The Action Figure Expo was a rather successful convention in which fans and collectors of various toys met to buy and trade or mere display their treasures. Some of the collections were very valuable. Many of them were pristine, and the toys had never been removed from their plastic containers. In any event, this year’s expo had been held within the spacious confines of the Metropolis Convention Center, and a crowd of happy people of all ages filed along the decorative aisles.
A small child stared up at a row of brightly colored dolls and exclaimed, “Orvie! That’s the whole set of Gemma and the Holographs! I love their music!”
Nearby, her brother rolled his eyes in disgust and said, “I like the Microns or the Insectoid better!” He pointed to another table where other toys were displayed.
“I think those dolls are ugly!” said the girl.
The boy frowned and shouted at her, “Annie, I’ve told you before that they ain’t dolls! They’re action figures!”
At that moment, a blast of energy shattered the wall, and five human-sized wooden soldiers clanged into view. They were clearly robots, although their rather quaint appearance made them seem like something out of an old Sears catalogue crossed with a Frankenstein creation.
The kids and parents scattered as the automatons marched into the convention center and began to load the displays inside their open chests.
Three security guards rushed forward to try to stop them, but though they were all big men, none of them could handle the artificial men.
The brown-haired leader of the security staff called out his orders. “Josh, Jack! Try to keep them from getting close to the folks!”
Josh, a bearded man, said, “Right, Jimbo! I’m on it!”
Jack, a black man with a serious look, nodded as he tried to herd the convention crowd away from their property and the attacking robot soldiers.
Big Jim jumped in front of a display and tried to knock down the nearest soldier, but one sweep of its rifle left him stunned on the floor.
“Man! They trashed Jim!” said Josh. “I figured his fancy karate moves would make them sorry!”
Before they could help their fallen leader, Josh and Jack saw Power Girl run into the center. “Don’t worry, boys! I’ll put these overgrown toys back in their box!” she said.
Power Girl soared into the air as her blue cape spread out like a pair of wings. The robotic soldiers raised their rifles and fired bright bursts of light, but none of the blasts hurt the girl of steel. “It would take more power than that to even shave my legs!”
At that moment, a second flying woman swooped in and smashed through the legs of the soldiers as if they were kindling. She had deliberately left the chests and the concealed toys undamaged.
“Well, since your legs are nothing more than pale imitations of my own, I’m not surprised. I also noticed that your brand of flight consists of nothing more than the extension of your cape into wings!” said the real Power Girl as she confronted her double. She had flown to the center at super-speed and thus arrived mere moments after the images of the battle appeared on her TV set.
This fake P.G. is not Nike, my real evil twin, since her flight is genuine, and this one is really using some kind of mini-jet within her cape, she thought with a smirk. The fact that I can use the phrase “real evil twin” speaks loads about my line of work, too!
Power Girl melted the cape-glider, and the fake Power Girl cried out before transforming into a bird and flying to safety.
“A shape-changer!” said Power Girl. “Well, I don’t know if you took my form to try to cash in on my rep, or if you just wanted to lure me here, but in any case, you’ll be sorry you ever showed your feathery head!”
Then she was struck by a blast of energy from one of the broken soldiers as it tried to struggle forward without its legs. Kara whirled and froze the robotic soldier and its allies in an instant block of ice created by her super-breath.
Power Girl dusted herself off and turned to face the shape-shifter, who now appeared before her as a pretty woman with long, slightly curly brown hair. She wore a puffy, short-sleeved white blouse and a short plaid skirt with black Mary Janes.
“Nice look. What’s your super-crook name? School Girl? Death Brat?” scoffed Power Girl.
“Actually, she’s called Plaything, since she can assume any shape like the putty of the same name!” said a newcomer.
Power Girl turned to receive a punch in the face that sent her crashing across the convention center and through a row of displays. She shrugged off the cascading toys and grimaced as a Superman doll dropped on to her head. Very funny! she thought.
Getting up, she charged forward to slam into her latest attacker. The woman was taller and bigger. She was a blonde with long hair and heavy makeup. Her costume consisted of a childish pink dress with a large bow on the back that matched the bow she wore on her head. Her shoes were black Mary Janes, and she wore accompanying white knee socks.
“I’m Big Barbi!” she announced as she struggled with Power Girl’s speeding form. She brought both white gloved fists down on the smaller woman’s head and shoved her face through the floor.
Power Girl spun around at super-speed and sent her bigger foe reeling away. “OK, I’m getting roughed up by a pair of living dolls!” she said. “That can only mean one thing. You work for the Toyman. I expected him when I saw the site of the crime!”
Before Power Girl could resume her own attack, she heard a scream and saw a small girl falling before a collapsing wall. Those vibrations from our fight weakened the building, she thought. Got to get the kid to safety! She grabbed the child with a gentle touch and covered her with her own super-body.
The rain of rubble crashed down on them, but she successfully shielded the child and emerged unhurt. “Now where’s your mother?” she asked the toddler.
“More to the point, who’s my daddy?” said the child as she changed form and darted aside as the crafty Plaything.
Power Girl hesitated just long enough to be caught by a stunning punch from Big Barbi. She collapsed and was tossed over the big blonde’s shoulder.
“Piece of cake! We didn’t even need Deb!” boasted Barb.
Plaything, alias Tiffany, smiled and said, “True enough. Do you think the news people caught my good side?”
