Nike, dressed as Power Girl outwardly but underneath retaining her favored leather and lace, flew faster than a speeding bullet directly through the Daily Star’s rooftop sign. As the metal shattered, she flashed her heat-vision and set the roof ablaze.
Think o’ this as the new Brit invasion, she thought as her super-strength tore the roof’s non-burning section free. She looked down on frightened employees, including Daily Star editor James Olsen.
“Kara! What’s gotten into you?” asked the balding red-haired man.
She smirked and said, “Ya lost your own roof years ago, so I’m making the building match, baldy!” She blew the staffers into a heap and laughed as they shivered from the icy blasts while fleeing the raging fire above. She then burned the front of the building with heat-vision until black-charred letters a story high read, Power Girl was here!
Hearing fire trucks approaching, Nike jumped down to block their path. She met them head on and turned one on its side. She lifted the other one over her head and shook the firemen free. They scurried like ants to safety as she crushed the engine and kicked it through the air. “Never did like those flashin’ lights,” she said.
Jimmy hit his signal watch to no avail, as his pal fought his own war in the Secret Citadel.
In Smallville, word of the rampage reached Lois Lane Kent as she huddled before her TV set.
“Bella Shaw of CNN here live as Power Girl has gone on a rampage!” said an attractive news reporter.
Oh, no! First that Stream of Ruthlessness sent Clark on a real destructive binge, and now something has turned Kara crazy, Lois mused as her ring turned dark with worry. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Divide, and Be Conquered,” Infinity Inc. #6 (September, 1984) and “Past Glories, Future Tears,” Infinity Inc. #7 (October, 1984).]
Back at the Secret Citadel, Superman’s mountain fortress, he noticed the change in color on his own hidden ring and tried to fight harder.
I may have to use your own tactics against you, he thought as Kil-Lor kicked him savagely. He flashed his heat-vision across the room at a particular lead box. It melted, and he rolled beneath a lead sheet.
“Red kryptonite!” gasped Kil-Lor as he was bathed in a weird glow. He ran for the lead shield, but before he could reach it, he fell to his knees. “Where am I?” he muttered.
Superman flashed his heat-vision again, and the lead box poured its now-liquid form across the red kryptonite. He emerged from hiding and helped Kil-Lor up. “You are a respected soldier and politician. You are my friend, and I need your help.”
Kil-Lor shook his hand, speaking under the amnesiac influence of the red rock. “I shall stand by an ally to life’s last breath.”
Superman smiled. “Let’s hope that won’t be necessary.”
Nike soon attracted attention from the Justice Society of America. Green Lantern flew up and said, “My ring shows you to be a true Kryptonian, but that doesn’t rule out the possibility that you could be Nike, Kara’s evil duplicate. Either way, I’m ending this tantrum now, and I may just turn you over my knee.”
“Whatever thrills you, old timer,” said Nike, smiling. “Of course, I know you have a big, bad power ring and all that, but you are still afraid of splinters.” She slammed her foot down and sent him reeling back, then melted a nearby store awning. The wooden post swung down to clip him across the head. As he fell, she slapped him into a stunned state in seconds. “What’s your worst fear? Pinocchio gone bad?” she smirked.
The red and blue blur that was the fastest man alive swept Green Lantern’s fallen body to safety and returned to confront her. “You are getting way too big for your britches!” said the Flash.
“Then take me to the wood shed!” she laughed, intercepting his sudden lunge. “Vibrate free if you can,” she declared as she shook the Flash. “I’ll just hold tight enough that you shatter your own skeleton tryin’!”
“Maybe I’ll be the one to tame you. I did it once before!” said a firm Wonder Woman as she dropped down from out of the sky and her invisible plane.
“You’re pregnant! I can see it’s showin’! And I thought you warrior princess types didn’t like men!” bantered Nike.
Wonder Woman had rushed here from the bedside of Amanda Martin, alias Star Sapphire of the Junior JSA, where she had brought a purple healing-ray pill that was rapidly healing her old friend’s new daughter. (*) She had left when word of the ruined Daily Star Building reached her.
[(*) Editor’s note: See Junior JSA: The Junior Injustice Society, Chapter 6: Final Warning.]
The amazing Amazon grabbed for Nike, who flipped her over one hip and frowned when Wonder Woman twisted around to carry her legs off the ground and dump her hard.
