The semi-tri-annual JLA/Avengers Crossover/Brunch/Mixer, Avengers Mansion, New York, NY, Earth M(arvel).
Thor- God of Thunder. Avengers mainstay. Drunk on mead. Flexing his biceps to the clearly unimpressed ladies of the Justice League.
Blue Beetle- The Azure Avenger. Justice League International mainstay. Drunk on beer. Making unflattering comments about various Avengers to Booster Gold and Elongated Man.
Thor, son of Odin, was in the far corner of the reception hall, mug of mead in hand. He was clearly enjoying the party. He had cornered three of the fairer members of the Justice League: Fire, Ice, and Power Girl. Thor was laying it on thick, as only an Asgardian could.
"Aye, fair maidens, the Odin-son hath had many conquests," said Thor in a sloppy attempt at a double-entandre. He flipped his long blond hair back and winked at the ladies. Power Girl rolled her eyes as Fire made an up-and-down motion with her hand, the universal sign of a jerk-off. Ice was too polite to make comment.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the room, Blue Beetle was sitting on a couch, commenting to his friends, Booster Gold and Elongated Man, about the membership of the Avengers.
"...And people call US second-stringers! Geez!" slurred Beetle, finishing off his seventh beer of the afternoon (and it was only 2:00 PM!). "I mean- C'MON!- The Black Knight! Jocasta! U.S. Agent! And RAGE- he makes Ambush Bug look like Batman!" Booster and Ralph nodded in agreement. "I gotto get another beer." Beetle rose unsteadily and walked accross the room.
"The Odin-son's reknown is great," continued Thor sloppily, not giving up hope of making another "conquest".
Fire leaned into Ice's ear. "You're Norweigan. Ever hear of this blowhard?"
She shook her head. "Never heard of him," replied Ice in a whisper.
Thor had concentrated his efforts on Power Girl. "Wouldst thou like to touch the Odin-son's extremely large hammer?" asked Thor with a smile. "Tis a symbol of fertility!"
Power Girl opened her mouth to lay a wicked verbal barrage onto Thor, but, before she could Blue Beetle stumbled into Thor.
"'Scuse me," said Beetle.
"Begone, insectoid one!" proclaimed an annoyed Thor. "Thou art cramping the Odin-son's style!"
"Calm down, Fabio!" said Beetle, with his hands up. "I'm just getting a beer."
"The Odin-son should crusheth thee under his heel like the insect thou soeth resembles!" announced Thor. "Begone with thee, lest the Odin-son maketh so!"
A bemused Beetle looked at Power Girl. "What's this Chippendale's problem?" he asked.
"He's been trying to charm us all afternoon," explained Power Girl.
Beetle gave Power Girl a wane smile. "With less than stellar results, I'd guess. Shoot him down yet?"
"I was about to when you stumbled in," replied Power Girl with a slight smile.
Thor was outraged! He didn't know what upset him worse: the fact these two were talking about him as though he weren't even there OR that the comely flaxen-haired one said she was going to shoot him down. HIM! The ODIN-SON!
"Begone with ye, ye HARLOT!" proclaimed Thor. "There are multitudes of fair maidens that fancy the Odin-son's form!" He turned his attentions to Fire and Ice, only to find that they had taken advantage of Beetle's distraction and put as much distance between themselves and Thor as they could.
"Yeah, so I see, 'Shakespeare in Lust'," said Beetle.
Thor turned on Beetle, anger in his eyes. "The Odin-son doth tires of thine smart-assed remarks, bug! Watcheth thy tongue lest I removeth it from thine head!"
"Listen, jerk..." Power Girl said, starting to defend Beetle. Beetle put his hand on her shoulder, stopping her.
"Don't sweat it, Kara," said Beetle with a soppy grin. "I can handle this one."
"Are you sure, Ted?" asked Power Girl. "Say the word and I'll send this joker back to Valhalla the hard way!"
"The Odin-son doth hails from Asgard, harlot," stated Thor. "Not Valhalla. And the Odin-son sees not why thy wouldst defend this bug unless..." Thor's eyes bulged out. "NO! Sayeth it isn't so! You...with HIM! THE INSECT! Yet, you rebuff the Odin-son! Not only art thou a harlot, thou art tasteless!"
"Listen, you broke-ass, Nordic Fabio wannabe," said Beetle, clearly getting agitated. "Why don't you take your fake Shakespearean dialect and your third-person references and take a hike out here before we've got to take this outside!"
Thor was astounded. "Art thee asking me to 'step outside'?" asked Thor, relishing this moment. "Is the Odin-son's ears playing tricks with him? Hath the insectoid-one losteth his mind? I AM THOR!"
"Well, use some Ben-Gay," responded Beetle. "And get a speech therapist to help you with that lisp."
"OH, WICKED BURN!" shouted Spider-Man, who had been eavesdropping.
Thor was fuming. "ENOUGH!" proclaimed Thor. "Nameth the time and the place for thine destruction, insect!"
"Fine," said Beetle. "Tomorrow. On MY Earth!"
