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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."
- Aero: Amber Arlen is a young woman from a rich family with aerokinetic powers who joined the Misfits to make a difference in the world and help them fight against evil. A hard worker through and through, she hides her rather bubbly and happy personality with a serious work ethic and a lot of determination. Often the voice of reason for her best friend Beam.
- Beam: Eliza Baxter is Aero's best friend and a poor young woman with powers that let her create bursts of energy. She has a rough, blunt, and stubborn exterior but is rather sweet and comforting once you get to know her. However, she is merciless to anyone who threatens her and her friends, and often hides her true feelings. A source of comfort and support for Aero.
- Blizzard: Natasha Thel is, like Aero and Beam, a young woman who joined the Misfits to do good. Despite her icy powers, she's outwardly kind and honest, encouraging people to be kind to each other and is a hopeless romantic through and through. Blizzard is willing to use violence, but is a strong believer in using powers for self defense and helping others. Gets along with almost everyone, if you give her time.
- Mission: Jerry Gilbert is a Pikachu in his twenties with a dislike for using violence and a knack for hacking and utilizing technology to solve problems. He's the team's source of intel and is fairly defenseless when it comes to combat, but is crafty and a big help nonetheless. Mission's a bit egotistical and cold but is good hearted and has a sense of humor, even if it's rather dry.
- Frostburn: Loud, boisterous, and cocky, Frostburn is incredibly abrasive and usually says what comes to mind. He's not always the nicest, but does realize when he makes a mistake and eventually grows from a jerk to a jerk with a heart of gold. Frostburn is a slow fighter who uses firey punches to dish out pain, usually disregarding strategy. He might not always voice his feelings, but he does genuinely form friendships with the others, slowly but surely.
- The Director: A tall, imposing man with a mysterious backstory and a hatred for people with superpowers. He controls things from the shadows, utilizing a massive army and gadgets to enact his elaborate plans, but it's hinted that he might be competent in a fight too. Despite being the main antagonist, the Director isn't totally emotionless, showing fondness for his soldiers and genuinely believing that he's doing the right thing.
- Aran Leverletto: The leader of the Misfits and a member of Starsnow, Aran is endlessly snarky and self-confident, but a good man who loves his wife and is loyal to his friends. He's a threat in a fight too with his cybornetic arm, but is usually busy with other operations, leaving the fight to our heroes.
- Birnstone: A Magma Sentinel who manages the paperwork and administration of the Misfits, Birnstone is a Starsnow operative with pyrokinetic powers. She assists the team, taking a fondness for Aero, and is almost never seen without the Misfits' mascot of sorts, Firball. Despite keeping a no-nonsense and serious attitude when it comes to the Misfits, she's a reasonable leader who is willing to listen and correct her mistakes.
- Flamethrower: The Director's number one soldier. Her armor covers everything except for her cold blue eyes and her long, dark brown hair. She's cold and focused, leaving most of her as a mystery except for her weapons, two gauntlets that release giant, powerful flames.
- Paralyzer: Violet Vechs is a former Misfit who joined only to make a profit, and has turned to illegal operations after she was fired. Merciless and cruel, Paralyzer might've been an optimistic hero once, but people's attitudes towards superpowered individuals have turned her into a greedy monster with no hope or sympathy for humanity.
- Shade: Alice Olsen was once Shade, a Misfit who acted as a spy for Starsnow. She befriended the others, but decided to leave and lead a normal life. Her powers allow her to become invisible, but not intangible, leaving her open for attack...
- Blade: A Misfit with powers that allow her to create blades made of energy. She's been kidnapped by the Director, but has a plan to break out.
- Rogers & Taylor: Two NYPD officers, consisting of Rogers, the experienced veteran of the force, and the optimistic Taylor, his young partner. They're sent to investigate an armored truck that routinely smuggles in a mysterious item in large quantities.
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.
Aero, Beam, and Blizzard go on a dangerous mission.
The issue's first panel shows a police car driving down the streets of New York in the evening, as we go to two officers, one who's older in the driver's seat and his younger female partner in the passenger's seat. Their badges identify them as Officer Rogers and Officer Taylor, respectively.
- Rogers: It's been a while since we've had a big case that we didn't have to turn over to F.A.N.T.
- Taylor: Is that a good thing or a bad thing?
Rogers chuckles and Taylor shows him a small smile as they take a right turn, putting them behind a large and imposing armored truck that's racing off ahead of them at high speeds. Their expressions quickly turn serious.
- Rogers: There they are.
- Taylor: Let's get 'em, old man.
The older officer nods and steps on the gas, following the bulky vehicle as fast as he can. His partner reaches over and turns on their warning lights as well as the police siren.
- Rogers: I think their day just got a lot worse.
- Taylor: Mmm-hmm.
While the officers chase after the mysterious criminals, we see inside the truck as the driver, an armored soldier, looks over to his rear-view mirror and sees them trailing him. He sighs and whistles to the back of the truck.
- Driver: Cops are trailing us.
- ???: I'll deal with them.
The police car revs it's engines and begins to catch up with the truck, coming close to ramming into it several times. Rogers and Taylor look confused.
- Taylor: Why aren't they pulling over?
- Rogers: Usually means they're going to try and escape, but...they're staying at the same speed. I have no cl-
Rogers stops in the middle of his sentence as from inside the truck, someone opens the back of the vehicle. Standing there as the truck keeps it's pace is a tall, muscular woman in a suit of metallic armor that covers everything except for her icy blue eyes and brunette hair. On her hands are two crimson gauntlets.
- Taylor: What the hell?!
Before Rogers can reply, the woman leaps off of the truck and slams on top of the car, fist first, breaking through the car's window.
- ???: Don't struggle.
Rogers and Taylor scream in terror as the woman blasts fire into the car with her gauntlets, setting them and the interior of their car on fire. The woman quietly hops off of the car and dashes off towards her armored truck, hopping back onto it and closing the vehicle's back as the two officers burn to death helplessly.
- ???: They're done.
- Driver: Hey, nice one, Flamethrower.
Flamethrower sits down on a crate inside the truck's back as we see a large number of crates with the E.N.D.O sigil painted onto them next to her.
Natasha is at Amber and Eliza's door, knocking on it repeatedly. When no one replies, she sighs and checks her watch, before creating a hammer made of ice with her powers and slamming on their door with it. Notably, the rest of the floor is dead silent, with Frostburn and Mission absent from their usual spots at the computer and punching bag.