Later, Big Barbi and Plaything proudly displayed the fallen Power Girl to their delighted and heavily animated boss, the Toyman. He blew a huge bubble, and as it popped, he darted forward and said, “Cool! I’ve wanted to play with her for a long time. She’s naughty, and I want to punish her!”
But the Toyman squealed in fright as Power Girl opened her eyes and tapped him on the chin. He gasped and struggled helplessly as the maid of steel lifted him into the air with one hand.
“Toyman, I wasn’t really stunned,” she said. “I was playing possum. Playing is a concept you should be fond of, right?”
Big Barbi and Plaything cried out in dismay and moved forward hesitantly as their boss dangled by his suspenders in Power Girl’s grasp.
“You gave super-powers to these two and modeled them after dolls or toys,” she said. “You tried to rob the expo and to capture me as well. Well, you’ve got me now, and I don’t hear any cries of joy!”
A violet beam of light enveloped her, and she stiffened helplessly as Toyman darted free. He had been outside the field of colored light.
“Ha! You big bully! You didn’t count on Rainbow Sprite!” he said as he stuck his tongue out at the frozen Power Girl. He gestured to where Debbie stood. She still wore her dark hair in a short but feminine cut, but her outfit consisted of a multicolored tunic, hosiery, and slippers. She looked like the fairy or sprite indicated by her new name.
“My stasis beam caught her like a stacked fly in amber!” gloated Rainbow Sprite.
Big Barbi grinned and said, “Good going. Now we’ll kill her for you!”
Toyman frowned and shifted his weight from one leg to another and then said, “Nah! Put her in that big ol’ chamber there. I’m going to have some real fun with her first!”
The toy-themed villain laughed madly and clapped his hands with evil pleasure as the three altered wrestlers put their prisoner inside the large top-shaped device.
Power Girl blinked and tried to move, only to find herself bound to the outside of the sphere that had been her prison. She tried to break free, but her movement only started a whirling motion as the huge top began to revolve and carry her with it as she was trapped against the outside.
“It’s some kind of gonzo top! Well, it will take more than this stupid thing to make me dizzy!” she vowed.
Toyman laughed and darted forward as she whirled by. “Faster! Faster!” he cried. “You think you can use those big muscles to break free of my top, don’t you? Well, you’re all wrong! You see, this top draws on the rotational energy of the planet itself! You can’t break free unless you can move the whole world — proportionately speaking, of course!”
Power Girl gritted her teeth as she tried to free herself from the spinning trap. She exerted herself without any visible result. Great Krypton! Unlike Superman, I’m probably at the peak of my super-powers now! Still, I don’t know if my strength is anywhere great enough to resist that kind of power! Moving the Brain Wave’s satellite was nothing compared to this! she thought as she recalled one of her earliest public deeds.
She noticed the mocking villains as she spun by Toyman, Big Barbi, Rainbow Sprite, and Plaything, and she grew more than a little angry. Pushing herself away from the top, she managed to turn her body around until she was facing it. This gave the heroine a bit more leverage.
“Maybe I should try something subtle, like trying to enhance the rotational speed by helping it along until it breaks, but I want to prove something to those goons and to myself,” said Kara Zor-L. “I’m not just some Supergirl waiting meekly to become Superman’s secret weapon. I’m as good or better as Superman ever was, and I’m not going to be viewed as anything less than the heroine I truly am!”
Thus she ignored her instincts and began to fight the rotation force with all of her own power. She managed to slow the top down, and then, as sweat beaded her brow, she actually began to bring the trap to a gradual halt.
“Can’t hold this thing still for long, but I’m going to break it or break myself trying!” she gasped.
“That’s no fair!” cried out Toyman. “You can’t do that! I won’t play with you if you won’t stick to my rules!”
“Toyman, that’s going to explode!” said Big Barbi.
“I could use one of my color beams, but what good would heat or stasis or distortion do?” said Rainbow Sprite. “I bet freezing her wouldn’t help, either, since I’d risk slowing the top itself!”
Plaything shifted shape and assumed the form of a rhino. “I’m not going to be blown up! Not when my career is just starting!” she whined.
Indeed, the top exploded into scrap as Power Girl’s sheer might overcame its own force and left it a shattered and fragmented shell.
Power Girl fell forward and then stood up to face the four villains. “Now, as for you, playtime is over!” she declared.
But she frowned as she saw the foursome crumpled on the floor amidst the rubble. “That blast knocked them all out!” she said. “That’s too bad, really, since I wanted to get a few shots in for the way they treated me earlier!”
Elsewhere, in a hidden lab, the Joker’s daughter Harley Quinn turned to Alexis Luthor and whined.
“Lexie, why in the name of Harold Lloyd did ya give the Toyman that weapon?” she asked. “Why’d you help him turn those dames into super-dupers?”
Alexis smiled coldly and said, “I gave him the weapon he needed for two reasons. I wanted the intellectual exercise, and I wanted to test Power Girl’s resources before I engaged her in combat. I never expected the Toyman to kill her, and he did not do so. I also did not expect her to triumph so completely as to prove herself worthy of being our target! I don’t hate her like I do Superman, but I do respect her, and that makes me even more eager than I was before to strike at her and all of the ones who wronged our fathers!”
Harley gazed at the pretty redhead, and though she was ruthless herself, she shivered slightly as she noticed Alexis Luthor’s own brilliant malice.