The Day of the Fight. Avengers Mansion, New York, NY, Earth-M(arvel)
Captain America was upset to say the least. He had planned the reception with the Justice League meticulously. He wanted to show them that they weren't a second-class operation. But yesterday's reception was ruined! It was bad enough that Thor couldn't keep it in his pants in front of their visitors, but, he had to pick a fight with a SECOND-STRINGER. A NON-POWERED second stringer, at that!
"What in the world were you thinking?" asked an exasperated Captain America.
Thor looked down at the floor. He couldn't look his teammate in the eye. "The bug irked the Odin-son." was all he could manage.
"He irked you?" asked Cap. "He IRKED you, so, you thought it would be a good idea to fight him?"
"He doesn't have any POWERS!" shouted Cap. "He's a normal guy in a spandex suit! A MORTAL! Joe Schmo in longjohns!"
Captain America composed himself. He asked Thor, "Do you know how bad this makes us look? Do you have any idea?"
Thor shrugged again.
Captain America sighed. "It's going to look like you have to go after a normal guy because you couldn't get the job done against Superman."
Thor started to protest. "The Odin-son landedeth the first punch-"
Captain America cut him off. "You sucker-punched him! Then when he lit you up like a Christmas tree, the rest of us had to dogpile him to save any kind of honor! If Busiek-"
"PRAISETH BE TO THE BUSIEK!" responded Thor reflexively.
"If Busiek hadn't of tilted the board to favor us, the JLA would have wiped the floor with us!" continued Cap. "Even with all the advantages, the JLA made us look second-class!"
"Bah!" said Thor. "We are 'the world's mightiest heroes'!"
"No!" corrected Captain America. "We're THIS world's mightiest heroes! And if you lose to a normal guy-"
"The Odin-son WILL NOT LOSE!" growled Thor.
"IF you lose to a normal guy," continued Cap, who was becoming annoyed at the interruptions. "You make ALL of us look bad! We'll be a joke! The guys writing "The Defenders" comicbooks will probably be given ours!"
Thor was horrified! "That is fate worse than Hel!" he muttered.
"Son," said Captain America. "You HAVE to win this one for us! For our world! For our place on the comic charts!"
Thor looked solemnly at Captain America.
"I'll KILL him"
JLI Embassy, New York, NY, Earth-DC
"He'll KILL you!" said Booster Gold. Booster couldn't believe his best friend could get into this much trouble- without Booster being involved! Booster was pacing back and forth in front of the couch Blue Beetle, Fire, and Ice were sitting on.
"Don't...yell." said Blue Beetle in hushed tones. Beetle looked bad. Blood-shot eyes, five o'clock shadow, ice bag on head. All the classic syptoms of a hangover.
"Booster's right. He's going to kill you." said Fire, almost non-chalantly. "He's a god- in a creepy, lecherous kinda way."
"He is?" asked Ice. She looked genuinely confused.
Beetle stared at her with his blurry eyes. "You're Norweigan!" he said loudly. Too loudly, as he moaned and wearily closed his eyes. "How can you NOT know Thor? Y'know 'son of Odin'. Asgard. Valhalla. All that Norse myth stuff."
"Oh!" said Ice, recognition finally beginning to dawn on her. "The fairy tales! My people went into isolation after being converted over to Christianity. Even before that, no one actually believed those stories."
"Nevermind that!" said an agitated Booster. "He's going to kill you! What were you thinking?"
"I was drunk." said Beetle simply.
"Why were you drinking so much yesterday?" asked Ice, ever concerned for her friends. "That isn't like you. Especially at an official function."
"Ah," said Beetle. "I had a really weird disturbing nightmare the other night I was trying to forget. Max shot me in the head in my dream! Do you believe that?"
"Well," said Fire. "After Kooey Kooey Kooey..."
"That was Booster's idea!" muttered Beetle.
"No, it wasn't!" stated Booster. "That was YOUR idea!"
"No," said Beetle, shifting his eyes. "I let you THINK it was my idea, so that I could tag along and keep you outta trouble."
"What are you?" asked Booster, offended. "My babysitter?"
"Well, if the pacifier fits..." started Beetle.
Booster waved him off. "Nevermind all of that for now! You picked a fight with a GOD! HE'S GONNA KILL YOU! What are you gonna do? What could have gotten into you to do something so stupid!"
"I...was...DRUNK!" stated Beetle. "I can't be held responsible for my own actions!"
"You don't remember?" asked Fire.
"Oh, no. I remember." said Beetle. "Alcohol doesn't affect my memory, just my inhibitions!"
"Meaning you act like a jackass and remember all of it." said Fire.
"Pretty much." said Beetle. "And I didn't act like a jackass- well, NOT then I didn't. That muscle-bound pretty boy was all over the girls!"
"That's true. But, it wasn't anything we couldn't handle!" said Ice confidently. She looked over to Fire, who nodded her agreement.
"You sure got outta Dodge when he turned his attention to Kara and me!" said Beetle accusingly.
"See!" said Fire, as if proving a point. "We handled it!"
"Are you guys forgetting something?" asked Booster. "HE'S GOING TO KILL YOU!" shouted Booster to Beetle.
"Will you stop saying that! He's not going to kill me!" said Beetle.
"And what makes you say that, might I ask?" asked Booster.
"Well, for one thing," said Beetle. "Busiek's not writing this..."
"I'm serious!" said Booster.
