Pole, for its proximity to a portal to the fantastic world of Skartaris. The new Secret Society slowly builds power by establishing a diplomatic presence in Skartaris, obtaining magical artifacts to store or sell on Earth. But other supervillains are beginning to catch the Society’s scent, wishing to interfere more clumsily than Humanite’s plan allows for, and the nine must stand in the gap between worlds to prevent an all-out war from breaking out.
Lex Luthor has been arrested and sent to a super-prison in space. Due to happenstance and fine print, the majority of seized Lexcorp assets fall into the hands of STAR Labs, who appoint armored super-scientist John Henry Irons to spearhead an initiative called “Super-City,” headquartered at the former Lexcorp tower, with the goal of combining technological innovation and social programs to transform Metropolis, making the city itself as brilliant and inspiring as its Man of Steel.
Among Irons’s personnel choices are his daughter Natasha as head of a collective of promising young scientists and engineers, Jimmy Olsen as his assistant and right-hand man, Booster Gold as the project’s spokesman, and Dan Turpin as head of security. In addition, Steel establishes a fleet of golden shield-bearing Guardians to patrol the streets independent of the MPD (Guardians are, in fact, instructed to directly resist police officers if they’re being a threat to private citizens). Finally, to protect the city from high-powered threats when Superman is indisposed elsewhere, Steel heads up a supervillain reform program, its first subjects being Doomsday, Bizarro, and the Eradicator.
However, not everyone in Metropolis is happy about Irons’s bold new vision. Fearing an upset to the order they both profit from, real estate mogul Morgan Edge and crime boss Bruno Mannheim conspire together to bring Irons’s dream crashing down… and Turpin, the Guardians, and the reformed villains might not be enough to protect it.
IT’S A CRISIS WORLD
The reckoning prophesied by the Crime Bible is coming to pass–an evil version of the Justice League from another dimension, headed by Ultraman, Owlman, and Superwoman, is invading Earth-1, in an effort to rule it like they ruled their own. Able to send communications and control electronics from their world, but unable to pass between dimensions without an opening on our side, their hacker Grid (the evil Cyborg) took control of the Manhunters and used them to thin the herds of Earth-1’s metahumans, while sending “prophecies” to the Brotherhood of Evil and Bruno Mannheim of Intergang, among other Crime Bible devotees, to lay the economic and infrastructural groundwork for a full-scale invasion.
Finally, they have Intergang members swoop in at the exact moment needed to activate the hyper-gyroscope in view of one of Mirror Master’s mirrors, turning it into a portal to their own world, through which they came in full force, with hundreds of evil superheroes storming Earth-1 and laying utter waste to it, aided by the Manhunters and their human minions. The members of the Crime Syndicate seize Mirror Master’s technology and use it to target their own mirror selves, trapping the Justice League in the same space prison where Luthor is. It’s left to Earth-1’s villains (incl, the Secret Society, the Rogues, and the members of Steel’s reform program) and those heroes (incl. Crimson Fox, Fire, and Ice) who were able to take refuge from the mirror blast in one of two cities prepared to shield themselves from it, namely Metropolis and Superbia. Steel and August General in Iron take command of two superhero armies to do battle with the Crime Syndicate hordes, while a ragtag band of villains (Captain Cold, Captain Boomerang, Livewire, Terra-Man, Black Manta, and Clock King) go into space to try and free the Justice League, and possibly also Lex Luthor.
Trained by her assassin parents and then by the Batman, Cassandra Cain now silently prowls the streets of Hong Kong, using her unmatched martial prowess and ability to expertly read body language to come down on gang activity, human trafficking, and especially arms trafficking, as a new branch of Intergang has begun selling superpowered weaponry to the local triads. The mute vigilante is joined in her fight by shrinking scientist Ryan Choi, aka the Atom. And while the two have done well at stemming the tide of high-tech crime, a new threat is arriving on their shores whose potential for death dwarfs that of the triads.
Four wealthy metahumans with skeletal visages and a quasi-religious fascination with death have come to Hong Kong. One is Japan’s unkillable Lord Death Man. The other three are American: the radioactive Doctor Phosphorus, the biochemist Doctor Death, and the inexorable Mister Bones. The four death-worshipers are taking advantage of Intergang and the triads to enact a plan of such immense evil that even kung fu might not be enough to stop.
Captain Marvel Jr. in the Fifth Dimension
Seeking a break from tormenting Superman, the omnipotent imp Mr. Mxyzptlk heads to Fawcett City, but finds, to his frustration-then-horror, that the magical lightning of the Rock of Eternity renders the Marvel Family able to directly resist his fifth-dimensional magic, something no other force in the lower dimension has done before. Seeing the lower dimensions as a genuine threat for the first time, Mxyzptlk returns to his home realm to warn their leaders and advise for total destruction of the planet Earth and the plane that holds it.
The wizard Shazam, after becoming aware of this fifth-dimensional menace, assigns Freddy Freeman, the youngest Marvel, a special mission. While Billy and Mary stay in Fawcett City to keep the Earth safe, Freddy, accompanied by his feline butler Mr. Tawky Tawny and the 5D genie Yz, will journey into the fifth dimension to convince them to spare the lower planes. In the course of his journey, Freddy will travel through realms that warp time, space, and the imagination, and run afoul of beings far more awe-inspiring and inexorable than mere trickster like Mxyzptlk.
Decades ago, while exploring the jungles of Central Africa, Bill Glenmorgan had his body magically swapped with that of the Congorilla, a golden gorilla of incredible strength and nigh-invulnerable hide, with the ability to grow to incredible size. For a long time he possessed a ring that allowed him to switch his consciousness between his body and the gorilla’s, the gorilla’s mind inhabiting his human body while he used the gorilla’s powers to fight crime and monsters. One day in 1912, however, Glenmorgan’s human body was killed while inhabited by the gorilla, and the ring was lost to the mists of history.
