The mission Superman was chosen for involved negotiating a treaty on a planet several hundred light years away that was in a state of civil war. The team consisted of Shazam, Hawkman, Hawkwoman, and Superman. The Javelin starship, which had a Thanagarian hyper drive, would have made the trip in ten days, except they never reached the planet. Between earth and Qexar, the Javelin was pirated by brigands for hire. The brigands would have been defeated, especially with the presence of Shazam and Superman, except they carried weapons so powerful that they were able to render both Superman and Shazam unconscious. When they awoke they found themselves in chains which drained their powers on a planet called Warworld.
Warworld was noted for two things: its dictator Mongul, an absolute ruler, and the gladiatorial games that visitors to the planet were able to bet on. The games had a simple premise: win and live, lose and die. Katar Hol and Shayera Hol fought as a duo, while Superman and Shazam fought as another duo. Superman and Shazam waited in their cell, as Katar and Shayera fought. They could hear the roar of the crowd, but they had no idea who was winning or losing. Clark strained to use his x-ray vision but it was impossible with the chains on.
"This is unacceptable," said Shazam.
Superman turned and looked at the Justice Leaguer. He had the hood of his cape up and was holding his head in his hands. Once again Superman felt there was an immaturity about Shazam, as if he was a young boy.
"What do we do?" he asked Superman without looking at him.
"We stay alive until we find a way off this planet and we will find a way," said Superman.
There was a great uproar by the crowd. Two guards showed up at their cell door. They were burly, ugly beings armed with weapons that Clark was sure could hurt both him and Shazam.
"You two are next," one of the guards said.
"Who won?" asked Superman.
"Your shipmates but they are beat up good," answered the guard.
Clark nodded. He was glad to know that Katar and Shayera were alive, though he hoped that they weren't in too bad of condition. The cell door opened and he and Shazam followed the guards out of the security area and into the arena. The guards took their chains off and left. Clark noticed that the arena had a dozen cannons aimed at them from the top of the arena, as well as guards with the ion rifles around the arena. He knew he was fast enough to avoid the cannons, but he wasn't sure Shazam would be able to in his mental state.
Already waiting for them was a Daxamite, which Clark could tell by with a perusal from his x-ray vision. He was able to check his opponent out on the DNA level and recognized the similarities between him and the Daxamite. Their other opponent was Draaga, who was the champion of the games. Seated on a throne in a luxury box was Mongul, the dictator of Warworld. He spoke and his voice was magnified.
"We have a special challenger today. In the blue Kryptonian is the last Kryptonian. An ancient race, a powerful race, some say a race that was on the verge of godhood, and we have him here for your entertainment. His partner has great powers given to him by magic. This should be a fight for the ages," said Mongul. "Now begin!"
The Daxamite flew right at Superman, who dug in his feet and caught him then redirected him with a push filled with a great deal of power at the metal wall that protected the audience from the fighters. Instead following up on his advantage Superman waited for the Daxamite to attack him again. While Clark dealt with the Daxamite, Shazam was surprised by the strength and skills of Draaga. Quickly into their confrontation Draaga had Shazam down on the ground and in jeopardy. Using his lightning he attacked Draaga sending him off into one of the walls. Draaga stood up more angry then hurt. He attacked Shazam again.
From his throne Mongul watched with a smile on his face. The Kryptonian had real potential. If he survived this fight then he might be able to make a great deal of commerce from this last Kryptonian. He could promote battles, maybe even tour with him. Superman could become his greatest pet. Mongul state and smiled, as he watched Superman dominate the Daxamite.
Superman noticed that Shazam was in dire trouble against Draaga. Hitting the Daxamite with a left hook to the abdomen followed by a right to the jaw, he knocked out his opponent then used his speed to catch Draaga's balled fist before they landed on Shazam's neck breaking his neck. Draaga was shocked at the strength of Superman, as he stopped his killing blow.
"Finally, a worthy opponent," he said then smiled.
Clark noticed that his face was so scarred and had so many once broken now healed bones that he was deformed. Once upon a time he was man without scars and broken bones, and it was that man that Clark wanted to appeal to. Clark pushed him back and stood between him and Shazam.
"So, you are the champion. I guess you and I are meant to fight," Clark said.
Before Draaga and Clark could tangle, Mongul motioned his guards to subdue Clark. They opened fired with their rifles causing Clark enough pain to fall to his knees then two guards rushed in and slapped the chains on him. Boos came out of the crowd. They wanted to see Draaga and Superman fight. They wanted blood.
