In Superman’s Secret Citadel, the Huntress looked at the computer grid to track Power Girl’s signal. Unknown to her, the JSA signal device had been activated by accident when Vance Corlin had undressed her. Still, it had the same effect.
Helena Wayne plugged the coordinates into Superman’s computer system and received the information she sought from the built-in encyclopedia.
CORLIN, VANCE. A contemporary of Superman’s — clad in a brightly colored maroon and orange costume — who was endowed with superhuman powers identical to Superman’s as the result of having been raised, since infancy, on a secluded little island off the Metropolis coast, where his scientist father, Dr. Charles Corlin, had established a scientifically controlled artificial environment designed to duplicate conditions on the planet Krypton. In February, 1952, following the death of his father, Corlin flew to Metropolis and used his super-powers to commit a series of destructive acts in a misguided effort to wreak vengeance on society for what he had been taught to believe, since early childhood, was his father’s unjust conviction on an embezzlement charge many years ago. Ultimately, however, Superman persuaded young Corlin that his father’s conviction was a fair one, and Corlin, remorseful at the destruction he had caused, helped Superman repair the damage just as his artificial super-powers, waning rapidly due to his prolonged absence from the special island, vanished forever.
ADDENDUM: Before his powers faded for good, Corlin destroyed the apparatus that made the island an artificial Krypton. To ensure Corlin could not be tempted by his artificial powers again, Superman moved the island from its location off the Eastern Seaboard to the South Seas near Badhnisia, where it lost all of its remaining properties. Corlin was last seen in Metropolis attempting to live a normal life. (*)
[(*) Editor’s note: Although a version of this story takes place on Earth-Two, the original story takes place on Earth-One, as seen in “The Artificial Superman,” World’s Finest Comics #57 (March-April, 1952).]
As Helena read the printed page, along with a few attached notes, she realized Kara’s plight. Corlin could have regained his powers, she mused. During Superman’s one-year absence between June, 1952, and June, 1953, no one would’ve been around to ensure that Corlin followed through on living a normal life. (*) With all the scientific equipment on that isle, and possibly even a homing beacon, Corlin could’ve found a way to track down its new location. I can’t imagine it would’ve been that easy to adjust to the modern world after spending his whole life on a remote island with his father, who had a unique method of eugenics. He’s also had well over thirty years to restore everything back to what it once was. And if the island’s Kryptonian environment has also been rebuilt, Kara could be in real trouble. But if I try to rescue her, how can I even stand up there if it possibly also has Krypton’s tremendous gravity?
[(*) Editor’s note: See “Superman Takes a Wife,” Action Comics #484 (June, 1978).]
She smiled as she saw the Nightwing and Flamebird costumes that Dick and Kara had used on Krypton during their hypnotic trip there.
“Luckily, they produced copies of those outfits in this reality after they returned from their trip via Professor Nichols,” she said. Picking up the black Nightwing costume, Helena began to modify it to fit her female form.
The dizziness wore off as Power Girl reluctantly allowed Vance Corlin to adorn her with native flowers for their wedding. She hated every minute of being dolled up, but she also had a plan. I have my normal “human” strength back, and when that jerk lets down his guard, I’ll drop him like a bad habit! she mused.
“Those pink blossoms in your hair are rare, even here,” said Vance.
Kara Zor-L smiled demurely and waited until he turned his back, then charged toward him, only to miss him completely and land hard in the sand.
He slipped a rope across her and bound her in the hogtied position. “I should warn you, those pink blossoms also project the wearer’s thoughts! You can’t surprise me, my little blossom!” he laughed.
Kara fumed. She hated being helpless, and she hated needing help from others. Without her costume, she couldn’t even summon help. But she also realized her every thought betrayed her plans to her husband-to-be.
“Long ago I learned never to trust a woman, especially if she’s a redhead,” said Vance, and began stroking her hair. “But that’s not a problem for you, is it? Your hair is as blonde as mine once was. We will indeed sire a golden-haired race upon this isle like none ever before seen. Still, I can’t have you resorting to unladylike behavior.” He sighed and added, “I suppose I’ll have to drug you again and just have my way with you on our wedding night.”