- Natasha: That should wake 'em up.
Amber answers the door, grunting at Natasha. Her hair is disheveled and she's wearing a wrinkly t-shirt and shorts. Natasha raises her eyebrows at her friend.
- Natasha: Your breath smells like cheap cider.
- Amber: Don't judge, Nat.
- Natasha: I'm not, you just struck me as a wine kind of girl.
Eliza then walks up to the door next to Amber, looking equally as messy as her best friend. She yawns loudly and Natasha shakes her head.
- Eliza: What do I strike you as?
- Natasha: Cheap beer?
- Eliza: Damn, dead on.
Natasha grins as Amber rubs her eyes.
- Natasha: Jerry and Frostburn got back, they're in the infirmary.
- Amber: Oh my god, are they okay?!
- Eliza: Got their asses kicked, huh?
- Natasha: Yes to both of you. We should go check them out, as soon as you two make yourselves look presentable.
- Amber: Hey!
- Eliza: We look perfectly fuckin' f-
Natasha closes the door on them and walks off. The next panel cuts to the three in the infirmary hall, opposite of Aran, who has a cast on.
- Amber: What happened? Are they fine?
- Aran: Well, Arlen, as fine as you can be when you get your ass kicked by soldiers who are out for your blood. But, in my book, it was a success.
All three of them look baffled before Eliza speaks up.
- Eliza: Dude, they broke your arm and beat up our coworkers, you really think that's a fuckin' success?
Aran chuckles and nods.
- Aran: I like you, Baxter, 'cause that's exactly what my wife told me. And yes, I do consider it a success. For one, we lived, not to mention we injured them, and we gathered some intel. Rarely are missions complete wins.
- Amber: As long as they're alright...
- Aran: Oh, they're going to be okay. I've survived worse.
The trio look over to see Mission playing a game on his phone and Frostburn eating chocolate pudding and then shrug.
- Natasha: Alright, they don't look too bad. But what's your next move on this case?
Aran sighs and motions for them to come closer.
- Aran: I've spent as much time on this case as my schedule, and for that matter Mrs. Dust will allow me. We need to respond to these fuckers as soon as we can though, and we can't wait for your friends over there to recover. I need to put you three out in the field. Is that alright?
Amber looks at Eliza and then to Natasha, Aran waiting tiredly for their response.
- Eliza: Let's kick these guys' asses.
- Amber: Well said.
Natasha nods and Aran lets out a deep breath, before reaching to rub his eyes with his broken arm and yelping.
- Aran: Thank you. I've gotta go get some goddamn sleep.
Aran groans and walks over to the elevator as Amber, Eliza, and Natasha look at each other.
- Natasha: Breakfast?
- Eliza: Hell yeah.
- Amber: Thank god you said that.
The three rush towards the elevator together.
Aero, Beam, and Blizzard are walking down the streets of New York City. Blizzard is staring down intently at a tablet, a look of confusion on her face.
- Beam: Sometime today would be nice.
Blizzard glares at Beam before going back to the tablet, swiping at it and tapping on the screen.
- Blizzard: We didn't have much technology growing up, alright? Plus, none of us here are exactly Jerry.
- Aero: Both of you, calm down. We'll only get anywhere with this case if we work together.
Beam nods and grumbles to herself as Blizzard squeals happily. Aero and Beam both stare at her, and she blushes.
- Blizzard: Oh, nothing, just figured it out.
They make a turn down an alley as Blizzard scrolls through the information on the screen.
- Blizzard: Okay, from the intel Mission left us, we know that these people are smuggling something into New York City. And they follow a fairly predictable route each week.
- Aero: Is today is our lucky day?
- Beam: God, I hope not.
Blizzard nods and they all stop in the alley.
- Blizzard: Unfortunately for Eliza, today is the day their supply truck will be going down a road right around this alley.
- Aero: What time?
- Blizzard: 6:00 PM.
- Beam: And it is...?
Blizzard looks down at the time on the tablet and then looks at Aero, raising her eyebrows.
- Blizzard: 12:00?!
- Beam: 12:00?!?!
Aero shrugs and scratches the back of her neck.
- Aero: I wanted to be early!
The next panel goes to the three, with the time to the truck arriving having passed. They're sitting there, Aero leaning on Beam, all of them holding slushies. Blizzard is off to the right of them, sitting against a brick wall and still fiddling with the tablet.
- Beam: Any success with that?
- Blizzard: For your informa-it's 6:00!
The Misfits eagerly hop up and drop their slushies as they see an armored truck drive by the alley. Aero and Beam dash off towards it.
- Blizzard: What am I supposed to do with the tablet?
Beam fires a small beam of energy at the tablet, breaking it, and motions for Blizzard to follow. She sighs and runs off with them.
- Blizzard: Jerry's going to be upset...
The truck starts to make a turn to another street, but Aero blasts a wave of air at the truck, turning it over and causing it to smash onto the road. The two look at Aero, impressed.
- Aero: Someone had to take action.
Aero and Blizzard walk towards the truck cautiously, a big grin on Beam's face. The team walk up to the overturned truck, no sound coming from it except for the crackling of the fire in the driver's seat from the collision.
- Beam: Can we go home now?
- Blizzard: I'd be more cautious...
Suddenly, a blast of fire tears through the center of the truck, and Flamethrower steps out of it, a bloody cut on her forehead and her eyebrows narrowed.
- Beam: Oh, shit.
- Aero: Yep.
The trio charge towards Flamethrower as she fires a blast of flame at them, ending the page.
The next panel resumes immediately after the last, with Blizzard creating a shield of ice that protects her allies from the blast. The fire melts the ice though, and Flamethrower immediately punches Blizzard in the gut, knocking her to the ground.
- Blizzard: Oww! Tried to be nice...
Flamethrower then darts her eyes to Aero and Beam, growling at them. Beam looks at Aero and nods.
- Aero: Like we practiced?
- Beam: Don't have many other options here!
Flamethrower charges at the duo as Aero fires a blast of wind at Beam, sending her flying towards Flamethrower. Beam surrounds her fist with energy and slams it into Flamethrower's face, knocking her back into the truck.
- Flamethrower: Ugh...
