Issue 1 Review

Rising Stars 1 Synopsis

"Nova Placenta"

Poet writes in his journal.

Poet contemplates his conception. He would like to think it was a romantic scene between his parents complete with flowers. He realizes it was probably something much different: his mother outside with another man while her husband, Evan, lies drunk in bed. Both scenes have one thing in common - the flash - a comet phenomenon that strikes Pederson, Illinois at the moment of his conception.

Poet writes that one hundred and thirteen people were in utero at the time of the event, with him being the last conceived. Poet contemplates that his last-moment conception has made a difference between himself and the other Specials. As his photograph is taken after his birth, his mother forces a smile, but her husband remains expressionless.

Six years later at Pederson Elementary School, yearbook photographs are being taken on a stormy night. The photographer tries without success to get young Johnny Simon (Poet) to smile. His mother explains that he has always been a very serious boy and different from the other children. The doctors have assured her that he is perfectly healthy, and she is sure he will grow out of his quietness. After his dour photograph is taken, his mother sends him along to play with his friends, promising to catch up in a minute.

Matthew Bright takes his place in front of the photographer. His mother tells the photographer how Matthew has never been sick a day in his life. Suddenly a huge chunk of reinforced concrete falls from the ceiling. Mrs. Bright realizes that she is not dead, and rolls over to see Matthew holding the immense weight above his head. This was the first sign that the children of Pederson were different. The photographer's camera shoots as it topples over, revealing the news to the world.

Paulson reads the newspaper story about Matthew in his office. He calls Mackie and asks for the Director because of the "problem" in Pederson.

As Mrs. Simon reaches the front of a clinic line, the nurse tells Mrs. Jackson over the phone that she must come in as soon as possible. She reminds Mrs. Jackson that this requirement is a mandate from the Department of Health. Mrs. Simon complains to the nurse about the personal questions she is being asked to answer. The nurse explains that they are trying to identify all children who were in utero at the time of the flash to track them for adverse effects. The nurse says that she can pass along Mrs. Simon's objections, but warns that since the questionnaire is considered important to the well being of her child, the Child Welfare Division may take him away if she refuses to answer it. Mrs. Simon hesitantly says that her husband may not know the true date of conception, but the nurse assures her that the information will remain private.

Meanwhile, doctors are examining the children. Many of the children were already aware of their powers and were eager to show them off once Matthew broke the secret. However, Stephanie Chase insists that she can do nothing special. Joshua Kane's religious parents urge him to show the doctors the powers of levitation that God gave to him. Jason Miller speaks of his strength with his doctors, telling them that his dad taught him not to misuse it. Dr. Clark reports that Paula Ramirez sang to him with a beautiful voice, but he can not remember what she sang. Another doctor questions why Paula's singing could not be heard through the intercom.

Paulson reports that between 97 and 120 children may be affected. Representatives from the Attorney General's office and the Department of Health and Human Services are concerned that Paulson is being alarmist and speaking of the children as criminals. The government has no justification for taking strong precautions against these minors. Paulson believes that the justification will come in time, and proposes that until then, the government should provide free testing of the children. They will be more likely to get the parents' cooperation if they believe it is for the children's own good.

The children are taken in groups to Camp Sunshine. At lunch, the children debate their situation. Willie Smith believes there is something wrong with them. Another child says they are just special. Joshua says they are touched by God. Lee Jackson has been to the camp twice before. He says he does not like it as he spots a camp counselor observing him.

At night, Randy Fisk tells another boy that the doctors do not know what Lee Jackson's power is, even though he was born in the middle of the group. Lee is taken from his cabin by a counselor who has abused him before and plans to do it again. Lee tells him to burn. He does. Literally.

Paulson receives a late night phone call with the news. Lee Jackson has disappeared. He orders a lockdown of the camp and a search for Lee, but he does not want Lee found too quickly. With Lee uncontained, Paulson has the justification he needs to go to the Attorney General. He seems a bit too happy with the situation.

Over 50 years later, Poet continues his journal. He reports that Lee went on the run with his parents and later by himself. He did not use his ability again for 20 years, but when he did, it changed everything for the Specials again. Poet writes about how the specials grew into their powers. Some, like Matthew Bright embraced them while others denied them. Regardless of the road each Special's life took, Poet does not blame the power. It only accentuated what they always would be.

Poet says he is writing to set the record straight... to speak for the dead. Because he is the last Special left alive.

When the disaster the Specials had always expected came, it did not come from the outside, from the world that feared them. It came from the inside.