Blue Light Productions presents

Limp-Asparagus Lad #34
Final Net
Crisis On Looniearth-B     Part 2 (of 3)

Written by and copyright 1997 Saxon Brenton
Artwork back to being done by Fr*d H*mback again.

Cover shows a scene from space as the Exponential Man reaches out towards 
Looniearth-B. The 'Crisis On Looniearth-B' logo runs across the top. The 
blurb running below the 'Limp-Asparagus Lad' logo proclaims: 'Final Net!'. 
In the panel border running down the left and right sides and along the 
bottom are the faces of the LNHers and LoHers, who look shocked (except 
for Limp-Asparagus Lad and Limp-Asparagus Lass, of course).

         "I would kinda dispute the speed of their timeline... the 
         oceans are a tremendous heat reservoir, and should take more 
         than 4 days to freeze."
              - Dvandom, _Dave's Rant_ for _Final Night_ #1

  In _Net.Titans_ #38 three other-dimensional heroes (Lord Vincent 
Stomper of Looniearth-AA, Lean-Apples Lad of Looniearth-I, and the 
Fan.Boy of Looniearth-B) arrived in the Legion of Net.Heroes HQ on 
Looniearth-A to warn of the impending arrival of the Exponential Man 
on Looniearth-B. They wandered around through _Net.Titans_ #39, but it 
wasn't until _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #33 that they actually found some 
LNHers to warn, and then the plot thickened some more in _Lurker Lad_ #4.
  In _Lurker Lad_ #5 (part 1 of this crossover) the LNH organised a task 
force headed by Fearless Leader to travel via net.thingee to 
Looniearth-B. There, they found that the humanoid void known as the 
Exponential Man had already arrived and had begun its process of 
expanding to consume the entirety of Looniverse-B - beginning with the sun.
  Now read on:

Roll Call (with the faces of the characters beside their names):
Legion of Net.Heroes   (of Looniearth-A)
  Fearless Leader
  Fourth Wall Lass
  Johnny Stomper
  Limp-Asparagus Lad
  Lurker Lad
  Retcon Lad

League of Heroes   (of Looniearth-B)
  Hero Lad
  Limp-Asparagus Lass
  Mysterious Man
  Proto Lad
  Psi Girl

and guest starring:
  Lord Vincent Stomper   (of Looniearth-AA)
  Lean-Apples Lad   (of Looniearth-I)

