#1 – Organized Crimes – Meeting in New York to discuss the formation of a C.H.E.S.S. superhero group, Dr. Desist, Entropy, and Crocodile are interrupted as a car of criminals fleeing police crashes. A clue leads to a raid on a Vanguard warehouse containing stolen goods and a date book listing past and future robberies. After stopping a hit on Sasha’s Jewelry Emporium, they set up an ambush at a Bank of New York. The villains that arrive this time are no longer common thugs, but the Midnight Men: Apollo, Stormstress, Black Empress, Detonator, and the Noose.
#2 – Money for the Taking – Forcing the vigilantes out into the street, the Midnight Men demolish them in battle. Their gallant leader, Apollo, speaks a riddle to Entropy, the last hero to fall, just before he loses consciousness. This leads the team, accompanied by new allies Zap and Banshee, to follow the cargo ship Sea Dragon to Staten Island, where they overpower the vessel’s crew and discover a secret cave. Hidden in the cave, located at the base of a cliff under a lighthouse, they find a warehouse of stolen merchandise and a concealed entrance to a well-guarded base. Joined by Flaming Star, the heroes lay siege to the lair, only to witness the return of the Midnight Men.
#3 – The Revenge of Apollo – Agreeing to a rematch in Central Park, the two sides meet and brawl. No longer outnumbered, the Guardians trounce the mercenaries, capturing Stormstress and Noose. They then invade the Staten Island base, defeat many guards, and come face to face with the mastermind of the entire criminal network, the Organizer, who escapes via a hidden submarine. A lead takes them to the streets, where they break up a gang war, fight in a tavern, and then are ambushed on a pier by Apollo. The skirmish reveals the rogue to be a robot, and he gives them one last riddle before the Black Empress spirits him away.
#4 – The Three Rings of Crime – Apollo’s final riddle sends the Guardians to the Emirc Circus in Central Park, where they find the ringleader to be the Organizer. Backed up by his circus performers, clowns, and sideshow attractions, the villain turns the event into a monumental showdown and climactic battle. The criminals are taken down, but the Organizer eludes capture.
#5 – Servant of Set – A new hero, Quiasar, joins Zap, and they tangle with the Egyptian priest Ramses in a Queens public library. They are able to rescue hostages during the lengthy conflict, but the villain is able to escape. C.I.A. analyst Terrance Henderson meets the superhero Panther.
#6 – Circle of Strangeness – Entropy and Quiasar deal with the menace of the undead zombie Samhain, flushing him out of an abandoned Harlem gas station and incapacitating him. Days later, Zap and Quiasar take down criminals Professor Polarity and Kill-Bird in the Bronx. A man in a suit, his face cloaked in shadows, dons a purple mask.
#7 – The Big Parade – The Guardians establish a headquarters in the Organizer’s former hideout on Staten Island. Dr. Desist is chosen as the group’s leader and Entropy is made security chief. Entropy, Crocodile, and Zap travel to Tucson to celebrate the opening of the Hall of Modern Heroes in the CoganMuseum. Following the disruption of Congressman Phillip Maxwell’s speech by a large group of unruly Brown Shirts, a diversionary explosion marks the entrance of Jotunn, Mariah, and Karnage. As the heroes, aided by Spectre and Gigantor, quickly disarm the terrorists, other villains enter the museum and steal a dimensional transporter. One of them, Tomahawk, finds himself mysteriously drawn to his namesake weapon in an exhibit, which floods him with power and frees him of T.O.T.E.M.’s brainwashing.
#8 – To Tackle the T.O.T.E.M. – Guided by Tomahawk’s information, Crocodile, Zap, Spectre, and Freeze assault the T.O.T.E.M. base in nearby SilverWolfMountain. They clash with Gila, Bear Claw, Chillblade, Faultline, and their leader, the Purple Mask, and are soundly defeated. After being heavily sedated, the heroes are extensively scanned and studied, and T.O.T.E.M. scientists extract cell samples to create clones. The adventurers awake to find themselves strapped to missiles beginning to launch!
#9 – Directions – As he escapes, Zap disrupts his missile enough to cause it to land short of its target in China. It still causes a massive explosion many miles from Beijing. China is guarded about the effects but reports light casualties. Crocodile’s missile strangely disappears. The Guardians get a new member, Quiasar, and formulate a charter. Senator Matthew Bennet receives a death threat from the American Freedom Force (A.F.F.). C.I.A. analyst Henderson gathers the Shadow Company for a covert operation.
#10 – Shadow Company – Henderson sends the Shadow Company, made up of field leader Panther and operatives Hans Wagner, Niles Foxworth, Timothy Roberts, and Mercury Mercenary, to Honduras, where they seize sophisticated explosive equipment and eliminate a squad of soldiers guarding it. Satellite pictures of the raid are viewed by C.I.A. analyst David Sweet, who suspects foul play. Henderson, Vincent Katus (Panther), and Roberts journey to Ireland and sell their equipment to I.R.A. agent O’Rourke (secretly Libra of the Zodiac) in her Belfast pub. The deal is interrupted by Sweet, his longtime friend Connar McMillen (Zap), and C.I.A. agent Marcus Simpson, and a battle ensues. The wild melee ends with the Shadow Company emerging relatively unscathed, having duped the I.R.A. and overpowered the interlopers. The A.F.F. hire a freelance hitman known as the Assassin to kill Senator Bennet.
#11 – Assassin – The Secret Service solicits Dr. Desist and Entropy to aid them in protecting Senator Bennet during a fund raiser at the MunicipalConvention Center in New York. Despite many precautionary measures, the heavily armed Assassin penetrates the secure area and guns down Bennet, cutting down the heroes and most of the Secret Service agents as he escapes. Shockingly, Bennet is found to be an android of sophisticated design!
#12 – The Corporation in the Desert – The Guardians are assembled by Mr. Scarlet of the secretive American Security Agency (A.S.A.) and asked to investigate syntho-biologist Dr. Raymond Long, the possible creator of the android. The team, made up of Dr. Desist, Entropy, Zap, Banshee, Flaming Star, and Quiasar, are joined by ally Spectre as they journey to Syn Tech in Arizona to find Dr. Long. Confronted by the company’s superpowered security team of PsiStorm, Ward, Antaeus, and Avalanche, the situation erupts into brief hostilities before misunderstandings are worked out and they find that Dr. Long resigned several months before.
#13 – Assault on Delmarion Cove – The trail of Dr. Long leads to his mountain cabin in Colorado, then to the Key North Yacht Club in Florida, where a recent photograph shows the scientist on the San Marqual, a yacht registered to President Carlos Calvione, leader of the Republic of Chinilaya. The team, accompanied by Spectre and Freeze, learns of the nation’s history, examines satellite scans, and then ventures to Central America. Miles from their destination of Delmarion Cove, the adventurers are attacked by fighter planes and bail from their craft. Scattered and wounded, the heroes struggle to survive against the bullets and missiles of the jets as they make their way towards the beach. Once on land, they assail the main house and are engaged by the Chinilayan military, which has them hopelessly outnumbered.
#14 – Behind it All… – Quiasar demolishes the enemy with explosives, and the invaders figure out that they have come up against Force when they discover an underground complex and a familiar tram system. Making their way past many guards, the superheroes combat Force’s henchmen while he launches his Seakiller submarine, armed with a cruise missile bound for Dallas. Most of the team stays behind to secure Deflector, Pyre, Hailstorm, and Clamor, search the base, and recover Dr. Long, who had been involved with Force in the creation of biosynthetic androids. Zap and Spectre pursue the submarine, and Zap is swiftly killed by Photon. Spectre lives long enough to detonate the fusion reactor, and dies heroically in the explosion. Oscillator and Photon escape, and Force is apparently killed. The villain appears to the victors on video monitors to promise revenge. Epilogue: Force speaks menacingly to an aide about Project Ultimatum.
#15 – Same as it Ever Was – Prologue: Alliance member Juan Aki (General) learns telepathically of the defection plans of alchemist Eli Senovis and accountant Julian Wonti, then leaks a coded message to Entropy as bait. On a flight from France the hero bravely stops the assassination of Wonti and himself by hitman Eric Lassener (Sticks). Quickly traveling to an archaeological site on the Greek island of Náxos, the Guardian incapacitates the watchdog Torvax and rescues Senovis, learning that the scientist had helped Gir create him many years before.
#16 – The Invasion – C.H.E.S.S. dispatches Flaming Star to Midville, Colorado to verify U.F.O. reports. Invasion craft of the Capellan Hegemony land that night and she battles them alongside new superhero Shadow Knight until she is captured. The Guardians Dr. Desist, Entropy, Banshee, and Quiasar come to her rescue and meet billionaire David Lens, a.k.a. Shadow Knight, and other resistance fighters. Together they defeat Star Boss and two patrols of soldiers and capture an enemy scout ship.
#17 – From the Deeps of Space – Quiasar and Entropy take the captured ship to C.H.E.S.S. headquarters in Denver and return in a tank. The team ambushes a force screen post, demolishes two more squads of Capellans, and returns with prisoners to C.H.E.S.S. During strategy sessions, Entropy leads Quiasar and Banshee on a recovery mission to an underwater facility near Nova Scotia, where they are amazingly reunited with (the believed deceased) Crocodile, Zap, and Spectre!
#18 – Victory! – The final assault is made on the invaders as Quiasar, Dr. Desist, Banshee, Entropy, Shadow Knight, and Flaming Star are joined by Zap, Crocodile, Freeze, Microtitan, Kamikaze, and Mirage. The adventurers fight their way onto a Base-ship and overcome the head Capellan, Major Rall, as well as Lady Seven and many soldiers. Routed, with the construction of their force-field station stopped, the alien fleet withdraws and leaves Earth’s system.
#19 – International Terror – Quiasar, Crocodile, and new member Shadow Knight engage Mr. Scarce and a multi-national squad of terrorists: Brainwave, Harpy, Armada, Super Nova, Crater, and Bladespinner at a military complex in Virginia. Soundly defeated, they at least force the evildoers to flee, their objective remaining unknown.
#20 – Preamble to Peril – Diplomat Shiro Kenokogi, who was once known as the Sensei, interferes too much in the Amida Tong’s illegal dealings in New York. The gangsters retaliate by drugging and kidnapping the former hero. Two days later his mute daughter Sin-Ting asks Dr. Desist and Entropy to find the missing Japanese statesman after they rescue her from muggers. Crocodile informs the Guardians that he has discovered a T.O.T.E.M. base nearby. Dr. Desist, Entropy, Quaisar, Spectre, and Panther investigate to find a small building with only one person inside, the villain Purple Mask!
#21 – The Shocking Truth – Entropy, Dr. Desist, Quiasar, and Panther are ambushed by Crocodile, Zap and Spectre, who they discover are evil clones! During the battle with the doppelgangers, they destroy Crocodile and Spectre and the Zap clone is captured. The mastermind behind it all, the T.O.T.E.M. leader Purple Mask, is revealed to be Arizona Congressman Phillip Maxwell.
#22 – Search for the Sensei – Resuming their search, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, Entropy, and Dr. Desist clash with Maiden Japan and ninjas at a Rising Sun warehouse in New YorkHarbor. They then journey to San Francisco, where they decimate Dowager and more ninjas at a similar warehouse. The diplomat’s daughter Sin-Ting is kidnapped, so the heroes head to the nearby Rising Sun headquarters. The final confrontation there ends with the defeat of Ghengis Chi, Solaris, Black Tiger, Preying Mantis, and the Tong leader, the Shujin, as well as the rescue of the Sensei and his daughter.
#23 – Soldier of Terror – Zap and Quiasar find their hands full as they tackle a cybernetic creature from the distant future known as 2166. Massive property damage and casualties result, but they are able to stave off the flying horror and protect a great many people. Paranormals take over the island republic of Madagascar and declare it the new nation of New Babylon.
#24 – Along Came a Spider… – Remaining in California to train under the Sensei, Dr. Desist, accompanied by Entropy and ally Sinder, gets called into action against the powerful robotic R.A.M. 101. Damage from the battle disables the robot’s programming and terminates its rampage.
#25 – The Suite of Wands – Called back to New York for a seminar, Entropy, along with Shadow Knight, Panther, and Freeze, intervene to stop a bank robbery in progress. They take down Strength and some members of the Wand Suite, a division of the Tarot Masters, and foil the crime. A corrupt judge grants Congressman Maxwell bail and he is freed from confinement.
#26 – Strange Days Indeed – Shadow Knight and Entropy investigate bizarre happenings in Maine, then find themselves somehow in a temple on Nacht Island, where they are crushed by Doctor Apocalypse. Waking back in New York at the headquarters of the Destroyers, they have a run in with Behemoth and Ratman.
#27 – An Unexpected Welcome – The Guardians sever official ties with C.H.E.S.S. and Entropy attempts to resign as security chief. The team is called to the U.C.L.A. campus in Los Angeles where an experiment gone awry has pulled five strange beings through a dimensional gate. Shadow Knight, Quiasar, Entropy, and Dr. Desist struggle with the intruders for a short time, but eventually peace is made. The government takes the visitors away, but later finds that they are alien soldiers called Gorgs from the planet Targo. They claim that they had become trapped in the dimension Chaosia after a struggle with a malevolent entity they call Cr’tegorf (the Devil).
#28 – Opposing Force – The Guardians of Earth Corporation is formed and Quiasar becomes team leader. Troubles with the Zap clone are revealed in a team meeting, as are problems in China (from the T.O.T.E.M. missile) and New Babylon (from civil war). Entropy, Dr. Desist, and Shadow Knight encounter millionaire Franklin Emerson and his bodyguard Oliver Harris (Mr. Magnum). They later have a run-in with Force, who they discover is Emerson, and they decisively trounce the android. The villain is able to transfer his essence before his artificial body is destroyed.
#29 – The Return of Croc – While Dr. Desist, Entropy, and Quiasar help Panther transport a prisoner, they are suddenly teleported away by the Zodiac. The mysterious organization accuses Panther of killing one of their own, his former teammate Scorpio, and demand a trial by combat. To even the odds, the Zodiac teleports in Freeze and new Guardians Sinder and Cobra. The vigilantes are also stunned by the sudden reappearance of Crocodile, who is not able to remember where he has been during his time away from the team. Opposing them are nine members of the Zodiac: Taurus, Sagittarius, Virgo, Aquarius, Libra, Pisces, Gemini, Leo, and Cancer. The fierce and violent struggle ends with the Guardians and their allies victorious, but Cobra ends up killing Virgo and Gemini during the battle.
#30 – Power Play – C.H.E.S.S. sends Cobra, Sinder, and Panther to Belgium for a counter-terrorism assignment. In an unpopulated rural area they disrupt a meeting and engage S.K.U.L.K. agents Adamantron, Dustdevil, and Kiloton, and their commander, Master Zero. The group takes down the criminals, but Master Zero eludes capture. Staff members are hired for the Corporation, including accountant Julian Wonti, publicist Ami Johnson, and lobbyist Heidi Chen. David Sweet agrees to serve as a government/C.H.E.S.S. liaison.
#31 – Welcome to the Neighborhood – The Guardians are attacked in their new headquarters in Washington, D.C. by disguised workers. Alliance member Sting, masquerading as an architect, attempts to kill Entropy while his gang of Roustabouts and Bandit tackle Crocodile and Dr. Desist. Japanese terrorist Osore watches the fight, which is won by the heroes. The villains are traced to a carnival in Virginia that is crawling with military police. General Brown, head of Army Intelligence, has been abducted, and the trail leads to the nearby estate of the carnival owner, Mr. Dark. The original three Guardians, accompanied by Cobra and Quiasar, enter the seemingly abandoned house and contend with illusions and despair generated by Mr. Dark.
#32 – The Widow’s Sting – Mr. Dark escapes via a portal, and the Guardians find that the Alliance has been running a major crime ring out of the mansion. A phone call from Widow draws the team back to their garage, where they find a waiting ambush. Widow teleports away, leaving them with a ticking bomb, the tied-up General, and her female hit squad. The mercenaries and Asta attack, but the Guardians defeat them, stopping the bomb and freeing their captive. Osore again observes the struggle, but does not get involved.
#33 – No More Secrets – Sinder, Dr. Desist, Shadow Knight, Entropy, Quiasar, and Crocodile travel to China to check on the effects of the T.O.T.E.M. missile. They meet some villagers, who take them to the fortress of an evil despot high in some cliffs. The team invades the mountain stronghold, facing weapons, traps and robots. They are captured by Dr. Destroyer, who does an extensive mind probe on each of them, revealing the secrets of their pasts both to him and to each other. Shadow Knight is thrown into a large tank of water, and his teammates watch helplessly as he is savaged by the mutated shark King.
#34 – In the Lair of the Destroyer – An unconscious Shadow Knight is pulled from King’s tank. Entropy is dropped in and fights the shark to a draw. He is removed and Dr. Desist is put in. The Doctor disintegrates the lid of the tank, breaking himself and then the others free. Challenging them are Dr. Destroyer and his henchmen: Brainwave, Detonator, Harpy, Warwagon, and Super Nova. The tide of battle is turned when Tibetan dissident White Leopard joins the heroes. Victorious, they hand the evil warlord and his cronies over to Chinese authorities and leave the country with their new ally.
#35 – The Star-Devourer – Shadow Knight, Sinder, White Leopard, Crocodile, Entropy, and Dr. Desist are called to San Francisco to look into some missing Polynesian statues from the de Young Museum. Cultists of the Darkspawn call down a massive creature from the stars, and the heroes intercept it just as it gets to the Golden GateBridge. The over 500-ton behemoth can hardly be slowed down, so the team turns their attention to the gathered cultists near MountTamalpais. Subduing the gestalted followers chases the beast back to the heavens. Congressman Maxwell’s attorneys attempt to have his case dismissed, but only a delay is granted.
#36 – Trials – Entropy and Cobra interrupt Paladin and Reaver as they are robbing a bank. During the struggle Cobra recklessly kills one hostage and severely injures another. He is criminally charged and chooses to have a speedy trial. The Guardians hire A.J. Thornton to represent him and face negative exposure in the media as Cobra is bailed out of jail. In a jury trial he is acquitted of manslaughter but found guilty of reckless endangerment, a felony.
#37 – Honor – White Leopard, Entropy, Dr. Desist, Crocodile, and Quiasar stop eight ninjas from assassinating business magnate Yasunari Yamashito in New York; all of the incapacitated assassins are then found to be dead. The Japanese man’s aide, Yooso, contacts the heroes and informs them that the family is secretly in conflict. In two days Yamashito is selling his electronics company to Vanguard to keep his corrupt son John from inheriting it. His son is in league with the evil Dragon’s Claw cult, and is planning to kidnap his father and have him taken back to Japan. Crocodile returns to D.C. and the rest of the team discreetly guards the businessman. At midnight on the evening before the sale, a dozen ninjas strike Yasunari’s hotel suite.
#38 – Enter the Dragon’s Claw – The Guardians successfully fight off the ninjas; many are knocked out and again found dead. As the heroes escort Mr. Yamashito to the sale, the owner of Vanguard, Leslie Richter, is replaced with a duplicate. During the formalities, ninjas drug, kidnap, and replace Yooso as well. In the middle of the transaction, supervillains Shogun, Tsunami, Komodo Dragon, and Raiden attack from the sewers and begin destroying everything. The battle serves as a distraction, and the Dragon’s Claw attempts to spirit away Yasunari. Quiasar shoots out the tires of the fleeing limousine to rescue him from the ninja impersonating Yooso. Komodo Dragon and Raiden are captured, but Shogun is found to be dead.
#39 – The Dragon’s Den – A microchip leads to Yamashito Electronics and the Dragon’s Den below it, where the Guardians find the enemy. They fight many samurai guards, making their way to the great hall. Inside they find the man in charge to be the real Yooso, who it turns out is a member of the Dragon’s Claw High Council. Quiasar chases Tsunami outdoors, while the others fight more samurai and ninjas and a reincarnated Shogun. Yooso nearly escapes with captive John Yamashito via helicopter, but Entropy and C.H.E.S.S. corral him.
#40 – A Day at the Mall – Osore, of the Rising Sun political party, has issues with the team for their recent interference in Japanese affairs. While Quiasar, Shadow Knight, Entropy, White Leopard, Dr. Desist, and Crocodile deal with an out of control robot at the National Mall, Osore and his Elite Guard of ninjas attack them. The Guardians fend off the offensive, capturing one of the Guard. Osore penetrates their secure holding cell and kills the captive before he can talk. Epilogue: The group sends a diplomatic overture to the terrorist, and the two sides reach an understanding.
#41 – Work of Art – The team is contracted to guard an expensive art exhibit in Philadelphia. Entropy, Crocodile, and White Leopard set up a defense at the building, then face a blitzkrieg of common thieves. Entropy is distressed after he accidentally kills one of the thugs with a single shot. The rest of the criminals are easily put down. At a detention facility with his powers neutralized, Cobra defends himself against two malicious inmates.
#42 – Athabasca – The LeBeque gang captures and holds a uranium mine for ransom in Athabasca, Alberta. The Canadian government hires the Guardians for discreet aid. Crocodile, Entropy, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, and Freeze investigate, then launch an assault on the mine. They clash with Mr. Mind, Miss Body, Coral Snake, Stump, and Earth Mother. The team scores a victory, talking Earth Mother into surrendering and capturing the rest of the gang.
#43 – Cardinal Sins – Cobra is paroled and rejoins the team. He accompanies Crocodile and Entropy to New York to help Father Dowling protect Cardinal DeAngelo from a Mafia hit. Power Princess and a large group of armed females make a frontal attack on the cathedral during Mass as a distraction. This flushes the Cardinal out the back, where he is attacked by Bronze Blade. Several Power Infantry of Intercrime show up looking for Shadow Knight and end up killing Power Princess for her bracelets. Cobra and Crocodile defeat the assassin as Entropy flies the injured Cardinal to the hospital.