"So, am I!" said Beetle. "I'd be a goner already!"
Booster looked at his best friend. "You're awfully glib! You've got something up your sleeve, don't you?" he asked slowly.
Beetle had a half smile on his face. "A drunken genius is still a genius!"
Day of the Fight Madison Square Garden, New York, NY, Earth-DC
If you set up a fight in a room full of people, you can bet that by the time the fight starts you'll have MORE than a room full of people. Heroes from both worlds wasted no time spreading the word. By cell phone or comlink or telepathic connection, the word was spread indeed.
Madison Square Garden, world-famous sports venue, was filled with heroes from both worlds, cheering on their choice in the upcoming fight.
"Who's this guy Thor's fighting?" the Thing asked She-Hulk.
"The Blue Beetle." responded She-Hulk.
"What kinda powers does this palooka have?" asked the Thing.
She-Hulk shook her head. "I have no idea, Ben. I've never heard of this guy!"
The Wasp interrupted. "I hear he was bitten by a gamma radiation soaked cockroach! Now, he has the proportional strength and durability of a cockroach!"
She-Hulk wavered her off. "That's silly, Janet. Getting bitten by a radioactive insect would only make someone sick! Besides, IF it were true, wouldn't he be the Blue COCKROACH?"
On the other side of the arena, the heroes from this world were having similar conversations.
"So, this guy's suppose to be a real god?" asked Arsenal.
"That's what Batman told me." responded Nightwing.
"Are you sure he got that right?" asked Arsenal.
Nightwing just gave Arsenal a look and cocked his eyebrow.
"Oh, yeah." said Arsenal. "I forgot who we were talking about for a second."
"According to Batman, this guy is the ancient Norse god of thunder. Son of Odin, highfather of Asgard."
"Any relation to Highfather of New Genesis?" asked Arsenal.
Back on the other side of the arena, Scarlet Witch was talking to the Beast. "This guy Thor's fighting...what's his name?...the Blue Bug-?"
"Blue Beetle." Beast corrected.
"This Blue Beetle," said Scarlet Witch. "What powers does he have?"
The Beast just shrugged his shoulders and shook his head.
"He doesn't have any." interrupted the Black Panther.
"Are you sure?" asked Scarlet Witch. "Thor wouldn't fight a normal guy. This Blue Beetle has to have some kind of power."
"I fought the guy." said Black Panther. "He didn't use any special powers when we fought. Although, I'll give him credit. He's a good hand-to-hand combatant. Real good! Quick and agile. Seems to like the caporeia or savant-styles. A lot of kicks."
"Did you win?" asked the Beast.
"Yeah." responded the Black Panther. "But, just barely. Another day. Another writer. The story may have been different!"
Back accross the arena...
"Ted picked a fight with a god!" asked Green Arrow in astonishment. "How'd I miss that?"
"You left the reception! You said you had to go to Red Bank, NJ." said Black Canary. "To meet a couple of guys at a Kwik-Stop."
Green Arrow smiled. "That's right!"
"I swear," said Canary. "Your faulty memory is becoming a chronic problem!"
"Snootch to the nootch!"
"Nothing." mumbled Green Arrow quickly.
Captain America and Iron Man were standing in the back, near Thor's dressing room. Their conversation was going about as well as Captain America expected it would- in other words, not well at all.
"So he's just a regular guy in a spandex suit?" asked Iron Man. "What's Thor thinking? He's going to go out there and look like a bully picking on a schoolboy!"
"I know." responded Captain America. "This is bad! We've only got two things going for us: most of our people don't know that Blue Beetle is powerless and Thor should crush him quickly enough that most of our guys will think he just didn't get a chance to use his powers."
"But, the heroes on THIS world will know the truth." responded Iron Man. "We're gonna lose a lotta face on this one, no matter how you cut it!"
"I know that, too." said Captain America. "They already think we're second-classers. Thor beating up a 'norm' is not going to enhance our reputations any." Cap was becoming agitated. "Damned Thor! If he could've laid of the mead and the womanizing, we wouldn't be in this predicament!"
"What about going the other way?" asked Iron Man.
"What?" asked Cap. "You mean like helping this Beetle guy out? Making him look good?"
Iron Man nodded.
"I thought about that." said Cap. "But, that just makes matters worse. Thor's suppose to be one of our elite. A "heavy-hitter". If it's anything other than a complete squash for Thor, we look bad. It looks like our "heavy-hitters" can't compete with this world's second-stringers."
"We're screwed either way!" said Iron Man.
"Yeah." said Captain America. "Our best hope right now is what I said: Thor crushes him before our people realize this Blue Beetle has no powers."
Captain America pulled out a cell phone and started dialling. "Either way, we can never show our faces in this place again. I have to make sure THIS is the last 'crossover'!" Cap put the cell phone to his ear. "Hello! Joe! This is Cap. I need you to do me a solid..."
Blue Beetle was sitting on the trainer's table in his dressing room backstage. It did strike Beetle as funny that he HAD a dressing room. What was he suppose to do? Come here in his civilian identity? He didn't think so! He came to Madison Square Garden in uniform. He was waiting in uniform. He'd go to the ring in uniform. He'd be buried in...
"Now knock that off!" Beetle thought to himself. "You have a plan! How good a plan it is... that's a different story!"
