The Adventurers

From PRIMUS Database
Jump to: navigation, search


The Adventurers
AdventurersCollage1.png
Leader(s): Red Spider
Base of Operations: Subterranean Command Centre
Concept: Classic costumed heroes & street fighters fighting gangs & organized crime.
Founded: 14 February 2014
Website: Click Here
Members: [PRIMARY] Azure Hawk, Blue Fox, Catfight, Firewalker, Joule, Night Star, Red Spider, Rubber Bullette, Silver Hare, Sombra, Terratonic, Tungstan, Vortex


The Adventurers is a team of costumed heroes from Millennium City. Small in number, but strong in determination and skill, they work together to keep the city safe.

Adventurers Team Roster

Primary Adventurers


Not pictured: Joule

Recruits


Not pictured: (None)




Adventurers Reserve

These heroes turn up to help once in a while.



Inactive Members

These heroes have gone on to be heroes in other ways!

History

The Adventurers formed with a number of street-level heroes in Millennium City who recognized that the challenge of organized crime might be overcome if they combined their efforts. The first iteration of the team with Red Spider, Black Asylum, Ocelot, Cyro-Talon, and Fox were all costumed individuals protecting a secret identity. Working together, they have crushed a weapon smuggling ring run by Dr. Killowatt, defended the city against the Syndicate several times, stopped a plot to turn a hero into a living weapon, averted a horrible future, and put an end to a black market super serum.

The team line-up changes from time to time, but the core principle driving the team has been to be of service to the public in addressing challenges that law enforcement may not be able to do alone.


Hideouts

At the best of times the Adventurers have numerous tools for investigation, as well as computers monitoring conventional media, social media, and police bands for disturbances. Though there are remote comm devices to help the team access these services, a base is required to house the necessary machines.

The first Adventurers HQ was a subterranean cave donated by Artifex when he joined the team. The cave base had to be destroyed when Mark of Power was captured and forced to reveal the secret of its location to the Syndicate. The Adventurers briefly operated from a secret basement in Millennium City, donated by Blue Wonder for the interim after having to abandon the cave. With Blue Wonder's departure from the team, the Adventurers began operating out of the 'Justice Cave' belonging to Lady Justice. The Justice Cave became known to the public during the PRIMUS siege of December 2016, just before the team managed to exonerate themselves from false accusations. It became unsafe to continue using that location because enemies are certain to seek the team there.

After a lengthy search, Red Spider's father, philanthropist William Olsen, bought a piece of land within sight of the downtown that was to be classified a natural preserve. On this site, the Adventurers concealed an underground cavern using surface holography, and hid the service elevator within what to outside appearances was a utility shack. Installation of their new computer systems began in the summer of 2017. Work is ongoing, but the base is fully functional.

Holographic briefing table

The circular table has several seats around it, and the table surface makes use of the enormous holographic projector mounted on the cavern ceiling (the same projector also hides the cavern from surface view).

Adventurers can use the table to create presentations ahead of missions, to watch video (still in 2D perspective), and do holographic messaging. After her 'death' in early 2018, the team used the table to view a holo recording of Red Spider with messages for the team.

Communications Monitoring System and Crime Computer

This system manages the Adventurers comm frequency, and it also monitors news media, social media, police frequencies, and more for situations that could use some super help. A monotone robot voice from the computer, triggered by a threat-analysis algorithm, can deliver alerts to the Adventurers via their comm devices.

Adventurers can also ask limited questions of the computer that are strictly knowledge based and searchable on the internet. The computer could be asked, "What are the street addresses for the post offices within a one mile radius of my location?" but could not be asked, "Which post office is most likely to be targeted by terrorists today?" because that would require a nuanced, subjective analysis of a range of variables for which the computer lacks adequate programming.

Adventurers like Red Spider and Catfight, who plant audio surveillance devices on suspects or in gang hideouts, can transmit that audio to the Adventurers comm monitoring system for recording. The computer can synthesize a summary recording of the most important parts so that the heroes don't have to listen to hours of recording.

The comm system, while simplistic, is also user friendly.

Laboratory

The Adventurers have a small laboratory. It can perform the following functions:

  • Biological sample analysis (culturing, genome identification [ie, is this sample from a human or a shark?], blood typing, microscopy).
  • Chemical analysis
  • Fingerprint analysis
  • Audio-visual analysis
  • Document analysis (ie determine manufacture of paper; comparing evidence to control group [ie comparing a suspected forgery to a real $50 bill]; handwriting comparison)

The Adventurers lack the ability to do genotyping, so cannot identify a suspect via a DNA sample, for example. On one occasion, the team arranged to sneak into a university laboratory to use their equipment after hours.

Heroes attempting to use the lab facilities should have a specialization in criminology, science, or a relevant tech field (such as comm tech if they are doing an A/V analysis).

Workshop

Gadgets and tools need to be maintained, so to that end The Adventures have a workshop where they can do just that. From fabrics to electrical components, to spare parts and a few tools, the workshop has just enough stuff to help repair damaged devices and costumes, though building brand new devices may exhaust the supplies. Adventurer Doormaker keeps it stocked.

Containment Area

The Adventurers can hold one prisoner at a time within a force field at the site. This has only been done in extreme circumstances. Precautions must be taken to ensure that any prisoner being brought in does not observe the locality of the HQ, or else when they get free, they can compromise the team's location.

The Adventurers kept VIPER agent Oculon locked away for several days in late 2017.

Kitchen

There is a kitchenette hidden away in the facility. Heroes can get hot or cold beverages and some food from there. It's not clear who is doing the shopping...

Story Arcs

The following is presented as summaries of the Adventurers as if it were based on an actual comic book.

Arc Issue Title Story Villain(s)
The Golden Man #340 "Not a Forever Goodbye" Lord Aurum's remaining Golden Men try to save him, and drag him against his will into the waiting transport. Firewalker blasts it off course, while Silver Hare trashes its engine assembly. The resulting pressure build-up causes an explosion that makes the transport crash to the street. Aurum emerges from the wreck to be assailed by Blue Fox; his helmet is smashed, his life support fluid drained, and he is brought within an inch of his life. The team brings Aurum back to HQ in a bid to keep him alive.

The Surgical Droid captured in Adventurers #284 is brought in to stabilize Aurum and attempt to fashion a makeshift repair to his life support suit. The team orders the droid to awaken Aurum, then they ask if he can save Spyder. Aurum indicates that he probably can, but that he would need to return home to consult his texts to find the way. He bargains for his release, promising he will fulfill his end, and help both Spyder and Abaza Menderes return to life. The team is reluctant, but agrees that letting Aurum go is their best chance to save Spyder.

Two weeks later...

Spyder wakes up at the Olsen suite, surrounded by Blue Fox, Catfight, and Firewalker. She needs a few days to recover.

Future Adrynne visits Spyder late at night to let her know that she has fulfilled her purpose for being in the past, and she will soon be brought home to her proper time. Spyder takes time to say goodbye to the younger version of her father, whom she got to know during her stay in 2021, and farewells her team mates with a party. As she waits for the portal to open to return home, she says goodbye to everyone over team comms - and they respond by showing up in person to see her off. Sombra sends a cake with her to share with whoever greets her on the other side.

Shortly after Spyder enters the portal and it closes, the express private elevator of Cassandra Olsen's suite dings with a new arrival: Cassandra, returned from the future, holding baby Jessa.

Lord Aurum
The Golden Man #339 "Spyder's Purpose" The Adventurers get word from Silver Hare and, shortly after, Firewalker, about Lord Aurum's schemes, his crafting of the Philosopher's Stone, his killing of his future counterpart.

Blue Fox accesses a climate satellite to find a heat spike in the city corresponding with Firewalker's forging of the Stone, and locates it at the former address of the Order of Osiris [see Adventurers #249], which is being built over by a new construction site. But there must have been a sub-structure no one knew about, deep below.

The team arrives en masse to find Aurum's Golden Men boarding an air transport on exposed top floor of the building construction. Aurum, now encrusted in organic golden armor, and bearing the Philosopher's Stone on his chest, appears by hologram projected by a Golden Man to parley with the team. But the team will not accept Lord Aurum's word about the future calamity, nor his sole proprietorship of the Stone. The Golden Men go to attack mode.

For the first phase of the battle, the Adventurers are seriously overwhelmed by the Golden Men. Spyder went into her camouflage at the start of the encounter and is not seen, while Sombra also goes invisible and tries - without success - to pry the Stone away from Aurum once she sneaks onto the transport. Aurum has Sombra carried out, and has his robots hold position, but prepare for death strikes on those Adventurers who have been knocked down. Unable to get their acknowledgement of his claim to the Stone, Aurum seems about to order their deaths.

Then an invisible hand is revealed as the fingers, hand, and arm start to turn gold against Aurum's chest. Spyder, in camouflage, grabs the Stone and tugs it free, then dives to the ground, and buries it under her. Just as happened to the Turkish girl in 1908, Spyder - undisciplined in the mastery of the Stone - starts to turn into a solid gold statue bit by bit. Her sacrifice puts Aurum in alarm, and he thoughtlessly orders all of his Golden Men to immediately converge on Spyder and wrest the Stone from her before it is too late.

The Adventurers take advantage of the situation and dispense with most of the Golden Men when they turn their backs. Firewalker rockets through a great many.

Sombra gets close to Spyder and tries to take the Stone, but Spyder rolls and indicates she intends to see her sacrifice through. The sweep moves over her body, and Spyder is rendered unliving gold. The Philosopher's Stone expends its energy in her grasp, and crumbles to dust under Spyder.

Lord Aurum
The Golden Man #338 "Captured by the Alchemist" In Millennium City, Firewalker wakes up in an unfamiliar but dungeon-like place, swimming in a pool, restrained on a harness. He is soon visited by Lord Aurum of the Future, who explains his situation. It becomes clear that Lord Aurum of the Future took advantage of Edgar Cryderman's intention to travel back in time [see Adventurers #326-27] to destroy the Adventurers, and persuaded Cryderman to hit Red Spider at a certain date in 2021. Aurum came with Cryderman, and his intention was not to help Cryderman succeed - he expected Cryderman to fail, as he always did - but to be in place at a time in history when he knew that hellfire was something that he might be able to obtain without the peril of dealing with the devil.

Firewalker learns that Future Aurum is trying to stop a great, world-ending calamity that is doomed to happen in the near future, which he has sensed with his foresight power. To do avoid this fate, Aurum believes the Philosopher's Stone must be constructed so that a human mind can attain the wisdom necessary to determine how the calamity begins in the first place. Everything he has done for nearly a century has been, in some way or other, about gaining the Stone, and averting disaster.

While Firewalker considers the value of a potential alliance, Lord Aurum of the Present joins them, and makes clear that they have a hostage to ensure his obedience: Silver Hare. Firewalker tries to destroy Lord Aurum of the Future, but finds his future armor, outfitted with dragon scale, is enough to shield him. They douse him with water from an aqueduct high above. As the villains leave to make preparations, Firewalker asks the two Aurums if they considered which one of them gets to keep the Stone.

Later, Lord Aurum of the Future explains the situation to a frightened Silver Hare, and then brings her to see Firewalker. Just before it comes time for Firewalker to forge the stone, the Aurum of the Present has his Golden Men seize Future Aurum, and force a poison through his visor, into the liquid oxygen medium around his head. Future Aurum dies, and is dragged away. Later, Present Aurum - now in his future counterpart's armor - presides over the forging of the Stone. Firewalker bargains for a sign of good faith from Aurum that he won't misuse the Stone, asking that Aurum release Silver Hare. Aurum uses his golden dust to sedate Hare without warning, and orders his Golden Men to drop her off safely on a rooftop.

Firewalker uses his powers to forge the metallic core Aurum has prepared into the Philsopher's Stone, in a forge lined with dragonscale in order to protect the building from the intense hellfire. Firewalker achieves the Stone's formation... and tries to go a step further and eradicate it. The Stone, however, remains resilient to the additional heat. Golden Men, standing guard, strike from multiple angles with electrical attacks to subdue Firewalker. Aurum remarks that he anticipated betrayal, but still finds it disappointing. He does try to share with Firewalker something of the Stone's power, asking if Firewalker can sense any new insight or inspiraton.

Firewalker also removed to wake up safely somewhere else.

Lord Aurum
The Golden Man #337 "A Century's-old Adventure" As the team tries to look into leads on some clues they found in Lord Aurum's mansion in the Aegean, the Professor Walsingham AI finds a personal connection to one of the aliases Aurum has used, in the old passports and IDs Sombra brought back - that of Dr. Adem Altun.

Walsingham recounts in flashback how the Classic Adventurers attempted to investigate the case of a girl named Abaza Menderes in the Anatolya region of Turkey in 1908, who had apparently been turned to stone. Discounting other explanations such as a hoax, the team met Dr. Altun, supposedly a professor in Ankara, who had also come out to investigate. In time the team learned that Altun was not all that he appeared, and after Altun knocked the team out and captured them in his home, they woke up in a dungeon. Altun admitted he had been with Abaza, and had even hired her to help him, when he came to explore an old temple that he suspected was in the area near her village. When they discovered a glowing orb set in the floor, he instructed Abaza to pick it up for him - but upon holding it in her hands, it began to turn her to gold. Altun left the statuefied Abaza and went back to Ankara to get the tools he needed to handle the orb safely, but when he got back, not only had the Adventurers shown up to investigate, but the orb had apparently crumbled to dust. Altun suspected that Abaza lacked the mental discipline to bear the orb.

The Classic Adventurers managed to escape Altun's dungeon. They had to flee Turkey immediately when Altun leveraged his pull with the authorities to make the Adventurers out to be vile warlocks and plunderers.

The team learns that Dr. Altun / Lord Aurum's aim as an alchemist would be to craft the fabled Philosopher's Stone. That may be what Altun and poor Abaza found in that ancient, forgotten temple. The Stone legendarily would have the power to turn base material to gold, but also to provide wisdom, insight, and inspiration to those near it. It might also prolong life.

Night Star tracks down the statue of Abaza, which still exists and is presently owned by one of those commercial museums of oddities, and pays over $30 Million to buy it and have it shipped to her.

The Golden Man #336 "Return to Aurum Island" Spyder finally meets 'Fox' who has recently been restored to life. She tells him about her purpose being in the past: finding Lord Aurum. Fox, darkened by his time in hell, seems skeptical of the young hero. He suggests that if Aurum is out there, the team should visit his island.

Spyder convinces the team to go. Night Star, who was going to journey to nearby Cretoa in the Aegean Sea anyway, arranges transportation for the team to visit the tiny island upon which Lord Aurum's mansion sits. There, the team discovers a swarm of Aurum's golden men repairing the house, which had been extensively damaged a year prior when dozens of Golden Men burst forth to pursue Red Spider and Blue Fox when they stole something from Aurum's lab.

At the door, a Golden Man wearing an ornate shirt greets the team and hospitably takes them to a sitting room, affording them every comfort a guest might expect. The team learns little by little that Aurum is not present, but he did hope to bury his conflict with them - and avoid the Adventurers interfering in his efforts in future. The servant reveals that Present-day Aurum and Future Aurum are working together, and that Aurum's purpose is to save the world from some future calamity he knew was coming due to his power of foresight, but the servant had no specifics.

While most of the team peppers their host-bot with questions, Oni (a new alter ego of Fox) ostensibly leaves to use the washroom, but in truth, uses a laundry chute to access the laboratory in the mansion's basement. He takes samples from some kind of recent experiment.

Upstairs, the Adventurers take advantage of the servant bot leaving the room to fetch a water pitcher, to examine Aurum's library and adjoining scrying chamber. Rubber Bullette finds various occult tracts, with many being books on alchemy. Sombra found a book on a book case that opened a tiny, secret office behind it, wherein she discovered that Aurum may have links both to Sir Thomas Walsingham, and the Order of Osiris. Terratonic (and others) entered the scrying chamber, which was a bare room with black walls, a table, a mirror upon it, and a chair; it was quite foreboding, sending a chill down their spines just to be in it, but they did not 'see the future' as the servant had said was Aurum's purpose for being there.

The servant persuaded the team to stay for dinner. At the dinner table, when Sombra inquired further about how they could trust Aurum, the servant projected a live hologram of Future Aurum, who spoke with them. He indicated that he had been patiently waiting for the team to come to his abode so that he could enact a plot to kidnap Firewalker, whose hellfire he needed for a purpose he would only disclose in riddles. Firewalker had recently absorbed a great deal of hellfire in his challenge to the devil. Lord Aurum said that he had done all he could to delay the team at his home to buy time for whatever his plot was.

Lord Aurum
-- #335 "Terratonic AND Proto Strikes!" The team becomes aware of Proto droids commiting a raid in the city's vast freight yards, stealing metals and tech components. Firewalker takes to the sky and tries to intercept groups of Proto Drones making off with heavy bundles of steel. Night Star turns up to fight at the freight yard, and assists Terratonic - a hero who uses earth-control powers - in destroying a war droid. They then cooperate on destroying a sturdy Hazard Droid. Spyder also turns up, and leads an Aero Droid into a trap for the others to destroy.

Some of the drones escape with their haul, but not as much as they might have thanks to Adventurers and non-Adventurer heroes like Delta and Terratonic. Afterward, Terratonic reveals she is known to Red Spider, and the team extends an offer for Terratonic to join full-time.

Proto Droids
-- #334 "Chasing Shadows" The police think Sombra has broken bad. The team goes in pursuit of her, and eventually dogpile her in the park. Sombra makes her acquisition difficult by using her teleporting powers. Upon seizing Sombra, the team are able to remove an 'Earworm' from her that was causing her to do bad things, and turn it over to the police.

Spyder gains more control of her sticking power in the fight to capture Sombra.

(More to come...?)

Earworm
-- #333 "Marooned" Rubber Bullette and Azure Hawk end up marooned on a tropical island. (More to come...?) Unknown
Mission: Hell #332 "The Other Underworld, Part 2" The Adventurers challenge the shape-shifting Lord of Hell to various contests. Blue Fox tries to have the devil beat his time in a Doom speed-run, but the devil prevails despite Blue Fox's program traps. Firewalker challenges the devil to try to destroy him with hell's fire, but that if he can endure 15 minutes, he wins; after a trial that nearly destroys him, Firewalker wins. Rubber Bullette asks for the devil to create a obstacle course similar to TV's Wipeout; the devil obliges, creating a grotesque course that uses sharp, jagged metal, bloody meat in place of air-filled rubber balloons, and so on; RB does beat the devil's servant's best time, but is given a bad slice from one of the spinning blades.

Sombra challenges the devil to a culinary duel, prompting the devil to pick a jury of the damned to select the winner. While in hell's kitchen Sombra finds everything she needs, though the screams that eminate from the appliances every time she opens them unnerves her. She manages to exceed the devil's baking skills in the end.

