Aero & Beam/Volume 1 is the first volume of the ongoing Fantendo - Drive series Aero & Beam. Taking place in 2018, the volume follows the events of Blank Out, focusing on Misfits members Amber "Aero" Arlen and her best friend Eliza "Beam" Baxter.
The series is intended to be smaller than sister project Fantendo - Gaiden: New Dawn, being a rather focused story that follows the same two characters consistently rather than jumping from character to character. Reception for the series has been (TBA).
"There's nothing glamorous about life for Aero and Beam, two rising stars within the organization of the Misfits. While dealing with missions and battling odd new threats, the two also must overcome the increasingly complex nature of their friendship."
1: You and Me
Aero's exam pits her against fellow Old School member Frostburn in a sparring match. We see Aero and Beam's first meeting.
Right after Issue 4 of Blank Out, we see Amber (Aero) and Eliza (Beam) sitting together in a bar. The two are out of their Misfits armor, and in casual clothing, both at a small table in the corner of the room. Amber has a fruity drink while Eliza has a beer.
- Amber: So, is this everything you expected?
- Eliza: The bar? Or the drink?
Amber smiles and sips her drink.
- Amber: Nah, being a Misfit, I mean.
- Eliza: Well, I did get my ass kicked, and I was seriously worried about my best friend's health, but besides that, yeah, it's pretty alright. You?
- Amber: It's not perfect, but it sure is real. We helped out that lady, think of how many people we can help out on a bigger mission, Liz.
- Eliza: I guess it's pretty cool.
- Amber: You guess??!! We have superpowers, we're part of a cool team, we're moving up the ranks, we're awesome!
Eliza laughs and the next few panels show them talking about random stuff and drinking, Amber downing a little too much of her fruit cocktail.
- Eliza: I think you've drank too much, Amb.
- Amber: I....you....I guess you're right. How are you not drunk?
- Eliza: I hold my alcohol better, duh.
Amber laughs loudly and snorts a little, Eliza covering her face in embarassment.
- Eliza: Alright, Amb, let's go.
Eliza gets up and throws some cash on the table. She helps Amber up, the taller woman leaning on her shoulder as they walk out of the bar.
- Amber: Hey, Liz...even if things get crazy, you're my best friend. Nothing's gonna change that. I promise. Pinky swear.
- Eliza: Yeah, Amb. Me too.
They walk outisde and Eliza holds up her hand for a cab to come and pick them up.
Amber wakes up in what is presumably their apartment inside the Misfits base. A panel shows it to be rather cramped but not of bad quality, and Eliza is seen sitting on her bed, eating peanut butter.
- Amber: The world is spinning, I feel like I haven't drunk anything for years, and I'm gonna throw up super hard. How are you?
- Eliza: Eating peanut butter.
Amber nods and gets up, running to the bathroom and throwing up. Eliza looks unfazed and lays back on her bed, putting a spoonful of peanut butter into her mouth.
- Amber: How did you pay last night? I don't remember paying. Oh god, what if we didn't pay?!
- Eliza: We payed, Amb. I laid some cash I got from your purse on the table.
- Amber: Why from my purse?
- Eliza: I don't have one, obviously.
Amber glares at Eliza after peeking out from the bathroom and then goes back to hurling. Eliza tries to supress a snicker.
- Amber: What was that laugh about?
- Eliza: That glare!
- Amber: What about me glaring at you is so wildly hilarious?
- Eliza: Nothing, it's just...I dunno.
Amber comes out of the bathroom and sits down on her bed, opposite of Eliza who sets down the jar of peanut butter.
- Eliza: Well, besides getting you some ginger ale, what the hell's on our schedule today?
- Amber: Not much. We have our first exams tomorrow, though.
- Eliza: Exams? Jesus Christ, for a group of superheroes this all feels like high school over again. I didn't do well in high school.
- Amber: You'll do fine! All you have is an obstacle course.
Eliza grunts and shrugs, Amber laying back on her bed.
- Eliza: I guess that's not as bad as a multiple-choice quiz. You?
- Amber: Sparring match with Frostburn.
- Eliza: Ugh, that douchenozzle.
- Amber: Douchenozzle or not, I'm gonna try my hardest and use all my training. That's all I can do.
- Eliza: I've heard shit, Amb. He plays dirty, he talks shit. You're way better than him, but you gotta be careful, Amb.
- Amber: Liz, I'll be fine. I think it's funny you're the one telling ME to be careful, this time.
Eliza shrugs and picks up an issue of Amatsuchi! from her bedside table. Amber gets up slowly.
- Amber: Gonna try and go get that ginger ale. And avoid light. And sound.
- Eliza: In this place? Good luck.
Amber sighs and rubs her head, walking out of their apartment. Eliza sets down her reading material and puts her hand on her chin.
- Eliza: That woman is too damn optimistic.
She sighs and goes back to reading her manga.
The next page opens with a young Amber sitting alone outside an alley. She flips through her portfolio, which shows that the year is 2008, ten years prior to the previous pages.
- Amber: I...ugh....
A young Eliza walks past. She's got ratty clothes and a cheap backpack, and looks utterly annoyed at Amber, tapping her foot impatiently.
- Eliza: Look, Strawberry, get outta my spot.
- Amber: This isn't your space. It's city property.
- Eliza: Well, no shit.
Amber looks shocked at Eliza, who sits down next to her reluctantly.
- Amber: Sorry for sitting here, but I think I...I think I really messed up.
- Eliza: Like what?
- Amber: You'd think I was some freak. Plus, I don't even know you or your n-
- Eliza: My name is Eliza. Get on with it.
Amber sighs and Eliza sits back, stretching out her legs.
- Amber: I can...I can do things other people can't. Things people don't think are real.
- Eliza: Try me, Strawberry.
- Amber: I can control the air. Like, I can cause the wind to blow. Knock things over. I can't really fly and I don't entirely GET these powers, but...yeah.
- Eliza:...Are you kidding?
- Amber: I wish I was.