#44 – Resisting the Inferno – Plasma Ranger, Entropy’s former leader in CEF1, comes to the Guardians’ base and introduces new superhero Firemist to Quiasar, Shadow Knight, Crocodile, and Entropy. The Seven Servants to Sargatanas: Devilspawn, Sabredance, Sequoya, Albatross, Supersonic, Firefall, and Oblivia teleport into the team’s lab and attack. The two sides are evenly matched and the battle rages on for a great deal of time. Devilspawn concentrates powerful magical spells on Quiasar, who remarkably resists them. Sensing imminent defeat, Devilspawn negotiates a truce and the villains are apprehended.
#45 – The Four Horsemen – During a celebrity golf tournament, the Guardians foursome of Crocodile, Quiasar, Entropy, and Cobra investigate bizarre activity at a clubhouse. They are suddenly attacked by the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Famine, Plague, and Death. The heroes are successful in fending off the assault; the beings, their steeds, and the room completely disappears. Epilogue: Crocodile, Quiasar, and Shadow Knight receive Top Secret files from C.H.E.S.S. regarding the Guardians team of the 70’s and their run in with the Protocista entity.
#46 – Intercrime – Dr. Desist, Entropy, Quiasar, White Leopard, and Firemist travel to a college in Arkansas to meet a scientist. They arrive to find a razed building and a critically injured Dr. Thrip, whose equipment has been stolen by Intercrime. They track the criminals to a clearing where they are conducting tests, and engage them in battle. Power Infantry, Assassins, and Garrison personnel are backed up by supervillains Spyder, Tengu, and Shadowjack. With so many combatants, the field becomes a tremendous battleground, and the fight is very lengthy. Eventually, the Guardians defeat the thieves and recover the equipment.
#47 – A Stranger Among Us – David Sweet puts the team in contact with the C.I.A. regarding a stolen high-tech hydrosub. Mr. Wesley and Agent Simpson send Entropy, Cobra, and Crocodile to Delaware, where they set up an ambush at a secret government laboratory. The heroes encounter Chaos and his advanced vessel, and interrupt the alien’s theft of hydrogen. After a struggle, the lightning-fast stranger turns each of them temporarily into an amoeba and makes a clean get-away. Congressman Phillip Maxwell (Purple Mask) goes to trial on charges of coercion and is acquitted.
#48 – Three Yards and a Cloud of Dust – Peter Dark, a C.H.E.S.S. agent also known as the superhero Mindprobe, invites the team to a preseason NFL game. During the contest, the alien Guzon and a drone land on the field and begin attacking the players. White Leopard, Cobra, Crocodile, Entropy, and Mindprobe intervene and eventually incapacitate the confused visitor.
#49 – The Hit – The Guardians are asked to help the Zap clone reintegrate into society, but also receive a warning from Plasma Ranger about a possible assassination attempt. Entropy, White Leopard, and Dr. Desist attend the release ceremony, where a missile, followed by gunfire, turns the proceedings into a war zone. Shadow Company: Agent V (Panther), Agent W (Hans Wagner), Agent X (Mercury Mercenary), Agent Y (Niles Foxworth), and Agent Z (Timothy Roberts) surround Zap and terminate him. The heroes attempt to stop them, but are hindered by a force field. Squaring off, the two sides negotiate rather than fight, and the assassins depart.
#50 – The Siberian Incident – A world-class threat is assessed, and C.H.E.S.S. King Homer Grimsby gives a briefing at Guardians headquarters about the Protocista parasite. Straasha, a hero missing for over 14 years, has resurfaced in Siberia and the Russians have lost contact with a secret paranormal research center. A group of C.H.E.S.S. Knights has secured the base, but reports a hostage situation and asks for the Guardians. Dr. Desist joins Action Man, Black Glove, and Flying Cobra of the 70’s Guardians team in forming Smoke unit, while Entropy, Crocodile, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, White Leopard, Firemist, and Flaming Star make up Fire unit. The Smoke unit jet develops engine problems and is diverted, while Fire unit lands at the hanger. Two impassive Knights meet the team and take them to see Straasha, but the heroes spot an ambush. The group battles Dragon, Snowball, Backfire, Cold Warrior, Straasha androids, and controlled Knights in an epic confrontation. Quiasar goes down, then Flaming Star, and the odds look bleak for the Guardians.
#51 – The Protocista – Quiasar is revived and the squad makes a comeback. The androids fall, but the others escape. Scouting missions reveal missiles ready to be fired, so the heroes disable them. They invade the control center, where the main panel is protected by a force screen. As the team battles more Straasha androids, Dragon, Heater, Snowstorm, and Backfire, the tide starts to turn against the Guardians. Quiasar uses explosives against the force screen, which knocks out the missile control and fries Dragon. He barely maintains his own force field, containing the now active Protocista Collective!
#52 – Something Old and Something New – The true Straasha joins the fray and the battle continues with the plasmodia stage of the Protocista and those under its control. Flaming Star and Quiasar use flame to push the organism back, eventually destroying it in the blaze. The team retreats and Firemist falls. Smoke unit, minus a controlled Action Man, join them, and together they attack the remaining missiles. The villains mount one last stand, but the heroes have superior numbers and prove victorious. Although they are triumphant, the victors find they have suffered major losses. Cold Warrior and Snowstorm got away, Flaming Star is comatose, and Firemist’s body cannot be found.
#53 – Out of the Frying Pan… – Quiasar is given the code to C.H.E.S.S. Defense Zone 1 by Homer Grimsby. David Lens’ bodyguard Sean O’Brien is introduced to the rest of the Guardians. In civilian guise Dr. Joshua Stevens (Dr. Desist), Robert Perry (Entropy), J. J. Johnstone (Quiasar), Lens (Shadow Knight), and Karpo Sik (White Leopard) go out to Petero’s restaurant. A Tibetan monk speaks to Sik at length, then suddenly others appear beside him. Lens lashes out, and soon the group struggles against four mystical opponents. The teammates are battered by psionic and magical attacks, but are able to withdraw from the conflict in two boats.
#54 – Project Ultimatum – Still in their boats after the attack by the monks, the weary heroes are attacked in the water outside their base. Three Hunter-Retriever robots drop from the sky, attempting to capture the Guardians for Force. The struggle is intense, but the team fends them off. Lens and Perry swim to shore, but decline help from Mr. Magnum.
#55 – Out of Time – Interpol enlists the Guardians’ aid in preventing Time Thief from raiding an art exhibit in Boston. White Leopard, Crocodile, Quiasar, and Entropy interrupt the theft in progress and take down Time Thief, Darkshine, Kachandra, and her pets, Semdifor and T-479.
#56 – Unwelcome Visitors – Informed of trouble, Quiasar, Crocodile, White Leopard, and Entropy travel to the Guardians’ estate on JorstadtIsland. They find that a butler has been killed and his body has been drained of blood, so they evacuate the island. In the morning, they journey into the underground labyrinth and meet Lord Destrada, who admits to the murder. Talks break down into fighting, and the vampire flees deeper into the tunnels. The team hears footsteps from the direction they came, and realizes they may be surrounded!
#57 – Interviews with Vampires – The arriving party turns out to be more reinforcements: Shadow Knight, Sinder, and Dr. Desist. The group effectively uses their powers to surround, corral, and capture four of the five creatures, including Destrada. They discuss interrogation in the sunlight, but the vampires, joined by their missing comrade, fight back. Two are recaptured, one is destroyed, and Destrada and another escape back into the catacombs. The team debates a course of action and finally decides to release their captives.
#58 – Scarab Quest – Oliver Harris (Mr. Magnum) visits the Guardians in their headquarters. Flying Cobra calls Shadow Knight, Entropy, and Quiasar to Egypt, where he tells them of a powerful ancient artifact. The scarab consists of four parts, and he has one of them in his possession at Nile Research. Giving them equipment to track the others, the team travels to Iverg Metals in Germany, where they wrest one of the pieces from Crossfire after a chase.
#59 – In the House of Ramses – Quiasar and Shadow Knight recover another piece from SwarmMaster, Cockroach, and Bee Keeper in Brazil. Flying Cobra’s part is taken by an unknown assailant, who now has two of the segments as well. Dr. Desist joins the others in returning to Egypt, where they face traps in an abandoned building. They finally confront their adversary, Ramses, and overpower him, securing the last pieces of the scarab.
#60 – Leviathan – Officials from the island nation of Varna appeal to the Guardians for help. Several bauxite transports have been destroyed, and survivors have tales about a great sea worm. Shadow Knight, White Leopard, Crocodile, Quiasar, and Entropy accompany one of the ships, and a sea serpent intercepts it. The heroes do a great deal of damage to the beast, using both their powers and explosives, and finally chase it away.
#61 – Alien – C.H.E.S.S. agents Crocodile, Shadow Knight, and Quiasar are called to the old Guardians’ base on Staten Island, where they are told that contact has been lost with both an A.R.T. primary unit and their backup. They are sent, along with White Leopard, to Maine to check on a recently landed alien craft. They dispatch two assaultive hikers, then are met and joined by A.R.T. member Magnet Master. One of the hikers is found to have been dead for hours, and after they overcome a fierce attack by Chlorinius and Arachne of A.R.T., the Guardians find that Chlorinius has been dead for some time too.
#62 – Tough Choices – The heroes check out the alien spaceship and find that it once housed an extremely dangerous prisoner. During a natural disaster, the prisoner had escaped and slaughtered the crew. Set to drift, the ship had traveled the cosmos for hundreds of years before landing on Earth. The Guardians search for and find the alien, who is accompanied by the remainder of the C.H.E.S.S. and A.R.T. forces. They battle the Haemavore and its subjects for a long time, and eventually destroy the creature. One infected Knight remains, and Quiasar, after getting permission from C.H.E.S.S., terminates it.
#63 – Surprise Party – The Guardians are hired to protect a laser about to be sold to the military. White Leopard, Shadow Knight, Entropy, Crocodile, and ally Magnet Master take shifts as they set up watch in a South Carolina warehouse. An outside storm and an arriving missile herald the arrival of Intercrime minions. During the battle with Flasher, Robot, Lightning Lord, Rubberman, Mind Gem, and Brainmelt, the team finds that they are the targets, rather than the laser. The heroes win the slugfest and capture the villains.
#64 – The Power, the Pageantry, the Mystery – While Quiasar serves as a judge at a beauty pageant, the contestants are kidnapped. Entropy, Magnet Master, and White Leopard assist Crocodile on a government mission to recover stolen materials. They spy on a house in Wyoming, then attempt to bluff their way inside. This provokes a fight with Major Cutter, Crystal, and Powerman, and the heroes are chased away. Reinforcements Quiasar and Shadow Knight arrive, and they search the house, finding a secret garage and clues about the kidnap victims. The Guardians track down the villains in Grand Cayman, and find that they now have a powerful robot with them. The heroes are beaten up, but Quiasar comes to the rescue, grabbing them and the ransom money and escaping underwater.
#65 – The Vanguard – A Capellan flagship is tracked entering the solar system, and it launches a scout ship towards Earth. Their leader, Admiral Srurli, negotiates an arrangement with Quiasar for a contest in Central Park to evaluate Terran paranormals. Three members of A.R.T.: Arachne, Guzon, and Kamikaze, join Shadow Knight, Quiasar, Magnet Master, and Crocodile. Opposing them are five Capellan dogsoldiers, a Brounan, and a Jers. The Earth team wins a quick victory, greatly impressing the Capellans, but Srurli warns of great danger coming from space. Entropy and another man raid a temple, and are stopped when a strange creature called Death takes over Entropy’s body!
#66 – Night Parade – Quiasar, Shadow Knight, and Crocodile meet Sleeper (the man Entropy was cloned from) at his Paranormal Detective Agency, and he gives them a report. The monks pursuing White Leopard had been backtracked to the Tranquil Harmony temple in Potsdam, New York. Sleeper’s detective, Jack Fleming, followed by Entropy, had checked things out, but both had disappeared. The Guardians disguise themselves and then investigate in Potsdam. They check Entropy’s hotel room, look into local legends, and meet with Thunderbird, one of Sleeper’s agents. The next day they find that several people have died, but nobody seems to care. The team journeys to a barn on the edge of town, where Thunderbird enters, and then screams!
#67 – Suspicions and Fears – The heroes charge into the barn and capture a strange creature, but it suddenly disappears. They rescue Fleming, who tells them of other-dimensional lifeforms called the Night Parade who have infiltrated the temple. The team goes there and meets the disoriented head lama. Some of the monks are found to be missing, yet one comes forward to help. He takes them via a secret passage to strange machinery he had damaged, Entropy, and the missing monks. The Night Parade appear to have retreated.
#68 – Flight 412 Has Vanished – The Guardians get a call from the security chief at nearby NationalAirport, informing them that a cargo plane simply vanished while landing! Quiasar and Shadow Knight head to the airport and find that the plane was being rented by Alexander Vandersinder to transport his priceless art collection, and that the reclusive multi-millionaire was aboard when it disappeared. The duo question witnesses, which leads them to an unused hanger. They interrupt many men loading a plane, and get into a skirmish with Phantasm. The thief toys with the heroes using amazing illusions, and then easily flees the scene.
#69 – Return of the Night Parade – Thunderbird contacts the Guardians to report that the Night Parade are still active. Shadow Knight, Crocodile, Quiasar, Magnet Master, and Thunderbird set up surveillance of a probable target, a Manning Electronics warehouse in New York. Darkness covers the building and the team engages six targets inside: three armored swordsmen and three otherworldly beings. After a brief but intense battle, the medieval warriors are revealed to be common security guards. As before, the elusive Night Parade (Crimson, Cerise, and Coral) evade capture.
#70 – Grudge Match – After much preparation and heavy advertising, the day arrives for a major pay-per-view showdown between the Guardians and Force. Each side agrees to concessions if they lose: incarceration for the members of Force, or a year of retirement for the Guardians. The battle, moderated by Phantasm, takes place in an abandoned amusement park. Dr. Desist, Entropy, Crocodile, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, and White Leopard stand against Force, Mr. Magnum, Shadarkos, Teleporter, Snowblind, and Oscillator. The fight starts well for the heroes, and they destroy the Force android and incapacitate many of the others. The villains begin to cheat, however, with Teleporter transporting many of the champions out of the designated area. Suddenly, the contest is interrupted as government agents pour onto the field, alerting the Guardians that they are needed to save the world!
#71 – Dawn of the Devil – C.H.E.S.S. tells the team of a distress call from a Gorgorian Research Ship just inside Earth’s solar system. A group of A.R.T. agents were ambushed while checking things out, and some had been killed. White Leopard reports back to China, and the five others are given a starship and journey to the Gorg vessel. Inside, they face the terrible onslaught of a powerful Slaughter Droid! It rips through the heroes and they retreat to the shuttle bay. While the relentless cyborg presses its attack by jumping towards the heroes’ craft, a small ship arrives bearing White Leopard. They cut the monster down with their weaponry, and Quiasar uses his force field to hurl it deep into space.
#72 – Slaughter Beyond the Stars– Joined by White Leopard, the group searches the Gorg ship, briefly tangling with a Gorg repair droid. They learn that a pirate armada called MASTER, in league with the Devil, has conquered and wiped out the worlds of the Xarion and the Gorg. The Gorgs had ventured to Earth, hopeful that Terran paranormals could seek out Primion and find the mythical Primordials and the Black Eye of Qwun to save them all from destruction. Finding more Slaughter Droids on board, the team uses clever tactics, baiting the monsters one by one into chases that trick them into being launched into space. An urgent summons from C.H.E.S.S. tells that they have the coordinates to Primion but have fallen under attack.
#73 – Return to Earth – Satellites are knocked out and nuclear devices destroy most of the major cities of the world. Many paranormals, including supervillains, are killed trying to defend the planet from the pirates. The team races back, speeding past the massive cordon of ships, straight to C.H.E.S.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C. Crocodile stays aboard their ship while the other heroes fight their way through battle-scarred rubble, finding Freeze and many other heroes dead. A Slaughter Droid shows up, and they flee into the building. Inside they secure things from space pirates, rescue the King (Homer Grimsby), Queen (Alexandria Huntington), and many hostages, and the King falls into a deep coma. Cautiously, Quiasar leads them into Defense Zone 1 and the basement levels.
#74 – Into the Vault – The group journeys into the four basement levels of C.H.E.S.S. headquarters and makes their way past various security measures in each room. They clash with DragonMaster and his two miniature dragons, then two androids, and then are joined by Sinder. Grimsby is left in the care of DragonMaster, and Quiasar alone faces the gamma radiation of the last room. He survives the blast, gaining the ability to manipulate solid energy in the process. The vault yields the coordinates to Primion and many treasures for the Guardians to use in their coming adventure.
#75 – Twist of Fate – The heroes emerge from the vault, are attacked by Chaos and pirates, and swiftly defeat them with their new weapons. Crocodile picks them up in their ship, but they are stunned and captured by the armada. They awake on the pirate vessel, and find that they are captives along with many Native Americans. Captain Tuckerlar interrogates one of the females, and she dies in front of them. She returns later in ghostlike form and rescues her people, then frees Entropy. The Guardians take the ship from the pirates, but the captain triggers the self-destruct. Entropy stops the countdown by communicating with Moonstar, the ship’s AI, and learns that the team is to be judged. The others get the weapons back and meet Sir, Quiasar’s mentor.
#76 – The Zorglesh – The group continues on in the commandeered pirate ship, which they dub the Odyssey. Moonstar stops communicating with the team, leading Entropy to believe that the test (to determine if they are good or evil) has begun. A strange being invades the ship, disguises itself as Shadow Knight, and launches a surprise attack on the heroes. Everyone joins the struggle against the evil entity, and it kills the immortal Sinder, but it is eventually overwhelmed.
#77 – There Be Dragons – The Guardians meet freighter pilot Jarl and agree to help the beleaguered planet Atures, in exchange for fuel (water) and a new shuttle. They visit the leaders of the besieged world, and learn that large dragon-like creatures are feeding on their people. The team sets up a defense at an outpost, and valiantly fights off four of the attackers, capturing two of them.
#78 – Fire and Ice – A diplomatic session with the dragon parents results in the captives being freed. Quiasar calls a planetary council, then takes some members to meet the opposition and establish a treaty. Talks break down and another fight begins. The Guardians chase off the enemy and attempt to kill their one captive, but the dragons return again for another battle. They nearly defeat the heroes, but the vigilantes prevail, forcing peace upon the aliens. The team gets their water and a shuttle from Jarl, and many gifts from the thankful people.
#79 – Outbreak – The group encounters a transport and meets a passenger from Earth named Crutch, who joins them on their quest. Entropy is found to have a contagious disease and is quickly quarantined. Crocodile soon finds that he, Shadow Knight, and Sinder are infected as well. Entropy and Shadow Knight are hit extremely hard by the illness, which eventually kills Sinder. Shadow Knight devises a method of screening the virus, which cures him but kills the already weakened Entropy. Quiasar resuscitates him, and Dr. Desist discovers a permanent cure. Entropy finds that he is permanently damaged by the ordeal.
#80 – Plague Station – Still weak from the disease, the group journeys on. Dr. Desist receives a message from the Sikan, warning the team against allying with their enemies, the Gorene. They reach a quarantined Gorene space station and investigate it. In the cargo hold on the station, Shadow Knight, Crutch, Entropy, Quiasar, and Dr. Desist assist the Gorene by dispatching numerous parasitic organisms.
#81 – The Great One Cometh – The Guardians travel to the planet Whist to pick up water. While meeting the natives in a clearing, robotic Pom warships attack both sides. Quiasar brings the Odyssey in to the battle, and Crutch accidentally guns down one of the Whist. The fight is intense, but eventually Quiasar gets command codes from the Gorene and shuts down the warships. Crutch heals his victim, and everyone is shocked by the Whist response to their rescuers: they bow in reverence and awe to Shadow Knight, who they proclaim is the “Great One” returned!
#82 – The Staff of the Great One – The Whist hold a celebratory feast for the team in Shadow Knight’s honor. Leaders known as Loremasters lead the adventurers deep underground to a throne room, where Shadow Knight receives a powerful staff. The Guardians help the aliens by reactivating a solar collection grid. As they depart, a Sikan assassin, disguised as a Whist, strikes down Shadow Knight. They swiftly deal with the menace, and Quiasar creates a large illusion of the Great One to carry away the fallen hero.
#83 – Quiasar and the Temple of Doom – After the Odyssey chases off attacking non-armada pirates, Shadow Knight and Quiasar feud. Sinder watches the ship while the rest of the team visits Bries IV, where they dine with friendly natives and the two Guardians argue further. Posing as “technology removers”, the team meets the matriarchal Retros and journeys into an old Gorene military station. They successfully get past many deadly tricks and traps, and Crutch acquires special armor. The team then battles a Retro inhabiting White Leopard’s body and a mechanical Gorene warrior. They flee to the surface straight into the Retro army. Diplomacy by Quiasar and Entropy saves the day, and Quiasar’s special weapon is exchanged for White Leopard. The team leaves, then teleports back and retakes Quiasar’s weapon before departing for good.
#84 – I Ain’t Got No Body – A mysterious message leads to Shadow Knight obtaining the powerful sword Destiny. Entropy discovers that Moonstar has taken the ship off course. She confirms to the team that she is the woman that was killed during the interrogation by pirates. Having merged with the ship’s computer, she is now seeking a corporeal body. The group travels to the planet of the Urlore, a race wiped out by their own machines, where they pass through a gap in the satellite defense system. Sinder remains on the ship while the others journey to the planet’s surface in search of a dynon sphere. They fight their way past many robots and find the item that they seek. The device is given to Moonstar, who successfully joins with it.
#85 – Collective Consciousness – A distress beacon and map lead all but Sinder to the rocky world of Olmok IV. In deep underground caverns, they are attacked by the rocklike dogsoldiers of the Pzarian Collective, who seek slaves for their quarry. Quiasar detonates an explosion, and everything goes black. The heroes find themselves in a dreamlike state, being observed by mysterious but familiar strangers. Suddenly they are back in a cavern with more Pzarians. They battle, and the team is able to flee to the surface and their ship.
