by Dan Swanson
Opal City War Memorial Auditorium, 10 P.M., Thursday, March 24, 1949:
The Global Wrestling Empire had sponsored a wrestling match between Gorgeous George and the Obsidian Warrior, with all proceeds going to charity. This was the first-ever professional match held in Opal City, and there were over ten thousand people in the auditorium to watch this titanic struggle. The match went back and forth; at first, the Warrior seemed to have the initial advantage, slamming Gorgeous George into the mat, then stunning him with his patented head hammer. Gorgeous George got his second wind, pulled a reversal, and the Obsidian Warrior barely escaped.
Then something went terribly wrong. Gorgeous George grabbed the larger Obsidian Warrior and, straining mightily, lifted him overhead in a stunning feat of strength. While lifting the Warrior, George pulled a muscle in his leg, and this caused him to stagger sideways. He hit the ropes and fell over the top rope, catapulting the Obsidian Warrior headfirst to the concrete floor. The Warrior was knocked out cold, cut badly, and began bleeding heavily.
Trying to avoid panic, the referee pretended that it was all part of the show, counted the Warrior out, and raised George’s hand as a sign of victory. Amidst thunderous applause, the ring announcer presented the GWE World Championship Belt to Gorgeous George. The Obsidian Warrior was loaded onto a stretcher and into the back of an ambulance that was waiting on the auditorium floor.
The crowd had paid premium prices for the match, and they started getting ugly when they realized that it was over in the first minute. If there wasn’t something entertaining coming up, a lot of people would be screaming for their money back.
No one in the crowd suspected that the Obsidian Warrior was seriously injured. Everyone knew that this kind of supposed accident happened all the time in professional wrestling matches, and they all expected that next week the Warrior would be back in the ring after a miraculous recovery in a fight for the belt in some other city.
The ambulance wasn’t real. Whenever the arena allowed, the GWE would always park this phony ambulance near the ring, hoping to whet the crowd’s appetite for violence and injuries. But the stretcher with the Warrior was loaded into the back anyway. The phony ambulance driver started the vehicle and headed for the garage door that opened onto the street. One of the corner men hopped in the passenger seat and directed the driver to head for the closest hospital, with lights flashing and siren blaring.
Suddenly, the ambulance virtually exploded. The patient compartment was shattered from the inside, and a twelve-foot-tall, gleaming black figure, seemingly made of living obsidian, burst forth. The crowd, thinking this to be part of the show, cheered wildly. Now they were getting their money’s worth. But then the giant figure knelt down and smashed both hands deep into the cement floor, and an earthquake began.
The crowd began getting uneasy, and some people started heading for the gates. Then pieces of ceiling started to fall into the crowd in the seats below. Panic erupted, with people screaming and running for the exits or for the auditorium floor. Fortunately, it was not yet a very energetic earthquake, and the auditorium was holding up pretty well, at least so far. But if this quake kept up for much longer, the whole place would probably collapse. Opal City wasn’t near any known faults, so very few people in Opal actually knew what to do in quakes. But everyone instinctively knew how to panic.
Suddenly, a dynamic figure flew into the auditorium through one of the new holes in the roof, then flashed toward the Obsidian Warrior. Without even slowing down, he rammed his shoulder into the Warrior’s stone stomach, wrapped his arms around the stone figure, and smashed through the still-closed garage doors. The earthquake ended instantly. Someone set off a fire alarm, and sirens started going off as emergency response teams rushed into action.
Moving at high speed, the flying figure carried the Obsidian Warrior to Opal Park several miles away, before the Warrior even realized that he was being carried. The heroic mystery-man threw the Obsidian Warrior to the ground, then put one foot on his chest and stood above him with his arms crossed. “I don’t suppose you plan to come quietly, do you?” he asked the prone figure.
The Warrior let out a mighty roar and sat up, at the same time smashing the much smaller mystery-man with a two-armed blow that drove him backward. The mystery-man smashed through a concrete park bench, completely demolishing it, and then flopped to the ground and rolled over several times. Any normal man would have already been dead many times over. Yet this man of mystery was up and once more flying to the attack.
“So you want to play rough, eh? Well, it’ll take a lot more than that to stop Vic Valor!” Flying with both arms extended in front of him, the mystery-man called Vic Valor battered the Obsidian Warrior with a two-fisted blow to the chin. The Obsidian Warrior had just managed to sit up, but Valor’s blow knocked him backward, and his head whiplashed into the ground.
This impact didn’t appear to bother the Obsidian Warrior, however, as he bounced to his feet and roared again. Vic Valor flew in a slow circle around him, and as he did, the Warrior turned to keep him in sight. Again, Valor drove at him with both arms extended, but this time the Warrior was prepared. As Valor drilled in, the Warrior stepped aside, then grabbed the smaller Valor and executed his famous head hammer. With one hand, the Warrior positioned Valor’s head on his own knee, and then the Warrior’s elbow came down hard on the side of Valor’s head. Usually this move was only simulated, but this time the Warrior put all of his greatly enhanced strength into it. This time it was for real, and this time his entire body was made of living obsidian, one of the hardest natural minerals. There wasn’t a wrestler in the world that could have lived through that blow, much less kept fighting afterward.
But even though he was only half the size of his opponent, Vic Valor was incredibly tough. Chips flew from the Obsidian Warrior’s elbow and knee, and he roared again, in pain this time, as Valor rolled away. Vic Valor shook his head, as if slightly dazed. Both opponents got to their feet, and they stood there warily, each alert for the next move of his opponent.