- Eliza: So, what the hell did you do with those "powers"?
- Amber: I saw a kid getting bullied. They were....beating him bad.
- Eliza: So?
Amber looks apalled and Eliza shrugs.
- Amber: I don't see that often. So I, well, I used my powers to help him out.
- Eliza: That's awesome!
Amber shows a small smile and Eliza looks a little embarassed, clearing her throat.
- Amber: I just don't want word to get out. I walk down that street every day to get home, and...I'm not supposed to show people my powers. My mom and dad said that's what I have to do, for my future. But I'm starting to think that...it's not for me. I'm starting to think I'm conforming for them.
- Eliza: They're not wrong. Unless you wanna get beat up or dissected, I'd probably follow their advice, selfish or not. Look, I...I know what it's like.
- Amber: Are you....?
Amber mouths the word gay and Eliza chuckles, laying her head back on the brick wall.
- Eliza: Yeah, but that's not what I'm talking about. I have that, umm, stuff, too.
- Amber: Really?
- Eliza: Yep. It's pretty cool stuff but...I keep it quiet. You're like, the first person I've ever told, I guess.
- Amber: Wow!
Amber gets up and dusts off her back, lugging her heavy backpack over her shoulders.
- Amber: I have to get going, but maybe we could meet here again tomorrow?
- Eliza: Sure.
Amber starts to walk away before stopping in her tracks.
- Amber: Hey, why did you call me Strawberry?
- Eliza: Your hair. It's strawberry blonde.
- Amber: Oh! That makes sense! God, I feel dumb.
Eliza smirks and Amber grins at her.
- Amber: Hey, by the way, my name's Amber.
- Eliza: See you tomorrow then, Amber.
Amber walks away and Eliza smiles to herself, twiddling her thumbs. The page's last panel shows Amber doing the same.
The next page's first panel shows the Old School floor. A pikachu with glasses is at a desk connected to a large computer, and two people, an African-American woman and Frostburn are training with punching bags.
- Frostburn: Hey, Four-Eyes, any new missions?
- Pikachu: My name is Jerry, or Mission, if you prefer, not Four-Eyes. And you know that we're not allowed to go on any missions until our exams. If I see something here, I'm to report to Bloodeye or NewBirds, according to protocol.
Frostburn does a loud, exaggerated groan and the woman rolls her eyes.
- Woman: Can't you be patient, Blue?
- Frostburn: It's Frostburn, Chilly.
- Woman: It's not Chilly, it's Blizz-
Eliza walks in the room and slams the door to her and Amber's apartment, quickly silencing them all.
- Eliza: You're Frostburn, he's Mission, she's Blizzard, I'm Beam, and now you can all shut the fuck up.
Mission and Blizzard shrug while Frostburn glares at Eliza and steps away from the punching bag.
- Frostburn: Where's your butt buddy, Beam?
- Eliza: Fuck y-ugh. Can I have a word with you in private, Frostburn?
- Frostburn: You're not my type, but sure.
Eliza rolls her eyes and motions for Frostburn to come with her to their apartment. Blizzard and Mission look at each other.
- Mission: This sounds crazy, but what if those two are really going to get together. Y'know, belligerent sexual tension, like you see on telev-
- Blizzard: Beam is gay.
They resume their business silently, while Eliza and Frostburn walk into the apartment. Frostburn looks around the room and smirks to himself.
- Eliza: Any snarky bullshit you say is something I've already said better.
Frostburn then stutters to himself while Eliza sits on her bed. Frostburn goes to sit opposite of her, but she motions for him to stand.
- Eliza: You don't like me at all, because we're pretty similar, even though I hate to admit it. I've heard stuff about you.
- Frostburn: That I'm rare? The coolest Magma Sentinel? Incredibly handsome?
- Eliza: That you're a cocky, soar loser who thinks he can talk shit because he's blue instead of red.
- Frostburn: I...fuck.
- Eliza: You have a sparring match with Amber.
- Frostburn: You mean Aero?
- Eliza: Sure, whatever. The point is that I know what people say about you. Rumors aren't always true, but for the day or two I've known you, you seem to be vindicating them pretty well.
Frostburn glares at her and she shrugs.
- Eliza: Being a Misfit means a lot to Amber. She's my best friend in the world, and one of the few people I give any shits about. She's a hard-worker, she's dedicated to this job, and she's so much better than you or I. Professionally and personally. She needs this gig.
- Frostburn: So you want me to throw the match for some girl? No way.
- Eliza: I don't want you to throw the match, idiot.
- Frostburn: Well, you're not making it very clear, Lizzie.
Agitated, Eliza loses her temper and punches Frostburn in the face. Caught off guard, he reels back in pain and she gets up, moving close to him and seeming rather imposing despite being shorter than him.
- Eliza: You're going to fight fair, you're not going to taunt her, you're going to treat her with respect and not talk shit, whether you win or lose. Understand?
- Frostburn: Ugh...fine...
Frostburn walks out of the room and rubs his chin, hurt. Blizzard and Mission, amused, stare at him and he flips them off. Back in the apartment, Eliza has a smug grin on her face and sits back, putting her legs up on the bed.
We see the Misfits boxing ring, a rather small audience present. Birnstone is sitting in the middle, Firball curled up on her lap, there to supervise the match.
- Birnstone: Alright, Aero and Frostburn, no powers, fight clean, the first to knock the other to the ground wins. Good luck, Misfits.
Blizzard, Mission, and Eliza are all sitting in Amber's corner, leaving Frostburn with no one on his side. He's clearly very annoyed, but keeps a cool (no pun intended) demeanor.
- Amber: Good luck, Frostburn.
- Frostburn: Uh...
Eliza glares at Frostburn and he shivers, putting on a fake smile.
- Frostburn: You too.
Frostburn charges towards Amber with a lot of force, but she leaps out of the way, causing him to knock into the ropes. Amber kicks Frostburn in the face, sending him backward off-balance, but he shakes it off and gets back in position, his fists up and ready to battle as the two are locked in an uneasy standstill.
