Back again-this time with my conclusion to my Challengers of the Unknown (Exiles Light) pitch. I’m doing this so I have some uploaded record of these thoughts that have been sitting in my computer’s database for six years. We left off having been introduced to the concept of the series, as well as the Challengers themselves. We’ll finish up with a look at the team’s chief rivals, and then take a gander at a few of the adventures they would have embarked on:
The Outsiders: A small collection of Hypertime travelers that have been brought together to help each other pursue their individual selfish goals. Unlike the Challengers, the Outsiders can travel between Hypertimes with incredible ease. They are headquartered in a mystical, gothic mansion called Wintersgate Manor. The manor was first introduced in the pages of Night Force. Its owner, the enigmatic Baron Winters, could use the mansion’s various rooms to travel to any point in time or space. The Outsiders have wrested control of the manor from the good Baron, and use it as the beachhead to launch their private campaign of Hypertime havoc.
Calendar Man (Bruce Wayne)- Once he was the Batman of a Hypertime not too different than that of the central DC timeline. After getting kicked out of the Justice League for developing tactics against the other Leaguers, tactics stolen and used by Ra’s Al Ghul, Bruce realized how paranoid and controlling he’d become. He hung up his cowl, and decided to take a more above board approach to crime fighting, taking over the position of police commissioner from his recently shot friend Jim Gordon. He married his old flame Silver St. Cloud, and the couple had twin boys (Alfred and Richard). But, Bruce’s new family was soon slain by a jealously enraged Talia. Wayne’s psyche was shattered. In a twisted rage, he adopted a new guise, the Calendar Man, reasoning that the one thing that all men truly fear is the unstoppable passage of time. He killed Talia, and her father Ra’s Al Ghul for the torment they had wreaked upon him. After learning of the existence of Wintersgate Manor, he stole it from Baron Winters. He intended to use its time travel capabilities to undo some of his mistakes, but learned that the mansion gave him access to all of Hypertime. He believes that it was a grave error to have retired his Batman persona in favor of pursuing a normal family life. Wayne now goes to every Hypertime in which Thomas and Martha Wayne were not killed, and ensures that they die- so that there will be a Batman to bring order to that world.
Red X (Richard Grayson)- Once the Robin of a Hypertime based on the world of the Teen Titans animated series. Robin had entered into a deadly rivalry with the Titan’s arch foe Slade. In one encounter, Slade had brought Robin under a form of mind control, and sent him to kill his teammates. The brainwashed Boy Wonder slew Beast Boy, Raven, and Cyborg. He also killed his lover Starfire, but not before she fired an energy blast at him. The blast left him with severe scars, but it also snapped him out of Slade’s thrall. Blinded with hatred he went after Slade, who slit his throat. Grayson survived, but Robin was no more. Hiding his scars, and shame, behind the skull-like helmet of Red X, he now speaks with the eerie voice provided by his armor’s circuitry. Looking for a place to belong, he has desperately reached out for someone to heal his lost soul. Though hailing from different Hypertimes, he and Calendar Man have become a twisted Dynamic Duo.
Phantom Lady (Ursa)- A Kryptonian villain from a Hypertime where Krypton never exploded. Ursa, was a sadistic criminal who was sentenced to imprisonment in the Phantom Zone. She was sprung from her captivity by the Calendar Man, who used Wintersgate Manor’s dimension breaching powers to pull her out of the Zone. However, a strange side effect has occurred. Ursa, despite no longer being in the Zone, is still a phantom. That said, she can use her ghostly form to inhabit anyone nearby. She then gains her full Kryptonian power while in these host bodies, but as soon as she departs one they are reduced to a dead husk. She has agreed to work with the Outsiders, because they helped her kill her jailer Jor-El.
Black Lightning (Jefferson Pierce)- On Pierce’s Hypertime, Jefferson became obsessed with topping his earlier accomplishment of sweeping the Olympic Gold Medal count. He began to look for greater physical challenges to prove he wasn’t a has-been. His pursuits took him to scaling the dangerous mountain region of Badhnesia. Unfortunately, he was nearly crushed to death by an avalanche. Pierce was saved by a group of monks that bound him to a Badhnesian Thunderbolt. The Thunderbolt is an immensely powerful genie. It restored Pierce to health, and agreed to carry out Jefferson’s every wish. In addition to being put off by having things “handed” to him, Pierce was further distraught to learn that the Thunderbolt would lay claim to his soul upon Jefferson’s death. The Thunderbolt has agreed to spare him if he can find a new, more willing master. Under the name Black Lightning, Pierce serves with the Outsiders, using the Thunderbolt’s magic, while also hopping though dimensions seeking to free himself from his curse. In the central DC timeline, Jefferson Pierce was indeed an Olympic Gold Medal winner, and the Thunderbolt is the benevolent helper of Johnny and Jakeem Thunder.
