Read the Intro to Arkham Asylum's Vacation
Prepare For Trouble!
The Marvel Family vs. The Joker, part 2
by Seth Gottlieb
Mary had never been so terrified in her life.
Here she was, blessed with the powers and skills of the most powerful gods and mortals, and she couldn't use them while wearing this stupid mask. One word, and all would be right with the world.
Still, she was terrified.
It had only been twelve hours since the Joker kidnapped her. They had taken her to the warehouse where he had set up his base of operations. From here, through the night, she saw his henchmen unload several crates which seemed to carry unusual plush toys. Another group appeared to be setting up a display of some sort. Then she overheard a henchman mention something about a hobby fair.
The next day, at the Bromfeld household, the police were trying to comfort Mary's parents. "We're doing everything we can Mr. Bromfeld, we are just waiting for them to make the first move. Please try to be calm."
"Calm!? How can I remain calm when she's with that., that madman?"
In the other room, Billy and Freddy were listening, considering their options.
Billy, himself felt partially responsible for her kidnapping, and letting the Joker get away. Here he was, with his powers, and he felt completely helpless. Particularly against someone like the Joker. Nevertheless, he wouldn't rest until he was caught, and Mary was safe.
"Were you able to get a hold of Superman?" asked Fred.
"Well, I phoned him as soon as we got back."
"Wait a minute, you have Superman's PHONE NUMBER?"
"Uh, not exactly, he gave me the number of a person to contact in Metropolis in case of an emergency. A guy named Clark Kent," Billy explained "I wasn't able to get a hold of him, but I left a message with his wife. What about that friend of yours in Gotham?"
"You mean Oracle? Yeah, I talked to her online. She seemed very concerned about our situation, and she said she would try to pass the word to some of her friends in the GCPD."
"Do you really think she can get a hold of Batman?"
"I don't know. She told me my best bet to reach him would be through the GCPD, but it seems that they have their hands full. According to her, the Joker wasn't the only one to escape. It seems there was a mass breakout from Arkham a couple of days ago. I guess Batman and his crew are running themselves ragged just to capture the other inmates."
"I see." Well, there was another option down. Although Bill usually tried to avoid asking other established heroes for help, he recognized the gravity of the situation. Normally, it wasn't just a matter of pride. He just felt he needed to prove himself as Fawcett's chief defender. Sure Superman seemed nice to work with, but he sometimes felt like a pale imitation when working with him. And Batman, well, his entire attitude and demeanor made him feel so useless and inferior, even with the wisdom of Solomon and strength of Hercules. In a situation like this however, their expertise in handling the Joker and determining his methods would be most helpful.
But how could even they predict the actions of a madman?
Back at the warehouse, the Joker was ecstatic with glee.
"OK everyone, this is it!" He announced "remember your assignments. Make sure you distribute all the 'toys' to the young whippersnappers. That should take care of any 'caped' opposition. We will then proceed to phase 2, the actual robbery. Now lets load em up!"
From her corner, Mary viewed the Joker and his henchmen while they were setting up. It sounded like he was planning to rob the convention. But where did those 'toys' fit in? And why was it essential that they were distributed? At that moment, a guard disturbed her concentration.
"Hey boss, what about her?" he indicated toward Mary.
The Joker glanced at her quizzically, "I dunno, I never kept a hostage this long. I guess we could 'take care' of her when we get back!" The Joker smiled while stroking her hair. Mary winced. Now more than ever, she had to get out of here!
Later that day, Billy was making his daily broadcast at WHIZ radio. Freddy remained at home, to keep track of any developments.
"This is Billy Batson for WHIZ radio news. We go now live to Whitey Ford at the Fawcett Civic Center, where they are holding the annual toy and hobby fair. Whitey, how's it going?"
"Fine Bill! You should see it here! Everyone on the floor is talking about the new toy sensation JOKOMON! They've only opened since this morning, and already dolls like Mee-owch, Chika-poo, Mynde-Sama, and Taw-nee have become popular!"
