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From the journals of The Scarab, February 2nd, 2009

"A team is forming around me again. Once again, like-minded individuals flock to my banner. I admit no small amount of hesitance this time around. The Freedom League was simlutaneously my greatest success and my most damning failure. The world's greatest heroes, with their strength united under one creed, saved the world from certain doom time and time again. But at what cost? Do the people I helped save truly absolve me for the people I got killed? Would they have just died sooner without my guidance? Or might they have avoided such a fate altogether, but for my misguided interference? How long until I get these new heroes killed?"

"The worst part, the part I can't bring myself to admit to anyone, is that my motives for founding a new team of outsiders are not entirely pure. Sure, I give lip-service to the idea of handling the problems the Freedom League couldn't, wouldn't, or shouldn't take on. Sure, I see the value to a separation and balance of power. But I spend far too much time in my own head to delude myself like that. Let's be honest for a moment - I haven't petitioned the new League for membership because I can't face them. I've stared down demons and gods without flinching, and I'm terrified at the idea of trying to explain to my former comrades and their proteges why I wasn't there to aid them in their time of greatest need. Why Centurion and so many other heroes fought and bled and died while I was too busy fretting about scoring tickets to see Rage Against The Machine. As if any explanation could possibly suffice."

"I can't do it. I just can't."

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The Scarab: Rebirth

"MWAHAHAHAHAH!!!"

In his secret fortress, deep beneath the Arctic, Wilhelm Kantor, former mystical master of the Third Reich, formerly known as "Tan'Aktor" and now known as "OverShadow," cackled with sadistic glee as he indulged in his favorite activity: Torturing his eternal nemesis, formerly known as "Heru-Ra, Prince of Egypt," now going by the name "Alexander Rhodes." Or, as he was more commonly known, "The Scarab."

"ARRRRGH!!!"

The menacing armored figure stood over his vanquished foe, one hand clenched in a triumphant fist in the air, while the other traced the outline of a magical sigil. The spectral image of Rhodes knelt before him, bound in glowing chains as translucent as his own form. Other runes of power lined the dungeon chamber around him. OverShadow pounded his fist against the sigil again, and again, foul red lightning arced up from the runes and slammed against the captive soul of Alexander Rhodes. Rhodes screamed in agony.

"At last! After five-thousand years of chasing each other around the globe, I have my foe at my mercy! And OVERSHADOW shows no mercy!" He pounded the sigil again, and again. "Finally, I hold your spirit within my grasp! And nothing in this world or any other gives me greater pleasure than your inescapable torment! At last, I have defied the gods of old! Their punishment, their edicts, hold sway over me no longer!"

Rhodes glared at his eternal foe. Thirty years of this Hell. A lesser man would have broken by now. But I am not a lesser man! I am Prince Heru-Ra! I am Alexander Rhodes! I AM THE SCARAB! And I will have justice, no matter how many lifetimes it takes!

"At last, I have recovered, and reclaimed my rightful place at the head of S.H.A.D.O.W.! And now, with The Scarab out of the way, THE WORLD IS MINE!!! MWAHAHAHAHAH!!! But before my armies overrun the land, there is one last task left to perform. One last act of vengeance!" OverShadow held forth a golden amulet in the shape of a scarab beetle, set with a giant ruby in the center. He invoked more dark powers, and the soul of The Scarab was sucked into the gem. "I have destroyed your body! I have enslaved your soul! But now, you shall watch, helplessly, as I destroy your legacy as well!"

For over a year, the newspapers of Freedom City had been plastered with photographs and headlines concerning the new Scarab, who had debuted on the thirtieth anniversary of her predecessor's valiant sacrifice. The public, and the Freedom League of America, were skeptical at first, but after twelve months of putting crooks behind bars, telekinetically pulling kittens down from trees, and separating lies from truth, Elena Guerrero managed to win them over. So it was at Freedom Hall, one year later, where Centurion, Lady Liberty, Daedalus and the rest, gathered to officially induct her into the Freedom League of America.

The azure-&-gold clad champion of Truth, Justice, and the American way spoke before the assembled crowd of heroes, reporters, and curious citizens gathered to see the ceremony. "It is with great pleasure that I hereby declare The Scarab, the second hero to bear that proud legacy, a full member of the Freedom League of America, with all the privileges and responsibilities therein!" He handed her an FLA ID card and badge, and shook her hand, while the onlookers erupted into applause and cameras flashed. "I am deeply honored, and in the coming days I will strive to prove worthy of the trust, not only of the League, but of the city and the nation as well!"

The Centurion stepped over to the FLA supercomputer. "Now, if you'll just choose a password and type it in here, you'll have full access to our mainframe." Guerrero walked over to the keyboard, and suddenly, behind her mask, her jaw fell slack and her eyes glazed over. "Initiating Plan Omega-Six!" she shouted. She typed rapidly, and suddenly lights flashed and alarms sounded throughout Freedom Hall. "What is the meaning of this?!" demanded Lady Liberty. But before anyone could act, Guerrero spun around and threw her hands in the air. The gem pulsed with crimson light, and the eyes of everyone in the room suddenly glowed to match.