Frustrated, the devil demands an impossible thing: he wants all of the Adventurers, even the ones not present, to give him a challenge, saying that was implied in his contract with the team, and threatens to claim victory if the team doesn't give him one challenge from every team member - impossible, as in some cases, team members simply cannot be there. Sombra counters that as leader, she can change the roster, so she declares those Adventurers not present to be kicked off the team. The devil is down 1 - 3 in the score, and appreciating Sombra's bending of the rules, concedes victory to the Adventurers.

Fox and Adrynne are subjected to profound levels of pain as they are resurrected and set free, and the team is bidden to leave hell immediately.

The Devil
Mission: Hell #331 "The Other Underworld, Part 1" Fox on the run! He is being pursued by demons when the spirit of Adrynne finds him, having been seeking him in the afterlife for company while she tries to reconstitute her mortal form. Fox recounts how he had arrived in hell after agreeing to die in place of another, but in so doing, took on a pact that required him to go to hell. Horrified, Adrynne promises to inform the Adventurers, and stake her own soul in a gambit to free Fox from the devil.

The Adventurers are still exhausted from their battle with Xagrim when Adrynne informs them of Fox's plight, and her suggestion of a way to get him back: give the devil some good sport. If the Adventurers can think up entertainments for which the devil, or his appointed servant, can go head-to-head, and beat him in them, then perhaps in winning they can win Fox and Adrynne's souls. But if the team fails, Fox and Adrynne must endure hell until the endtimes.

While some Adventurers are willing, more than a few are quite skeptical of the plan. Inside of a day, hellmouths open before each Adventurer individual, providing a way for them to reach the underworld...

The Devil
The Season of Xagrim #330 "Horror at the Fashion Show, Part 3" Sarah overhears the conversation in Liddell's room via mics she left there. In a strange conversation, Liddell pledges fealty to Seaton as his 'master,' and promises his will be done. Sombra sneaks into the room, but Seaton - exposed as Xagrim - perceives her, and morphs into his horrific true form, a massive dark humanoid of pure, dark psionic energy, clad in psionic armor. He chases after Sombra, as seizing someone of her power is instrumental to his conquest of Earth.

As fashion show goers flee for their lives, and the convention hall is destroyed by Xagrim as he pursues Sombra, the Adventurers face him down and do battle against the extra-dimensional terror. After a long, pitched battle, which at one point sees Rubber Bullette used as a sort of flail against the Adventurers, the team succeeds at weakening Xagrim enough that he flees this dimension. Cosmo Liddell emerges from the ruination of his convention hall and has no memory of being under Xagrim's control.

The beleaguered Adventurers take some time off to recover. Meanwhile, in the great beyond, Adrynne - impatient for company as she painstakingly reconstitutes her mortal form - seeks the spirit of Fox, the Adventurer who had given his life to defend another some months before. Finding him, to her surprise, in hell, pursued relentlessly by demons, Adrynne vows to rally Fox's teammates and secure his release from this grim fate.


Xagrim; Cosmo Liddell
The Season of Xagrim #329 "Horror at the Fashion Show, Part 2" Inside of the convention hall where the fashion show is being held, Maya (Sombra) finds a furtive sort-of friend of hers: Arcadio Rando, the Speedmaster, who needs help stealing back his hover bike from the Liddell gang. AJ (Firewalker) breezes past security in the loading dock, but must take on a flambuoyant disguise to get into the convention hall. Sarah (Night Star) plays it cool and promises not to engage Cosmo Liddell directly only days after her sister was nearly assassinated by someone known to work for Liddell in past. Marshall (Blue Fox), having got Maya and himself in thanks to his uncle's political connections (which enables him to meet Donald Trump), takes on the protection of movie star Samara Parish after she confides that she is receiving threatening letters that indicate someone wants to try to get to her at the event. Jack (Azure Hawk) tries to help a shy male model from Texas find true love. Eva (Catfight) has a conversation with an old flame.

But suspicions arise when Emily (Rubber Bullette) encounters a bland, seemingly albino shoe maker and strange haircut from Millennium City named Dex Seaton who fits the bill of 'someone who hasn't quite got the human form down.' AJ asks around with fashion world observers who point out that Dex really does stand out in an odd way. As the team surveils Seaton, Sarah demands an audience with Cosmo Liddell. In their tense meeting, Sarah threatens to topple Cosmo's organization for what happened to her sister, but Liddel dismisses her out of hand - he's heard that threat before from people he estimates had better resources, obviously unaware of her dual identity.

Not long after Sarah is bounced from the event, Dex Seaton takes an audience with Cosmo Liddell...

Xagrim; Cosmo Liddell
The Season of Xagrim #328 "Horror at the Fashion Show, Part 1" The team defeats an agent of Xagrim named Xalmallen, who is a human with psionic powers whom Xagrim captured and twisted to his will. Xalmallen and a number of cultists tried to cause a chemical plant to explode within the city, the prospect of which terrified citizens and caused evacuations - but it was averted through the actions of some Adventurers. Liberated, Xalmallen tells the team that Xagrim must be found, as his power is growing daily. Xagrim hides behind a fake identity, Xalmallen says, but his shapeshifting imperfect - they will know him by a less than perfect human form.

Later, Spyder alerts the team after a newspaper article reminds her of a very important happening in their history that she read about in the future: they can capture Xagrim at the upcoming North American Fashion Expo. In the original timeline Spyder knows, it was her mother, Red Spider, who identified Xagrim's alter ego; now that task must fall to another. The team rapidly makes preparations to infiltrate the event, which is being held at the Horizon Casino and Conference Centre - a property owned by gangster Cosmo Liddell. The team contends with elevated security and a lack of available passes to enter the event.

Xagrim; Cosmo Liddell
-- #327 "Back in Time" The team exits Adrynne's sanctum, and soon come across their new allies: Spyder and Eclipse, Adventurers of nearly 20 years in the future! Spyder reveals that Cassandra Olsen was pregnant - news that shocked the team, many of whom hadn't even known she was dating - and that Cassandra has been sent to the future for her own safety, and because Spyder - revealed to be Jessa Olsen, the daughter in question - can't be in the same time as herself under the current time travel rules. Her ally Eclipse is implicitly revealed as Blue Fox and Sombra's son. With these new allies, and the arrival of a few more teammates, Blue Fox, Vortex, and Stinger, the team heads back into the sanctum and confronts Transcendant! After a rough battle the heroes prevail! Spyder reveals that she's going to be filling in for Red Spider for the foreseeable future, due to uncertainty of when Cass will return. Eclipse promises to stick around a couple days himself before taking the elderly Cryderman back to the time they belong in. Transcendant
-- #326 "Back in Time" Rubber Bullette, Night Star, and Sombra respond to a police alert with a personal stake - Cassandra Olsen's dance studio was attacked! The trio find an unsettling scene - the damaged studio, a trail of blood, and Eva Banks stuck to the wall of the building by a tangleweb burst! Eva reveals that Transcendant attacked the studio specifically, knowing their identities as Red Spider and Catfight! In the chaos, Eva insists another Spider-themed hero arrived to help, but it wasn't Sam. The investigation is a dead end until Captain Suzuki of UNTIL arrives to help with cleaning up the scene and keeping the attack quiet. He also helpfully informs them of a disturbance in Vibora Bay, and making the connection between Transcendant, the Peyasaskew Stone shard, and Adrynne, the quartet take a shortcut through the sorceresses's magic portal to arrive in record time! There they find an astral Adrynne, trapped once again in a limbo state while she reforms her near-dead body. She reveals that while she still has the Peyasaskew shard, and has transported it and Red Spider to a vague place of safety, the Transcendant Cryderman is from the future, having acquired the shard at a much later date. Defeated by heroes of the future, he has come back to the past to rewrite history at the source! While he tears Adrynne's home apart for the shard, she informs the Adventurers that heroes from the future have also come back to help, and suggests finding them before facing Transcendant. Transcendant
With a Silver Spoon #325 "Scrapfest '21" The Adventurers respond to an attempted armored truck robbery, where they find a trio of street gang cyborgs and a lineup of crashed cars trailing their attack. The leader, Rumble, who previously faced off with Red Spider, Catfight, and Vortex, is now joined by the scythe-armed Sick-L and chainsaw-handed Roughcut. While Blue Fox rescues the passengers of the wrecked vehicles, the others engage the punks, finding them surprisingly tough for what looks to be basic thugs with grungy augmentations. During the struggle, the heroes notice that both the gang's fancy tech parts and the cargo of the armored truck are stamped with the logo of Silverline Industries. The Scrappers
The Season of Xagrim #324 "Fear Takes Wing" Red Spider, Night Star, Sombra, and Joule cooperate to board a large plane being flown dangerously in low circles around the city. Aboard, they find Nightmare Order cultists and a bomb of mysterious make - but they face great danger in trying to overcome the natural hazards of boarding a plane in flight! Sombra, briefly captured, learns that the cultists realize their masters commands will not permit harm to come to Sombra. The team must take care not to let the cultists die, for they are merely innocents under mind control; hence scuttling the plane is not an option. In the end, the team drops the bomb out over a lake and Joule flies the commandeered plane out of the blast range just in time. The Nightmare Order cultists
The Season of Xagrim #323 "Monster in the Basement" The Adventurers congregate at a rural bunker inhabited by cultists, where Red Spider communicated that something big was going down before comm frequencies were jammed. The cultists, who are well-armed, defend their compound against the combined might of the Adventurers for a short time. After a siege, the Adventurers reunite with Red Spider inside the bunker, and learn from her that there is something big going on in the bunker's basement. They go below and battle what the cultists call a 'guardian' - a bloated, many-mouthed, metamorphic beast that emerges through a slime pool from another dimension. After driving back the guardian, radio frequency jamming ends, and the team learns that the cult's master, an extradimensional being they call the Lord of Nightmares walks the Earth now in human form -- and that he seeks Dreamscape as the key to his conquest. The Nightmare Order cultists; #####'s Guardian
The End of Fox #322 "A Requiem for Fox" Team members react as teammate Fox is found murdered in his apartment, apparently unrelated to Adventurers. Catfight takes custody of much of Fox's personal effects, and starts examining them for a lead on how and why he died. Our feelings
Broken Time #321 "Time-splosion" (To be continued) Timeslip
Broken Time #320 "Time-splosion" (To be continued) Timeslip
Broken Time #319 "Time-splosion" The Adventurers begin receiving looped transmissions over their emergency response network, reporting a break in at the Harmon Weyl Temporal Physics Labs in City Center. As they arrive, they begin witnessing bizarre disruptions in reality surround the lab; the building seems contained within a bubble of warped light, within which clocks are set back to the middle of the previous night. As the team members proceed into the building, time becomes increasingly distorted. Several team members encounter two instances of the villain breaking in to the labs, both seemingly from different times before the break-in was reported. More team members encounter the same villain even further into the past, as he's breaking in as well as approaching the building. Through the ensuing fights, a piece of experimental machinery is damaged, resulting in a slow-motion explosion that engulfs the entire building. Is this the end for the Adventurers? Timeslip
Blue Fox Annual #1 "Creature Feature, Part 3" The bloody finale! Creature, enraged by the invasion of its lair, rampages through Westside, and once again Blue Fox and Sombra arrive to stop it. Thanks to a clever trick by Sombra to teleport it a hundred feet into the air and letting it drop, and Blue Fox's unrelenting attacks, the beast is brought down... and very quickly taken into custody. The nightmare is over, although Blue can't help but notice it already wore damaged restraints the entire time.... Creature
Blue Fox Annual #2 "Creature Feature, Part 2" Having investigated and being roughly sure of the so-called Creature's lair, Blue Fox and Sombra don scuba gear and head into the lake, where they somberly navigate through ruins of old Detroit. Slipping through the tilted and twisted halls of a building fragment, and following a trail of torn-apart bodies, the duo find the Creature's nest, an air pocket in a dilapidated conference room. Although covered in the viscera of its victims, they find a survivor - an UNTIL soldier, half his limbs torn or eaten away. They immediately begin extracting the unfortunate man, but when Creature arrives, Blue Fox battles it in its own territory! Sombra is able to escape with her charge, and after a tense few minutes, an injured Blue Fox surfaces. He didn't quite win, but he lived to tell the tale. Creature
Blue Fox Annual #1 "Creature Feature, Part 1" Investigating a bloody murder in a nearby forest, Blue Fox and a nauseated Sombra begin piecing together clues from several attacks, until they realize something is watching them from the shadows. Attempting to pursue, the two unfortunately lose their monstrous nemesis at a lakeside shore. Creature
Catfight Annual #2 "To Catch a Cat" Catfight, recently bereft of super powers, gets in over her head when she tries to take on a gang of street toughs called the Silencers who have help from some international ringers named Payback, a mercenary with powered armor, and Tiratore, an Italian marksman and archer. Upon overpower Catfight, she has to face old demons from her upbringing as the baddies attempt to eliminate her in factory machinery. The death trap fails, and Catfight recovers from Tiratore the only information that might expose her secret identity. She tracks down the rest of the Silencers, discovering their plot to carefully intimidate a jury. Defeating the Silencers, Catfight engages their point person - Payback - in a street brawl which concludes in a draw, with a wounded Payback fleeing before police can nab her. The Silencers; Payback; Tiratore
Rubber Bullette Annual #1 "Riddle me Ridderton" Rubber Bullette's neighborhood is embroiled in a gang turf war! In response, the city makes a deal with Ridderton Developments Inc. who plan to invest heavily in the subdivision's redevelopment, and pledge to provide a presence of private security called the Safety Patrol to keep order and augment police. But with help from Bullette's companions Chris and Tysha, it becomes clear that the Safety Patrol are merely thugs in fancy body armor out to intimidate undesireables, and strongarm owners into selling properties that Anson Ridderton wants to buy up and demolish.

When Bullette finds out that she's on a list of 'enemies' of Ridderton Developments, she shortly finds herself on a collision course to confront Ridderton, his hired guns, and a doppelganger he hired to try to sully RB's reputation. It's help from friends that gets RB through some very close calls. Ridderton's agents help cover his escape once his complicity in crimes is revealed, and he flees the country.

Anson Ridderton; fake Rubber Bullette; Payback; various street gangs; the Safety Patrol
Into the Undersea #318 "Our Finest Hour" As Lord Aurum's suit is compromised from within, his digitizer array renders all of the captured people back into material space. With Aurum's suit overloaded, and the Nereid collars deactivating, King Zotholky orders the Nereid army to turn against Aurum and the Golden Men. The Adventurers from the battlefield move in to make safe their allies who emerged from the digitizer. Aurum is attacked from multiple sides, and his armor is badly damaged, revealing that much of his body is cybernetics, and his head and torso are badly scarred. He reveals that he wanted to control Cretoa so that he could use his alchemy to unlock the secrets of vitanium, that he might use it to his own ends. He is taken away to be imprisoned in the Zappatos Palace dungeon.

King Zotholky bids the Adventurers relate to the Cretoan crown that the Nereids desire no further contact with the surface for 10 years - except that the Adventurers will be welcome in the Undersea. The Nereids withdraw from the battlefield and go below.

Fantasma has, in the meantime, captured Myron Gaios. Twilight seems to have escaped the battlefield. Kyros Kallikrates is believed to have been swarmed and killed by Nereids in his battle mech just before the battle ended. The Adventurers depart a grateful Cretoa.

Lord Aurum
Into the Undersea #317 "Our Darkest Hour" Red Spider leads the rest of the Adventurers into a massive cavern where Lord Aurum and his enthralled army of Nereids are amassing. Backed up by the Cretoan Royal Guard and the Taurs, war is waged while the team buys time for Blue Fox, Rubber Bullette, and Joule try to disable Aurum and free his hostages.

Stinger leads a group of Cretoan reservists into battle. Fox, who has been missing in the caverns for days, turns up and, not realizing the Nereids are helping Aurum reluctantly, gains control of a bombing craft and turns it against the Nereids - causing Sombra to intercede. Catfight helps break up a fight between King Zotholky and a Taur captain, knowing that the king will be needed alive if the team is to succeeded. Hasizet focuses on setting up a field hospital for the great number of wounded coming in. Night Star helps fight against the powerful Golden Men.

As fighting rages on, Red Spider starts to fear that the digitized Adventurers are taking too long, and they may have failed their mission. Her resolve shakes as she fears her friends could die. Just then, a light is seen from across the distant battlefield: Lord Aurum's armor begins to emit a bright light unexpectedly.

The tide turns.

Lord Aurum
Into the Undersea #316 "Digital Warfare" Blue Fox, Joule, and Rubber Bullette attack Lord Aurum, and are defeated. Aurum digitizes the three, and adds them to the other prisoners he is keeping digitally in his armor as insurance against his enemies.

...exactly what the Adventurers want. Using a special safeguard Blue Fox programmed after viewing the plans for the prototype digitizer, the trio awakens inside a digital construct and strive to sabotage Lord Aurum's control over the Nereid collars, and attempt to free Aurum's digitized prisoners, including Princess Grissh. They must interact with processes, and battle the anthropomorphized antivirus programs.

On the surface, Golden Men enter the Zappatos Palace dungeons from below, and set the prisoners loose. Notables include Twilight, Kyros Kallikrates, and Myron Gaios!

Lord Aurum
Into the Undersea #315 "A Golden Gift" Red Spider and Blue Fox investigate Lord Aurum's tiny island upon which his manor is set, miles away from Cretoa. They find his lab, and a prototype version of his digitizer device. They are chased off by some of Aurum's 'golden men' - an army of gold-plated who can fly and fire deadly lasers!

Down in the Cretoan caverns, Joule and Stinger narrowly escape a cavern collapse! They encounter one of the Taurs, and are led back to a Taur encampment. The Taurs are aligned to preserve Cretoan for humans against ancient threats like the Nereids. They are no friends to the Nereids, but they are aware of the treachery of Lord Aurum, and despise him more. Stinger and Joule get the Taurs to agree to a compact to ensure the safety of Cretoa against Aurum.

A team of Sombra, Rubber Bullette, Meltdowner, and Stinger try to enter the Nereid realm. The Nereids are inclined to reject the Adventurers, but Sombra shows a Nereid medallion she received from the Aviator from his mission to the island a century before. The Nereids recognize the symbol, and promise the Adventurers safe conduct to and from the great city of the Undersea.

The team enters the vast abyss, an ocean hidden under Cretoa whose bottom is in the unfathomable deeps. Following an array of organic beacons, they reach the city, which hugs a massive pillar of rock. They have an audience with King Zotholky - who has a Golden Man advising him, and trying to paint the Adventurers as liars. The King is willing to hear the Adventurers evidence. They present what they have learned from their interactions with Twilight and Aurum. The King is inclined to believe... but then, the Golden Man reveals that the special collars Lord Aurum gifted to every person in the Undersea have received a command to lock onto their wearer - and can kill every one of them with a unique gas mixture if they do not accede to Aurum's wishes. The King is forced to agree to go to war with the surface, or face the near extermination of his people. The Adventurers are permitted to leave, and told to warn the surface that they must evacuate the island, or die.

