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"The Power of Mazahs!": At Happy Harbor, Lex Luthor feels that working alongside Batman to save the world is the second to last thing he ever expected to do in his life. As they look across the bay to the ruins of the [[Justice


Quote1 The fact is, Batman, there wasn't a single occurrence of metahuman violence or extraterrestrial or interdimensional incursion until you all showed up. When we needed you most, your league was infiltrated and manipulated into unleashing these malevolent doppelgangers from beyond. You failed to stop yourselves on every metaphorical and literal level... which is why we're going to have to do it. Quote2
-- Lex Luthor



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Synopsis for "The Power of Mazahs!"

At Happy Harbor, Lex Luthor feels that working alongside Batman to save the world is the second to last thing he ever expected to do in his life. As they look across the bay to the ruins of the Justice League Satellite, Lex comments that the Crime Syndicate's incursion could never have happened if the heroes hadn't cropped up, and been manipulated into letting them cross over into this world. And now, it is up to he and a gang of career criminals to set things right.

Meanwhile, in Maine, the Syndicate gathers to discuss the danger that approaches. The horror that destroyed Earth 3 has been alerted by Ring of Volthoom's search for a new host, and if it comes to this world, all of their work so far was for nothing. A dimensional rift has opened in the skies, and, though it will take significant life energy, Deathstorm will be called upon to close it. In the meantime, Owlman receives a private message from Alfred that something is wrong with Nightwing, and his attention is required.

Lex and his companions discover, with some confusion and worry, that the Syndicate appears to have abandoned the Watchtower, so Sinestro has his ring locate them by the abnormal frequency vibrations of their heartbeats. While six of the Syndicate's number are far to the north, only two remain within the Satellite. This is troubling, considering that with Power Ring dead, there should only be seven of them left - assuming the Grid doesn't have a heartbeat. Ignoring that puzzle, Batman explains that he can get them a one minute head start on being discovered by overriding the security system. Lex comments that designing a security system with a manual override suggests that Batman expects to take on the Justice League himself, at some point.

Inside, the Outsider reminds Grid that Nightwing was to be left alone. Grid responds that Nightwing was left unharmed - but he still needed to be secured. Having investigated S.T.A.R. Labs' files on Apokoliptian technology, he discovered an inescapable device that would serve that purpose: the Murder Machine. Unnoticed by them, Batman and Lex have discovered exactly that. It is not long after that Grid discovers the intrusion, and Alfred reports it to Owlman, who warns him to give priority to keeping Nightwing safe. The Syndicate's prisoner, meanwhile, is of no consequence. Alfred disagrees, warning that if the prisoner gets free, his master will die. He disobeys direct orders, and approaches the prisoner, only to be grabbed and murdered by Black Manta.

Batman approaches Dick, apologizing for having shut his adoptive son - and all of his other family members - out of his life, emotionally, and promises to get him free. Dick, though, warns him that they all need to get out. It is then that they notice the countdown timer on the front of the device into which Grayson is strapped. Apparently, it is also a bomb.

Elsewhere, Sinestro leads Black Adam and Deathstroke, sensing the nearby presence of Firestorm. His ring also senses the impending return of the six errant members of the Syndicate. They barely have time to react before they are under attack. Ultraman can hear the other intruders in the Watchtower, and sends Johnny Quick and Atomica to investigate. In the fray, though, Owlman slips away.

Batman, Lex, Catwoman and B-Zero find themselves trapped in the chamber with Nightwing and the Murder Machine, with Batman explaining that this chamber, and this device were designed to hold Doomsday. Catwoman notices that the countdown seems to be tied to Nightwing's heart rate, and Dick confirms that the only way the device will disarm is if his heart stops. Either he dies, or everyone dies.

Confused, Black Manta and Captain Cold remove the sack from the prisoner's head, but they don't recognize him at all. They have the impression that he is trying to tell them who he is, but there is tape slapped over his mouth. As Cold reaches out to remove it, though, Johnny Quick speeds past, replacing it.

Dick begs his ostensible rescuers to get out while they can, but Batman refuses to abandon him - even though the device seems designed to work around his every attempt to disarm the bomb. With fewer qualms about whether Dick lives or dies, Lex decides the time has come to stop trying to save him, and see that they are saved by killing him. He blasts Batman in the back, knocking him to the ground as B-Zero subdues Catwoman. Then, he places his palm over Dick's mouth and nose, apologizing for what he has to do as he waits for the young man to suffocate.

Atomica finds herself stymied in her attempts to infiltrate Black Manta's bloodstream. His wet-suit is watertight, even on a microscopic level. Johnny Quick, meanwhile, faces down with Captain Cold, bragging that he had already killed the Leonard Snart of his world and confiscating his freeze gun. Snart points out that it's not a freeze gun, it's a cold gun. He is the master of absolute zero, and his gun happens to be voice activated. He utters a phrase that activates the trigger, causing the gun to suddenly flash-freeze Johnny Quick's thigh. Smirking, Captain Cold kicks the icy limb, and shatters it, commenting that it will hurt a whole lot more when it thaws out.

As the countdown continues, Batman and Catwoman struggle to fight their way past B-Zero to prevent Luthor from killing Nightwing, but he insists that it's the only way to save them.

From his seat, the prisoner mocks Atomica's grief, pointing out that Johnny the speed demon will never run again. Atomica realizes, with horror, that the tape has come off of the prisoner's mouth, but it's too late for her to stop him from uttering his name: MAZAHS! Instantly, a bolt of dark lightning streaks through the sky, and strikes his body, burning Atomica. Even from his position outside, Ultraman knows that the prisoner is free.

Batman hears the sound of Nightwing's heart-monitor flat-lining, and reacts with rage. As he rails on Luthor with his fists, Lex wheezes that he had the situation under control. While he may have stopped Dick's heart, it's not too late to save him.

Meanwhile, the prisoner watches Johnny squirm across the floor toward Atomica, begging her to wake up, and relishes his pain a moment before snapping the speedster's neck. Then, he absorbs Johnny's energy, warning that he will kill every one of the Syndicate, making Alexander Luthor the most powerful hero that this planet has ever seen.



Notes

  • This book was first published on March 5, 2014.
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