  There were a few members of the League of Heroes about the LoHHQ, as 
well as some other net.heroes. It seemed that the place was being used 
as a co-ordinating center for heroes against Looniearth-B's rapidly 
deteriorating condition, and there were people coming and going almost 
  The LoH's leader, Hero Lad, had brought the newly arrived Legion of 
Net.Heroes members to the League's war room for a briefing and debriefing.
  This suited Fearless Leader quite well. It was a peculiarity of his 
position that while he preferred a thorough intelligence report on a 
situation in order to make a proper strategic situation, he only 
occasionally got it. After all, he was no longer in the military. He 
was in a net.hero team. And standard procedure for net.heroes was usually 
to rush straight into a problem and punch the villain's lights out. It 
was still something that bemused him a little, even after all these years.
  Despite being relatively new to the LNH's membership, Fearless Leader 
had had years of experience in net.heroing, mainly as the head of a 
Legion of Net.Heroes in _yet another_ parallel looniearth; one that had 
recently been destroyed by spham. [_Stranger Tales_ #4-7 - Footnote Girl] 
It was this accumulated experience which had prompted Ultimate Ninja 
to appoint Fearless Leader as deputy leader of the Legion after the 
outcome of the most recent leadership vote. [_1995 RACCies_ - Footnote Girl]
  A few seats away, Limp-Asparagus Lad sat down after having given his 
report, although his currently enlarged mass gave him a second or so of 
problems trying to fit properly into his chair. Like Fearless Leader, 
the Man of Dull had a preference for knowing the facts of a situation 
and then using them to create a coherent offence and defence (rather 
than just summarising so that the readers in the audience knew who the 
badguys were, what their net.ahuman abilities were, and what fiendish 
schemes they had concocted). L-ALad had just given a precise and concise 
summation for the benefit of the Leaguers, outlining the events leading 
up to the arrival of the LNH team on Looniearth-B, which you in the 
audience already know about because you've read both _Lurker Lad_ #5 
and this issue's 'What Has Gone Before' blurb, right?
  Hero Lad said, "Thank you, Limp-Asparagus Lad. I guess that covers 
things from your end. Which brings us to what has been occurring here. 
In simple terms, things look grim. The Exponential Man ate the sun less 
than a day ago, and the Looniearth is already beginning to freeze solid. 
Worse, it looks like he's going to keep on expanding until he consumes 
the entire Looniverse. Limp-Asparagus Lass will give us the full details."
  Around the table the Maid of Dull stood up. Beside her Looniearth-B's 
Fan.Boy gave her hand a reassuring squeeze, to which she gave a brief 
and clinical acknowledgment before stepping to the head of the table.
  "The being that we have come to refer to as the Exponential Man 
appears to be a humanoid-shaped void, at least partially extradimensional 
in nature, with a propensity for consuming all matter and energy that it 
comes in contact with. It doubles in size on average every one hundred 
and seventy six minutes, with a leeway of plus or minus eleven minutes. 
Given the information provided by Fan.Boy, Lord Stomper and Lean-Apples 
Lad on the nature of the Exponential Man's attack on other universes, 
it seems we can anticipate no end to this growth pattern until the 
entirety of Looniverse-B is consumed.
  "The Exponential Man was first detected some thirty-eight hours ago, 
at a point on the far side of the sun and skewed slightly to one side." 
She taped a few keys on the consol before her and brought up an image 
on the display screen at the front of the room. "This first view was, 
naturally, obscured by the glare from the sun, but computer enhancement 
gives us this picture." She pointed to the upright, vaguely oblong shape 
to the right of the masked-off disc of the sun. It was black against the 
star-field, and interestingly there didn't seem to be any blurred outline 
of stars that would indicate gravitational lensing. "At this point the 
Exponential Man was some 6 thousand kilometres tall, approximately 
twenty percent as large again as the planet Mercury.
  "Over the next twenty-four hours it increased in size in eight 
discrete increments, finally consuming the sun. This created an incidental 
but no less catastrophic problem. By cutting off the Looniearth's source 
of heat and light, it has sent the planet into an ice age. Even if the 
expansion of the Exponential Man were slow enough to actually allow time 
for it, this world would become uninhabitable for life as we know it 
within approximately another twenty-seven hours.
  "Hasn't it been a bit quick for the plant's temperature to drop so 
fast?" protested Lean-Apples Lad. "I mean, the oceans alone should be 
an enormous heat reservoir. The circulation of currents like the Gulf 
Stream should keep things stable for at least the day needed to drive 
off the E-Man and get the sun back."
  "Most likely conventional physics are being overridden by Drama," 
noted Limp-Asparagus Lad, somewhat disapprovingly.
  Fearless Leader looked sharply at the Man of Dull. Naturally he was 
aware of Limpy's antipathy to Drama; but as long he had known the mutant 
net.hero it had always been a clinical, logical dislike. That last remark 
had almost been... What? Distaste?
  Fearless Leader had heard muted innuendo from the Legion Rumour Mill 
that the mysterious departure of Redemption at the end of the Leftovers 
arc had been because Limp-Asparagus Lad had done something unspeakable 
to him - possibly even killed him. The Ultimate Ninja knew the truth of 
the situation, and had retained the Man of Dull, so the LNH Deputy had 
more or less ignored the gossip. Now he began to wonder if the rumours 
that Limp-Asparagus Lad was having trouble controlling himself may have 
some basis in truth.
  Filing the thought away for future investigation, Fearless Leader said, 
"Unfortunately true. The readers of comic books like their catastrophes 
condensed into manageable pieces. If this story was set in the past and 
being told through flashback, then a long-drawn history of suffering 
could be compressed into a short description. Since this is happening 
on-panel we're getting the reverse effect: the actual duration of the 
events is being compressed to more or less match the duration of the 
narration, meaning a rapid advance to the brink of destruction."
  Limp-Asparagus Lass nodded. "All the conventional indicators of the 
onset of an ice age - except for albedo, which has been rendered 
irrelevant due to the lack of light to reflect back into space - has 
been greatly hastened. Blizzard conditions have isolated most 
communities; plant deaths and crop failures have already reached grave 
levels; the interior of the planet is beginning to cool and congeal; and 
glaciation is already under way. The size of the Alt.arctic ice sheet 
alone has already increased by seven percent."
  Johnny Stomper frowned. "Why should the loss of sunlight affect the 
Looniearth's interior temperature? Most of the planet's internal heat 
comes from natural radioactive decay."
  "I believe I can answer that," said Lord Vincent. "It has to do with 
the principles of magical sympathy. The spirit of the Looniearth, 
Mother News.Gaeat, has dominion over all the natural world, being the 
embodiment of the life-force of the planet. That doesn't just include 