Unlike most people in this world who didn't read comicbooks, he knew who Thor was. He minored in archeology in college. You have to know something about different cultures' mythologies if you're going to study archeology. Norse mythology really didn't rank up there with the Greco/Roman one, though. In high school, everyone's taught the Greco/Roman mythology. You have to go looking on your own for Norse mythology.
And the other Earth's Thor really didn't matchup to well with how he pictured the mythical Thor. In mythology, Thor had red hair and long beard. The other Earth's Thor was blonde and clean-shaven. But, Lord knows, the guy was big enough to be a god! As tall as J'Onn J'Onzz and built like Lobo!
There was a knock on the dressing room door.
"Come in!" called Beetle.
The door opened and Booster Gold came in. "How ya doin' in here?" he asked. He tried to appear chipper, but, Beetle knew his friend was worried.
"Oh, peachy-keen." said Beetle in a low-key voice.
"Nervous?" asked Booster.
"You know me," said Beetle, trying to exude confidence. "Nerves of steel." He held out his hand, which was shaking slightly. He pulled his hand down quickly. That was NOT the way to inspire confidence.
Booster sat down next to Beetle. There was genuine concern on his face. "We can probably think of a way to get you out of this. No one thinks it's fair you're gonna fight a guy with THAT much power." said Booster. "You know you got a lot of friends that'll help you out. Hey, Kara told me she'd kick this guy's butt for you!"
Beetle smiled. "I know. I know. But, that's part of the problem, isn't it? All your friends want to help you out because they think you can't handle it."
"Sometimes you really DO need their help." Booster countered.
"I know." said Beetle. "But, sometimes you've got to do it yourself. I'm tired of being pushed around by the "big guy"! I'm tired of people thinking I'M a joke because I CRACK jokes! I need to do this on my own!"
Booster just sat there for a second. Beetle got the feeling he wanted to say more, but, he didn't. "Okay," Booster said finally. "But, I'll tell you this. We've got your back out there. There won't be any 'dogpiles' tonight!"
"Thanks," said Beetle with a smile. "I appreciate that. I really do."
Booster got up and went to the door. As he opened it, he stopped. "I hope this plan of yours is a good one!" he said.
Beetle just smiled at him. As the door shut behind Booster, the smile left Beetle's face.
"So do I!" he said quietly.
Thor was in his dressing room, too. Unlike Beetle, he wasn't nervous in the slightest. He was admiring himself in the mirror when a knock came from the door.
"ENTER!" Thor commanded.
Hercules came into the dressing room. Thor always had a great relationship with Hercules. True that he wasn't a full-fledged god like Thor, but, as a demi-god (and a GREEK one at that!), he was as close to a peer as Thor had encountered outside of Asgard. It didn't hurt that Hercules shared Thor's passions: imbibing mead and women!
"Thou art ready for battle?" asked Hercules.
Thor smiled. "Verily! Although, the Odin-son feeleth that this will be less a battle and more a slaughter!"
"Be there any glory in this then?" asketh..er, asked Hercules.
"The insect impugned the integrity of the Odin-son! Dost thou thinketh the Odin-son should let such trespass goeth unanswered?"
"Nay!" said Hercules. "Thou shouldst make the insect heartily regret such vile words!"
"And so I shall!" proclaimed Thor.
Hercules offered up his cocked fist. Thor accepted and punched it.
Hercules left the room. As the door shut behind him, Thor shook out his hand. "Hercules musteth be on the steroids again!" thought Thor slyly.
Back in the arena, the excitement was beginning to grow. The crowd was ready to pop. The crowd was starting to cheer as Michael Buffer, who waived his usual exorbitant fee to do this event, came into the ring.
Buffer got on the microphone and started to intone in his trademarked style, "LLLLet's get RRREAD-EEE TO RRRRRUUUMMBBLLEEEE!"
The crowd was pumped. The anticipation was high. The fight was about to begin!
Michael Buffer was on the microphone to make the introductions. "Ladies and gentlemen," he intoned smoothly. "The first combatant for tonight's fight..."
The houselights dimmed and "Flight of the Valkyries" played over the loudspeakers. A spotlight shone on the rampway as Thor stepped out. The heroes from Earth-M(arvel) errupted, cheering wildly.
"Standing at six foot seven," announced Buffer. "Weighing at 320 pounds, THE GOD OF TTTHHHUUUUNNDDEEERRRRRRRRRR, The AAAAASSSGGAARDDIIAANNNNNNN AAAANNNNNNNNIIIIHHHHAAALLLAAATTTTOOOOOOORRRRRRRRRRRR... TTHHHHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOORRRRRRRRR!"
Thor entered the ring, lifted his hammer high, and started slowly turning for the crowd to see. "Ah! Public adoration!" thought Thor as he stood there soaking it all in. He walked to one side of the ring, leaning his body toward the crowd, and cupping his ear with his hand (all the better to hear HIS cheers).
"Man!" said Elongated Man to his wife, Sue. "That guy is freakin' huge!"
"Yes, he IS!" said Sue.
Ralph shot Sue a look which Sue caught. "Aw come on, Ralph!" she said. "You know I like my men skinny and non-muscular."