As Whitey continued, Billy froze. Jokomon? Could it be.? He needed more information.
"Um, Whitey, tell me more about these Jokomon."
"Not much to really tell Billy, just a bunch of stuffed animals. The weird thing is they're giving them away free!"
Billy pondered. There still wasn't enough information to link this with the Joker.
At the convention center, Whitey continued. "I can't say WHY it's so popular just looking at them, though the kids seem to enjoy them". He looked at a one he obtained, a Mynde-Sama. It looked like a big green plush anime style caterpillar. Why anyone would like this was beyond him. The giant Jokomon display itself was something else, set to look like its flagship character, Chika-poo. The helpers, also dressed like anime type characters, themselves were spread out all over the floor distributing the toy samples to children and collectors alike.
Whitey continued, "so far, no other toy seems to come close in popularity, although
At that moment, the lights went out. A few seconds later, there was the sound of gunfire. "EVERYBODY DOWN THIS IS A HOLDUP!!!" screamed one of the Jokomon crew.
"Oh my god., Billy, are you still there? The lights are out here, it sounds like a robbery. people with guns. if anyone can hear me, please send help.
At that moment, one of the gunmen fired onto his radio equipment.
"wait, no. NOOOO****"
Then there was nothing but static.
A few seconds later, Billy broke the silence. "Um, ladies and gentlemen, it appears that. someone is causing commotion at the Civic Center," Billy said nervously," we are monitoring this situation."
At that moment, the station manager broke in. "That's it Billy, cut to commercial."
As he did, another announcer took his place. "We'll take it from here, just run on home."
Billy obeyed as another announcer cut in. It was just as well, he, or rather Captain Marvel needed an excuse to get out of here without causing suspicion.
Back at the warehouse, two of the Joker's goons were listening to the broadcast.
"Sounds like they're doin good!" said one.
"Yeah," said the other. "Hey, could you grab me a beer out back?"
"Oh, and check up on our 'guest' while your up."
"Yeah, yeah." Mumbled the henchman.
Out back, Mary had slowly been at work on her bonds. Now more than ever she was determined to get out of here and stop the Joker before he murdered any more innocents.
There was also the score to settle for the previous day.
She finally got loose and was about to undo the mask when she heard someone coming. Quickly, she scurried behind some crates. The lights snapped on, "Aw, no. alright come out wherever you are, you couldn't have gone far."
At that moment, She pushed the crates over. They collapsed on the henchman, rendering him unconscious. She then left the room, while still trying to undo the mask. It was then that she heard the other henchman coming.
"Hey Frank, what's goin on?. YOU!!!" As the henchman lunged toward her, she managed to dodge away from him, scurrying into the main area. From there, she managed to lose herself amongst the boxes and crates. However the henchman was persistent. He snapped on the lights, and brandished a crowbar and a gun. "Allright, come on out, or I'll give you a splitting headache!" he said.
At that point, Mary finally undid her mask, and said her magic word.
After what sounded like an explosion on the main floor, the next thing the henchman knew, he was lying face down, with a crushed gun, and the crowbar wrapped around his neck.
Back at the Civic Center, Captain Marvel managed to break in. A few seconds later, he quickly subdued the robbers who were looting the crowd. After the last one was captured, he grabbed one of them by the collar.
"Ok, where's your boss?"
At that point, some suspenseful music played at the Jokomon display, which fell apart to reveal a craft of some sort. The Joker and Harley Quinn stood at the base of the rocket, wearing silver uniforms embraided with a large red 'J' on the front.
"PREPARE FOR TROUBLE!" Said the Joker.
"MAKE IT DOUBLE!" Said Harley.
Captain Marvel immediately rushed up to him, and grabbed him by the collar. "Ok Joker, I don't have any time for your games."