Blizzard gets up and coughs, blasting ice at Flamethrower's legs as she tries to recover. She smirks at Flamethrower, while Aero helps Beam up.
- Blizzard: Leave my friends alone. Bitch.
Flamethrower chuckles and reaches into the hull of the damaged truck, pulling a pistol out of one of the E.N.D.O crates.
- Aero: So they're smuggling weapons...
- Beam: Put the pistol away now, or we'll have to get mean.
Flamethrower scoffs and points the pistol at Blizzard. Aero and Beam run towards Flamethrower to stop her, but she creates a wall of flame that blocks them.
- Aero: My powers will just make the fire bigger!
- Beam: Mine won't exactly help either!
Blizzard gets up and runs to the left of Flamethrower, dodging several of her bullets. She then stops to fire a shard of ice at Flamethrower, but she destroys it in mid-air with a bullet and then shoots Blizzard in the side, causing her to collapse onto the ground.
- Blizzard: Ahh!
- Flamethrower: Only fools would try to interrupt E.N.D.O's work.
Flamethrower fires her last two bullets at the ice freezing her legs in place, breaking them open, and throws the pistol to the side.
- Flamethrower: Hmmph.
Flamethrower then stops fueling the wall of flame and looks to the duo. Aero's eyes go to Blizzard, who's seriously injured, and she gasps.
- Aero: Oh my god...
Flamethrower throws a punch at Aero, but Beam shoots a small blast of energy at her, stunning the villain for a moment.
- Beam: We can help her aft-
- Aero: No. She won't survive that wound unless somebody stops the blood. Use any piece of cloth you have, Eliza, and tie it under the wound. I'll take care of her.
Beam opens her mouth to protest but then simply nods and runs to Blizzard's side. Flamethrower scoffs and pulls a shotgun out of the crate.
- Aero: No more weapons. I'm done.
Aero knocks the gun out of Flamethrower's hand with a gust of wind and then punches her in the face, slamming her into the ground.
Aero throws another punch, but Flamethrower dodges it, hopping back up and burning Aero with a short blast of fire.
- Aero: Oww!
Flamethrower closes in on Aero and repeatedly shoots flame at her, the young woman frantically trying to evade the firey assault.
- Aero: Wait a minute...my powers will only make the fire grow...
Aero stands in place, Flamethrower looking confused. She then shrugs and releases a stream of flame from her gauntlets at Aero.
- Aero: I said I was done. I meant it.
Aero then closes her eyes and focuses, blasting a large wave of air at Flamethrower's fire. It only helps the flame to get bigger and bigger, causing it to spread and set Flamethrower's armor on fire before scorching her face.
- Flamethrower: No! Agh!
She stops blasting fire at Aero, but the damage is already done as she takes a few steps before falling onto the ground, burnt to death by her own fire.
- Aero: She's...dead.
Aero looks over to see Blizzard, still breathing with a makeshift tourniquet on, and Beam at her side. The page's last panel has Aero silently reaching for her phone to call for backup.
The issue's final page opens on E.N.D.O's underground base. We see soldiers unpacking weapon after weapon from a haul of crates smuggled into the bunker, before carrying the weapons to a massive group of young, fit people, who then practice firing the weapons in the base's shooting range. Upon delivering the weapons, the soldiers all split up, one heading towards the Director's office. The Director is looking through a photo album, when he quickly closes it as he sees the soldier. He then motions for him to come in.
- Soldier: I'm sorry to interrupt, sir. But I bring important news.
- Director: Ugh...get on with it, soldier.
The soldier hands the Director a file, which he quickly flips through at first but then stops as he gets a good look at the file. A mix of disgust and hurt is on his face.
- Director: They killed Fotia...
- Soldier: I was sad to hear it too, sir. She was your best soldier.
- Director: She died for our cause...died fighting against the monsters. And it was these Misfits?
- Soldier: Yes, sir. We found the driver of the truck and Flamethrower dead, and from our reports, it was none other than them.
The Director shakes with anger as he takes a deep breath, closing the file and putting it in his cabinet. He looks at the soldier with hatred in his eyes.
- Director: Double the surveillance. I'm tired of playing defensively. We're going to fight these bastards head on, on their own turf. Tell the others that I'll have more information for them soon.
The soldier begins to question the Director, but quickly stops when he sees how passionate his superior is about the matter.
- Soldier:...Yes, sir. I'm on it.
The soldier walks out of the room as the Director opens the photo album once more. The photo in the center shows him standing alongside a woman and two children, all of them looking happy and content.
- Director: Everyone that these freaks have killed...I'll avenge them all. And nothing will stand in my way.
The issue ends on a panel focusing in on the picture of the Director and his family.
6: In the Dark
The plot thickens, and so does the danger for the heroes.
Amber is sitting on her bed, drinking a cup of hot chocolate and moping. The lights are off and their room's clock reads 4:00 AM. Eliza suddenly jolts up from her bed, breathing heavily.
- Amber: Bad dream, Liz?
Eliza sees that Amber is awake and grunts, rubbing her eyes and laying back in her bed. Amber takes another sip and turns towards her best friend.
- Eliza: Mmm-hmm, there was this fuckin' cyborg, and you were there, and-nevermind. Why are you up, Amb?
- Amber: I can't sleep, yesterday was...bad. Natasha got hurt, and I have no idea if she's going to live, and I've never killed anyone before, and...it's just...so much. I feel like I can't...I can't think about anything else, y'know?
- Eliza:..Yeah. I know, Amb.
Eliza gets up and sits down on Amber's bed. The younger woman sleepily lays against her best friend's chest, letting out a worried sigh.
- Eliza: You've had to deal with some shit, Amb, but...I can't believe I'm gonna be the optimist here, I think it's going to be okay. Whenever I felt like garbage, you always assured me that. So I'm gonna do the same for you.
Amber shows a weak smile to Eliza and nods, getting up and setting her mug down. She then flops down on the bed, Eliza looking slightly disappointed.
- Amber: Yeah...yeah, you know what it's like. But we're going to stick together, right? Make it through this with each other.
- Eliza: Sorry, Strawberry, but you're not getting rid of me.
Amber grins and closes her eyes, nuzzling into her pillow. Eliza slowly eases back from her friend's bed and lays down on her own bed.
- Amber: Well...
She then hears loud snoring and looks over to see that Eliza has quickly gone back to sleep. A small smile comes onto her face.
