Power Girl: The Ring’s the Thing, Chapter 2: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

by Dan Swanson

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Landing near the mall entrance, Kool McCoo startled everyone. He didn’t really give a crap, though. Now that nothing could hurt him, the people around him were irrelevant. It was definitely an unusual experience to be surrounded by women and to see through their clothes. Maybe he had picked the right powers, after all. All these naked women around were starting to arouse him again. He was really starting to like these powers.

Kool strolled into the Victoria’s Secret. There were a bunch of really hot babes in here. One of them was so stunning, she practically took his breath away. She must shop here all the time, he thought as he examined her lingerie. After a few seconds, he examined the rest.

“Whew, baby, that is some pair!” he yelled at her. “How’s about you and me go somewhere and let me make you one happy momma?”

Her boyfriend was less than thrilled. “Hey, punk, you had better watch your mouth when you talk to my girl!”

“Hey, boy, did you know she has matching tattoos, one between those awesome boobs and one in the crack of her butt?”

That did it. The boyfriend slugged Kool in the stomach as hard as he could. He practically broke his hand; Kool didn’t even feel it. Kool continued to make obscene remarks to the woman. The boyfriend picked up a stool from behind the cash register and smashed it over Kool’s head. There was no effect, except that now Kool was mad.

As the boyfriend gaped at him, amazed, Kool kicked him in the crotch, and when he collapsed to the floor, he also kicked him savagely in the head, knocking him unconscious. One of the sales staff immediately set off the burglar alarm. Still new to his powers, Kool got just a little nervous. He grabbed the woman and swooped out of the shop. “You and me gon’ have a good time, honey!” he promised her as he flew away. They crashed through the skylight, and Kool headed back to his pad.

Earlier, as Kool had landed outside the mall, someone had called the police about the flying man. Flying men were not all that uncommon. Superman, Doctor Fate, Green Lantern, Hawkman, and Starman did it all the time, but they all wore costumes. A flying man in shabby street clothes probably wasn’t a super-hero. So there was a patrol car approaching the mall when Kool bust through the skylight, carrying his struggling, screaming prisoner.

One of the cops in the car radioed a description of the scene to police headquarters. Knowing that his small-town police force wasn’t up to battling with a super-villain, the chief of police put in a call to the special number for the Justice Society of America. Within seconds, he had provided the JSA phone monitor with all the information he had, and the monitor promised to send a JSA member immediately.

Power Girl arrived on the scene a few minutes later. Since she was too late to see Kool flying away, she got the story from the folks inside the mall, and the cops told her which way the flying villain had gone. Power Girl flew off quickly in that same direction, using her super-senses to try to find the kidnapped woman.

Kool had flown back through the broken window in his apartment and thrown the struggling woman onto his unmade bed. He wasn’t too worried about the noises she was making. His women often made a lot of noise, and anyone who interfered with Kool usually ended up hurt bad, or worse. The woman tried to attack him, and he let her, secure in his invulnerability. She hit him repeatedly, but when that had no effect, she tried to escape. He was much faster than she, and he cut her off before she reached the door, then forced her back to the bed.

And then he realized the dilemma he was in. As long as he wore the ring, she couldn’t hurt him, but he couldn’t touch her, either. If he wanted to have any fun, he would have to take the ring off. And if he took the ring off, and she fought like this, he could get hurt.

“Well, you won’t be the first witch I’ve tied up!” he told her as he started to rip her clothes off. He ripped her blouse into strips and used them to gag her and tie her hands together. She fought, but she couldn’t hurt him, so he simply ignored her struggles.

“Wow, that is one hot bra! Did you wear it just for me?” He was starting on her skirt when Power Girl flew through the window.

“Hey, scumbag, leave her along!”

Kool was shocked and more than a little scared. His ring protected him from normal people, but what about her? She was probably the most powerful woman on Earth. And she was pissed off. He tried to talk, and stuttered badly.

“P-P-Power Girl? Wh-wh-what are you doing here? Me and my-my-my-my honey, here, are just pu-pu-pu-playing a little game.”

“Like I believe anyone would play games with a scumbag like you!” Power Girl slammed him against the wall with enough force to knock out any normal man, and broke the gag over the woman’s mouth. “Are you all right?”

Kool hit the wall and realized that he hadn’t felt a thing. The ring worked even against Power Girl. She couldn’t hurt him. Well, he wasn’t going to let that super-witch spoil his fun. “Wow, Power Girl, you have a great @$$! Even better than that witch! Maybe we could do a three-way here?”

Power Girl spun around and slammed into him at super-speed, driving him through the wall of the building. He didn’t even blink, simply staring at her chest.

“Wow! What a pair! Hey, super-witch, does your boyfriend know how turned on you get when you’re beating up a guy?” He started to look lower.

Power Girl, having had just about enough, unloaded her most powerful right uppercut, her hand moving invisibly fast and with all her considerable strength behind it. This punch would stagger Superman, and it would have completely smashed the head of any normal man. She didn’t care; no one talked to her that way and got away with it. The punch didn’t harm Kool, but he was thrown violently into the air, headed for high Earth orbit, at least. Power Girl figured that Kool was out of her hair for a while, anyway, so she flew back into the room and finished freeing the frightened woman.

“Are you OK? Don’t worry, I’ve taken care of him,” she said. Taking off her cape, she wrapped it around the woman. “We should get you to a hospital.”

“Oh, my God! He’s coming back!” the terrified woman screamed. Power Girl turned and immediately flew out the window. Kool was flying back toward her at supersonic velocity. Almost before she could react, he plowed into her with the force of a freight train. Of course, Power Girl could easily stand this level of force, and Kool bounced off of her. Both of them were unharmed.