#86 – Simulation Stimulation – With the help of Moonstar and Sinder, Dr. Desist and Entropy lead Shadow Knight, Crocodile, Quiasar, White Leopard, and Crutch in war games for the purpose of training. They successfully defeat many space pirates and rescue the target hostages, improving their communication skills and tactics.
#87 – Virtual Reality – Months pass, with the only encounter being the finding of Tempest floating near a spatial rift. The massive ship Warp Star comes out of nowhere, and the Devil appears before them in dramatic fashion. After an offer from the villain is refused, he detonates Quiasar’s explosives. The heroes awake in a smoky room surrounded by Homer Grimsby, the Organizer, and other shadowy figures. These beings turn out to be aliens called the Gorvum, who claim to have saved them again. They are returned, with Shadow Knight missing, to the Odyssey. They approach the Primordials, but Dr. Desist discovers it to be a fraud, and they awake in virtual reality pods. They confront the Gorvum, and reality shatters to reveal that they are actually captives of Dr. Destroyer! He attempts to persuade his son, Shadow Knight, to join him, but the hero resists and defeats his father in battle, saving everyone. The group learns that they were captured before Olmok IV, and that none of their adventures in the past few months ever happened.
#88 – Primion – Months pass with minimal activity. The Guardians finally arrive at the massive world of Primion, which defies the laws of physics and is orbited by three small stars. A large gravity beam pulls the Odyssey down to the surface, where it crashes in the Desert of Mok, damaged beyond repair. The team sets up camp and heads north in the shuttle. At night a gigantic sand worm attacks and, thanks mainly to White Leopard, is stopped before any serious damage can be done.
#89 – A Serpent Among Us – The team splits up, sending out Quiasar, Crutch, and Crocodile as a scouting party. Three large snakes attack the group at the shuttle and are fought off. While the heroes recuperate, Shadow Knight is driven berserk by Destiny and suddenly assaults Entropy and Dr. Desist, only to be incapacitated by White Leopard. More menaces, in the form of snakes and a gravel shark, are faced, and eventually the two teams unite. Near the mountains they spot small, intelligent feline creatures.
#90 – From Bad to Werts – Destiny is taken away from Shadow Knight, and Crutch and Sinder travel back to the Odyssey to assist Moonstar with repairs. Contact is made with the cat-like Snitx, who tell of their enemies, the Werts, and direct the champions to the Temple of Zeech. The Guardians venture into the plains of Ganz and see much strange wildlife. One dinosaur-like terror attacks and is fended off. Contact is made with the Werts, who demand jewels for their assistance finding a key to an endless castle. Guides lead the heroes into a swamp and the key is retrieved from the partially buried temple.
#91 – Inner Peace – For over a week the team travels northeast over the frozen wasteland of Freezeron. They use the key to open the door to the gargantuan Crystal Ziggurat. While journeying by shuttle deep into the structure, Dr. Desist discovers that they are on the wrong path and need two more items, so they reverse direction. They venture south out of the temple and across the icy LanteranOcean, eventually reaching the Peninsula of Dor. They befriend the sentient birdmen that live in the mile high trees, and live with them for two months. During this time the Guardians learn patience and forge stronger friendships and tactics, and are a more united team when the She-Eagle finally returns with the key.
#92 – Within the Snake Within – Traveling through Norlon, the team finds a razed city of the Blue Folk with MASTER space pirates among the dead. They journey on to Paradise, discover another temple, and confront the guardian of the final key: a powerful, intelligent black snake known as a Dark One. They quickly subdue their ancient, powerful foe and search the place. The creature repeatedly awakens and attacks, but each time the Guardians subdue it. They discover that the key is inside the beast, and White Leopard crawls down its throat to get it. Shadow Knight, again wielding Destiny, goes berserk and the Dark One breaks free, so the team is forced to contend with both adversaries at the same time, all while White Leopard is inside the snake! She emerges with the key, and the team knocks their crazed companion out and flees. Destiny is found to have come from Dr. Destroyer, and is locked away in the shuttle.
#93 – The Devil’s Sunset – The heroes again make their way to the Crystal Ziggurat and use the keys to pass through the three doors. They enter a monorail and fly through a void to the foot of the Endless Castle, taking an elevator to the top. There they meet the Primordial, Qwun, who appears as a massive, black sphere. He kindly refuses to help them, but they plead and persuade him to intervene. His son, the Eye of Qwun, aids them by giving them counsel and teleporting them aboard the Odyssey, now just outside Pluto, where they are reunited with Moonstar, Crutch, and Sinder. Slipping past the MASTER armada, they dock with the massive starcruiser Warp Star and go straight to the Devil’s suite, where they find him surrounded by many pirates. The villain instantly mesmerizes the vigilantes with his charm, but White Leopard breaks free and is killed. The shock from this snaps Entropy free and he uses the holy sword Excalibur to rally most of the team to his side. Shadow Knight makes a mighty attack with Destiny, but is killed as well. Combining their assaults, the remaining Guardians fell the near-deity. Suddenly the Eye reappears and seals the Devil back in Chaosia, destroying most of the pirate ships and restoring Earth. Crocodile, Dr. Desist, Entropy, Quiasar, and a restored Shadow Knight and White Leopard find themselves outside Guardians headquarters, with all of their special items but the Staff of the Great One gone.
#94 – Reality’s End – The team is surprised to find entry to their headquarters difficult and their base deserted. The Guardians have been missing for two years, and nobody remembers the Devil’s invasion. C.H.E.S.S. questions Quiasar (who can no longer wield solid energy), Shadow Knight learns of business trouble, and Dr. Desist finds that his family has disappeared. Entropy departs with his friend Shaman in search of Moonstar. C.H.E.S.S. remains suspicious of the heroes, but Dr. Desist, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, White Leopard, and Crocodile are allowed to investigate a dimensional rift. They find paranormals causing destruction and killing civilians, and they intervene. A captured Apollo is found to be a stranger, and they meet a different Entropy. The rift expands, and only Dr. Desist avoids being pulled in. The other heroes find themselves amongst a civil war, and the new Entropy opens another dimensional portal. This time they arrive in a pocket universe created by a god-like old man, who nearly eradicates them before they convince him to send them on their way.
#95 – The Guardian Quest – Shaman takes Entropy to the site of the missing Guardians and the hero receives a package and a message from Dr. Desist’s brother, Jonathan. From this Entropy learns that the Doctor had used the time chaos to save his brother and hide his family. Joined by Magnet Master of A.R.T., Entropy finds that the Eye of Qwun’s restoration of Earth has created temporal rifts. Using the information from Dr. Desist, he constructs a portal to rescue the others. He is unsuccessful in his first attempt, grabbing Necrom from the past, but calming her before hostilities result. She is returned, and on his second try, he rescues White Leopard from Asia in the time of Genghis Khan.
#96 – The Land that Time Forgot – Quiasar, Crocodile, and Shadow Knight step though the warpgate and arrive on an Earth occupied by MASTER space pirates. They rout a large group of pirates in battle, and then are led by rebel soldier Johnny Maxwell to a base. There they find that the leader of the resistance in this redundant timeline is the Organizer! Entropy and White Leopard arrive from ancient China, and are taken by Warp, one of the Organizer’s Elite Guard, to rendezvous with the others. Joined by Warp, the reunited heroes return home.
#97 – Return of the Destroyers – Finally back home, the team finds that more than a year has passed since their disappearance into the rift, and that C.H.E.S.S. is extremely distrustful. They settle into their headquarters, and life starts to return to normal. At a bookstore in Washington, D.C., Entropy, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, White Leopard, Magnet Master, and Warp get into a battle with the Destroyers. Behemoth and Electrocutioner are captured, but Annihilator is able to escape with the downed Shapeshifter; Ratman and Iron Maiden get away as well. A mysterious person sends information to C.H.E.S.S., making it appear that David Lens has been involved in counterfeiting and forgery.
#98 – The Test and the Titan – The Guardians welcome the superhero Hematite, who has arrived on Earth from another dimension. He accompanies Entropy, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, White Leopard, and Crocodile to an apparent hostage situation at a medical center, where they find that they are the actual targets of the criminals. The team defeats Silicon, Bonecrusher, Robot, Outlaw, and Enigma, and media attention starts to focus on the newly returned heroes. White Leopard returns to China, and C.H.E.S.S. Assistant Director Blumenthal readies Special Agent Daniel NaPali to spy on the team, assigning him to Operation: Vigil.
#99 – The Inferno – David Lens/Shadow Knight finds his world unraveling as his companies are taken over and his assets are frozen by the I.R.S. His close friend (and Guardians attorney) A.J. Thornton is accused of perjury and disbarred. In Colorado, Shadow Knight resists arrest and fights police officers, then is humbled by C.H.E.S.S. agent Tremor and jailed. Supervillain Stallion threatens Lens bodyguard Sean O’Brien and his wife. Entropy and NaPali bail out Shadow Knight, and the trio are called to Washington, D.C., where O’Brien fills them in on elements of the setup he has discovered. The four of them are attacked by the Stallion, and they barely ward him off. NaPali is introduced to Crocodile, Quiasar, and Hematite, and he explains his assignment of monitoring them. Entropy attempts to defuse a bomb found in the Guardians’ base, and is caught in a huge explosion when it detonates!
#100 – Deceptions – In the aftermath of the destruction, C.H.E.S.S. sets up a temporary headquarters for the Guardians at a hotel and tells Quiasar that they will handle the investigation. Crocodile, who had secreted away Entropy’s comatose body to the Henrickson Institute, hatches a desperate plot to save his friend: in order for Entropy to be healed and the Guardians to continue, it is imperative that the team lose their next battle! He hires Thunderbird, steals a prototype suit of C.H.E.S.S. battle armor, and meets secretly with Quiasar. With Shadow Knight in Colorado and Warp in California, it leaves only Hematite and NaPali to aid Thunderbird when he enlists their help for a security detail at the Advanced Institute of Genetic Research in Arlington, Virginia. “Supervillains” Tank (Crocodile) and Stillfire (Quiasar) smash into the government facility and power their way past their unsuspecting teammates. With Thunderbird secretly scouting the building, and a hacker shutting down the containment grid, they make a brilliant robbery of the genetic material needed, and then flee. Back in Washington, D.C., Eli Senovis is able to restore Entropy to life.
#101 – Wild Horses – Entropy recovers and the team begins to evaluate their enemies, making plans to go on the offensive. Shadow Knight is able to clean up most of his business and legal problems, and Quiasar takes care of issues relating to his secret identity, finding that Ami Johnson is missing. The rest of the team, based on a lead from Sean O’Brien, heads to an Intercrime warehouse in Washington, D.C. Shadow Knight, Entropy, Crocodile, Hematite, and NaPali get into a massive battle with Stallion and many Intercrime Power Infantry units and are able to defeat and capture them. Final clues confirm to the Guardians that the Organizer, now the head of Intercrime and calling himself the Crimelord, is the source of their recent troubles.
#102 – Tackling T.O.T.E.M. Too – The entire team: Hematite, Entropy, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, NaPali, Warp, and Crocodile, gather at their hotel and plan their strategy against the Crimelord. C.H.E.S.S. enlists their help, and together with some Knights they make a raid of a Montuori Corporation facility in Maryland. They discover a T.O.T.E.M. operation underground, and clash with many human/robot hybrids as evidence is destroyed. Miles Gresham (Crutch) is rescued and is the only T.O.T.E.M. experiment to survive; the dead are found to have been brainwashed homeless victims.
#103 – Mesozoic Madness – Back in D.C., NaPali, Crocodile, Hematite, Shadow Knight, and Entropy deal with an outbreak of dinosaur-like creatures. At the same time, they foil a bank robbery by common criminals. Information comes forward that clears A.J. Thornton, and his license to practice law is restored. The team visits JorstadtIsland, and finds that the vampires still occupy their castle.
#104 – Doomsday Robot – The full squad: Entropy, Crocodile, Quiasar, Shadow Knight, NaPali, and Hematite, are drawn to the Retni Circus in Washington, D.C. Nothing appears amiss until an immense Doomsday Robot lands among the rides and attractions and starts causing massive devastation. They stop the machine and destroy it, finding that it was manufactured by the Juniper-Adams Company. This clue leads them to upstate New York, where they find a remote building near Lake Erie.
#105 – Organized Mayhem – Striking quickly, the Guardians dispose of many armed guards and discover an elevator that leads to an underground base. Using caution, they venture down and engage the enemy that has caused them so much harm. Defending the Crimelord is Noose, Black Empress, Quebecois, Black Orchid, 2166, and Black Mamba. A major battle ensues, and the passionate heroes are triumphant in taking down their foes. Most of the villains are turned over to the authorities, but the Crimelord gets away again.
#106 – Turf War – NaPali closes his investigation of the team, and Quiasar retires from active service. The group welcomes new recruits Cipher and Portal. Their new C.H.E.S.S. liaison, the King’s Bishop, sends them to the Caroline Biker Bar in Richmond, Virginia to meet an Alliance informant. The new charges wait outside with Crocodile and Hematite, while inside Shadow Knight and Entropy meet a Priest from the Alliance and witness him being attacked by an unseen assailant. The Priest directs them to a Global Industries warehouse, where the champions interrupt a territorial dispute between many Alliance thugs and Intercrime Assassins and Power Infantry. After a three way battle, the Guardians defeat and capture all involved.
#107 – Jihad – The Guardians assist Entropy in tracking an Iraqi assassin, Jihad, who has entered the country and is believed to be planning a terrorist attack. Going to Falls Church, Virginia, the group is split into three teams. Shadow Knight and Warp observe a rally in a park, and Hematite and Portal stop a bank robbery. Crocodile, Cipher, and applicant Lapke deal with an angry mob at the food court of a nearby mall. They struggle to contain the unruly crowd, and are eventually joined by their teammates. Lapke counters the emotion control abilities of Jihad, forcing him to flee, and Hematite flings a bomb into space, saving many lives. Jihad is teleported away by his confederates, but is picked up by C.H.E.S.S. at JFKAirport in New York.
#108 – Supertemps – Guardians Portal, Entropy, Crocodile, Lapke, and G-Force (formerly Cipher) clash with Neutron, a man who has suddenly gained extraordinary powers. Joined by Shadow Knight and Warp, they travel around Washington, D.C. dealing with the problems that result from ordinary people inexplicably exhibiting paranormal abilities. The group ends up intensely scrutinizing the life of subway driver Roger Johnson, a man who is inadvertently causing haphazard powers to appear in random people along his route. C.H.E.S.S. examines the man, and the strange phenomena seem to no longer be happening.
#109 – Bluegill – A new base for the team is created on a refurbished oil derrick off the coast of New York in the North Atlantic. While construction continues, the structure is attacked by Bluegill and his pet kraken, who claims that they are encroaching on his territory. Shadow Knight, Entropy, Warp, Hematite, Portal, G-Force, and Lapke join in the defense of their new headquarters, and they are able to chase the outlaw away to sea.
#110 – Day of Death – Pressure from the media intensifies against underage superheroes. A clone of Crocodile returns with Portal to the base and sets up a device which keeps her gateway open. T.O.T.E.M. associates Menton, Chillblade, and Karnage pass through, and join the evil duplicate in assailing the team on their new, isolated platform, catching the heroes completely by surprise. Hematite (unarmored), Warp, G-Force, Portal, Entropy, and Lapke attempt to fight them off, but the Crocodile clone kills G-Force before they can be subdued.
#111 – The Breakout – The Guardians assist C.H.E.S.S and Crutch by preventing Solomon Roberts from disabling the Cerberus system and freeing his brother (and other superpowered criminals) from the dimension of Finity. They stop Roberts, his men, and Dr. Travis, but are then attacked by a different group of paranormals. Hematite, Lapke, Portal, Warp, Crocodile, Shadow Knight, and new ally Kodiak struggle against Comforter, Brain, Brawn, Cyborg, and many strange creatures. Shadow Knight is badly injured and disappears, and the villains get away. An upset Ambassador William Wills informs the team that he is bringing a lawsuit against them for the wrongful death of his son (G-Force). Evil Dr. Light tells Death (formerly of the Night Parade) to switch bodies with Quiasar or one of the other Guardians.
#112 – The Enigma Equation – Portal, Hematite, Crocodile, Warp, Lapke, Entropy, and new associate Amber are called to a terrorist threat in New York City. On the top of a skyscraper they clash with the Fatal Four: Dr. Enigma, Golem, Adamant, Amazon, and her pets Kazai and Mimic. They defeat the criminals, but Dr. Slaughter, the head of T.O.T.E.M. Europe, teleports in and kills Dr. Enigma, taking his staff and teleporting out again. The Guardians travel to France, where Monsignor Fantastique tells them about stolen nuclear warheads. They track Dr. Slaughter to an abandoned lead warehouse in Germany, where they confront him and his fellow terrorists. As the battle begins, the villain uses the staff to power Dr. Enigma’s Paradox Machine, and a wave of cascading energy encompasses the building.
#113 – Paradox Crisis – The group engages the supervillains in combat. In the skies outside, Entropy and Hematite pursue a fleeing Psi-Prime, and Entropy is forced to let the criminal fall to his apparent death when he rescues Hematite. The rest of the group battles Dr. Slaughter, Power Surge, Venom, Supreme and Fractor, and take them down. The heroes discover that they have time traveled to World War II-eraGermany, and take steps to erase clues that they have interfered with the timeline. The nuclear weapons are recovered and the team returns to the present, destroying the Paradox Machine in the process.
#114 – There’s Always a Bigger Fish – Hostages are taken at C&G Chemicals, a Lens Enterprises company. Along with new affiliate Screamer, Crocodile, Warp, Portal, Lapke, Kodiak, and Amber race to Texas in their new jet, the Dark Angel, acquired from the Fatal Four. Kodiak successfully negotiates with the environmental terrorists, who call themselves Earth Above All. As they surrender, Outlaw and several robots strike, killing the hostage takers. The Guardians fight the new attackers to a standstill, rescuing the hostages again. Unbeknownst to the rest of the team, Death (disguised as one of the hostages) performs a body switch with Portal. Suddenly, the robots and Outlaw disappear and Sikan warriors, accompanied by Comforter and Cyborg, attack. Convinced that the team does not know where the “Great One” is, the Sikan depart, leaving their paranormal slaves to be defeated.
#115 – A Storm is Brewing… – With Lens Enterprises under scrutiny, numerous environmental violations are found. Entropy and Crocodile work to prove that they have been framed, but are unable to find who is setting things up. Hematite improves security at the base and works on the Dark Angel. Screamer arranges a P.R. opportunity for the team, and travels along with Amber, Kodiak, Portal, and Warp to Reno for a charitable donation of a large jewel. On stage, the group is attacked by Surf, Turf, Bonesaw, Sandblaster, and Cyclone. The team defeats the villains and recovers the gem, but Cyclone, Surf, and Sandblaster get away. Dr. Slaughter escapes from a holding facility.
#116 – Class A Thieves – Kodiak tracks some jewelry thieves, and the team sets up a trap at a New York pawnshop. Crocodile and Kodiak ambush the robbers, who attempt to escape with their loot. Aided by Portal and Screamer, they capture Time Holder, but Caster and Phase escape. Surf rescues Turf from an armored car during a transport in Nevada. Death, in Portal’s body, schemes with Dr. Light at her base. The mercenary is working for many different organizations: T.O.T.E.M. wants the team alive, Intercrime wants Warp, Force seeks Crocodile, and the Alliance is after Entropy. Most of them also want to see the Guardians’ platform base destroyed.
#117 – Avatars of Fear – Called to New Orleans, Portal, Kodiak, Lapke, Warp, Screamer, and Crocodile meet a concerned father whose twin children appear to be leading a cult called the Church of Divine Fear. They travel on to Tennessee, where they confront the siblings Avatar and Goddess outside their secluded church. Twin demons that control the twins appear, and the four evildoers demolish the vigilantes, forcing them to retreat. The evil spirits, in a fit of rage, kill the twins for bringing so much attention to their plans.
#118 – The Parasite – Warp, Portal, Amber, and Kodiak attempt to provide security for the Prime Corporation, a high tech Maryland firm that is being robbed on a regular basis. They engage in a futile struggle to apprehend the tiny Parasite, who toys with them before departing with more stolen information. William Wills turns to T.O.T.E.M. to recreate his son. A bored Motivator, disguising herself as a villain called Mastermind, recruits numerous supervillains.
#119 – Beginning Problems – The Guardians assist C.H.E.S.S. and the world in dealing with the chaos associated with Y2K. Portal is in high demand, so Crutch aids the team. Kodiak defeats a winged madman, then he, Crocodile, Crutch, and Amber teleport to stop hostile anarchists with a tank attacking a National Guard armory in Pennsylvania. Portal calls Crocodile to the platform, which is experiencing electrical problems. A Russian submarine is hijacked off the Atlantic seaboard, and the god-like old man they had met in the past sends Entropy, Quiasar, and Hematite to deal with it. They solve the crisis, allowing Quiasar to repay his debt to the near-deity, and Hematite learns that he was brought to this dimension for this very purpose. Portal (actually Death) catches Crocodile off-guard with a deadly attack.
#120 – Y2K – Portal (in Death’s body) convinces all at C.H.E.S.S. Central of her true identity. She accompanies Amber, Kodiak, and Crutch to the Guardians’ base, where they find a massacre. Screamer has been brutally killed, Warp and Crocodile are incapacitated, and a Hunter-Retriever robot guards hostages. The heroes battle a T.O.T.E.M. Alpha robot and mercenaries Bandit and Brainmelt on the deck of the platform, the latter two fleeing as midnight approaches. The vigilantes destroy the Alpha robot and capture Brainmelt, and Crutch detects a bomb. Shadow Knight, powered by the alien Whist, arrives via a portal and miraculously stops the Hunter-Retriever, then makes it possible for Crutch to retrieve the bomb; Bandit escapes. Epilogue: Death voluntarily switches bodies back with Portal.