- Eliza: Go, Amb-I mean, go Aero!
Eliza and Blizzard cheer for Amber, while Mission is writing something down.
- Blizzard: Hey, Jer, you're not watching!
- Mission: Fighting has never been my thing...so dreadfully uncivilized.
They both look baffled, but shrug and go back to watching. Firball rolls around on Birnstone's lap, while she writes notes down. Amber and Frostburn are both trading shots, his punches stronger but slower, while Amber is less powerful but much faster and more nimble and precise with her strikes.
- Frostburn: Ugh!
Frostburn loses his patience and throws a heavy hook to her gut, but she steps back and counters with a right-handed punch to his face, knocking him down. Eliza and Blizzard cheer while Mission claps, Birnstone standing up and Firball clinging to her shoulder.
- Birnstone: And the winner of this fight is Aero! Congratulations, Ms. Arlen.
- Amber: Th-thanks a lot!
- Birnstone: We can discuss your exam redo later, Mr. Frostburn.
- Frostburn: Bu-
Eliza shoots daggers at Frostburn and he sighs, nodding. Amber helps him up, and he shows a small smile to her before stepping out of the ring. As Blizzard and Mission leave, Eliza heads to Amber's side.
- Eliza: You alright?
- Amber: I'm perfect!
Amber grins at Eliza, who shows a small smile back and the two walk away together, talking. The next panel cuts to the two in their beds at night.
- Amber: I dunno what you were worried about, Liz. Frostburn seemed very respectful. Didn't say anything, fought fair, and I can't believe I'm saying this, but I think you worry too much.
Eliza snickers and nods, Amber turning off the light before heading back to her bed. The two look at each other.
- Amber: How did you do on your exam? I forgot to ask!
- Eliza: Ehh, it was alright, Strawberry.
- Amber: Strawberry? Wow, the last time you called me that was...god, that was so long ago.
- Eliza: Yeah...yeah, it was.
Amber smiles to Eliza before rolling back on her back to sleep. Eliza smiles to herself while we see Amber mouthing the word strawberry to herself and grinning, ending the first issue.
2: Life Goes On
The Old School members head out on their first mission. A younger Aero and Beam are are at a turning point in their lives.
The issue begins with a panel showing a cheap, run-down house on the outskirts of New York. Inside the house, we see the Old School team looking through the house for something.
- Mission: I can't believe I'm rummaging through someone's house illegally...feels so...FILTHY.
- Blizzard: It's not like we're doing it to steal anything, we're trying to stop someone from doing something that's worse.
The next panel goes to Beam eating a bag of potato chips as the others stare at her. She shrugs and they go back to their search.
- Beam: Oh, don't judge. She wasn't going to eat them anyways.
- Frostburn: You do look like the stealing type.
Aero discreetly points to the rug beneath Frostburn and pulls it out from below him with her aerokinetic powers, causing him to trip. Beam mouths "thank you" and Frostburn mutters something.
- Aero: Has anyone found anything yet? I hate to be pessimistic, but I think this might be a dead end for us.
- Beam: Besides these chips? No.
- Blizzard: Sorry, I can't seem to dig anything up either.
- Frostburn: This is a stupid waste of my time.
- Mission: This is bad. This woman is clearly dangerous, and the sooner we stop her smuggling operation the better, especially considering her paralysis inducement powers. And to make things worse, she's a former Misfit too!
They all nod, looking disappointed.
- Beam: Why the hell did they give the new guys such a big mission?
- Aero: Good question, Liz. But being negative won't help at all.
- Blizzard: Amber's right.
- Frostburn: I don't see what's so great about being positive, either. This sucks.
Frostburn grunts and flops onto the ground on his backside, accidentally smashing through the fragile floorboards and falling into a hole. He screams and the others quickly gather around the hole.
- Blizzard: Frostburn, you okay?
- Frostburn:...I'm fine! Plus, I think I found a secret passage or something. I'm totally getting the credit for this, ha!
- Beam: Are you sure we can't just leave him here?
- Aero: Liz!
- Beam: Kidding, kidding.
Aero punches her in the shoulder softly and shows a small smile, Blizzard and Mission clearly amused as well as a smug grin comes onto Beam's face.
- Frostburn: Guys?! You coming?!
- Blizzard: Yeah! We were just talking about you, in fact.
Beam smirks and hops into the hole, the others following her in the page's last panel.
The five walk through the underground tunnel together, all of them clearly unnerved by the eerie place except for Frostburn, who seems overconfident as always.
- Beam: Would've brought a damn flashlight if I knew we were going to have to go here...
- Frostburn: Why would you want a flashlight when you have me?
The others roll their eyes and Frostburn smiles, "walking" in front of the others who are clearly exasperated with him.
- Aero: Mission, you're our intel, what else do we know about this woman?
- Mission: Name is Violet Vechs, but her Misfits codename was Paralyzer.
- Beam: Fitting name.
- Mission: Definitely. She had no real passion for the Misfits, from what I've picked up on, it was just a job to get a bigger paycheck than she normally would.
- Aero: That's awful.
- Mission: Someone reported her when they caught her stealing, and Ms. Birnstone had her kicked out...ever since, all the intel people like me have seen her name come up in various missions. Turns out she was running a smuggling ring, and using her powers to assist her.
- Frostburn: Smuggling what, Four-Eyes?
- Mission: Drugs, weapons, and...dreadfully enough, people. And this passage seems to be what she's doing it with.
Everyone looks pretty rattled by that, especially Blizzard. Even Frostburn seems apalled.
- Frostburn: Let's kick this lady's ass, then.
- Beam: Hell yeah.
- Blizzard: We've got to stop her.
- Aero: And we will.
- Mission: I appreciate the rallying cry, but we don't even know if Paralyzer is here right n-
Mission is interrupted by a dart shot out at the group. Frostburn, in the front, is hit by it.
- Blizzard: Frostburn, are you okay?!