the biosphere driven by sunlight on the surface of the world. It 
includes the whole planet; surface, crust, mantle, and molten core."
  Psi Girl sighed and poked out her tongue with a 'bleah' of disgust. 
"And of course, it would be too much to hope that the heat of the 
planet's interior could flow back up the link, allowing News.Gaeat to 
maintain the organic life on the surface for an extended period even if 
photosynthesis can't take place."
  "I'm afraid not," confirmed Lord Stomper. "Drama again, I'm sad to say."
  Retcon Lad gave a grim and ironic grin. "Fanboy logic. Doncha love it."
  Lord Vincent looked at him, "Fanboy logic _is_ one of the basic 
principles of the looniverses." Across the table Fan.Boy didn't look 
to happy with this accolade. Lord Vincent turned back to Limp-Asparagus 
Lass and the rest of the group. "That would also tend to explain why 
the oceans are beginning to freeze so quickly. Normally they _would_ 
constitute an enormous heat reserve, and would actually retard the 
effects. However, with the crisis at hand causing with the soul of the 
world to succumb, the effects are being propagated faster than mere 
physics would normally allow."
  Fourth Wall Lass shifted in her seat. "You mentioned that the 
Exponential Man would destroy the Looniearth first. What sort of time 
frame are we looking at to stop him?" And of course it was automatically 
assumed that they would stop it, somehow. After all, they were 
net.heroes; it was unthinkable that they would fail.
  "At this point the Exponential Man is some three billion kilometres 
tall, easily taller than the orbit of the Looniearth, but not as wide. If 
its projected growth rates hold correct, it will consume the Looniearth 
in approximately another seven and a half hours - within three more 
increments of increase, and the entire Looniverse within seven days. 
Then, apparently, it will move on to Looniverse-A."
  Around the table there was a stirring at this calm pronouncement of 
doom. The Legionnaires were in states that, at the mildest, were very 
surprised. The Leaguers expressions were set in grim masques of 
  As L-ALass returned to her seat, Hero Lad took the floor again. "And 
that's about it. The League is making arrangements for an attack on the 
Exponential Man in about half an hours time. The plan is for a psionic 
assault to force the E-Man back along the path it took to get here, 
hopefully restoring the sun, and with any luck the other universes it 
swallowed along the way."
  "Uh... I hate to be a doom merchant," offered Retcon Lad, "but when 
the Overmind tried that on the Nth Man in the Squadron Supreme graphic 
novel, his head went 'boom'."
  Hero Lad nodded grimly. "We've taken that into consideration. Apart 
from the fact that Psi Girl will be fronting for a world.wide.mind.web 
of every psi we could muster on this planet, they'll also be protected 
with a positively charged piece of plot devicium. In order to get enough 
of it we had to take Celestial Kid off of his project to heat Net.ropolis 
with energy from 'negative molecular motion'."
  [The next page is very George Perez in layout. It has a thin vertical 
panel without borders running down the left hand side, showing Hero Lad 
in profile. The rest of the page has four horizontal panels, each of them 
bleeding out from the shadows at the back of Hero Lad's image.] The LoH 
Leader said, "Meanwhile, we've got most of the net.heroes on earth doing 
relief work - for when we finally get rid of the Exponential Man and turn 
the sun back on." As he says this the other four panels, each with 
rounded borders, shows events happening more or less simultaneous with 
Hero Lad's pronouncement:
  In Slightly-Off-Center-City, L-Force (Tongue-O, Baseball Boy, Super 
Mucous Membrane Man, and Fingernail Man) were rescuing people from a 
car pile-up that had occurred on the slippery, snow-covered roads.
  Outside of Net.ropolis, Molecular Lad and Mighty Boy delivered much 
needed medical supplies to an impromptu refugee shelter.
  In, the Sensory Squad aided rescue services in finding the 
victims of a collapsed building, suing their heightened senses to detect 
both life signs and bodies under the rubble.
  And high above Net.ropolis, Virtue guided gently toward the ground a 
jet aeroplane whose wings had iced up.
  (Back at the briefing). "So, that's it," concluded Hero Lad. "Any 
further questions?"
  "Well, it would be nice to know why this Mysterious Person sent 
Fan.Boy et al over to Looniearth-A to get help from the Legion but 
didn't give any details," mused Fourth Wall Lass. She turned to He 
Whose Enthusiasm For Net.Hero Comics Knows No Bounds and asked, "Do you 
have any idea who he was or what he was intending?"
  "I'm afraid not," Fan.Boy lied.
  Fourth Wall Lass looked thoughtful. "If we had more time I would have 
liked to cross the fourth wall and go back to have a good look at who 
he was and where he gets his information." This observation caused 
Fan.Boy, Lord Stomper and Lean-Apples Lad much anxiety, but they hid 
it well. Then FWLass shrugged. "Oh well. Can't be helped I suppose."
  Proto Kid spoke up. "I have to admit I'm intrigued by the method Lord 
Stomper used to drive off the E-Man before. Could such a thing be done 
  Lord Vincent Stomper considered. "Probably not. Not only is the level 
of available retcotheric energy in this universe lower than at home, 
but the Exponential Man has increased in both size and power. I doubt 
if there is any purely magical method to create a plot hole both large 
enough and powerful to push it through. Mind you, it's not another 
_physical_ hole that we need. We don't just want to be rid of this entity 
- that would still leave you without a sun. We need to reverse its path."
  "A plot hole does not need to be a physical portal," Ultra agreed. 
"All it needs to be is a rationale for an otherwise implausible 
  "Yes," the Enchanter's Explainer said, now looking contemplative. "It 
takes a considerable amount of magic to make physical changes in the 
world, but affecting someone's mind - with illusions and charms and 
geases - that would take less power."
  "If you create a plot hole with the help of Retcon Lad and Mysterious 
Man, you an use it to booster Psi Girl's mind.web," suggested Fearless 
Leader. He cast a look at the latter three. Psi Girl nodded; this plan 
actually seemed to be becoming more workable as it was refined. Retcon 
Lad saw no real problems with it; as long as he had some sort of quasi-
plausible rationale to work with he would be fine. Mysterious Man, being 
mysterious, just nodded.
  Lurker Lad spoke up. "It might be an idea to call up Plot Device King 
as well."
  "As I recall, he left the Legion for solo net.heroing in parts unknown 
in _Net.Titans_ #37," said Limp-Asparagus Lad. "Is it plausible to 
attempt to find him in the time that is left to us?"
  "It's worth a try," said Lord Stomper, perhaps a little too hastily. 
Then, more calmly, he explained, "It will still take some considerable 
power to create a plot hole capable of affecting the mind of an entity 
several billion miles tall." Then to Lurker Lad he asked, "Do you 
have anything that belongs to or relates to him that I could use for a 
summoning spell?"
  Lurker Lad thought. "He still has his flight-ring.thingee. They were 
specific to the Net.Titans subgroup. Would that do?"
  Lord Stomper nodded.
  Around the table Fan.Boy and Lean-Apples Lad felt immense relief. Plot 
Device King _would_ be involved in this after all.