Arc One- Final Dawn: The origin of the new Challengers of the Unknown, and their first Hypertime adventure. The team finds itself on the orbital space platform Dock Midnight, the base of mad scientist Arthur Light. Light intends to launch a swarm of creatures known as Sun Devils to consume the stars. In the central DC timeline, the Sun Devils was the title of an 80’s mini-series. The story takes some of its cues from the 90’s crossover Final Night.
Arc Two-Doomed Patrol: The Challengers must hunt down, and then protect, the Doom Patrol. On this Hypertime, The Chief, Elasti-Girl, Robot Man, and Negative Man have been forced to kill the citizens of a small fishing village, so that the rest of the world can be spared certain destruction. In the central DC timeline, the Doom Patrol willingly died at the end of their original series, to spare the lives of a fishing town.
Arc Three- Seven Seize: On a Hypertime Earth almost completely under water, the Challengers fight to free the planet from the grip of Orin, The Ocean Master. He has used his son’s genetic connection to an aquatic dimension to flood the surface. Can the team find a way to end Orin’s mad reign? Or, will they have to side with Black Manta, and seal the dimensional breach, by killing Ocean Master’s innocent child? In the central DC timeline, Orin is the heroic Aquaman, and Black Manta was his son’s murderer.
Arc Four- Command D For Doomsday: Reflecto and Fury join the Challengers on a Hypertime that has been decimated. When the Superman of this Earth exiled himself to the stars, after killing three criminals, he never returned. As a result, there was no one powerful enough to stop the creature called Doomsday. The governments tried to kill it with atomic weapons, but only succeeded in turning the planet into a nuclear nightmare. The KryptoKnights of Command D (led by Gardner Grayle) have done their best to contain the beast, but to no avail. In the central DC timeline, Superman briefly exiled himself to space after executing some Phantom Zone escapees. Plus, the boy hero Kamandi, and Gardner Grayle’s Atomic Knights try to survive the fallout of the Great Disaster.
Arc Five- Prey: The Challengers battle the vigilante tactics of the men known as Prey. On a Hyperime where Batman died taking the brunt of an explosive blast meant for his partner Jason Todd, Jason has vowed to carry out his mentor’s fight. Crippled due to a spinal injury, at the hands of a crowbar-wielding Joker, Todd has turned to the cyber realm to mete out justice. He has recruited an orphan named Tim Drake, who lost his father to Captain Boomerang, to deal out bloody vengeance.
Arc Six-Signal Watch: Role Call joins the Challengers. On a Hypertime ravaged by a rapidly spreading plague known as the “Ambush Bug”, our heroes have to find a cure. As the disease kills meta-humans, it also transforms normal humans. Such is the case of Jimmy Olsen, and his friends (and would be heroes) the Signal Watch. Their mutations include becoming elastic, turtle-shelled, porcupine quilled, and wolf-like.
Arc Seven- The Inferior Five: The Challengers must help a group of rookie heroes reach their full potential. The team arrives on a Hypertime where Wally West, Kyle Rayner, Jason Rusch, Conner Hawke, and Cassandra Cain were the first to assume the mantles of Flash, Green Lantern, Firestorm, Green Arrow, and Batgirl. These heroes were revered by the public, but now they’ve been killed in battle. Can their successors- Barry Allen, Hal Jordan, Ronnie Raymond, Oliver Queen, and Barbara Gordon make the grade? Or, will the public continue to see them as inferior legacy characters?
Arc Eight- All-Star Squadron: Reflecto passes away on a 31st century Hypertime. The Challengers team with the All-Star Squadron, a military guild of teenage soldiers from every star system in the United Planets. Led by Sgt. Rokk, the Squadron takes on the Time Trapper, who won’t stop until Hypertime is his to rule. In the central DC timeline, the futuristic Legion of Super-Heroes was led by Rokk Krinn (Cosmic Boy), and of course Sgt. Rock is DC’s main WWII hero.
These were just some of the 30, or so, arcs I thought of one day. Others included the return of the Walter West Flash (in a tribute to the old Trial of the Flash storyline), exploring the connection between the resurrection-like properties of Nth Metal and the Lazarus Pits, Batman rogue Maxie Zeus being actually possessed by Zeus, tons of run-ins with the Outsiders, and Hypertimes Past stories (exploring what each heroes’ life was like on their world before they joined the team).
Of course, this was all really just a waste of time. But, who knows? On some reality maybe this all saw print.