- Frostburn: Y-yeah...a stupid dart can't hurt m-
Frostburn then passes out as more darts are fired out from the dark. Mission, due to his small stature, is unable to avoid it and falls unconcious, but the other darts miss. Aero looks down at them, uncertain what to do.
- Beam: We gotta get out of here, Amb!
- Aero: We can't leave them behind, Liz!
- Blizzard: Oh, stop arg-
A dart hits Blizzard in the side, but before she faints, she creates an icy shield around Aero and Beam that absorbs the brunt of the two darts that hit them, but still knocks them out.
- ???: They sent a group of amatures to take me down. Unsurprising.
We then see the source of the mysterious voice walk out of the dark, revealing her to be Paralyzer. She looks at the unconcious Misfits with disgust.
- Paralyzer: Well, I suppose I have to deal with them now.
With a sigh, she walks back into the shadows, ending the page.
The next page begins with Eliza and Amber, clearly a bit younger then the present but still visibly older than they were when they met, sitting together on a ratty couch in an average downtown house.
- Eliza: What'd you wanna talk about, Amb?
- Amber: I need advice.
- Eliza: Dude, why the hell would you ever come to me for advice?
- Amber: You're my only friend who will just give me a straight answer.
Eliza shrugs and sits back, stretching out her legs over Amber and motioning for her to talk.
- Amber: I'm not a footrest, Liz.
- Eliza: If you want the advice, you'll deal with it.
Amber chuckles and sighs, Eliza looking at her expectantly.
- Amber: My parents are dead set on me being a lawy-
- Eliza: Boring. Lawyers are boring. Law school? It's boring.
Amber giggles and smiles, with Eliza yawning in an exaggerated manner.
- Amber: Alright, peanut gallery, let me finish. They want me to get a degree in law and...I love them, but I don't want to live that life. I don't want to be another Arlen who went to law school, became a prestigous lawyer, and had their kids follow the exact same life. I don't even LIKE doing it, anyways, I'd much rather be an artist. But...they've provided me with a good life. I don't want to disappoint them. What do you think I should do?
- Eliza: Look, Amb. I know what I told you when we met. That you should follow your parent's advice, whether selfish or shallow or whatever. But...we didn't know each other back then. You're too creative to be just like them. You're too unique to follow the same path they did. You're too special to settle into a life you don't want to live. And hell, you're too damn good at art to not be an artist, too.
Amber grins and hugs Eliza tightly. Eliza grunts but shows a small smile.
- Amber: Thank you so much, Liz.
- Eliza: Hey...don't mention it, Amb.
Eliza takes her legs off of Amber, who gets up and takes a deep breath.
- Amber: Hey, before I go...what are you going to do? As an adult, I mean?
- Eliza: Ehh, I...I dunno. I'm not the plan-ahead type of girl like you, Amb. I'll just go wherever life takes me. It doesn't really matter to me, because...we're going to be there for each other, right?
- Amber: Hell yeah, Liz.
Eliza laughs and Amber crosses her arms.
- Amber: What's so funny?
- Eliza: Hell yeah? I think I've rubbed off on you, Arlen.
- Amber: Yeah, yeah.
As Amber leaves, she flips Eliza off, causing the older woman to laugh hysterically.
A panel shows complete and total darkness, the only thing visible being a speech bubble.
- Paralyzer: Dragging these idiots here was hard work...hopefully someone will pay a high price for them.
The next panel shows a wide open circular room in the underground tunnels, with a ladder leading to a sewer manhole.
- Paralyzer: At the least, this should remind the Misfits that I'm not a minor threat they can take care of with some losers they picked off the streets.
Aero, Beam, Frostburn, Blizzard, and Mission are all tied-up and unconcious, while Paralyzer is standing in front of them. Aero slowly wakes up, her vision clouded and a ringing in her ears.
- Paralyzer: What the hell? That dart should've kept everyone out for a few more hours...
As things start to come into focus, Aero frantically looks around to see that all of her friends (and Frostburn) are knocked out and restrained. Terrified, her eyes dart to Paralyzer, but she attempts to keep calm.
- Aero: Let my teammates go, Ms. Vechs. You'll regret it if you don't.
Paralyzer chuckles, sitting down and looking up at Aero. She takes out a pistol from her pocket and spins it around with her hand.
- Paralyzer: Has that ever worked for you, Sunshine? What is this, your first mission, or your second?
- Aero: That gun doesn't scare me, Ms. Vechs. And don't call me sunshine.
Paralyzer looks fairly impressed in Aero's skill at keeping calm and not folding in the face of danger. She then stands up and points her gun at Frostburn.
- Paralyzer: You strike me as the sentimental type, Sunshine. You see, that dart gun I used on you all, that wasn't lethal. This? If I shoot one of your friends, they're dead, and you'll only be able to watch me do it.
Aero, unflinching, tries to stick out her hand to blast a burst of air at Paralyzer, but the woman taps her hand and it freezes her hand up. She reaches with the other hand, but Paralyzer is too quick and paralyzes her other hand too.
- Paralyzer: They don't call me Paralyzer for nothing, Sunshine.
- Aero: Why are you doing this, Vechs? You could be a real Misfit, you could use your powers to HELP people, you could turn your life around. You don't have to do this.
Paralyzer laughs uproariously at Aero and paces back and forth, shaking her head.
- Paralyzer: Do you really think I want to be a superhero like you? The Misfits got their name for a reason. People with powers aren't appreciated, they're loathed. No one will praise me for saving the world. No one will care if I die for that cause. I figure...if people want to make you the bad guy, might as well have some fun with it.
- Aero: Don't you think I know how it is to be hated? For who you are? I had to keep my powers secret because my own family was ashamed of them. But the world can be such a beautiful place, Paralyzer. Just because the world turns on you doesn't mean you have to turn on them. It doesn't mean you have to hurt innocent people.
Paralyzer looks deep in thought, as Aero seems hopeful that she's gotten to her.
- Paralyzer: T-that's...naive. It's too late to be a good guy for me.
Paralyzer then puts on a psychotic smile and puts her pistol against Mission's head.