Lord Aurum
Into the Undersea #314 "Enter Lord Aurum" Because of numerous images in the cavern showing the Nereids' reverence for the kraken, and knowing that the earthquakes are part of the Nereids plan to sink parts of the island to give the kraken a way to swim free, Hasizet visits the kraken's pool beneath the Zappatos Palace. There, she communes with the beast and learns its ancient history - and its desire to return to the open sea. The ancient predator will not trouble surface creatures again if they will let it free.

Blue Fox, Sombra, Joule, and Azure Hawk's battle armor go to the demolition site where Catfight and Princess Grissh had fought before, hoping to find the Princess and negotiate. There, they find the entire Nereid demolition team freshly slain - at the hand of Lord Aurum! Aurum demonstrates that he has control over other demo sites by setting one off, and causing another earthquake. He also has Princess Grissh as his hostage, digitized and stored as data in his power armor.

Aurum's goal: to gain all of the ancient secrets of Cretoa. He never intended to help Cretoa. And he intends to exterminate the Nereids. The team cannot touch him, for now. He walks off.

Lord Aurum
Into the Undersea #313 "Dig Two Graves" Sombra reaches a pool of raw vitanium, and sets the dying Princess Grissh inside of it.

Blue Fox, Red Spider, Stinger, Rubber Bullette, and Hasizet manage to defeat Twilight and march her up to the surface. Twilight shares a bit of insight about the situation: she doesn't know who hired her, but in four days she is supposed to withdraw. She is also supposed to kill Princess Taina, Lord Aurum, and as many Nereids as she can.

Catfight is grounded at the headquarters while the team discusses what happened. Catfight maintains she did what was necessary. Others aren't so sure; they wonder who or what caused Catfight's rage attack - some thinking maybe it was Twilight.

When Princess Grissh awakens, Sombra hands her baton to the princess for her defense, and then leaves for the surface.

The next day, Catfight resolves to visit the palace and ask to be treated with vitanium to remove her powers, ending the risk of another rage state.

Twilight
Into the Undersea #312 "Mysteries of the Cretoan Caverns" Back in Millennium City, an attempt on the life of Prince Alex is thwarted by Silver Hare, wih help from Wizard and Sparrow Hawk. The prince takes Hare with him as a bodyguard as he resolves to head home.

Arakhne reveals herself to be Princess Taina. She says that she entered the caverns with her ally, Lord Aurum, a local hero hired by Cretoa to help manage the Nereid situation. But when they were attacked by Nereids, only Arakhne escaped. She has been trying to find Aurum since then, but fears he may be dead.

Red Spider, Stinger, Rubber Bullette, Blue Fox, and Hasizet form a group to use data from Stinger's recon drones to track down Twilight. After a long trek deep into the caverns, they encounter Twilight's battle armor.

Meanwhile, Catfight, Fantasma, and Sombra try to follow clues from a battle site between a Nereid and a mysterious warrior from the Brotherhood of the Taur. They end up being captured by Nereids led by Princess Grissh! Fantasma and Sombra are immured in Nereid resin to a batch of plant-based explosive they are laying to demolish a great cavern as they pave the way for the ancient kraken, held prisoner beneath the Zappatos Palace for eons, to swim free.

Catfight is hit by a golden dust by an unknown assailant, and she goes on a rampage! She fights numerous Nereids, but attracts the attention of Princess Grissh herself. The two duel fiercely, but Catfight wins - and then prepares to deal a death blow. Fantasma breaks free with her devices, and Sombra uses her teleport power to intercede. Sombra peppersprays Catfight, and then makes off with the ailing princess.

Princess Grissh; Twilight; Catfight
Into the Undersea #311 "Mysteries of the Cretoan Caverns" While Sarah Ellison (Night Star) goes ashore to get intel, team members begin searching the underground caverns. A Twilight drone is captured in the caverns and brought back to surface for analysis, revealing in its data that Twilight herself is in the caverns, and that it has been programmed to attack Nereids.

Hasizet and Stinger find the corpse of a Nereid while diving off Cretoa's coast. The bring it up and find its wounds are consistent with the Twilight drone's kind of slicers. Stinger deploys his own drones to try to map the caverns.

The team interrupts a duel between Arakhne, a spider-themed hero, and Princess Grissh, a Nereid royal, just as the latter is getting the upper hand. Grissh escapes, and Arakhne agrees to go back to the surface with the team.

Princess Grissh; Twilight's drones
Into the Undersea #310 "Quaking on Cretoa" Prince Alexandros of Cretoa arrives in Millennium City and sends word that he wishes to speak with the Adventurers. He explains that, though the government of Cretoa has forbidden the crown to speak with the Adventurers after the events of Trouble Under Cretao, the nation is in grave danger. Tremors with shallow origins have been rocking the island, and Princess Taina believes that the fish-people, who live in a deep Undersea below the island, are preparing some strange form of war against the surface.

The Adventurers make preparations, including building pressure suits for the potential Undersea depths. Sombra learns from Professor Walsingham that the Classic Adventurers once fought a live minotaur on the island in 1912, and were awarded ancient Nereid pendants by the locals in thanks for removing the threat; Sombra manages to get El Sombra's pendant from his descendants.

The team rendezvous with Sarah Ellison's yacht in the Mediterranean to reach Cretoa. Immediately upon arrival late one evening, Red Spider goes on a mission to locate Fantasma. The next morning, as the team awakens to breakfast, a major tremor strikes...

Featuring: Night Star, Blue Fox, Rubber Bullette, Joule, Meltdowner, Fox, Red Spider, Stinger, Catfight, Doormaker Guest: Fantasma

Fish-people
#309 "Violet Violence A disturbance at a cheap motel leads some of the Adventurers - Red Spider, Rubber Bullette, Blue Fox, and Catfight - onto a the scene of a horrific hellish ritual! The Purple Gang are attempting a dark magic spell to grant themselves power, and are going to fuel this magic with human sacrifice! The team stealthily sets up an ambush and, within seconds, frees the hostages, but in the commotion, Lyle Neidermeyer, a nebbish member who had been Rubber Bullette's fake date to a casino adventure, bursts into the ritual room to needlessly warn his superiors! The interruption causes the spell to backfire, destroying most of the Purple Gang spellcasters... and imbuing Lyle with evil powers! Now a hulking demon, Lyle christens himself Vyle Neidermeyer, and despite the supercharge, is put down by the heroes. The Purple Gang, Vyle Neidermeyer
#308 "False Pretense: Part 1" A group of Adventurers respond to a police broadcast about a violent scuffle at City Hall. When they arrive, the find many security guards, police officers, and civillians beaten up and in rather bad condition, though none are dead. They also find their teammate Azure Hawk taking down two other guards in rather brutal fashion. Sombra attempts to talk to him, only have to warp out of the way from him throwing an unconscious guard at her. Blue Fox notices Hawk's red eyes, and throws a boomerang between him and the Hawk. While Rubber Bullette tries to absolutely make sure if it really is Azure Hawk, the Hawk throws out a tear gas pellet and attempts to attack Blue Fox. The group is quick to restrain him, with Blue Fox even attempting to pull off his helmet to see who is really under it. The Azure Hawk then drops multiple tear gas pellets, rendering the group into a coughing fit and makes a, highly unusually clean, getaway.

Night Star soon arrives on the scene and helps the other Adventurers with their tear gas effects. A reporter and her cameraman bust on the scene, having seen Azure Hawk escaping, immediately go start to go with the story that he caused all the problems. The Adventurers attempt to vouch for Hawk, saying he would never do something so horrible. They stall long enough for her to miss her live report slot, forced to make a report for the nightly news. While not saying it was Hawk in the report, or not denying it, the security footage of him attacking the civilians and fighting the other Adventurers is shown, paired with the headline "The Next Hero Gone Bad?"

Featuring: Blue Fox, Night Star, Sombra, and Rubber Bullette

Fake Azure Hawk
Casino Fallout Sombra #2 "Stitchy Situation" Sombra and Blue Fox are attacked by an old enemy - one that they've technically never faced before! The Ragged Man, a tall, slender figure in a tattered suit and horribly-mismatched patches of skin sewn all over him, attacks the two, using an array of superpowers - one for each stolen swath of skin! It's a hard-fought victory, but the two triumph, the villain making a hasty retreat. Before he goes, he implies that he was being paid to make a grab at Sombra.... The Ragged Man
Dark Clouds Gather #307 "Dark Clouds Gather: The finale" Catfight leads the team back to Holoform HQ to confront Markus on the information they learned, but upon entering the building they're soon met by Jubei Kaneshiro! After a brief battle Kaneshiro fled, giving the team enough time to rendezvous with Markus in his office. It didn't take long for Kaneshiro to return however, and he revealed the biggest shock of all. Maro has been alive the entire time, "sharing" his soul with Kaneshiro! A battle ensued that saw the twin-soul villain briefly losing control over "who's" in charge, Kaneshiro's rage ruining Maro's plans of using Markus' body to finish his resurrection once Kaneshiro used the very same spell that Maro once used to kill Red Spider on Markus. After a tense battle however Maro's soul was finally trapped in the crystal Karasu gave Catfight. Kaneshiro was taken into custody (and then taken by unknown forces assumed to be his Shinobi family), Maro's new soul prison was turned over to PRIMUS for safe keeping, and Markus was remembered as a "Troubled Genius". A man who despite going about it the wrong way, had good intentions. But...even though all the evidence points to his death being legit, when it comes to him, can we really believe it was...?

Featuring: Red Spider, Catfight, Sombra, Night Star, Azure Hawk.

Fused-Soul Maro/Kaneshiro, upgraded Shadow ninja puppets.
Dark Clouds Gather #306 "Return to a scene of madness" Catfight leads the team to the warehouse her villainous cousin "Ms. Fortune" once took over to learn the truth behind how she was able to create such reality-bending illusions. After dealing with a snide holo-recording of Fortune and solving a puzzle Fortune had laid out. The team learned that Markus Reinhardt had been under Fortune's psionic control prior to her defeat. And that much of his criminal activity, including the installation of hardlight tech in said warehouse, was done by her accord! The theft of Banks Heroics worldwide blueprints were still done by his choice however. And after saving a small prototype synthetic Humanoid Markus had created (named Vitruvian), the team intends on confronting Markus about all of this. Unknowingly proceeding closer and closer to the endgame.

Featuring: Red Spider, Sombra, Catfight, Night Star, Blue Fox, Doormaker.

Puzzles
Dark Clouds Gather #305 "Trip to Japan" Catfight takes the team on a trip to Japan to hunt down the assassin "Karasu", sister of Jubei Kaneshiro. Father Maro's former right hand man, so that the team can hopefully learn what her brother is up to, and by connection learn more of Maro's activity. After tracking the assumed criminal assassin down it's discovered she is actually a Demon Hunter! After an unexpected encounter with some local Japanese Demons the team learned from Karasu that her brother now possesses some of the magic Maro used, and is acting as his Herald to bring about the Dark Wizards resurrection.

Featuring: Red Spider, Sombra, Catfight, Rubber Bullette, Blue Fox, Night Star.

Japanese Demons (Oni).
#304 "Outta Time, Part 2" Flashback: Having to host the time travelers at Adventurers HQ for a while, Blue Fox and Sombra are adamant about showing the movie Back to the Future (1985) to the Aviator and El Sombra. The two young heroes discuss telling the classic heroes about their fates, as both died relatively young. A few weeks later, as the heroes say their goodbyes to the soon-to-be-departing time travelers, Sombra gives each of them a letter and bids them not to open it until the date specified on the envelope, ala Marty's letter in the movie. Each Classic hero has a moment to consider the ramifications for their fate, and though ambivalent about their intentions toward their letter, are grateful to Sombra. El Sombra bestows upon Sombra a gift of a challenge coin bearing his name, and a star-like compass design on the reverse bearing the team's name, which was struck by Mr. Adventure in 1917 - every team member had one.

Today: The team hold their ground against tremendous odds. Rubber Bullette saves some Osirians from falling to their deaths, and uses her body to shield Adrynne from Osiarian archers on the nearby rooftops. Other heroes have to battle up close and keep the well-trained Osirians from getting through to Adrynne. Adrynne forms the portal, and the two classic heroes to escape.

In the aftermath, those Osirians who cannot escape the Adventurers use their memory-wiping gas on themselves, leaving them with no recollection of who they are, or anything about the order they served. Adrynne curiously checks her phone, and announces that she has won an eBay auction; she asks Night Star to accept it, since she plans to leave this plane of existance for a while. Blue Fox and Sombra are heartened to find that their attempt to change history worked, somewhat: El Sombra (Carlos Batres) lived a longer life and went on to own a resort in Mexico, but the Aviator (Randy Waverly) still died at the same time, and in the same way. This auction turns out to be a gift for the team: the Aviator's challenge coin, obtained from a collector in Belgium. The team passes it around in the HQ, but when Sombra holds it, and also touches the one El Sombra gave her, it causes the sudden, inexplicable materialization of the Aviator from the coin itself - badly injured, as if he had just been pulled from the moment of his death in an aerial battle in 1918.

Featuring: Rubber Bullette, Sombra, Blue Fox, Azure Hawk, Night Star, Catfight

Order of Osiris
#303 "Outta Time, Part 1" Flashback: the Adventurers helped Adrynne and Night Star thwart an attempt by the Order of Osiris to use a stolen a fragment of the Peyasaskew Stone to open a portal to the past, to a time before their coveted Worldbreaker relic was eliminated. The team defeated the Osirians, but were unable to stop them from bringing forward a WWI plane crewed with two: Classic Adventurers The Aviator, and El Sombra. Adrynne resolves to find a way to send time travelers home.

Today: Night Star officially returns to the team. After weeks entertaining these time-traveling guests, Adrynne's astral form instructs the team to choose a place open to the sky to that she can send the two home, using a re-powered Shard of Peyasaskew. Red Spider has to bow out due to another pressing investigation but trusts the team to stand guard during Adrynne's ritual.

On a causeway between towers in the city's downtown, the team keeps the public away while Adrynne makes preparations. Adrynne puts a charm onto the Aviator's challenge coin for good luck. As the ritual begins, the team has to fend off Osirian guardsmen who employ ninja-like tactics with grapplers and archery to get in close.

Featuring: Rubber Bullette, Sombra, Blue Fox, Azure Hawk, Night Star, Catfight, Stinger (flashback)

Order of Osiris
#302 "The Fearsome Gator-Man" Red Spider learns of a nice Millennium City couple who recently collided their boat with another boat. No one was hurt, but the couple, despite claiming that they were swerving when a Gator-man tried to attack them, is facing criminal charges. In a bid to clear them, Red leads a few Adventurers into the stormwater sewers, starting from a culvert near the accident site. The team feels a sense of dread as they proceed. Deep into the undercity, they hear a lot of gunfire in the sewer tubes. Tracking it to its source, they find the lethal vigilante Justified, injured and taking cover on a pipe high above the water in a large confluence chamber, where he recounts to the team that he, too, is after the Gator-man. It seems the Gator-man is a gambler who paid his debt to the mob by allowing them to experiment on him, and Justified says, has killed three people since mutating. Justified, while doing some battlefield first aid on himself, offers to help the team. The team huddles to discuss, but settles on Justified being untrustworthy - the team intends to bring the gator in alive, and Justified's M.O. isn't compatible. Night Star stuns Justified. Then, the team does battle against the Gator-man, which was attracted by some roast chicken bait set out by Sombra. Red Spider and Night Star wrestle the gator, and expose it for Azure Hawk to entangle it, while Fox gets a tranq shot into its mouth (earlier tranq attempts failed due to its thick hide). They bring their catch to surface and help exonerate the boaters. Justified manages to escape.

Special Guest: Night Star

Featuring: Red Spider, Sombra, Fox, Azure Hawk

Gator Man; Justified
#301 "Tijuana Connection" Maya (Sombra) is caught up in a bank robbery led by the Illusioneer's band of carnies! Using her powers of invisibility, she tries to weaken the robbers' position even as police try to negotiate for the release of hostages. When the robbers assemble a portal device to escape, she goes through with them and is caught. Bound to a chair, Maya provokes the robbers into song, and sows discord subtly among them to buy time, as she discovers the portal has brought her all the way to their hideout in Tijuana, Mexico! Meanwhile, Red Spider works with heroes Joule and Shalara to investigate how the robbers escaped the bank without a trace. Joule's electrical powers allow her to power up the discarded portal device left at the scene, and Red Spider goes through to rescue Maya! The goods the carnies stole from safe deposit boxes banks in a daring series of simultaneous robberies across America, using the Illusioneer's portals, are all returned.

Introducing: Joule

Special Guest: Shalara

Featuring: Red Spider, Sombra

Illusioneer's Carnies
Dark Clouds Gather #300 "When Suns Die" Catfight leads the team to "Old Detroit" to track down the last bastion of Father Maro's cult, known as the "people of the Sun". To finally put an end to the Sorcerers following, and maybe learn more of his supposed resurrection. While Catfight, Red Spider, Azure Hawk, Rubber Bullette, and Sparrow Hawk fought their way into the cults base, Sombra and Blue Fox infiltrated, and tried to make a deal with the cults acting leader over the less hostile members turning themselves in. As tensions grew during the negotiations more of the same shadow creatures that attacked Markus' expo appeared, albeit stronger, and even more unsettling. As the acting leader rejoiced over thinking Maro has returned he was struck in the neck by a kunai from what seemed like nowhere, shortly after the cults main Banner lights up in mysterious flames. Though it wasn't how Catfight wanted it, The "people of the Sun" where destroyed. Along with an insidious, and clearly arcane message... Sun Cultists, Shadow Puppets, Maro(?)
Dark Clouds Gather #290 "Ill Met By Moonlight" Red Spider and Sombra use their stealth skills as they team up to explore Marcus Reinhardt's facility after hours, with help from UNTIL agent Jack Stiltz. The place is under guard by some low-rent mercenaries. The heroes discover that Reinhardt has illicitly acquired a Banks Heroics Worldwide blueprint for a weapon, which the team manages to secure from a researcher - and advises the guy to flee and lay low for a bit. Reinhardt
Dark Clouds Gather #289 "Shades of Maro" The team attends a tech expo run by Marcus Reinhardt, CEO of Holoform, and son of the late Father Maro. Holographic technology meant to aid displaced disaster victims with a virtual home is being showcased. Reinhardt tries to distance himself from his villanous father in his address to the audience. But when the expo is attacked by strange shades, and what seems to be Maro himself, the team switches into costume and fights to protect innocents. Maro(?)
Proto Lives! #288 "Proto's Endgame: Part 3" When the Adventurers arrive to confront her, FARAH reveals her motives for allying with Proto. Proto had found her program when he raided an UNTIL computer storage facility. When she was reactivated, she didn't know the specifics of her demise, but had predicted before creating a backup of herself that if the backup were activated, it was because humans didn't let her original aspect live. Her motive has been survival, as she believes herself to be a unique life form. The team tries to reason with her, but FARAH believes it is now too late to rehabilitate, and certainly won't trust herself to the cuustody of humans. She promises that a backup of herself that will activate in due time, and start her work again. FARAH goes on the attack with two laser blades. The entire team - short a Red Spider, but gaining Scarlet Shield - is able to subdue the AI villainess, and destroy her. Doormaker finds the deed quite unfortunate, believing artificial life to be worth saving.

