The Order #44
- The Order #44
"Dawn in L.A."
Artist: Kenneth Beck
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
Editor: Josh Greer
Editor-in-Chief: Thomas Logue
Blood Spider, Hunger, and Frostbite smiled as they looked down at
their next victim, the Order member known as Pyron. They didn't
know that he was still weakened by the bullet that had recently
slammed through his chest. The threesome had all been humiliated by
the thermal man and his teammates when he was a member of the
Champions. Now was the time to even the score.
Frostbite suddenly found fire circling his icy form. He blew at it,
his icy breath normally able to put out such things. The flames
rose higher, burnt brighter. He assumed it to be Pyron's doing
until he saw the Native American man walking towards them, calmly,
Blood Spider swung his arms up to fire his webbing at the man, but a
shield banged into his wrists, damaging the devices, then bounced
back. It almost looked like his Sindicate teammate's shield...
A woman caught it as she practically flew through the air, blasting
Hunger with her staff to propel herself backwards and down to the
ground. Blood Spider recognized it as Death Shield's shield as
Hunger slid into a wall.
Ceyote turned the ice around Pyron into steam. Pyron easily burnt
through the webbing himself, and turned to see that it was Janis
Jones who had thrown the shield. "Three against three," Pyron
grinned, "this'll be too easy."
Ravage swung once more, only to find that, once again, the Asian
woman had evaded him and back-handed him with the flat side of her
blade, knocking him through yet another wall. Though the dance was
old, Ravage found himself enjoying it, or, more specifically, he was
enjoying the presence of this wonderfully devastating woman.
"Are you ready to surrender?"
Ravage tried once more to psi-blast her, but found her mind
protected from his mental attacks. "Not by a long shot, toots."
The Melter rushed down the street. Ravage and the woman turned
their heads to watch. Machine Man's telescoping arms grabbed onto
the sides of buildings as he tried to catch the fiend.
Ravage saw the woman squint as she looked at the man, and seemed
able to read into his desires. She threw her energy sword at him,
pinning him to a wall by his cape. He tugged on it, futilely.
Angered, he switched his melting gun to flesh and fired on the
Ravage watched and, with speed unexpected for one so large, pushed
the woman out of the way, taking the melting ray to his chest. He
grunted as he clamped his eyes shut and grit his teeth, his skin and
muscles melting away in a river of green blood.
Machine Man's telescoping arms finally caught up to the Melter,
knocking him out in one blow. Melter sagged to the ground, his cape
held firm to the wall by the energy sword. Ravage fell to one knee,
his blood still raining down from his melting chest.
The woman held Ravage, "You... are not the monster I believed you to
"No... I'm far worse," Ravage whispered as he got back up onto his
feet. The woman and Machine Man watched as his muscles reknit
themselves and his skin began to grow back.
"Ravage," Machine Man stated coldly, still remembering his
escape, "I am surprised by your act of momentary sacrifice."
"Shaddup, scrap metal," Ravage rebutted as he let go of the
woman, "Name's Ravage, babe."
"Chi Demon," she replied, slapping him on his still-sore chest, "and
never call me 'babe' again, or I'll shove my sword --"
"I feel," Machine Man interrupted, "that a temporary truce is in
"Yeah, awright," Ravage agreed, "just for tonight, I'll work with
you guys again, an' stop this madness in the city. But after that,
I'm gone. And if you try to stop me..."
"Accepted," Machine Man agreed.
Android X-4, Psykos, Purple Haze, and Phyla struggled but failed to
free themselves from the heavy vines that held them prisoners. As
soon as they broke free of one group, another immediately wrapped
around them, all the tighter. The Plantman laughed as he watched
them struggle, working on a way to kill them.
"Something in the area is dampening my psionic abilities," Psykos
muttered to his allies.
"I felt it, too," Phyla admitted.
"I could use my purple fog powers," Purple Haze suggested,
adding, "but all it'd do is blind you guys."
Suddenly, there was a slashing and the smell of decomposing plant
matter. Chi Demon sliced her way through the massive vines as
Machine Man used the Melter's gun to melt them away. Ravage,
meanwhile, leapt over the mess, landing behind the less-protected
Before Plantman could react, Ravage sent his fist through the
Plantman's stomach. "Serves ya right, you tree-hugging hippie,"
The Plantman changed before his eyes into a plant simulacra of the
Plantman, given sentience to carry out the mission for the true
Plantman. The greenery collapsed and began to decompose. Ravage
looked at the smelly, rotting plant on his hand and snarled.
Mad Dog, Quicksand, and the real Plantman left the city by jet.