- Amber:...I wouldn't have it any other way.
The next panel shows pitch black, followed by another similarly blank panel, this time with a speech bubble in it.
- Amber: Liz!
That panel is followed by one showing Eliza's point of view, Amber standing over her. Eliza blinks a couple times before sitting up.
- Eliza: Ugh...didn't we just go back to sleep?
- Amber: Yeah, I know, and my eyes feel like they're going to fall out! But Nat's up! She's awake!
Eliza grins and stands up, both of them in T-shirts and shorts. Amber grabs Eliza's hand and dashes towards their door.
- Eliza: Shouldn't we get dressed or somethin' first?
- Amber: No time!
She opens the door and pulls Eliza with her, a determined look on Amber's face as her best friend chuckles, closing the door behind them.
Amber and Eliza burst into Natasha's infirmary room. She looks up to see them standing there and shows a weak smile to her friends.
- Eliza: Aww shit, were we supposed to knock?
- Amber: The doctors did warn us to let you relax.
Natasha waves them away and coughs, clutching her side and wincing.
- Natasha: Nah, everything hurts but that's not your guys' fault. They say I'll probably be alright, but no active duty for me for a while.
Eliza sits down on the chair next to Natasha's hospital bed while Amber worriedly paces back and forth.
- Eliza: Well, that blows.
Natasha nods as Amber mutters to herself, before they both look up at her.
- Natasha: I'm alright, Amber. Don't worry.
- Amber: Oh my god, of course I have to worry! What was it like? Getting shot?
Natasha shrugs as Eliza sits back.
- Natasha: Just like a rock getting thrown at me. A rock that's on fire. I thought I was going to die for a little bit, but your best friend over here saved my life. Then things went black for a bit...but when I woke up, I prayed and I called my parents. Basically your average tuesday.
Amber sighs and leans on the wall, looking to the both of them.
- Amber: I think Liz's sarcasm is rubbing off on you.
Eliza grins and Natasha laughs, shaking a bit.
- Natasha: Oh my gosh, you're right.
Amber shakes her head, trying to supress a giggle. Her expression then quickly turns serious.
- Amber: Wait...I thought I heard that woman saying something to you. What was it?
- Eliza: The roaring wall of death flame sort of blocked it off from us.
Natasha opens her mouth to reply but then stops, looking perplexed.
- Natasha: Oh yeah...something about us being fools. But the really interesting part was the acronym she said...E.N.D.O.
All three of them look confused and ponder the situation for a moment.
- Eliza: Maybe they're just some dumbass F.A.N.T wannabes?
Amber shakes her head and walks up to Eliza.
- Amber: They were packing a terrifying amount of weapons...plus the woman we fought, her armor and weapons were nothing to scoff at.
- Natasha: Targeting the Misfits, having a large stock of weapons and technology...they're like some sort of opposite F.A.N.T.
- Amber: Like Hydra...
Eliza and Natasha look at Amber, confused.
- Amber: Am I the only one here who read comics growing up?
- Eliza: Parents had no money for it.
- Natasha: I was still playing with dolls.
- Amber: Well, the point is-
Amber is interrupted by a loud alarm sounding throughout the Misfits base. They all look around, startled.
- Intercom: Misfits, this is Birnstone. The base is under attack, please evacuate as soon as possible. I'll get back to you when I have more informati-
The intercom suddenly cuts off, as they all look very concerned. Amber and Eliza look to each other and then look out the door to see soldiers in jet black armor marching towards them.
- Natasha: You two, go. I may have to deal with some stitches...
Natasha creates a sharp icicle in her hand and smirks.
- Natasha: But I can take care of myself.
Eliza sighs and looks to her best friend.
- Eliza: There's no way I'm leaving here with you, is there?
- Amber: Nope.
- Eliza:...Then let's kick some ass together.
Amber nods and grins, blasting the infirmary door open with her aerokinesis as Eliza charges her fists with energy.
The next page opens with Amber and Eliza fighting through the infirmary. One soldier fires a bullet at Amber, but she uses her powers to redirect it' at the ground as Eliza knocks them out with a charged punch to the face.
- Amber: I can't believe I didn't bring our armor suits in case of emergency!
- Eliza: It's not like you exactly knew this hell was gonna break out!
A line of soldiers charges toward them from the back as Amber blasts air at the soldier in front, knocking them all down like dominos.
- Eliza: That was pretty fucking cool, Amb.
- Amber: Aww...
Another soldier tosses a grenade at them from afar and runs off. Eliza groans as she sees the grenade, and blasts a small burst of energy at the grenade, causing it to bounce back towards the soldier and explode.
- Eliza: Coward.
- Amber: Liz, watch out!
A massive soldier walks towards Eliza, a shotgun in his hands. Amber tries to push him back with her powers, but the weight of him and his armor is too much.
- Soldier: Scum...
In the nick of time, a flaming fist rams through the soldier's chest, causing him to fall to the ground dead. Behind the soldier is a recovered Frostburn.
- Frostburn: Was that awesome or what?!
- Eliza: Not bad.
Jerry runs towards the group, barely catching up with them as he pants, holding a tablet in hand.
- Jerry: Warn me before you take off next time, Frostburn!
- Frostburn: Ehh, alright, Jer.
The four then hear a loud clanking noise and look over to see a group of soldiers collapsing onto the ground suddenly.
- Jerry: Their armor runs on easily exploited technology, a few taps and I've rendered them non-operational. And that's how you hack a security system.
- Amber:...Wow. Nice job.
Jerry nods as they hear indistinct shouts from the soldiers demanding to be let out of their suits. The group ignore their cries and walk toward the elevator.
- Frostburn: Hey...I heard about Chilly, is she okay?
Amber and Eliza nod simulatenously and he grunts in reply. Jerry scrolls through something on his tablet and taps on it, causing the elevator to open.
- Eliza: Where are we headed?
- Amber: The lobby, that's the only place where we can stop them.
Everyone quickly nods in agreement as they walk into the elevator. Silent and determined, Jerry taps on his tablet and the elevator closes.
- Soldier: Help! Heeeeeeelp!
Natasha is shown in her hospital bed, knocked out soldiers surrounding it. She throws a chunk of ice at the complaining solider, knocking him out.