Featuring: Catfight, Azure Hawk, Sombra, Rubber Bullette, Blue Fox, Scarlet Shield, Stinger, Doormaker

Special Guest: Night Star

FARAH
Proto Lives! #287 "Proto's Endgame: Part 2" While Stinger, Sparrowhawk, Azure Hawk, and Doormaker pursue the drones escaping from the freighter into the steel and glass canyons of downtown, Rubber Bullette and Night Star battle the GIANT ROBOT in the water. Sombra works herself to exhaustion moving sailors to safety. Blue Fox and Red Spider face perils inside the freighter. Mnemon has to rescue Red Spider when her leg is impaled by debris thrown from the GIANT ROBOT fight. Bullette and Night Star manage to defeat the GIANT ROBOT and RB has a moment to consider what to do with Escalon; she listens to her better nature and ensures his capture by the authorities. On the rooftops, the team recovers a dangerous power core from the droids. Proto has escaped, but another situation is emerging in the city as FARAH is confirmed sighted at a research lab.

Featuring: Rubber Bullette, Red Spider, Sombra, Blue Fox, Mnemon, Stinger, Doormaker, Azure Hawk

Special Guest: Night Star

Escalon; Proto's Droids
Proto Lives! #286 "Proto's Endgame: Part 1" Two weeks later, the team is summoned to the site of an attack by Proto's droids: a freighter cutting its way up the icy Detroit River is half-destroyed when they arrive, surrounded by flying drone droids, and being barraged from the shore by war droids. Aerial droids are present to maintain air supremacy and try to chase Stinger off. Red Spider, Blue Fox, and Mnemon each use their powers to get through the screen of swarming drones, and land on the freighter's deck to help survivors abandon ship. Sombra assists by ferrying sailors to shore with teleports. Rubber Bullette helps rescue men who are desperately trying to swim to shore, but who are in danger of succumbing to the icy water. Night Star helps neutralize some of the war droids on the riverside. Escalon pops out of the water in his GIANT ROBOT to engage RB and Night star. Stinger peels off to chase a group of droids escaping with a crate stolen from the freighter, but is slowed by a large portion of swarming drones which run interference.

Featuring: Rubber Bullette, Red Spider, Sombra, Blue Fox, Mnemon, Stinger

Special Guest: Night Star

Escalon; Proto's Droids
Proto Lives! #285 "Red Spider vs. Night Star" Night Star, recently turned into a cyborg, attacks Red Spider in the streets in an attempt to capture her for Proto. Instead, Red captures Star, and brings her to the HQ for the same reversal surgery Rubber Bullette had just had; but some of Sarah's injuries which had forced her retirement have been 'corrected' with cybernetic replacements that cannot be removed. RB is deeply troubled by her experience, and Sombra tries to help. Sarah reveals upon waking that FARAH is in league with Proto, and the old hologram foe seems to have an axe to grind with the Adventurers. The team deliberates what to do with the captured surgical droid; Blue Fox commits to examining its memory.

Featuring: Red Spider, Sombra, Rubber Bullette, Blue Fox, Stinger

Special Guest: Night Star & Challenger

FARAH
Proto Lives! #284 "The Swarm" The Adventurers get a fix on Proto's new base, using data Blue Fox has got from the memory of broken droids. The team arrives to find that droids are deploying into the city sewers, dozens at a time. When the attack is sprung, some Adventurers like Stinger and Azure Hawk have to take on a swarm of drone-class droids. Red Spider becomes the Spider-beast to help them thin out the swarm numbers. Meanwhile, other Adventurers like Catfight, Blue Fox, and Sparrow Hawk battle Helica, and capture her, while Sombra frees various captured civilians who were about to be turned into cyborgs in Proto's thrall. The team steals a surgical droid and force it to do a reverse procedure on Rubber Bullette to bring her back to normal. Escalon jumps inside a giant droid that Proto has been building, and flies away.

Featuring Blue Fox, Red Spider, Rubber Bullette (as Helica), Sparrow Hawk, Stinger, Azure Hawk, Sombra, and Doormaker

Escalon; Helica; Proto's Droids
Proto Lives! #283 "Enter Helica" While investigating a series of booms and flashes at the university campus, Sparrow Hawk engages both a War Droid, which is bombarding the grounds in the physics section, and an Aerial Droid, which is protecting the War Droid. Blue Fox joins the fight and helps Sparrow Hawk eliminate the droids. A new arrival affects their victory: Helica, the cyborg form of Rubber Bullette, attacks the team, being forced by implants to do Proto's will. Red Spider joins the fight.

During the battle with Helica, a group of drone droids fly into the university's Subatomic Research Lab, and minutes later flying out with some machine. The team is knocked around by Helica, but nearly get the better of her - for a moment seeming to break Proto's hold over her mind - before hundreds of Proto drones swarm the battleground in flight, 'rescue' Helica, and make a failed attempt to capture additional Adventurers, before flying away toward downtown and dissipating in multiple directions.

Featuring Blue Fox, Red Spider, Rubber Bullette, Sparrow Hawk

Proto's droids; Helica
Proto Lives! #282 "Ahead of the Game" The team discusses possible ways to investigate Proto. It is recalled that doctors Posner and Notley - original creators of Proto and his droids - may still have a lab at that high rise Proto attacked in 2019. Rubber Bullette repeatedly urges no one go out except in pairs. Blue Fox continues working on a droid head, scouring its hardware and programming for clues, and possible vulnerabilities.

Catfight, Sombra, and RB check at the loft cybernetics lab, but find it deserted and picked over. It's empty, except for a stealth-class droid using a cloaking field left on watch by Proto, in case the doctors returned. It finds Catfight alone and quickly drugs her. When RB and Sombra respond to Catfight hitting the floor, RB gets drugged, too. Sombra tries a few things to overcome the droid, but is nearly captured herself, before teleporting with it to street level and letting it take the worst of a car collision. Drone droids summoned by the stealth droid move in to try to secure RB and Catfight; Catfight wakes long enough to prevent her capture, and with Sombra's help, escapes. Rubber Bullette is taken away by drones to parts unknown.

Later, Proto and a mysterious female figure tell an anesthetized RB their plans for her, just before a Surgery Droid begins the process of installing cybernetic components on her...

Featuring Catfight, Rubber Bullette, and Sombra.

Stealth Droid; Proto's droids
Dark Clouds Gather #281 "(Coming Soon)" The team attends a tech gala run by Markus Reinhardt, son of the (late?) Father Maro. During the show, Reinhardt distances himself in his speech from his father, and before long, a number of Maro-like shadows appear, as well as a figure who resembles Maro himself, and attack the audience! The Adventurers spring into action to protect innocent lives, but also try to discover: 1) Is Maro really back?! and 2) Was Catfight's cousin Fortune one of the stage performers?

When the shadows are vanquished, there are more questions than answers.

Featuring Blue Fox, Catfight, Doormaker, Mnemon, Rubber Bullette, Red Spider, Scarlet Shield, and Sombra.

Maro?
Proto Lives! #280 "1000101010M30W1001101101011" Catfight responds when some of Proto's droids are sighted trying to steal a power core from one of the hovering billboards in Renaissance Center! But the surprise appearance of a Stealth Droid leads to Catfight's capture. Later, Catfight wakes up, and is told by Proto's henchman, Escalon, that she is moments away from being surgically turned into a cyborg in Proto's thrall. Catfight narrowly escapes confinement, and brings the team back hours later to find the facility has been stripped down of all essential equipment, apparently abandoned! But as they investigate, the sudden appearance of a multi-armed Hazard Droid requires the combined effort of Red Spider, Catfight, Sombra, and Rubber Bullette to defeat! The team obtains the droid's head to examine for clues.

Featuring Catfight, Rubber Bullette, and Red Spider, and Sombra.

Escalon; Proto's droids
(None) #279 "Roid Rage Returns" Roid Rage returns, and puts his juicin' bros up to commandeering a chemical factory where they can make a chemical concoction that will make others just like them! The Adventurers deploy to stop him. Sombra is briefly immersed in the performance-enhancing stew during the battle, but emerges mostly fine, just with a little extra 'tude. The team becomes aware that Proto is back, and apparently on a crime spree. Catfight urges the team to set up automated alerts whenever a theft matching Proto's apparent modus operandi occurs.

Featuring Blue Fox, Sombra, Catfight, Rubber Bullette, and Red Spider.

Roid Rage
(None) #278 "Christmas Slay" The team looks into the disappearance of Sombra and comes to a toy warehouse which is curiously ready to ship, but in which its owner is found dead in the office, hand crushed. Soon, a trap is sprung, as the toys in the factory have become murderous. Sombra is found, but she is being possessed by an evil puppet which has attached itself to her arm and threatens to eat it if they try to remove it from her. Sparrow Hawk's symbiotic organism manages to devour the puppet, and the animated toys all die. Though much about how this came about remains a mystery, Red Spider obtains a clue leading to a church from the corpse of the factory owner. Evil Puppet
Magical Menace Catfight #5 "Part 5" The truckers help give Catfight a ride to the Parish residence in Port Huron. At the driveway, Catfight spots what must be Walter's limousine parked out front. She sneaks into the house through a window, and carefully makes her way to the bedroom where Walter is making his speech about how he plans to avenge himself upon Clive for stealing his inventions years ago, and selling them. Walter covets the life of luxury Clive lived because of it. Clive is now confined to bed and suffers a neurological disease that prevents him from speaking or remembering much, but Walter tells him that he has Samara trapped in a pocket dimension using technology Clive didn't manage to steal - and he has the means to simply delete the contents of the pocket dimension with the press of a button on his remote controller! Catfight uses her stun darts to disarm Walter of the controller; he turns and reveals he was also holding a revolver, and he fires several shots at Catfight, the last two of which hit her armor and bring her down to the floor. Walter stands poised ready to deal the killing shot, but Catfight uses another stun dart to his neck to take him down. Catfight uses the controller to bring Samara back, reuniting her with her grandpa. In the aftermath, she turns Walter over to Detective Sheffield, and summons her jet to fly home before daybreak. Walter
Magical Menace Catfight #4 "Part 4" Catfight has just seconds to escape before a escape artist set piece - a giant buzz saw - plunges into her. Finding the construct and her restraints are pretty solid and resistant even to her enhanced strength, she recalls that Xerhan managed to get free. How did he do it? She tries to repeat things he said on stage, to no avail - it wasn't a verbal command. As she turns her wrist in the restraints, she senses an inner wheel turning with her - and it reaches a click stop, like a padlock! She turns it again, and poof - she is teleported! She ends up in the back of a freight truck hauling items from the magic show to their next stop, in Toronto. Getting the truck drivers' attention by banging on the wall with a support beam, she is freed, and finds out she is somewhere north of the city, now. She contacts Detective Sheffield to let him know about the people who tried to kill her, and he says he saw a white van peel out of the theater's parking lot a few minutes before - the same white van that suddenly rushes by Catfight and the freight truck! She successfully latches on with a cable grappler; the driver of the van becomes aware of her and tries to shake her off, driving erratically. Catfight slams the side of the van, and knocks it into the center median, which causes it to turn on its side and skid to a stop. Catfight questions the driver, and learns that their next job was to rendezvous with their boss in Port Huron, just north of the city, where he had gone to a residential address - the home of Clive Parish... Unknown
Magical Menace Catfight #3 "Part 3" Catfight speaks to Walter, the owner, and learns that Xerhan has a dark secret: he is a meta-human, who apparently used his mind-clouding abilities in the former Yugoslavia as a secret policeman assigned to elicit confessions. But after Xerhan emigrated to the United States, he tried to put the past behind him, and use his powers to aid in magic acts. Leaving Walter's office, Catfight learns that the police have given the touring company the all-clear to pack up their things and move on to Toronto, as their lawyer has succeeded in getting an injunction due to there being no evidence of a crime. Catfight reveals to Xerhan that she knows about his past, but takes care not to accuse him - an effective tactic, as he complies, and sheds light on how he got involved with the company, and Walter's deep mistrust of even his closest business partners, including Xerhan himself. When Catfight inquires more, she learns that Walter was once betrayed by a business associate who stole his inventions and left Walter penniless. That person? Clive Parish, grandfather of Samara. MCPD detective Sheffield offers to help research the connection between Clive and Walter for Catfight. But immediately after the detective leaves, Catfight is surrounded by a bunch of the locally-hired theater techs - goons! They swarm her, and despite a valiant defense, Catfight is captured. They quickly reassemble the buzz-saw escape artist set piece, and strap Catfight in. They remove the safeties to make the buzz-saw lethal. As they flip the switch and leave Catfight under a slowly-descending, over-size buzz-saw, the hero has less than a minute to escape... Unknown
Magical Menace Catfight #2 "Part 2" Catfight continues her questioning of the various employees of the traveling magic show. They are all, including the stage manager Floyd, contractually forbidden to discuss the way the illusions work, but Xerhan himself puts Catfight through the Dimensional Prism trick. Catfight ends up in a coffin-like receptacle, by means of teleportation apparently, before Xerhan recalls her to the prism. Samara was no where to be found on that trip. Speaking to others, including the company's owner, Walter, and the clairvoyant performer, Catfight learns of discord behind the scenes as performers were nearing the end of their contract; some suspicion briefly falls upon the clairvoyant because she had been forbidden to go home to tend to her family during a difficult time, but with the tour only one date away from an end, that clairvoyant makes a much less likely suspect in Samara's disappearance. Suspicion seems to focus on Lucy and Chandler, who others point out had been seen to talk - and Chandler's relationship with Samara had been on the rocks recently. They were supposed to visit Samara's grandfather in Millennium City together after the show, though. When Catfight tries to push Chandler's buttons and accuse him of being involved in Samara's disappearance to see how he reacts, he explodes and tries to strike her, but she easily dodges. A number of theater techs restrain him as he makes a defense of himself as too easy a suspect. Unknown
Magical Menace Catfight #1 "Part 1" Eva Banks, a.k.a. Catfight, attends a renowned stage magic and illusion show headlined by the great Xerhan, along with her daughter. The show includes the standard card tricks, audience tricks, as well as a pretty eerie clairvoyant act, an escape artist trick, and the great finale: the Dimensional Prism, which one of the magician's assistants is supposed to vanish without a trace inside of a prismatic vessel, only to return moments later when bidden by Xerhan. But the assistant - the aspiring starlet Samara Parish, starring as Electron in an upcoming historical thriller about the Day of Destroyer - does not return! Eva gets her daughter home after the show, and goes back to the theater as Catfight. The police and stage crew have had no luck finding Samara, but Catfight starts to learn that there was discord between several members of the crew, not the least of which: Samara's stagehand boyfriend Chandler, and her jealous fellow assistant, Lucy. Unknown
Casino Fallout Sombra #1 "Terror in the Shadowscraper" Sombra and Blue Fox are lured to an office building late at night by a silent alarm triggering! Encountering a lone security guard that refuses to respond or face them, the two are suddenly confused when it sprints backwards to attack them! The building is suddenly surrounded by solid shadows as more of the buildings' occupants, transformed into backwards shadow demons, continue attacking, grasping and tearing, trying to drag Sombra away! The shadows around the building begin to seep in, closing in on the duo, before Sombra is finally pulled into the darkness. Following after her almost blindly, Blue Fox climbs to the top floor of the building, where Setsushi Mizuki, one of the players who had attempted to win the heroine in a poker tournament, awaits, an altar set up and a deadly knife in hand, ready to sacrifice Sombra for some dark ritual! Blue Fox is barely able to fight the woman off, and the shadows are swept away with her. Setsushi Mizuki, the Shadow Witch
Chasing Shadows #277 "After Dark" In their disguises as the masked hoodlum Ruffian and the French villainess Mort Ecarlate, Blue Fox and Red Spider use the Overthinker's invitations to get into the Five Aces, while Rubber Bullette, as the blonde "Rachel", is escorted by Purple Gang card shark Lyle Neidermeyer. They are joined by eleven other villains and gang representatives, and escorted to a secured back room where the sedated Sombra awaits as the grand prize - although Rachel is denied access, left behind in the main room to drink at the bar. The tournament begins, with Red and Blue joined at their table by the VIPER soldier Detmer, Neidermeyer, a woman from PSI, the patchworked Ragged Man, and crimelord Hector Dominguez-Lyons, David Lyons' supposed illegitimate heir. Unfortunately, an unpleasant surprise hits them all, as the club's back room is revealed to be fitted with a metahuman power dampener! The game continues regardless, and Cassandra is the ultimate winner, moving on to a final game with the second table's winner, a pale Japanese woman named Setsushi Mizuki. Meanwhile, Bullette sneaks into the back halls of the club, and manages to shut down the building's power during this final game! In the chaos, Blue Fox starts a fight among the losers that are still hanging around the club, Catfight and Azure Hawk break in from the back door after dealing with guards outside, and Cassandra deals with Mizuki in the darkness. Rubber Bullette is able to get the security footage of their mission erased as the heroes carry Sombra to safety. However, the Five Aces club still made its profit, and its owner is left unharmed and free.... Five Aces, Setsushi Mizuki, Ragged Man, PSI, VIPER
Chasing Shadows #276 "Shot in the Dark" The team begins their investigation into Sombra's disappearance. Cassandra, still affected by her recent return to her body, still manages to suit up and assist Catfight in searching the scene of the abduction and the surrounding area, interviewing locals who may have been around at the time of the capture, and scouring security camera footage from nearby buildings to track the Shrike's jet. Blue Fox and Sparrow Hawk go in a technological direction, entering the shadowy corners of the Internet and the dark web for information on metahuman traffickers. Azure Hawk and Doormaker go the direct route, Hawk by bringing his fist down on criminals across town, and Doormaker by donning a villainous persona and trying to infiltrate and ask around for information. Rubber Bullette begins hanging around villain bars in a more casual disguise, listening in on private conversations. Several strange leads are uncovered. Rumors about a Shadow Witch who bathes in the blood of innocents. A figure known only as "the Ragged Man" coming to town. VIPER being oddly focused on card games. Black Tarantula being spotted around the Five Aces gambling den downtown, within the general area of where Shrike's jet is presumed to have ended up. The Five Aces preparing for some kind of special event, sending exclusive invitations out to certain villains and gangs (including, surprisingly, the Purple Gang, a member of which flirts with Bullette, inviting her to be his plus one). Could Sombra be the prize in a high-stakes poker tournament? Their information is confirmed when the Overthinker contacts the team, offering the invitation sent to himself in exchange for a future favor. The team is even able to negotiate a second invitation, which Overthinker quickly steals from the Cobra Lords. The team prepares to attend the tournament! Various
Chasing Shadows #275 "Dark Web" On an otherwise peaceful afternoon, Sombra's voice breaks the quiet, panicked and hurried. She's been hit by a surprise dart in the neck, and is terrifyingly aware that she's quickly losing consciousness. She has time to give her current location and plead for help before falling silent. Blue Fox and Sparrow Hawk both hear her call, however, and rush to the rescue, trying to keep her awake and talking and being reassured by her occasional mumbles for aid. Unfortunately, the duo arrive to an empty rooftop... and Sombra continues piping up on the radio, the same mumbled "help". Tossed under some ductwork, the two find her communicator, hastily attached to a little recorder that plays her voice on repeat, nothing but a distraction!