#121 – Another Day in Paradise – Dale Max (Warp) defends a girl at a local video arcade from street thug C-Note, but does not use his powers; he falls after a very long fistfight, but keeps his secret identity intact. William Wills drops his lawsuit against the Guardians. Portal, Amber, and Warp do a public appearance, then are called to Georgetown University, where a Dr. Gerald Pontuveac briefs them on a stolen, experimental device called the Atomic Carbonizer. They track the missing item to a residential section of D.C., where Wrack has just obliterated Mystic; they then witness a rejuvenated G-Force being chased and attacked by the monstrous Bear Claw! Motivator watches the events unfold from afar, manipulating the players involved for her own amusement.
#122 – More Manipulations – While Warp rescues construction workers, Entropy and Lapke arrive and assist Portal, Amber, and the resurrected G-Force in apprehending Bear Claw and Wrack. The team learns about G-Force’s new powers and revival by T.O.T.E.M., and Entropy takes him to a safe house. Back at Guardians Headquarters, Shadow Knight learns of a missing Dr. Hasad Rashim from the doctor’s daughter, Arya. Warp, Amber, and Portal follow clues across town to find a lead to South Dakota. Traveling there, the entire group, including G-Force, is ambushed at a truck stop. They defeat Anarchist, but Mind Mauler flees. The next clue leads them to a remote mansion in Nevada, where they confront Taurus, Pisces, and Leo of the Zodiac. Before both sides realize that they have been manipulated into conflict and break things off, Amber permanently blinds Taurus.
#123 – The Legion Strikes – One of Motivator’s guards meets the team, which is now joined by Sinder, and leads them to her secret base deep in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. Finding that the Tarot Masters organization is also making an assault on the facility, the Guardians avoid being drawn into a three-way battle, letting Tarot agents Death and Empress fall before they storm inside. The vigilantes engage Motivator, Behemoth, Iron Maiden, and Jack of the Whills in battle, but one of Motivator’s scientists goes crazy, starting the launch procedure on nuclear missiles. The heroes stop the scientist and the missiles, and take the villains and Dr. Rashim into custody.
#124 – Revenge of the Zarton Team – The pawnshop in New York, where the team had clashed with jewelry thieves six months before, is demolished. Found among the wreckage is the brutally murdered owner and a message to the Guardians. C.H.E.S.S. facilities are ravaged, with officials kidnapped and supervillains set free. Called to help, Lapke, Entropy, Portal, Amber, G-Force, and Sinder are introduced to Mr. Anybody, an investigator on the trail of the criminal Zarton Team. Mr. Anybody, who hails from the future, and the rest of the group confronts Barbarian, Caster, Time Holder, Phase, Medusa, Meknoid, and Fib at a C.H.E.S.S. base in Delaware, and they are completely demolished by the powerful felons.
#125 – The Base of Doom – Joined by Warp, the Guardians track the Zarton Team to their base in the middle of Utah. They avoid many traps, then engage the villains again. During the conflict, G-Force accidentally kills Time Holder. After a major battle, the heroes are able to defeat the powerful criminals, but Barbarian escapes by vanishing in a flash of energy. The C.H.E.S.S. officials are rescued, and the captured lawbreakers are incarcerated.
#126 – A Little Trip – Dr. Joseph Hugh (Micron), an associate of Crocodile, calls the Guardians to a Miami hospital, where a young boy faces death from a brain tumor. The scientist shrinks Shadow Knight, Sinder, Portal, Mr. Anybody, Warp, Entropy, and himself to microscopic size, and they enter the body of the sick child. Inside they find an entire civilization of insect-like beings, and face a moral quandary. Somebody has to die: either millions of microscopic sentient creatures, or the boy. Pleading their case dramatically, they persuade the life forms to change their way of life and relocate. They aid them in the dangerous move, and the boy’s live is spared. Epilogue: A diplomatic pouch with strange rubbings, apparently from Kodiak in Thailand, arrives for Crocodile.
#127 – In The Beginning – G-Force and Amber go on vacation to upstate New York. Their car breaks down, and they seek repairs in idyllic Waynesboro. They are put up at a quaint boarding house, but at night awake to the eerie sight of the entire town gathering at the local church for a rally. The heroes spy on the meeting, then witness the charismatic leader stab a small girl and apparently heal her. Brother Angel fires up the crowd into a frenzy and leads them to the edge of town, where they burn a black man out of his house. The champions intervene, and find themselves opposing paranormals from the cult of the Greater Good: Brother Angel, White Guardian, Corporal Punishment, and 451. They fight their opponents off, then G-Force quickly gets out of town while Amber flees into the woods.
#128 – For the Greater Good – The Guardians are stymied by strange incidents with the Greater Good around Washington, D.C. Portal detains a proselytizing robber, then she, Warp, Amber and G-Force go to a hostage situation at a bank. During the standoff, Bishop Gerald Fairwell arrives and intercedes, bravely talking the gunman into surrendering. A few days later, Pro-Life incites a crowd at a hospital into a riot. The four vigilantes clash with her and the mob, and Bishop Fairwell is injured. 451 and White Guardian, in a public relations move, valiantly try to stop the throng just like the heroes, and eventually the multitude is brought under control. The Greater Good and Bishop Fairwell get lots of positive media attention. A mystifying figure known as Cardinal Rule gives commands to Brother Angel.
#129 – The Gathering of the Flock – Lapke, Amber, and G-Force visit a big rally for the Greater Good at the packed MCICenter. Brother Angel works the crowd to a fever pitch, but is suddenly challenged by Bishop Fairwell. After numerous miracles on stage, the Bishop “joins” the Greater Good, changing into Cardinal Rule to the delight of the assembly. A bound Entropy is brought out as a sacrifice, and the Guardians engage the charlatans in battle, defeating Brother Angel, Pro-Life, White Guardian, and Corporal Punishment. 451 and Cardinal Rule get away, but the heroes, now accompanied by Entropy, raid their New Eden farm complex in New York, capturing Auntie Porn, 451, and many other members of the cult.
#130 – 30 Minutes or Less – A military aide is found murdered inside a locked room, his Top Secret plans stolen. C.H.E.S.S. asks the team to provide security for an alien artifact that the military is about to test. Portal, G-Force, Entropy, Mr. Anybody, and new adventurer Rifleman do surveillance on another aide who attends a party in D.C., and Mr. Anybody interacts with a Bishop of the Alliance. They tail a suspicious woman (an Alliance Nun) back to her apartment, but their shadowing is cut short when Intercrime Power Infantry units and Assassins make an assault on a Virginia military compound to get the artifact. The group is able to drive the attackers away. The mysterious woman delivers the stolen plans to the Alliance.
#131 – Fantasy Land – While investigating a strange item at a museum, Entropy, Lapke, Portal, G-Force, and Rifleman find themselves suddenly transported to a cabin in the woods. They soon discover that they are in a strange, medieval world, and that their superpowers are gone. A wild bear attacks them, and Portal bravely incapacitates the beast. Aggressive soldiers confront the heroes, but are driven off. The group discovers a passageway beneath the cabin and journeys deep underground. They are attacked by humanoid creatures called Trangens, and fight their way to safety.
#132 – Dark Elves – The party is captured by Dark Elves and meets fellow adventurers Nimrod and Danzig. The group escapes from a dungeon, then gets chased across the land by the powerful Elves. They make a last stand against the fiends, and escape by jumping into a river.
#133 – The Ruined Tower of Mabeleck – The weary travelers are nursed back to health by a kindly old man named Oglor. He sends the visitors on a quest to retrieve a great gem from a nearby tower, and they enter the ruined remains of the structure. In the underground chambers they are surprised when Warp magically arrives through a painting. The heroes journey through the tunnels, slaughter many Orcs, and make their way past many other creatures and traps. They recover the gem, and as a reward Oglor sends them through a doorway.
#134 – Gamma World – The adventurers find themselves in an apocalyptic, futuristic world. Portal, Rifleman, Lapke, and G-Force discover that they have bizarre mutations, with Entropy a “pure” human and Warp nowhere to be found. Monstrous creatures attack, and two mutated children, Giwres and Wendros, lead them to a civilized community. The Elders send them on a mission to learn about the antagonists menacing their village. The group makes their way past a dangerous, attacking vine and deep into a submarine research facility, where they struggle against many robots and androids. They discover a teleporting mechanism, and the Guardians ride a submarine through a dimensional doorway home.
#135 – Goodbyes – Kodiak and superhero Dai Oni tail Red Fury and a magical artifact from a Shanghai dock to AluluIsland in the South Pacific. They explore a hidden underwater base of Dr. Malevolent and clash with numerous Vengeance robots, but the mastermind of the complex gets away. A videotape is found that shows Hematite returning to his home dimension. Lapke goes back to the Far East and Crocodile retires from reserve status. A postcard from Dr. Desist reveals that he and his family are alive and well. The Guardians, consisting of Entropy, Portal, and new member G-Force, nearly sever ties with Anomaly (formerly Rifleman), who persuades them to allow him to stay with the team. The group is introduced to new C.H.E.S.S. contact Kevin Portunus and holds a meeting, discussing facilities, vehicles, New Babylon, their monetary situation, and the Taurus settlement.
#136 – Journey to the City of the Earth – Wounded Canadian superhero Raven crashes through a window at Guardians Headquarters and implores the heroes for help against the huge earth monster that attacked his team, the Crimson Guard. G-Force, Anomaly, Portal, and Entropy travel to the Granville Copper Mine near the Manitoba-Saskatchewan border to rescue the superheroes and trapped miners. The group descends into the mine and successfully wards off an assault by the clay-like creature, Gargantua. Joined by allies Dai Oni and BlueStreak, they journey on and discover enslaved humans toiling for cruel, faerie Slavers.
#137 – This Empress Earth! – The heroes trounce the Slavers and free the captives. Deep in subterranean caverns they discover architecture that resembles ancient Rome, and in an underground arena they square off with the Empress Terra Tyrannia’s Praetorian Guard. Discovering that their armored foes are the rest of the Crimson Guard (Seeker, Chat Noir, Dynamo, and Klondike) with control collars, the heroes break them free. The villainess attempts to get away, but the champions capture her.
#138 – An Hour for Terror, A Moment to Die – Six terrorists from the People’s Liberation Army hijack a jet at PearsonInternationalAirport in Toronto. Dai Oni and BlueStreak respond and attempt to take down the criminals. One of the offenders has a bomb strapped to him, and in the skirmish it detonates, killing him and BlueStreak. Dai Oni is able to overpower three of the hijackers, but the leader, Allen Cooper, and one of the other terrorists get away. New superhero Majestic arrives and barely resuscitates BlueStreak.
#139 – Dar’kness Awakens – Researchers discover strange phenomena at a volcano in the Swiss Alps. G-Force, Anomaly, Portal, Entropy, BlueStreak, and Dai Oni, along with new ally Majestic and old friend Dr. Desist, are called by C.H.E.S.S. to New York to guard a crystal being transferred to the U.S. from a London museum. Portal recognizes writing on the gem and quickly travels to her homeland, where her Aunt Pele alerts her that the script is a warning about dangerous beings. She arrives back just as a solar eclipse takes place, causing the crystal to melt and Dar’kness to be freed from within it. Warp magically arrives from the dimension he was trapped in and joins the other heroes as they contend with the villain. Dar’kness teleports away, and the volcano in the Alps erupts.
#140 – Rejoining of the World’s Scorned – Prologue: Portal learns about dangerous villains Koal, Vol, Dar’kness, and Lokilani from Pele. A massive earthquake rocks the Andes, and Koal is awakened. A large volcano and the lost continent of Atlantis rise from the ocean, and Vol emerges with them. The Guardians deduce that the ArcticSea is where Lokilani will surface, and face off with the four powerhouses of the World’s Scorned on an island there. The team averts deadly traps and defeats the villains, but BlueStreak is killed and Dar’kness escapes. Epilogue: Portal learns of the deadly inventions constructed by their foes. Some members of her race (the Elderess) are put in place to guard one of these items at Mt.St. Helens in Washington state.
#141 – ShadowWorks – Dr. Desist, now a high-ranking Rook with C.H.E.S.S., learns from a contact named Patrick Skinner of a secret, illegal government project. Anomaly, Majestic, Dai Oni, Portal, Warp, G-Force, Entropy, and new hero Dr. Mercury engage in a friendly bowling competition in their civilian identities. Dr. Desist contacts Entropy with news that he has the codes into the Maryland facility housing the illicit operation. The group hurries to the secure compound, where inside they are ambushed by shadow duplicates of themselves! Dr. Desist briefly vanishes with his counterpart, and the others defeat their hostile doppelgangers, which disappear once they are incapacitated. The team learns that someone set them up in an attempt to destroy them, and that much of the information Dr. Desist had been fed was false.
#142 – The Mad Scientist – An explosion destroys the top three floors of Houston’s famous Parascience Institute (PI). Guardians Anomaly, Portal, Dr. Mercury, Dai Oni, G-Force, and Entropy, along with ally Sinder, are called to the scene, where they discover that a bomb served as cover for a break-in. Stolen were restricted files, plans, and a powerful device called the Electrochemical Expotentializer; PI Associate Director Carl Silverhead suspects missing twisted genius Dr. Bennet Morrow. The team divides to investigate various tips around the city, and Anomaly follows a lead to the cowboy-punk bar Café Angst, where he tangles with Brickibrak and his gang, the Toughs. Portal and Dai Oni arrive at the pub and meet Aries and Pisces of the Zodiac. Later, Dai Oni charms information from one of the Toughs, which leads the team to the large home of Morrow’s girlfriend, Trixy Starlight, near GalvestonBay. As the heroes approach the building, a green rain starts to fall and renders them unconscious.
#143 – Table of Discontents – The vigilantes awake in a desert, where Dr. Morrow’s god-like voice tells them a riddle from the sky. They journey towards a distant tower, finding themselves assaulted by giant statues that come to life when they draw near. The heroes enter the castle and become trapped, but quickly break free. Giant bees check them out, attacking when provoked, and the adventurers realize that they have been shrunk in size, trapped in a tabletop diorama on a kitchen table. They make their way to an ant farm, fighting their way past the giant beasts down to the egg chamber, where they retrieve a hidden key and the circuit for the missing gadget. The key allows their escape into the kitchen, where a journey past a household robot and cockroaches leads to a distant countertop. The circuit powers a miniaturizer device, which they use to restore themselves to normal size. They travel to ParadiseIsland in the Bahamas, where Dr. Morrow is found haggling with foreign agents and arrested without incident.
#144 – Island Disaster – A Chinese tanker has an accident near the South Pacific island of Tomba, spilling superfrozen gas and causing a natural calamity. Princess Layla and her lady-in-waiting, Mayana, come to Washington, D.C. to attempt to negotiate a settlement with LLC, the company responsible. LLC avoids legal responsibility with the small country, and contacts Portal for protection. G-Force, Majestic, Dai Oni, Dr. Mercury, and Entropy accompany her to a hostage situation at LLC headquarters, where they talk Pure Energy (Layla) and Lady Jade (Mayana) into releasing their captives. Epilogue: Due to Pure Energy’s computer blackmail, LLC pays Tomba an out-of-court settlement.
#145 – The Lost Dimension – The Elderess send Dai Oni, Warp, Dr. Desist, Portal, Dr. Mercury, Majestic, G-Force, and Anomaly to Mt.St. Helens in Washington state to assist them in moving Lokilani’s staff. The World’s Scorned: Dar’kness, Koal, Lokilani, and Vol, show up and a battle erupts. Vol’s magic is absorbed by Barbarian’s axe, which causes Barbarian to appear. He speaks of fulfilling a bargain, smashes a globe, and the heroes are transported to a strange world. They find that, in order to get home, they must overcome 10 separate challenges. They decipher many riddles and puzzles, overpower superpowered beings, and defeat a Slaughter Droid, advancing through doors to each new obstacle. At the eighth test, they face a room full of paranormals.
#146 – The Big Decision – The heroes engage their opponents, who prove to be very dangerous. During the fight, Anomaly vanishes, and Entropy suddenly appears to replace him. After a long battle, the heroes emerge victorious. Anomaly mysteriously reappears, and the adventurers pass one more difficult trial. They then square off in a final battle against Bestial Fury, Magtress, and Blur, with the Queen of the Lost Dimension watching. Anomaly is knocked back into liquid magma, and dies before the team is able to rescue him. The champions defeat the antagonists, and the Queen gives them one final dilemma. In order to go home without another fight, they choose to allow the World’s Scorned the same opportunity, rather than facing them in a showdown. The powerful goddess returns them individually, scattered around the planet.
#147 – Laudatio Funebris – The World’s Scorned arrive back from the Lost Dimension, causing massive destruction near Dalian, China and Strasbourg, France. The Guardians agonize over the loss of life caused by their difficult decision. At Anomaly’s funeral, the Crimelord grabs Warp and disappears, interrogating him before setting him free. Dr. Slaughter attends, watching things from the background. Afterwards, Dr. Desist and Majestic show Dr. Mercury, Dai Oni, G-Force, Entropy, and Portal a new base that C.H.E.S.S. has had constructed for the team. The group learns that Barbarian has freed the rest of the Zarton Team from prison, and that other villains also escaped. Epilogue: Kodiak makes his way through the jungles of Peru, searching for something.
#148 – The Island of Doktor Mordred – Two Defense Intelligence Agency operatives, Agents Parcher and Witz, brief Dr. Desist, Entropy, Portal, G-Force, Warp, Dai Oni, Majestic, and Dr. Mercury at their new base. The group flies to the island nation of Haqal-Uugiyyi in the Arabian Sea to apprehend two war criminal scientists: Nazi Doctor Mordred von Klapsch, and Serbian Professor Magnesium. The Guardians invade a bunker, demolishing mercenary soldiers and the Emir’s personal guard, and capturing Professor Magnesium, but thermite charges destroy all evidence of the research being done there. Witz (an Israeli Mossad agent) executes von Klapsch and disappears, and the team discovers that they have been duped; no record of Parcher can be found. The heroes recover a large amount of titanium from the compound, and receive an explanatory email from Agent Witz. The seized metal allows them to purchase their new base from the government.
#149 – Kodiak’s Gambit – Dr. Desist introduces Mischief, and G-Force presents his sidekick L-Force to the others assembled at the base: Warp, Dai Oni, Entropy, Portal, Dr. Mercury, and Majestic. Kodiak interrupts the meeting with a phone call, pleading for the Guardians to go to Machu Picchu, Peru to save his “homeworld”. The assembled group heads to South America and finds the distraught hero at the ancient Inca fortress, where he begins assembling a strange device. The team is ambushed by the Ultimates: Venom, Power Surge, Supreme, Dr. Slaughter, and Fractor, and the two sides struggle. Kodiak completes the device, and everyone is transported to another galaxy, where the battle rages on in the Gwai’ir Court of the Queen. Dr. Slaughter kills Kodiak, and all are told to stand down. The heroes stop, but the Ultimates resist, and the Queen and her soldiers subdue them while Warp slays Venom with a mental blast. Kodiak’s strange device repels the alien Ga’arn invasion, and Majestic brings the fallen hero back to life. Kodiak, a human who had merged with a Gwai’ir symbiotic suit on Earth, turns out to be a champion amongst his newfound people. The Gwai’ir reward Majestic with a new suit of armor, and improve Dr. Mercury with nanite technology.
#150 – MASTERless Menace – After about a month of rest and recuperation, the Guardians say a final goodbye to Kodiak and begin the journey home in a Gwai’ir starship. Technology onboard allows them to work on inventions, and the trip takes another month to cover the vast distance between the two worlds. On Earth, an armada of MASTER space pirates lays siege to the planet, and Beijing, Rio de Janeiro, and Madrid are totally obliterated! Crocodile, Quiasar and other superheroes and supervillains resist the invaders, but the enemy wipes out thousands of people. The team portals to Space Station One; Dr. Desist departs for the planet as the others enter the pirate-controlled space station. The vigilantes trounce multiple Slaughter Droids and numerous space pirates, taking command of the Security Room. Dr. Mercury boosts his Intelligence with many Smart Pills, and feeds two viruses into the station’s computer system: one directs the Slaughter Droids to attack the pirates, the other sends the armada away. Everything suddenly goes black for the heroes, and they awake to find themselves in Machu Picchu, about six hours after they first arrived there. Time appears to have been altered, and Earth was not ravaged by MASTER, but they still have memories up until departing the Gwai’ir homeworld. In addition, they still have their inventions, and Dr. Mercury retains his brilliance, but they don’t remember the events of the last month and G-Force’s recordings show eight hours of nothing. Puzzled, the team returns home.
#151 – Milk or Cookies? – A.R.T. studies the tapes of their interstellar journey. A vampiric stranger contacts Dale Max (Warp), giving him a lead to a local Intercrime warehouse. The team investigates, and is attacked by multiple Intercrime Assassins. Portal, G-Force, Dai Oni, Majestic, Dr. Mercury, Warp, Mischief, and L-Force battle their way past a laser array to a lower level research facility, where they discover Intercrime developing a prototype armor of C.H.E.S.S. design. The team takes down many Power Infantry units and scientists, and the suit self-destructs. They capture most of the enemy operatives, but a few escape. Epilogue: Intercrime makes a raid on BioDyne, a defense contractor working on armor for C.H.E.S.S., but are surprised by a mysterious defender.
#152 – The Secrets of BioDyne – C.H.E.S.S. informs G-Force, Majestic, and Dr. Mercury about Project Equalizer and the secret past of BioDyne CEO Katherine Harris, asking the Guardians to investigate the break-in. While others on the team focus on past and present employees, Dr. Mercury befriends and questions Harris’ young crippled son Jay, a robotics prodigy working on the project. Warp checks on Intercrime, while Dai Oni finds that the break-in targeted Katherine. Portal and Entropy, accompanied by Dr. Desist and Quiasar, pay a visit to JorstadtIsland, where the vampires deny affiliation with the stranger and the heroes find many destroyed sensors. The team meets and plans; Mischief sneaks into the Harris residence, and other BioDyne employees are examined. Majestic and Dr. Mercury visit Katherine at her home and reveal all that they know to her.
