Issue 3 Review

Rising Stars 3 Synopsis

"Whatever Happened to Lee Jackson?"

It's not the blue-eyed blonde. It's not the green-eyed, black-haired girl. It's the brown-eyed brunette. She's perfect. Randy Fisk takes her picture with an instant camera.

Randy climbs the stairs to his loft while watching the picture develop. The three nearly-naked girls are disappointed. They have been booked for an hour and they fear that they are disappointing to Randy. He assures them that he is satisfied with them. As he leaves, the girls confirm among themselves that the man is Ravenshadow, who appeared in People the week before.

In the loft, the photograph develops. Despite the alluring pose of the nude model, Randy's camera has captured only one beautiful brown eye. He cuts the eye from the print and prepares to add it to a painting that includes a collage of eyes.

Randy knows that John Simon is present. He invites John into the open and comments that his surveillance cameras never detect him. John reminds Randy that he has a way with electronics. They begin talking about the recent murders, although Randy seems preoccupied with his collage of eyes. They both think that there will be more murders. Randy is frustrated with the new photograph and wonders why nothing ever fits where he wants it to. John replies that if it fit where he wanted it to, it wouldn't be art. Randy retorts that if John had put that wisdom into his last poetry book he might have sold more copies.

John thinks that Randy is odd, but he does not think that Randy committed any of the murders. He believes that it is another Special who knows enough about their vulnerabilities to commit the murders. John thinks that the murders started with Lee Jackson's death, although everyone knows that Lee was not murdered. John asks Randy to tell him about Lee Jackson.

Randy puts on his Ravenshadow costume so that they can go outside to talk. John asks him about the eye motif in his paintings. Randy says that a person's soul sees out through his eyes, and he is trying to learn what the eyes are saying.

Outside, they see a billboard for Flagg with a banner over the name that reads, "See our new name soon!" John asks about it. Randy says that a guy named Chaykin owns the rights to the name "Flagg", so Jason Miller has to change the name of his superhero identity and NexusCorp has to remove his old name from all advertisements. Randy says that he told Jason at the beginning that Flagg was a stupid name. He brags that he came up with the name "Ravenshadow" all by himself when he was twelve.

Randy gets down to business with the story of Lee Jackson. Lee was back at the summer camp where he had been molested the year before. This time, he told the molester to burn. The man burst into flames, and Lee fled the camp. Lee's parents took off with him that night, knowing that the government would clamp down on the Specials. Lee avoided the government interference that the rest of the Specials grew up with, but his life was far worse.

Lee and his parents were on the run for two years. Then one night, Lee's parents were killed in a motel fire. Mr. Jackson smoked, and a cigarette was found in his bed. The fire could have been an accident or a suicide by Mr. Jackson. Or, it could have been caused by Lee. Dr. Welles said that Lee's pyro power was manifested through thought rather than physically, and Lee had no training to control it. The fire could have been caused by Lee unintentionally due to any number of emotions or even during a dream.

The motel was a disaster, and identification of the remains was impossible. The authorities assumed that Lee was dead, and this relieved some of the pressure from the other families. However, Lee was not dead. He grew up on the streets, and it was a hard life without someone like Dr. Welles to help him.

Randy feels that it must have been hard for Lee to watch the success of the other Specials. Lee watched a television in a store window as Matthew Bright received the Medal of Honor from the Mayor. Matthew had kept his identity secret, an action which surrounded him with controversy. However, he finally revealed it in a self-sacrificing way. His fellow officers even paid for a special uniform for him. It was best for Lee and the others that he remain hidden. If he was found, he would go on trial for murder, and this would reflect badly on the other Specials as well. They had to prove that they could keep themselves under control, as Jason Miller did when Pyre was wanted by the law.

Then one day, Lee helped an old woman named Eleanor Hamilton. She had lost her only son in Vietnam and was now alone just like Lee. He helped her around the house without ever asking for anything in return. After two weeks, she learned that he lived on the streets, so she invited him into her home and gave him her son's room. Lee stayed with Eleanor for a year without incident.

Randy tells John the news about Eleanor that never made the papers. Lee had worked hard all day and at four in the afternoon he took a nap. Eleanor went to the store to get some cake and ice cream to surprise him. On the way home, she was confronted by a gang. The leader demanded her money and pulled a knife on her. Eleanor ran, and the criminal chased her down. He killed her for the twenty dollars in her purse. The neighbors who witnessed the murder were too scared to do anything, but Lee was enraged when he found Eleanor.

He turned his power on and tore through the city looking for the gang. His power was devastating. No one realized how strong he was until that night. The police fired at him without effect, so they called in the other specials for help. However, they never had time to arrive. Lee dispatched the rest of the gang and was closing in on the killer. Lee cornered him in an old building and told him to burn. On his way out, a young boy cowered in a corner and begged Lee not to hurt him. Lee had no intention of hurting the child, but he was suddenly sickened by the knowledge that he had come full circle. The child feared him just as he feared the camp counselor who molested him. Lee told the boy to run away quickly.

Randy remembers a night at the summer camp when Lee said that he wanted to be a star in the sky. He wanted to be free. That's what Lee did that night... he became a star... and became free. That's why everyone knows how Lee Jackson died. He burned as brightly as he could and took the whole building with him.

Randy suggests that they go to the Shadowcave where he will explain what he learned the day Lee died. John is dumbfounded that Randy would actually call it the Shadowcave, but admits that it does host an impressive array of equipment. It is funded by Randy's art. People will pay a lot to see the world through the eyes of a Special.

Randy uses the equipment to monitor his abilities. Normally he can bench press 2000 pounds. Over the years his abilities diminished slightly. His strength comes from the power, not from his muscles. As he uses the power, less of it remains. The night Lee died, Randy could bench press 2200 pounds. That same night, in a far more advanced laboratory, a researcher gave similar news to another Special.

Randy believes that Lee's remaining energy transferred to the other Specials when he died. Randy never told anyone else what he learned for fear that some Specials might start killing the others to increase their energy. Apparently, someone else has figured out this secret.

John thanks Randy and leaves, but Randy is already distracted by the solution to his current art project. John writes that the day Lee died marked the end for the rest of the Specials.