- Paralyzer: Which one do you care most about?
- Aero: Please...don't....
- Paralyzer: Clearly not him.
She then points the pistol against Blizzard's head, carefully watching Aero's face.
- Paralyzer: It's a nice effort, trying to keep your face neutral. I've just gotten...really good at this.
- Aero: Please, shoot me instead. Don't-
Paralyzer presses the pistol against the left side of Beam's head and watches as Aero's expression turns from terror and concern to heartbreak.
- Paralyzer: This one, hmm?
- Aero: Please, don't shoot her!
Paralyzer puts her finger on the trigger when Beam's eyes open and she fires a charged beam into the villain's side, setting her on fire and causing her to fall backwards in pain.
- Beam: Don't threaten my friends.
Aero looks at her best friend, shocked, and Beam looks back at her, ending the page.
The issue's last page opens with Aero and Beam sitting together in their apartment on the same bed. Aero looks pretty shell-shocked from the fight.
- Aero: A-are the others alright?
- Beam: Yeah...I thanked Blizzard for making that ice shield, we'd all probably be dead without it. Medics say that they'll be alright, no long-term damage, I guess.
Aero nods, staring forward sadly. She slumps down, her head on Beam's shoulder, and Beam wraps an arm around her.
- Aero: She didn't have to be a bad person...she could've been a real Misfit. But...because of how people treated her, being bad was all she knew.
- Beam: Sorry about fuckin' lighting her on fire, then.
- Aero: No...you had to. You did it to save me and Mission and Blizzard and Frostburn. And I'm so glad you're okay too because I don't think I could make it without you, Liz. We're going to be okay, because we're going to be there for each other, right?
- Beam: Hell yeah, Amb.
They both show a small smile to each other and the issue ends with them sitting together like that.
3: Going Up
Our two heroes climb up the ranks. We see into Aero's past once more, on a tragic day.
The third issue opens with a panel of complete darkness besides a single speech bubble.
- ???: Liz! Liza! Lizzie!!!
Our view shifts to inside Amber and Eliza's apartment. Eliza, who is in a deep sleep, has her face in her pillow as she snores. At her bedside is Amber, who's shaking her.
- Amber: Umm...Ellie? El? Beam?!
It seems as if Eliza might finally be awake as she yawns, rolling around in her bed. Her eyes still shut tight, she turns toward Amber.
- Eliza: Five more minutes, mom.
- Amber: Damn it, Liz!
Eliza jolts up from her bed as her eyes open wide. Amber covers her mouth, embarassed.
- Amber: Umm...sorry.
- Eliza: Nah, it was pretty fuckin' cute.
- Amber: It was not cut-wait, I'm getting off track. I woke you up for a reason.
- Eliza: Well, I hoped so.
Amber smiles and hands Eliza a note. Eliza rubs her eyes and clears her throat as she reads it.
- Eliza: First of all, they spelled Baxter wrong. Second of all, Bloodeye is the most metal name I've ever heard. Third of all, a promotion DOES sound pretty coo-
Eliza is cut off by Amber, who excitedly hugs her best friend tightly. Eliza is surprised at first, but then grins and chuckles before hugging her back.
- Eliza: Jesus, you're clearly excited.
- Amber: Promotion!!! We're moving up the ranks!!! Just like I said we would!!!
- Eliza: Just like you said, Amb.
The two look at each other quietly, a goofy grin on Amber's face and a small smile on Eliza's. Amber backs away quickly though as something clearly has sprung to mind, her hand on her chin.
- Amber: Wait! What about Jerry? And Natasha? And, to a lesser extent, Frostburn?
- Eliza: Natasha?
- Amber: That's Blizzard's real name. Anyways, do you think they're getting promoted too? The note just mentions us...
- Eliza: I've got no cl-
Amber hops up and runs her hands through her hair, trying to make it look presentable as she throws a hoodie on over her shirt and dashes to the door.
- Amber: Gotta make this right! Be right back!
Eliza nods and snickers as she looks to her friend. As Amber slams the door and races off to find Birnstone, Eliza just sits on her bed.
- Eliza: Man, she never slows down, does she?
Eliza shakes her head and gets up to go make herself breakfast in the page's last panel.
Around a year before the events of the issue, we see Amber pacing back and forth with her cell phone to her ear, shaking as tears roll down her face. On her television, a headline says "ALIEN TERRORIST ATTACKS NEW YORK". The news footage shows missiles flying through the city as buildings collapse to the ground.
- Phone: Amber, are you there?
- Amber: I...y-yes, mom. I just...oh my god.
- Amber's Mom: I know, sweetie. I know.
Amber hears her mother choke up over the phone, as she herself begins to sob uncontrollably. Her legs trembling, she slowly sits down on the couch.
- Amber: He's gone.
The next panel cuts to the man's funeral, where we see the gravestone, which reads "Aaron Arlen - 1972 - 2017". Amber is shown barely holding it together, with Eliza at her side, a light rain storm in the background. After this panel, we go to one of Amber and Eliza together at Amber's apartment, both of them sat down on her couch.
- Amber: My parents aren't perfect, but I...I love them so much. My dad was a good man. He was a great one. Now he's just...dead and gone. For no reason.
Eliza looks like she's going to say something, but instead decides to silently throw an arm around Amber and hug her.
- Amber: This didn't have to happen. Someone could've stopped it. Someone could've saved his life. But...no one did.
- Eliza: Amb, you can't blame yourself.
- Amber: I know how irrational that is but...ugh...I can't help myself.
Amber rests her head on Eliza's shoulder and sniffles. Eliza takes a deep breath, clearly somber for her closest confidante.
- Amber: I don't know how, Liz, but I'm going to stop this from happening again. No one else is going to have to lose somebody to senseless violence ever again. Ever.
Eliza looks into Amber's eyes and shows a small smile, hugging her tightly.
- Eliza: Look, Amb, I don't have a damn clue about how anyone could do that. But if anyone could...it'd be you.
