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Earth 2 Annual Vol 1 1

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"Secrets and Origins": While on his way to the capital city of Cambodia, Capt. Al Pratt has trouble not remembering his past. His memories were filled with destruction and loss thanks to the attack five years ago by Darkseid and his [[Paradem

Quote1 See, I don't need weapons... I am one! Quote2
-- The Atom

Appearing in "Secrets and Origins"

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Synopsis for "Secrets and Origins"

While on his way to the capital city of Cambodia, Capt. Al Pratt has trouble not remembering his past. His memories were filled with destruction and loss thanks to the attack five years ago by Darkseid and his Parademons. Following a nuclear explosion during a battle with them, Al had been caught in the blast, but survived. He was rescued, and within two months, he was undergoing testing at a World Army facility in Tokyo. Some months later, they could conclude only that he was a normal man, who had had the extraordinary privilege of surviving a nuclear explosion completely unscathed - physically, anyway.

While undergoing a psychiatric evaluation, he had been overcome by survivor's guilt, and the emotional strain of it caused him to grow hundreds of times his size. One year later, he had returned to fighting the Parademons alongside Captain Steel, but he had still been made to undergo psychiatric evaluation. Since his last evaluation, he had grown happier, thanks to realizing that some questions cannot be answered, like, for example, why he survived, and the others didn't.

Now, Al has arrived in Phnom Penh, must admit to himself that he has always liked the place. It is now the home of the largest black market for technology stolen during the Apokoliptian war in the world. Al is there undercover, searching for a man named Henri Roy. When he asks the right people the right questions, he knows it, because he winds up being chloroformed. This, as always, prompts him to wonder why they didn't send Captain Steel in his place.

Elsewhere, on the World Army intelligence hub known as The Sentinal, Amar Kahn asks Captain Steel what he knows about the fire pits. These pits, Steel explains, were caused by Terry Sloan, and they're all over the world. Kahn admits that his scientists have been looking into these fire pits, and they have learned that there is a variance in intensity between the fire pits in different places. The one in Brazil, for example, is now serving to help the citizens living around it survive. That one, in fact, is where he intends to send Captain Steel - inside it.

During his interrogation, Al refuses to speak to anyone unless it's Henri Roy himself, prompting the man interrogating him to reveal that he is Henri Roy, having used a special cloaking device to alter his appearance. Roy explains that they have already scanned Al for wires and weapons, and are sure they can trust him, and so Al reveals that he has come with a warning - the World Army knows where he is. This is a surprise to Roy, who has gone to great lengths to conceal that information. Al responds that the leak was actually Roy's son, Henri, Jr. Unseen by either of them, someone watches, as Al further explains that the reason the World Army knows is that he knows, and he has no need of weapons to aid him in capturing Roy.

Al grows to a giant's height, prompting Roy to send his edge-tech powered cronies after the intruder. When they ultimately fail, Henri Roy climbs into a massive metal war machine, annoyed that he must kill Al himself. However, after seeing that Al is not worried by this, Roy makes a run for it in the machine, calling backup to distract his pursuer. Al is surprised, though, when that backup is dispersed by the Batman. Shaking off his confusion, Al returns his attention to capturing Roy. After catching up, and pinning the frenchman to the ground - at the cost of significant property damage - Al is surprised again by the arrival of his immediate superior, Major Sonia Sato. She has come to inform him that the World Army has located Steppenwolf in Dherain.

In addition to informing him of that discovery, Sonia is there to both inform him that the Hero Initiative has been re-opened under her supervision and to collect Henri Roy, Jr, who turned his own father in to them. Terry Sloan, who is now in charge of the scientific aspect of the Hero Initiative wants to study him. Wishing to atone for his father's crimes, Henri, Jr. has agreed.

Having watched these events, the Batman travels to Spain, annoyed that the world seems to have gone to war no sooner than he donned the mask. There, he encounters Mister Icicle, who gained his power through Apokoliptian means, thanks to Kanto, and has been terrorizing Spain as a criminal. The Batman has been hearing rumours that Kanto is calling in his markers to anyone he empowered, so, he has tracked down Icicle in hopes of learning more. Icicle spills that they were told to prepare by Kanto, and warned against Hawkgirl, whom Kanto considers a significant threat ot his plan. Having heard what he needed to hear, Batman shoots Mister Icicle dead. Batman thinks on this information, and realizes that Kanto and Steppenwolf will soon be at war - and that Hawkgirl is someone he should get to know.

Meanwhile, Gotham City has been rendered something of a lost world, where only mad science and monsters rule a city bereft of humanity. That is, save for Mr. Miracle and his begrudging companion Barda. They have come seeking the new Batman, but Barda is easily distracted by the sport of killing every mutated colossus she can see. While arguing about what they should do if they can't find this new Batman, they are interrupted suddenly by Fury, who has come to bring them back to Steppenwolf.


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