“Well, $#!~head, you are invulnerable, you can fly, and you have x-ray vision.” Power Girl sneered at him. “But so do I, and I have super-strength and speed to go along with it! You’ve bugged me long enough!”

Power Girl grabbed him at super-speed and dragged him through the air, and then outside of town, smashed into the base of a mountain. She tunneled a long way into the solid granite under the mountain and quickly hollowed out a small chamber. “I think I’ll leave you here until I can figure out what to do with you. You’re very lucky I can’t hurt you, otherwise you would have been the first person I’ve ever killed! I need to take a day or so to get over my mad-on and figure out what to do with you. I’ll be back in two days — if you’re lucky!”

She then flew out the tunnel she had made, filling it in behind her and sealing it with her heat-vision. Flying back into town, she took the anxious woman to the police station, regained her cape, then quickly flew back to Gotham City.


Power Girl avoided everyone for the next two days, even in her Karen Starr identity. Luckily for her, STAR Labs let her work at home occasionally. She finally cooled off enough that she didn’t feel like she would kill the next person who annoyed her, and she started to figure out how to handle this punk.


Meanwhile, back in the cave, Kool was determined to escape. His backup plan was to turn invisible when Power Girl showed up and hope he could slip out unnoticed, but he really wanted a better plan.

“I wonder just what my ring can do to get me out of here,” Kool mused. He wanted a rum and coke, so he created a glass of it with ice. He slipped off his ring and sipped the drink. “The minion told me I could create unlimited amounts of alcoholic liquids. He didn’t mention glasses or bottles, but I created them, too. I wonder what else I can do?”

A little experimentation showed him he could create any liquid he could think of, as long as he specified that it would contain at least a little bit of alcohol. Wish as he might, he couldn’t create water, but if he wished for water with just a touch of alcohol — poof, there it was.

Kool vaguely remembered that nitroglycerine was a liquid. Concentrating carefully, he ordered the ring to fill his cavern half-full of nitroglycerine mixed with just a little bit of alcohol. Suddenly, he was standing in a clear, viscous liquid, almost like jelly, up to his waist. He wasn’t sure how to set it off. He squatted down and slapped the surface as hard as he could with both hands. The nitro exploded. Shielded by the ring’s armor, Kool was unaffected by the explosion. But he was definitely affected by what happened next.

The young punk had vastly underestimated the effects of the resulting explosion. While the top of the mountain probably didn’t actually rise a little bit into the air, the stone around the cell was shattered and pulverized. And then the rest of the mountain fell a couple of feet and landed squarely on Kool. Although the armor protected him from harm, the rock falling on him slammed him sprawling to the floor of the room, and then the room itself was squeezed out of existence.

Kool couldn’t move, but of course he wasn’t harmed. Millions of tons of rock now rested squarely on his force-field, pinning him in place. That pretty much ended his escape attempt. He would be trapped here until Power Girl dug him out in a couple of days, assuming she ever showed up at all.

He had never realized that he was claustrophobic, and if he had never gained a power ring, he might have lived his whole life without that knowledge. But he recognized that he was very close to panic. His conscious mind might know that nothing could hurt him, but his subconscious felt every pound of the millions of tons pressing down on him. With every minute it got worse, and he started having trouble breathing. Even with his ring to protect him, he was going to die here. Power Girl was never coming back.

These thoughts pounded in his mind over and over again, and in his mind he could just see the almost-invisible grease spot he would become if his ring failed, even for a nanosecond. Of course, I’ll never know it! he thought, but that wasn’t much consolation. Trapped in total darkness, under immense psychic pressure, and facing a short life trapped inside this mountain, he almost decided to remove the ring and get it over.

Kool was actually gibbering and crying when he heard Power Girl shouting. He had no idea how long he had been trapped, and he couldn’t remember a second of his imprisonment. It was as if the explosion had collapsed the cave, and Power Girl arrived to rescue him, and nothing had happened in between. But Kool knew that considerable time had passed, and that he had been in an animal-like state of panic during that time. He could tell because he had basically chewed both his lips off. The ring had stopped the bleeding, but it could not stop him from harming himself.

Screaming as loudly as he could with his very sore throat, Kool realized that he must have been yelling at the top of his lungs for literally hours while he had been trapped, totally unaware of the world or the passage of time. Power Girl used her super-hearing and x-ray vision to find him.

“Oh, my God!” she screamed when she finally got close enough to see him. “Please forgive me, Kool! There is no way I wanted something like this to happen! I’m so glad to see you’re OK! Don’t worry, I’ll have you out of here in a few seconds!”

Power Girl quickly cleared much of the debris and shattered stones away, leaving Kool pinned down by a single gigantic block of granite. “OK, tough guy — moment of truth!” she announced. “Either you take that ring off, or I’ll just leave you here a while longer! Don’t worry about being crushed — I’ll hold this boulder so you can get free. But you must take that ring off!”

At this point, Kool was not going to argue. Not only did he want the ring off his finger, he never wanted to see it again. Power Girl freed his arms, and he immediately took off the ring and threw it as hard as he could away from him. Quicker than quick, she removed the last boulder and then recovered the ring.

“Phew, you stink!” she told Kool with disgust. In fact, during the cave-in and his panic attack, Kool had wet himself repeatedly, and nothing could pass through the shield. Another few hours, and Kool would have been in urine up to his nose.

Picking up Kool McCoo, Power Girl flew him and the ring back to the JSA Brownstone. She called Red Robin, who took custody of the ring for future study.

Power Girl took Kool back to his hometown, and they locked him up on attempted rape charges. With Power Girl’s testimony, the state had an open-and-shut case, so the judge wouldn’t set bail. Kool would be in jail until the trial, and then he would go to prison for a long time.

And that pretty much closed the case of Kool McCoo.

The End

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