  Meanwhile, back on Looniearth-A
  The doors to the LNHQ foyer opened. Kyoko looked up and spied a seven 
foot tall, green coloured, extremely hairy semi-humanoid with bat-like 
wings, pointy ears, and fangs knuckling towards her. She sighed. 
.oO(Another supervillain,) she guessed.
  Nevertheless, she went through the spiel. "Hello. Welcome to the Legion 
of Net.Heroes' Headquarters. Would you please specify whether: A) You 
are here to apply for membership of the Legion, in which we have a 
membership applications that you will have to fill out before we can 
begin testing your net.ahuman abilities. Or B) You are here to request 
help from the Legion, in which case we will need to know the nature of 
your emergency before a suitable strike force can be assembled. Or 
C) You are a supervillain here to attack the Legion, in which case we 
have several rostered net.heroes on standby to engage you in the 
confrontation or gratuitous fight scene of your choice."
  The giant hairy wossname sat patiently through this, carefully 
listening to the options. When Kyoko had finished, it rumbled, "None 
of those. I'm called Garbage Guts, and I'm here to visit Retcon Lad and 
Fan.Boy. Are they about?"

  The assembled net.heroes watched Lord Stomper prepare for the summoning 
spell. He was making a few suitably occult looking preparations, then 
began to chant.
  Then, as pre-arranged, Retcon Lad began to concentrate to bend 
probabilities towards maximising the mage's success (poking his tongue 
out with the effort of concentration as he did so). There seemed to be 
some type of feedback; no doubt because of the difficulties of rummaging 
around in other dimensions to find Plot Device King. Then Mysterious 
Man joined in as well, and Retcon Lad felt the resistance lessen. 
Mysterious Man refused to say exactly what he was doing, or how, but 
there was no doubt that he was certainly making things easier.
  And then, almost anticlimactically, Plot Device King appeared. He 
looked about. "What's going on here?"
  "Hello PDK," said Lurker Lad, stepping forward. "We've got a bit of 
a problem, and we were hoping you could help us out with it."