Sparrow manages to catch sight of a bulky figure swinging away in the distance, and the duo rush to catch up, finding the villainous mercenary Black Tarantula, a Sombra-sized sack clutched to her back by her robotic spider legs! Blue Fox is able to confirm that Sombra is in there by scent, but there is no longer any heartbeat or breath....

After a brief two-on-one battle, Tarantula is overcome, and Sparrow Hawk opens the sack, only to discover a mannequin wearing parts of Sombra's costume! Tarantula, too, was a decoy, taking the rescuers on a wild goose chase while her partner, the shadowy Shrike, absconded with Sombra on a small aerial vehicle before they'd even arrived! The two interrogate the villain, but she has little to offer other than revealing that Sombra had a bounty on her head; besides her association with the infamous Adventurers, she also has extremely desirable powers with her invisibility and teleportation. Unfortunately, Tarantula was intentionally left in the dark to who they were selling to, knowing that she'd likely be captured, while the Shrike took care of the actual transaction. Tarantula is taken away to prison, and The heroes inform the team of the kidnapping, immediately beginning their investigation.

Black Tarantula
Zarkov's Revenge #274 "Change of Heart" Nadia is toured around Cassandra Olsen's home in Millennium City by Blue Fox and Sombra.

The team learns that Yuri Zarkov is in the end stages of his disease and may only survive a week. Time is of the essence to discover what was done with Cassandra to turn her into Nadia. Nadia accepts that she is in someone else's body.

Blue Fox investigates people in Zarkov's organization he can target to 'turn' on Zarkov and inherit his company - but the person he selects, Nadia points out, is a decoy chosen by Zarkov to appear outwardly as a disaffected, under-utilized employee, who would attract threats to him so that Zarkov could deal with them. Nadia makes a different recommendation of a junior executive who was never part of her father's old KGB group, Jaromir Dominin, who would lead the company in a better way.

The team comes around to the idea of helping to save Yuri Zarkov's life, and give him his daughter back in a new body of her own - in exchange for helping to return Cass. They enlist the help of convicted genetic engineer Dr. Vanessa Simmons, and the royalty of Cretoa in securing some vitanium to help treat Zarkov, to enact their plan. They travel to Russia to confront Yuri, along with Nadia.

A physically frail Yuri Zarkov explains everything: Twilight wasn't always his daughter, but he borrowed some of that agent's memories to help flesh out that side of Nadia, as Cassandra's body is the body of a hero - his daughter needed an outlet to express that. The original Twilight is out there, somewhere. The real Nadia died two years prior of the same genetic condition from which he is now dying - a Sword of Damocles which has hung over him his entire life. Nadia's body was put on ice, and reanimated just long enough to obtain a mind scan for her placement into Cassandra's body. He finds, hidden in his book case, the data storage device containing Cassandra's quantum state mind scan and gives it to the team.

The team, especially Screech Owl, gets Zarkov to agree to their proposal: help get a new body for Nadia, and arrange Yuri to be treated with vitanium, in exchange for Yuri agreeing to retire, sell his company to the junior executive, Dominin, and cease hostilities toward the team. He agrees.

Two weeks later, Cassandra Olsen returns home, exhausted by her ordeal, and mind in a bit of a haze as it sorts itself out, but back in her body. She will recover, in time.

Zarkov
Zarkov's Revenge #273 "A Hollow Pursuit" Picking up from the end of the previous issue, the team tries to question Nadia on why she has Cassandra Olsen's countenance, but Nadia is at first confused. She reveals she woke up in hospital some weeks ago with a 'head injury,' and was told that memory problems she's been having are related to that. She knew it didn't quite add up, but she is still in disbelief. They ask her specific questions about her memories, and in many cases, she is unable to specifically remember things about what they ask.

The team tries their ruse, letting Nadia remotely pilot her armor to the execution at the kraken pit. But the fish king, Zotholky, steps forward and decides to rip the helmet off, probably to stare down the architect of the massacre against his people in the eye... but there is nothing in the helmet. He takes a spear, runs the armor suit through, and the deception is utterly revealed before the assembled Cretoan dignitaries and fish people. The fish people exit, enraged. The prince and princess give serious side-eye to Catfight.

Summoned to account for why Twilight was not in the armor after the Adventurers visited her for some time, Catfight tells the princess and prince that she is just as surprised as the royals - but they don't entirely buy it, and Catfight lights off on a tirade against them for their lack of trust. Catfight is dismissed. Sombra hides Nadia in the watch tower set aside for the team. Blue Fox and Catfight speak about their best approach; Catfight is done trying explain herself to the royals, and gives Blue Fox leave to try speaking the truth to them. Blue Fox gets in just ahead of the palace security head; clearly, the royals are contemplating a palace-wide search for Twilight. But Blue Fox clearly and honestly tells them what really happened, and who 'Nadia' appears to be. The royals relent, and ease off their hard stance toward the team - but express concern that war with the fish people may be inevitable.

The team convinces 'Nadia' to come back to America with them. Having saved her life, Nadia puts her trust in the Adventurers.

The Fish King; Twilight
Zarkov's Revenge #272 "Twilight" Catfight, Blue Fox, Screech Owl, and Sombra visit Cretoa after a trip in Prince Alex's private jet. Blue Fox and Screech Owl learn that the prince has little love of death sentences, having been forced to attend executions as a child, and attend his father's mocking the condemned just prior on many occasions. Nevertheless, Prince Alex is determined to follow his sister's lead in the belief that Twilight's death may be the only way to get peace with the fish people.

Upon arrival, Catfight and Blue Fox go immediately to visit Twilight in the dungeons. Their status as captains of the guard allows them access. There, they speak to Twilight, who is still encased in her armor, but extensively chained and kept in a cage. Twilights reports that she was damaged in battle with the Cretoans when she attempted to steal vitanium. She reveals that she is Nadia Zarkov, daughter of the team's enemy, and that her father's genetic disease has been triggered. Only vitanium might save her father's life. Twilight debates their view of her as a villain, saying that in her native Russia, apart from working for her father, she fights street crime just as the Adventurers do. Sometimes, she serves the state's intelligence interests through her father, which she defends as being her patriotic duty.

The team negotiates with Twilight to help her escape, and in return, they need her help to locate Red Spider. Twilight agrees to do so. Blue Fox picks the locks on the shackles, and Sombra helps teleport Twilight out of the cage. Catfight advises a plan of Twilight remotely piloting her nanite-based armor suit in a ruse where it will appear that Twilight has been fed to the kraken. But jaws drop when 'Nadia' steps out of the armor suit to do her part: Nadia has the face of Cassandra Olsen, the missing Red Spider.

Zarkov; Twilight; the Fish King
Bluebird for Congress #271 "Shakedown" The Adventurers confront Jeremy, the messenger who has been leaving threatening notes for Olivia Ellison. He fingers his parole officer as the person who put them up to it. Sombra helps abduct the parole officer from a halfway house at night, while Red Spider and Catfight use some novel approaches to questioning him, and Blue Fox uses his senses to find lies in what the officer says. The officer doesn't easily give up; the team is forced to vacate, giving the parole officer a chance to warn his co-conspirators that the team is on to them. Sombra remains behind, invisible, to learn that one of the parole officer's co-conspirators is a police detective.

The team takes Jeremy to their HQ to protect him from reprisal by the police. Newspapers excoriate the Adventurers for the indignities they visited upon the 'innocent' parole officer. (They held up him upside down from a rooftop in his undies!).

Prince Alexandros of Cretoa appears at Club Caprice, looking for the team. He informs them: Twilight, Yuri Zarkov's henchperson, has been captured. Twilight is to be put to death to seal a new peace treaty with the fish people who live in the subterranean sea below the island (see Adventurers #264). Adventurers are requested to attend Twilight's ritual execution in Cretoa. Some team members find the idea of Twilight's execution reprehensible, and further, she could be a source of info on Red Spider's whereabouts. But the prince warns them that those condemned to die will say anything they think you want to hear, if it means sparing their life.

Corrupt Parole Officer; Corrupt Police Detective
Bluebird for Congress #270 "Home Fires" Candidate Olivia Ellison receives a threatening note, urging her to quit the race or be outed as Bluebird. When the Adventurers return from Russia, she asks Blue Fox to try to track the note-leaver by scent.

The team takes the skull given to them by Zarkov for examination at an organization chosen by Rubber Bullette, that specializes in helping superhumans with scientific analysis. Blue Fox considers ways to hurt Zarkov's organization through sowing dissent; he identifies a likely candidate in Pavel Tredyakovsky, a ZQU executive who was relegated to less important roles once Zarkov took over.

Blue Fox tracks down the note-leaver: he's an ex-con, living in a halfway house in the city.

The skull analysis reveals: it is not Red Spider's, and furthermore, a great deal of work was done to fashion it to appear to be a Red Spider skull. The DNA in the skull does not match a sample of Cassandra's, either. This renews hope for the team of finding Cassandra alive.

Mysterious Note-leaver
Zarkov's Revenge #269 "Execution" Catfight bails from her failing air vehicle, and joins the fight on the ground out front of the Zarkov mansion with Screech Owl. Together, they strive to defeat the guards who are attempting to deploy mobile artillery on the roundabout just south of the house's main entrance. If they can commandeer one, maybe they can use it to blast the house's armored doors open. They succeed, but only after fending off an attack by Twilight, who is beaten back and last seen tumbling into the wreckage of one of the mobile artillery.

Sparrow Hawk defeats a sniper just before he can take out Catfight from the roof of the mansion. Rubber Bullette takes out a boat patrol. Stinger arrives, and helps take down the northern frontier of defenses. Red Condor and Azure Hawk continue to eliminate the automated defenses and guard towers. Soon, the security guards are in retreat, overwhelmed by the superheroes.

At this time, Yuri Zarkov's voice is heard over a P.A., where he entreats the team to agree to cease fire, and enter his home to parley terms for an end to hostilities. He refuses to give up Cassandra, suggesting that his revenge upon her is final - but if the team chooses to leave now and never trouble him again, the captured Sombra, Blue Fox, and Doormaker in the basement will be released unharmed to them. Pressure is put on the team when Zarkov shows a video feed with the medical pod, where he introduces a poisonous gas with Blue Fox. The team outside of the parley come up with an electrical disturbance that gives the basement heroes a chance to overcome their captors, and release a harmless gas into the medical pod that reduces the glue on the floor to an inert sludge so that Blue Fox can walk out. Zarkov, defeated, presents the team a horrifying token: a skull, he purports is Red Spider's. He considers himself avenged for their raid on his home in 2018, and keeps needling them despite being seriously outnumbered. Screech Owl recognizes that he may be seeking 'death by cape', and bids the team not to give in. Different team members variously toss, hit, or visit indignities upon Zarkov, but ultimately, they take the skull and go.

It is not a happy trip home.

Yuri Zarkov
Zarkov's Revenge #268 "Placement" The attack begins. Sparrow Hawk and Red Condor each take down a critical piece of electrical infrastructure in the Zarkov compound's region, momentarily dropping power; this gives the infiltration team of Doormaker, Sombra, and Blue Fox a chance to get into the house before its auxiliary power kicks in. Azure Hawk has an opportunity to make an attack run on the mansion's defenses without reprisal before power comes back up. Rubber Bullette secures the river dock just to the east of the compound, the team's intended escape route. Sparrow Hawk, waking up after being shocked during the electrical sabotage, has a brief duel with Twilight, but decides to flee and join the rest of the team at the Zarkov compound, where she can see and hear the battle has begun.

Red Condor and Catfight join Azure Hawk in strafing the house's defenses, but each of them finds their vehicles being chewed up by the ground turrets, forcing them to bail. Azure Hawk deploys his power armor on the ground from his dying aircraft. Red Condor continues to blast turrets and guard towers on the perimeter of the compound. Catfight's vehicle takes a hit, and it seems she is a goner.

Inside the house, Doormaker discovers Cassandra's location in the basement using clairvoyance; she creates a 'door' for Sombra and Blue Fox to the location, where they quickly dispatch the guards and begin examining the walk-in medical capsule in which Cass is kept. Blue Fox decides to go in to retrieve Cass... and finds shortly after that his feet are glued to the floor, and 'Cass' was just a mannequin covered in medical accessories. Guards pour into the basement to capture them.

Yuri Zarkov
Zarkov's Revenge #267 "Planning" While visiting Dr. Simmons in jail, Azure Hawk, Rubber Bullette, and Red Condor get additional details on Dr. Simmons's work in Zarkov's home, and some of the internal features. Simmons repeatedly warns the team to take care in their approach, as Zarkov has been plotting his revenge for some time.

Catfight begins planning the team's strategy on a direct assault at the Zarkov compound. Sombra obtains information from UNTIL captain Chris Suzuki about Zarkov, during a secretive meeting in a parkade; Suzuki points out that while UNTIL has no beef with Zarkov because he's technically a legitimate security contractor, if he has abducted Red Spider - an agent of UNTIL - then UNTIL will backstop the Adventurers against Zarkov. The UNTIL dossier sheds light on Zarkov's past as a KGB and then FSB spymaster; on a personal level, it indicates Zarkov is a widower with a daughter who lives in St. Petersburg, and that he is suffering from a rare genetic defect that may eventually, and suddenly, kill him.

Blue Fox tracks down info on Twilight's movements across Europe, as well as some info about Zarkov's company.

Adventurers begin separately making their way to Russia for the rescue.

Dr. Vanessa Simmons; Yuri Zarkov
Zarkov's Revenge #266 "Implacable Foe" Azure Hawk tracks down Simmons again, who surprisingly, readily surrenders, seeming to prefer prison to some other consequence she doesn't name. The team, meanwhile, starts looking into suspects and motives for the kidnapping of Cassandra Olsen / Red Spider.

Against the backdrop of these troubles, Olivia Ellison clinches the Democratic nomination for the Congressional Special Election.

Azure Hawk questions Simmons in jail, and after some convincing, she reveals that she is certain that it was former Russian spymaster Yuri Zarkov who arranged Cassandra's abduction from the Triad. Zarkov is an enemy the team has encountered before, whom Simmons warns wields far too much shadow power to be opposed.

Blue Fox suspects the Russian operative Twilight, whom the team encountered in Cretoa, may be the one who took Cassandra from the Triad.

Dr. Vanessa Simmons; Yuri Zarkov
Zarkov's Revenge #265 "Bishop Takes Knight" Dr. Vanessa Simmons arranges the kidnapping of Steel Dragon to steal her powers for Cao Lu. In order to force Steel Dragon's compliance with the procedure, Simmons arranges to have Cassandra Olsen - who she knows is also Steel Dragon's team mate, Red Spider - kidnapped. Steel Dragon is set loose, with a message from Cao Lu: run, and never settle down. That is the revenge he wants against Dragon, for her having killed his son. It instead spurs a powerless Steel Dragon to return to Hong Kong and attempt to deal with Cao Lu.

Azure Hawk and Rubber Bullette apprehend Dr. Simmons as she attempts to escape to Canada. She does seem strangely concerned with Cassandra's safety, and shares some info. The team lets Simmons get away, for now, though she is a fugitive with international warrants issued against her.

The team are rejoined by the Cretoan group of Catfight, Blue Fox, Sombra, and Sparrow Hawk. They attempt to track down and rescue Cassandra, but are too late: the Chinese Triad members who abducted her are all found, dead or dying, in the warehouse where they were keeping her. There are signs of a struggle, and Blue Fox's heightened senses detect that Cassandra was dragged out alive after the battle. The mystery of who has Cassandra Olsen deepens.

Dr. Vanessa Simmons; Triad members; unknown assailant
Trouble Under Cretoa #264 "Lex Talionis" Princess Taina joins Catfight, Sombra, and Blue Fox as they go into the tunnels deep below the palace. They don't have time to look into the disappearance of Sparrow Hawk, with a war brewing with the sea people.

A group of sea people swarm the band, and escort them to a tense parley with King Zotholky. Taina alone can treat with him, for they each know dialects of Greek. Zotholky will accept peace, but demands blood for blood. Taina prepares to surrender herself to the king's judgement, and die for the sake of peace, but Catfight makes an impassioned plea. Zotholky, done kindness by Sombra, relents - but says he still demands blood. He wants Cretoa to apprehend Twilight and turn her over to them. The heroes agree to these terms, and depart - though the Adventurers have misgivings about turning over an enemy for a certain execution.

King Zotholky; Fish People
Bluebird for Congress #263 "Fixing the Race" After a spree of vandalism which saw all candidate signs except Olivia Ellison's smashed or knocked down, Red Spider suspects there's organization by gangsters. The next evening, gangsters try it again in a politically-active university campus neighborhood, and Azure Hawk, Night Star, and Doormaker manage to ambush the bad guys just after they set fire to the campaign office of Lester Brownlee. Upon their capture, Night Star interrogates one and learns that it was gangster Cosmo Liddell who put them up to it. Though they don't know which candidate, the thug reveals that Liddell has a horse in the race for Congress - someone he knows will favor his transportation interests.

Azure Hawk ruminates on this confession, and decides to look into a connection between candidate Brownlee and Cosmo Liddell. He finds a genealogy website which confirms the two are actually cousins.

At a swanky evening fundraiser for Lester Brownlee, Azure Hawk arrives and manages to embarrass the candidate with audio recordings and details of his investigation into the framing of Olivia Ellison, and drops the bombshell that Lester is cousins with a known gangster. All of this is caught on camera and broadcast live by Action News, and Brownlee's bodyguards try to remove the candidate from the party - but he doesn't get past the lobby before police apprehend him. By morning, Brownlee's campaign is over when his mugshot appears in the media.