The four arrive at the lobby to find Aran Leverletto, Melissa Dust, Firball, Birnstone, Jared Orlevo, and Topzy battling against a hoard of soldiers who are desperately trying to escape with a sizable amount of unconcious Misfits.
- Amber: They're all here! This is amazing!
Jerry and Frostburn raise their eyebrows as they stare at Amber, while Eliza grins. They then turn to see Team Starsnow being knocked out one at a time by pulses of energy.
- Eliza: What the he-
Before they have time to respond, Jerry and Frostburn are knocked out by the energy pulses. Amber knocks Eliza out of the way with her powers and then intercepts the blast with a gust of wind.
- ???: Your friends will die for a worthy cause.
The surviving soldiers all move to the side, as the Director steps forward, holding a massive gun. Amber and Eliza frown at him as he lets out a deep breath.
- Director: I've seen the footage. You're the one who killed her.
Amber looks down and nods. The Director scoffs angrily.
- Amber: I did. I wasn't happy about it either. But I did it to save lives. What are you doing this for?
The Director growls and aims the gun at Amber.
- Director: I'm saving lives, you idiot! All your doing is...is...murder. You and all your freak friends are the same. It's because of people like you that I lost my family. You people that corrupted the great agency I once worked for. F.A.N.T is blind, the Misfits are blind, you're all fools, killing yourselves and each other. But I can save you. I can make this right. I WILL make this right!
He puts his finger on the trigger when Eliza blasts a powerful beam of energy at the Director, burning his face as he stumbles backwards.
- Director: Agh!
The Director then points the gun at Eliza. Amber runs towards her, but the soldiers form a human wall that blocks her. She desperately tries to crawl over them as Eliza smiles at her best friend.
- Eliza: I love you, Amb.
He then fires the gun at Eliza, knocking her out with a pulse. The soldiers flee frantically, escaping with the bodies they had as well as Eliza, with the Director storming off at the lead.
- Amber: Oh my god...no...
Amber sobs into her hands as she falls to her knees in the center of the base's lobby, her unconcious friends littered around her.
A dark, cramped room is shown, dried blood on the walls and a single lightbulb fixed to the ceiling providing only the slightest bit of artificial light.
- ???: Wake up.
The next panel shows Eliza, who is just barely waking up. Her sight is blurry as she looks around the room to see the Director in front of her. His face is scarred and disfigured from the blast she gave him.
- Director: Don't try anything, Ms. Baxter. F.A.N.T developed a serum that'll drain the target of their powers for a period of time. Before I was disgraced and fired, I stole a few of those. You're not giving me any more scars.
Eliza growls and prepares to get up but finds that she's been restrained to the ground, with handcuffs over her wrists.
- Director: You're not going anywhere, either. I'm not killing you, though. Not yet.
Eliza spits at the Director and he scoffs, stepping back.
- Director: Repulsive. But anyways, I'm going to use you as leverage. Amber Arlen is her name I believe...she'll come for you. She'll bring her friends too. Then I'll kill them all. And then, I'll kill you.
Eliza's face becomes a bright red as she struggles to escape, but to no avail.
- Eliza: What the hell are you doing this for?!
The Director paces back and forth.
- Director: I've suffered because of superhumans. So has every soldier who is serving E.N.D.O. But we're developing a chemical weapon, using the DNA from the subjects we've taken-
- Eliza: You've murdered?
- Director: Semantics. This weapon, when dispersed over the world, will cure everyone with powers of their disease. It's non-lethal, it has no side-effects, it will change our world for the better.
- Eliza: And what about when aliens come? Or robots? Or some other fucker like you looking to hurt people? Who will save us th-
- Director: QUIET!
The Director angrily kicks Eliza in the face, knocking her out. Shaking with rage, he walks away from her, and opens and slams the door behind him, locking her in.
7: Shockwaves I
Aero and Beam's limits are tested.
The penultimate issue opens with a shot of the Misfits base of operations in the middle of the night, a crescent moon behind it and the stars twinkling around it. Inside, we see Amber, Jerry, Frostburn, and Birnstone gathered around the large computer on their floor.
- Birnstone: None of you could sleep?
Amber, clearly rattled, shakes her head while Frostburn shrugs. Jerry takes a sip from his mug of coffee.
- Amber:...No. Not after...Eliza.
- Jerry: Pikachu never sleep.
Frostburn seems surprised and looks to Jerry.
- Frostburn: Really?
- Jerry: No. That was me being deadpan.
Frostburn grunts, annoyed, while Jerry flashes a wry smile. Birnstone sighs and points to the computer, a map of New York City on it.
- Birnstone: Misfits, our surveillance cameras captured the license plate of the armored vehicle carrying those brutes as they left. With the assistance of Mister Gilbert-
Jerry sets down his mug on the desk and crosses his arms, clearly proud of himself.
- Birnstone: We've managed to track the truck to a small clothing shop on the outskirts of town. It's not much of a lead, but it's all we have. Understood?
Everyone except for Amber nods, as she shakes with anger. She takes a deep breath and nods.
- Birnstone: Good. I can't go with you three, Starsnow has enough on it's plate without a psychotic bigot. But, I can provide you with transportation.
Frostburn smirks as his fist lights up with a blue flame.
- Frostburn: That's all we need.
- Jerry: When do we lea-
- Amber: As early as we can. Six in the morning, is what I'd suggest.
They all silence themselves as Birnstone looks impressed, nodding.
- Birnstone: A car will be out front then. Good luck, Misfits.
Birnstone rubs her head as she walks away to the elevator, the trio standing together quietly.
- Frostburn: We've lost two Misfits, have no backup, don't know what we're getting into, and have no plan. Great odds.
Amber slams her hands down on the table, Frostburn and Jerry jumping slightly.
- Amber: We are going to rescue Eliza and the others, stop their plans, and bring them to justice. That is the only option.
Jerry hops into his chair and starts typing on the computer while Amber looks over at the training equipment. Frostburn groans.
- Frostburn: Are you two really staying up all night?
Jerry yawns and takes a swig of coffee.
- Jerry: That's the point of coffee, Frostburn.
Frostburn sighs and walks over the equipment alongside Amber as they begin to train for the massive mission ahead of them.
As the sun rises, the trio are driving in an expensive, bright red sports car, now suited up for the battle. Aero's eyes dart all around, Frostburn in the passenger's seat, and Mission tapping on his tablet frantically.