Amber nods, a look of determination on her face. She lifts her head off of Eliza's shoulder and gets up. Eliza begins to open her mouth.
- Amber: W-what's up?
- Eliza: Ehh, nothing. I was just going to say that people probably didn't appreciate your trashy friend in cheap clothes at the funeral.
- Amber: Then they can go fuck themselves.
Eliza grins and Amber wipes her eyes, going to her bathroom to clean up a bit. Eliza, still worried about her friend but content, lets out a deep breath in the page's last panel.
Amber walks into Birnstone's office, and finds the Magma Sentinel sitting there at her desk. Firball can be seen sleeping on the floor next to Birnstone's desk.
- Amber: Oh thank god, I'm so glad I could talk to you, Ms. Birnstone. That's what I should call you, right?
Birnstone chuckles, a wry smile on her face. She motions for Amber to sit in the chair across from her, and the young woman quickly sits down.
- Birnstone: Birnstone is fine, thanks. I normally don't have meetings with people without knowing why, but your enthusiasm went a long way. And it's been a slow day, so that helps.
- Amber: Oh! I'm so sorry for coming to your office unannounced, it's just...important.
- Birnstone: Yes?
Amber hands Birnstone the note about their promotion. Birnstone, intrigued, takes it from her and looks down to see if anything's wrong with it.
- Birnstone: Sorry, Aero, but I don't see a problem with this note. In fact, it says you and Beam are getting promoted to Bloodeye. I'd be happy, personally.
- Amber: No!
Birnstone jumps a little at the alerted tone of Amber's voice. Amber takes a deep breath as Birnstone sits back in her chair, with Firball waking up from the noise. He goes back to sleep as Amber begins to explain herself.
- Amber: I mean, I am very happy. Moving up the ranks...it's what I wanted. But I wanted to know, why aren't Blizzard and Mission and Frostburn getting promoted too?
- Birnstone: They didn't take down Vechs. It was you and Beam. Mission is good at intelligence, but it seems apparent that he can't handle himself in the field. Blizzard provides a good heart to the team, but she was also in serious danger. And with Frostburn's failure of the combat exam, reports of bad behavior, and now this...not everyone can make it in the Misfits. There's a reason that only a few people go to Bloodeye.
- Amber: Ms. Birnstone, I mean, Birnstone, I respect you a lot. But I disagree. All three of them deserve to move on. That's the truth.
Birnstone is silent, but waves her hand to tell Amber to go on.
- Amber: Without Mission, we wouldn't have known anything about the Paralyzer or how she operated. Without Frostburn, we wouldn't have found her lair. Without Blizzard protecting us with her powers, both Liz, err, Beam and I would've been out cold. I might have slowed Paralyzer down, and Beam might've killed her, but this was a group effort. All due respect, mam, they all deserve it as much as we do.
Without a word, Birnstone gets up from her chair and walks over to a file cabinet. Amber seems confused, but keeps quiet.
- Birnstone: There are a lot of criteria for being a Misfit. You have to be strong, in one way or another, and you have to be quick witted. But you have to be compassionate too. And persuasive. I see a lot of people, like Vechs, walk in to the Misfits expecting to use it for a place to live or a quick cash grab. But you're not one of those people, Aero. You're a real Misfit...and you've convinced me that your teammates are too. Well done.
Amber grins and gets up as Birnstone turns around, five Bloodeye badges in hand and the files for Amber and the others.
- Birnstone: Go tell them.
- Amber: Thank you! We won't let you down!
Amber speeds away from Birnstone's office as she sets down the supplies on her desk. Firball wakes up and jumps onto her lap.
- Birnstone: I like her.
Birnstone pets Firball and goes back to her work.
Later that day we see the team all gathered in their floor of the Misfits headquarters. They all look pretty happy and are standing up straight as Birnstone gives them each their Bloodeye badge.
- Birnstone: You're now part of Bloodeye. This is the first real Misfits team, so I'm wishing you all luck. The missions will get harder. They will be more frequent. But I have a feeling that all of you can do it.
Blizzard nods and squees in happiness, a grin on Amber's face and a small smile on Eliza's. Mission seems pretty satisfied, and even Frostburn is happy about it.
- Blizzard: We're Bloodeye!!!
Birnstone laughs to herself as she walks over to the elevator. Blizzard runs off to her room happily, while Mission heads back to the surveillance computers, however, he suddenly stops and turns towards Amber.
- Mission: Thank you.
Amber nods as Mission goes back to work. Frostburn walks up to the two, Eliza getting in front of Amber protectively as he does so.
- Frostburn: Hey...err...thanks for that. I'm sorry for being a dick to you guys, and Mission and Blizzard. I'll try and be...umm...less of that.
Amber comes out from behind Frostburn and smiles widely, nodding. Amber pins the Bloodeye badge to her shirt while Eliza follows suit. They walk back to their room together.
- Eliza: You made things right, just like you said you would.
- Amber: If I'm going to make a world where senseless violence never happens, then I'll need people like them. Like you, Liz.
- Eliza: Well, it's like I said, if anyone can do it, it'll be you.
- Amber: It'll be us.
Eliza opens the door for her friend and the two walk into their apartment, closing the door behind them. The issue ends on a panel showing the team's floor, everything just calm and happy for once.
A new case that seems minor ends up attracting the attention of higher-ups. Beam gets coffee with Blizzard.
The fourth issue opens on a panel showing an overhead shot of New York City. The next panel zooms in to show a young woman walking home, her cell phone to her ear.
- ???: Of course I'll be careful, Dad.
- Phone: I know, Alice, and I'm glad that you're in a lot less danger than you were before. But it's my job to worry.
- Alice: I'm glad you and Mom care, but I'll be fine. I love you guys.
- Phone: We love you, Alice. Goodbye.
- Alice: Bye.
Alice hangs up on her parents and slips the phone into the pocket of her jeans. After taking a few more steps, she reaches her home, a small but nice house at the edge of the city, and walks up to the door, unlocking it with her keys.
- Alice: Home, sweet home.