#153 – Enemy of My Enemy – Katherine acknowledges that Jay stopped the Intercrime assassination, and tells them her suspicions about Jane Adams, head of Hardware for the company. The team assembles at BioDyne the next day, investigating and providing security as the project nears completion. Dr. Mercury discovers USA Defender (Jay’s upgraded armor) and secures it for safety. He confronts Jane, who becomes upset and teleports in Brain, Brawn, Will, and Spirit. The attackers are contested by BioDyne security, Dr. Mercury, Majestic, G-Force, L-Force, and Jay, who reveals superpowers of his own without the armor. During the battle, Katherine is critically injured, and Dai Oni and Mischief arrive to join the fight. A bomb is discovered, and the villains are subdued. Jay races the bomb to safety, and it detonates. Majestic revives Jane, and Dr. Mercury miraculously saves Katherine. Epilogue: Dr. Mercury decides to take some time away from the team. Jane reveals Intercrime involvement, Katherine remains in a coma, and Jay recovers. Project Equalizer finishes on time.
#154 – Northern Foreclosure – Evidence sent to the team by Cooperative Chairman Frank Allakakaet suggests vampires have established a sanctuary and feeding ground in Alaska. Dr. Desist, Entropy, Majestic, G-Force, L-Force, Dai Oni, Mischief, and Dr. Mercury travel to LakeMinchumina to serve foreclosure papers on a Murnau Enterprises funeral home. Many vampires attack, and the team engages them. Aided by a Russian “daylight” particle weapon found by Majestic and thousands of wooden stakes provided by G-Force, the heroes valiantly destroy the creatures, secure the property, and recover many prototype weapons. At a C.H.E.S.S. facility, USA Defender and child hero W-Force battle robotic opponents. Epilogue: Dr. Mercury, Entropy, and Dr. Desist discuss the vampire problem.
#155 – What Goes Up… – When members of the House Homeland Security Committee begin acting irrationally, the Guardians are called in by a Colonel Nicholas. Blood samples of the congressmen reveal nanites, and Drs. Desist and Mercury cure them. Clues lead the team to anti-government fanatics running two front companies in Virginia. A stealth team, comprised of Dai Oni, G-Force, and Mischief, infiltrates Setinan Catering in Richmond, while Dr. Mercury, Dr. Desist, and Entropy check out an Auburn Enterprises International (AEI) housing development near Alexandria. The stealth team clashes with robots, staff, and animated equipment at the Setinan factory, setting off alarms and causing massive destruction. The building is leveled in a huge explosion, and seven people are confirmed dead.
#156 – …Must Come Down – The six heroes regroup in Silver Spring, Maryland, where they launch an assault on AEI headquarters. Squaring off against them is a powered and armored mastermind, five wheel droids, and many Klansman and Aryan soldiers. The droids combine to disintegrate Mischief, and G-Force retaliates by annihilating the armored leader. Casualties are sustained on both sides, but the thugs are routed swiftly. The droids and remaining nanites are destroyed, and they discover that the mastermind was Metzger Rockwell, a disgraced former government scientist who had stumbled across the nanite technology at a UFO crash site. G-Force is suspended from the Guardians.
#157 – The Return of Shadow Knight – Shadow Knight returns to Earth from space with three feline aliens and his father, Dr. Destroyer. They invade C.H.E.S.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C. and plunder the secret basement vault. Dr. Mercury and Entropy attempt to stop them, but the former Guardian cannot be reasoned with. Joined by Dai Oni, Dr. Desist, and G-Force, the team tracks Shadow Knight to a mansion near Denver. Accompanied by five elite C.H.E.S.S. Knights, the assault force engages the enemy and is driven back. Desperate to stop the advancing villains, the heroes use the Dark Angel’s missiles to demolish the mansion, then commandeer the powerful stolen weapons to neutralize and apprehend their foes. Demoralized despite the victory, Dr. Mercury takes a leave of absence from the team.
#158 – Those Meddling Kids – Willard, the son of Senator Wilton Matthews, is kidnapped, and terrorists demand the release of the criminal Motivator in exchange for the hostage. With many C.H.E.S.S. Knights, L-Force, and W-Force in reserve, G-Force and Jay Harris (disguised as Motivator) meet the adversaries at RockCreekRegionalPark in Maryland, just outside D.C. Jay races the boy to safety, and a battle erupts with the heroes engaging Ebony Angel and Dr. Wraithman on land and Wave Mistress in the water of LakeNeedwood. Jay returns as USA Defender, and C.H.E.S.S. agent Thunder Eel emerges from the lake, only to be ambushed by Jaws. In short order, the villains are vanquished, and only Dr. Wraithman eludes capture.
#159 – Training Day – C.H.E.S.S.’s King’s Bishop, Sniper, instructs and trains the team, challenging them as they face an obstacle course and many robotic adversaries. Portal, USA Defender, Warp, Majestic, L-Force, and Dai Oni learn teamwork beside new heroes Frostwing and Peregrine. G-Force decodes his tapes of the Gwai’ir trip and turns the recovered data over to A.R.T. The U.S. government swears the team to secrecy regarding the top secret Space Station One revealed on the tapes. Tabloids report about hideous “lobster people”. The Zarton Team attacks a T.O.T.E.M. base near Coahuila, Mexico. When they discover that Fib is a C.H.E.S.S. double agent, the villains kill him.
#160 – The Teaming of Three Powers – Prelude: Mr. Anybody is discovered in the guise of Fib while spying on the Zarton Team in Manhattan, and Barbarian executes him. While new C.H.E.S.S. agent Titan conducts surveillance on an Intercrime warehouse in the Bronx, Warp is incapacitated by a null-bomb at his apartment in D.C. At Mr. Anybody’s funeral in Virginia, the Zarton Team: Barbarian, Caster, Phase, Medusa, and Meknoid, strike, clashing with Portal, G-Force, Dai Oni, Majestic, Titan, L-Force, Dr. Desist, and USA Defender. Suddenly, T.O.T.E.M. clones of Venom, Fractor, and Power Surge attack, assaulting the other villains. The Zarton Team teleports away, and the clones follow in similar fashion. C.H.E.S.S sends the heroes and W-Force to investigate the Intercrime warehouse, where the vigilantes activate many hostile Mystic robots. Some of the powerful and dangerous constructs self-destruct, but the team eventually defeats them all.
#161 – Cities Lost – Warehouse computer records tell of a plan to open a gateway to an Elderess treasure hold by destroying New Babylon. Evidence also indicates an alliance between the Zarton Team, Intercrime, and the World’s Scorned. The Guardians: Dai Oni, G-Force, Portal, Majestic, USA Defender, and L-Force, fly to New Babylon, meet the Mammalian tribe, and obtain false documentation. Joined by a C.H.E.S.S. hero named Incandescent, they journey to a southern city, where Majestic breaks the control of a political advisor (Koal) over the leader, Swordmistress. Koal and numerous Mystic robots attack, but are repelled by the heroes. They venture north to a Romanesque metropolis, and warn the Emperor there about Lokilani, his gladiatorial champion. As they travel south along the coast, they discover giant mystical Elderess stones and runes amongst the smoking ruins of EarthwiseCity.
#162 – The Guardian Wars – The team travels west to the city of Avioc, where they find its ruler, Skylord, already defeated by the World’s Scorned. The champions battle Lokilani, Koal, Vol, and Dar’kness as mystical energy bleeds off a giant Elderess stone, opening a portal to the prison dimension of Finity. G-Force and Portal use the stone’s power against itself, redirecting energy to make the gateway smaller. Suddenly, T.O.T.E.M. operative Gosentsu appears with other magical stones, which he throws into the vortex. Gosentsu disappears and the portal closes, pulling in the World’s Scorned as it collapses. With assistance from C.H.E.S.S., the team closes the remaining rift.
#163 – The GamesMaster – Guardian members and affiliates are individually captured, some in superhero guise and others in their civilian identities. L-Force, G-Force, USA Defender, Entropy, Majestic, Dai Oni, and Titan awaken bound and shackled with their powers being drained. Portal, Warp, and Dr. Mercury serve as the heat source, cold supply, and fuse for a giant battery. Their captor introduces himself as the GamesMaster, and tells them that he wishes to play a game with them. He engages the heroes in a trivia contest, then allows a weakened Portal to take them home.
#164 – Crown of Thorns – The group recovers, then begins doing research. They learn of a sentient computer program known as 55379, and uncover details of its history and alien origin. The adventurers, minus Entropy and Portal, return to where they’d been held captive, and the GamesMaster, now revealed as a woman, welcomes them. The champions engage their host in a friendly game of over-sized chess in which they stand in for individual pieces, and are able to defeat her. She then shows them around her elaborate platform base that looks out over the Amazon rainforest. Pleased that they have made a new ally, the team returns home.
#165 – Birth of Arachnia – C.H.E.S.S. shares intelligence about an Antarctic T.O.T.E.M. base, asking for the Guardians’ assistance with a raid. Dai Oni, G-Force, Incandescent, Portal, USA Defender, Titan, L-Force, and Majestic fly south in the Dark Angel, but are intercepted near South America by the GamesMaster in her platform half a mile up in the sky. She tells them more about their target and informs them of Medusa’s new protégé, a deadly creation known as Arachnia. Accompanied by their new ally, the team invades the back door of the base while Warp and C.H.E.S.S. forces assail the front. Inside, they confiscate hardware and tissue samples, discover Russian involvement, and learn of T.O.T.E.M. bases in Siberia and the Amazon, then blow up the laboratory. Returning to the platform, they watch helplessly on a large monitor as an incoming heat source tears into the C.H.E.S.S. strike team!
#166 – Struggle in the Snow – Arachnia attacks; Warp takes out Medusa, and Portal brings the rest of the team to the fight. Arachnia proves to be more than a match for the entire group, and the battle is brutal and furious. Eventually, Incandescent emotion controls the villainess, who scoops up Medusa and flees back into the base, escaping via a submarine. A critically injured Warp decides to remain in the care of the GamesMaster, while the other Guardians and their associates return home. Epilogue: Super soldier Seraph, a failed U.S. government experiment, flies via commercial airline from New Babylon to New York. He meets with the King of Swords and discusses the possibility of membership in the Tarot Masters organization.
#167 – Three Strikes – ‘Yer Outcast! – Leading a loose group of brawny criminals called the Outcasts, Seraph begins terrorizing auto dealerships in downtown Philadelphia. C.H.E.S.S. liaison Kevin Portunas sends Portal, G-Force, Dai Oni, Dr. Mercury, L-Force, USA Defender, Titan, and New Babylon visitor Xeo Fey to deal with the problem. The heroes visit Blitz and ‘Nette, members of the recently defeated Freedom Battalion, to learn about the enemy, then interrupt the villains at another strike. They take down Seraph, Valcanus, Fang, and King of Swords, but Hellspawn is able to get away before he can be apprehended. Dai Oni meets her new sensei, Mr. Simonton.
#168 – A Fallen Star – The Guardians gather at Chandler’s, a restaurant and bar in D.C., and Majestic introduces Dai Oni, Dr. Mercury, Portal, USA Defender, and Xeo Fey to his friend, owner Gary Chandler. C.H.E.S.S. calls for assistance, so the heroes join them at a nearby bank, stopping a robbery and apprehending Pöl and the villainess Flaming Star. Released on technicalities by the D.A., Flaming Star joins the Tarot Masters, changing her name to Daystar. Dr. Mercury confronts the Guardians’ accountant, Julian Wonti, boldly but compassionately forcing him to deal with his alcoholism.
#169 – Education in Terror – Authorities suspect paranormal involvement in the murder of a cadet at the WinthropeAcademy, a small military high school just outside Evanston, Illinois. They call the Guardians, and Majestic sends Dai Oni, L-Force, and USA Defender to the school undercover, where they are joined by C.H.E.S.S. operatives W-Force and Thunder Eel. Disguised as cadets, they meet and interact with some of the students and faculty. Being the last day of mid-term exams, most of the students depart for summer break, and the heroes poke around the campus looking for clues. At midnight, they discover a secret meeting at Grant Hall, where the Crime Teacher (Academy headmistress Eva Lords) addresses a small group of teachers and pupils, speaking of Hyperbium stolen for their “insatiable masters”!
#170 – The Academy of Crime – The young adventurers are attacked by the new CrimeAcademy graduates: Aeroflat, Chem, Triceratops, Sable, and Infra-Red, and the battle spills over to the marching grounds outside. The vigilantes quickly defeat the criminals, then tackle faculty members Diamondstar, ‘Borg, Penumbra, Crime Teacher (Lords), and her giant adder Lucian inside Grant Hall. After a lengthy slugfest, the villains are apprehended, with only Penumbra escaping capture. A secret passage is discovered, leading into an underground labyrinth of steam tunnels beneath the school.
#171 – The Terroid Factor – The F.B.I. and local police descend on the school, along with new superhero Mindbender, who accompanies the team underground. In the steam tunnels, they encounter and dispatch many hostile Terroid technician-drones, lobster-looking creatures preparing for an invasion from their home dimension. Further exploration reveals a cocoon hive filled with strange eggs and human bodies, large fuel tanks, and a dimensional gateway. The heroes trounce the Terroids, destroying their gate, eggs, and invasion plans, and the authorities secure the scene. Manfred Felix van der Kroef (Gestaltenwerke) finishes a strategic merger between T.O.T.E.M. Africa and Intercrime.
#172 – Vacation on Mount Li – C.H.E.S.S. assembles a large team: Dai Oni, Xeo Fey, USA Defender, Incandescent, Majestic, L-Force, Titan, Mindbender, and W-Force, who are flown by pilot Jerry Hammond in the Dark Angel to China for a goodwill tour. In Beijing, Minister Xiao Wei reluctantly asks the champions for assistance at an archaeological dig, where legends warn of a great evil that will be unleashed if the tombs are disturbed. They fly to the Xi’an province near MountLi, finding many dead Chinese soldiers and thousands of small Terra Cotta Warriors marching in formation, digging, and taking up positions around the burial mound. The heroes bypass the masses, journeying deep into the true burial chambers to confront recently awakened Emperor Qin and his three generals, Changxin, Jing Ke, and Li Buwei. Negotiations fail, leading to a large battle with the undead forces, all while Terra Cotta Warriors dig relentlessly towards them. When the ruthless Emperor is defeated, he and his minions dissolve into dust. Lady Zhao, the mysterious guardian of the tomb, appears to inform the victors that while the seal is intact the Emperor will not return for 1,000 years. A thankful Chinese government declares a moratorium on the excavation.
#173 – The T.O.T.EM. Wars – Homer Grimsby retires and Dr. Desist is appointed King of C.H.E.S.S. They learn about Operation: Trojan Snake, a T.O.T.E.M. project to clone members of the Guardians and Zarton Team, so Dr. Desist also instigates a cloning operation to trace the paper trail. C.H.E.S.S. infiltrator and triple agent Andrij Wytjuk allows the Dark Angel to be flown into the hanger of a base near Skopje, Macedonia, then is killed by T.O.T.E.M. agents. Majestic leads a team comprised of G-Force, Dai Oni, Dr. Mercury, L-Force, Xeo Fey, USA Defender, Titan, and Dr. Desist into the building. They strike swiftly and move through the labs quickly, defeating Gestaltenwerke, Zoë Fang, and the arriving Zarton Team: Barbarian, Caster, Meknoid, Phase, and Medusa. The villains are captured, and the heroes recover clones of Mischief and BlueStreak, as well as powerful weapons and genetic material of the other Guardians and their affiliates.
#174 – Takedown – Jay Harris becomes an emancipated minor and joins the team as USA Defender. Lokilani makes her way on foot across the Great Salt Lake
Desert in Utah, fast approaching a secret base where government research is being done on an experimental dimensional gate. C.H.E.S.S. calls for assistance, so Mischief, Fourarm, G-Force, Portal, USA Defender, Dai Oni, Dr. Mercury, and Majestic intercept her at a remote gas station miles from the target. The villainess wields a powerful staff and puts up an impressive fight, but the much larger force is able to subdue her after a massive battle. A CH.E.S.S. containment team arrives, but the staff is unable to be moved. When Portal picks it up, the artifact dissolves and Lokilani’s essence transfers unseen into her body. Lokilani appears to be comatose, and the others find nothing amiss. Weeks later, Force sends three Hunter-Retriever robots to kidnap U.S. Senator Enrique Wilson. His C.H.E.S.S. transport is shot down in Maryland, and Peregrine, Incandescent, Fourarm, Dai Oni, and USA Defender respond from nearby to fight them off, successfully getting the Senator to safety.
#175 – Striking of Intercrime – During several months of relative peace, Lokilani (in Portal’s body) scouts most C.H.E.S.S. facilities. Dr. Mercury overdoses on smart pills and goes missing. Intercrime Corporate launches a surprise assault on C.H.E.S.S. bases worldwide, wiping out most of the powerful organization with a colossal attack. Some items from the secret vault are destroyed, others are missing, and the Queen (Alexandria Huntington) is killed. The Crimelord threatens the Guardians at their Foundation Headquarters, then sends Dark Clown, three Mystic robots, and Lokilani’s body at them through a portal. Dark Clown and Portal (Lokilani) attack, the robots begin to self-destruct, and USA Defender, Dai Oni, and Incandescent evacuate personnel. Lokilani uses her staff to transfer back into her body, then she and Dark Clown escape via a portal. Mischief gets out, and G-Force rescues Portal and Majestic, but many lives are lost when the building is swallowed up by a psychic maelstrom. Dr. Mercury recovers, and the team uses a teleportation device based on his overdosed ramblings to visit C.H.E.S.S.’s new Aqua Base. C.H.E.S.S. orders a retaliatory strike on an Intercrime base in Utah, destroying it from orbit. Dr. Desist and the Guardians discuss a potential merger, but talks are put on hold to attack an Intercrime Corporate facility in New York. C.H.E.S.S and the heroes take down Dark Clown, Mr. Smith, and Mr. Anderson, while Mindbender and Fourarm lead a team into the lower levels and defeat Adamantron; both groups apprehend many Power Infantry, Assassins, and agents. Miss Robinson and Miss Johnson escape.
#176 – Who Can it Be Now? – Entropy and Majestic continue merger negotiations with C.H.E.S.S. as Dr. Mercury assists C.H.E.S.S. survivors at Aqua Base. When a strike team portals to a T.O.T.E.M. North America lab in McKittrick, California, Dai Oni and G-Force are physically swapped with duplicates from another dimension. Portal and Xeo Fey don’t notice the switch, but USA Defender suspects something. Portal’s transport reacts poorly with T.O.T.E.M.’s teleportation disk, creating a two-sided singularity. On one side, T.O.T.E.M. agents and equipment are sucked in; on the other powerful robots emerge. The heroes battle and defeat T.O.T.E.M. Guard (psychotic from the drug “rage”) and the high-tech robots. C.H.E.S.S. begins a major restructuring process, becoming international and separate from the U.S. government. USA Defender meets with Portal to discuss his suspicions. Meanwhile, in the Beta dimension, Dai Oni and G-Force find themselves in what they think is a C.H.E.S.S. facility, then are suddenly attacked by Portal, BlueStreak, and Incandescent. Four Majestics and Dr. Mercury defend the base, and when the heroes discover that C.H.E.S.S stands for Central Headquarters for Education and State Security, they switch sides and escape with the rebels.
#177 – Homeward Bound – After lengthy negotiations, the Guardians make the decision not to join with C.H.E.S.S. Due to recent losses, Kamikaze and Magnet Master of A.R.T. turn to the Guardians for help. A team flies to an alien crash site in Antarctica, where they find a missing A.R.T. scientist racing north. Fourarm is suddenly compelled to do the same; when he is caught G-Force-beta does likewise, an alien entity jumping from person to person. Their journey leads to a small, remote village, where USA Defender, Dai Oni-beta, Fourarm, and Dr. Mercury take down several heavily armed thugs. G-Force finds a lab and smashes some equipment, and the entity departs via a gateway. Majestic confronts the robotic L-10, who escapes by teleporting away. Evidence shows that the Alliance had been using a dimensional gateway to steal alien technology. Rumors of a mysterious, secretive organization known as Freedom of Chaos emerge. Elsewhere, Dai Oni, G-Force, and the Beta-dimension rebels Portal, BlueStreak, and Incandescent raid C.H.E.S.S. Space Station Freedom to sabotage their weapons batteries. In a protracted battle, they face off against multiple Majestic Knights, a Motherland Defender, Dark Warp, Dr. Mercury, Arachnia (a clone of Dai Oni), and Toonmaster. The station breaks up after G-Force pulls it from orbit, but the heroes and many major villains escape. Incandescent succumbs to Arachnia’s venom, and Portal’s benefactor, rebel leader Robert Perry, has his people hack into the C.H.E.S.S. media networks so that Dai Oni, believed to be a turncoat Guardian of Liberty, can address the world with the rebel viewpoint.
#178 – She Sells Seychelles by the Seashore – Dr. Mercury believes that the drug “rage” (or “sea shells”) is emanating from the Seychelles, a group of islands north of New Babylon. Majestic, Dai Oni-beta, USA Defender, Dr. Mercury, Mischief, G-Force-beta, and L-Force journey there and pose as tourists, both to investigate and as a team building exercise. They enjoy the nightlife, play baccarat, and meet T.O.T.E.M. Europe scientist Carlos Franco, T.O.T.E.M. Africa cryptographer Hans “Hak” Klijsters, South Asian Intercrime operative Suualho, and C.H.E.S.S. contact Kismet Arounpradith. Majestic sets up a “date” with Kismet, but the sting operation is crashed by high-powered T.O.T.E.M. and Intercrime chaperones. The three sides trash the penthouse suite of the Le Hotel Grand Belle Ombre, Kismet is revealed as a T.O.T.E.M. Africa double agent, and the Guardians take down all of the opposition. They shut down production of the drug and gather valuable T.O.T.E.M. intelligence. Klijsters leaves the islands during the fight. Two bodies without moisture are discovered in New Mexico. In the Beta dimension, Portal-beta explains to Dai Oni and G-Force exactly what C.H.E.S.S. stands for. President Buchanan announces satellite based death strikes on half a dozen African nations in retaliation for the rebels strike in Baghdad, and the heroes decide to act.