- Aero: Concentrate...concentrate...
The trio begin to pull up to the clothing shop, as Frostburn looks back at Mission.
- Frostburn: What's up? Or are you just tapping on that for fun?
Mission looks up and smirks.
- Mission: The base is definitely here.
- Aero: How do you know? High energy readings?
- Mission: No, no, that's only in the movies. I can tell, because of all the networks running here. So much to hack...so little time.
Frostburn chuckles as Aero parks in front of the shop. They all unbuckle their belts and get out of the car, a young man walking out of the store towards them.
- Aero: Excuse me, Rick, did you see a large truck park here?
The man looks startled and reaches for a pistol in his pocket.
- Rick: How do y-you know my name?!
Frostburn points to the employee's name tag, which clearly reads RICK in bold letters.
- Aero: It was on your nametag.
The employee then lets out a sigh of relief, before running away. Aero uses her powers to trip him, and Mission remotely jams his gun. When he gets up, Frostburn tackles him.
- Rick: Don't kill me! I'm just in it for the money!
While Frostburn holds him down, Aero walks up to him and kneels. She gives him her most intimidating look.
- Aero: We're here to do the right thing. We're not killing anyone unless it's out of self defense. But to do the right thing, we need to know how to get to the base.
Rick groans and reaches for his pistol, as Frostburn swats his hand.
- Rick: Ugh...there's a hidden floor on the elevator. The only way to reach it is for me to remotely trigger it. But without you knowing where the switch i-
Mission holds the door open as they see that the elevator is open. Frostburn grins.
- Mission: None of you people have any clue how to prevent hacking. It's really quite apalling.
Aero motions for Frostburn to get up. Rick breathes heavily, looking like he's just been crushed.
- Aero: You're a spineless man who was of no help to us. Leave now and never come back.
Rick whimpers and nods, running off. Even Frostburn seems a bit scared by Aero as they all walk into the shop, entering the elevator.
- Frostburn: You've got a knack for scaring people.
- Aero: I got it from my mother.
Mission closes the elevator as it plunges down into the E.N.D.O base. The next panel shows an old woman walking up to the cash register, a sweater in hand.
- Old Woman: Where did that nice cashier go...?
As the elevator door opens, Aero and her crew look out to see a giant, cold labyrinth full of soldiers.
- Aero: Let's go.
Aero then dashes out of the elevator, running to the left as Frostburn and Mission follow behind her.
We then join Eliza, still captive inside the dark chamber. There are bags underneath her eyes and bruises on her body as the Director walks into the room.
- Director: Didn't sleep through the night?
Eliza growls at her captor and writhes in the confines. He chuckles and sits down on the ground, just inches away from Eliza. She reaches out to attack him, but he's just barely out of reach.
- Director: I didn't give you those bruises...must have struggled too much. You did strike me as the stubborn type. But anyone can be broken...anyone...
- Eliza: Like you?
The Director clenches his fist and takes a deep breath.
- Director: No...I won't let a pathetic fool like you aggrevate me...
Eliza grins and laughs a little but then breaks out into a coughing fit. The Director smirks and stands up, pacing back and forth.
- Director: God, I bet you want some water. Might help with the coughing.
The Director pulls out an icy cold bottle of water from his pocket and swings it around. Eliza tries to reach for it desperately.
- Director: I'll give you the water...in exchange for your cooperation. I'll even let you live. If you act as my bait.
Eliza scoffs and shakes her head, her eyebrows narrowing. She then flips the Director off.
- Eliza: I'd never sabotage my friends like that. Bad things happen to people. But you let the bad things break you. I won't be broken.
The Director stomps on the ground like a child, before stomping on Eliza's stomach and gut. She grits her teeth, refusing to show any pain.
- Eliza: Fuck. You.
He screams out angrily and slams his fist into Eliza's face, bruising her face and causing her to cough up blood.
- Eliza: Did I not say it loudly enough? Fuck you.
The Director storms out of the room like an angry child as Eliza breathes heavily, going in and out of conciousness from her injuries.
- Eliza: Am....Amber...
The following panel shows complete darkness as Eliza blacks out.
In the dimly lit room, the door suddenly swings open, Eliza still unconcious. However, instead of it being the Director, it's a Misfit opening the door.
- Misfit: Wake up! Wake up!
An energy sword spontaneously forms in the Misfit's hand. She slashes through Eliza's constraints, as the unconcious woman yawns and slowly opens her eyes.
- Eliza: W-who the hell are you...?
The Misfit reaches out for Eliza and helps pull her up. Eliza's legs shake slightly as she catches her breath, looking baffled.
- Misfit: My name is Blade.
- Eliza: I'm El-Beam.
- Blade: El Beam?
- Eliza: No, no, just Beam. Anyways, how did you get here?
A solider runs up to the two and Blade throws the sword at his chest, causing him to fall down and die. The sword disappears and reappears in her hand.
- Blade: Took the bait option. They forgot to inject me with that serum.
Eliza nods and tries to summon some energy, but her hands simply spark. She groans in frustration as Blade picks up the soldier's gun and tosses it to her.
- Blade: Can you fire a gun?
- Eliza: Ehh, can't be that hard to do.
They walk out of the room to see soldiers charging at them from both sides. Blade summons another sword in her hand and cuts through several soldiers while Eliza fires off at them.
- Blade: Let's go!
- Eliza: Yeah, one second!
Eliza attempts to fire at the last soldier coming for her, but realizes that she's out of bullets. The soldier raises his gun and points it at Eliza's head, but Blade turns around and throws a blade at him, causing him to fall down to his death. However, before he dies, he shoots Blade in the chest, knocking her to the ground.
- Blade: Oh...fuck...
Eliza turns around and kneels as Blade bleeds out. Eliza frantically looks around for a piece of cloth.
- Eliza: I know how to make a fuckin' tourniquet if I can jus-
Blade shakes her head and coughs up some blood. She puts her hand on Eliza's shoulder and shakes her.
- Blade: I'm not gonna make it...Beam, you have...you have to get out of here. And help the others...I have...I have a girlfriend...she's a Misfit and s-she's back at the base. Will you...will you tell her that I love her?
Eliza nods and Blade closes her eyes. Her determination renewed, Eliza gets up and takes a shotgun from the soldier that killed Blade as her eyebrows narrow.
- Eliza: I'm going to get back to Amber.