She steps inside and closes the door, a few panels showing the stripped down interior of her house. There's a couch, a tiny TV, a small kitchen, and most notably of all, a picture showing her in a cloak alongside Aran Leverletto, Melissa Dust (with Firball on her shoulder), Birnstone, Jared Orlevo, and Topzy at the Misfits HQ.
- Alice: Think I got leftovers in the fridge...
Alice steps into the kitchen when she hears footsteps and suddenly turns around to see three armored soldiers who all have high-tech guns pointed at her.
- Alice: Who the hell are you? Last time I checked F.A.N.T doesn't have clowns for agents.
- Solider #1: We're not F.A.N.T. We get things done.
- Alice: Look, I didn't do anything illegal, jerk.
- Soldier #2: Shut up, freak!
- Soldier #3: Calm down, both of you. All we want is for you to come with us peacefully. You don't need to get hurt unless you're not interested in complying.
Alice taps her foot and starts to go invisible when all three of them fire darts from their guns at her. They don't kill her, but instead prevent her from going invisible and paralyze her, causing her to fall to the floor on her back.
- Alice: Ah! I can't...I can't move...
- Soldier #1: How's that for clowns?
- Soldier #2: Looks like she's not going anywhere, guys.
The third soldier shakes his head as they all close in on her, a look of terror frozen on her face.
- Soldier #3: You should've complied.
Before we can see what they do to her, the next panel cuts to black, ending the opening sequence of the issue.
On the next page, Eliza is laying back on her bed quietly, looking up at the ceiling of their apartment.
- Amber: Liz?
Eliza sits up and looks to Amber, who is dressed in a black jacket and skinny jeans. She also has some makeup and orange lipstick on.
- Eliza: Wow...you look super pretty. Like, more than usual, I mean. But you're always pretty, so-
- Amber: Don't worry, Liz, I get what you meant. It's sweet. I wasn't looking for a compliment though, I wanted to ask you if you were ready.
- Eliza: For what? A new mission already? Jesus...
- Amber: Nah, it's our off-day. We need to get some groceries.
Eliza groans and flops back onto the bed. Amber giggles and pulls Eliza up, who reluctantly gets to her feet.
- Eliza: More groceries already?
- Amber: If you didn't feel the need to eat a bowl of cereal at midnight every night we wouldn't have to. Now come on.
- Eliza: Come on, I don't even look presentable compared to you, Amb.
- Amber: You look nice, Liz, come on.
Amber drags Eliza to the door with one hand and carries her purse with the other, waving her head to use her powers to knock the door open.
- Eliza: Alright, fine, I'll come without a strugg-
Eliza closes the door behind them and then looks forward to see Aran talking with Mission while Frostburn beats up a punching bag and Blizzard plays a game on her phone. Amber seems to be in shock.
- Eliza: Amber? Words?
- Amber: Why is Aran Leverletto on our floor?
- Eliza: Uh...
Amber rushes over to the floor's large surveillance system, Mission and Aran talking with each other. Mission turns around to see Amber and jumps a little before looking annoyed.
- Mission: Excuse me...
- Aran: No, she's got the right idea. Everyone else can gather around too, if they'd like.
Eliza tentatively walk towards the area where they're talking while Frostburn grunts but barges in next to Mission. Blizzard quietly runs over and stands between them. Mission mutters something under his breath that's too quiet for any of them to hear.
- Frostburn: Alright, catch us up, Jerry.
- Mission: Well, err...okay.
Mission types something in on his computer and a picture of Alice in her cloak, a knife in hand, shows up on the surveillance screen.
- Mission: This is Alice Olsen, a 26 year old woman who was murdered last week in her small New York City apartment.
- Aran: We called her Shade, though.
They all look intrigued, especially Amber. Eliza stands back cautiously, while the surveillance screen switches to the picture we saw before in Alice's house.
- Aran: She was an incredibly talented Misfit who did reconassiance and spy work for Starsnow. Although we only knew her for about a year, she was a good friend and someone I trusted, two rare things for me. She left the Misfits about two months ago because she wanted to lead a regular life.
- Mission: And the police found her dead a few days ago.
- Eliza: That's sad, but isn't it the police's job to investigate that shit?
- Aran: Fair point, but this isn't your average murder case. From the police reports and files that Mission found, there were no signs of anyone breaking in...and she lives alone, too.
- Mission: Not to mention the fact that her cause of death is unknown, but marks from someone taking a blood sample were found on her arm. No fingerprints or DNA left behind. Just a dead woman with seemingly no evidence to who did it.
Everyone shudders except for Aran, who looks angry and determined.
- Aran: Mission discovered the reports and did some research before taking care of it, when he saw that it was Shade who they killed. He sent it up to Starsnow, and everyone there was...apalled. Angry as hell, too. But Starsnow is incredibly busy, and Mission found it...so we're leaving it to you Bloodeye. But I'm not letting this case go without any input from me, so I'm leading one mission to search for evidence. No one here has to participate, but I'll use any Misfit I can get. Go talk about it and get back to me.
Each of them nod. Mission and Frostburn stay put, seemingly set on participating in the mission. Blizzard walks away to think about it while Amber and Eliza walk off together.
- Eliza: Look, Leverletto seems like an alright guy, but...this was our off day. I don't feel...comfortable around people in power either.
- Amber: Of course, of course. Go ahead and do whatever you want.
- Eliza: Yeah...sure.
Amber and Eliza walk their seperate ways, Amber walking to Aran and the others as Eliza heads to the elevator alone.
- Blizzard: Hey! Eliza!
Eliza turns around and stops in her track as Blizzard runs toward her. Eliza looks confused.
- Eliza: Yeah, Blizzard?
- Blizzard: You can call me Natasha but...I'm not going to go on the mission either. Searching missions aren't my type, I'm more of a fighting kind of gal. You wanna go get coffee?
- Eliza: Well, you did save my life, so...sure.
Natasha smiles at her and they both walk into the elevator. Eliza and Amber briefly turn their heads to look at each other, but soon turn back as the elevator closes.