"Okay. Just ch...-HEEEEYYYY!"
Captain America called Thor over to the corner. With all the noise in the arena, no one could hear what he was about to say to Thor. "Give this guy a chance to back out." said Cap.
"What?" asked Thor. "Nay, he hath insulted..."
Captain America cut him off. "Give him the CHANCE! If he backs out, we can end this farce now. He'll get to keep his health and you'll get to keep your honor. It's..."
Cap didn't get a chance to finish as Thor walked away from him. Cap got down from the ring apron. Thor wasn't going to listen to him.
"And his opponent..." announced Buffer.
The houselights dimmed again. "Sweet Home Chicago" played over the loudspeakers. Blue Beetle appeared on the rampway. He receive a nice cheer (although, not as loud as Thor's). Beetle saw Robin in the crowd with a sign that said "Blue Beetle's #1 Fan". That got Beetle to thinking, "Where's Batman?"
Batman was in the rafters (naturally) looking down at the event.
"Couldn't find a seat?"
Batman turned to look at Superman, who was floating next to the rafter Batman was standing on. "I see you found your usually seat: high above everyone else." Batman countered.
Superman let the comment slide. "What's going to happen?" asked Superman.
Batman looked at him. "On paper, Thor destroys Beetle in less than three seconds."
Superman didn't look happy about that news. "Any hope?" he asked.
Batman gave Superman a hint of a smile. "On paper, that's what would happen. This is reality. To answer your question: there's always hope."
Superman looked at Batman suspeciously. "You know something about this I don't. Right?"
Batman looked back down toward the ring. "I know what I'd do in Beetle's place."
Superman said, "Yes, but, you have a contingeancy plan for everything!"
Batman looked back at Superman, the hint of the smile returning to his lips. "Beetle's gotten the first part right. Let's see if he's figured out the rest."
"Making his way to the ring..." announced Buffer. "Standing five foot eleven. Weighing 204 pounds. THE AAAAAAAZZZZZUUUURREE AAAAAAVVVEENNGGGGGGGGGGEEEERRRRR! The MMMMMMaster of Insectechnology!...THE BLUUUUUUUUUUEEEE BBBBBBEEEEEETTTLLEE!
As Beetle was making his way to the ring, Power Girl stopped him. "Just to give you extra incentive," she said. "If you win..." She leaned over and whispered in Beetle's ear. Beetle's eyes bugged (no pun intended) beneath his goggles. "Just remember that!" she said smiling slyly.
"That's forever burned into the happy place in my mind!" responded Beetle.
Thor caught the exchange between Beetle and Power Girl. Thor shook his head. How could a maiden with such magnificent...niebelungs...be attracted to THAT!
Beetle made his way into the ring. Thor was standing in the middle of the ring waiting for him. Thor looked down his nose and smiled at Beetle like a cat would smile at a mouse, if a cat could smile...and a mouse was stupid enough to stand in front of it. Beetle smiled innocently back.
As the bell rung, Beetle asked, "Are you going to use that oversized walnut cracker on little ol' me?"
Thor laughed. "Nay! Nay! Methinks I'll NOT need mighty Mjolnir this night!" said Thor. He set down the hammer between himself and Blue Beetle.
Beetle looked down at the hammer and noticed the Viking runes engraved on the sides. Beetle smiled. He looked up at Thor and said, "I'm a bit of an archeology buff. Mind if I have a look at your hammer? You know, before the fight begins?"
Thor smiled broadly. He clearly thought Beetle wanted to use Thor's own weapon against him. Thor guessed that Beetle had never heard of the hammer's enchantment. Was he in for a surprise! "This shouldeth be good!" he thought. Thor made a grand gesture, consenting to Beetle's request, for all the crowd to see.
Blue Beetle leaned down and...easily picked the hammer up!
All the Earth-M(arvel) heroes, who had been cheering seconds before, went stone silent in shock and disbelief. Slack jaws abounded.
A fanboy, in front of his computer, spit out his Mountain Dew. "WHAT THE F-?"
The color drained from Thor's face. The smile was long gone. Thor's mouth moved up and down for a few seconds before a sound finally came out. "H-H-HOW!" was all Thor could stammer.
Beetle smiled. He said, "Let me tell you how..."
Thor was stunned. The insect HAD LIFTED HIS HAMMER! THE INSECT! HIS HAMMER! Thor's mind had a hard time wrapping itself around that concept. The INSECT had lifted HIS HAMMER! Thor's mouth was moving, but, no sound came out. Finally, he croaked, "How!"
The Blue Beetle smiled at Thor from accross the ring. The sheer disbelief from the Earth-M(arvel) section of the crowd was priceless! But, the look on Thor's face- the sheer, beautiful, slack-jawed, dumb-founded amazement!- THAT was just one of the brightest spots in Ted Kord's life! A camera! A camera! His kingdom for a camera!
"Let me tell you how..." started Beetle.
Beetle looked down at the hammer and said, "Tell me, what does this inscription say?"
Thor shook off his amazement for a second and replied honestly, "'He who lifts this hammer, be he worthy, shall be given the power of Thor'."
