Naiad and Red Tornado attack Tokyo. Professor Stein is questioned by Pittsburgh Police about the shooting of Dr. Simon La Grieve. Swamp Thing appears in Tokyo and creates a protective dome over the city. Firestorm joins with Swamp Thing to oppose Naiad and Red Tornado.
In the air over Tokyo. A formation of F-16 fighter jets cuts through the sky. “Blue Squadron to JDF HQ!” the lead pilot radios. “Have intercepted radar disturbance! Establishing visual contact! It’s a face - - a face in the clouds!”
The jets bank down toward the massive, wispy forms of Naiad and Red Tornado. “JDF to Blue Squadron!” a voice radios from Headquarters. “What you are seeing are the forces that destroyed Nohana earlier! Be advised we have no other elements of the Japanese Defense Force on the area! It is all up to you! Attack! Attack! Attack!”
SHEEEUUUH! SHEEEUUUH! SHEEEUUUH! The jets roar towards the giants in full afterburner. “Proceeding!” Blue Squadron leader answers. “But how does one attack the air…or water?!”
Over the past century, humanity has done just that with its pollution - - attacked the very water and the air, the very planet on which we live. And now, for the first time, the sea and the sky fight back - - with a vengeance!
WHOOOOOOO! Winds sweeps from Red Tornado, enveloping an F-16. SCHRAK! The fighter jet explodes! FWOOOOMP! A massive wall of water bursts up from Naiad. FOOOSH! It smashes into another helpless jet, crumbling it into wreckage.
In JDF Headquarters, radar technicians stare at their display in stunned disbelief. “How goes the battle? Report!” a general asks.
“We…We seem to be losing, General!” a radar technician answers.
WHOOOOOOOO! Wind crashes into the last fighter jet. SHAKOOOOOM! It explodes!
They have done more than that - - they have lost. “Our forces are crushed!” the radar technician says anxiously. “The enemy advances! General, what do we do now?!”
“In the old days, we would have done the honorable thing and fallen on our swords,” the General replies somberly. “Now? Put in a call to the JLI and brace ourselves for the worst. No one else can help us in time.”
Pittsburgh. Vandermeer University Medical Center. Professor Martin Stein stands in a hospital corridor. A woman approaches him. “Mister Stein? I’m Mrs. La Grieve, Simon’s wife,” she says. “You were the one who found him after he’d been..?”
“Shot? Yes. How is he?” Martin asks.
“He’s in a coma,” Mrs. La Grieve explains. “The doctors aren’t sure yet when - - or if - - he’ll regain consciousness. If you hadn’t found him when you did, they say he…probably…would not have…have…”
“Mrs. La Grieve, do you have any idea who would want to shoot your husband - - or why?” Martin asks.
“The police asked me the same question,” Mrs. La Grieve says sadly. “No, I don’t. I do know he seemed very burdened lately but he wouldn’t say why. Simon…isn’t always the most open of men…”
“Excuse me! You Martin Stein?” a voice calls. A man in a blue business suit walks up to him.
“Well, yes,” Martin replies. “And you are - - ?”
“Lieutenant Thaddeus Blackbourne, Pittsburgh Police. I understand you were the one who ‘found’ Doctor La Grieve,” Blackbourne replies.
“Well, yes,” Martin explains. “You see, I couldn’t sleep and I was out wandering about the campus and dropped in at the Institute, hoping Professor La Grieve might be in.”
“Uh-huh,” Blackbourne says skeptically. “You often drop in on people that late at night?”
“He was my therapist, you see,” Martin continues. “Look, why are you asking me all this? I already made my statement to your people.”
“Maybe because some of us don’t swallow it,” Blackbourne says, eyeing Stein carefully. “In fact, some of us are wondering if maybe you didn’t shoot him. Me, for one.”
“WHAT?!” Martin gasps. “Oh, that’s absurd! Why would I possibly want to do something like that? He was helping me! I have no memory of my past life beyond a few months ago. We were trying to piece some of it together.”
“Maybe you got frustrated,” Blackbourne suggests. “Maybe you learned something together that you didn’t want getting out.”
“Ridiculous!” Martin replies. “He mentioned Lorraine Reilly just before he lapsed into unconsciousness! Why don’t you go quiz her?!”
“We intend to,” Blackbourne answers. “In the meantime, we don’t want you wandering off, hear? We’re going to keep an eye on you.”
“And while you do that, the one who actually tried to kill Dr. La Grieve may try again!” Martin thinks. “Unsatisfactory! Well, what can you do about it, Martin? Whatever my past was, I do seem to have a certain capacity for logical thought! Very well! I’ll use that ability! One way or another, I’ll find out who really has shot Simon La Grieve! And make certain justice is done!”
Outside Tokyo. “There, my brother!” Naiad says. She points ahead to the city of Tokyo. Mount Fuji rises over the city. “The home and capital of those who raped the seas, home of those who caused my creation amid the burning waves.”
