This adventure is based on the facts that, (1) occasionally including
a major occasion in 1996, the Marvel and DC universes coexist
just long enough for a team-up, and (2) the DC universe is prone
to reality crises which span across time, and (3) as of the summer
of 1996, the Marvel universe seems headed for a reality crisis
of its own.
As of 1996, we know the entities who accomplish these mergers.
(One ultimate being per universe, basically.) But all we know
about the mechanisms these beings use is: They appear to be cardboard
Of course, before then, nobody knew what was happening. The universes
would merge semi-regularly, and the heroes would appear to recognize
each other, but they would all forget everything thereafter.
What's more, the mergers may leave many heroes confused. (Wouldn't
you be confused if you were an Avenger and New York City didn't
contain Avengers' Mansion? Or if Metropolis suddenly popped up
in eastern Connecticut?) And when the merger ends, the heroes
always forget everything.
During the merger, the confused heroes can be easy prey for cosmic-level
supervillains to take advantage of. These villains are aware of
the mechanisms, want to possess them, and send the heroes to get
This has happened quite often. But we don't know about it because
everyone forgets about it afterwards. And naturally those who
publish these team-ups are too busy keeping track of the main
adventure to get sidelined into following (and publishing) every
minor hero that happens to be in Gotham City, Metropolis, or New
York at the time - so we, the comics readers, never know what
And it's all merging across time, thanks to the individual and
combined DC and Marvel reality crises. And of course I'm involved.
I can never avoid these things.
A DC/Marvel team-up has now occurred between Batman and the Punisher, in Gotham City. DC has published maps and orbital views of Gotham City (particularly in the "Swamp Thing" comic, of all places). According to these, Gotham City is between New York City and Boston, on the Narragansett Bay where Providence, Rhode Island lies in our universe. If you superimpose Gotham City on New England, it turns out East Douglas, Massachusetts (my home, and secret center of the universe) is less than ten miles outside the Gotham city limits.
(And remember: Metropolis is somewhere close to Gotham City. According to its maps, it would fit fairly nicely on top of either Groton or New Haven, Connecticut. Though it really looks more like Montreal with a seashore.)
(Yes, I know that DC sometimes claims that Metropolis and Gotham
City are both along the Delaware Bay down-river from Philadelphia.
But DC has also had severe reality problems in the last ten years.
It seems to me that the location of Gotham City is up for grabs.)
Anyway, since in the Marvel Universe I have abilities roughly
equaling a superhero, I qualify for DuoPolarity. And that's not
even accounting for duplicates in parallel universes. Or for my
relatives. Especially my brother. (Who petitioned the author
to join this adventure, as soon as he found out about it.)
My counterpart sent this letter:
How are you? I am well. Especially considering what could have
One day you'll have to tell me what happened when you finally came to visit my place in East Douglas. Assuming you ever did. I have some doubt about this at present. If you think I'm talking nonsense, just let me know - and consider this letter to be fiction. And if I should repeat something you already know, please forgive me for babbling. I'm trying to get the story down before I forget it.
From what little you said when I saw you, you showed up there and found me, but I wasn't expecting you. What's more, I casually mentioned being coerced and temporarily bankrupted by man-hunter aliens from outer space (what the hell?), but gaining massive strength, speed and stamina from the affair. To prove it to you, I juggled the refrigerator and bragged about jogging to work occasionally - 20 miles done in 40 minutes each way.
I'll have to take your word for all this. At the time, I was on a plane from Huntsville, Alabama, headed for Providence. Surprise, surprise, Providence wasn't there anymore. My plane had to land at "Gotham International Airport". I took a taxi home (since my car seemed to be missing, and I did have to meet you). Good thing I take lots of money on these trips. My quick departure probably saved me from the police interrogations of the incoming passengers.
And so I walked in on you and me.
You know as much as I do about the other people we met that weekend. Daimon Hellstrom intended to go to Providence for a demonology conference, and he thought it was 1994. Amanda Sefton was a stewardess on my flight, but she thought it was 1985. Neither one found Providence, though. But they both said they searched for the reason it was gone. They were both decent magicians, so maybe they did and they found something.
The teenage girl with magnetic powers was being studied at a lab in "Gotham". The city seemed perfectly normal to her. And she thought it was 1985. (And I forget her name already! Frances or Francine something.)
