The Search for Ray Palmer

CDRPWildstorm01Wildstorm

Searching for Ray Palmer, the Challengers arrive on Earth-50, home to the Wildstorm heroes. They split up to look for Palmer but Green Lantern is pulled into the Bleed by Monarch as he had been once before. Monarch offers him the chance to stand beside him in the coming conflict. Lantern manages to stall making a decision and returns to Earth-50 where he and the other Challengers meet various heroes.

The finally find Surge, on the run for having murdered the Pope, who claims to have met Palmer and that he had left his mark on him and other speedsters.

Before they can question him further, Midnighter appears and kills Surge precipitating a fight between the Challengers, Midnighter and then the Authority who arrive shortly after. Majestic arrives and explains that he has journeyed to the Challengers’ Earth and that the heroes are no threat. The Authority leave and, a moment later, so do the Challenger.

Unknown to them, however, Dark Angel is tracking them.

CDRPCrimeSociety01Crime Society

As the Jokester and the Challengers From Beyond battle the Crime Society on Earth 3 (as shown in Countdown #31) the Jokester thinks back on his life.

As a failed stand-up comedian, his life was in trouble until he met a girl called Eve with whom he fell in love. She vanished, however, and his life returned to normal until he saw his manager killed by Owlman of the Crime Society. He chose Owlman to be his comedic foil and began telling jokes about him until he became successful. Owlman eventually confronted him and mutilated his face, inadvertently turning him into the Jokester.

As the Jokester, he battled Owlman and his sidekick Talon until he met the Riddler Family and discovered not only was Eve actually one of three personalities that made up Three-Face, but that she had had a daughter, Duela, who – on meeting the Jokester – calls herself the Joker’s Daughter.

Becoming part of the Riddler Family, the Jokester’s life was eventually turned on its head when Duela introduced them to her boyfriend who turned out to be Talon. Losing his temper, the Jokester disowned Duela who left with Talon; moments later the Crime Society attacked, killing the Riddler and mutilating Three-Face.

Back in the present, the battle with the Crime Society ends with Jokester leaving with the Challengers From Beyond, unknowingly watched by Three-Face who had survived the attack.

CDRPRedRain01Red Rain

The Challengers From Beyond arrive on Earth-43 in a Gotham City plagued by reports of vampires. Splitting up to search for Ray Palmer, Donna finds the staked body of this world’s Barbara Gordon who dies just as Donna finds the print of Ray Palmer’s Atom symbol on her arm.

Attempting to track down the vampire killer that they believe is Palmer, Kyle and Jason are attacked by homeless people who are also vampires, one of whom bites Kyle.

Dick Grayson, meanwhile, is the vampire killer and he tracks down the lair of this world’s Batman, planning to plunge a stake into his heart. The Challengers track him down as well and try to stop him killing Batman which, in turn, allows Batman to bite Grayson. The pair escape and, as the Challengers leave Earth-43, Grayson is revealed as a new vampiric Robin alongside Batman.

CDRPGothamByGaslight01Gotham By Gaslight

Despite being separated as they traveled to Earth-19, the Challengers are quickly reunited and head to Gotham where they find the city bedeviled by an unknown creature, though it is also protected by this world’s Batman.

Jason Todd is attacked by the creature and saved by Batman and the Earth-19 Blue Beetle, prompting the rest of the Challengers to announce themselves to the native heroes. Tracking the creature, they find it – and a number of others – waiting for them but are surprised when Green Lantern changes into a huge vampire bat. It appears that he was bitten by a vampire on Earth-43 and while his ring protected him for the most part, it too was infected.

With the aid of the Blue Beetle, the infection is cured and the other creatures defeated.

CDRPRedSon01Red Son

Briefly visited by the Challengers as they began their search, they find themselves once more on Earth-30, where Superman had landed as a child in Communist Russia.

Sneaking into a hospital, they surprise this world’s Batman injecting Ray Palmer with something. They rescue both of them from the approaching Soviet Superman, though Donna is captured.

The Challengers discover the Palmer they have rescued is the one native to this Earth and they agree to help him and Batman in their struggle against Superman. At the same time they manage to rescue Donna from this world’s Wonder Woman.

Batman and Superman face off with Batman sacrificing his life to save the Challengers and hopefully his country but to no avail. It is left to the Earth-30 Atom to devise a way of forcing Superman to let the Challengers go.

CDRPSuperwomanBatwoman01Superwoman / Batwoman

Arriving on a world where the genders of the New Earth heroes have been reversed, the Challengers are just in time for the Amazons, led by Wonderman, to attack. Calling on the mythical Titans, Wonderman forces the League to enlist the aid of the Freedom Fighters led by Columbia, the spirit of America.

As the battle goes on, the Challengers refuse to listen to Bob the Monitor’s command that they remain neutral and make themselves known, helping the heroes to defeat the rampaging Amazons.

Finally meeting this world’s Atom, the Challengers are told that the Atom they are searching for has long since left this world but is in hiding and does not want to be found.

The Challengers leave and their quest continues in Countdown To Final Crisis #18.

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