  To be concluded in 'Attack Of The 50 Million Foot Tall Man', Part 3 of 
the Crisis on Looniearth-B in _Lurker Lad_ #6.

Appendix: Ask The Answer Maniac

Q: What's the history of Looniearth-B?

A: Looniearth-B is another existing in a parallel looniverse 
to the one that the mainstream Legion of Net.Hero stories take place 
in (Looniearth-A, among other designations). The two of them nominally 
share a relationship similar to Earth-1 and Earth-2 did in the pre-Crisis 
DC Multiverse.
  Looniearth-B's first appearance was in the _Net.League of Heroes_. 
This series, which ran under the LNH/LF imprint, was never archived. 
The NLH was notable for the fluidity of their team roster (as was it's 
successor, the League of Heroes), and for the fact that during their 
nearly three score issue run between October 1994 and January 1995 they 
faced no less than three universe-imperilling cosmic crises, the third 
of which destroyed Looniverse-B - although it was later brought back 
in _League of Heroes_ #2.
  The first was 'Forever's End' (_NLH_ #11-16) which saw the teaming 
up of the NLH with the world war II era heroes of Looniearth-B the Golden 
Agency, the Sorcerers Society of Looniearth-H, the Net.Squadron of 
Looniearth-F, and the Phantom Fighters of Looniearth-Z. The latter three 
worlds were all destroyed in the course of the story arc by the cosmic 
machinations of Master Retcon before he in turn was destroyed in battle.
  The second was slightly misnamed 'Titans of Two Worlds' (_NLH_ #35-37, 
with a prologue of sorts in #34). The survivors of the four guest-star 
groups from #11-16 were revealed to have formed a new Golden Agency and 
travelled to a new world: Looniearth-Y, a still trapped in 
world war II. The NLH, the Golden Agency, and the Net.Man family of 
Looniearth-D teamed up against the mutual threat of the Matrix, and 
defeated it, but only after the destruction of Looniearths -Y and -D. 
The surviving heroes reformed the NLH, although many of the survivors 
from other net.earths would leave for other dimensions again in #43.
  Finally, Looniearth-B, and its universe, were destroyed in #54 as a 
result of a battle between Paradox and Timeslip, with the latter managing 
to spirit the nearby NLHers to safety on Looniearth-A. This group 
included the alien mystic from the planet New Vulcan known as Apparition. 
Apparition was to would stay on Looniearth-A and join the Legion of 
Net.Heroes as Kid Mysticism after the rest of the NLHers departed 
  In _League of Heroes_ (still under the LNH/LF imprint) #2 the NLHers 
picked up a few companions from Looniearth-W (a world devastated by 
flamewars) before discovering the universe of Looniearth-B which had 
been recreated in the Reboot.
  The extent to which _any_ of the above history of Looniearth-B is 
relevant post-Reboot is debatable.
  In #3 the members of the Net.League of Heroes reorganised themselves 
into the League of Heroes.
  Thereafter followed more adventures alongside other net.hero groups 
from Looniearth-B (the League of Alt.ernate Heroes and the L.E.A.G.U.E. 
in 'Looniversal Midnight' in _LoH_ #7-10) and from other universes (the 
Newbie League of Looniverse-VS in _LoH_ #17). In the meantime a number 
of tangential series ran for short runs: the LoHer Crimson Continuity 
Crusader got his own title of the same name, _Kid Quick_, _Molecular 
Lad_, _Sensory Squad_, and _L-Force_ (the latter by Brian Ekberg).

Character Credits:
  Fearless Leader and Kyoko are Public Domain.
  Fourth Wall Lass and Retcon Lad created by Saxon Brenton. So are the 
Exponential Man and Limp-Asparagus Lass, who were created with Ben 
Rawluk's help.
  Garbage Guts created by Saxon Brenton. Based on concepts ultimately 
deriving from WEG's Torg role playing game.
  Johnny Stomper created by Josh Geurnik.
  Limp-Asparagus Lad owned by Saxon Brenton. Created by Mystic 
Mongoose (Robert Armstrong) and wReam (Ray Bingham (Chaos and Entropy 
  Lurker Lad is Public Domain, reserved by Ben Rawluk.
  L-Force created by Brian Ekberg.
  Lean-Apples Lad, Lord Vincent Stomper, Ultra and pretty much everybody 
else on Looniearth-B not already cited created by Ben Rawluk.

  All characters copyright 1997 their owners and/or creators.

Add Notes:
  Garbage Guts last appeared in _Limp-Asparagus Lad_ #17, during the 
visit to as part of the crossover with _Fan.Boy_

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