She cocks the shotgun and runs off down the hallway, red lights flashing and an alarm sounding throughout the E.N.D.O base.
Meanwhile, Aero, Mission, and Frostburn are making their way through the twists and turns of the underground maze, lights out and soldiers scattered around them.
- Aero: Any way we can narrow our sights, Mission?
He gazes down at his tablet while a soldier comes up from behind, Aero knocking him into the wall with a blast of wind. Mission's eyes light up.
- Mission: They've kept a typed up report of all the Misfits they've gotten...it's a big list, but we've already freed a number of them. According to this, Beam is in room 113A.
- Frostburn: In English?
- Mission: Take a few lefts, right next to the Director's office.
Aero nods and they take a left, when they spot a massive man in a suit of armor, a gatling gun in hand. Frostburn's jaw drops.
- Frostburn: Oh, shiiiit.
Aero prepares to fight, but Frostburn shooes her away as Mission scrolls through his tablet.
- Frostburn: Go get the girl. We've got this.
Aero opens her mouth to protest, but Mission raises his hand.
- Mission: Surprisingly, I'm in agreement with Frostburn. We insist.
Aero nods and uses her powers to boost herself over the soldier. He growls, but focuses his sights on Mission and Frostburn.
- Frostburn: Mission, if we die, you're really not that bad.
- Mission: I feel the same, Mr. Frostburn.
Aero runs off towards Eliza while the soldier and Frostburn charge towards each other. Mission sighs and gets to work on his tablet.
8: Shockwaves II
Everything comes to a not-so-tidy end.
Right after the previous issue, we join Aero as she speedily turns down hall after hall to finally reach Eliza's holding area. As she arrives right outside of it, she sees that Eliza's door is open, and the Director is in front of it.
- Aero: What did you do with her?!
The Director smirks and holds up a large, dark black weapon that resembles a gatling gun. Aero's eyebrows furrow as she clenches her fists.
- Director: She betrayed you. She'll now live a happy life as a powerless woman. You could've done the same.
- Aero: Bullshit. She never would have done that. I know her.
He shrugs and a soldier behind him throws a wounded Misfit in front of the gun. Aero runs up to stop him, but the soldier aims his handgun at her as she backs up.
- Director: Thank you, son. This gun...holds an experimental version of the serum we've developed.
- Aero: What serum...?
The Director fires the gatling gun at the badly injured Misfit. It releases a puff of mist that causes the Misfit to cough and writhe on the ground.
- Director: That's what we needed your friends for. This will cure people of their illness.
- Aero: You...you're draining their powers...
The Misfit attempts to use their powers on the Director, but finds that it's all in vain. He punches the Director in the face as the soldier shoots him in the head, blood splattering on the wall. Before Aero can make a move, they both have their guns aimed at her.
- Director: The serum is nearly perfect! Just a few adjustments...a little time...and the world will be right again. You're interfering with God's work here.
- Aero: God? Are you so disillusioned that you think dooming the world to a helpless state is what God wants? You really are insane. And if you don't turn yourself into F.A.N.T now, I'll have to take action.
The Director chuckles and raises his gun, when a blast of energy hits the soldier, setting him on fire and causing him to fall the ground. Confused, the Director looks back to see Eliza.
- Eliza: I'd never run away to save myself, douchebag.
Aero grins and blasts air at the Director when he's distracted, knocking him into the wall. He groans in pain and walks over to Eliza, as the Director falls unconcious.
The next page shifts to the Director, a smile on his face and a black suit on. He has a F.A.N.T badge pinned to his shirt pocket that shows his name to be Edward Fastid, and he's firing off his pistol at the base's shooting range, when he hears his phone ring.
- Edward: Now who could that be?
Agent Fastid answers his phone as a grin comes onto his face.
- Edward: Darling?
- Mrs. Fastid: Just reminding you to be home early tonight, honey. It's movie night, and you know how excited the kids get.
He chuckles, a goofy smile on his face. As he puts his pistol in his pocket, he walks away from the shooting range, the phone up to his ear.
- Edward: You know how excited I get.
- Mrs. Fastid: Mmm, I do.
Edward stops in the F.A.N.T HQ's hallway, talking to his wife, a happy and content expression on his face. The next panel skips to him, his wife, and his two children walking down the street at night after watching a film. The two children are deep in an argument about the movie as Edward has his arm wrapped around his wife.
- Mrs. Fastid: I didn't know it was debate night...
- Edward: It always is for kids.
Suddenly, a thug steps out of the alley and growls at the family. The two children run and hide behind their mother and father.
- Thug: Give me your cash, NOW.
Edward steps out, his hand on his gun. His family shakes in fear behind him.
- Edward: Look, we can talk about this.
Edward draws his gun, when the thug uses his telekinetic powers to snap the necks of his wife and children. In shock, he shoots the thug in the head, causing him to die right there. Edward falls to his knees and screams out in anguish. The next panel shows Edward at the funeral, depressed.
- Edward: I could have...I could have stopped this...
The next panel cuts to Edward in the lobby of F.A.N.T. He stares out blankly, as he sees a man talk to a sceptile. The man, telling a story, lights his hand ablaze. A flash in Edward's mind shows the traumatic event in front of him.
- Edward: NO!
Edward tackles the superpowered man and slams his fist into the man's face repeatedly as agents crowd around him. They pull Edward off, but not before he knocks out the fellow agent, blood and bruises on his face.
- Edward: No! You idiots! He's one of THEM!
We see Edward silently discharged from his occupation at F.A.N.T. He walks out of the HQ, his face a deep red, and looks down at his termination slip, the reason for him being fired listed as "insanity".
- Edward: Insanity...insanity...
Edward tears up the slip and tosses it into a trash can. He looks filled with anger and hated and grief, as his expression slowly becomes a twisted smile.
- Edward: Wait...I could have stopped this...
The next panels show Edward spending all his life's savings on buying the clothing shop. Over time, more and more people join Edward's cause, and they construct the base underneath it. As a volunteer paints the final E.N.D.O icon on the brick wall, they look up at Edward, now having fully descended into his role as the Director.
- Volunteer: Wait, sir, why is it called E.N.D.O anyways?
- Director: I once worked for F.A.N.T. They used to help the world...but they were corrupted by the superpowered people. E.N.D.O stands for the Extermination of Non Desirable Organisms. We're the people who will save the world. We'll be better than F.A.N.T ever could be.
