Power Girl: Cosmic Balancing Act, Chapter 1: Meet the Yellow Peri

by Libbylawrence

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Power Girl woke up with a start as the alarm echoed through her cozy bedroom. She yawned and smoothed her unusually long, blonde hair in surprise. “Whoa! That’s some real hair growth!” she sighed in confusion, then arose.

She looked around in dismay at the frilly decorations that filled her room. They were all strange to her, as was her pink baby-doll nightie. She grabbed her costume and again blinked in surprise. Instead of the white and blue outfit she had taken off last night, a red and blue one hung in its place. It was a blue blouse with a V-neck and tiny S symbol in the right breast area, red hotpants, and red slippers.

Putting on the odd outfit, she looked down as voices echoed from outside the room. An older couple sat in a cozy kitchen that was not there last night.

“Linda, hurry down!” said the kindly woman. “You’ll miss your breakfast and your first class!”

Power Girl looked in the mirror. “Great Krypton!” she cried. “I’ve turned into a Supergirl twin! The face is mine, but the hair, outfit, house, and family are all hers!

She switched on the TV set and saw her cousin, Clark Kent, only he was doing the TV news. He still appeared to be the older man she knew, yet instead of being on a farm in Kansas, he was calmly acting as a WGBS TV News anchorman.

“The world is saddened by the year-long departure for space by Green Lantern,” intoned Clark the anchorman as a picture of the blond Alan Scott wearing the green and black of Hal Jordan flashed on the screen. “His cosmic employers have decreed that he spend this time out from Earth. He’ll be sorely missed.” He paused for a moment before continuing. “In other news, Luthor was captured once more by the JSA. He had bitter words for his captors.” The picture showed the red-headed Alexei Luthor wearing a purple and green battle-suit, alive and well despite the fact that he had died during the Crisis on Infinite Earths.

“This is too weird!” mused Kara Zor-L. “Got to call Dick.” She picked up the telephone and quickly dialed.

“Wayne Manor,” Alfred Beagle answered calmly.

“Alfred, thank Rao! Is Dick there?”

“I’m sorry, Miss,” said the Englishman. “Mr. Grayson has been living in New York for some time now. Could Master Bruce be of service to you?”

Bruce?! He’s dead! thought Kara in shock as she hung up without answering.

She flew off and saw an entirely new landscape with a sign that identified her home as Midvale, a few miles outside of Metropolis. I am totally lost! she thought helplessly. This isn’t Earth-Two, and it’s not Earth-One, either!

Power Girl flew toward the GBS Building as best she could after getting the address from a phone book; it was located where the UBS Building was supposed to be. Soon spotting her cousin leaving at the end of the broadcast, she shouted at him, “Clark! Wait up!”

Making a super-fast change into his working clothes as Superman, he whispered to her, “Careful! You’ll blow my I.D.!” As they ascended into the sky, he asked, “Now, what’s wrong, cousin?”

“I — I don’t know why you’d ask!” she sputtered. “You’re only living the life of your Earth-One counterpart, and look at me! I look like some spaced-out sorority girl!

“I don’t know what you mean,” replied Superman. “Earth-One? Kara, are you unwell? Have you been exposed to red kryptonite? Let’s go to the Fortress.”

As she veered toward the mountain range some miles outside of Metropolis, Superman stopped her by catching her cape. “You must really be dazed,” he said. “The Fortress is in the Arctic!

“No, it’s not!” she yelled at him. “It’s in the mountains! I know it is! I’m not the one who is crazy or sick! Forget it! I’ll find my own way out of this madhouse!” She angrily rocketed off at top speed, leaving him concerned and alone.

Power Girl quickly reached Gotham City, only to find that the JSA Brownstone was gone — torn down completely. She bit her lip in frustration. Andrew and the Symbioship! They will prove I’m not crazy, she thought.

When she returned to Metropolis, she headed to the GBS Building and counted the floors to find the UBS office usually used by her reporter friend, Andrew Vinson. Seeing a man sitting at his desk with his back to her, she burst in, saying, “Andrew, I am so–”

She stopped in her tracks in dismay as the man turned around. He was not the handsome, brown-haired, bearded Andrew, but an arrogant-looking man with a loud sports coat sitting by the phone. “It’s Steve — Steve Lombard, baby,” he said with a swagger. “How can I make your day?”