#179 – The Tesseract Conundrum – Majestic learns that T.O.T.E.M. has hired Tesseract, a deadly assassin. William Wills, G-Force’s father, is made the chief U.S. Representative to the U.N. and given a seat on the Security Council. Dai Oni-beta, USA Defender, Incandescent, and Majestic attend a ceremony where Mayor Anthony Williams of Washington, D.C. and G-Force’s father present the hero (actually his Beta duplicate) with the Key to the City. Tesseract appears out of nowhere and disintegrates Wills, while his henchman Welchia multiplies and battles the others. Welchia and his duplicates are dropped, but not before Tesseract nails G-Force, who also disappears. Tesseract refuses to fight the Guardians and vanishes, and Majestic is able to track him as he flees into a 4th dimension. In Beta, the heroes deal with the threat of C.H.E.S.S satellite-control bases by throwing EMP bombs at them through portals. Moments later, a C.H.E.S.S. strike team of Dr. Mercury, Dark Warp, Titan, Arachnia, and Toonmaster attacks. After another protracted battle that brings down the safe house, the heroes capture Arachnia and leave. The vigilantes, each with U.S. Commonwealth bounties of $100 million on their heads, discover that they are being tracked by Arachnia’s venom; they solve the problem with an EMP bomb and two quick evacuations. C.H.E.S.S. responds by nuking Hawaii and the underground base in Arizona, then blames it on the rebels! Vice-President Lott resigns, President Buchanan announces C.H.E.S.S. King Joshua Stevens as his new V.P., and the new appointee immediately declares martial law.
#180 – The Tequila Shooters – Following up leads from the McKittrick T.O.T.E.M. lab, C.H.E.S.S. discovers that Intercrime was manufacturing micro-nukes at the destroyed Utah base and may be doing the same at a similar facility in the Sonoran Desert region of Mexico. C.H.E.S.S. asks USA Defender and Dai Oni-beta to provide backup for a raid, and they are joined by Titan, Xeo Fey, Peregrine, and Portal. While C.H.E.S.S. assaults from the outside, the team drops in from the Dark Angel above, tangling with combined T.O.T.E.M. and Intercrime guards. Five robots spring from a dimensional gate and make a mess of things before being turned into scrap metal. Dai Oni-beta discovers and destroys a high-tech lab and the gate. After the fight is over, the heroes discover the corpses of seven Intercrime Corporate agents. Initially it appears that C.H.E.S.S. gave them a summary execution. Evidence from security cameras and bizarre recruitment posters, however, points to Beta versions of the Guardians (Dr. Mercury, Warp, and USA Defender, along with some backup) as the culprits, as well as implicating them as the providers of T.O.T.E.M. technology and showing that they cleaned out the base’s safe. Portal calls in Quiasar, and after she and USA Defender reveal that one of their own is an imposter, Dai Oni-beta attempts to escape from Quiasar’s force field!
#181 – Through the Dark Looking Glass – Portal transports the captured Dai Oni-beta to the Guardians’ base, where she is also confronted by Majestic, Dr. Mercury, USA Defender, Crocodile, Quiasar, Mischief, and Peregrine. She attempts to call in a rescue, but the Beta duplicates that arrive: Dark Warp, Toonmaster, and Titan, plus two Majestic Knights and two Motherland Defenders, also serve as an attack force. As the invaders begin to fall, Dai Oni-beta asks for asylum. Dark Warp and Toonmaster flee with an unconscious Dr. Mercury, leaving behind their fallen comrades. Dr. Mercury-beta, however, triggers the auto-destruct sequences on the powered armor suits, killing the Majestic Knights, then attempts to coerce the heroes into relinquishing the captured Titan-beta. The Guardians find a hidden anti-matter bomb in their hanger, and Portal dumps it into space, saving the Eastern Seaboard. Dai Oni-beta cooperates, describing C.H.E.S.S. and the militaristic, corrupt America of the Beta dimension. Crocodile and USA Defender are able to access Dr. Mercury-alpha’s research notes. In Beta, a Rolling Stone interview with that dimension’s Dr. Mercury reveals information about C.H.E.S.S., the Guardians, and the deaths of Thomas Carter (Majestic) and Ashley Willow (Mischief).
#182 – The Chaos Bomb – Quiasar informs the Guardians that talks with the vampires on Jorstadt Island have broken down, and the group meets the new Queen of C.H.E.S.S., the former Chinese superhero Feng Shui. In the Beta dimension, Robert Perry and the rebels meet in a Mount Baker, Washington cavern, plotting a massive raid on the C.H.E.S.S. Command Center in Stone Mountain, Georgia. The Queen mystically transports Incandescent, Portal, Titan, Dai Oni-beta, Crocodile, Quiasar, Majestic, Peregrine, USA Defender, and Mischief there, and they meet up with G-Force, Dai Oni, and the rebels. With help from an implanted worm program, they invade the base, clashing with Arachnia, Dark Warp, FORCE, Barbarian, Shadowknight, Toonmaster and multiple Majestic Knights and Motherland Defenders. They sustain many casualties during the fight, but many C.H.E.S.S. opponents are killed, including Meknoid, Caster, Professor Magnesium, and Phase. C.H.E.S.S-alpha sends reinforcements Warp and Xeo Fey, and the heroes begin to gain the upper hand. Dr. Mercury-beta kills Dr. Desist and attempts to slay Dark Warp for mission failure, then offers his alpha doppelganger as a peace offering, but the champions see that he is covered with exposed wires. The evil genius pushes a button, reality warps, and the adventurers begin to merge together, being sucked towards the device on Dr. Mercury-alpha’s waist.
#183 – Conjoined Forces – The Guardians, their affiliates, and many of their opponents find themselves strangely merged together, their powers, costumes, and names strangely combined. The group is made up of: Dr. Majestic (Majestic and Dr. Mercury), Catbird (Xeo Fey and Quiasar), Void Oni (Portal and Dai Oni), Vavavoooomm (Mischief and Toonmaster-beta), Northguard (USA Defender and Bluestreak-beta), The Singularity (Warp, Portal-beta, and Shadowknight-beta), Lightforce (G-Force and Incandescent), and the Roc (Crocodile, Peregrine, and Titan). Working together, the amalgamated heroes defeat a Beta army led by Dr. Mercury, FORCE, Purple Masque, Barbarian, Dark Warp, Medusa, and Arachnia. They take down the evil C.H.E.S.S., giving the victory to the rebels and establishing a new era for the Beta world. The Queen of C.H.E.S.S. (alpha) unravels the damage done by the Chaos bomb Dr. Mercury-beta stole from the Mexican T.O.T.E.M. base, restoring everyone to normal. Dai Oni-beta decides to remain in her home dimension and help with the rebuilding, and the champions return home via the Queen.
#184 – Accounting, Subtractions, and Libations – Dr. Mercury is forced to choose between the Guardians and C.H.E.S.S., and decides to become an Archbishop with C.H.E.S.S. While Titan takes care of some business, the rest of the team goes on vacation, with G-Force, Incandescent, Dai Oni, Portal, Majestic and USA Defender relaxing in civilian guise by surfing, swimming, and enjoying the sun in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. They overhear plans for an armored car robbery, then spy on and tail the apparent masterminds; Dai Oni and Incandescent pose as criminals in an attempt to learn more. When the young men are confronted, they confess that they were only discussing plans for their next session of a role-playing game. Caster and Medusa go missing from a C.H.E.S.S. base on Baffin Island in the Canadian Arctic.
#185 – Diamonds Я Us – Still searching for the missing G-Force-beta and William Wills, the Guardians do detective work in an attempt to track down the mysterious Tesseract. Taped interviews with a late C.H.E.S.S. janitor tell of his prior work with English scientist Otto Schaeffer (brother of Dr. Slaughter, Niles Schaeffer). Information on Schaeffer’s lab assistant, George Schongauer Sr. (Adamant’s father) leads the team to investigate the man, who was imprisoned in Europe in the early 70’s for terrorism. A model inmate and charismatic leader, he appears to have wanted to stay incarcerated, but was released six months ago and vanished instantly. USA Defender, Dr. Mercury, Majestic, Dai Oni, G-Force, and Portal visit Adamant in a Brazilian prison, where he tells of his father’s plans to heist a large diamond recently purchased by Britain’s royal family. Majestic cuts a deal with the convict, the team learns more, and they fly to Cuba, where they question an imprisoned Kismet. Journeying to Amsterdam, the heroes meet Prince William and formulate a plan. To protect the innocent, they pose as security guards, allowing a strike force: Torvax, three powerful Oni Mark III robots, and a gang of spray paint wielding thugs, all led by a glowing villain, to steal a fake diamond with a hidden transmitter. The vigilantes track the gem, but the truck carrying it drives into a building and disappears!
#186 – The Tesseract Solution – The team continues to trace the signal in the 4th dimension until it vanishes. Following the pattern of a Tesseract, they predict a destination in Belgium. Locating a warehouse there, they engage the three Oni robots inside; G-Force is nearly killed in the exchange. The battle spills outdoors, and Tesseract suddenly appears, followed mysteriously by the Ultimates: Dr. Slaughter, Venom (believed to be dead), Supreme, Fractor, and Power Surge. During the skirmish that ensues, Tesseract’s crystalline body slowly cracks, light shining from the fissures. Amazingly, hundreds of beings spill out of him, including two Slaughter Droids, G-Force-beta, William Wills, Elvis Presley, Jimmy Hoffa, and many more missing persons from the past quarter-century. The villains and vigilantes unite, focusing on the danger of the mighty Slaughter Droids; Tesseract dispatches one and G-Force-beta takes care of another. Tesseract disables the Onis, joins the Ultimates, and disappears. The heroes, minus both versions of G-Force, are knighted by the Queen of England at WindsorCastle. The wounded G-Force takes a hiatus.
#187 – Tarok Noir – World famous archaeologist Eugene Quarterman asks for the Guardians’ assistance in checking out a strange artifact. He leads Dai Oni, Portal, and USA Defender to Sturwood Hamlet, New Jersey, where unearthly energies emanate from a field near a schoolyard. New costumed adventurer Maccane also investigates, as does C.H.E.S.S., who sends Dr. Mercury, Mischief, and a team of agents. Before the mysterious, round object can be identified, representatives from the Major Arcana of the Tarot Masters: Strength, Hermit (formerly Scuz), Hierophant (formerly Paladin), Moonflash, World (formerly Powerman), Diablo, and Hanged Man show up and lay claim to it as well. The heroes join forces to contest them, and Dr. Mercury calls in backup operatives Fourarm and W-Force. Out of nowhere, the Assassin appears, gunning down Dr. Quarterman and slipping away into the night. The superheroes gain the upper hand and the item, which turns out to be a hatching egg. A beautiful but monstrous creature emerges and flies into the air, growing at a phenomenal rate. Portal cleverly saves all from the deadly Chaos Scourge, shunting it to her homeland and the Elderess, and the champions subdue the villains, capturing all of them. Unearthly demon-like beings take over several villages in the African nation of Ghana.
#188 – Suspicious Minds – President Bush asks the Guardians to help C.H.E.S.S. determine who hired Tesseract to kill Elvis Presley, and to find out if he is still in danger. Titan and Incandescent are made team members, but stay behind as a group travels to FircrestAcresRehabilitationCenter, a C.H.E.S.S. front in Manassas, Virginia. While Mischief plays nursemaid to Elvis, Dr. Mercury reveals that his patient believes it is still 1977. With Maccane and Dai Oni incognito, a disguised USA Defender and Mischief sneak the fearful and paranoid star out of the facility in a laundry truck. Portal jumps a squad ahead to Dr. Mercury’s mountain cabin, where they quickly remodel and hide clues of the date. The undercover team then entertains and spies on the King in the cabin for hours, getting both scares and good information before Presley discovers the truth. Meanwhile, Majestic rules out the KGB after meeting with drunken former agent Igor Chernetsky; Warp and Portal investigate other suspects, including the Mafia, KKK, Elvis himself, and his former agent, Colonel Tom Parker. Eventually, clues and a money trail point to Parker and the Mafia. Epilogue: Elvis diets and gets in shape, assuming the identity of Sebastian Haff; weeks later a tour of Elvis impersonators is announced.
#189 – Igor Chernetsky’s Blues – Colonel Igor Chernetsky, a C.H.E.S.S. Archbishop and Federal Security Bureau liaison, gives information about T.O.T.E.M. and Intercrime cooperation and a joint base in Bulgaria. Concerns about geneticist Dr. Anatoly Grobnyakov and a possible Chaos Bomb cause C.H.E.S.S. to look to the Guardians to form a strike team. The Guardians: Kageryu (formerly Dai Oni), USA Defender, Incandescent, G-Force, and Majestic, along with new ally Maccane, choose not to accept the military-like mission, leaving C.H.E.S.S. to do it on their own. Led by Chernetsky (Red Dragon), C.H.E.S.S. raids the base on the Black SeaCoast, wiping out the enemy but sustaining heavy casualties in the process. Grobnyakov eludes capture. A.R.T. comes under the jurisdiction of the United Nations. Epilogue: The Umatilla Weapons Depot in Oregon holding Barbarian and Phase is swallowed up by the earth, completely disappearing.
#190 – Night of the Living Dead – Warp and G-Force return to active duty; USA Defender takes a leave of absence. Maccane learns of a threat and calls the Guardians. Titan deploys Incandescent and affiliate Mischief to the D.C suburbs, where they meet Maccane, then form an alliance with members of Sleeper’s Paranormal Detective Agency: Thunderbird, Huntress, and Hermes. The group finds a meat truck with trussed up humans, fights numerous zombie-like undead beings, and takes down two men. They discover that homeless people are being abducted, and the captured men reveal info about a factory. Reinforcements are called in.
#191 – Factory of the Living Dead – The Guardians arrive at a bread factory being watched by Thunderbird. Kageryu scouts inside, but is secretly watched by invisible ghost-like entities known as the Gentlemen. She finds zombies guarding and operating machinery, processing humans into undead creatures. Titan, Warp, Portal, Maccane, and Majestic assault the operation, while Mischief, Incandescent, and Thunderbird stay outside to prevent escape. The fight moves into three areas, and the heroes battle more zombies, including intelligent ones known as the Foreman, Secretary, Engineer, and the Gentlemen. Upstairs, Majestic confronts mastermind L-10, who teleports away. Kageryu and Portal damage the machinery, but it is too late to save any of the homeless. The Secretary and many of the undead are destroyed, but the others disappear via a gateway. The team finds Alliance documents about the Guardians and a Project Lull. Epilogue: Jori Matsui (Kageryu) is bitten by vampire Lord Destrada and instructed to tell no one. Later that evening, Thomas Carter (Majestic) is bit by Gideon, a different vampire. Jori discovers Thomas, and intentionally incapacitates him with Asian medicines and herbs.
#192 – The Vampire Chronicles – Many past and present Guardians, along with affiliates, friends, and staff, attend the wedding of J.J. Johnstone Jr. (Quiasar) and team publicist Ami Johnson. At the reception afterwards, Portal announces that she is pregnant and disappears. A moment later, the festive atmosphere is interrupted by the dramatic arrival of vampires Destrada, Nospheratua, and Enoch. Hostilities nearly erupt, but calm is restored and the visitors tell the heroes about a civil war amongst their kind. The younger upstarts, not believing in peaceful coexistence with humanity, call themselves the Bloodsworn. Many of the old guard, themselves included, were driven from JorstadtIsland and now call themselves the Council. They ask for a neutral third party to be present at negotiations in New York, so Entropy, White Leopard, Crocodile, and Dr. Desist attend, insuring peace. The current Guardians: Kageryu, G-Force, Warp, and USA Defender, along with allies Dr. Mercury and Mischief, gear up and prepare to invade JorstadtIsland. Guillermo, who has spied on the team in bat-form since the wedding, flies there first, alerting Contessa Selena DeLarosa. When the vigilantes arrive, they find the Coast Guard searching for a missing couple. They bravely enter the labyrinth of caves and find a hall of mirrors, only to be ambushed by many lasers!
#193 – All is Not as it Seems – The team escapes the lasers, makes short work of attacking human servants, then defeats a water trap. They destroy vampires Guillermo and Lazarus, then find a room full of caskets. A stairway under one leads down into Selena’s library, where the heroes have a major battle with Selena, Vincent, Gideon, Anneke, and a werewolf. The attackers gain the upper hand, forcing the Bloodsworn to flee and destroy their magnificent, underground home. The Guardians get out in time, and carry their wounded via the Dark Angel to the GamesMaster. Just before they arrive, Dr. Mercury dives from the plane, and the team discovers that Kageryu is a vampire! The GamesMaster apprehends Dr. Mercury, and all are shocked to find that he has a brain tumor from the Beta dimension! Kageryu reveals all, the group finds Majestic already in the GamesMaster’s care, and their ally slowly cures all three affected heroes. Their host then introduces them to young superhero Araneae, asking them to help him. The area of the demon takeover in Ghana is quarantined. Epilogue: Powerful, unnatural storms buffet the East Coast of the U.S.
#194 – Perfect Crime Storm – Kageryu takes time off to go home to Japan, and Portal accompanies her there. Mystic watchdog Shadow Hunter meets with Majestic. Massive storms continue to pound the East Coast, moving inland every evening. Each time a storm moves into a city, all power goes out and numerous banks are robbed. Aquarius, now calling himself Dr. Squallus, claims responsibility and gives impossible demands. HomelandSecurityHeadTomRidge and a Lt. Colonel Jamison ask the Guardians for help, so Warp, Incandescent, Titan, Majestic, G-Force, and USA Defender, along with ally Araneae, chart the crimes and set up an ambush at the Federal Reserve Bank in Baltimore. The storm arrives, power is lost, and the bank is invaded by Dr. Squallus, Shaman, Ice Princess, and many female Belle Weathers. The champions battle the invaders, and Majestic is nearly killed by a sustained lightning strike from Dr. Squallus and Shaman. The heroes trounce the villains, but Shaman is accidentally killed. All of the other criminals are captured, but soon after, due to a pre-arranged deal, the government sets them free. Zarton Team members Barbarian, Caster, Phase, and Medusa invade a T.O.T.E.M. base in the Amazon rainforest and recover the Book of Lost Souls, then the base is swallowed up by the Earth. In Ghana, the invasion of creatures appears to be over, but a portal region is found scorched. New Orleans mayor Marie Wiltz disappears and foul play is suspected.
#195 – A Matter of Ritual – The Guardians meet and discuss their enemies. Entropy approves the team’s security systems, and Majestic reveals that the lightning attack transferred some of his suit’s abilities into himself. Mysteries surround messages from Shadow Hunter, so a group: Titan, Incandescent, Majestic, Araneae, and Kageryu, contacts Sleeper’s Agency and is directed to an old, abandoned school in rural Virginia. Inside, the party has trouble moving and communicating, and clashes with demonic beings similar to those from Ghana. Human cultists of the Sanctum perform a dark ceremony in order to call forth creatures from an evil dimension. Aided by Shadow Hunter and Maccane, the heroes valiantly take down a Sorcere, the leader of the coven, as well as a guardian demon and other monsters, putting a stop to the ritual. Mischief is interviewed by Mr. Scarlet of the American Security Agency.
#196 – The Best Defense… – After weeks of research, the team holds another strategic meeting. Majestic, Portal, Kageryu, Incandescent, USA Defender, Warp, Titan, and G-Force delve into the enemies of the Guardians, discussing the World’s Scorned, vampires, T.O.T.E.M., Intercrime, Sanctum, the Zarton Team, and others. Majestic reveals news about the danger and growing power of the Alliance; Sleeper and Shadow Hunter visit, providing more information, and more is learned about Project Lull. Araneae reveals that Arachnia is his younger sister. In Arizona, bodies are found devoid of moisture. Father Heronomous Kinkaid begins making public appearances. Mayor Williams and G-Force’s father again present him with the Key to Washington, D.C. L-Force learns that he is much older than previously thought. Mischief goes to work for the A.S.A. and is given the code name Ms. Vermilion.
#197 – Life in a Northern Town – A tip from his mom leads Jay Harris (USA Defender) and Dale Max (Warp) to the small town of Franklin Forks, Pennsylvania. As they arrive, the crash of a water truck allows them to meet fellow investigators Ms. Vermilion (Mischief), Star Corps Guardian Justiciar, and reporter Gary Branch, as well as Dr. Gregor Stanislav, the town’s physician. The heroes learn that a quarter of the town is made up of a cult called the Starlight Cluster; they also hear rumors about the deaths of multiple children. Mischief and Justiciar check out the cult’s compound, then all four sleuths sit down at a coffee shop to talk to Branch, who is shot from a neighboring building. The vigilantes apprehend the would-be assassin, Bronze Blade, who reveals that the town has been serving as a test bed for nearly a decade to Straasha androids posing as doctors. The water supply and vaccinations were tampered with, paranormals were created, and the cultists were used as a control group, all for the purposes of perfecting a weapon that will annihilate all ordinary humans. A guide leads C.H.E.S.S. agent Mindbender through Siberia, where they spy on a former T.O.T.E.M. base. Amidst rubble on St.SebastianIsland near Bermuda, the body of Franklin Emerson jerks to life; he learns that 13 years have passed since Justice Force clashed with Force there.