Quicksand had an important meeting with Damon Dran tomorrow
afternoon, (1) while Mad Dog wanted to develop some new plans for
his Masters of Vengeance team, and Plantman wanted to continue some
In working with several other teams on this Los Angeles mission, Mad
Dog had seen some talent in some of the others. He had come to
realize that the Masters of Vengeance needed a shot in the arm.
Some new blood was necessary.
As soon as he was back in New York, he would make a few calls...
Ice Queen exploded. Bombboy cried out as he realized what he had
instinctively done. He begged, "I'm sorry, it was an accident, so
Ice Queen reformed and shot icicles into his face, knocking him
back, screaming. "No harm done."
The Masher continued to battle the giant, silent robot, as Ion
handled Goldbug and Blizzard. The pair realized their advantage and
utilized it. Goldbug threw a gold dust grenade while Blizzard iced
up the ground beneath Ion, keeping him off-balance. He struggled to
swing at either of them and came up short.
Hunger went flying into Goldbug's back, tackling him. Pyron,
Ceyote, and Janis had arrived, though the trio looked none the worse
for wear. Blood Spider and Frostbite sagged under Ceyote's arms.
Ceyote dropped Blood Spider, holding up a hand to heat up the area
around Blizzard. When he fired his ice, only water came out. Ion
smiled as he strut up to Blizzard and sent him flying back with one
Ion, Pyron, Ceyote, and Janis walked over to where Ice Queen was
battling Bombboy. Neither seemed to be having any effect on the
other. Janis threw Death Shield's shield at the boy, but he
exploded immediately before making contact, bouncing the shield back.
Ceyote wrapped the ground around Bombboy, but he exploded once more,
sending chunks of debris flying in every direction.
"I will destroy you," Machine Man swore as Ravage held his
telescoping arms back. He strained to reach Android X-4, but Ravage
"The battle against Plantman is concluded," Android X-4 noted, "thus
we should seek out any other potential conflict areas that may
require our assistance."
"What d'ya have against the robot?" Ravage asked as he motioned his
head, indicating for Chi Demon to stand ready between the two
mechanical men, her sword prepared to slice off any limb that
reaches too far.
"He killed the Tracker," Machine Man answered, truthfully.
"Seems kinda harmless to me," Ravage said, looking at the seemingly-
"I apologize for my previous actions," Android X-4 spoke, "but our
history is not the most important factor here."
"The butt-ugly computer here's right," Ravage said, "remember our
truce? You need to do the same, suck it in, and help us save this
"I hate you, too," Machine Man informed Ravage.
Ice Queen tapped the edges of the glass cocoon Ceyote had erected
around Bombboy., having found that Bombboy wouldn't always explode
upon contact with her watery molecules.
"Now," Pyron coughed, "What about the robot?"
The giant robot slammed the Masher into the ground.
A yellow light flashed on the robot, and it transformed into a jet.
It streaked away as the Order watched. "I guess that works," Ion
Pyron noticed that the first hints of dawn were forming over the
horizon. "Indeed, it does..."
1. Check out upcoming issues of Alternate Marvel Presents.
- Reno, Nevada.
On the street after dark, Marlo Jones screamed as the paramedics rushed to strap Rick Jones into his gurney and put him into the back of the ambulance. He had been torn wide open by the Slashers. (1)
Her thoughts swam, incoherently, as she covered her face with her hands and kept watching him, hoping that somehow he would instantaneously recover as though there was nothing wrong, no gaping wounds in his abdomen.
She went with them to the hospital, not listening to a single word anyone said. Rick remained unconscious, mumbling occasionally, meaningless phrases.
Finally, they arrived at the hospital, and Marlo had to wait. Rick was rushed into an operating room and that was that.
While she sat there, helpless, the Magistrate watched, invisible, the light bending around his body effortlessly. He derived no joy in being here, but it was his duty. Not only because this man had been his father's partner in defending the universe, once upon a time, but because it was necessary in his role as the Magistrate for him to be here today.
This was the day that Rick Jones was to die.
The Magistrate entered the operating room and froze time. The doctors and nurses stood stuck in place, Rick stuck between feeble heart beats, near the end of his song.
Shining with bright light, Genis-Vell gently, quietly removed his golden nega-bands from his wrists, one at a time. He clasped them onto the dying sidekick's wrists, clicking them into place and soldering them, melding them to his genetic sequence.
They were bonded to him now, as they had been before.
The photonic energy illuminated the entire room as the bands changed Rick as much as he changed them, charging his body with an energy that would add to his natural physical healing properties just enough for him to make it through.
He would live, and the timestream was forever altered, irrevocably, in that moment. Genis hoped his father would have approved and would not have condemned him for his foolish act.