“Cor! You fight well for somebody who escaped from a Mummy and Me seminar!” she replied and kicked out at Diana.
“That British slang reveals you as Nike. Where is the real Kara?” she demanded as she jumped high off the ground and dodged the swinging legs of Nike.
“Nike? Why, I thought me accent would make you think I’m Fergie!” she laughed. She flashed her heat-vision, and Wonder Woman leaped aside. “Maybe I’ll just use me x-rays to give ya an early bulletin about your baby!”
Wonder Woman frowned. “You witch! I see honor is beneath your flawed values.” She swirled her lasso toward Nike, who blew back in her face and gripped one end.
“Go into early labor!” ordered Nike seconds before the rope was ripped from her hands by the newly arrived Hourman.
“You’d better give up. I have the power to bring you down,” vowed Hourman.
“Tune in, turn on, et cetera. That’s your motto!” she laughed.
Doctor Mid-Nite bent over a moaning Wonder Woman. “Flash! Help me get her to a hospital. Diana may be going into labor!” They whisked her off with worried looks.
Nike shrieked. “What’s wrong? Those Amazons likely give birth in weeks or somethin’!” She ducked Hourman’s punch and caught him up in her arms. “You fancy young women, eh?” she said as she crushed him tightly.
Rex Tyler wrenched free and dropped under her swift swing. Got to stop her! he mused.
She flew up and choked him with his own cloak until the man of the hour pulled loose, and they crashed on a roof. “Hope no camera caught your rugged and unmasked good looks,” she teased, shoving him across the rooftop.
He dug his heels in and stopped his slide. “This is getting out of hand!” He received his cape and hood back like a hurled bullet as she threw them at him at top speed. He donned them and watched her fly away at super-speed.
Elsewhere, the true Kara Zor-L was enjoying her husband’s kiss and planning their picnic to the Gold Volcano. She was a young mother in love, and she felt truly alive and content.
Then she glimpsed a flamebird pass overhead. She gasped as she recalled her own time as the minidress-wearing crusader called Flamebird. “Red Robin!” she muttered, and shoved away from Dev.
“OK, buddy! I don’t know what kind of mind games you’ve been playing with me these last few weeks, but you’ve left a nasty taste in my mouth, and I’m more than ready to break your hand if you touch me again!” she snapped.
“My love — Kara! We are soul mates! We belong as one!” pleaded Dev-W.
“That’s the kind of garbage the Symbioship fed me!” she said.
“That’s what he is!” announced the Huntress as she dropped down from above in a whirly bat. “Took me a while to trace your signal here and to arrange transportation, but Nightwing brought what I needed.” She waved to a youth above in the copter.
Power Girl smiled at her friend. “You mean you think my loving hubby is the Symbioship?”
A silvery laugh echoed from above, and the blonde and lovely Yellow Peri appeared. “Took you long enough to figure it out, blondie!” she laughed as she crossed her harem pant-clad legs in midair.
“I blamed you for the skin pictures when you were really behind this love match,” said Kara. “Your magic gave the Symbioship’s wreckage a humanoid form!”
The Peri giggled. “Don’t you just love it? He took the job to be near you and used his false memory power to lure you back into the delusions that you were a happy little Donna Reed of Argo City! How’s your baby?”
“You sadistic little tramp!” cried Power Girl. “I’ll take his batteries out after I bruise more than your big ego!” She jumped for the Peri but missed as the girl flickered away.
“Got to run! Luv ya! Bye!” teased the Peri as she returned to her own realm in the fifth dimension.
“She’s gone. Shouldn’t the Symbioship return to normal?” asked the Huntress.
“No, for I existed in machine form before,” said the blond man in black. “Her magic merely altered my form. I am still dedicated to preserving Kryptonian life and bonding with my chosen one.”
“Well, Preserver — or perverter — in my book you’ve used me on levels that go way beyond normalcy,” she said as she slugged him across the rocky terrain.
“I merely long to bond with you, my precious!” he pleaded as he reached for her. The red sun shone as they held hands in a park, then she shook her head angrily.
“I love someone else!” she insisted.
The Huntress pointed upward. “Look, up in the sky! It’s Superman!”