"Oh, my dear friend, I think you'll have time for this one." he replied gently tugging him away "Its called, 'Catch all the Jokomon, before all the timed explosives inside them go off in five minutes killing lots of innocent people! A lousy name I admit, but then again, that's marketing's problem! HA HA HA HAHA HA!"
Cap looked around. It looked like the Joker managed to distribute thousands of these lethal 'toys' to the crowd. At a blinding speed, Cap had started to get the toys when CM3 burst in. "I heard the news on the radio and came as soon as I could. what's happening?"
"The Joker's toys, these Jokomon, they have explosives, we've got to catch them all!"
While the heroic pair were grabbing all the toys, the Joker and Harley grabbed a few bags of loot from their unconscious henchmen and headed back into the display. Under the display, he pressed some buttons which caused it to open revealing a two person rocket. After pressing an ignition key, they started to blast off. "LOOKS LIKE TEAM JOKER BLASTS OFF AGAIN!!!!" said an amplified voice as the rocket crashed through the skydome above.
As the rocket gained altitude the Joker quipped, "Well, that was fun! By the time Captain Marbles gathers all my wonderful toys, we will be LONG gone from here!"
Just then, the rocket started to lurch. After checking the controls, he screamed "We're losing altitude. we're out of control. what's happening?!?"
"Uh Mr. J, look outside."
From his rear view mirror, he saw what appeared to be a young lady dressed in white holding on to the rocket. She was manipulating the ship towards the ground with superhuman strength.
And she didn't look happy.
With the speed of Mercury, the pair managed to grab all the rigged toys and place them in portable dumpsters. From there, they quickly flew out of the center with the dumpsters over Fawcett bay.
After the smoke cleared, the two heroes, covered with soot, looked at each other.
"We've got to get him!" said CM3 testily.
The pair flew back to the Center where the police had arrived. "Everything's OK Cap, we'll take it from here." Said an officer.
"What about the Joker? He escaped in another rocket." Said Captain Marvel.
"Didn't you know? The other Marvel grabbed it soon after it lifted off."
"But CM3's been with me the whole time!"
"No, it was the other one."
"Mary!" thought Billy.
"Um, where did they land?" said CM3.
"Over at the Starlin Junkyard. Our units are heading there now." But the officer was talking to air. The pair were already on their way.
"Well, this is where we get off!" said the Joker pressing an ejection button. The hatch immediately blasted open, and the pair managed to get out and glide safely to the ground, thanks to their emergency parachutes. Mary, still held onto the rocket, trying to prevent it from going out of control.
As the Joker landed, he mused, "If there's one thing I learned from Batman, it's to always be prepared!" After pressing a button on a handheld remote control, the rocket blew to bits. "It also doesn't hurt to cover your tracks!" he quipped.
However, as soon as the smoke cleared, Mary still remained. She was still in the air, staring angrily at the Joker.
"Um, Mr. J., I think it also helps if they ain't invulnerable."
"WHO ASKED YOU??!!??" blasted the Joker. "Quick, run, I'll stall her."
As Harley ran, Mary flew toward the Joker. He then reached for a red ball from his pocket and opened it. "Chika-poo, I choose you!" he said. At that moment a cartoonish dog sized rat ejected from the ball and plunged toward Mary. As soon as it collided with her, it set off a deadly electrical charge.
"HA HA HA HA!" Screamed the Joker "This is too sweet!" he thought. The voltage from that toy could fry a normal man in his or her juices.
.however, it only succeeded in mussing up the hair of the World's Mightiest Girl.
And it didn't do anything to help her disposition.
The Joker then started to flee, but didn't get far before she grabbed hold of him and threw him in a pile of garbage. She then grabbed a hold of a rusted auto hulk, and threw it towards him.
He managed to dodge away in time while spurting "Um, what are you doing?"
She then grabbed him by the collar. "How many people have you murdered? How many lives have you destroyed? ANSWER ME!!!"