“Your homeland as well, is it not?” Red Tornado asks.
“That was my former life!” Naiad replies. “They are our enemy now - - as is all humanity. They have no mercy! Give them none! In the name of the anguished planet - - attack!”
“I follow your lead, Lady Naiad,” Red Tornado answers. Together, they sweep over the sea toward the city.
But as the wind and the sea begin to surge forward, there is a murmur in the green all around the city. Snap! Rustle! Krak! Sssetch! Around a pagoda, the plants begin to move and grow. Vruum! Ernnnnk! Slowly, the plant forms, growing into a massive shape around Tokyo.
“What- -?!” gasps Naiad as she watches.
“It can only be - - him!” Red Tornado says.
“What him?” Naiad asks.
“We have met before - - he and I, Lady Naiad,” Red Tornado explains. “In the time of need, the Earth summons us - - the Elementals - - -to her aid. You, as the Water Elemental, are the latest. Wind and Fire came before. But the first-born in this era was the Plant Elemental - - the one humanity calls - - Swamp Thing!”
“HOLD!” Swamp Thing bellows to them. “Your…destruction denies…the truth we would have…humanity learn! They are…part of the planet…rooted in it! Whatever their faults…they are part of the…eco-system and necessary to it. Turn aside your anger. This city…and its people…are now within my protection.”
“If you side with my enemy, then you are my enemy!” Naiad rages at Swamp Thing. “Perish with my enemies!” FOOOSH! She roils towards the shore like an angry wave.
“We…cannot use…our forces against…another of our kind,” Swamp Thing tells her. “You cannot directly…attack me and so…cannot harm those…I hold within. Will you not now…listen to wisdom?”
“NO!!!” Naiad yells angrily. “Your shelter is not absolute! And if we may not attack you directly, we may strike as we did with the Man of Fire and cause other things to thrust home! Attack, my brother!”
“But this is - - oh, as you wish,” Red Tornado replies.
A tidal wave of immense proportions inundates the leafy dome over Tokyo and timbers crack and sway. FOOOSH! Fists of stone, dug from the Earth and hurled by jet winds, rip and tear at the primeval guardian. WHUK! BLAM! And, as Naiad predicted, the protection Swamp Thing offers the city is not absolute! SMASHH! THUDDOOOM!
“Uhnnn!” Swamp Thing groans under the assault. But, for the moment, he holds. “Do you…see? Prevail here…and I will oppose you…again. As will…others, not the least of which will be…their champions! The vengeance you seek…can only make a battlefield…of the entire planet. The war you would make…would destroy that which you would save. You must…see that!”
“I have seen nothing that can stop us - - least of all, you!” Naiad rages. “The alternative you’d give us would be tantamount to surrender! The human maggots that crawl upon this planet will continue to thoughtlessly destroy it! Better they die first! NO SURRENDER!”
THOOOM! KACHOOOM! Naiad and Red Tornado pummel Swamp Thing with wind-driven fury. Suddenly, a streak of light passes near Swamp Thing.
“You will not listen…to reason,” Swamp Thing tells them. “Very well, then…you must deal…with force. Look who comes!”
“Firestorm! You live?!” Red Tornado exclaims.
“Yes. And still opposed to what you do,” Firestorm answers. “I…have had a vision that I would share with you - - something that might change your path. Will you listen?”
“Lady Naiad, I doubt more and more the wisdom of what we do,” Red Tornado says. “I, for one, would listen.”
“I will not!” Naiad says, angrily pointing at Firestorm. “I have been poisoned by these maggots, my waters raped by them, and every passing moment feeds my rage! I am the Sea! Where does he have the power to compel such as I?”
“You drive me, Naiad, to show you the extent of the power that is mine,” Firestorm answers. “Come to me, you fires! Feed me, all you flames! Wherever you exist, in whatever form - - I summon you unto me! Come, Fire, to your Master!” SHWOOOM! Flames burst forth from Firestorm, filling the sky with fire. Naiad tucks her hands over her face from the onslaught.
And the Man of Fire, swollen to gargantuan proportions, descends into the waters. And the sea begins to boil…and scream!
“YOU WILL LISTEN, NAIAD, OR I WILL BOIL THE OCEANS DRY!” Firestorm yells. SSSSSSSS! The waves burst into clouds of roiling steam.
“YAAAAHHHGGG!” Naiad screams. “Stop! This will not destroy me! I will not return as the steam condenses to rain! Only the mortals you seek to protect will perish!”
“As they will if you continue your assault!” Firestorm replies. “And if you return, I will boil you away again, over and over, and there shall be no end to our war as we shall make this planet a hell - - unless you listen!”
“YES!!! I will listen!” Naiad concedes.
“You spoke of a - - vision - - Firestorm?” Red Tornado asks.