“Drop dead!” she said, fleeing again.

A loud, girlish laugh echoed through the sky, but Power Girl saw no one. Then a strange little man appeared, wearing a purple suit and a bow-tie. “Hiya, legs! Having a bad ‘heir’ day?” he asked, leering at her new costume.

“Mr. Mxyztplk!” she exclaimed. “That explains it all! But not even you have this kind of world-altering power.”

“Nope. Nary a bit, legs,” he said, giggling. “But wait ’til ya see my main man, Mallo!

She followed him into nothingness, and they reappeared in a weird limbo, where a bearded man lay muttering incoherently.

“Luthor is bald. Luthor is a businessman. Luthor has red hair,” he muttered madly. “Batman died. Batman lives. Robin. Nightwing, Jason, Dick, Tim! How many Hawkmen are there? Yeeaaargh!

Power Girl shook the dazed man, but to no avail.

“Martians on Earth-X!” he murmured. “Who’s Fury’s mother? I want my mother. Lora or Lara? Jor-L or Jor-El?”

“This is Mallo, Keeper of the Cosmic Balance,” teased the impish man with the bow-tie. “It’s his woeful job to keep a balance between Earth-One and Earth-Two. The recent Crisis on Infinite Earths and the brief merging of the two universes drove the poor loser hopelessly mad! I tapped into him like stolen magic cable for free! You just happened to be the leggy object I chose to torment using his memories of what is, what was, what will be, and what never will.”

“Why me?” asked Kara Zor-L. “I thought my cousin was your object of malice.”

“Sure, he’s my object of malice, scorn, mockery, et cetera, et cetera,” he said. “But you are the proud winner of the coveted spot as victim and pin-up target of my beautiful daughter, who is taking over the family business! I’m retiring, and my baby girl has selected you as her prize booby. Come on out, darling!”

A beautiful blonde teenager dressed like a stereotypical harem girl suddenly appeared. Her musical laugh was the one Power Girl had heard before. “I’m the Yellow Peri! My dad introduced me quite well, but I like to make my own intro. I do think I’ve started off rather well, don’t you, Supergirl?” she said, stressing the name merrily.

“I’ll just beat you into pulp, you Barbara Eden wannabe!” said Kara.

No. You’ll go back down there!” she laughed, and through Peri’s magic, Kara did just that.

As Power Girl — or Supergirl, as she was apparently now known as — found herself back in the skies over Earth, the maddening giggle of the genie-like Yellow Peri echoed in her head. She stopped in midair and tried to collect her thoughts. Immediately, her hearing picked up a police report.

“A rampaging creature is tearing down Boring Lane.”

Ignoring the rest of the report, she decided to take action. At least this will be something I can actually pound into some sense! she mused.

Power Girl soon saw the source of the alarm. A hulking beast with glowing purple skin was stomping down the street where Bates Boulevard ended. “Looks like Solomon Grundy, but with a serious skin condition!” she laughed to herself.

No sooner had she slammed into the monster with her full strength, than the glow expanded, and she found herself trapped in his embrace. “Grundy absorb energy from flying girl!” he said.

That’s a new one! she thought as power literally drained out of her at the touch of this parasite. The swamp beast I knew didn’t even know a word like absorb!

She kicked out and tried to plant her boot heels in the pavement, but to her dismay she remembered that she was not wearing boots — she was in red slippers. Grimacing, she struggled and slipped her feet deep in the pavement, then, kicking off, she flew up with the monster. Miles above she said, “If you keep draining me, I’ll drop you. You’ll go splat. Get it?”

He didn’t, so she dropped him. Energy radiated out as he hit the ground below, and a crater formed around his suddenly still form.

She watched authorities carry him off, waving their thanks to her. “Great work, Supergirl!” they called. She resisted the urge to yell at them and instead flew off to think.

All the while, the Yellow Peri smiled in her mind’s eye, and girlish giggling rang out.

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