Issue 5 Review

Rising Stars 5 Synopsis

"The World Between"

John Simon writes in his journal. He reviews who he is and what his mission is. John needs to find out which Special is killing the others. He knows that he needs to contact one of two people.

Clarence Mack is a dreamwalker. He can enter anyone's dream and become a part of it. He is a psychologist who uses his power to help children work through their problems.

Lionel Zerb can see and talk to the recently dead. Something apparently happened during one of his conversations. He tries to avoid the dead now, but it doesn't work.

They both might have information on the killer. John Simon doesn't know which one to talk to until circumstances make the decision for him.

John lies on a couch with his eyes closed. A voice tells him, "I've established contact. Relax your mind."

John finds himself in the swirling netherworld of his dreams. He calls out. Clarence Mack tells him that he doesn't have to shout.

After exchanging greetings, Clarence asks John how his writing is going. John says it is fine, but Clarence is doubtful. Suddenly the dream world solidifies into an image of John sitting in his office. He is speaking on a phone to a publisher who refuses to publish his poetry because it is fantasy. John argues that merely using the word "dragon" does not make the poem fantasy. He offers to change the word, but the publisher declines. The dream image of John broods, and the light bulbs in his office explode. Clarence comments that John never learned to control his temper.

John didn't come here to talk about his career. He wants to go somewhere else. Clarence points out that they are in John's dream so he controls where they go. John reminds Clarence of his message that said he wants to talk about the murders. Clarence doesn't want to talk about them.

Clarence turns on John, saying that John believes he invades people's dreams for fun. He assumes John wants to know what he may have learned on accident. John tries to deny this.

Clarence wants to know why John must investigate the murders himself. John says he has an obligation and a responsibility. Clarence says that John wants to be the judge, jury, and executioner. He accuses John of waiting for this opportunity all his life. When they were children, John kept away from the other Specials and was only friends with Dr. Welles. Clarence believes that John doesn't want to be their friend for the same reason that you don't name a sick animal that you will have to put down soon.

John's dream world morphs into a scene of chaos with all the Specials at each other's throats. Clarence says this is how John sees the other Specials: mad dogs that need to be put down by John Simon. They stand in the center of John's nightmare: the ruined world that will result if John can't stop the Specials. Clarence demands that John reply to his accusations. John asks how Clarence would know John's nightmares if he hasn't been intruding into his dreams.

Clarence is caught off guard. He claims that he visited John's dreams after he called to make sure that John wasn't the killer himself. John says that he hasn't slept since he called. Clarence tries to change the subject.

Clarence tells John about the day that Chandra's power manifested itself. He heard about it on a talk show. He calls her lucky because she knows the exact moment her power took effect. Chandra was sitting in school when she became the most beautiful person in the world to whoever looks at her. Every boy in the class stared at her in adoration. Now she lives in a Beverly Hills mansion paid for by her modeling career. The most powerful and wealthiest men in the world wait on her hand and foot. Her only rule is that they must all wear masks so they all look the same. They see what they want to see when they look at her, and she wants the same thing. When she makes love to them, she imagines seeing the person she wants to see: John Simon. "She loves you," Clarence says. John confesses that he didn't know.

Clarence says he wants John to know that Chandra loves him when the day comes for him to kill her or let her die. He wants John to know what he could have had but never will. He told John this because he let Clarence...

A powerful fist strikes Clarence in his home.

"Let you what?" John asks. He accuses Clarence of diverting the discussion. The dream world erupts into turmoil. John wants to know what Clarence is avoiding. He demands to know what Clarence told them.

Clarence lies cowering on the floor in his home. The answering machine plays John's message, revealing that he wants to talk about the murders.

Clarence is afraid. John insists that he tell him what happened.

After John and Clarence talked and against John's instructions, Clarence entered the dream of someone he suspected. Clarence saw the man sitting naked with his head in his hands. The man was mumbling apologies, saying that he didn't want to do what he did to his family but he didn't have any choice. The man sensed that Clarence was there.

The killer is Jason Miller.

Clarence says he was surprised a Jason's speed. He flew to Clarence's home in moments and pummeled him. John asks again what he told them. Clarence says he had always wondered what it was like to be a hero like Jason. He knew he would never have another chance. He defiantly told Jason that everyone knows he is the killer now. Jason can kill him, but he can't kill the truth. So Jason killed Clarence.

John apologizes to Clarence, saying he got there as quickly as possible. Clarence asks to be let go. John asks if there is anything he can do for Clarence. He says he doesn't have anyone to send a message to. They agree that this is when things are going to go bad.

John asks Lionel to let Clarence go. He bids Clarence goodbye and assures him that for that moment he was a hero. "Whatever," Clarence replies before he disappears.

John is in the home of Lionel Zerb. Lionel confirms that he heard enough of Clarence's story. He wonders why Jason had to be the murderer. John says it makes sense. The high-tech medical supervision provided by NexusCorp would have discovered that Jason's power was declining and that it increased when another Special died. Lionel says his comment was also expressing dread because Jason is one of the strongest Specials. He suspects even Matthew Bright can't beat Jason in a fair fight. John says he doesn't think they intend to make it a fair fight.

Lionel asks what John means by "they". Now that Jason knows they are on to him, John believes he will start gathering allies. Lionel suggests stopping him quickly, but John thinks Jason will hide out until he has gathered his allies. John also needs proof to gather allies of his own. Lionel asks why John needs proof. John doesn't want to go to jail for taking Jason out, and dreams aren't admissible in court.

John asks if Clarence is still there. Lionel says yes. The dead take a while to leave even when they have been given permission. John asks what he is saying. Clarence asks why John thinks he can save the rest when he couldn't even save him. He calls John their Angel of Death. Lionel tells John that Clarence wishes him luck.

Lionel asks about the next step. John isn't sure, but he is thinking about hunting Jason down in his own territory. He tells Lionel to get out of town and lay low. Lionel says he will.

As John leaves he reminds Lionel that he knows how to reach him if he needs someone to talk to. Lionel assures John that he'll be fine. He has no shortage of people to talk to.

Lionel sits alone in his home. Visible only to him, the spirits of the recently dead compete for his attention. Several of them prattle on about their own stories. They can't understand why he would listen to John instead of them. Clarence is still there. He tells Lionel that John will never stop Jason. He says John just wants his war and everyone will get killed.