And Jessica Drew (she has certain powers, the nature of which I don't feel free to tell you - unless you noticed them on your own) hangs out with a guy named "Patch" nowadays; she went with him to Gotham, but he ditched her for some reason. As soon as he left, she got confused: what's Gotham City doing where Providence ought to be?
These four people got summoned by apparition to a secluded condominium north of the city. Thus they all arrived on my doorstep.
As you may recall, this surprised us Fergusons no end; we had nothing
to do with the summons.
Suddenly, Ares appeared. (No, I didn't know who he was then, any more than you did.) He told us to find seven "Omniversal Engines" scattered around "Gotham City". With five of these engines, he claimed he could reverse the reality shift.
I surely didn't trust him at face value, but he did know more about what was going on than I did. So we decided to find the engines anyway. He considerately arranged to collect us at 4 am the next morning.
You happened to have a suit of powered armor, which shrinks for easy storage, in your pocket. With the armor on, you have respectable strength, can shoot jet-propelled darts loaded with various armaments, and you can shrink yourself and fly really fast. (How did you find an employer who just lets you sign out stuff like that for field test?)
I personally had reservations about being commanded to a mystic quest. Had I known I was among a truckload of super-humans in civilian identities, I would have had even more reservations. I could maybe keep up with a low-powered hero from our world - under the best of conditions, with me in perfect shape, with lots of my own armaments which I keep in the basement. (I'll tell you about it sometime.) Unfortunately, I just spent two weeks eating restaurant food and exercising less than usual, and (more importantly) my weapons were in another universe at the time!
But nonetheless we left to retrieval the Omniversal Engines.
Nobody said there'd be super-heroes opposing us.
I went in the car (my counterpart's car, but my key worked perfectly) with Jessica to retrieve one of the Engines from the KOA Kampground in the next town west from Douglas, without incident. She's a private detective, so I let her do all the talking.
The Engine looked like a cardboard box.
You mentioned that you went with my counterpart in his ultra-light gyro-copter to the part of Gotham City which replaced Woonsocket, and you retrieved another Engine without incident. (I used to have an ultra-light. I lost it when I single-handedly invaded Russia to restore America's glory. Maybe I'll tell you about that one someday too.)
The rest of our team did well too. We went against exactly five of the targets, which is all we supposedly needed. Sefton and Hellstrom opened up teleportals to get to them, so we got them all. We snatched two of them right out from under the opposing team. So we had what we needed... but we still had to defend it. In my condo. Until 4 am.
I have a prototype remote control unit to a Nexrad II weather control radar. I decided to use it for once, to induce heavy rain across northern Rhode Island just to piss off our assailants.
Apparently my counterpart is a rocky-hard man-stud. He jumped up on the roof with his binoculars to look for incoming. You flew up, with your armor that has telescopic vision. Meanwhile, Sefton and Hellstrom walked around the condos, then set up a ritual in my living room. Jessica picked out an axe from my Weapons Wall, and went to guard the front door. I picked out my favorite mace, and went to guard the back. And Francine just stood around looking nervous. What the hell, I was nervous too.
Before too long, three people flew into my front yard. Another one jumped, or at least he didn't know how to land. I recognized the Vision and Marvel Girl. One other was nearly big enough to be the Hulk, but he was wearing a three-piece suit. The last one was even bigger, but he had a mohawk. They landed, and one of them pointed at the roof.
That's when things started happening to them. A couple of spheres lit up around the Three-Piece Hulk and Mr. Mohawk, and they looked dazed. Another sphere lit up the whole yard.
And that's when I heard Daimon Hellstrom's voice in my head, telling me to say something. Me ?!? I would surely have liked for him to do the talking. But he was right, someone needed to do some talking before a fight broke out, and there I was on the balcony where they could all hear me. So I heard myself saying,
"Believe it or not, we'd rather not fight. You may even find it difficult to fight. So difficult, you can't use your powers."
Then Marvel Girl rose into the air and floated next to the balcony. She said, "Not... that... difficult..." But I could tell she was straining. And the Vision couldn't move at all! Boy, he looked surprised.
Sefton and Hellstrom had cast a spell to damp down any non-magical superpowers. That, on top of their earlier charm spell, is probably what made our assailants stop and talk, and come inside for maybe a beer or two. I know I wasn't that smooth a negotiator...
There were fourteen of us in my living room, with seven Omniversal Engines that looked like cardboard boxes. We barely fit, even with you shrunk down on my shoulder and me sitting on the stairway. There weren't that many beer drinkers in the crew, but the guy in the suit (who called himself Mister Fixit) nearly drank us dry!
