Issue 10 Review

Rising Stars 10 Synopsis

"Reversals of Fortune"

Cathy Jean sits in a prison cell in Chicago. She's still not speaking to her captors. However, her jailers only care that she does what they tell her, which is to touch what they've brought her. She hesitates, but the man threatens her. She reaches out her hand, and her power flows from her, bringing life to the non-living. The man leaves and promises to bring her another task soon.

Until the Surge, Cathy didn't even know she had a power. She always wished she could be like the other Specials. Now she wishes she could be normal again.

Joshua Kane stands on a balcony in the Cathedral of Light. His father, Reverend William Kane asks him about a recent telephone call. It was a prayer request from a contributor. The older Kane reprimands Joshua for his casual attitude towards a contributor and reminds Joshua that it's almost time to begin the service. As he leaves, he comments that the contributors shouldn't have Joshua's direct phone number. Joshua muses that God works in mysterious ways before flying away from the Cathedral.

John Simon, Randy Fisk, and Elizabeth Chandra arrive at a clandestine meeting in the woods with nine other Specials. Randy is proud that his technological tools successfully and untraceably summoned everyone to the meeting.

John reminds Chandra that she doesn't have to participate, but she wants to contribute. She knows that it's dangerous and that she isn't as strong as John and Randy, but she thinks her powers may help them get to Stephanie Maas undetected.

Randy outlines the plan. Everyone he's recruited is on the run from the authorities but will be granted immunity if they get Stephanie Maas out of Chicago. The first four Specials will go in on a reconnaissance mission before calling in the others. John interrupts. He's figured out that he, Randy, and Chandra are the first three, but he wants to know who the fourth is.

Joshua steps from behind a tree and announces that he is the fourth. John grabs him by the collar as his energy power begins to fire up in his free hand. Joshua sold the Specials out, and John isn't going to trust him now. Randy convinces John to let Joshua go and urges Joshua to tell the others why he is joining them. With several other Specials sharing his distrusting attitude, John very sarcastically allows Joshua to say his piece.

Joshua says he betrayed the Specials because he was more afraid of his father than he was of the truth. After ten years of regret he wants to atone for his actions. He doesn't expect forgiveness now, but he hopes that he can earn forgiveness by helping.

John doesn't want to accept Joshua's explanation. The cynic in him can't believe the sincerity of such a simple answer. Randy tries to convince John that Joshua should join them, but John won't budge. Chandra interrupts to tell Joshua that she will give him the chance to earn her forgiveness. John's position is even more untenable with his friend, Chandra, supporting Joshua.

Randy reminds the other Specials that most of them are alive because of his help. He thinks Joshua should participate because they may need a witness that the authorities will accept as credible. When no one else speaks up, he considers the matter closed.

John still isn't happy and says Randy will have to be responsible for saving Joshua if he gets in trouble. Randy points out that someone will have to save him because he wasn't physically enhanced after the Surge. Sometimes the power is influenced by the person's personality. Randy surmises that Joshua doesn't think he's worthy of being protected, so the power has left him vulnerable.

John, Randy, Chandra, and Joshua fly to Chicago.

The city is devastated. The Specials are surprised at the magnitude of the destruction. Randy is now in his Ravenshadow crime fighting costume. They land in an area that is the furthest that most people trying to escape Chicago ever get. Only a limited number of Specials have joined up with Stephanie, and they can't be everywhere at once, so Randy wants to know what is stopping the refugees here. A pair of glowing eyes watches them from the shadows.

Randy reminds the others that they are just on a reconnaissance mission so they should avoid heroics. John thinks this is ironic coming from Randy, the first Special to put on a superhero costume.

Suddenly, Joshua hears a noise, and several beasts circle the Specials. The bizarre creatures are not like anything they've seen before. They resemble werewolves, but appear to be pieced together from different animals with scars and stitches running across their bodies. John flattens one against a wall as Chandra rescues Joshua from another. Randy hurls comic-book insults at the two that attack him before tearing them apart.

In Cathy's prison cell, the maker of the strange beasts is admiring her latest creation. The hideous creature has been stitched together from a rat, bat, cat, CPA, dog, rabbit, and hyena. Critical Maas orders Cathy to touch it. Cathy doesn't move. Maas reminds Cathy that her only power is bringing the dead to life, so she can't escape. She taunts Cathy about the fact that she didn't know of her power before the Surge. She could have become rich using her power on rich people.

Cathy begs Stephanie to stop, but Stephanie is no longer in control. Her alternate personality, Critical Maas, is fully dominant. She becomes enraged when she hears Stephanie's name. She insists that Stephanie was too frightened to keep her own father from touching her. Critical Maas is the strong one that Stephanie the mouse hid behind. Maas wanders off into a play on the words "mouse" and "Maas".

Maas comes back to the point and makes it very clear to Cathy that she should never confuse Stephanie Maas and Critical Maas again. She promises that if Cathy doesn't touch her creation, the next one will be made from a cat, bat, donkey, nun and Cathy's left leg. Maas will dismember Cathy and leave her only one arm and hand to send her power through if she doesn't cooperate. Cathy reluctantly complies and sends her life-giving power into the beast.

One of the Specials working with Maas arrives with the news that there are four intruders in Chicago.

John and Randy are discussing the creatures they just defeated. John fears that one of them could warn Maas about their presence. Randy thinks they don't have the intelligence and are only used to hunt and intimidate. They spot three Specials flying nearby. Six more are flying in the distance. John and Randy decide to follow them back to their base. They tell Chandra and Joshua to stay where they are as backup. As they split up and fly away, another man watches from the rubble.

Chandra begins looking for a place to hide and asks Joshua if he knows anything about Stephanie's Critical Maas personality. She turns around to find that Joshua has disappeared.

Randy easily follows the three Specials he is tailing to a factory. He bends some window bars and enters a hallway. After traveling a distance into the complex, steel doors slam down ahead and behind him and gas begins venting into the area. Randy curses his stupidity. His invulnerability won't protect him from gas.

Randy manages to break through the steel door, but his weakened condition leaves him with no defense against Critical Maas and her four cohorts on the other side. She promises Randy that things will be very interesting for him when he wakes up. Randy collapses, and Maas orders her people to find his device for signaling the others.

Maas is informed that the others are ready for John. She says that John is the most powerful Special and can probably win a fight against two or three of them so they can't take any chances. She orders them to kill John.

John has followed three Specials to the ruins of Wrigley Field, but he's been led into a trap. A huge Special grabs him and throws him to the ground. John looks up to find himself surrounded by at least nine opponents. He tries to flee but there are too many of them. As they beat him down, John apologizes to Chandra. The fight is over quickly.

As the last wisps of electrical energy dance from John's fingers and eyes, the enemy Specials inspect him and report that he is dead.