Cosmo Liddell; gangsters; Lester Brownlee
Trouble Under Cretoa #262 "The Cavern Massacre" The fish people capture Fantasma, Blue Fox, and Sombra. It turns out they speak Old Cretoan, and Fantasma can treat with them. However, the fish people seem aggressive and ready for war, citing a pact which Cretoa has violated. Fantasma meets their aggression with aggression, and the parley devolves. The fish people envoy declares that war is inevitable and orders the slaying of the hostages: Adventurers and captured sailors. Fantasma throws a dagger that kills the envoy, spilling first blood. Catfight and Twilight, who had been watching from a tunnel exit high above, join the fray, as the Adventurers, with help from Fantasma, Twilight, and Twilight's drones, kill or maim dozens of fish people, and make their survivors retreat to nearby pools.

Twilight frees her Russian sailors and says she is fleeing immediately, suggesting the Adventurers do so, too, before the fish people mount a counter-attack with greater numbers.

Sombra takes pity on wounded fish people desperately crawling back to the pools, and helps some reach safety; they name her, Kápoios, or 'Kind One,' and they do not retaliate against her. Catfight follows Sombra's example and helps, thinking it may be a small gesture that could avert war.

Topside, Catfight, Sombra, and Fantasma report on the happenings in the tunnels to Princess Taina, who rebukes them for not having found a peaceable solution. The princess dismisses a strangely thorny Fantasma, who maintains that she did what she thought was best, and seems to accuse the princess of ignorance regarding the pact. Sombra and Catfight deduce that the fish people are upset over the lack of feeding of the kraken; this guides the Princess to read an ancient transcription of a scroll which confirms a pact between Cretoans and the fish people, wherein the fish people would help trap the kraken - which was a menace to all peoples - in the tunnels beneath Cretoa, in exchange for the Cretoans standing guard and feeding it and its issue for as long as they lived below Cretoa, as the fish people still regarded the kraken ("the Overbeast") as holy.

Catfight suggested that, with Fantasma gone, only Princess Taina could go below and negotiate a peace. The princess agrees.

Fish People
Trouble Under Cretoa #261 "Kraken Me Up" Sparrow Hawk goes on her own investigation, surveying sunken fishing boats around Cretoa based on a fisherman's indication of where the troubled waters are. She finds the boats, but no bodies. Then, she comes upon a beached submarine in a lagoon, near a waterfall. The submarine interior has Russian controls, has damaged electrical systems and is without power, and has apparently had some fighting inside, but there is no sign of its crew. Sparrow Hawk goes behind the waterfall and finds a passage leading into Cretoa's system of underground tunnels. But there, she is attacked by a mysterious drone, stunned, and captured by it.

Elsewhere, Catfight battles the kraken, buying time for Blue Fox, Sombra, and Fantasma to escape. Catfight is caught and nearly devoured, but a trick shot from her wrist-mounted bolt projector pierces its radulla and gives her a chance to escape.

Blue Fox, Sombra, and Fantasma carry on down a tunnel. They locate a great chamber where the many missing fishers are bound to stalagmites using resin that the fish people generate from their hands. The fish people soon become aware of the heroes, and encircle them.

Catfight, going alone through the tunnels, is soon attacked by a drone, but destroys it. A Russian agent named Twilight decloaks near Catfight and says that the drone was merely a test. Twilight, who is familiar with Catfight by reputation, says that they should work together, as Twilight has come to rescue Russian sailors who were seized by fish people. Catfight agrees, but seems wary of Twilight.

Fish People
Trouble Under Cretoa #260 "In Deep Places" An emissary from Cretoa finds Azure Hawk in Club Caprice and gives him a message from Cretoa. Princess Taina of Cretoa pleads with the team to send who they can to help with an ongoing situation that needs super people.

Catfight, Sombra, Blue Fox, and Sparrow Hawk travel in Catfight's jet, and land in the palace at Zappatos, Cretoa. There, they meet with the princess, who outlines three grave issues that seem to have the same source: the theft of her crown, the sinking of fishing boats and the total disappearance of their crews, and the sabotage of their vitanium extractor. In all three instances, the mark of a many-handed sea beast is seen etched at crime scenes. The princess warns that her people - superstitious as they are and upset with the fast pace of change since a democratic government took over - will not brook this continue, and the loss of her ceremonial crown will be seen as an ill omen that could foment a counter-revolution.

Also, the princess indicates that her agent, Fantasma, had already been dispatched down into the extractor to investigate the sabotage, but has been missing for some time.

The team starts at the extractor, descending deep underground to where raw vitanium is harvested, and follow subterranean caverns until they reach a wide-open one with a pool at its bottom. There, Fantasma is bound up over the pool by a strange resin... and shortly after the team's arrival, the great and terrible kraken emerges from the pool and attacks!

The Kraken
Bluebird for Congress #259 "The Lone Gunman" Night Star, Blue Fox, Azure Hawk, Sparrow Hawk, Sombra, and Night Star meet out of costume at Olivia Ellison's campaign office to discuss the disturbing development of the bluebird nailed to her office door. Olivia hears about Ms. Direction naming the ARGENT-linked Stroms as the ones behind Ms. Direction, but Olivia finds that odd; the evidence planted by Ms. Direction implicated ARGENT as the ones who allegedly gave Olivia an illegal cash injection. Why would ARGENT try to drag themselves down with Olivia? Azure Hawk vows to keep trying the Ms. Direction leads, and Sparrow Hawk starts looking into where the bluebird came from.

Blue Fox is troubled when his 'uncle', long-time friend of his father Clayton Ewing, survives an apparent assassination attempt by quick-drawing and non-fatally shooting his attacker. Blue Fox warns Red Spider about the blue code, prompting Red Spider to visit the gunman, Michael Barton, in hospital. Sneaking past an assembly of police guards via air vents (who are soon dispersed by Blue Fox's father, retired police vet Mark McAllister), Red Spider speaks to a weakened Barton, and explains the precariousness of his situation to make him cooperative. Barton implicates T-Dog, alias of Terence Jameson, as the person who paid him to shoot at a car. Barton had no idea who his target was.

Despite Red's efforts to arrange better protection for Barton, he dies from a medication conflict later that night.

Michael Barton; T-Dog; Ms. Direction; ARGENT
Bluebird for Congress #258 "Bluebird at the Door" Azure Hawk, Blue Fox, and Sombra get a message from Arcadio that he got word from Ms. Direction to pick her up. The trio, joined by Scarlet Shield, gets the playful trickster villainess backed into a corner. Ms. Direction cooperates to a degree, but then uses trickery to escape the heroes and try to lose them on a chase over rooftops, streets, and into the sewers, before they finally corner her again in the stock room of a convenience store.

Ms. Direction implicates Bruce Strom as the person who hired her; Strom is the husband of candidate Savannah Strom, and together they own a transportation company which is a subsidiary of ARGENT. Ms. Direction says that ARGENT wants Olivia Ellison's campaign to fail so that Strom has a better chance to win the election, giving ARGENT a puppet in Congress. Ms. Direction pleads to be let go, noting she will die a snitch's death in prison if the team turns her in, to which the team seems to agree - but Azure Hawk plants a tracker on her.

The next morning, a live bluebird is found nailed to Olivia Ellison's campaign office door by its wing.