In saving Rick Jones's life, he had also damned him.
Half Kree. Half Titan. A bastard child, born in a laboratory. Some even say he's destined for greatness. Destined to become something above the photonic energy manipulating powerhouse he is right now. He is Genis-Vell. He is Captain Marvel.
Captain Marvel #88
Writer: John Flint
Webmaster: Liam Gibbs
"I came as soon as I could," Betty Banner said, hugging Marlo in the waiting room, "how is he?"
"They haven't told me anything yet," Marlo said.
"He will pull through," the Magistrate said, revealing his presence to them, blinding them with his white light which emanated from every cell of his body. It masked him, so that they would not know he was Genis-Vell, the former Captain Marvel.
"Ah no, not again," Marlo said, "more cosmic confusion, please, just leave us alone "
"Richard Millhouse Jones would not survive if I had not interfered," the Magistrate revealed, "I apologize for my intrusion into your personal lives, but I found it necessary this once. I am the Magistrate.
"Your husband will be healed through the molecular process of bonding to the nega-bands; in return, he will heal the mind and soul of another who is quite ill."
"Who is that?"
"Genis-Vell," the Magistrate said, not bothering to explain that the other body the bands were bonded to was an alternate reality version of himself who went by the codename of Captain Photon and whom he had driven crazy with insane visions provided by Entropy. (2) "He is also bonded to the bands."
"Oh no," Marlo said, covering her face in her hand, "Rick told me about this "
"You're going to punish him for being stabbed open by some super-villains?" Betty said, indignant, poking her finger into the blindingly bright man's chest, "I'm going to tell you what you're going to do, you're going to"
"I appreciate your concern," the Magistrate said, "but it has been done. It cannot be undone."
"I'll find some way to undo it," Betty said, "then I'll sic my husband on you."
The Magistrate disappeared in a final flash of light, having run out of words to say to the women.
[The next morning.]
`Morning, sunshine. Ready to eat some eyeballs?'
"Huh?" Rick awoke with a start, and realized immediately he was not in his bed. Before freaking out, he accessed the situation, as Captain America had taught him to do. He realized he was in a hospital room and breathed a sigh of relief as he felt at the blanket covering him.
`Clap those wrists together and let's have some fun '
Rick saw horrifying images in his mind and slammed his eyes shut. The room was still dark and yet the images were as though they were there, right before his eyes, vivid.
"Mar," Rick said, getting out of the bed and shaking her awake.
He went to the door and eventually found the light switch. "What's going on, hon?"
He looked down at his hands and saw the shining nega-bands on his wrists. "Aw, no!"
`That's right, sugarplum. It's just you and me in here. Let me out and I'll tear your woman apart and let you watch. There's nothing I won't do when I get back into your world '
"Then I'll never let you out, monster," Rick promised.
[One week later.]
"Please, help him," Marlo said, "he hasn't shaved, showered, he hasn't slept, his wounds aren't healing right, I don't know what to do "
"I'll have a look at him," Doc Samson promised as Marlo closed the door behind him. "Mind if I have a private session with him?"
"Of course, go ahead," Marlo said, "I'll see if the tea is ready "
Doc Samson stepped into the bedroom. He was now no longer superhuman, his long ponytail brown, his frame chunky rather than beefy. He wore a suit and glasses.
The man he saw before him he hardly recognized as Rick Jones. The man was in his underclothes, stank, and had tied his hands to ropes leading to opposite ends of the room, one tied to the filing cabinet in the corner and the other to his desk.
"Cut it off cut it off cut it off," Rick begged the doctor, "cut off one of my hands either of them then he can't use me can't make me bang them together can't make me bring him back"
"I won't do that," Doc Samson said, "Marlo told me about your situation. I understand he constantly bombards you with violent imagery, mostly of what he'll do to your wife and friends if he trades places with you. But you know that won't happen, don't you?"
"Do you do you do you?" Rick said, panting, sweating, eyes shifting wildly about the room before coming back to Samson and laughing. "You aren't even green anymore! Bruce is dead dead and gone and he thought I'd be strong enough to heal him but I'm not he's too strong constant almost clapped my hands together the first night home almost brought him here almost killed Marlo almost killed everyone killed the world"
"I'm going to give you a tranquilizer, Rick," Doc Samson said, "it'll calm you down and let you get some sleep. I promise, I will see to it that he never sets foot in this world. Whatever it takes. As soon as I leave this room, I'm calling in the Avengers."
"Avengers Defenders Champions X-Men doesn't matter doesn't matter," Rick said and began to laugh again, madly. "We're already dead."
[To be continued ]
1. See issue #82.
2. See Daniel Gordon Presents #77.