"Really?" asked Beetle innocently. "I guess I must be worthy! I was a mathlete in high school, you know!" Beetle lifted the hammer high over his head. "I call upon the power of Thor!" Beetle proclaimed, his face becoming grim. The crowd quieted. The air was charged in anticipation. Thor flinched, as he expected the forthcoming bolt of lightning. And...nothing happened.
"Just zooming you!" said Beetle, as he broke into a smile. "This hammer won't work for me!"
Thor was embarassed. He had flinched away from the insect like a beaten dog. Anger was quickly replacing Thor's humiliation, as Thor was going to go after Beetle.
Beetle's next comment stopped him cold. "But, you're wrong!" said Beetle. "That's not what's inscribed on this hammer!"
Thor was confused. "The Odin-son knoweth the inscription on his own hammer!" he protested.
"Really?" asked Beetle. "I haven't really study Viking runes since college, but..." Beetle spun the head of the hammer around for Thor to read. "You tell me what this says."
Thor read it aloud, "'Within this indestructible hammer lies the power of Thor'" Thor was more confused than ever. "But, 'tis mine hammer. Mighty Mjolnir never leaves the side of the Odin-son!"
"Oh," said Beetle. "THIS IS Thor's hammer!" Beetle smiled and took on a scholarly tone of voice. "I'm going to tell you four things. Two things you already know and two things you don't!" Beetle held up the index finger of his free hand. "Thing you know #1: You ARE Thor, god of thunder, son of Odin."
"Aye!" said Thor. "Thou state the obv..."
Beetle cut him off. He lifted his index finger off of the hammer. "Thing you DON'T know #1: This world already has a Thor native to it."
Thor stopped and, for the first time in his life, had nothing to say.
Beetle continued. He raised the middle finger to join the index finger on his free hand. "Thing you know #2: When you travel to another Earth, you're bound to the 'rules' or 'laws' on that Earth. The Speed Force doesn't exist on your Earth, so, Flash couldn't use his speed there. On the reverse side, Magic is stronger on this Earth, so, Scarlet Witch became more powerful!" Beetle stopped. "Yes, I am a reserve member, but, I still keep up-to-date on the mission records!"
Beetle raised the middle finger on the hand holding the hammer. "Now, here's the big one!" he started. "Thing you DON'T know #2: Because Thor already exists on this Earth, you're bound to the 'rules' that govern HIM! Because YOU are a 'god', you're bound to the 'rules' that govern THEM!"
Thor was hopelessly confused. "What does all thine babble mean? Why can thou lifteth mine hammer?"
Beetle cocked his head. "Because the Thor of this Earth's mythology is much different than you!" said Beetle. "Let's start with your appearance! Unless you own a butt-load of peroxide, the Thor of mythology should be a redhead. With a bright red beard at that!"
Thor was trying to absorb this.
"And Thor's hammer," said Beetle as he lifted the hammer. "NO stories in Norse mythology mention ANYTHING about only the 'worthy' being able to lift the hammer. In fact, one story has a giant stealing the hammer and holding it for a ransome! And, since the hammer has to conform to this Earth's 'laws', that means I can lift it!" Beetle lowered the hammer and rubbed his shoulder. "Although this thing gets heavy after awhile."
"Oh!" said Beetle quickly. "There's ONE more thing I almost forgot!" Beetle quickly scanned the crowd until he found the person he was looking for. He pointed someone out in the crowd to Thor. "See that really cute, white-haired girl sitting up there. Y'know, one of the women you were hitting on yesterday..."
Ice's eyes opened wide. She couldn't hear what was being said in the ring. She saw Ted walking around and talking a lot. And she saw Thor just standing there listening to Ted. But, suddenly, Ted was pointing right at her!
"Why's Ted pointing at me?" Ice asked Fire.
Fire squinted as she looked into the ring. "I think he's trying to make a deal where he gives you to Thor!"
Ice was shocked! "Ted wouldn't do that!" she said. But, after a second, her nerve broke. "Would he?"
Fire looked grimly at her friend, then, she couldn't hold it in any longer and started laughing. "You're SOOO easy!"
Ice elbowed her best friend in the ribs. "Bea! I swear you're downright nasty at times!"
Back in the ring, Beetle continued. "...She's NORWEIGAN! You know, FROM NORWAY! And, to her, Thor is just a character in a fairy tale!"
Thor looked dubiously at Beetle. "So?"
"So," said Beetle. "One of those 'rules' I mentioned regarding gods is that they derive their power from their followers. Their 'believers', if you will." Beetle smiled broadly. "And there ain't a lot of people left on this Earth that believe in Thor!"
Thor was shocked. "But...but...the Busiek never..."
"The Busiek isn't here!" said Beetle.
Beetle threw the hammer back to Thor who, even in his shocked state, caught it smoothly.
"You see," said Beetle. "On THIS Earth, that hammer is nothing more than pig iron, wood, and leather. And You...you're nothing more than a man. So, this fight's going to be fair afterall!"
Beetle smiled. "And you're going to need that hammer more than I am!"
Iron Man came up to Captain America. He had used the advanced surveillance equipment in his armor to overhear Blue Beetle's conversation with Thor. "We're screwed!" he said.
Captain America looked squarely at Iron Man. "Are you kidding?" he asked. "THIS IS GREAT!"