Now, the Congorilla makes his home in Kakadu National Park on the coast of Australia’s Northern Territory, climbing the rocky cliffs and lurking in the dense forests. But when a ship containing seven massive elemental golems lands in the Banda Sea, the Congorilla must rise to the occasion and defend human civilization from being crushed under their footsteps. Other giant menaces soon come to the southwest Pacific as well, like Starro the Conqueror, Titano the Super-Ape, the robot Mr. Atom, and the shapeshifting Animal-Vegetable-Mineral Man. The Congorilla is ready to take on each and every monster, but when his golden ring is rediscovered, suddenly whoever possesses it can claim the Congorilla’s body as their own and pull Glenmorgan’s consciousness into their own bodies. Our hero has to balance defending the ring from malicious actors with defending Australia from kaiju.
The Creeper and the Blue Devil
Jack Ryder is one of America’s most famous faces, a primetime talk show host famous for both his quick wit and his ruthless interview style. His best friend is Dan Cassidy, a stuntman working on the same TV lot in Burbank. When the lot is stormed by a gang of technicolor terrorists calling themselves the Madmen, Dan puts on a high-tech protective blue stunt-suit and rushes to protect Jack. Dan jumps on a grenade thrown at Jack, and survives unharmed, but the stunt-suit is damaged in a way that fuses it to his body, rendering him unable to ever remove it. Jack, meanwhile, is forcibly injected with a near-lethal quantity of “goofball,” the personality-altering steroid taken by all the Madmen, though none in quantities remotely as high.
Ripping out of his clothes, Jack lets forth a horrible cackle as he mutates into a yellow monstrosity, tearing through his clothes as he becomes a horrifying creature. He rushes to the costume department to cover himself, donning a feather boa, thigh-high boots, and silk gloves, and, teaming up with the armored Dan, makes quick work of the Madmen.
Now, both trapped in horrible visages (though one of them just finds it funny), Jack and Dan fight the craziest and kookiest crimes all over Los Angeles, putting on a show that puts Hollywood to shame as the Creeper and the Blue Devil.
An abandoned bunker, once operated by the Japanese WWII black ops outfit known as the Black Dragon Society, is unearthed in the 21st century. Inside, a team of teenage American superheroes long thought dead are revived from suspended animation, having been kidnapped to have their powers studied and replicated, but abandoned when the war ended and the BDS was disbanded.
Upon their re-emergence, the members of Infinity Inc, including Brainwave Junior, Jade, Obsidian, Fury, Northwind, and the Star-Spangled Kid, become celebrities and teen heartthrobs. They end up working with the publicist known as Funky Flashman while they establish a presence as crimefighters in St. Louis, but complications soon arise, with a tumultuous love triangle emerging between Obsidian, Northwind, and Star-Spangled Kid, Brainwave Junior engaging in suspicious activities hidden from the others, and all six teens seeing hallucinatory flashes of their 1940s enemy the Psycho-Pirate.
As a cross-brand marketing initiative, four multinational corporations (Ramhorn Electronics, Harbinger Consulting, Glossman’s Farms, and Extraño Cosmetics) sponsor a new brand-forward superhero team, providing salaries and organizational resources to four superpowered teens, under the condition that they take brand-based codenames and participate in promotional materials.
The four New Guardians become a viral phenomenon under the direction of the social media intern Thomas Kalmaku, but struggle both to gain serious respect as superheroes and to boost their respective sponsors’ sales numbers. But on an Australian mission, the five are visited by Betty Clawman, a ghostlike Aboriginal figure who claims they have been chosen for a sacred mission, one that requires forsaking everything their sponsors stand for. Choosing to pursue a chance at true meaning over consumerist clout, the New Guardians become maverick anti-capitalists, drawing a new kind of online notoriety and forging a brand new path as heroes.
CRISIS INTO YOUR IMAGINATION
Various world leaders have been visited by one of two ghostly presences in red suits and theatre masks, offering to “make the pain go away” in exchange for their cooperation. Various policies of petty cruelty have suddenly and rapidly been enacted–destruction of beloved parks, abolition of recess for schoolchildren, stringent city curfews, and increased abuse of prisoners.
The dreamtime spirit Betty Clawman gathers the New Guardians, the Congorilla, Captain Marvel Jr., Mr. Tawky Tawny, the Black Bat, and the Atom in Australia. Clawman explains that a being called the King of Tears, from the Fifth Dimension (which she explains is fundamentally one and the same as the dreamtime), has sent his once-human prophets the Psycho-Pirate and Johnny Sorrow (once known as Johnny Thunder, a superhero who was bonded to the 5D djinn Yz) to increase human misery and hopelessness, with the goal of creating the conditions for him to manifest in the 3-dimensional world. If the King of Tears manifests, he will drain all joy, hope, and wonder out of existence.
The gathering of heroes travels northeast to the mysterious Dinosaur Island, where Johnny Sorrow is trying to feed his master by infecting all the dinosaurs with insatiable bloodlust, making them destroy each other and ending one of the most strange and wonderful places on Earth. Meanwhile, in America, Infinity Inc recruits Creeper and Blue Devil in their nationwide manhunt for the Psycho-Pirate, as it’s revealed that the Creeper’s horrific laugh has the same hot-knife-through-butter effect on fifth-dimensional magic as the Marvel Family’s lightning does.
If the heroes can seize the masks from both prophets and unite the two, all the emotional damage wrought can be undone and the King of Tears can be beaten back into the realm of pure imagination. But if they fail, then after the laughter… will come the tears