Rise of the Justice League

The origin and misadventures of the greatest heroes reimagined as an action-buddy-comedy.

The tracker on the prototype Batsuit only flickered off on the Batcomputer display if destroyed or close enough to the main router in the Batcave-enough Bat for you? The young Bruce Wayne would humor his visitors to the Batcave. Oh wait, there’s never any. There shouldn’t be any, so he never has. Tonight he would have the make an exception. Anyway, Alfred Pennyworth didn’t need to look at the display. He could hear the splashing of boots against shallow water down the main tunnel leading out of the secret entrance below Wayne manor. The cave was new, only half a year of operation and there was still some work to do be done-draining the tunnels completely remains one of them.

“I’m coming in hot, Alfred!” He who needs no introduction shouted through their two way communicator, “Focus every high velocity ballistic we have on the entrance after I fall in-both active and in development! Wa-Crap!” That was him falling in the water, followed by a frustrated grunt. On the eve of his twenty third birthday, he had forsaken the League of Shadows after three years of training. And if he hadn’t ran away before said training was complete, perhaps he would be a little more graceful. He’s working on it.

“Yes, Master Bruce,” Alfred brought all the sentry turrets hidden with the rocks and stalagmites along the cave roof, scaring off broods of hanging bats that made their home there. The Batmobile Mark II wasn’t finished, but the weapon systems were. The unfinished prototype for the Batwing hung in its rafter, the guns on its left wing were at least complete. It was in this scuffle that Batman wished he had it more than anything. Though now, it didn’t seem like it would help.

Enter a hero in his infancy, Batman as he swan dived out from the darkness. The unstuck landing was due to haste and a minor leg injury. As said before, the Batsuit was only a prototype-a dressed up cycling outfit fitted with Kevlar and the symbolic cape and cowl. The boots were rudimentary army grade and purple seemed like an odd choice for the gloves. Until more gauntlet type bracers can be developed, then padded, purple, polyester gloves are going to the hands being thrown. Of course, the only thing more bulbous in color was the yellow utility belt. It was brand new, hopefully it will rust into more of a bronze once its broken into more. Bruce managed to nail the Bat insignia on the chest. That’s the most armored area of them all. Beneath it lies the smelted metal of the gun that slew his parents. That’s a story from another day. The suit was damp with cave water and the cape was ripped in some places. The cowl had been ripped away but crudely put back on.

“Sir, where’s the car?” Alfred quickly descended the stairs from the upper cave levels. He pulled his twenty four year old son back to his feet.

“He-He tore it in two,” Bruce breathed heavily, “I ran the rest of the way. All the roof traps…all of them. Nothing, no effect.” The two hustled over to the computer. “He’s following me here! The best I can do is try to contain and deter him!” The weapon systems beeped obediently as their safeties were collectively taken off. Still, no more than eight weapons not designed with the intention of being lethal. They’ll have to be pushed way past their limits against him.

“I heavily advised against this, Master Bruce.” Alfred folded his arms.

“He’s here of all places, Alfred. First Smallville, now here. There’s no pattern to his behavior. We can infer he’s moving to areas with a higher population…but we can’t know his intentions.”

“The people of Gotham are still coming to terms with your own intentions, Master Bruce. Think of how terrifying it was for them when you first came gliding in without warning.”

“Is hurling cars and trucks any less terrifying?” Dusty particles of earth fell from the ceiling as the whole room seemed to quake. At least for a second. It sounded as if something very big and fast had entered the room. Bruce and Alfred could see nothing but the motion detectors picked up something. The auto fire sentries got off about a couple rounds before abruptly stopping. It was like a camera flickering with static, that red and blue blur that sped around the cave. The sentries, ripped away at a moment’s notice.

He stood with the ones he had tore away still clutched in his fist. Right before Batman and Alfred, was the Smallville Superman. Another rising star in his youth. The cape is there, as always-the indestructible blanket he was wrapped in as a baby. His brown boots weren’t too far off from the make and brand that Bruce used. However, he certainly didn’t wear a t-shirt and patchwork looking jeans. One of his sleeves were burned off courtesy of a Japanese-imported maser gun. Yes, like the one in Kaiju movies. Those are real things. His insignia used more colors, especially primary than Bruce’s. We know it well, but this world here has yet to. Clark was a young man too, about Bruce’s age. This was the first time they were seeing him in full, and to Alfred, that was an interesting development.

“Bruce,” he threw the tattered sentry remains aside with a clanky landing. Bruce cringed, hearing his name. “Come on, this is absurd.” Bruce was looking around for any functioning defense.