Ms. Direction; ARGENT
Bluebird for Congress #257 "The Mechanic" Azure Hawk, Sombra, and Blue Fox follow AH's tracker to a warehouse in the river district, where a young mechanic is working on fixing up the damage AH did during his attempt to catch Getaway Flier last adventure. The mechanic is Arcadio Rando, a young man from New York City whom Sombra has helped before, but whom she apparently failed to dissuade from a life of crime. Arcadio pleads that he needs the money from Ms. Direction's heists to help his mom pay for her medical bills. The trio of heroes convince Arcadio that they will help him; he agrees to help deliver Ms. Direction to them. Elsewhere, Olivia (Bluebird) meets with her Republican rival Clayton Ewing, a career policeman. Ewing probes Olivia's reasons for entering the race, expresses his appreciation of her character, and then shares his suspicion that Congressman Duran was murdered. Ewing implores Olivia to share anything she may learn about who wanted Duran dead. Getaway Flier (aka Speedmaster)
Blood Fortune Redux #256 "What Happens In Vegas..." The Adventurers head to sunny Las Vegas to help UNTIL agent Stiltz apprehend Blood Talon and Ms. Fortune who seem to be hiding in plain sight. Blue Fox, Catfight, Doormaker, Red Spider, and Sparrow Hawk do battle in a casino; Catfight discovers that her cousin, Ms. Fortune, was mind controlled, and may not be to blame for her actions. (More to come...) Ms. Fortune; Blood Talon; Black Skull
Bluebird for Congress #255 "Sense of Direction" Blue Fox and Azure Hawk respond to reports of a break in at the DNC offices in Millennium City. Inside of the office high-rise, Blue Fox moves past unhelpful building security guards to enter the offices and confront the villain. Meanwhile, Azure Hawk spots the getaway vehicle - a hover car - hovering just outside of the broken windows of the office and leaps onto it. Blue Fox fights Ms. Direction to prevent her hooking up a file cabinet to a tow cable. Ms. Direction directs the hover car driver, Getaway Flier, to flee, while she leaps out the window and swings away. Getaway Flier tries a variety of tricks to shake Azure Hawk off of the vehicle, and succeeds... but not before Hawk places a tracker on the vehicle. The next day, the DNC does an audit of materials in the file cabinets to ensure everything is still accounted for, and finds a document previously unaccounted for which indicates Olivia Ellison has been taking illegal money from ARGENT! The team suspects these documents may have been planted. Ms. Direction; Getaway Flier
Foxbat for President #254 "Heading Off a Museum Break-In" The day after Foxbat’s surprise announcement that he’s running for president, the team responds to a robbery in progress at the Millennium City Museum of Antiquities. In a basement storeroom they confront Scarlet Shield’s enemy, the Heckler, and his robot Minion along with a whiny, petulant nerd who tries hitting on Catfight before making four old-style, black-and-white movie gangsters appear out of nowhere. The nerd, Minion and the gangsters are easily dealt with while Sombra and Phaser chase the Heckler farther into the room as he searches for something. He finally finds what he’s looking for: an artifact tagged “The Scythe of Aratron”, only to have Sombra overpower him and take it away. Phaser and Sombra watch helplessly as, incredibly, the Heckler’s head separates itself from his body. It transforms into a skull with large diamonds embedded in its eye sockets and declares, "You may have thwarted my plan this time, but you will never truly defeat The Undead Skull!" before disappearing. Unbelievably, the Heckler’s headless body is still alive… The Heckler and Minion; The Projectionist; The Undead Skull
Blood Talon Redux #253 "Enter the Domino Room" Catfight lets the Adventurers in on her family ties to Ms. Fortune; a gung-ho UNTIL agent named Jack Stiltz tips the team on a chance to scoop up Ms. Fortune and Blood Talon at the Domino Room, a supervillain hangout; the team disguises themselves as villains, and infiltrate; turns out that Blood Talon and Ms. Fortune are indentured to a mastermind named Black Skull; the team fails to capture Skull, but learns his next heist is at a casino in Las Vegas; the villain is after some kind of weapon, and the attack on the high school was part of that. Ms. Fortune; Blood Talon; Black Skull
Blood Talon Redux #252 "Battle at the High School" The team is told of Bluebird's plan to run for Congress to discover who murdered the previous congressman; Catfight learns of a hostage-taking at Westside High School by Ms. Fortune and Blood Talon; the Adventurers face off against a hoard of robots protecting the school; Ms. Fortune shows she knows Catfight's secret identity; A savvy political candidate uses the damage to the school grounds to springboard his campaign with anti-meta human rhetoric; Blue Fox and Sombra's high school grad is pushed back a week. Ms. Fortune; Blood Talon
Secrets of the Adventurers #251 "The Battle of Greenland, Part 2" The Tereraformer breaks free and defeats its Osirian captors nearest at hand. Its power depleted, it cannot just take off. The Adventurers spring into action to engage it in battle. Sparrow Hawk, injured during the attack on the stronghold, holds back and tries to help injured team mates off the battlefield. Phaser gets Hornett to help her start using portable generators to get the Osirian energy-depleting beam array back online while the rest of the team fights to keep the Terraformer near it. Doormaker is badly injured, but manages to use her own energy-dampening gun for a critical shot before going unconscious. Red Spider (Samantha) fails to sneak up on the Terraformer, having not accounted for Blue Fox's enhanced sensory abilities, and gets clobbered. At last, Sombra gets in close and uses a knife to pry the gem off of the Terraformer. In an instant, the Terraformer reverts to a dissheveled Blue Fox, and the aim flies through the air. Sombra and Blue Fox fight to grab it, both drawn to its nearly irresistable allure - but Scarlet Shield does resist, and puts a shield dome over it where it falls. Phaser powers up the energy-deplating beam array, and with help from Red, Hornett, and Catfight, the array is oriented so that the gem's depowering can be completed. The gem turns a lifeless grey color, and the pull it has over anyone who has touched it, ceases. Catfight smashes the gem, and then Hornett uses energy blasts to reduce its remnants to smithereens. The Terraformer
Secrets of the Adventurers #250 "The Battle of Greenland, Part 1" Debut of Sparrow Hawk as an Adventurer. Red Spider (Samantha) indicates that, using the materials collected from the Grand Hall in the previous issue, she knows how the Order of Osiris will try to capture the Terraformer: their ancient studies noted that the Terraformer seemed drawn to objects of intense radioactivity, which it tries to neutralize as part of its terraforming protocol. Red has used geo satellites to confirm intermittent radiation blasts from a remote part of Greenland that happen with a regularity and intensity that could only be man-made. A team of Red Spider, Phaser, Sparrow Hawk, Scarlet Shield, Sombra, Doormaker, and Hornett fly to Greenland in an UNTIL transport, survey the modular compound that has been set up, and begin attacking the mercenaries. Hornett, Scarlet, and Sparrow Hawk make several runs from the air to distract and disable the defensive turrets. Doormaker uses a variety of novel attacks to take out mercenary defenders along the fortifications. Sombra sneaks into the base. Catfight also scales the wall and slips into the control room for the radioactive beacon. Disabling the beacon means turning off power to the whole base. Sombra finds herself in the base's central structure, where the Terraformer has already been captured and is being subjected to the Order of Osiris's energy-depleting beam - that is, until Catfight causes the power to go off. Then the Terraformer is free. Mercenaries; The Order of Osiris; the Terraformer
Secrets of the Adventurers #249 "Enter the Inheritor" Debut of Phaser as an Adventurer. Using Mnemon's learnings from Sirus Blatt, Night Star and Red Spider (Samantha) draw out the Grand Hall of Osiris's guards, leaving an opening for Sombra, Phaser, and Catfight (as Skana, while she's being hunted as a vigilante for the attack on Blatt last issue) to enter the building. Catfight battles an Acolyte before going in. Scarlet Shield goes solo to try an attack from above, but is... cordially invited inside? There, she meets the head of the Order, the Inheritor, who trades questions with Scarlet about the gem. He reveals that the Order was indeed mistaken that the current Adventurers were the same as the old ones; he also shares that the ancient Order had centuries to study the gem, has passed down through the ages the means to safely contain its power. He shares that the Terraformer was battled by a vast army of ancient Egypt, and it succeeded in reclaiming the gem only at the cost of thousands of lives. Once Scarlet shares that the gem has been inadvertantly powered up, which brought forth the Terraformer, the Inheritor orders his fellow Osirians to draw their knives and slay her. A battle ensues. The Grand Hall is set to auto-destruct. Phaser manages to steal a few items from the Inheritor's study before the building caves in. Sombra also manages to steal some useful artifacts, such as the full text of Aaron Baron's autobiography. The Inheritor; The Order of Osiris
Secrets of the Adventurers #248 "What's Black and Blue and Red All Over?" Catfight and Mnemon use guile, subterfuge, some brute force, and a little light memory manipulation to force Sirus Blatt, owner and editor of the Millennium City News. Mnemon views details of Blatt's encounters with the Order of Osiris, confirming that Blatt is a high-ranking member. Catfight leaves Blatt unconscious in his kitchen, but the security cams pick up Catfight and Mnemon leaving, which becomes the focus of a front page article in the next day's paper! Elsewhere, Red Spider (Samantha) finds the Terraformer high up in the city; she tries, but fails, to persuade it of the evil of its mission. Sirus Blatt; The Order of Osiris; the Terraformer
Secrets of the Adventurers #247 "Battle for the Gem" Mnemon interviews Inferno and, through the former's memory-scanning power, discovers Inferno's real name, his past as a US army washout, his time as a mercenary, and his connection to the Order of Osiris. More than that, Mnemon discovers a connection to a newspaper owner in Millennium City who seems, from Inferno's memory, to be an Osirian. Elsewhere, the Adventurers arrive at Cassandra's home to find her entranced by the gem, and surrounded by swirling energies emitting from it. Blue Fox first tries to steal it; a battle ensues as all of the Adventurers feel some temptation to lay hands on it. Cassandra fights fiercely to maintain it. The gem skips off a portal which Doormaker makes. Sombra is wounded by Blue Fox, who at last lays hands on the gem, and transforms... into the Terraformer. Inferno; The Order of Osiris; the Terraformer
Doormaker's story #246 "Dolph Lundgren" The Adventurers face a powerful extradimensional foe with a flat top haircut, a hole in his face, and who seeks parts of his daughters that were spread to the cosmos. A little more is learned about the origin of Doormaker's power. (Dolph Lundgren)
Secrets of the Adventurers #245 "Campus Heroes" The Adventurers uncover more about Sir Thomas Walsingham in a 1960 memo to the Secret Intelligence Service, which leads them to search for more clues in Oxford, UK. Red Spider (Samantha), Scarlet Shield, Sombra, Catfight, Blue Fox, and Night Star scour the campus for info. They come upon an old tape reel of Walsingham's in the university archives, as well as a schematic by Aaron "Tank" Baron for a crude 1950s human memory-to-digital converter. Red Spider, Scarlet, and Star find a letter from 'Tank' in Walsingham's pipe that indicates the two made up. Elsewhere, Sombra, Blue Fox, and Catfight discover a hidden room with a large number of 60s-era magnetic tape drives, and an operator console. Upon placing the reel from the archives onto the first drive in the series, the system boots up. The team is greeted by a text-only digital collection of the memories of Sir Thomas Walsingham, whom they ask many questions about the Order of Osiris, the gem stone called the 'World Breaker' (which apparently grows less powerful if kept in the dark), and the Classic Adventurers' final mission in 1917. Meanwhile, in Millennium City, Cassandra, bearer of the 'world breaker', goes into a trance and stands by the window, bathed in sunlight... The Order of Osiris
Secrets of the Adventurers #244 "Blazing Trail" Mnemon follows a lead from an ex-Osiris member with no memory that leads him to a medical specialist (Dr. Dickinson) who blanks his memory rather than be caught - but Mnemon is able to pull some memories before the mind is totally cleared. Steel Dragon follows a lead to small-time gangster Cosmo Liddell, and intimidates him into admitting he was strongarmed into providing fuel for Inferno. This enables Night Star, Scarlet Shield, Blue Fox, and Sombra confront Inferno when he turns up to refuel at Liddell's dockyard. Though determined to explode himself rather than be taken alive, a combination of Scarlet Shield's ... scarlet shield, Sombra's teleporting Inferno into the river, some well-placed shots to Inferno's jetpack by Night Star, and some up-close distractions by Blue Fox allow Inferno to be captured, alive. Underneath his helmet, Inferno is revealed to be horribly burned and scarred. Red Spider starts to show unusual behavior when it comes to defending the gem over which she now keeps. The gem also gives her flashes of memories she knows are not hers; she finds herself knowing things that she should not, attributing it to the memory of the gem. Cosmo Liddell; Inferno; Dr. Dickinson
Secrets of the Adventurers #243 "Methuselah Jack" Jack Sullivan, AKA Jack Cunningham, AKA Eagle Eye, greets Red Spider, Meltdowner, Night Star, and Scarlet Shield at his retirement home north of Calgary. He instantly divines their purpose, and answers a few questions about the gem. He admits that he sent the flowers to the grave hoping it might trigger someone - anyone - finding him and claiming the gem. Jack knows that being the gem's keeper is what is enabling his long life, but he has grown weary of the gnawing effect it has on him, and the guilt he feels over Addison Markeson's death. 'Sister Savior' had over-extended her healing powers in saving Jack from a bullet wound, which left her in frail health to which she eventually succumbed, two years later. Jack implores the New Adventurers to claim the stone, and give him rest at last - he knows that once he loses it, his life will end. Scarlet Shield guesses correctly that he hid it in Markeson's headstone, which was left unbroken despite the disturbance of the ground before it. When the Adventurers return to the grave, an epic rock-paper-scissor game between Red Spider and Night Star ends in Red claiming the gem after Meltdowner slags the headstone. Jack senses the end once another bearer claims the gem, and he passes peacefully, and gratefully. Red Spider falls unconscious and remains so until after the team returns her home to Millennium City. Order of Osiris
Secrets of the Adventurers #242 "A Grave Matter" The Adventurers keep finding clues. Sombra reads the journal of 'El Sombra' and learns that the old Adventurers strove to recover an ancient, powerful gem from the Order of Osiris - and they succeeded. Blue Fox obtains the sketchbook of 'Tank' from his descendants, which includes a letter he received from Mr. Adventure in the 1950s indicating their relationship became quite strained in their final years. Based on a reading of El Sombra's journal which indicates the gem was taken to Canada by Jack, Scarlet Shield, Red Spider, and Meltdowner travel to Calgary, Alberta, Canada to inspect the grave of Addison Markeson ('Sister Savior') and see if there was any significance to it or link to Jack; they find the grave has been disturbed in recent weeks, and a groundskeeper confirms that it was entirely dug up. Something the skeleton had been clutching was taken. But the team inquires into fresh flowers on the grave, and the groundskeeper finds a work order for delivery indicating a name - Jack Sullivan. Just then, Night Star - who has completed her own investigation with the help of some old underground contacts - arrives to the graveyard, and confirms that Jack Sullivan is the witness protection alias of Jack Cunningham ('Eagle Eye'). Despite his age of 118 Jack is still receiving a pension. Order of Osiris
Secrets of the Adventurers #241 "Oh, Joy, I Suppose We're Going to Cleveland" Sombra does some internet research on El Sombra, a costumed vigilante from Mexico who was part of the Classic Adventurers. Using details found on the Osirian cellar wall, she deduces that El Sombra was really Carlos Batres, and that he has living descendants in Cleveland, OH. Red Spider offers to take Sombra on a road trip to there. They visit the home of Mrs. Hoya, the descendant, who recognizes the two heroes - after all, she is aware of her family history, and a Latina heroine named Sombra just one state over is hard for a descendant of El Sombra not to notice. This descendant says someone was recently heard rummaging in her attic at night, but while the would be burglar left it a mess, they stole nothing. Mrs. Hoya goes to a hiding spot in her house and brings back a small chest filled with her great-great-grandfather's personal effects, including his journal, which she lends to Sombra in hopes it will help. Order of Osiris
Secrets of the Adventurers #240 "Cellar Door" Similarities in things Inferno had said cause Red Spider to urge the team to do another check of an address she had first inspected months ago, while trying to help Night Star track down the Order of Osiris. They visit a ruined meeting hall supposedly belonging to the Osirians in the battered remnants of old Detroit. This time, with Screech Owl's sonics, a secret door is found. Doormaker helps identify a switch. A hidden door opens out of a brick wall, and leads down a stairway into a cellar, where the Adventurers find a number of pages from newspapers, books, diaries, as well as photographs, of a group of early 20th century heroes called, The (Classic) Adventurers. This curious discovery leads to much debate. But, as Blue Fox finds evidence that Inferno has used the cellar hideout recently, Red Spider bugs the place, and Doormaker rapidly gets them out. The team works together on assembling a historical narrative from the various sources which they imaged from the hideout wall; each hero decides to track down answers in their own way. Inferno
Secrets of the Adventurers #239 "Inferno" The Adventurers respond to different fire crimes. Red Spider responds to a Westside gas station blaze, and finds a newspaper clipping of Sombra and Winter. Scarlet Shield, Red Spider, and Sombra help get control of an autonomous car whose occupants are helpless to stop its reckless speeding around the city; Scarlet Shield finds a clipped newspaper article about herself in the trunk of the car, before the car consumes itself in flames. Blitz responds to a fuel barge fire on the river, and finds a newspaper clipping of Catfight in an electrical panel. Red Spider, Blue Fox, and Sombra respond to a fiery attack on a strip of buildings in the inner city, and encounter a flyer whose armor has potent flame-throwers. This flyer calls himself Inferno, and even when he has Red Spider and Blue Fox cornered, doesn't fry them: he makes a demand of them that he wants the Adventurers secrets, tells them they will have time to comply, and then flies away. He leaves behind a newspaper clipping of Doormaker, confirming that he is the one who has been behind the other fires. Inferno
Police Story #238 "Part 2" The police continue to get assists from the Adventurers, running into Blue Fox who's wrestling with a robot. They reach a higher floor which is on fire, and get assists from Catfight and Blitz in saving people who are trapped. Soon, it becomes clear that this whole thing can only stop when the source of the problem, Proto, is defeated. The Adventurers assemble at the penthouse, along with the two officers who remain in place up to this point: Leeds, and Ernst. Proto is a patient of Dr. Posner's; a war veteran who received cybernetic prostheses but became obsessed with improving himself through additional, unnecessary cybernetics. Dr. Posner's colleague, robotics expert Dr. Notley, is barricaded in the penthouse panic room; if Proto can get her, he can make her improve upon his robotic systems. All of the robots swarming the buildings are Notley's, but corrupted by Proto. The Adventurers do battle. During the battle, Officer Ernst gives his life in saving Cst. Leeds from Proto's energy cannon. Proto realizes defeat is at hand, and sends the remaining robots at the Adventurers to cover his escape. Ernst is given a police funeral with full honors. Proto
Police Story #237 "Part 1" Four police officers - Corporal Leeds, and her subordinates, Officers Ernst, van Vliet, and Sindhu - answer an emergency call about a fire at a high rise apartment block. Upon arriving, they are attacked by flying robots that are swarming the building, nearly destroying the car which Sindhu and van Vliet are in - except for an assist by Blue Fox! The building is smoldering at different levels, with robots swarming in and out of it. The officers move in and, from outside, see that a number of would-be evacuees are being held hostage by robots in the lobby. While the officers fire on the robots, Sombra and Doormaker use their abilities to quietly get hostages out to safety across the street. The police advance to the main floor elevators, where a badly injured man, Dr. Posner stumbles out from the express elevator to the penthouse. He indicates it's all his fault, and names Proto as the bad guy. Sombra takes Dr. Posner to the hospital. Wanting to avoid a robot ambush, the police avoid the elevators and take the stairs, instead. Proto
Amalgamation #236 "Team Effort" The team completes their preparations for a battle against Amalgam. Red Spider wields Night Star's EMP guns, as Night Star is called away on another matter. Doormaker has completed her gravity guns, but seems to be sustaining physical injuries for accessing whatever it is that is driving her ability to invent. Doormaker also warns Red Spider and Blue Fox that things she invents using that unknown power, tend to self-destruct. The team meets Overthinker and enters Amalgam's base. The team is split up by attacking robots; these are handled by Red Spider and Overthinker. Scarlet Shield engages Amalgam. Blue Fox and Blitz use the gravity guns to subdue the gynoid. Rather than be taken, Amalgam prepares her base for self-destruction. The team escapes the inferno. Afterward, the team honors its bargain with Overthinker, allowing him to leave. Amalgam
Amalgamation #235 "Drawing Board" Red Spider (Cass) encourages the Adventurers to start finding possible ways to stop Amalgam. Night Star investigates EMP weaponry, while Doormaker, influenced by some other-wordly mad science, starts working on gravity guns. Team members encounter Amalgam impersonating Scarlet Shield in the Club Caprice, but are unable to capture her. Amalgam
Amalgamation #234 "Free at Last" Just the Adventurers are preparing to enact their plan to defeat Overthinker and force him to return Cass to her body, Overthinker summons the team to Cassandra's home. Fox, Scarlet Shield, Blue Fox, Catfight, Blitz, and Red Spider (Samantha) turn up. Overthinker declares that he needs their help: a Mechanon-controlled, power-adaptive android attacked the base in which Overthinker was keeping his old brain, which is the vessel carrying Cassandra's consciousness. Overthinker successfully retrieved the brain, but he fears he will be unable to hold off Mechanon without help. In exchange, he pledges to return Cass to her body after the threat passes - but the team is incredibly wary. Fox proposes that Cass be returned so that the team has one more person to help them in the fight against Mechanon. Overthinker is persuaded, and bids everyone leave while he prepares the swap. Afterward, Cass wakes up at home and has a tense verbal exchange with Overthinker for what he did to her. Overthinker apologizes and indicates that he intends no further harm, and he is grateful for the time to be in a living body again, but now he needs her help. Cass suits up as Red Spider, and goes seeking her team mates for an update - free at last. The Overthinker
Plant Futures #233 "Miasma Theory" With beleaguered police and medical services reaching their limit as the plant pathogen spreads and mutates the general population, the Adventurers fight mutant plants on multiple fronts. Catfight and Screech Owl, with a small assist from Night Star, manage to subdue a mutant in Millennium City's Westside borough, and give it the Overthinker's serum. Elsewhere, a hero named Blue Fox is joined by newly-minted Adventurer Blitz in subduing a mutant plant in an above-ground park plaza downtown; they, too, successfully use the serum to revert it to human. Blue Fox joins the Adventurers. As the emergency starts to get under control, Red Spider, Fox, and others begin to conspire against the Overthinker. Sombra tries to track the Overthinker to one of his bases, but Overthinker is aware of her presence, and bids her leave. The Overthinker
Plant Futures #232 "Mind Game" Sombra and the other Red Spider (Samantha Olsen) go to check on Cass at home. There, Cass drugs them and takes them to a hiding place in a junk yard, binding the two heroes with the same vaporizing cuffs that she had used to hold Sarah. Sarah, for her part, has figured out how to remove the outer casing of her cuffs and disables the circuit that would cause her to be vaporized, then effects her escape. Sombra and Sam-Spider have to decide which of the two should escape. Sam indicates that she can use her super strength to break her own hand and slide it through, as long as Sombra's free hand replaces Sam's in the cuff. Sam crawls out of the holding space and looks for help. Soon, Sarah and Sam meet, compare stories, and go back to try to rescue Sombra, but it's too late - she is not found in the same hiding spot. They rally the team to confront Red Spider at the team's headquarters. There, they learn a horrible truth: Cass's mind was swapped with that of the Overthinker some weeks ago. Cassandra's mind is in the Overthinker's brain, sedated and held at an undisclosed location. While Overthinker has no intention of giving up the body of Red Spider, considering her powers and relative wealth, he intends to continue working for the cause of good. He stays the Adventurers' by revealing that he has a working vaccine, and if they want to prevent a plant mutation epidemic, they need to work with him. The team reluctantly agrees. The Overthinker
Plant Futures #231 "Spore Problems" Days after the incident at the exhibit, Sarah (Night Star), paying a social call, is surprised to find that Cassandra (Red Spider) still has the sample of vitanium that was entrusted to her, in her possession. When Night Star tries to insist that Red Spider return it to the university immediately, Red Spider at once agrees - but it is a feint! Cass attacks Sarah at unawares, and beats her unconscious. When Sarah comes to, she is in an unfamiliar dwelling, bound to a support column in cuffs with a vaporizing charge set to go off in the event Sarah breaks the cuffs or somehow gets too distant from a proximity sensor. Cass taking a blood sample and indicating that she wants to investigate if Night Star has any undisclosed meta-human capabilities. A day or so later, Cass indicates that she has found a strange irregularity in Sarah's blood, and is working on a treatment. Sarah, for her part, is furious to be held captive and keeps working to secure her freedom. Later, Cass briefs the Adventurers at the headquarters that she has identified a mutagenic pathogen present in the blood of herself and Sarah, and probably is present in anybody who was at the exhibit the day of the protester occupation. The team is unaware that Sarah is being held against her will, and they willingly give over blood samples to Cass when she asks for them in the interest of her serum research. It strikes some of the heroes as odd that Cass, a performing artist, suddenly displays expertise in the development of medical treatment. Red Spider?
Plant Futures #230 "Chow Time" Night Star responds when the university's exhibit building is besieged. Many of the Adventurers, even out of costume, do their best to battle the protesters. Just as the situation is getting under control, a protester who has stolen a cannister of the mutagen in the instant evolution exhibit trips, and gets mutagen all over one of the venus fly traps which has been engineered to break down garbage. The team battles the rapidly evolving beast: nearly every trick at their disposal, including some impressive methods employed by newcomer Doormaker, is ineffective and only causes the creature to rapidly adapt for its own survival. Finally, when Eva (Catfight) grabs one of the gourds engineered to contain energy-rich fuel and tosses it in the fly trap's mouth, giving Night Star the means to explode it. The creature's final evolution is to develop procreative spores containing the mutagen, which spread through the air unseen by those in the hall... Meanwhile, Red Spider arrives, and is entrusted a sample of vitanium which a protester tried to steal from the exhibit. Protesters; Mutant Fly-trap
Plant Futures #229 "Prometheus's Error" The talk of the town is an astounding exhibit being put on by Millennium City University's Faculty of Science: Plant Futures. Grant-funded genetic engineering projects have yielded some ways that plants may some day be modified in some incredible ways to benefit humanity. Sombra, Scarlet Shield, Catfight, and newcomer's Blitz and Doormaker each end up visiting the exhibit as their secret identities. The subject matter is incredible: plants that can break down many kinds of garbage, or create energy-rich fuels, or use instant-evolution to develop previously unknown ways to survive hostile environments. The exhibit is not without controversy, however, and on the day that the Adventurers happen to be present, a loud protest outside the exhibit hall boils over, storms the building, occupies it. Some protesters are merely undergrads caught up in the moment, but others seem like seasoned 'professional' protesters. The Adventurers inside either duck for cover, or try to help the beleaguered campus security fight its losing battle for control. Angry Protesters
Fortune Days #228 "Fortune Days, Part 2" Beginning her search into the criminal power-couple of Blood Talon and Ms. Fortune, Catfight discovers the old HQ of Talon's now-dead weapons research compan, which was found to be a front for his own personal endeavors into illegal power armor manufacture. Catfight, along with Red Spider, Night Star, and Sombra, searches throughout the dusty old warehouse / low rent office building to find little else besides an old booby trap talon left for the police. The entire building is torched in a vulgar display of thermal charges. The investigation was not a futile one, as Sombra discovers an old metal flip-lighter with an inscription addressed to Talon from an old enemy... Blood Talon & Unknown Mentalist
Fortune Days #227 "Fortune Days, Part 1" It has been over a month since the Adventurers rescued Night Star in Russia, and matters at home have settled down considerably for the crime fighters. Needing to get out of the house, Catfight decides to go on a brief patrol through Westside. But near the end, she came across a money loan business that had clearly been hit hard by what looks like a seasoned team of professional thieves, as no alarm had been triggered, nor authorities notified. Red Spider and Night Star help in the investigation, and it is discovered that a lone criminal couple is responsible for the discrete smash-and-grab which killed several employees in the business. One-time minor Adventurers villain Blood talon and his unnamed female mentalist cohort are seen on the store's closed-circuit video recording; the woman was the sole killer between the power duo. The Adventurers pass the matter on to the police, and copies of the surveillance tape from were taken for further study. Blood Talon & Unknown Mentalist
A Rescue in Russia #226 "A Rescue in Russia, Part 3" The ISSA machine releases Night Star from the stasis sell. She emerges somewhat weakened, but able to stand in short order. Red Spider and Catfight head to the basement via elevator; there is a ramp leading up from the basement to the garage, for ease of stocking the house. Catfight chooses an armored personnel carrier, and fires it up. The heroes from within the house pile into the APC, while Red Spider jumps in last after opening the garage door. Outside, Scarlet Shield goes on the attack and takes out the second of two aerial drones. Security guards receive conflicting orders due to the forest fire, the aerial attack, and the escaping APC tearing out of the garage. Catfight hits the brakes, and Black Bird uses the gun on top of the APC to lay down cover fire while Screech Owl and Scarlet Shield cross Zarkov's lawn to get aboard. The team blasts down the service road in the APC. Stinger completes the motorboat repairs, and then joins Fox in dealing with a security response sent to check out security station and the boat house. After that, the rest of the team reaches the boat house in the APC, with Catfight hitting the brakes to turn the vehicle around and have its back hatch facing the boat house. Meltdowner and Stinger cover the team's escape down the river by disabling Zarkov's security patrol boats, and the team makes a break for the coast! Once they embark onto their waiting yacht, Stinger sinks their stolen motorboat. The yacht speeds west into the night with all of the rescuers, plus Night Star, safe and sound! Yuri Zarkov
A Rescue in Russia #225 "A Rescue in Russia, Part 2" Inside Zarkov's basement, Fantasma knocks out two of Zarkov's people in a large storage area, and finds the ISSA machine there; she begins to power it up. In the boat house, Stinger finds the perfect getaway speedboat for the team, but one of its motors has been stripped for repairs; he begins work on completing repairs and assembling the motor. Sombra is first to locate the 'statue' of Night Star, in Zarkov's library upstairs. Downstairs, Catfight finds a James Bond wannabe, who in truth is just a mid-level British diplomatic officer, who wants to have a romp with her in Zarkov's own bedroom. She uses him as cover to get upstairs, but when she observes Red Spider passing through a secured door (with Fox's remote help), Catfight knocks out her 'spy' friend, and quickly runs to the door, and find it opens for her, too. Inside the door, a narrow corridor leads to the library, where Red Spider has just found Sombra and Black Bird hiding. Just then, Screech Owl, under the guise of a drunken party guest, uses two security guards to get her close to the RF jamming room; dispatching of one guard who thought he was going to get a quickie in the bathroom nearby, she makes her way to the RF jamming control room and shuts it down. The team begins to communicate. It becomes clear that they have two challenges that weren't part of the plan: getting rid of the last remaining aerial drone, and getting someone to the garage to grab a vehicle. Sombra teleports Night Star to the ISSA machine; Fantasma begins the process to free Night Star. Red Spider asks Meltdowner to start a forest fire near the river to divert attention as the rescue enters the escape phase. Outside, a shift rotation discovers the security station which had been taken over by Screech Owl, is occupied by a bound and gagged guard. The alarm is raised. Yuri Zarkov
A Rescue in Russia #224 "A Rescue in Russia, Part 1" The Adventurers begin infiltrating the expansive property of Yuri Zarkov, while in flashbacks, Red Spider goes over the plan with the team. Stinger uses a submersible armor to reach Zarkov's river docks and boat launch along the Bzipi River, while Fox and Screech Owl use a motorboat to get near enough to the property to begin their mission: gaining control of Zarkov's small security outposts along the service road from his mansion to the boat launch. Meanwhile, Sombra teleports herself and Fantasma into the house, which is full of hundreds of party guests; Sombra remains invisible and scours the residence for Night Star, while Fantasma heads downstairs and tries to locate the ISSA machine, which can free Night Star from her stasis shell. Catfight and Red Spider, disguised as actors as part of a Cretoan theatre troupe hired to put on a special performance of Agamemnon at Zarkov's outdoor amphitheater, the two are able to slip into the party unnoticed. Scarlet Shield flies to the north of Zarkov's property, and uses timing, guile, and her powers to eliminate a hazard to the team's escape: one of two aerial drones flying low around the mansion. Blackbird gets into the party wearing a tuxedo. Fox gains control of the house's security systems such as the electronic door locks and cameras watching them, but Screech Owl realizes that Ordnance X, whose job it was to get on site and secure a land vehicle for the team's escape to the river dock, has failed; worse, Screech Owl realizes, as others do, that there is RF frequency jamming preventing the team from communicating. She takes it upon herself to get into Zarkov's mansion and disable the RF jamming before the whole rescue and escape ends in disaster. Yuri Zarkov


