A DARK AND HELLISH PLANET by JOHN LAVERNOICH

Featuring characters and concepts created by JERRY SIEGEL, JOE SHUSTER, JACK KIRBY, JOHN BROOME, GARDNER FOX & GIL KANE

As it was for past millenniums – and as it still is today – the universe contained many mysteries that remain unanswered and unsolved, far beyond the reach of even Earth's most esteemed and intelligent scientists and historians. But then, the universe's origins had always been open to interpretation – the kind that was subject to constant and subsequent revision, given the advances in scientific technology, which partly resulted in the unearthing of new and tangible evidence that gave new perspectives on the universe's origins, and how its past would shape both its present and possible future.

But the origins of some planets in the known universe, and how they came to exist, are among those mysteries that may never be solved – for example, Wexr II. How and why it came into being remained a mystery centuries after it first came into being – yet, most of the universe agreed that Wexr II first appeared over ten million years ago, not long after the renegade Oan scientist known as Krona was determined to learn the origins of the universe, an act that would have terrible consequences that no one could have predicted, including the Oans who would become the Guardians of the Universe, who would create first the Manhunter androids, then the Green Lantern Corps, to combat the varied evil that Krona's actions had unleashed, including the emergence of the anti-matter universe that included its chief planet, Qward, which would unsuccessfully attempt to destroy its positive counterpart centuries later.

From the first day that it came into being, the murderous dictator and warlord called Kral ruled Wexr II with an iron fist, one that was frequently bloodied. From the very beginning, Kral and the rest of Wexr II's population were dedicated to only one goal – namely, the conquest of the entire universe, through violent aggression and intimidation. Both the technology and weaponry that Wexr II used in its attempts to rule the universe was far advanced than any belonging to every other planet that existed, including Maltus and Oa, where the legend of the Guardians of the Universe was born.

Wexr II frequently attempted to force peaceful planets to help it rule the universe – and those planets who didn't cooperate with Wexr II were quickly destroyed; the same fate also applied to those few planets who foolishly cooperated, thinking that they'd be spared by Kral and his warrior armies – a vain hope in more ways than one. It didn't matter to Wexr II that the universe that they wanted to conquer had no tangible and rational grudge against it – in point of fact, Wexr II considered its population to be racially and genetically superior to every other being in the universe, a warped belief born out of both fanaticism and insanity. In other words, Wexr II was determined to rule the universe for nothing more than furthering both the glory and selfish ends of both the maniacal planet and its equally maniacal ruler – and they didn't care who they slaughtered in the process in order to achieve their sick ends.

But there were those planets that had not only the firepower, but also the resolve and backbone to stand up to both Kral and Wexr II – and more often than not, their collective populations succeeded in preventing the aggressors from turning them into either slaves or rotting corpses. Still, over the next seven billion years, even the Guardians of the Universe realized that the evil that threatened the universe – including that represented by Wexr II – might actually achieve final victory, thus sealing the fates of untold billions. It was this realization that would prompt the Guardians to create the Manhunter androids, which would fight evil throughout the galaxy – including the terror unleashed by both Kral and Wexr II – for the next half-a-billion years.

A year before they turned renegade, the Manhunters were sent by the Guardians to stop both Kral and Wexr II from waging an all-out assault on the universe, in order to force it to surrender to both the planet and its mad ruler. What happened next would be clouded in mystery for centuries to come – but one thing was clear: when it was all over, the Manhunters had succeeded in crushing not only Wexr II's plans, but also seriously crippling Kral and his armies (in more ways than one).

It would be several years before both Kral and Wexr II fully recovered from their crushing defeat at the hands of the Manhunters – which only served to further reinforce their determination to rule the universe. By that time, the Manhunters were left to their own devices after their unsuccessful attempt to conquer Oa and eliminate the Guardians – the androids themselves no longer considered a threat to the universe. Or so the universe thought, since the Manhunters had already started to make plans to not only get their revenge on the Guardians for disowning them – but also eventually conquer the universe that they once protected, a multi-faceted plan that would someday end in failure and ultimately seal their doom. Of course, the fact that the Manhunters were out of the way didn't matter to both Kral and Wexr II, who were more determined than ever to conquer the universe.

Several years after being defeated by the Manhunters, both Kral and Wexr II resumed their goal to conquer the universe. For this latest bid, Kral and Wexr II would force the planet Krypton and its inhabitants to first surrender, then aid them in their efforts to force the rest of the universe to bend to their will. The main reason why Wexr II had planned to use Krypton as a pawn in its plans was because the latter planet's inhabitants gained super powers under a yellow sun (they had no super powers under Krypton's red sun), a fact that Wexr II was well aware since an army of Kryptonians would help them conquer all the other planets in the universe and eliminate anyone who was foolish enough to oppose them – including the Guardians of Oa.

But Wexr II's plan to force Krypton to help them conquer the universe never reached fruition – because several hours after one of Wexr II's spaceships destroyed a fleet of cargo ships and their crews, the Guardians of the Universe sent the Green Lantern Corps to first intercept said spaceship, then head to Wexr II to stop Kral and his armies from carrying out their warped plans – the full details of which have yet to be told. By battle's end, both Kral and Wexr II suffered an even greater defeat at the hands of the Green Lantern Corps than they did at the hands of the Manhunters several years before, leaving both the planet and its inhabitants in even worse shape than before. Of course, Krypton never learned that they almost became pawns in an alien despot's plot to conquer the universe – which was a good thing for both the planet and the rest of the universe.

After Wexr II's defeat at the hands of the Green Lantern Corps, the universe slowly forgot all memories of both the planet and its inhabitants for over the next three billion years (and possibly beyond), mainly because they thought that both Kral and Wexr II were no longer a threat to every other planet in the cosmos. Even the Guardians of the Universe and the Green Lantern Corps forgot about Kral and Wexr II – mainly because they had to contend with other threats to the universe over those many centuries, including the Green Lantern Corps' predecessors, the Manhunters.

As for the dark and hellish planet called Wexr II, it still existed – despite the fact that most of its population and its natural resources had been seriously depleted, the end result of long centuries of waging bloody and unprovoked warfare. The final fate of Kral remained unknown to all but a higher authority that no doubt disapproved of both the despot and his actions, and might have sent his dark soul to outer space's equivalent of the hell that just about everybody on Earth has learned from various sources (including most of the church sermons that were heard every Sunday morning) – that is, if Kral really died long ago.

But did Kral's possible death spell the end of Wexr II? Or was it possible that the planet – and its centuries-old goal – might be resurrected someday, the prologue to a new age that might be even more darker than what happened centuries before when Krona's quest for knowledge opened an intergalactic Pandora's Box that continues to haunt the universe to this very day?

Only the future could answer these and other questions, including one that would -- and should -- give all cause for concern: Will the aforementioned future bring about the universe's possible – and perhaps final downfall?

All characters and concepts mentioned in this story are the respective trademarks and properties of DC Comics ©2006