The chrome helm of OverShadow appeared on the giant monitor above the FLA supercomputer. His laughter echoed across the room. "HAHAHAHAH!!! Fools, you fell into my trap!" Dozens of men with submachineguns stormed into the hall, every one of them wearing the black, grey, and red uniform of S.H.A.D.O.W.! "Now my agents have slipped past your defenses, and your every device is a weapon of war in my hands! Trusting fools, weaklings, so wracked with grief for your fallen comrade, so eager to believe in his return! Now, with the power of The Scarab at my command, amplified by my dark magics, I yoke even the might of the Freedom League of America to my will! Nothing can stand in my way! First, Freedom City, then, THE WORLD! HAHAHAHAHAH!!!"

The soul of Alexander Rhodes raged against his magical prison. NOOO!!! There must be a way! He concentrated, desperately fighting to pull some of his power back from the scarab amulet around Elena's neck, but it was no use. The amulet continued to siphon his mental strength away. But then Rhodes had an epiphany. Of course! Instead of fighting the flow, I can go with it! Use it! Rather than mentally digging his feet in as he hung on to his power, he kicked off, and let himself be swept away into Elena's mind.

A poor Mexican girl from the wrong side of the tracks...vulnerable, frightened, perfect for Kantor to take advantage of! That fiend! He slipped under OverShadow's brainwashing rather than trying to break through it. Elena, listen to me! If we work together, we can fight this! We can set you free, and make your mind your own again! He created the mental image for her of his hand taking hers. Don't be afraid. You can do it! Help me break these chains! Elena's inner self-image, dirty, sobbing, curled up into a ball, took The Scarab's hand, let him lift her to her feet, and nodded. "I will try."

Suddenly, the ruby in the scarab amulet around Elena's neck exploded! The soul of Alexander Rhodes flew free in an instant, hurtling up into the clouds. He stood before the gods of old - Ra, Horus, Isis, even Bast and Set.

Please, he begged as he knelt before them. It was my foolish pride, in making demands of the gods themselves, my arrogance in thinking that I knew justice better than you did, that brought the world to its knees. Now it stands upon a razor's edge. I implore you, this time as a humble servant, let me return to Earth. Let me make things right!

Your foe has made a mockery of our judgement. He is no longer bound by the wheel of reincarnation. Now, neither are you. Go forth, Heru-Ra, and see that justice is done!

Deep within The Scarab's Lair, flesh and bone which had not stirred in thirty years now burst awake. Perfectly preserved by the super-science of Daedalus, the body of Alexander Rhodes flung aside the cover of his sarcophagus and ran for his teleportal room.

"NOOO!!! IMPOSSIBLE!" OverShadow railed against the escape of his nemesis. "But no matter! I still control Freedom Hall, and the League still obeys my commands! Centurion, you shall be my general! You shall lead my great armies across the land, destroying all who oppose you, until the world recognizes OVERSHADOW as their master!"

"Not so fast!" shouted The Scarab. The real Scarab.

"YOU..." OverShadow's fists slammed upon his throne. "IT CANNOT BE...SCAAAARRRAAAABBB!!! SCAAARRRAAABBB!!!"

"That's right, OverShadow! The one and only! Back, and here to stay!" The Scarab went to work immediately, pushing his mind into those of his teammates, freeing them from Kantor's mental shackles. The sinister red glow faded from their eyes. "Like the dog in Aesop's fable, you overplayed your hand, Old Foe! And now you ignorance has cost you this day!" The SHADOW troops fired their weapons at The Scarab, but he held up his hand and they ricocheted harmlessly against empty air. With another wave of his hand, their guns were yanked out of their hands and thrown across the room. Finally, he pushed both hands out in front of him, and the SHADOW goons flew up against the wall on the far end of the room.

"Scarab! We can't believe you're back! How? Why? Welcome home! It's so great to see you!" The Scarab's former teammates fell over each other to shake his hand or hug him. The crowd, now free of OverShadow's mind control, cheered. "It's good to be back. I learned an important lesson in humility today. I think we all did."

In the heavens above, the gods of old stood over the Earth, watched The Scarab, and smiled and nodded approvingly.

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HellBlog

Brawls, Babes, & Badasses: The Life & Times of The Main Man

20 January 2011

This is not the man known as "Hellbound." This is a former teammate of his. I obtained his login information so that I could inform his readers of his fate. Hellbound is dead.

He did not die quickly. He did not die painlessly. But he did die well. He died as he would have preferred, as he lived: In combat, defending our city against the forces of Evil. I hope this knowledge brings some small consolation to his friends, fans, and loved ones. For a time, I called him "Comrade," and in that time, he acquitted himself well. He could be uncouth at times, even crude. But he also demonstrated great courage, and the will to sacrifice everything in the name of doing the right thing. Freedom City was better off with him than without him.

This will, of course, be the final entry in this journal. However, arrangements have been made to ensure that Hellbound's words will not be lost to the ether. This content will be transferred to a new site, http://www.hellbound.com, where it will be hosted in perpetuity. I will not reveal Hellbound's identity, on the off-chance that his loved ones might suffer reprisals from the criminals he has helped bring to justice over the years. But arrangements have been made for them as well. Financial compensation is cold comfort for the loss of a son or a brother, but those of us who fought alongside him owe them whatever security we can provide.

Hellbound.com has links for fast and easy donations in Hellbound's honor to dozens of different charity organizations. The Rhodes Foundation has graciously offered to match any such donations, dollar for dollar.

Rest In Peace.

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