The volunter grins and nods. The Director adjusts his tie and walks off to his new office, as in the present, he flashes back to conciousness.
- Director: I can...I can stop this.
He gets up to find Aero and Eliza battling against soldiers protecting him. He narrows his eyebrows and picks up the gun once more.
The duo finish off the last of the soldiers as the Director steps forward, aiming his gun at them. Eliza charges her hands with energy.
- Eliza: Back for more, asshole?
- Aero: I told you to stand down.
The Director blasts the mist at them as they step back in the nick of time. He slowly steps forward as they flee, but find a blockade of soldiers blocking their way. As they stop, he catches up with them.
- Director: I don't take orders from people like you.
Aero and Eliza desperately attack the soldiers, but even as they clear out waves and waves of soldiers, more seem to pile up in front of them.
- Director: These soldiers are my family. The only family I have left. I won't let monsters like you kill them. I failed before...I'll never fail again.
The Director blasts mist at them as Aero makes the biggest gust of wind she can, dispersing the mist and narrowly saving them each time.
- Director: You hear me?! I'll never fail AGAIN!
Aero breathes heavily while Eliza tries to clear out an escape for them, but to no avail. The Director continues to pump the mist at them as he marches forward.
- Eliza: Wait...I have an idea.
Aero looks over to Eliza, who smirks. Aero sighs.
- Eliza: Like we practiced, Amb?
Aero reluctantly nods and Eliza steps in front of Aero, creating a shield of raw energy over her hands. She closes her fists as the Director looks baffled.
- Director: Sacrifice will get you nowhere!
Aero flings Eliza into the air towards the Director with a blast of air, as Eliza punches him in the face, knocking him unconcious as she falls onto the ground.
- Eliza: How's that for f-failure?
Aero walks over towards Eliza as the soldiers flee in terror. Behind them is Frostburn and Mission, who look exhausted.
Aero, Eliza, Frostburn and Mission are all gathered in the center of the E.N.D.O base, unconcious and dead soldiers all around. As Frostburn ties the Director up, Mission sits against the wall.
- Frostburn: How about some backup, Jer?
Mission yawns and rubs his eyes as he sets the tablet down next to him. Aero helps Eliza up.
- Mission: F.A.N.T is on the way. They'll be here in minutes, secure the situation and arrest the surviving soldiers. Including Mr. Director over there.
Frostburn nods in gratitude and leans against the wall next to Frostburn. Eliza smiles but then looks down as she stands face to face with her best friend.
- Eliza: Hey...I'm sorry what I said about loving you. That was insane, and I know I should've given you some warning, and there's no way you could ever love me b-
Aero looks confused as she puts her hands on Eliza's shoulders. She shakes her head and grins.
- Aero: Oh my god, Eliza. Don't you know that I love you? Don't you know that I've loved you since we were kids? Don't you know that every day I thought you'd never love me back?
Eliza uncharacteristically stutters as Aero puts her hands on Eliza's face, pulling her in for a passionate kiss. Eliza's eyes go wide, but she closes them blissfully as they kiss.
- Frostburn: Chilly's gonna love this one...
Mission whacks Frostburn with his tablet as the two embrace.
Soon after, Amber, Eliza, Frostburn, Jerry, and a newly recovered Natasha are at a promotion ceremony. Aran Leverletto himself walks down the line, pinning Team Red badges to their suits.
- Aran Leverletto: Everyone here kicks major ass.
They all chuckle, and even Jerry has a small smile on his face. Aran smirks.
- Aran Leverletto: Because you all understand what the hell Misfits is about, better than a lot of people do. We don't always operate legally...but we save lives. We help people.
Aran stops at the end of line, handing the badge to Amber. She grins and quickly afixes it to her suit, holding hands with Eliza.
- Aran Leverletto: Some of you are leaders.
Eliza looks at Amber and smiles warmly at her. She squeezes her hand.
- Aran Leverletto: Some of you have put everyone else above yourself.
Frostburn throws up his fist and cheers. Jerry sighs and shakes his head, while Natasha pats him on the back. He blushes and quiets down.
- Aran Leverletto: But all of you are heroes. And Team Red is going to need you.
Aran walks away and opens the elevator door. He steps in, and reaches to push the button to close it, but stops.
- Aran Leverletto: And one more thing...good luck.
They all nod and grin as Aran closes the elevator doors. As they disperse, Jerry settles in at his computer and talks with Frostburn. Amber, Eliza, and Natasha walk around.
- Natasha: From the bottom of the barrel to the C-Team so quickly? Not bad, guys.
- Eliza: I'd say pretty damn good, in fact.
Amber grins, the two still holding hands. Natasha looks over at the others.
- Natasha: I'll leave you lovebirds alone.
Natasha walks off towards Frostburn and Jerry, but not before mouthing "I was right" to Eliza. Eliza chuckles and Amber hugs her tightly. The older woman nuzzles into her chest.
- Eliza: Hey, Strawberry, I have to tell someone something. I made a promise.
Amber grins and looks down at Eliza, letting her go. Eliza runs off to the elevator.
- Amber: I like that name, by the way.
Eliza opens the elevator and steps in.
- Eliza: I know.
As she disappears into the elevator, Amber walks over to her team and talks with them as they all laugh. The volume ends with a shot of the Misfits base in the middle of the day, the sun shining brightly behind it.
Reception was mostly positive. Praise was given to the characters and their interactions as well as the art, and criticism was aimed towards the cliche plot, the lesser development of Aero, and the villain's motivation. Creator of the Misfits .etherealknight was especially vocal in her support of the series.
- Volume 1 originally featured 10 issues, but was cut down to 8 issues because the author thought that the extra issues were unnecessary. These issues, "Then You Die" and "Cleanse My Mind", were combined with other issues. In addition, some issues were renamed or switched names.
- "Bittersweet" has it's name taken from The Verve's song Bittersweet Symphony.
- "Life Goes On" has it's name taken from The Beatles' song Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da.
- Rick, the old lady, and the E.N.D.O base being located underneath a clothing shop, are references to Fantendo - Turning Point.
- The concept of Shade was also made by the Misfits creator, and her names are taken from Alyss, a character from the Ranger's Apprentice series and actress Elizabeth Olsen.
- Blade's name is taken from the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name.