Iron Man was confused. "You've lost me!" he said. "How is this great? Thor's losing his godly power by the second! There's a real possibility he might not be able to beat this guy!"
"EXACTLY!" proclaimed Cap. "Don't you see? Now Thor has an excuse for getting his butt waxed by Superman! This Earth adversely affects him! Internet geeks and fanboys can start bragging about Thor again!"
Iron Man considered the possibilities. "If we can spin it right, maybe we can even convince people that Thor is THE MOST POWERFUL HERO IN COMICS!"
Cap thought about it for a second. "Nah!" he finally said. "No need to push our luck. Just be happy if people think that Thor MIGHT beat Superman in a fight. Afterall, he is SUPERMAN!"
Superman was listening into Captain America and Iron Man's conversation with his super-hearing from the rafter of Madison Square Garden.
Batman, too, was listening in with a more hi-tech apparatus. He looked at his (sometimes, semi-) friend during Cap's "he is SUPERMAN!" comment. Superman smiled slightly at that.
"Great!" mumbled Batman. "Now there'll be no living with him!"
Meanwhile, in the ring (did you forget there was a fight going on?), Thor was still trying to absorb all the information Blue Beetle had thrown at him.
"How long have you been here?" asked Beetle. "On this Earth, I mean. Five, six hours?"
Thor looked Beetle. Why was his mind acting so slowly? Gathering his thoughts was like trying to walk through a room filled with treacle!
"Feel the side of your face!" Beetle commanded. Thor reflexive obliged. He felt very course, rough stubble growing in.
"It's coming in red!" said Beetle. "The longer you stay here, the more you're going to conform to THIS Earth's version of Thor. And, in case it hasn't dawned on you yet, THIS world's Thor isn't the brightest light on the Christmas tree! I think some of the stories I've read used the term 'dim-witted'."
It was true. Thor was feeling particularly...DULL since he'd gotten here. He wasn't sharp! What kind of god was this Earth's Thor!
"Where's Megingjard?" asked Beetle quickly.
The question snapped Thor from his self-reflection. "Meg-?" Thor asked perplexed.
"The enchanted belt that double's your strength." said Beetle. "You're suppose to have enchanted gloves, too. I wouldn't try throwing that hammer if I were you!"
Beetle was congratulating himself on how well this little plan of his was working. Sure, he lied to Thor. But, it was a little lie and most of what he was telling Thor was true. The longer Thor stayed here, the more he had to conform to this Earth's version of Thor. And the Thor of this Earth didn't have a whole lot of true believers. But...he had some. Not many, but, some thanks to some stupid New Age movement in the 1970's. Damned New Agers! He wasn't going to be as powerful as a Greek diety who had thousands of Amazons and new converts worshipping him. But, thanks to a handful of people who may or may not still adhere to those revitalized beliefs, Thor was still going to have some power, no matter how diminished!
Beetle had to be very careful in this next part of the plan. "So," said Beetle. "Are we gonna fight? Or are you gonna go running to Loki and dress up like a woman? Y'know, like when that giant stole your little hammer?"
Oddly enough, Thor DID remember. Although it didn't happen to him, he remembered going to Loki for help when his hammer was stolen. He remembered dressing as a woman!
"Y'know," said Beetle in a mock whisper. "If you make a really, really nice apology, I'll let you go home."
Thor's eyes blazed with anger. He started spinning Mjolnir.
"But," said Beetle, not relenting. "You're gonna have to squirt a few tears to make me believe the apology's sincere!"
Thor roared! And, with all the might he had left, threw Mjolnir at Blue Beetle. Beetle ducked- just in time! He could hear the hammer whoosh over his head. Into the crowd.
The hammer struck She-Hulk squarely in the face, spinning her almost 420 degrees!
The Thing quickly got up and looked down on his friend. "OHMYGOD!" he exclaimed. "He killed Jenny!"
"You BASTARDS!" shouted the Wasp.
"I'm not dead, guys." muttered the stunned She-Hulk from the floor.
"oh," said the Wasp. "Nevermind then."
What little godly power that was still in Mjolnir caused it to come flying back into the ring. To the hammer's master. To Thor. Who didn't have Megingjard, the enchanted belt that doubled his strength, nor the enchanted gloves, strong enough to catch mighty Mjolnir. Both of which Thor NEEDED in order to catch Mjolnir ACCORDING TO THIS WORLD'S MYTHOLOGY!
The de-powered hammer slammed into the de-powered Thor, knocking him cold!
"I told him not to throw that hammer!" said Beetle under his breath.
And the fight was over. Thor was knocked unconscious. The only heavy breathing on Beetle's part was when Power Girl whispered in his ear.
The crowd, both Earth-M(arvel) and Earth-DC, were stunned silent. It was over just like THAT! and everyone was quietly trying to absorb what had just happened.
"WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The scream broke the silence. It was Booster Gold. "I'M RICH! AGAIN!" Booster danced down the aisle and into the ring. He grabbed Beetle by the head and kissed him full on the lips!
Beetle started spitting and wiping his mouth with the back of his hand. "THAT is NOT the action I was hoping for after the fight!" he yelled at his friend. "What is wrong with you!"
I'M...RICH!" Booster yelled. "10,000 TO 1 ODDS AGAINST YOU IN VEGAS! I bet everything I had! I'M RICH!"