For once in her life, Kara was frightened.
The Huntress, wearing a mini-skirted modification of the black Nightwing costume, complete with an antigravity unit in the golden belt, dropped down from the whirly bat to land in the bright scarlet jungles of the island.
This place closely matches the complete topography and climate of parts of lost Krypton, even more than I’d been led to believe from the files I read in the Citadel, she mused. I can’t imagine where Corlin could have recreated vegetation unique to Krypton, even with its simulated environment. Is there more to this island than meets the eye? Could it somehow actually be a small fragment of Krypton itself that reached Earth in the remote past? That might explain why Superman placed it near the most mystically charged island nation on the planet — Badhnisia — but it doesn’t explain how Corlin’s father could’ve gotten his hands on it, or why gravity is a lot heavier here. If I wasn’t wearing this special costume, I would be helpless in the increased gravity.
The Huntress was in an alien environment, but she was also a detective like her father, and she could track her friend easily. Soon she spotted the area where the costume’s signal originated — within a hut. She had also located Kara’s discarded boots and cape. She is inside that thatched hut, mused the Huntress. She must be in trouble with Corlin.
But the Huntress never reached the hut, since a vine snaked out from a bush to pull her tightly into its embrace. This thing is hungry! she quickly realized. It’s some kind of Kryptonian venus flytrap, and I’m the fly of choice!
Whipping around with the grace of a trained acrobat, she sliced the tendril loose with a laser-like blaster from the costume’s heavy side bag. Lucky that Dick and Kara added Kryptonian weaponry to the costumes, she realized.
The Huntress rolled to her feet with the feline grace of her mother, the Catwoman, and raced toward the hut. A weird sound came from within. “Somebody’s singing,” she whispered to herself, then moved closer to peer inside.
Vance Corlin was crooning some 1940s love song to a pink flower-draped Kara Zor-L, who wore nothing else but a bikini and a look of pure disgust. “This little herb shall put you to sleep, and you’ll wake up in my arms, beloved,” he said.
“Then I’ll throw up!” she said.
The Huntress jumped through the window, surprising Corlin.
“Thank goodness!” sighed Kara. The Huntress used her laser to slice through the bonds, freeing Power Girl’s arms and legs.
“The sign of a bat-like bird!” shouted Vance angrily. “You must be the female Batman! As Superman’s ally, he is also my foe!” He bounded toward the Huntress, who spun aside and tripped him. Bounding quickly back up, he said, “This is the isle of Vance Corlin! I am Vance Corlin! I rule all here!”
“Nobody else lives here, you fruit-fly!” snapped Kara as she stood up and shook the blossoms out of her hair.
The Huntress hit Vance with three swift blows, and he reeled. The antigrav device in the belt enabled me to counter his stamina, she thought.
“Beloved,” Vance cried out, “tell her how we plan to wed!”
Kara shook her head. “I’d sooner wed that killer plant than you!”
She watched the Huntress deliver three more punches as Vance staggered. He was so used to his power that he could not truly fight when more or less evenly matched. He certainly could not fight a mistress of martial arts like the daughter of Batman.
The Huntress blocked his punch and shoved him toward Power Girl. Kara slugged him with all her strength and rubbed the fallen narcotic flower in his face. He passed out as a smile formed on his features.
“It’s strange,” said Helena as she looked down on the crazed old man. “From the files I read on him, Vance Corlin was much like your cousin in character — noble and even heroic. When Superman pointed out that his mission of vengeance was misguided, Corlin sacrificed his own powers and the dream of his father to atone for his mistakes. What could’ve brought a man like that to such a state as this?”
“He just went crazy,” said Power Girl with a shrug. “All those years of loneliness must’ve turned him into a psychotic freak.”
“I wonder if that’s the real reason, or if there’s more to the story that we’ll never know,” mused the Huntress. “Anyway, I’m just glad I got here in time.”
“Thanks, Huntress,” said Kara. “This was one homecoming I could have done without. If I never see another marriage-happy male again, it’ll be too soon!”
The Huntress smiled. “I hope that doesn’t include Red Robin.”