“While I lay at the bottom of the sea, I heard a voice - - the voice of the primal Earth Spirit - - calling herself Maya,” Firestorm explains. “Maya said we - - all the Elementals - - were extensions of her, created to protect the planet, and to guide its inhabitants, particularly humanity, as they prepare to jump to the stars. Maya told me, for instance, of your true origin - - that you do have a human side - - the infant son of inventor T.O. Morrow, the man who created your android body!”
“I have never heard this voice you mention, Firestorm,” Red Tornado replies. “I know nothing of any ‘Maya’. But - - what you say of my own origin - - taps a primal memory..!”
“This…’voice’, what did it sound like?” Naiad asks.
“Deep. Rich. Comforting,” Firestorm continues. “The voice of a loving mother, caring past comprehension, hopeful and sorrowing all at the same time.”
“I - - I know that voice!” Naiad replies. “It was the voice I heard under the sea - - that rescued me from my torment and gave me new life! The voice that saved me! You say her name is Maya?” Slowly, Naiad begins to sink back to the sea. “And have I, in my rage - - my all too human rage - - betrayed the one who gave me life? I - - shall think on this. I will search Maya out with my own soul and listen to what she wants. For now, I call off my war. For nowww…” Naiad slowly disappears under the water, and the seas calm.
“And what of you, Tornado?” Firestorm asks. “Will you continue the war?”
“It’s strange,” Red Tornado answers. “My fury seems so distant now. For the most part, I was swept up in Naiad’s anger. So long as she is content, I am. I wonder now if perhaps, I had lost something when I lost my android form. Obviously, it was given to me so I could learn something of humanity. Without it, how do I learn what it means to be human? And if I don’t know that won’t I then become distorted as an Elemental?”
“I…might be able to help,” Firestorm replies. “I remember what your shell looked like. With my transmuting powers, I might be able to fashion you another. But I have foresworn using my transmuting power..!”
“Perhaps…one last time you might,” Swamp Thing says, “...So long as Tornado understands…the shell will be flawed and unstable…he must make more permanent arrangements…”
“I remember someone else I might go to…for permanent help,” Red Tornado adds. “He calls himself Captain Atom.”
“I know Captain Atom,” Firestorm replies. “A…fair choice. Come. Let us combine our powers. If we are successful, we can then say…Red Tornado lives again!”
Slowly, the winds coalesce around Firestorm and Red Tornado. Seconds later, the android form of Red Tornado appears.
“It feels stiff - - strange!” Red Tornado says as he gazes over his form.
“It is only a vivified shell,” Firestorm explains. “You can enter and exit via the mouth or eyes and it will become lifeless when you leave. I’ve also left vents in the soles of your feet so you can fly.”
“Thank you, my - - my friend!” Red Tornado answers, turning to take flight. “I will use this body you have given me and hope to have some mastery of it by the time I meet Captain Atom. For now - - farewell!”
“It’s over,” Firestorm announces, watching Red Tornado depart.
“For now,” Swamp Thing replies. “Finished? Perhaps. But…there are still…details to deal with. After I leave this body…you must remove it, using your flame…without harming those within…a delicate task, but not beyond…your capabilities…”
“Swamp Thing? What did I experience under the sea?” Firestorm asks. “Was it a true vision of the Earth Mother, Maya?”
“I have learned of no Maya…though I feel…that may not matter,” Swamp Thing replies. “Whatever happened, it made you…a better being…What happened on the ocean floor? I think…you came of age, Firestorm. So…welcome to your new world, Firestorm. And…for now…farewelllll….” SHUUUMP! Swamp Thing slowly sinks back into the Earth.
And then begins the subtle work of burning away the debris. Rivulets of flame run down the trunks and limbs of the green dome and, for a moment, there is terror. Then the terror is replaced by wonder, as the fire clears away only the debris, leaving behind only a small ash, like a delicate black snow. The breeze lifts the ash away and all that is left if the Man of Fire.
“Mortals,” Firestorm calls down to the mass of people looking up in wonder from the streets of Tokyo. “I don’t know how many of you will understand my words, but I hope they will be recorded and translated, for I speak not only to you but all the people of the world. For decades, it seems that humanity has made war upon the planet, poisoning the air and the ground and the water, strip-mining the Earth for ore and the sea for fish - - all for what? Short-term goals and gratifications that are never satisfied for long. The Earth is resilient, as is the human spirit, but not infinitely so! You must see that you are befouling your own home! You must realize that the survival of humanity is tied to the survival of the planet! You must lift your sights, your visions, from the mud and see beyond the short-term!”
“I tell you that you will not be permitted to kill the planet!” Firestorm continues, slowly rising into the sky. “You experienced today what happens when the planet strikes back. For now, Earth’s Elementals have called off their war upon humanity. We will see if, in the future, humanity can call off its war on the Earth!”