This time the Obsidian Warrior moved first. He gestured at the ground near Valor, and suddenly, the earth and rocks at his feet seemed to come alive. Within seconds, he was being attacked by three new creatures made of rock, which had seemingly clawed their way out of the ground at Valor’s feet. These creatures looked a lot like the Obsidian Warrior, and seemed to be under his control. They weren’t as large as the original, but they were composed of granite, and they hit very hard. They surrounded Valor and pounded on him from every direction.
Even Vic Valor couldn’t stand this terrible pounding for long. He launched himself into a super-speed spin, with both arms extended, hands clenched into steel-hard fists. Battered by dozens of blows in a second, the three golems fell back. The force of the blows somehow seemed to be transferred to the Obsidian Warrior, and he staggered a bit. This broke his concentration, and the three golems simply fall apart. Valor seemed to have trouble regaining his balance, and once again there was a lull in the fight as both opponents recovered from their last attacks.
Vic Valor seemed to recover first. “Well, giant, if that was your best shot, you might as well give up now and save yourself a beating!” He advanced slowly, but the Obsidian Warrior said nothing, and didn’t move. “OK, big fella, you had your chance! I’ll try not to hurt you too bad!” Valor launched himself high into the air, then turned around and dived at the Obsidian Warrior at high speed, arms extended in front of him. He planned to drive the Warrior into the ground like a fencepost.
The Obsidian Warrior was much faster than you might guess, given that he was twelve feet tall and made out of glass-like rock. He also had some experience with foes diving at him, although they were usually jumping off the top rope, rather than flying, so he knew enough to get out of the way, and he was just fast enough to surprise Valor. Vic Valor drilled almost half his body headfirst into the ground. This was not only embarrassing, but dangerous. Instead of taking advantage of Valor’s immobile condition, the Warrior pulled him free by his legs, then battered him against the ground like a baby with a stuffed animal might bang it on the floor.
After slamming Vic Valor twice against the ground, the Obsidian Warrior threw him as hard as he could against a granite outcropping, and Valor slumped down. He wasn’t unconscious, but he was stunned and unable to move. For a few seconds, he was sure he was about to die, if the Warrior attacked him again.
But the Obsidian Warrior only raised his hands above his head and roared, then headed back toward the city. A twelve-foot-tall man moving at top speed could run very fast, and the Warrior was inside the auditorium in only a few minutes. Spotting the Global Wrestling Empire championship belt on the canvas, where it had been dropped when everyone had evacuated the building during the earthquake, he climbed into the ring, picked up the belt, and raised it over his head. Then he slowly turned toward every section of the auditorium, bowing each time he turned, as if accepting the cheers of the crowd for winning the GWE World Championship.
At that moment, Vic Valor flew through the smashed door of the building and landed in the ring behind the Obsidian Warrior. As the Warrior finished his turn, he slumped to the canvas, then turned back into his human form. Valor quickly examined the man and determined that, although he appeared to be uninjured, he needed to be in a hospital. Gently picking him up, Vic Valor flew at top speed to the emergency room at the nearest hospital, where he released the unconscious man into the care of the emergency room crew. He quickly gave the details that he knew to the attendant in charge and tried to make a quick exit. But he was too late; as he made his way out the exit, he was swarmed by reporters.
Vic Valor really didn’t want to talk to reporters about his fight with the Obsidian Warrior. He had been soundly trounced, and while he knew it was only because he hadn’t taken the Warrior seriously, he didn’t want people getting a bad first impression of him. However, it quickly became evident from the questions the reporters asked that nobody had actually seen the fight itself.
Half a dozen reporters pressed around him, hemming him in a corner. He would either have to answer their questions or use his powers to free himself. Well, he wasn’t shy, and they would print whatever he told them. Vic Valor gathered himself for his very first press conference, but certainly not his last.
The next morning, the headline story from the Opal City Register’s extra edition summarized the press conference.
A New Hero in Opal City
Opal City welcomed a new hero last night. With powers similar to Superman, Vic Valor burst gloriously onto the scene, defeating a super-powered monster and saving Opal City from an earthquake.
It started at the War Memorial Auditorium, during a pro wrestling exhibition. Something went terribly wrong, and a monster was created. The wrestler called the Obsidian Warrior was seriously injured in the bout. As an ambulance carried him towards the hospital, some unknown force mutated him into a giant stone creature that could command the very rock beneath the earth! The monster started an earthquake. Who knows how much damage it might have caused if Vic Valor had not showed up to stop it?
Valor, who confided to reporters that he is planning to make Opal City his home away from home (see related story, opposite page) was alerted by the quake. Being new to Opal City (and to Earth), he used his super-sensory powers to determine that there are no faults underneath Opal City, so he flew to investigate the epicenter of the quake. When he discovered that the monster was causing the quake, he stopped it, and then carried it to Opal Park where their upcoming fight could not endanger anyone.
It was a short fight. Within seconds, the monster was running. The monster used its mysterious powers to create several duplicates of itself, and while Valor was disposing of these non-living duplicates, the monster tried to escape. It ran back to its place of origin, the War Memorial Auditorium. Valor arrived only seconds later, and they fought again. Valor had to hold back, in order to avoid demolishing the auditorium, but he managed to tag the monster with a straight right, and the monster dropped unconscious.
Apparently, whatever force caused the Obsidian Warrior to change into a monster abated at that point, and the monster changed back to the man — an unconscious man, barely breathing. Valor quickly carried the unconscious Obsidian Warrior to an emergency room, where he was admitted and treated for exhaustion. This was where a group of reporters caught up to him, and learned something of his story.
This reporter is thrilled to have a super-hero in Opal City again, especially one with the mighty powers and evident nobility of Vic Valor!