SideKicks

Issue 2: Counterparts & Conundrums

The Countdown to Zero Crisis begins.

Highlights:

  • Tom Albertson is in the hospital nursing the wounds received during the short battle with the Penguin.
  • The name of the group of the chosen. The Zeros won the vote.
  • An odd riddle arrives at Zero HQ (The Abandoned Warehouse) as well as a threat to kill 5 scientists if the riddle isn’t solved. The Kinetic Kid is worried it might be the Riddler, but Brain Child and Hybrid make short work of the riddle.
  • Racing off to the Mooney Bridge, Teen Lantern scouts from the air, while The Kinetic Kid races across the bridge on NEWTON. In the center of the bridge is a corpse, and another mocking letter and two accompanying riddles.
  • The corpse seems to be of one Dr. Emil Hamilton of STAR Labs in Metropolis. Though contacting STAR Labs seems to verify that Dr. Hamilton is still among the living.
  • Brain Child solves these new riddle in flash and they are off to Finger River.
  • Hybrid shifts into were-shark form and begins scouring the bottom of the river. While Teen Lantern and The Kinetic Kid patrol the area from the air and ground.
  • However, it’s Brain Child’s keen eyes that spy the corpse in the waters first. They fish it out only to find it to be a man named Dr. Alexander Proditor. The very same Proditor that Brain Child now despises. She happily poses the corpse in funny positions as The Kinetic Kid and Hybrid read the next letter along with the next two riddles.
  • As they ponder this set of riddles, Teen Lantern calls from the air that the Gotham Botanical Gardens were on fire. Deciding they had their next answer, they race off toward the blaze.
  • Teen Lantern attempts to smother the fire with a construct from his ring to no avail. Brain Child begins to dig a trench around the blaze to keep it from spreading and fills the trench with a flame-retardant foam that she quickly develops. Hybrid shifts into were-elephant form and rushes to a nearby lake to gather water to douse the blaze. The Kinetic Kid rushes NEWTON directly toward the blaze only to hit the breaks suddenly. Using the resulting kinetic charge from the shock of the stop, The Kinetic Kid dashes past the flame without harm and into the heart of the inferno. Inside he finds the final three corpses (An unknown scientist, a Dr. Jonathon Crane, and a Doctor Mephistopheles) and a final riddle.
  • As they battle the blaze, nothing seems to work against it, though Brain Child’s foam does seem to stop it from spreading. Finally, the flames change to a green color and being to disperse.
  • Curious, but grateful for the breather, they contemplate this newest riddle. The answer comes readily to them all and they head toward the Clocktower.
  • They arrive there to find a man dressed in a way that could only be considered as cross between The Riddler and Two-Face. He calls himself Conundrum.
  • A fight ensues, which immediately turns in the Zero’s favor thanks to the quick douse of the room in slippery goo by Brain Child.
  • As his guards and thugs are taken care of, Conundrum yields. He gives the Zero’s one last riddle.
  • As Conundrum finishes the riddle, a slow clapping begins to fill the room. From the shadows of the room at the top of the ClockTower, five shapes begin to emerge.
  • They introduce themselves as The Deviants, future versions of the Zeros. The Deviants consist of:
    • The Kinetic King – Leader of the Deviants and would-be dictator of reality.
    • Terrorlax – Power-mad Lantern that sports the armor and markings of the Parallax entity.
    • Half-breed – A unstable (in form and in mind) shapeshifter
    • Adaptic – An even-more insane version of Brain Child with hypodermic claws and a perchance for riding on the shoulders of:
    • Thomas Albertson – A well-to-do well-dressed version of Tom Albertson.
  • They have come to offer the Zeros one of two things. Stay out of their way as they attempt to rule reality and give up one of their own to be beaten, or if they refuse, simply die.
  • Brain Child doesn’t wait for The Kinetic King to finish speaking. She quickly dives out of the glass clock face that broken during the fighting. She grabs onto a nearby drainage pipe and slides to the ground.
  • The Kinetic King nods and Terrorlax is off after Brain Child. The Kinetic King simply sighs after that and both groups make a break toward where Terrorlax and Brain Child.
  • Meanwhile, Brain Child finds herself cornered by Terrorlax. The Kinetic Kid hits Terrorlax with flying shards from a yellow billboard as NEWTON collides with him as well. The impact knocks Terrorlax aside, but has the bad outcome of ‘killing’ Brain Child.
  • Hybrid in were-chameleon form stealthily grabs Brain Child and they escape into the sewers.
  • Teen Lantern and The Kinetic Kid manage to hold off the revived Terrorlax until a wolf’s howl causes him to return to his group. Thankful that they made it out alive, the two return to their headquarters to find Brain Child and Hybrid there.
  • After patching their wounds, Hybrid hears another wolf’s howl and changes into his were-wolf form and begins to investigate. He reports that he could smell his own scent coming from outside. Suspecting that they have been compromised, The Zeros quickly move to another safehouse specified to them by Harvey Dent.

To Be Continued in ‘Zero Crisis’

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