The Man of Steel dropped down from out of his hidden Secret Citadel above to greet them. “I got Huntress’ signal just as I settled things with Nike’s pal, Kil-Lor,” he said. “Now he’s on our side for as long as the influence of red kryptonite holds out. I’m glad you’re unhurt, Power Girl. Can you help me track down your berserk twin?”
“She’s here!” gasped Huntress as the swooping figure of Nike dropped down to slap her aside.
“‘Ello! Back to see how Kil-Lor made out. Wot? Looks like he fouled up. Senile old man!” she sneered.
Power Girl tore free of the Preserver to tackle Nike, while the Man of Steel pulled back the struggling man in black and gold.
“You’re her ship made humanoid,” said Superman. “Nothing more, and not worth my time.”
Meanwhile, Kil-Lor watched and prepared to help. But to whom would he provide aid?
The white-haired old man stood still. He recalled only that he was allies with Superman, but the woman spoke of him as if he had been her partner. He felt an attraction to the blonde twins. He helped the Superman subdue the Preserver, even as the man flashed a memory of old Krypton into his own mind that broke down the amnesia of the red kryptonite.
He stumbled and hesitated as Superman noticed the reaction and deduced its cause. He flew at super-speed into the Citadel and returned to place a cylindrical cone on the rocky ground. He gently led Kil-Lor within it and closed the lid. The warrior’s malice flashed again in his black eyes as the gasses subdued him.
“Figured all I could do was return him to the sentence originally decreed by the KBI,” mused Superman. “This replica of the rehab chambers will keep him safe, and hopefully rehabilitate him.”
Meanwhile, Power Girl and Nike exchanged blows at super-speed. “I owe you for exposing me to the whole world, you cheap tramp!” said a furious Power Girl.
“If you got it, flaunt it, luv!” replied Nike.
Power Girl was not herself yet, due to the prolonged exposure to the hallucinations from the last few weeks, but she also faced a tired foe, since Nike had been pressed hard by the JSA.
Kara had an idea that was her best hope. She dragged Nike through the ground and knocked her cold. She then ripped off her costume and slipped on a hastily fetched lingerie-styled costume, then carried Nike back up to the Citadel.
“Here she is, little Miss Krypton!” she sneered in a British accent, shoving the stunned Nike into the Preserver.
The transformed Symbioship embraced her and said, “We have bonded fully before, and now nothing shall separate us!” he said. “Save your world and leave us in peace!” He sent memories of Krypton’s exploding death into Superman’s mind, then bounded off with the stunned Nike, who was still wearing a modified Power Girl costume.
Superman started after him when his cousin stopped him. “It’s me. Remember when I was Lightning Girl?” she said as proof of her validity.
“Great Scott!” said Superman, smiling. “Kara, you’ve fooled the Preserver into carrying off Nike! Clever — since she is you genetically, he’ll be satisfied, and she’ll be subdued as his perfect wife!”
“True. They deserve each other. I see you have her old man on ice, too,” she replied with a shake of her head toward Kil-Lor’s chamber.
“True, though I question my ethical right to leave him like this,” said Superman. “Now, young lady, you and I have the Daily Star to rebuild, according to the call I took from Lois before coming out with Kil-Lor.”
The Huntress and Batwing watched, and Helena Wayne relaxed. “Do you have to tell Red Robin I flew the whirly bat without his permission?” joked Batwing.
Wonder Woman stood up from her bed and smiled at Amanda Miller. “Hola,” she said. “You look much improved, Amanda. Paula’s pills worked as well for you as they did for me. The battle with Nike had no ill effect upon me or my unborn child at all. Your uncle Rex called to say that the JSA won their battle with Nike as well.”
Amanda smiled back and said, “Thank you all for your help. I feel like I can really rest now after so many pains and nightmares.”
Wonder Woman kissed her on the cheek, and Dr. Charles McNider brushed her blonde hair out of her eyes.
“She’s going to be fine, thanks to you,” he said. “I just hope the emotional trauma will be as easy to treat.”
Wonder Woman nodded. She hoped better things were in store for Mid-Nite’s stepdaughter and her own unborn baby.
Later, as Red Robin returned to Wayne Manor, he shouted a greeting to Alfred Pennyworth, Jason Todd, and Kara.
“I’m home,” he said. “Did I miss anything?”