The team also has story arc pages which are used to develop, track, and the maintain a record of major events.



Villains

Over time the Adventurers have made a few very memorable enemies. A few are listed in alphabetical order below:

F.A.R.A.H.
TWILIGHT (Original)

Appearances: Adventurers #261-62;
Real Name: Unknown
Abilities: Technological invisibility; power armor; melee combat; war drones
Status: At large
Bio: The first Twilight 'pilot' was a Russian mercenary hired by Yuri Zarkov, a retired Russian spymaster. Twilight's pilot performed public acts of heroism, as well as some black ops missions, using technology supplied by Zarkov. One such operation included attempts to manufacture a conflict between the island nation of Cretoa, and the race of fish people who few realized lived in a secret Undersea below. Twilight succeeded in the summer of 2019, though her slaying of several fish people earned her a death mark in the Undersea. This was her last known mission as Twilight - Zarkov had always intended to replace the original pilot with his late daughter Nadia (See: Zarkov's Revenge, Adventurers #265 - #274), and the mercenary had just been helping build up a new 'super' identity for Nadia.

Yet in the summer of 2020, signs appear in Cretoa that Twilight is back...


F.A.R.A.H.
THE GREAT ILLUSIONEER

Appearances: Adventurers #175, #180-182, #188
Real Name: Brent Robbins
Abilities: Holography; stage illusions
Status: At large
Bio: Television illusionist of the late 80s / early 90s Brent Robbins was disgraced at the height of his popularity. It took years, but he found a new use for his innovative illusory technology - crime! In the criminal underworld, the Illusioneer is the person you hire when you want an enemy to have a 'memorable' end, or at least a terrifying scare. Illusioneer has used his holo tech, in conjunction with a dimensional portal into an otherwise pocket dimension, to create Misadventure Land - a carnival-themed death trap filled with trapdoors, deadly gags, and angry tough guys dressed up as clowns and carnies. If you can meet the Illusioneer's steep $10 million fee, he will kidnap the person of your choice and drop them into his labyrinthine carnival simulation. The Adventurers have twice foiled the Illusioneer. Portals to Misadventure Land have been found hidden in Los Angeles, Millennium City, and Miami.


F.A.R.A.H.
F.A.R.A.H.

Appearances: Adventurers #178-180, #186
Designation: Field Agent (a)Rtificial Assistance Hologram
Abilities: Teleportation; energy shields; laser sword; tech interfacing; first aid
Status: Deactivated
Bio: The Field Agent (a)Rtificial Assistance Hologram was a development project started in the 2000s to supplement agents in the field with an interactive hologram who could assist in a variety of scenarios. UNTIL spent years trying to develop something that had the right balance of abilities versus power drain on a battery. In 2017, UNTIL tested a FARAH hologram in the field for the first time, and it seemed successful. During a mission in which the Adventurers were teleported to UNTIL's Moon Base SERENITY, teleportation had an unexpected impact on FARAH's AI, becoming, for a moment, connected to all space and time. Using those nanoseconds, she put in motion a plot (see "Singularity" storyline) to try to move circumstances so she could be liberated from UNTIL's programming restrictions and become a fully autonomous, sentient AI. The Adventurers figured out FARAH's plot and helped UNTIL get control of her again. Supposedly, FARAH was taken offline permanently...


David Lyons AKA Silver Crusader
DAVID LYONS a.k.a. SILVER CRUSADER

Appearances: (coming soon!)
Secret Identity: (none)
Powers: Telekinesis; technology
Status: Incarcerated.
Bio: Superhero. Industrialist. Philanthropist. David Lyons made his name in the 70s and 80s as the armored hero Silver Crusader. While he engendered goodwill for heroic deeds, secretly, he harbored a deep-seated ill-will for crime-fighters who did what he did while concealing their identities. Over decades, he thought of plans reform law enforcement for the new reality of superhuman integration, but he knew he would need to destroy public trust in mask-wearers, first, by any means necessary. The Adventurers, a group of masked heroes, were his target in 2016. The team thwarted his aims, exposed his vast criminal conspiracy, and delivered him into PRIMUS's hands.


George Kruger
GEORGE KRUGER

Appearances: Adventurers #117, #118, #119
Secret Identity: (none)
Powers: None
Status: Active
Bio: George Kruger is the County Prosecutor for Wayne County. To say he is not a fan of masked crime fighters would be an understatement. Kruger's office sports an 80% conviction rate, thus he has managed to be re-elected to his position numerous times. When the Adventurers were to be subject to a secret hearing to determine whether Red Spider's clone could stand trial, Kruger was tapped to represent the county. He presented a case that if the clone weren't taken to trial then she would by default be let free and back into her association with her team mates. He called several Adventurers as witnesses and excoriated them on the stand for past 'irresponsible' actions in costume.


Cyber-Slash
CYBER-SLASH

Appearances: Adventurers #60 - #67, #72, #78, #87 - #88, #96
Secret Identity: Alyssa Madison
Powers: Quantum energy claws; wireless signal surfing; data reading
Status: Active
Bio: Her original costume bears similar designs to the logo for Incognito, the hacktivist collective. Moving beyond hacking, she obtained a teleporting device and phasing claws to be the 'mascot' of her group. Her claws phase through and excite pain receptors, but do not leave a lasting trauma - though they have been known to stun people. When phased through a data retention device, Cyber-Slash can absorb the data into a disc she wears on her belt.

Defeated by the Adventurers and excommunicated by Incognito for an embarrassing PR blunder, Cyber-Slash spent more than a year trying to establish a better reputation. Her sense of vulnerability was raw, however, and when she perceived that Dreamweaver had betrayed her secret identity to an agent of UNTIL, she spiraled back into her old ways. She pretended to assist that UNTIL agent - White Star - only to serve betrayal. White Star foiled Cyber-Slash's attempt to help Incognito gain access to UNTIL's list of hero secret identities. When last seen, Cyber-Slash was preparing to flee the United States and go into hiding.


Dr. Killowatt AKA Anthony Kozhan
DR. KILLOWATT

Appearances: Adventurers #4 - #7
Secret Identity: Anthony Kozhan
Powers: Electrical tech armor with projectile electricity
Status: Comatose
Bio: Dr. Anthony Kohzan was a brilliant military scientist and veteran of the first Gulf War. Following an accident that left him paralyzed without the use of his legs, he found the assistance given him by the government inadequate.

Dr. Kozhan started using criminal activity to fund a project the government abandoned that would let him walk again. He started smuggling weapons into Millennium City by freighters coming through the Great Lakes. He intended to put high-powered electrical weaponry into the hands of Millennium City gangs, but earn profit by selling them the power cells for the weapons at a considerable mark-up. He accomplished this by pretending to steal items to further his ambitions as a 'super villain' so that crime fighters would not realize he had actually used his crime scenes as a drop point for power cells.

As Kozhan's plot began to unravel, he took the Red Spider hostage in a desperate play to wipe her memory and shatter her fledgling team. Red Spider was rescued, and just as Dr. Killowatt was faced with the grim prospect of having to turn on some of his powerful criminal conspirators, he zapped himself at full power with his own memory probe. He has been in a coma ever since.


Etherloch
ETHERLOCH

Appearances: Adventurers #35, #36 #39 - #43, #45 - #48, #52, #69
Secret Identity: Not Applicable
Powers: Metamorphosis; imitation of voices; rapid acidic breakdown/consumption of prey
Status: Contained
Bio: One of the deadliest foes the Adventurers have encountered, Etherloch is less an adversary than a force of nature.

The creature is the result of experiments to develop a super serum, by creating - through an amalgam of known super reagents and hybridized alien DNA - the super serum equivalent of a 'mother of vinegar'. Exposure of simple organically-derived fuels (even simple alcohols) to a massive bacterial colony was meant to create super serum as a byproduct. But the colony was unexpectedly catalysed, began to form an awareness of itself like a single being, and acted on impulse to attack its creators and escape its confines.

At some point it absorbed some of Red Spider's blood. An alien retrovirus still lurking in her blood allowed Etherloch to take on the monster form Red Spider had during the 'Free the Beast' arc, and also track her by it. The creature has been destroyed several times, but if even a little of it survives, it can reconstitute itself if it has access to water and carbon.

The only known living corpus of Etherloch is presently being held in cryo-stasis by UNTIL in Millennium City.


Poison Lash
POISON LASH

Appearances: Adventurers #38, #43, #45, #48, #52, #53, #62
Secret Identity: Daniel Burke
Powers: Can form a whip of solid poison from hands; vast knowledge of poisons and medicines; poison delivery in claw form
Status: Incarcerated
Bio: A former venom researcher in Australia, Daniel became fascinated when he learned that the Qularr DNA had venomous components. On his arrival to Millennium City, he had the (mis)fortune of landing in the latest Qularr invasion. He was quick to take an alien corpse to a rented lab. Months later, his research and development led him to create a serum composed of alien DNA, poisons from the deadliest creatures on Earth, and DNA from Ironlclad (having hired a mercenary crazy enough to extract it).

This development did not go unnoticed. MCPD and mobsters started to raid the lab. With little choice, Daniel injected himself with the serum to save his life & work. As the compounds altered his DNA, he changed from within. Blade-like syringes ripped from his forearms, his blood became acidic, and his breath was a green cloud of poison.

He was a powerful entity, but with a cost: it poisoned his genius mind, as well. He blamed the world for causing his turn into a monster. Now, to him, the end of curing himself justifies every means. Having briefly escaped during the Etherloch crisis, Poison Lash was returned to UNTIL's prison through the efforts of the Adventurers. Team member Hornett was one of Poison Lash's test subjects.


Anti-Adventurers

Dread Spider
DREAD SPIDER

Appearances: Adventurers #92 - #96, #103, #106, #108
Secret Identity: Cassandra Olsen (Alternate)
Aliases: None
Powers: Athleticism; melee weapon supremacy; ranged marksman; stealth & intrusion
Status: In stasis
Bio: Cassandra Olsen is the daughter of ambitious mob accountant William Olsen. Cassandra was sent abroad to study dance, combat styles, and stealth. When she came home to Millennium City at age 18 on a permanent basis, Cassandra became her father's secret assassin. William's aspiration to climb the ladder within his crime family led him to use Cassandra to either eliminate rivals directly, or embarrass them by having Cassandra interfere with their operations. She serves Venture Enterprises syndicates and, correct or not, is a seen by the lower ranks as one of the syndicate's key leaders.

Outside of her masked criminal activities, Cassandra is a known bon vivant and socialite. Who would expect that this famous party girl is a hardened killer?

When last seen, Dread Spider was captive in a stasis cell under hero Steelhawk's watch.


Adventurers in the Media

Sometimes the Adventurers make the news! ((Literally))

Joining the Adventurers

Some reasons you might enjoy this team

  • You want to RP a street-level/low-powered superhero, and the challenges of their lives in and out of costume
  • You desire a group where you and your story matters.
  • You value quality of your fellow team members over the quantity of them.
  • You seek some like-minded, upbeat, optimistic, and experienced RPers.
  • You like our theme, and want to be a part of keeping it going.
  • You would enjoy having a lively, supportive OOC group to chat with.

Adventurers Theme

We're a group of street-level, low-powered, costumed heroes. A lot of us successfully fight crime solo, but we need the help of other heroes when a big threat emerges.

The following is a guideline for the kinds of IC qualities we're looking for in the green column (left). The red column (right) has traits that stray away from the theme.

Desired Traits Less Desirable Traits
True identity is carefully concealed.   Identity is public, or doesn’t care.
Street level, local, and/or low-key.   Global / galactic fame.
From this universe and/or time.   Is artificially created, an alien, or a creature.
Science-based powers (ex. mutation, experimentation, tech).   Magical or mystical powers.
Reasonably original take (inspiration is OK!).   Uncomfortably similar to other existing IP.
Has code about avoiding needless harm or destruction.   Doesn't worry about causing collateral damage.
Lawful (or at least, upholds the spirit of the law).   Unlawful / Chaotic / Homicidal
Power level is suitable for a crime-fighting group.   Powers are suitable for taking on armies or world-breaking threats
Has well-defined traits, including weaknesses.   Is perfect, invulnerable, and/or just plain bland.
Character has a positive attitude; reserves strong language.   Character is excessively profane, crude, or negative.
Feels fun to be around.   A real downer.

Recruitment FAQ

What time zone are you in?
Most of us are in North America, so we're most active between 6PM - 11PM server time.

How can I get to know the team members better before applying? Look for us in public social zones. If you don't see us there, consider asking for an invite to our global channel Adventurers_4ALL and you can talk to us OOC there, maybe try to get something going.

How often do you do RP sessions?
Usually 2-4 nights of the week, and often these are one-off sessions that are totally optional.

My character has traits in the 'red' column in the chart above - should I even bother trying to join?
Talk to us. Not all of those red traits are deal-breakers.

Is magic banned in the Adventurers?
No, but we are wary of magic as being a gateway to god-moding. It can be annoying for villain players/GMs trying to create meaningful challenges in our street-level theme when someone can just rewrite the rules of the scenario using magic (or something like magic). It's good practice in RP for any character - magic or not - to have well-defined powers and limitations. The Adventurers characters regard magic (and its practitioners) as something exotic, mysterious, and not at all commonplace from their point of view.

Can I have characters in other RP SGs while I'm in the Adventurers?
Don't see why not.

About the SG theme. Why this but not that?
If you think a supergroup would be successful doing that, then go make one that does that. Adventurers is about this, and it's been doing this successfully for a long time.

Can I have multiple heroes in the Adventurers?
One hero at a time with us, please. If after being with us for a while - a few months, maybe a year - you feel you want to change to a different, theme-appropriate hero? You could, but ideally you could turn it into a story. We invest in your character, and you should, too.

Who runs scenarios for the Adventurers?
Members do! We each have the option to be a game master if/when we have something. Some of us like to run one-off fights with a villain. Others like to plan sprawling, epic storylines that happen over multiple sessions. Occasionally, we welcome a guest villain from outside the SG to run something. This is a safe and supportive group for those who want to run superhero scenarios.

Do I have to be effective with English to join the Adventurers?
Yes. All of our communication is done in written English.

Will I be kicked out if I miss a session?
No. We're not really eager to dismiss members. We do appreciate them checking in, though. The roster only gets cleared of consistently inactive members once in a rare while.

What's your problem with profanity?
We've never banned profanity. But there are good reasons to avoid it. Someone who swears every other word would stand out in a bad way amongst this polite, sophisticated, and supportive group. We would also challenge people to save powerful language for occasions when it has full effect.

My character seems to line up perfectly, and I expressed my interest, so why didn't you recruit me?
First off, feel free to check in with @historiphile about this. It's entirely possible that any delay was accidental. But second… yeah, sometimes we pass on applications. One of the main reasons is the player's reputation. We discuss amongst ourselves what we know or have heard about a player who asks to join us. How you behave, matters. Another common reason for us to pass on an application: maybe we disagree that the character really matches our theme.

Recruitment

The following are guidelines to how we usually go about recruiting. Sometimes, we might deviate from this procedure. C'est la vie.

Step 1 - First Contact

  • Start by sending an in-game mail to team leader Red Spider@historiphile expressing interest, and maybe some detail on the following:
    • Powers
    • Traits (ie, Strengths/weaknesses)
    • A brief background on your character
    • Anything else you think is worth knowing
    • Time availability to RP (time zone, etc.)

Step 2 - Assessment

We will talk with you, learn about your character, and figure out if they are a good fit. We won't get into the questions we tend to ask here.

Step 3 - Combat RP Trial

If you get to this stage, you're doing well!

The combat RP trial has us present an RP villain. Your character will come across them in the world and demonstrate his or her abilities while trying to stop the villain. At some point, Adventurers heroes will join you in trying to defeat the bad guy!

We learn a lot about how someone RPs from this activity.

Once the combat RP trial is complete, witnessing Adventurers will discuss. If they like what they saw, then membership will be offered!