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TCE VS. THE UNIVERSE

ISSUE 2

Madam Deadhead vs. Wonder Woman

“Hey, aren’t you Wonder Woman?”

The Princess of Themyscira sort of looked herself up and down. She was wearing a somewhat traditional variation of the gear with which most of the multiverse had become familiar. “What gave it away?” She said with a bit of biting sarcasm.

“It was the invisible jet. I could see it from a mile away.”

“Who exactly are you, again?”

“Tiffany. But I prefer to be called Madam Deadhead. It sounds cooler and it matches aspects of my personality, occupation and powerset. You see, when I’m not kicking bad-guy butt, I’m a truck driver, and ‘deadhead’ is trucker terminology.” She gestured to the customized 18-wheeler behind her. They were in a city street, Platinum City to be exact. A number of pedestrians looked on with nervousness, anxiety and excitement, as the two women faced off.

A fight between them was eminent, but first Madam Deadhead had to finish her soliloquy. “…Also, my muscles are fused with diesel engine machinery which makes me like super strong. The ‘madam’ part… well that’s just a title I like sort of how Captain Atom is not really a ‘captain’ per se.”

Wonder Woman regarded her with bewilderment, but before she could retort, Deadhead continued.

“You ever notice how so many superheroes and super-villains have names that match exactly who they are? The Flash is fast; Hawkman is a guy with wings. I mean, I roll with a team called the Sista’ Clique and there’s a chick on my squad who can multiply herself 6 times. And guess what she calls herself?”

She waited for a moment, then sighed impatiently as if Diana’s lack of knowledge on that specific topic was somehow offensive.

“’Girl Six,’” she said with exasperation. “My teammate calls herself ‘Girl Six.’ I mean how uncreative is that?

“Wouldn’t it be ‘Girl Seven?’”

“What?”

“Girl Seven,” Diana repeated. “You said she multiplies herself six times. Six plus her original form makes seven.”

Tiffany, with an exaggerated pensive scowl on her brow, counted on her fingers, then let out a “Huh,” as the imaginary lightbulb illuminated above her head. “Okay, so you got me there. But the point definitely applies to the ‘Sista’ Clique.’ We’re a bunch of ‘sista’s – that’s a colloquialism used by black women to refer to each other, for the uninitiated like yourself – and we’re a clique, which, by definition, is a group of people with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together, and do not readily allow others to join them; just in case you were getting any ideas, girlfriend.”

“Don’t worry. I’m in no need to join you, I’m already part of an obviously named team. Perhaps you’ve heard of the Justice League?”

Madam Deadhead slapped her knee with giddiness. “Ha! Who hasn’t heard of the Justice League? Ya’ll are some legends in the game. ‘Been pounding on fools since before I was a peach in my mama’s eye. But… I gotta disagree with you on something.”

“What’s that?”

“Your team isn’t so obviously monikered. I mean ‘league’? Sure. You’re definitely a group of individuals who’ve combined together for a particular purpose. But ‘justice?’ Either you’re gonna have to rethink your name or readjust your priorities.”

Wonder Woman immediately took offense to Madam Deadhead’s suggestion. “Our priority has always been to vanquish those who’ve threatened to bring tyranny and destruction to the multiverse—”

“Oh, big whoop,” Deadhead quipped sarcastically. “That’s the easy stuff. Alien invaders; terrorists; intergalactic warlords; power hungry demigods… They come at you straight on with fire, fury and fight. And all you gotta do is punch them in the face hard enough and they go down. That’s not justice.”

“We protect the innocent, we fight when we’re called on and we never back down. That’s the epitome of justice.”

Deadhead shook her head disappointingly. “For someone who’s primary tool is the Lasso of Truth, you sure do lie to yourself quite a bit.”

“You dare insult the Princess of Themyscira?” Wonder Woman unfurled her whip and took an offensive stance.

“I’m not trying to insult you, your highness. I’m trying to enlighten you. I mean, you’re supposed to be an icon, a shining example of how a woman can do anything a man can do. You stand next to Superman and Batman as an equal…” Then, with a little more emphasis. “An equal.

“But then, when real injustice rears its head – like unfair treatment of people in the communities me and my clique serve – you’re nowhere to be found. In fact, you and your ‘Justice League’ have somewhat of a track record of holding up some of those unfair laws that fly in the face of your crew’s namesake. There’s no justice in that.”

“What would you have us do? Run for office?” She waited a moment, allowing the questions to sink in. “That’s not our job. There are others who are in place to fight those fights. Our fight is different. Besides, how can you fight for equality for all people, if all the people are dead?”

“Still can’t see the forest for the trees, can ya?”

Diana regarded her counterpart with exasperation.  “The forest is a very dangerous place, and it’s only going to get worse if you and I don’t put our differences aside and combine our resources.

“Resources?” At that point another lightbulb suddenly sprung on above Madam Deadhead’s lush afro. “So we come to it. Now I understand why you’ve shown up here in my Universe. You want some of our psytanium, don’t you?”

“I don’t want to have to take it. We can work together. The threat my worlds face, is the same threat your worlds face. What if psytanium is the key to stopping a cataclysm that could destroy us both?”

As Wonder Woman was making her last declaration, Madam Deadhead had taken an offensive position herself. “First of all, you couldn’t take it if you tried. Secondly, we’re the ones with the psytanium, so whatever cataclysm you’re talking about happening, it ain’t gonna happen to us; we’re good. So, I suggest you take your star-spangled-bottom back to where you come from before I rain this pain on you.”

“I can’t return empty handed,” Wonder Woman declared.