(By the way, Bogus, you can have your own beer next time, so you don't have to drink off mine. I'll save you one. I promise.)
It turns out we'd been duped into fighting each other. This other group had been approached by a War God too. It looked like our War God just wanted to play with toy soldiers. Well, in about four hours he'd get a small army in his face.
It was already past midnight, so I just stayed up until 4 am. Those were surely some chariots that came for us! I didn't know horses could breathe fire until now. Or fly, for that matter.
I tried to keep track of where they flew, but we passed above some clouds, then flew past a mountain. The only mountain around here is Mount Wachusett, which is more like a bump on the ground than a real mountain. This was a real mountain.
But we didn't go up it. We flew into a cave instead, and into an underground temple. Then we got ushered into the presence of our War God. But there was someone standing behind him, who looked like a War God too.
Well, that's about where things hit the fan. We gave the front War God the cardboard boxes he wanted, but the guy behind him said, "Those are not Omniversal Engines. Slay them!" Then about ten villains came out for us.
Our big gray three-piece bruiser was out in front. But he jumped away and started beating on this scrawny guy in the balcony. This left Marvel Girl, who was behind him, to face the Juggernaut.
But we were all busy. I saw someone who looked like the Joker from comic books among our assailants, so I laid him out with a combination blow. Honestly, I don't know what the Caped Crusader sees in that guy.
Marvel Girl wasn't doing too well against the Juggernaut. But then my rocky-hard man-stud counterpart tapped him on the shoulder, said "Hey, big guy", then slammed him on the floor twice - hard enough to make a hole, and the floor was marble! Marvel Girl saved the other young Mr. Ferguson, but nothing stopped the Juggernaut... from falling.
Meanwhile, Jessica grabbed some shrunken woman who was buzzing around the same way you do, only without your armor. And you'd blasted a couple of other villains. Things around us were going pretty well. Until that first War God entered the battle himself. And he picked me and Jessica to attack.
At first, he was just posturing, swinging his axe around, saying, "How dare you defy the gods?" But it was a very fast axe. Jessica and I just backed up slowly, because showing this guy our backs was a bad idea. You shot at him, but it had no effect.
Fortunately, just about then the shape-changing chameleon-monster who was guarding the War God's left flank, fell. Past him strode the Vision, Mr. Nuclear Mohawk, and my own counterpart, determined to prove who was most studly of all. That's what saved us - for then. The War God went to beat on them instead of us.
Around us, the rest of the battle was going well. You'd apparently found the shrunken flying woman who'd escaped from Jessica's fist, and cowed her with your own studliness or something. Marvel Girl plus our mystics were concentrating on this energy nimbus that was around her head, and it dissipated - screaming. My own counterpart was down on the floor moaning, because he wasn't immune to very fast axes after all. Fortunately, the others with him were, and they seemed to be beating our War God.
But that's when things went bad again. The other War God, the immensely powerful one, stepped forward and said, "I tire of this." The room erupted with force.
I got out okay. Jessica threw me out - into Amanda Sefton, so she got out too! And you made it out too, with that insect woman you'd found. But inside the room, things were bad. Only the Vision was left standing, and this second War God was beating on him.
But then "Mister Fixit" came back, saying, "This damn place made me lose it! And I hate losing it!" He started whaling on the second War God. Not that he did too well, but he was surviving.
And then the first War God came back, saying, "This is my fight!" And he started whaling on the other War God too.
That's about when the room started falling apart. The four of us, including this "Yellowjacket" woman you'd met, had managed to get most of the downed combatants out of the room. "Mister Fixit" got out on his own, carrying the Vision. But we couldn't get "Blaze" from that other universe. I think he was dead anyway. We all got out just before the room collapsed on the two War Gods.
Luckily, Amanda Sefton was somehow able to get the chariot horses to take us to a place of healing. And the gods had pity on us there. But they sent someone who just plain banished us afterward. I wound up home, by myself.
I hope this letter reaches you. I've taken the precaution of mailing two copies, from two locations including downtown Providence. It's seemingly reverted from being downtown Gotham City, but I just can't be sure any more. Our universe changed once, by rules nobody knew about; what's to prevent it from changing again?
Please forgive me if I'm babbling here. If nothing I've said here makes any sense, please think of it as one of those atrocious fan fictions of mine. But in any case...
I hope you are well, and have a niiiiice daaay.