Beetle was oddly touched that his best friend had that much faith in him. But, if Booster tried to kiss him again, Beetle was going to clock him!
As the crowd emptied out of the arena, a lot of grumbling was heard from the Earth-M(arvel) heroes.
"Jeez-louise!" complained Hawkeye. "You think Thor's ever gonna win a fight against one of these guys!"
Captain America and Iron Man hauled Thor's unconscious carcass from the ring. They positioned Thor between them and started to carry him out.
"Well, that was certainly crappy!" said Iron Man.
"Look on the bright side," said Captain America. "Thor probably deserved an ass-whooping. Technically speaking, Blue Beetle didn't land a punch. And Thor knocked himself out." As they hauled Thor up the aisle, Cap added one more thing. "At least we didn't pay the $49.95 for the internet pay-per-view!"
Meanwhile, in some mother's basement, an internet fanboy was sitting in a state of disbelief. "I paid that much money to see Thor knock himself out!" the fanboy exclaimed. "Oh, God! I'm so depressed!"
EPILOGUE After the Fight Avengers Mansion, New York, NY, Earth-M(arvel)
Thor was sitting on a couch, ice pack on his now cleanly-shaven jaw. Despite the pain, it was good to be back on his Earth. He started to feel like himself again. And he began to wonder.
"How didst all this come about?" Thor asked his friend Hercules. "Twas as though the Odin-son had no control of himself!"
"Thou were affected by the magicks of the other Earth!" responded Hercules.
"Nay! Nay!" said Thor. "The magicks of the other Earth only explain mine unnatural actions THERE! But BEFORE then! At Captain America's feast for the other-Earthers. The Odin-son twas not himself!"
"I did not notice." responded Hercules, averting his eyes from his friend.
"The Odin-son was overwhelmed by his mead! Thor is NEVER overwhelmed by mead!" Thor exclaimed. "But, I tell thee verily, the most vexing part is the manner in which the Odin-son doth conducted himself around the other-Earth's maidens! Twas unseemly! Nay! Ungodly!" Thor shook his head.
"Aye!" said Hercules quickly. "Quite vexing"
Thirty-six Hours Earlier Avengers Mansion, New York, NY, Earth-M(arvel)
Hercules was in the kitchen of the Avengers' Mansion. Jarvis was busying himself, prepare refreshments for the reception.
"Mead, my good man!" proclaimed Hercules. "Where is my mead!"
"In the refrigerator, as usual, Master Hercules!" sighed Jarvis as he lifted a tray and went out into the baquet room.
Hercules threw the refrigerator's door open and refilled his mug. Before he closed the door, he eyed Thor's special brand of mead.
Hercules looked around the kitchen quickly and pulled a pouch from his belt. He smiled as he poured the powder into Thor's mead. Thor was his good friend thought Hercules, but, he could be a stick in the mud at parties. Thor needed to loosen up. Convort with the lovely wenches. PAHR-TAYY!
"This little potion should make his mead more potent!" thought Hercules. "Aye! And the Olympic aphrodisiac (from lovely, lovely Aphrodite herself!) in it should put the lead in even a Norse god's pencil!"
Hercules smiled at the thought of the lovely other-Earth wenches. Especially the Amazon! Wonderous, indeed! He shivered in anticipation.
"Ah, my friend!" thought Hercules. "Today ye shall have a memory that shall never die! Let us burneth this MUTHA downeth!"
The Golden Calf Casino, Las Vegas, NV, Earth-DC
"What do you mean!" exclaimed Booster Gold desperately.
The cashier looked at him as though her were a cockroach on his ham sandwich. "The bet came in too late. Five minutes after the cut-off time."
"But...but...," stammered Booster. He stopped and hung his head. "So, I'm not rich?" he asked quietly.
The cashier just laughed. "Buy a watch next time, buster!"
"Booster." muttered Booster dejectedly.
JLI Embassy, Paris, France, Earth-DC
Blue Beetle was sitting on the edge of the bed in Power Girl's bedroom. Back straight, knees together, big smile on his face. His right knee was bobbing up and down as he waited, not-so-patiently, for Power Girl to come out of the bathroom.
"Are you ready, Teddy?" Power Girl called from the bathroom.
"Yes!" said Beetle quickly, his voice almost squeeking in excitement.
Power Girl came out of the bathroom dressed in a big terrycloth bathrobe. She was twirling the tied belt around in her hand in front of her. She had a wicked smile on her face.
"Are you sure you can handle this?" she asked teasingly.
Beetle's throat was dry, so, he just nodded his head quickly.
Power Girl undid the robes belt slowly. She parted the robe and let it slide down off her shoulders.
Beetle watched in stunned silence.
"What do think?" she asked coyly.
"Fantastic!" Beetle said breathlessly.
"I knew you'd like it!" Power Girl said as she modelled the Supergirl costume she was wearing.
"It's not so much the costume," Beetle said. "It's how you fill it out!"
Power Girl walked over to Beetle and pushed him back on the bed. She got on top of him and-
BEEPBEEPBEEP FAMILY THREAD ALERT! FAMILY THREAD ALERT! THIS STORY WILL BE TERMINATED!BEEPBEEPBEEP