#198 – Love is a Battlefield – The Crimelord, his organization Intercrime crumbling around him, walks into a C.H.E.S.S. facility and surrenders. Dr. Desist meets with him, and information he gives about a T.O.T.E.M. superweapon is corroborated by recent discoveries in Pennsylvania, as well as a coded message that Grobnyakov recently sent to Chernetsky. Evidence suggests that a rogue terrorist group has broken away from T.O.T.E.M. Asia and plans to eliminate all ordinary humans with a deadly anti-genetic fusion bomb. A team is assembled, and Dr. Desist begins gathering many of the old Guardians. Robert Perry (Entropy) meets David Lens (Shadow Knight) at a tennis club in Colorado and convinces him to accompany them on the mission. Dr. Desist, Entropy, Quiasar, and Shadow Knight, along with G-Force, L-Force, and W-Force, fly the Dark Angel to Siberia, where they meet up with Mindbender. The heroes invade the base, which is constructed partially underground in an ancient meteor crater. They blow past Backfire, Cold Warrior, Snowstorm, Snowball, and Heater, who attempt to keep them from entering. Inside, they confront the terrorist mastermind, Master Zero. G-Force remains in the vehicle, struggling against internal T.O.T.E.M. programming. He reluctantly launches the craft’s missiles, but changes their trajectory at the last second, causing them to circle around and return, blowing up the Dark Angel while he is still inside!
#199 – The Icarus Syndrome – The Dark Angel is destroyed, but G-Force miraculously survives. Inside, Shadow Knight’s darkness makes things difficult on the enemy, who fall back as they struggle to contain the invaders. The superheroes continue to drive past the villains, reaching a room with scientists and the weapon. As the battle turns against the terrorists, Backfire flees. G-Force emerges from the wreckage and aids in the assault. With help from Entropy, Shadow Knight disintegrates the fusion bomb. Master Zero and the remaining criminals are captured, and the facility is secured, but Dr. Desist keeps the Russian forces out until the remains of the Dark Angel and all technology can be destroyed. Majestic meets with a representative for Entropy named Mentor, and attempts to find out more about the Alliance. Franklin Emerson, wearing a Tibetan parka, charms news crews as he arrives at RonaldReaganAirport. He blames past development teams for exploiting his name and likeness with the Force android.
#200 – Shattered Lull – Investigations by numerous Guardians continue, and they attempt to find out information on the Alliance and their access to the team. Dr. Desist, Quiasar, and Portal also talk with G-Force about his struggles in Siberia. Incandescent, Kageryu, Warp, Dr. Desist, and Majestic, along with Mindbender and Justiciar, watch as Tong/Intercrime warriors ambush Vampire’s Alliance forces during a drug shipment at a pier in San Francisco. During the skirmish, an unseen assailant (Sting) launches a powerful missile at a truck, but slips into the water before he can be apprehended. After the two sides decimate each other, the heroes swoop in, capturing many of them. The team gathers more information and continues to pursue multiple leads of research. L-Force is kidnapped, and clues to his whereabouts lead the heroes to a warehouse outside Manassas, Virginia. A hidden Weaponsmaster watches as the champions swiftly dispatch many Amazon female soldiers, but are beaten back by a powerful Oni robot; L-Force is rescued unscathed. At long last, the group discovers evidence against two of their own employees, switchboard operator Melinda Williams and information gatherer John Adkins. The team arrests Williams at her house, utilizing Incandescent to coerce information from her; Adkins is also seized without incident. Evidence shows that multi-billionaire Robert Wilkins III is the one who had been manipulating the group; they also ascertain that they (and Entropy) have been kept busy while the Alliance has maneuvered. The superheroes raid a contact house, but Wilkins is one step ahead of them. Epilogue: The leaders of the Alliance: Gir, General, Sting, Widow, Vampire, Mr. Dark, and Shadow Prince, gather at a villa in the Swiss Alps. A massive earthquake heralds the arrival of Master back on Earth.
#201 – A Nation so Conceived… – A plane accident takes the life of Robert Wilkins III. L-Force and W-Force, at the Guardians’ base celebrating W-Force’s birthday, see mysterious television advertisements for Emerson Technologies (formerly Emerson Electronics). They record a news broadcast with Franklin Emerson and show it to Dr. Desist, Majestic, G-Force, and USA Defender. The heroes all watch a cable program with a panel that includes Emerson, Karen Frost (Motivator), and other experts on nanotechnology. Majestic takes a high-priority phone call from a distressed man who asks to meet the team at the Lincoln Memorial. Afterwards, the voice is identified as belonging to Franklin Emerson! The next day, joined by Quiasar and Warp, the group visits the National Mall, where young adherents of the Church of Divine Harmony pass out tickets and literature in pairs around the Reflecting Pool. The group meets a weeping Emerson by Lincoln’s statue, but the man claims to have never before met Dr. Desist. Tourists and civilians leave the area, and scans show Emerson to be an advanced android. As the cultists press in around the heroes, Majestic grabs Emerson and teleports both of them away!
#202 – Homo Mechanicus – Majestic and Emerson arrive at the other end of the Smithsonian. Kageryu, at the museum already, hears com traffic and joins the team as they rendezvous there. The Emerson android loses all power, so Dr. Desist carefully removes its head to preserve all of its data files. Suddenly, a C.H.E.S.S. transport arrives and four elite Knights disembark, demanding custody of the body. They refuse to take orders from Dr. Desist, despite his rank as King of C.H.E.S.S., and hostilities break out between the two sides. The Guardians keep the head away from the Knights, Majestic teleporting it away to safety. Two of the C.H.E.S.S. agents escape, but the other two are captured. Warp and G-Force aid authorities, Quiasar secures the body, and Dr. Desist travels to Aqua Base, where Dr. Mercury and W-Force examine the controlled captives; both Knights liquefy upon exposure to an MRI. USA Defender, Majestic, Kageryu, and L-Force return to the team’s base, where the head is restored. They learn Emerson’s history and discover that this android, only recently brought to life, was not welcomed by those in power at Emerson Technologies. Warnings and clues from the head point to St. Sebastian Island, but the heroes receive an invitation to meet with Emerson and Kinkaid at a downtown church and face an upcoming Church of Divine Harmony rally in the city. A package with a clue arrives from Enrica Wilson, the Washington Post reporter and sister of California Senator Enrique Wilson, who discovered a link between Emerson Technologies and T.O.T.E.M.
#203 – The (A)Isle of Lost Souls – L-Force, W-Force, USA Defender, and Dr. Desist fly to St.SebastianIsland, where they discover a hidden antechamber in the rubble. They are able to retrieve important data discs that show Emerson ordering his transformation into an android, contradicting his current public version of events. Meanwhile, at a new downtown church, Majestic, Mindbender, G-Force, Quiasar, and Kageryu observe Father Kinkaid work his magic on the crowd while Franklin Emerson stands by. Majestic makes accusations against the Church of Divine Harmony, but Kinkaid makes him and the team look foolish, welcoming them and presenting the Guardians with a $1 million check. As the two leaders shake hands, Majestic momentarily blacks out and a dart fires from his armor, barely missing the preacher! On St.SebastianIsland, the heroes are menaced by four red Hunter-Retrievers, apparently Russian in design. A W-Force hurricane allows him and Dr. Desist to escape; L-Force phases himself and USA Defender into the mountain to elude the robots as well. P.R. representative Sally Pearson is devastated by the negative publicity, but the team does what it can to counter it. Joined by Titan and Incandescent at the base, they debate a course of action, getting legal advice to carefully avoid slander, delaying accusations until they have more proof. The team from the island returns, and the vigilantes begin searching the recovered discs.
#204 – Alas, Poor Yorick… – G-Force scans the android head and identifies a unique signature. He becomes troubled when he discovers that his own bionic eye is of the same design. Mischief discovers Russian involvement via the internet, and Emerson’s head finally expires. Dr. Mercury finds out that his father is being held hostage in the family home in Huntsville, Alabama, so he gathers some elite C.H.E.S.S. soldiers and intervenes. He fells Russian powerhouse Nichevo just before Kageryu, Mischief, Majestic, L-Force, and G-Force arrive. Mischief takes the villain into custody for the A.S.A., but magnetic exposure causes him to dissolve. Crocodile investigates an abandoned chemical facility in Kazakhstan, where he is nearly killed by a mysterious and sinister nanite swarm. Dr. Mercury relays him vital information, and he is able to disintegrate the creatures with a magnetic pulse from his Analyzer. The Guardians gather news about the D.C. rally, Dr. Mercury constructs a powerful magnetic weapon, and the heroes learn that Kinkaid will be holding a summit in Jerusalem in three days.
#205 – FORCE OS: X – G-Force calls the entire team together and reveals that he is dying. The Guardians strategize about Force, getting more pieces of the puzzle from Dr. Niev, one of the Russian geneticists rescued from Siberia. White Leopard contacts the heroes, and USA Defender, Warp, Kageryu, G-Force, Majestic, Dr. Mercury, Quiasar, and Mischief portal to Tibet, where elder Okono tells them of the evil entity inhabiting the Force android. He also cryptically hints that G-Force is the key against this enemy. After debating a course of action back home, G-Force comes up with the idea of emitting a magnetic pulse from the core of the Earth. Dr. Mercury constructs a new device, and it is taken to the Elderess to place deep in the Earth’s core. During the summit in Jerusalem two days later, the machine is triggered, wiping out or disabling those infected by nanites. Moments later, the team, joined by L-Force, appears on the stage and confronts Kinkaid. Dr. Mercury takes out Emerson, a sniper shoots a staff member, and G-Force holds back Kinkaid from interfering. The control of his nanites eliminated, an enraged Force descends from the clouds, hovering in the air while being attacked from below. Quiasar nails the android with Dr. Mercury’s improvised weapon, and the defeated villain falls to the stage. G-Force suddenly collapses in agony and dies in Kageryu’s arms. Energy consumes his body, and a mysterious being appears in his place, grabbing Warp and the shell of the android and rocketing into space!
#206 – Happy Birthday, Kageryu – The team finds that the mysterious being (Neutron) is Geoffrey Wills (formerly G-Force), and that an entity called Liao (the Primordial) returned him to Earth after his death to oppose evil. The Guardians verify his identity and agree to keep the death a secret, allowing Graviton the opportunity to assume the mantle of G-Force. Jay Harris (USA Defender) resigns from the team, but is talked into making it a temporary leave of absence. A few weeks later a group consisting of Warp, Araneae, L-Force, Portal, Mischief, Majestic, Neutron, Incandescent, and USA Defender, along with other friends, celebrates the birthday of Jori Matsui (Kageryu) as civilians at Chandler’s. Titan alerts them to a nearby hostage situation at EastCrestCatholicSchool, and the heroes quickly learn that the villain, Liberator, is terrorist Allen Cooper, now allied with Force and calling for the Guardians. Araneae and Warp head back to the base, and the rest rush to the scene, learning of a bomb as they negotiate; Liberator demands the surrender of G-Force for crimes against Emerson and Kincaid. The criminal spots an invisible Incandescent and activates the weapon, but Kageryu learns that there are actually two bombs! The vigilantes evacuate the children and faculty, bravely protecting them against armed soldiers that fire into the crowd. Warp arrives and rushes into the school office, grabbing one of the explosives and teleporting high into the air where the device vaporizes the hero! Kageryu finds the second bomb in a basement, phases it into the ground, and is obliterated by the detonation! Incandescent coaxes a location from one of the soldiers, and Portal transports the team, now joined by Xeo Fey, to an abandoned farmhouse many miles away. The heroes surprise and pound Liberator, and USA Defender disarms another bomb. A remorseful Incandescent quits the team; USA Defender pledges his support as long as it is needed.
#207 – Spirit Journey – Kageryu finds herself on a misty mountaintop. She meets her ancient ancestor Rumiko, her companion through the spirit realm where she is to receive additional gifts from the earth kami for her heroism and sacrifice. The two face many obstacles and trials, and are attacked by an old man. They battle for many hours, gaining the sensei as an ally after fighting him to a standstill. Over the next few days they defeat many ninja, sneak past mystical snake-men known as naga, and vanquish undead ronin. Kageryu faces and overcomes dangerous challenges, learning that she can no longer vibrate through things, but is able to focus her ki to manifest an ectoplasmic katana. She sneaks past a massive dragon and meets up with Rumiko and the sensei at the top of the mountain, who tell her that she has achieved what her family has not claimed in centuries. They disappear and she finds herself alone on Mount Fuji in Japan.
#208 – The Deconstructionist Tango – USA Defender decides to take some time away from the team. Mad scientist Dr. Anatoly Grobnyakov, who survived the orbital bombardment of the T.O.T.E.M./Intercrime facility in Utah when the last remnant of the Chaos Bomb prototype merged with his body, manipulates reality with his newfound powers. Guardians Kageryu, Mischief, Majestic, and Portal, along with allies Red Dragon, Mindbender, and Xeo Fey, meet comic book characters come to life in the Foundry: Frisson, Shadowstrike, Tabula Rasa, Jeopardy, and Energon. C.H.E.S.S. gives the Guardians a new vehicle called the Black Diamond, and the group flies it to a farmhouse in Tillamook County, Oregon, where they rescue the hero Dreamer from a dimensional anomaly. The combined forces battle and defeat Dr. Grobnyakov, and the villain’s body disintegrates. The farmhouse travels through time and lands in the desert of Las Vegas in the year 2025. The Foundry reactivates the dimensional manipulation machine and the heroes are returned home.
#209 – Dreams wished Forgotten – The New Babylon government asks the Guardians to infiltrate a group called Freedom of Chaos. There is a possible connection to the World’s Scorned, but the organization doesn’t appear to have done anything criminal so the team refuses. Weeks later a news report shows a massive cult-like death scene at that group’s headquarters in New Babylon. The lone survivor, a tattooed teenaged boy, is detained at DullesInternationalAirport in Virginia by I.C.E. officials. Majestic, Araneae, Dreamer, Mischief, Neutron, and Kageryu arrive and interrogate him, finding his story to be full of holes. Suddenly, the Demon Prince of Nightmares emerges from the boy and overpowers the men guarding him. The heroes battle the creature, who unleashes an attack that puts everyone within a two mile radius (with the exception of Kageryu and Dreamer) into a coma. When Kageryu finally sleeps, she joins up with the others in a mysterious dream world. They skirmish and defeat Dar’kness, a changed and evil version of Warp, and some minions, then are challenged by riddles. Finally, they negotiate with the Demon Prince over how many souls he will keep. They wake after a month in the dream/coma and find that nearly 2,000 people died in their sleep. Tesseract, one of the victims, is the only one who remains in a coma.
#210 – Curse of the Fatal Death – Seven suspected T.O.T.E.M. figureheads are found lifeless in a Paris hotel room. Surveillance tapes show Dr. Slaughter, Venom, Supreme, and Power Surge exiting the scene with a burned document containing a KennedySpaceCenter letterhead. In New Orleans to investigate the death of missing mayor Wiltz, Agents Maccane and Huntress from Sleeper’s Paranormal Detective Agency are attacked by zombies in an alley off Bourbon Street. C.H.E.S.S. agent Lin Pei and A.R.T. member Magnet Master join them and stop the threat. Accompanied by local superhero Orion, they follow the one surviving zombie to a warehouse, where they defeat more Alliance undead agents, then follow a planted clue to an old mansion protected by ancient magic. Inside, the heroes find that the ‘old blood’ families had been hiding a mystic treasure, and that the Alliance had kidnapped the mayor for her aid. They use diplomacy, but the occupants refuse to divulge the secret. The vigilantes find a protected crypt, but realize almost too late that they are being manipulated. Shadow Hunter appears and is revealed to be the mysterious Shadow Prince of the Alliance. The mystic treasure is revealed to be the true “Shadow Hunter”, a young child in need of protection. Enraged, the champions attack and destroy the Shadow Prince, saving the child.
#211 – Heading to the Stars – The Guardians recover at the Dream Clinic in Indianapolis, Indiana, watched over by Dreamweaver and Dreamer. Based on coordinates spoken by Neutron in his coma, the team has to choose which of two locations they will investigate. Neutron quickly scouts both locales, discovering the site of a former spacecraft launch in Antarctica, so the team elects to deal with an ongoing crisis in eastern Asia. Neutron flies the team to the KamchatkaPeninsula, where they find a Russian C.H.E.S.S. observatory being sacked by supervillains. The villain Brainmelt and numerous Knights are already down when Araneae, Mischief, Kageryu, Neutron, Dreamer, and Majestic join the skirmish with Mr. Magnum, Clamor, Shadarkos, Jotunn, Samhain, and many Force soldiers. A speedy and mysterious Knight joins the battle on their side, and they quickly defeat their adversaries; only Shadarkos is able to elude capture. A large spacecraft decloaks nearby, and they find that the Knight is Kubera (formerly USA Defender), assisting Kodiak and the Gwai’ir, who have come to Earth to enlist the aid of the team. The captured villains are transported aboard, but Samhain makes a bloody escape.
#212 – Into the Depths – The heroes are brought aboard an advanced Gwai’ir vessel, and they quickly learn that their powers will not allow passage through the ship’s walls or hull. They track the blood-splattered path that Samhain has carved through the Gwai’ir crew, eventually taking down the madman. They discover that Kubera has been aboard for about a week, and that the aliens have already secured Warp, as well as the team’s publicist, Ami Johnson, and pilot, Jerry Hammond. The Gwai’ir implore the group for their help in stopping the Ultimates, who plan to destroy the Milky Way Galaxy with a doomsday device. After one last visit to their headquarters to gather supplies, they rocket into space to give their aid against the great cosmic menace.
#213 – Poker Night – To relax, the superheroes gather together and play poker, spending time together in rest and relaxation as they make the long journey through the vastness of interstellar space. They explore their new spacecraft, the Star Guardian, discovering that Kodiak has incorporated many ideas from modern-day science fiction shows. Among other features, the ship has a working “holodeck”, “replicator”, and “transporters”, all similar to those from the “Star Trek” TV franchise. They get to know some of the Gwai’ir crew, especially making friends with scientist Sir’Inor and warrior Kr’Skir. Neutron is able to race back and forth between Earth and the ship, keeping both sides informed on current events. Samhain mysteriously disappears from custody. The U.S. government recovers a Slaughter Droid out of the still comatose Tesseract.
#214 – One False Step – The heroes make their way to planet P38X392, following the fuel trail of a ship that mysteriously left Earth a week prior. Due to surface interference, they are unable to transport to the planet’s surface, so Kubera, Mischief, Dreamer, Kageryu, and Majestic travel there via a shuttle. They meet primitive alien villagers that appear to communicate telepathically, but are unable to establish meaningful contact with them. Over time each of the team begins to suffer from headaches, and they find themselves irritable and at odds with one another. One by one, the villagers begin to get ill, so the Guardians race to find a cure. They find that the native mushroom-like plant life, which emits a sound outside the range of human hearing, has become injured. The villagers live in symbiosis with the fungi, and when the champions repair the damage with sonic emitters, it leads to restoration for all. The healed plants bloom across the planet, leaving a large, multi-colored map that, when viewed from orbit, points to a location outside the village. There the team determines that the damage was caused by Supreme; they also discover stone ruins that give them clues to star locations, enabling them to continue their search for the Ultimates.
#215 – The Dark Dmitri – Following their new trail, the group flies to the planet Shenel. Araneae, Dreamer, Warp, Mischief, Majestic, Kubera, and Kageryu meet a race called the Vneer that ritualistically send their own through a gateway, following the ancient edict of a being known as Zitkol. The Guardians persuade them to put an end to these “sacrifices”, but soon face the wrath of Zitkol’s emissary, the Dark Dmitri. In short order they annihilate the destructive creature, earning the accolades of the people. Majestic is given a Jaf’ua Staff as a token of respect and gratefulness. The heroes travel through the gate, discovering New Beginning, a paradise where generations of those sent through have formed a new society. Following much discussion and debate, the decision is made to reunite the two cultures, and the integration begins successfully. In New Beginning, the team is introduced to a remarkable building full of star charts that show numerous gateways and other galactic clues.
#216 – Practice Makes Perfect – The team finishes analyzing the discovered data, then bids farewell to the Vneer. They give some intense analysis to the foes they plan to face (the Ultimates), and come up with a plan to face them in a simulation to prepare for the eventual showdown. After hours of discussion and strategy about the villains’ abilities and powers, they recreate holographic versions of Dr. Slaughter, Fractor, Supreme, Power Surge, and Venom. Majestic, Neutron, Warp, Kubera, Mischief, Kageryu, Dreamer, and Araneae then battle the facsimiles, learning tactical changes they’ll need to make when they face the real opponents.
#217 – Sunrise over Slave Lake – Crimson Guard superheroes Raven and Chat Noir discover evidence that cause them to suspect a large-scale paranormal extortion ring in Slave Lake, Alberta. With their teammates incapacitated, they contact the Guardians for help, only to find that the team is away. Neutron gathers some former Guardians while C.H.E.S.S assembles a team to accompany them. Dr. Desist, Mindbender, Cobra, Entropy, Surge (formerly L-Force), and Neutron fly to Canada and make a covert entrance into Envirosafe Gas & Oil to investigate matters. Joined by Quiasar and W-Force, they confirm criminal activities, but the stealth operation goes up in smoke when Cobra accidentally blows up a car in the parking lot! The LeBeque gang is called in, and the heroes square off outside against Mr. Mind, Ms. Body, Earth Mother, Coral Snake, and Stump. Totally outnumbered and outpowered, the villains give up after a brief skirmish, and Coral Snake is convinced by Neutron to switch sides. Further questioning reveals that the extorters were themselves being pressured by another criminal organization: Intercrime!
#218 – The Fall of Intercrime – Contact is made with the true group behind the extortion plot (Intercrime), and it is learned that the villainous organization has been pushed further and further north by the Alliance over time. The vigilantes, joined by Coral Snake, challenge the villains, traveling a few blocks away to confront them on the tarmac of the small local airport. A major battle ensues with the last vestiges of Intercrime: Apollo, Black Empress, Mind Gem, Shadowjack, Robot, Brimstone, Darkshine, Spyder, Crossfire, and Lightning Lord. During the clash, Mind Gem is accidentally slain by Coral Snake, and all of the other criminals except Spyder and Crossfire are captured.
