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Superheroes – Once upon a Time in 1967 – Issue 4 – When the Going gets Weird

21 September, 2020

Fox's Den, er, PenthouseIn the weeks following Issue 3:

Cover: Each of the characters in their own section, Vulpix on her penthouse balcony, Roboto arm wresting Sgt Steel, Horizon by a hospital bed, 808 poring over photographs of UFOs and Shadowfist talking with a shadowy figure on a rooftop.

Opening page:  Vulpix and her uncle looking over photos of the team and others superheroes spread out on a table, Mission: Impossible style.

Next page: Vulpix has approached her Uncle, who is the costumed le Renard Noir, to improve her training regime and to learn how to lead the team more effectively.  He agrees to work with her on such, including access to the family’s achieves of working with paranormals across the years and reminds Vulpix that her cousin, Jacque, stands ready to aid her as an assistant should she wish.  She demurs the offer of her cousin’s help, not feeling enough of a hero to take on the responsibility of a sidekick yet, but throws herself into training and study.  So a page of scenes of her doing physical training, reading books, watching films of past superteams and finally collapsing into bed.

Meanwhile Roboto and Prof Van Dyne, who is now working for the Substitute Materials Division of Diamond Industries, are settling into their new secure basement Apartment near the ferry terminal.  Van Dyne is happy to no longer be on the run but the protection of Diamond Industries, and Jack Diamond, does come with some strings.

Such as Roboto getting inspected and tested by the US Army’s Special Equipment Division, to set him at ease the hero Lt. Steel (last seen in Issue #19 of Heroes Inc) is there as well.  So Roboto gets a page of him lifting an ever-increasing set of weights, running alongside a jeep, arm-wrestling Lt Steel and so on with scientists watching on.

Horizon finally gives in to his conscience and agrees to visit Ion, his best friend whom he accidentally crippled when his powers first manifested.  So, he visits Misericordia Hospital (in the Bronx), where Ion is still under care in the company of Mirella, Ion’s younger sister.  The meeting is emotionally charged and ultimately Ion forgives Horizon and encourages him to be a hero “just come and visit me sometimes.”  Horizon agrees to do so and bring comic books next time.  Mirella thanks Horizon, saying that she had not seen Ion so happy since the accident.

Agent 808 aka “Bob” is put into contact with the NY Police by Jack Diamond about some odd things that have been showing up around the city, weird technology that seems to have extra-terrestrial origins.  808 interviews Cameroon Burton, a NY College freshman, who was taken into custody after rocket boots ran out of fuel.  He explains that he purchased them in the back room of a party where an unusual woman, who went by the name of Miss Ood, was selling bizarre and strange items.  This worries 808 as “Ood” is a term from his home, standing for Out Of Dimension items, implying that she knows of his home or may even be from there.

808 is also interviewed by Edward Condon as part of his upcoming Condon Report for the USAF on the existence of UFOs (which will come to a radically different conclusion from the one in our world) asking him to weigh in if some of the reported UFOs may be extra-dimensional rather than extraterrestrial.

Shadowfist is spending her time practicing and patrolling the streets, noting that minor crime is up and there is an air of tension among the various gang members.  One day, she hears a thump, thump coming from a rooftop.  She climbs up to investigate and finds a young woman in a black cat suit and domino mask with implied cat’s ears bouncing a rubber ball.  “I thought you were never going to make it.”  She tosses the ball to Shadowfist and explains that things are about to get bad in the city, Mr Magister and his Regulators (first seen in Heroes Inc, Issue #4), the only things keeping the Criminal Syndicates in check, have vanished.  All the gangs are preparing to make their play for a bigger slice of the Big Apple.  Things are going to get messy.  When asked who she is, she replies the Black Cat Kid and that a number to get a message to her is written on the ball.  With that she does a backward leap off the roof to land on a passing uptown bus.  “I’ve got to learn that trick,” says Shadowfist and set to organizing a meet with the team.

Chicago TypewriterThey meet at a downtown Automat (because I like Automats) and Shadowfist passes on the big news about the upcoming mob war.  They are discussing the implications when an alarm goes off at the Empire State Bank a block away.  By the time they get there a bunch of big guys in masks and striped shirts are throwing bags of money into the open back of a van.  As our heroes arrive a gorilla sized man carrying a safe and another man in a classic gangster’s pinstripe suit carrying a Thompson sub-machine gun without a clip.  They are “Tommy Gun” Carbinari, who can manifest bullet for any firearm he holds, Ape, large and as strong as a gorilla and possibly as smart, the strip shirted thugs are the Dugan Brothers, muscle for hire.  The heroes takes them down surprisingly quickly and efficiently without the villains even having much time to react.

End of Issue 4.

Notes: Plot building and a surprisingly quick fight to wrap things up, sometimes the players just roll too well to sustain a long confrontation . . .

Upper photo penthouse apartment from 6sqft used without permission.  Lower photo Thompson Submachine Gun, Model 1928A1, stored in a violin case by C. Corleis found on Wikimedia Commons and used under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

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