“It’s better than returning broken-handed,” Madam Deadhead retorted.

And with that the Princess of Themyscira pivoted and charged!

“Suit yourself…” The resident powerhouse of the Sista’ Clique braced herself and bore the full brunt of her adversary’s initial attack! The smashing blow rocked Deadhead but didn’t fell her. She returned the favor with an earth-shattering punch of her own, stunning the Justice Leaguer and leaving her open for a gut-wrenching combo.

Wonder Woman was stunned, but composed herself quickly enough to block a double ax handle and counter with a spinning kick that blasted Deadhead back against the side of a car.

Deadhead brushed the glass and debris off her shoulder, then grabbed the car and hoisted it above her head. “Looks like you need a ride!” She tossed the car at Wonder Woman, who side-stepped the projectile but failed to see that Deadhead had already tossed a second car at her as well.

The vehicle nailed the Princess in her chest and sent her crashing back against the side of a building, pinning her there. As Deadhead charged in for the next attack, Wonder Woman pushed the car away and caught the incoming right fist. She smiled at her adversary then took flight, launching the two of them nearly a thousand feet straight up in the air. Just as Tiffany began growing dizzy from the lack of oxygen, Diana redirected and flew straight back down reaching Mach speeds before slamming her opponent into the concrete.

The impact caused an explosion of debris and rocked the surrounding city blocks. Wonder Woman emerged from the crater and stood at its edge, looking down on her battered opponent. “Have you had enough?”

Deadhead picked herself up, dusted some dirt of her shoulder and retorted, “You mean enough of those pitter pats you call punches?”

Wonder Woman then unfurled her lasso and whipped it at Deadhead. The rope wrapped around the Sista’ Clique enforcer’s waist – trapping her arms by her side – and cinched in tight. “Tell me where the psytanium is,” Wonder Woman demanded. “This is life or death.”

Struggling to withstand the pain, Deadhead was forced to give in. “Aarghh…. It’s…. in my the cab of my truck…” But before Diana could celebrate her acquisition of new knowledge Tiffany initiated another verbose op-ed. “You’ll never get it, though… because in about 30 seconds I’m gonna bust out of your golden jump rope, leap up there, grab you by the neck, punch you in the face a few times, slam you to the ground, then drop a knee or two on your star-spangled behind.” A sly smile flashed across her lips. “And you know I can’t possibly be lying.”

“Just let me take the psytanium,” Wonder Woman said with exasperation. “I promise, once my team has used it to neutralize the larger threat I’ll join you in your crusade.”

Deadhead let out a disbelieving grunt before uttering, “But you ARE the larger threat…” And with that Tiffany’s muscles began to hiss and steam, as the diesel engines within her arms and legs kicked into overdrive. Then, using her diesel-powered thighs and calves she jump about a foot off the ground, before thrusting her feet back down into the concrete, causing an earthquake which shook Wonder Woman, throwing her off balance. Deadhead then used her diesel-powered biceps to break free of the lasso!

Before the princess could fully regain her composure, the part-time trucker was on her. She grabbed Wonder Woman by the neck, lifted her off her feet and pounded her twice in the face, then slammed her down on the ground and dropped a knee on her gut. The Princess of Themyscira let out an unearthly scream of pain as Deadhead informed her, “And just so you don’t get it twisted, I still respect the troops.”

Deadhead raised up to drop a second knee, but Diana caught it, then extended her own knee and connected with Deadhead’s temple, forcing her to ground. Within moments, the two women were back on their feet. And after a quick face-off they reengaged, unleashing thunderous blows on one another.

The battle lasted several more minutes with both women working themselves into exhaustion. It was clear they were evenly matched. However, Wonder Woman’s speed and flight capabilities were beginning to give her an advantage. And even if she couldn’t outright defeat Madam Deadhead, she would have eventually secured the psytanium minerals from Deadhead’s Pink and Black Attack 18-wheeler. That is if the rest of the Sista’ Clique hadn’t arrived on the scene!

“Stand down, Diana!” Shouted Kharma Lucky.

Wonder Woman looked over to see the commander of the Clique taking an offensive stance. She looked to her left to see Cybernetica initiating attack sequences; she looked above her to see Ember Brook preparing to unleash flames; and she looked to her right to see Girl Six multiplying herself six times.

Madam Deadhead did a quick count, then said to Wonder Woman, “Dang! Seven. You were right.”

Ignoring her opponent’s quip, Diana turned back to Kharma Lucky and said, “I really wish it didn’t have to be this way. I’m sorry.”

“We’re not,” Kharma retorted. “Now, leave our universe, princess, before we put your crown in the ground… for good.”

Wonder Woman looked from Deadhead to Kharma, then to the other members of the Clique and back to Deadhead. “I’ll be back.”

“I’ll be waiting,” the Madam responded.

Diana then raised her hands to show she was done fighting, before recoiling her lasso, and taking flight off into the cosmos.

Deadhead’s teammate immediately went over to her. “You okay?” asked Kharma.

“Nope.”

“What’s the matter?” Kharma asked, “You need a hospital? Crystal bring the truck around—”

“Calm down, Kharma,” Tiffany Interrupted. “I’m fine… I’m just a little upset that I didn’t get a chance to finish her off by myself.”

The others paused for a second then rolled their eyes and began walking away from their battle-worn teammate. Deadhead continued her rant… “You know what kind of pub’ I could get if everyone knew I whooped Wonder Woman in a one-on-one fight? I would have all kinds of people trying to put me on TV. Oh, and Alexis, you need to change your name to ‘Girl Seven…’ I mean, seriously, you got people all confused and stuff. I’m just saying…”