Eliza and Natasha are seated at a small table in a low-profile cafe. Natasha has an iced tea, while Eliza is holding a cup of hot, black coffee.
- Eliza: Nice place. How'd you know about it?
- Natasha: I've lived in New York my whole life, you just sort of find these places by accident. But I've been going here ever since.
Natasha sips her tea and looks to Eliza, who's clearly got something on her mind.
- Natasha: What's up?
- Eliza: Nothing much...why did you ask me to go get coffee with you?
- Natasha: Neither of us wanted to go on the mission, and we're friends.
Eliza quietly drinks her coffee, Natasha sets her tea down on the table.
- Natasha: Alright, maybe we're not friends to you, but you don't strike me as someone who makes friends easily.
Eliza looks as if she's about to protest, but then shrugs. Natasha smiles at her.
- Eliza: I'd protest that, but you're not wrong. You seem like a nice woman and you kinda saved my life, but...I stick with the friends I have. Or, friend, actually. Hell, now that I think about it, you're completely right.
- Natasha: I don't blame you, Amber's a nice woman. I like hanging out with her.
Eliza nods, trying to hide the obvious jealousy on her face. Natasha motions for her to stop.
- Natasha: Don't worry, I'm straight.
- Eliza: What? No, I'm not jealous at all. No fuckin' way. And even if you were into women, then I'd be happy for-
- Natasha: You can stop now.
- Eliza: I'm embarassing myself, aren't I?
Natasha nods and chuckles as Eliza looks down, her face red.
- Natasha: Have you told her?
Eliza looks up at Natasha, a confused expression on her face.
- Eliza: What?
- Natasha: Have you told Amber how you feel about her?
- Eliza: What do you mean?
- Natasha: Well, you're in love with her, of course.
- Eliza: No, I'm n-
- Natasha: I've seen how you look at her. It's pretty obvious, Eliza.
- Eliza: Aww shit, really?
Natasha nods and Eliza puts her hand on her head.
- Eliza: Alright...I am. She's beautiful and smart and kind and funny, but...I can't tell her how I feel. I can't ruin our friendship, and it's pointless anyways, because I know she doesn't love me back. She couldn't.
- Natasha: Why?
- Eliza: Because I grew up in a shitty place. I'm not social, I don't have any future, I'm not even near Amb's league.
- Natasha: Eliza, I think if you just told-
- Eliza: No.
Natasha sighs and nods, reluctantly letting it go. She takes a few last drinks of her iced tea and stands up, as if ready to leave.
- Eliza: Hey...thanks for trying though, Nat. Maybe having more than one friend might not be so bad.
Natasha throws her tea away and grins. Eliza gets up and shows a small smile, taking her coffee with her as they walk out of the coffee shop.
- Natasha: I knew I'd get through to you. Now about Amb-
- Eliza: Don't even start.
Eliza walks ahead of Natasha, heading towards the Misfits base once more. Natasha sighs and shakes her head but quickly catches up with her.
Eliza and Natasha are standing in the Misfits base's elevator as it descends down the floors.
- Natasha: I just hope the others are safe on their mission...
They quietly stand there while the elevator reaches the team's floor. The elevator door opens and Natasha walks out first, Eliza following behind her.
- Natasha: Oh, hey, Amber!
Eliza, confused, looks in front of Natasha to see Amber sitting on the training mat of the floor, waiting for the two to return. She smiles at Eliza, who stutters.
- Eliza: But...I...I thought you went with Leverletto on the search mission?
- Amber: Yeah, but today was supposed to be our off day. Just you and me. I realized...if I can't do something without my best friend, then it's not worth doing at all. Sorry for brushing you off, Liz.
Natasha walks off to her room as Amber stands up. Eliza hugs her tightly and Amber hugs her best friend back, both of them with grins on their faces.
- Amber: Can I make it up to you with dinner?
- Eliza: Yeah, but we gotta get groceries too. Can't go without my midnight cereal.
Amber giggles and the two walk off, hand in hand. Eliza looks back to Natasha, who gives a thumbs up to Eliza as she opens the door to her room. Eliza shows a small smile to her and then walks with Amber into the elevator. The page ends with a panel of the closed elevator doors.
The issue's last page opens in a large, underground bunker. Various armored soldiers, like the ones who killed Alice, are walking through the bunker's tunnels. One panel shows the acronym E.N.D.O painted on the wall in dark red.
- ???: Yes? What is it, soldier?
We then go to one of the soldiers, with their helmet off, talking to a slender, eerily tall man in a black suit. The man in the suit is seated in a chair in his office, while the soldier is sweating nervously and standing in front of him.
- Soldier: Director, a squadron was attacked today by three men, one of them an undesirable, one of them normal, and one of them with cybernetic enhancements. The squadron narrowly defeated them, but was forced to flee before they could kill them.
- Director: Hmm, that's unfortunate. Can we determine the origin of these savages?
- Soldier: The description of the cyborg matches up with one Aran Leverletto, leader of vigilante organization Misfits. The organization, not coincidentally, consists almost entirely of undesirables. I think they might be onto our plans, sir.
The Director scoffs as he looks through various files. The soldier taps his foot, eagerly awaiting orders from his superior.
- Director: I doubt those fools could figure out anything too important. Their base could easily be bombed without harming too many civilians...but they could also be the source of blood we need. Put the surveillance team on them, son.
- Soldier: Yes, sir.
The soldier quickly leaves the Director's office. The Director smiles as he looks down at a map of Earth.
- Director: Soon, the world will be free of those superpowered monsters. For good.
He rolls up the map and puts it into his file cabinet as he stands up and walks out of his office. The issue ends on an overhead shot of hundreds of heavily armed soldiers walking through the massive base.
5: In the Dark
Aero and Beam are the star players in a dangerous game.
The plot thickens, and so does the danger for the heroes.
7: Shockwaves I
Aero and Beam's limits are tested.
8: Shockwaves II
Everything comes to a not-so-tidy end.