"Relax, relax, my good patrons. Draaga and the Kryptonian should face one on one. It is right; it is their destiny. I announce a battle in five days between Draaga and this Superman," announced Mongul. He wanted to have enough time for more curious visitors to come to Warworld. This would be his most profitable battle ever.
The audience began to cheer.
Batman sat at the control of the second Javelin while Diana sat in the co-pilot seat. He hated missions that left earth, usually avoiding them, but this was different. Batman volunteered for this mission. In the back were John Stewart and Simon Baz, as well as J'onn. Green Lantern Kyle Rayner had contacted them to let them know that their diplomatic team was captured by Warworld and forced to fight in their games. He remained on Warworld in disguise in order to keep an eye on the leaguers.
John came into the cockpit and asked, "What's our ETA?"
"Thirty-six hours," growled Batman.
Bruce felt guilty that Clark was part of this. He knew that Kent would not have agreed to become an emergency member unless Bruce told him it was a good idea. Now his friend was in danger.
"I've contacted OA and they are sending a platoon of Lanterns to Warworld," said John. "We'll arrive in time for Superman's match against Warworld's champion."
"When will they arrive?" asked Diana.
"Forty to forty-two hours," he said.
"Take the controls," Batman said to Diana then stood up. "We need a plan."
Batman exited the cockpit. John looked over at Diana. The expression on her face showed great concern.
"He is better friends with Superman then we realized," she said.
"It seems that way," said John.
"Batman doesn't handle guilt feel," Diana said more to herself than to John.
Clark was led into Mongul's throne room. It was lavishly decorated with silks and comfortable chairs. In one corner was a harem area where silk thick pillows were decorated by beautiful women of many species lying on them. These women were occupying themselves for the amusement of Mongul. Sitting on a golden throne was Mongul. Clark was escorted by three guards to him and then forced to kneel.
"I heard you are being difficult, Kryptonian," he said.
"I refuse to be your puppet," growled Clark.
"I see," smiled Mongul. "If you do not fight then Draaga will kill you, Kryptonian. Is that how you want your race to end?"
"I am not your slave," replied Clark.
"But you are and you are a slave I know how to manipulate," said Mongul. "I know about Kryptonite, that hard to find piece of your old world. I know that green Kryptonite can kill you, but I know that red Kryptonite can unleash the uninhibited Kryptonian."
He reached over to a metal box and opened it then he took out a ring that had a red stone on it. Clark knew that the stone was red Kryptonite. He snarled at Mongul.
"If I can't expect a good fight from you against Mongul then you'll wear this ring and give me a good fight regardless," he said. "You might say, Kryptonian, that I am going to unleash your potential."
"You'll regret this, Mongul," growled Clark.
Clark was pulled way by the guards, while Mongul put the ring back in the box. As he was led away, Clark could hear Mongul laughing.
Batman wore a hooded cloak over his armor and cowl as he mixed into the crowd waiting for the main even to begin. Diana in her own hooded cloak walked beside him. Mixed into the crowd were John Stewart, Simon Baz, and J'onn, who linked the group telepathically. Batman stopped and watched as Clark was pulled into the arena.
"Those chains must be magically," Diana said.
"Or something," added Bruce.
He watched as Draaga came out unescorted. Just from a quick perusal Bruce could tell that Draaga identified himself by his role as champion. He then watched as Mongul came down from his throne and walked over to Clark. Bruce watched this closely. Mongul held up a ring. Quickly, Bruce took a small pair of high powered binoculars out of his utility belt and looked at the ring. It was red Kryptonite. He growled.
"What is wrong?" asked Diana.
"Red Kryptonite. It changes Clark's personality, it makes him aggressive and without care for others. Mongul is ensuring a good fight," Bruce told her.
We need to get that ring off him, J'onn telepathically spoke.
Yes, J'onn, replied Bruce.
How? Asked John Stewart.
Let me worry about that, said Bruce.
Mongul put the ring on Clark then he motioned his guards to remove the chains. As they removed the chains Mongul returned to his spot with several guards protecting him. Once the chains were removed, Clark gave one of the guards the back of his hand sending him flying into a partition then he grabbed the other one and tossed him after the other guard.
"I see you are ready to fight this time," said Draaga.
Clark's eyes went red then he unloosed a beam of heat vision hitting Draaga in the chest causing him to scream in pain. He followed that up with a quick attack hitting Draaga with several rights and lefts driving the champion back. The crowd went wild.