"Um, is this a trick question?" the Joker said meekly. "Maybe I should clear something up. This is usually the part where Batman usually hands me over to the authorities, who in turn send me back to Arkham. I'm really not responsible for my actions, so."
"You don't even care, do you???" she said shaking him, "DO YOU?"
"Oh I get it, it must be that 'time of the month' for you. ULK"
At that she tightened her grip around his neck.
"Alright, that's enough!" said Captain Marvel as he grabbed Mary's hand. She then loosened her grip around the Joker's neck.
"Why shouldn't I?" cried Mary, "He's had it coming all this time. He'll just escape again and start the whole thing over.! It's got to stop!"
"I know, but it's not our place to judge. It's not why we were granted these powers."
"You know." the Joker said meekly "you really should listen to this nice, reasonable wonderful example of a human being."
"Joker, SHUT UP!" said Cap sternly."
"You see, it's all a stupid game to him"! Blurted Mary.
"Cmon, follow the wisdom, you know this isn't right. That's not why we were granted these powers.
As Cap went on the Joker was busy. Normally he would stay and listen for any helpful weaknesses, but this was cutting it close.
He pulled another Jokoball from his pocket "Smaug-skriin, I choose you!" he yelled. At that, a smokescreen came out, temporarily blinding the two heroes. With that, the Joker squirmed free, and lost himself amongst the trash heaps.
As the smoke cleared, the Joker was nowhere in sight.
"We've got to get after him!" said Mary.
"Yes," said Cap "BUT, we're just going to capture him, ok?"
Mary hesitated. After pondering the situation with the wisdom of Solomon, she finally replied. "Ok" said Mary testily.
A few minutes later, the Joker was still running through the junkyard. While scurrying through, he managed to get ahold of a rusted crowbar. When he reached near the exit, he saw CM3 not too far from it. "That must be his sidekick, This should be easy!" he thought, as he sneaked closer brandishing his weapon. What the heck he mused, it nearly worked for the LAST sidekick.
Slowly, he moved toward the young hero, raised his weapon, struck his head with a loud WHACK!!..
.and found that he was in trouble, as the boy turned, as if being hit with a spit wad.
The Joker then gave an embarrassed grin, dropped the now bent crowbar, and slowly backed away, only to bump into a grinning Captain Marvel, whom was standing next to a stern faced Mary who brandished a metal beam.
"Um, Oops?" said the Joker sheepishly as the three Marvels slowly closed in on him while sirens blared in the distance.
It would take the police two hours to weld the Joker out of those metal beams.
A few hours later, Mary Bromfield was reunited with her tearful parents. She was able to give a convincing cover story on how she escaped, without making any connection between her and Mary Marvel. When she, her brother and Freddy were finally alone, they were able to talk.
"I nearly blew it, didn't I?" she said.
"It wasn't your fault, after what you went through." said Billy. "In the end, everything turned out all right."
"I suppose so, still, he could escape again.."
"I know, but his punishment is up to society, not us." Billy continued, "If there's one thing I learned, is that our powers should be used to help and serve. Never to enforce."
"Besides," Freddy added, its unlikely he'll escape any time soon!"
Meanwhile, at Police headquarters, the Joker was being transferred to a waiting van.
"I just need you to sign these release papers and you should be all set." Said the officer in charge.
"Sure thing!" she responded as she signed the release papers.
"Thank you officer, um Quinzel." said the officer reading the clipboard. "Here are the keys, be careful now!"
As they entered the van, Harley gave him a big kiss. "We did it puddin!" she squealed.
"Well Fawcett was fun, but its time to move on, things to do, places to see, promises to keep!" he cackled, "Driver, hit the gas, and let me know when we reach the state line!"
Unbeknownst to the Joker and his crew, as the van left the city it was closely followed by a black helicopter, as if it was monitoring its every move.
All characters are DC Comics
This story is © 2000 by Seth Gottlieb.
All characters are DC Comics
This piece is © 2002 by the author listed above.
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