“Oh, we’re far past that point…Clark!” Bruce spat his name. “That’s right. I know who you are. I figured it out before you even came to Gotham. What’s that you got on? Fruit of the Loom? That’s a custom print shirt, it was just a matter of tracking down the store in Kansas and pulling up the video files and order numbers. You picked it up in a sports jacket and a Chiefs hat under the order name, John Clark. You mind telling me who John is?”

“I see you gauging my reaction underneath that mask. His name is as much as you’re getting.” Clark barked back, “Calling me out for what I’m doing is one thing, but coming to and smoke bombing my new apartment really makes me feel like it’s personal. I didn’t think that Batman was real. Why come for me?”

“Why come here? Smallville talks about you like a folk hero.”

“Oh, so Gotham is your city? I’ve heard the police department talk about you. Commissioner Loeb is a real vocal critic.”

“Not all of us are flying around and wooing everyone. It’s a little bit harder for us normal people.”

“Nothing you’ve been doing suggests behavior of a ‘normal person.’”

“Like you’d know what that is!”

“My, you two lads seem to be on edge. Is that a fair assessment?” The cool, collected voice of reason that was Alfred Pennyworth interested himself between them, hands folded behind his back. He had seen and heard enough-these two costumed boys more like bickering back and forth. This wasn’t some sort of death struggle or match to determine who is right, it was a squabble.

“After my rude awakening. Yes, that’s extremely fair to say.” Clark said.

“Don’t patronize me, Alfred.” Bruce said.

“Alfred?” Clark questioned, “Who are you? Matter of fact, what is this place that I just flown into?”

“The Batcave, in other words, my domain.” Bruce tried intimidation a little too hard.

“Our domain,” Alfred humorously corrected, “Master Clark, I was hoping you’d meet Master Bruce under better circumstances.”

“I did actually. We had an interview for the Gotham Gazette earlier today…I’m trying to get into journalism. This was where that quest landed me. Next stop, Daily Planet I hope.”

“Is going around playing hero for a story too?”

“No, I’ve been doing that since I was eighteen. Around Smallville at least. I think I’m getting good at it…that was a joke. I put my heart and soul in helping other people. It’s how I survive. It’s what my parents taught me.”

“Parents?” Bruce tilted his head.

“Damn! I said too much again!”

“…Is John your dad?”

“Shush your mouth!”

Alfred was about to speak to further diffuse the situation. He couldn’t. Not unlike Superman’s entrance, there was a tremor and a sonic echo but this one was bigger, louder and came from above ground. The Batcave’s defense system that wasn’t totaled chimed. The indication was movement in the backyard of the manor. Stalagmites fell from the cave ceiling. One particular narrowly hit Alfred, if not Clark had moved him out of the way in a literal split second. Bruce managed to evade them on his own.

“No need to be sore about it, Clark!” He said accusingly.

“That wasn’t me.” Clark looked up. “Something landed…up there. Is that your house?”

“It’s my parents’.” Bruce had also answered that way since he was a child.

“Very 1%.” Clark commented. That’s Batman’s superpower.

“Clark, I will buy your apartment building and then foreclose it. Don’t disrespect what my parents created.” Clark humored him with a fist pump. His way of saying, yes! Bruce Wayne just cracked a rich people joke at me! He floated off the ground. The cape swish was on point.

“We better check topside. By the looks of it, something crashed onto your property and I need to know what it is. Listen, Alfred really helped me see that I was out of line flexing like that. But it isn’t over between us, Bruce.” He zipped up, through the elevator shaft and to the house level. The red streak he seemed to take the form of was like a spirit dead set on its destination. Bruce sighed before setting off after him.

“He’s not too different from you,” Alfred called to him as Bruce departed. As valid as it was, Bruce pretended not to hear it or at least he tried to.

If giants could play golf then they would’ve defiantly made a hole in the Wayne’s backyard. Bruce was mentally calculating the landscaping cost when he found Clark hovering over the blasted, smoldering crater-a hand stretched over his month with his eyes widened. The entire site was emitting heat. Must’ve been one mother of a crash. For this reason, Bruce couldn’t get too close.

“Clark. Clark, what is it? What do you see?” He asked.

“It’s a…woman,” he gasped.

Sprawled in the heath was indeed a woman, looking about their age. Dressed in a pure white robe like an Olympian-though it was stained in some spots with dirt and debris. Her dark hair had managed to be kept in its ponytail throughout whatever ordeal she had been through, but several hairs were ruffled out of place. Her face, they thought, was like it was crafted by Michelangelo or any other renaissance artist who has ever painted an angel. Clark and Bruce found themselves wondering if that were truly the case.

“We need to get her inside, now.” Bruce said.