He is going to kill him, said Wonder Woman.
Diana, don't interfere, warned J'onn.
Diana ignored J'onn's warning, tossed off her cloak, and flew into the arena. She headed straight for Clark.
"Kal, stop," she cried.
She grabbed Clark's right arm stopping him from punching Draaga again. Clark turned and looked at Diana. She landed in front of him and stared into his eyes.
"You have to control yourself, Kal. It is the red Kryptonite that is causing your extreme actions," she said.
"You are beautiful," he stated then he grabbed her and kissed her hard and passionately on the lips.
Diana struggled at first then she found herself overwhelmed by the kiss. Finally, she regained her sense, pushed him away, and hit him on the jaw with a right hook. Clark went flying into Draaga and the two of them tumbled along the arena ground.
With the back of her left hand Diana wipe her mouth. She was now furious at Clark's actions. Bruce had seen enough and tossed off the cloak. He jumped into the arena knowing that he had one job and that was to remove the ring from Clark's finger.
Diana, you must calm yourself. Superman is not in control of his actions, J'onn told her.
Clark got up, as did a groggy Draaga. He turned and swung a mighty right hand at Draaga and sent him flying towards Mongul's box. Mongul saw the champion flying in the air and got up removing himself from danger. Draaga landed on his throne destroying it.
Instead of going after Diana, Clark turned on his heels and took off in a blur. Suddenly, each ion cannon positioned at the top of the arena was destroyed and then Superman went after Mongul. Batman came up beside Diana.
"We need to get the ring off him," he stated. "Get his attention and I'll do the rest."
Diana looked over and saw Superman fly into Mongul. The two of them destroyed half the stands sending audience members running for their lives. Mongul hit Clark with a right to the jaw sending him back into the arena then he followed after him.
"No one can defeat me," screamed Mongul.
Slowly, Clark got up. His eyes were burning red. He let loose a hit with his heat vision causing a blackened smoldering spot on Draaga's chest. Mongul was hurt and angry. Clark flew at him fast enough so he couldn't get his defenses up and began to pummel the dictator of Warworld. Mongul tried to fight back but the onslaught was never ending and stronger than he had ever felt before.
As Clark dealt with Mongul, J'onn and the Green Lanterns went into action. Simon made it his duty to free the prisoners and find Hawkman and Hawkwoman, while J'onn and John Stewart dealt with guards and others. Chaos was breaking out all over Warworld. Meanwhile Diana and Bruce waited for Batman to finish with Mongul.
Clark grabbed Mongul by his shirt and pounded him with his right hand over and over again. Finally, he stopped. Mongul was bloodied and beaten. He smiled at him then looked to see that Draaga was getting up from his beating.
"Draaga," he called.
Draaga looked at him.
"This is what you feared," he said then with one hand he tossed Mongul at Draaga, who caught him and threw him down through the seating to the ground.
"He is yours," said Superman.
Bruce reached to his utility belt and took a small lead line container off it. When Clark had told him about Kryptonite, he searched long and hard for a sample of it spending several million dollars. He got a small sample, which he kept on him just in case of a rogue Superman.
Superman turned and saw Diana and Batman. He started towards them. Diana got into a defensive stance. She was willing to fight him until she had the ring off him. Bruce waited for the right moment.
"Hello, beautiful," Clark said to Diana.
"Don't insult me, Kal-El. I am an Amazonian princess," she said.
"Believe me I'd gladly treat you like a princess," he smiled.
She blushed at those words then she wanted to remove his smile. Clark flew at her. Diana was ready for him and used his motion and strength against him sending him face first into the dirt. Before he could react to her move, Bruce took the green Kryptonite out and exposed Clark to it. He screamed in pain and fury.
"Get that damned stuff away from me," he yelled, as the pain seeped into his very bones.
"Diana, get the ring," ordered Bruce.
Diana grabbed his right hand and pulled the ring off his finger. She looked at Bruce.
"Give it to me," he said.
She handed it to Bruce, who placed it inside the lead lined container. The effect of the red Kryptonite was gone, but the green Kryptonite was still working on him. Bruce picked up the green Kryptonite and placed it also in the container. The pain began to subside.
Clark looked up at Bruce and said, "Batman."
He started to get up when Diana wound up and hit him with a right to his jaw knocking the weakened Superman unconscious. Batman glared at her.
"He kissed me without my permission," she spat.
"If you say so, Princess," growled Batman. "Help me get him back to the Javelin."