#219- The Aegis Key – The team in space locates another gateway and travels through it, only to find themselves in an ancient structure back home on Earth! After ascertaining that they are miles below the ice in Antarctica, they contact Neutron and reunite with their teammate. The group solves many riddles and puzzles, finding a room that tells the coordinates of each of the parts of the doomsday device, as well as something called the “Aegis Key”. Warp, Kubera, Dreamer, Kageryu, Neutron, Mischief, and Majestic go through the gateway to a lush, jungle world, where a pyramid is defended by a powerful protector, Bloodmask. A clash ensues, and the explorers find that those flying cannot harm him. They eventually defeat the sentry, who disintegrates, revealing a large man-sized key.
#220 – Dark Nebula – The Star Guardian passes through an unusual nebula that nullifies all electronics and shipboard systems. They detect the Serious Owl, an ancient Gwai’ir starship, stuck inside the phenomena, and use a manual tether to reach it. Inside, Araneae, Mischief, Majestic, Kageryu, Kubera and Dreamer are attacked by humanoid zombies. The heroes defeat the undead adversaries and debate whether they should save the antique craft. Eventually they elect to have a few of their own Gwai’ir crew pilot it back to the Gwai’ir homeworld.
#221 – Paid on Delivery – With the core of the Guardians in space, the team is stretched thin. Crocodile coordinates a response of allies and affiliates to a synagogue bombing in Long Island, New York. Entropy, Surge, Maccane, and Lin Pei join him nearby and discover that former Guardian Incandescent is among the casualties. As various terror groups claim credit, investigation shows an elaborate Intercrime hit on one of the congregants; Incandescent appears to have been an innocent bystander. Clues lead to a Pan Asian warehouse in Jersey City housing Maiden Japan, Ramses, Preying Mantis, Apollo, and Electrocutioner. The latter flees and the Intercrime force is subdued after a pitched battle. Documents secured at the scene reveal that Jimmy Hoffa is missing again.
#222 – The Path of Enlightenment – Prologue: Maccane attends a Native American funeral and hears a prophetic chant that foretells events with a bear, fox, eagle, and monster. Dr. Mercury arrives at the Pan Asian warehouse and shows his allies another clue leading to the Path of Enlightenment, an occult shop in Maine owned by Carlton Path (Electrocutioner). The superhero Mentor teleports in from the moon to warn of a cataclysmic danger. The other heroes, joined by Quiasar, Titan, and Xeo Fey, travel via C.H.E.S.S craft to East Wilton, Maine to investigate the supernatural store, which is located in an old mansion. Bluffing and intimidating their way inside and past two employees, they look around, discovering maps, charts, and a gateway in an upper room. Bravely the heroes step through and find themselves in an ancient temple on Nacht Island!
#223 – Knockdown on Nacht Island – The team leaves the eerie temple to find the Destroyers waiting outside. An Elite Guardian robot arrives and the two sides slug things out. The battle is even at first, but one by one the Destroyers start to fall. Electrocutioner, Shapeshifter, and Iron Maiden go down, Ratman and Annihilator flee, and finally Behemoth and the robot drop. A C.H.E.S.S. containment team teleports in and removes the captured villains while Annihilator ferries the injured Ratman to an underwater facility. More Guardian robots converge on the heroes; Maccane, Quiasar, Entropy, and Titan swiftly dispatch one as they journey into the jungle. A ghostly Doctor Apocalypse rescues Shapeshifter away from Lin Pei, Xeo Fey, Dr. Mercury, and Surge, and both villains fly away out to sea.
#224 – Islands of Infamy! – The heroes journey across the island chain, battling Elite Guardian robots and scouting out a native village. As they near a satellite tracking station, the otherworldly Og unleashes extra-dimensional monsters upon them. They take out Og and cleverly use pheromones from his clothing to hold the beasts at bay. The group then disables the tracking station and defeats multiple Guardian robots inside. At the undersea base, Doctor Apocalypse and his remaining Destroyers heal and prepare to counterattack.
#225 – The Path to Nowhere – Doctor Apocalypse and his forces attack. Dr. Mercury, Xeo Fey, Surge, Lin Pei, Maccane, Quiasar, Titan, and Entropy contest the supervillains in a major battle. Numerous heroes fall, and the champions realize that the two sides are evenly matched. They negotiate with Doctor Apocalypse, leaving him on his island with Shapeshifter and Annihilator, but departing with Ratman and Og in custody.
#226 – Despots and Despoilers – The Star Guardian and crew journey to the planet Killox, where they find a war in progress. The stronger, democratic Yironos fight against the weaker, socialist Zanathos, who appear to have been aided by Fractor. Dreamer accompanies an undercover Mischief and Kubera, who spy on students and protesters before penetrating Fractor’s castle-like base of operations. The stealth team is suddenly trapped by Fractor and his Doom Guards, but Warp, Araneae, Kageryu, and Majestic come to their aid and help them defeat the villains. Fractor triggers a doomsday device and seals an inner room, but Warp heroically stops the destruction. Fractor and many captured Doom Guards are imprisoned aboard the heroes’ ship, which departs the system.
#227 – Derelict – Far in the future, the crew of the salvage starship Seagull discovers a derelict vessel as they skirt the borders of the forbidden Dead Zone. Captain Leonell Codi, Marcel Shoemaker and his son Andre, Smiley Amrita, Caitlin Poppy, Blaine Grimm and his son Sharpe, Ostrovi, and Chan Liu board the ancient craft and discover dead, frozen, strangely-clad bodies (the Guardians and crew of the Star Guardian). The Seagull crew debates their options and watches a holographic replay of a Guardians’ meeting where the team considers their choices regarding Fractor and the doomsday device being gathered by the Ultimates.
#228 – Ouroboros – The Guardians use elaborate interrogation techniques on Fractor. Eventually they break him, using personal information from his past to convince him of the error of his ways and turning his allegiance away from Dr. Slaughter. Helped by their new ally, they journey to new coordinates, where they wrest another piece of the super weapon away from the crystalline, rock-like creatures that guard it within an asteroid field. Dreamer, Mischief, Kubera, Kageryu, and Majestic then find their shuttle swallowed whole by a gigantic space creature so large that it is eating the whole asteroid field! They find another piece within the beast and escape, discovering that the massive organism is as big as an entire star system!
#229 – Rubik’s Cube – After much analysis, the team realizes that there is not one device but two, and that what they have been assembling might be a separate item capable of stopping the doomsday weapon. They also figure that the Aegis Key might be needed to activate one (or both) of the objects and realize that hiding pieces is a risky option; the Ultimates will likely come after them to acquire what they want. The group assembles the parts they have found into a cube-like device, then hides the artifacts in the ship’s cargo hold. Araneae, working on an invention, finds that the ship’s computer has accidentally merged with his psyche. Weeks later, as they investigate an abandoned freighter, a mysterious starship attacks the Star Guardian. The heroes rush back to defend their ship, but Dr. Slaughter, Venom, Supreme, Power Surge, and hordes of Doom Guards teleport aboard and cut down all in their path. Dr. Slaughter uses his doomsday weapon, the Subversion Key, to kill everyone on board who opposes him!
#230 – Galaxy Resurrected – Far in the future, the crew of the Seagull consider the paths before them. 5,000 years prior, the cruel and merciless Emperor Gideon (formerly Dr. Slaughter) remade the Milky Way Galaxy, and now rules all as a brutal dictator. The crew must decide what to do, realizing that they have stumbled upon challengers who had attempted to stop Gideon thousands of years ago. A hologram of the Star Guardian’s computer, speaking with Araneae’s form and memories, tells them of Dr. Slaughter’s evil. Their lives likely already forfeit, Ostrovi impulsively activates the artifact from the cargo hold, and reality warps and changes! Through Araneae, the Aegis Key speaks to them all, telling the Guardians that one of them must sacrifice their life to save the galaxy as the Seagull crew slowly disappears and time shifts back into the past. Back before the slaughter by the Ultimates, the Aegis Key pulls Justiciar from across the galaxy to take the place of Warp, who disappears. Kageryu, Majestic, and Kubera race to give their lives while Mischief, Dreamer, and Justiciar battle Power Surge, Supreme, and Doom Guards, who raid the ship and mow down Kodiak and many of the Gwai’ir crew. Dr. Slaughter and Venom activate the Subversion Key and invade, waves of energy from the device eradicating all of the Doom Guards. Kubera heroically activates the Aegis Key to counteract the doomsday weapon, and finds himself in darkness. The heroes take down Dr. Slaughter and Supreme and eject Power Surge, but Venom nearly takes them all out; in desperation Dreamer transports him into space and kills him! Kubera wills himself back to life, aided by an invisible presence. The victors say their farewells to Kodiak and the Gwai’ir and travel back to Earth via a gateway.
#231 – Judgment Day – World leaders and the heads of C.H.E.S.S. meet and discuss U.S./C.H.E.S.S. responsibilities; former Guardians Quiasar and Entropy aid their former teammate Dr. Desist as he faces internal and external pressures from many nations. As Hurricane Katrina starts to hit New Orleans, Peregrine, Kubera, and new hero Leech battle criminalsSwamp Rat and Alligator there. C.H.E.S.S. reinforcements Dr. Desist, Quiasar, and Mindbender arrive and lend assistance in stopping the villains and other looters. The vigilantes then provide aid throughout the beleaguered city, valiantly rescuing many children from a burning orphanage. They travel to Jackson Square and save two more young boys, then engage in a massive slugfest with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Famine, Death, and Plague. The threat is stopped as one by one the mysterious beings are defeated and dissolve into nothingness.
#232 – All in a Day’s Work – The returning heroes find the team assailed by allegations in the media and negative publicity. The Gwai’ir vessel Star Guardian is left in Earth’s orbit to assist the team. Neutron discusses Alpha Site, the Antarctic gateway – now claimed for his company, Wills Aerospace and the Guardians – with Entropy, Quiasar, and Majestic. Decisions are reached to safeguard the gateway and expand the team roster. Under the tutelage of Maccane, new recruits Leech and Typhon battle holographic thugs in a simulator. The three vigilantes then stop criminals and rescue hostages while foiling a downtown D.C. bank robbery; one of the felons is killed by Leech during the skirmish.
#233 – Day Hike – Reporter Gary Branch, having spent over a year investigating the Straasha androids (suspected of conducting secret tests on an unwary populace), contacts Kubera, Warp, and Mischief. Branch updates the heroes, and they all decide to go rock climbing outside Glenwood, Pennsylvania, the town he believes the androids have relocated to from nearby Franklin Forks. While hiking and climbing in the foothills, the four are ambushed by Dr. Gregor Stanislav and Dr. Pietor Lakmanoff (both Straasha androids). The struggle is vicious and intense, but the heroes eventually corral the powerful scientists and turn them over to C.H.E.S.S.
#234 – Boys Night Out – Maccane, Typhon, Majestic, and Araneae travel to FedEx Field in Maryland to attend the Monday Night Football game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. A.M.I. (the Artificial Machine Intelligence that recently merged with Araneae) revels in new sensations and experiences as the heroes greet fans and encounter both negative and positive publicity. Explosions erupt in one end zone, and disfigured zombies emerge from craters and attack the crowd. Secretly aided by A.M.I., the superheroes leap into action, protecting the spectators and press and dispatching the unearthly menaces, who disintegrate into bugs and insects when destroyed. The apparent controller of the corpses disappears, and the remainder of the football game is postponed.
#235 – Look Who’s for Dinner – Kageryu reveals that she is pregnant and Majestic shares that they are engaged; Neutron announces that he and Coral Snake are engaged as well. The Guardians learn that Vampire’s operations seem to have moved from the South to New York City. The Alpha Site gateway starts activating at periodic intervals, and Neutron, Kageryu, Kubera, and Majestic travel to Antarctica, where they witness a distress call with casualties on planet P6X158. After discussion and debate, they go through, finding corpses and signs of combat. Nearby villagers inform them of a threat from two predators, so the heroes journey into a massive, oversized structure and rescue captives from a strange, organic prison. As they evacuate the wounded, they are attacked by two beings, one of whom is a shapechanger. They are barely able to subdue the deadly Wraiths, who drain the life from their victims. Only Neutron is able to enter the aliens’ exotic spacecraft, which came from a distant galaxy. With their adversaries warning that their kind is coming as well as expressing that they view all sentient species as humans do cattle, the team realizes that they face a dire threat. After debating a course of action, they have Neutron exile the creatures on a remote world.
#236 – Collusion – The A.S.A. contacts Majestic and informs him of a West Coast meeting between the Tong and the Alliance. After testing for new applicants, the Guardians discuss the dangers of a partnership among the dangerous criminal factions. Araneae, Mischief, Neutron, and Majestic, along with recruits Leech, Typhon, and Paradigm, secretly travel to San Diego, then make their way covertly up to Los Angeles. After elaborate planning, they launch their espionage operation during the conference. Multiple things go wrong, but sniper shots, a smoke grenade, and the ensuing evacuation cause a significant disruption of the gathering. Afterwards, a mysterious spider web is found in the meeting room. Dr. Dmitri Aleksandrov, a Russian expert on cloning who had worked on Franklin Emerson, comes up with the idea to clone Elvis Presley.
#237 – The Broken Body – NYPD detective Gerard Davis calls in paranormal help to solve an unusual burglary. A shattered statue of Cynthia Davenport appears to have been thrown from her balcony at the Plaza Hotel in Manhattan, and the famous artist is missing and presumed dead. Dreamer, Lin Pei, Thunderbird, Typhon, and Leech investigate and learn of the upcoming New Masters Gala with numerous artistic dignitaries in town. Clues lead to the questioning of French columnist Bertrand La Roche, and the following evening the heroes meet the other world renowned guests at the Westchester, New York manor house of famed sculptor Antonio Caravaggio. At a private showing after dinner, Grecian garden statues come to life and attack! Caravaggio flees, and the villain Malefactor teleports into the chaos and steals the featured painting. English magician Thomas Hedgestrom protects fellow artist and Spanish aristocrat Catalina Cartagena, and the heroes and Davis swiftly dispatch the sculptures. Caravaggio is found unconscious in his wine cellar.
#238 – The Night Masters – When the team arrives back at the Plaza Hotel, they learn that La Roche has been kidnapped. They do research and learn of an ancient sect called the Night Masters, as well as rumors of the occult and ritual magic. Suspecting an assault on one of the remaining artists, they secretly guard Hedgestrom and Cartagena and spy on Caravaggio, whose mansion remains mystically warded. Early in the morning Malefactor and more statues attempt to apprehend Hedgestrom, but the heroes fight them off, forcing the villain away again. That night, at the heavily guarded inauguration ceremony for the gala in the Museum of Modern Art, metal harpies come to life and attack the group, as well as the crowd and valuable artwork! The defenders bravely repel the threat, but again Malefactor teleports in and spirits Catalina away. Convinced that Malefactor is Caravaggio, the group journeys back to the manor house, where they find a secret tunnel in the wine cellar that leads to an underground cavern and furnace. They arrive in time to witness Malefactor beginning an unholy ritual!
#239 – Blood Ties – Malefactor has assembled most of the New Masters artists: Cartagena, La Roche, and a live Davenport (who are each descended from Night Masters cultists), as well as important family artifacts needed for summoning an evil supernatural force. The five adventurers race into the hellish chamber as the demon Malphas bursts from a portal and possesses a vessel of molten metal. Malefactor teleports away and Neutron heroically arrives to aid the group in their battle against the monster. Heavily battered, they finally succeed in dropping the fiend, and it dies as Neutron flies it into space. The Guardians learn that the Tong and the Alliance still have a truce, but have chosen not to work together.
#240 – Hidden Line Items – The team learns that noted attorney Caspar Arbogast is threatening to add C.H.E.S.S. to a class-action lawsuit filed against them (by a survivors’ support group from the incident with the Demon Prince of Nightmares). Majestic calls a meeting and is joined by Neutron, Surge, Kubera, and C.H.E.S.S. representative Lin Pei. They discover that Arbogast is the senior partner in a law firm normally held on retainer to INC (Innovative Nanotech Concepts), a likely front for Doctor Apocalypse. The Path of Enlightenment, the occult store of Carlton Path (Electrocutioner), featured high-tech security from INC, and digging into their Board of Directors produces some familiar names: Hans “Hak” Klijsters of T.O.T.E.M., Jimmy Hoffa (still missing), and the mysterious recluse Mandrake Cobb. Investors include Arbogast and Morton Gerschlag, the father of Incandescent. The heroes interview and spy on their former teammate, but the Gerschlags appear to be innocent. The Crimelord calls their base and uses first names, then reveals that their secret identities are compromised! The team relocates to the Star Guardian and continues the discussion with their former enemy; they also learn his true identity. He claims that they have a common foe in Cobb, and blames him for initiating the Dark Clown assault. The team agrees to use his information against Cobb and other elements within Intercrime, but refuses to compromise their integrity. In exchange, he says the lawsuit will be dropped.
#241 – A Prophet’s Message – During a D.C. bank robbery, the Guardians are asked for by name. Leech, Kubera, Majestic, and Mischief head to the scene, but are stymied as radical Islamic terrorists approach, speak the phrase “Hand of Allah”, and then explode. Despite five deaths and many injuries to police and civilians, the team prevents many other casualties. Later Majestic, Neutron, and Kubera attend a meeting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon, where they learn classified Top Secret intelligence about the dangerous group and other information about the War on Terror. The group then invades a well-protected warehouse in Newark, New Jersey, where they are defeated by powerful meta-humans, including some that look exactly like the late Al-Qaeda leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Kubera flees with the downed Majestic and Leech, but unconscious Mischief is nowhere to be found when they return! Epilogue: Ancient Mesopotamian artifacts of the goddess Ereshkigal and the god Nergal are stolen from museums in Syria, Jordan, and Iraq. Kageryu gives birth to a baby girl.
#242 – Rescue of Mischief – Prologue: Majestic learns, through intelligence sources, that the New Jersey warehouse was classified as a C.I.A. disaster command center, that the Company’s computer network was hacked many months ago, and that the Hand of Allah is likely made up of Westerners. The Guardians meet with the C.I.A. and begin to suspect missing operative William Jensen and eight commandos that formerly worked for him, including second-in-command Adam Snyder. Leech is abducted outside Providence Hospital by unknown assailants, but no leads can be found for him or Mischief. The team turns to the GamesMaster, who shows them surveillance footage of Jensen robbing an artifact in Syria. After media reports show Mischief and Leech razing a mosque in Fallujah, Iraq, Senator Robert Kinsey speaks out against costumed vigilantes. After tracking down potential sites for Jensen’s unit, Titan, Majestic, Kubera, Paradigm, Typhon, and Neutron investigate the lower levels of a building in upstate New York. An unmarked box springs a deadly trap, and Neutron is nearly killed when his force field protects everyone from a massive explosion! Later, Leech suddenly returns with hidden cybernetic implants of alien origin. He accompanies the group as they invade a compound inside an abandoned coal mine in West Virginia, where they discover what appears to be clone-like humanoids and Mischief, as well as weapons, explosives, maps of targets in major cities, advanced alien technology, $2 million and a cryptic note about “Judgment Day”. Leech is restrained from destroying the clones, and what was thought to be Mischief is revealed as a mysterious shape-changing being. The heroes find a secret room with the real Mischief and Kinsey, as well as a missing C.I.A. agent. Everyone injured, including the clones and the shapechanger, are evacuated to the Star Guardian.
#243 – The King is Dead – Thousands of Elvis impersonators gather at the Las Vegas Hilton, where investigator John Proudstar (Thunderbird) meets Sebastian Haff (the real Elvis). Meanwhile, C.H.E.S.S. King Dr. Desist meets with Archbishop Chernetsky (Red Dragon) about recently uncovered mysteries regarding cloning and a secretive training facility in Russia. Crocodile, working with children in Kazakhstan, joins Thunderbird, Red Dragon, and Haff in the country of Georgia, where they discover an exact replica of Elvis’ home town, Tupelo, Mississippi. Drawn by great evil, old friend Lapke arrives from Tibet and joins the sleuths. Missiles suddenly destroy the entire village around them, and the heroes flee into a bank vault, where they find research by Russian Dr. Dmitri Aleksandrov as well as extensive cloning and monitoring equipment. Singing draws them to a nearby church, where they find multiple clones of Elvis at various ages and stages of development. Soldiers from the Russian army fire into the building, killing all of the clones, but Thunderbird uses the wind to blow them all away. Tanks close in, and the heavy barrage incapacitates all but Crocodile before C.H.E.S.S. cavalry arrives for their rescue.
#244 – Long Live the King! – Crocodile, Thunderbird, and Haff fly into Memphis, then are joined by Dr. Desist amidst heavy security at Elvis Presley Enterprises downtown. The heroes meet Priscilla and Lisa Marie Presley, then stand by while the legend feuds with his ex-wife. The whole party welcomes President Bush and Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi, but the visiting dignitary is soon ambushed by stealthy ninjas from an adjacent room. The attackers wound the diplomat and are joined by the powerful Shujin, but are swiftly routed by the defenders. Surprisingly, the blade was not poisoned and the leader’s wound superficial. Shujin and the ninjas, who dissolve into smoke as they are defeated, are discovered to be clones. An unidentified crystalline villain escapes from custody.
#245 – Prison Break – A secretive message by Chillblade caught on tape alerts the Guardians to a potential escape attempt from a prison outside Lubbock, Texas. Majestic contacts the warden, Jeremy Scotts, who downplays the possible security concerns. C.H.E.S.S. and other authorities are signaled, and Chillblade is killed by another prisoner. Majestic, Typhon, and Mischief teleport to the desert north of the complex to intercept Dustdevil, Obituary, Garbage Man, and a controlled Taurus. The vigilantes take down the attackers, who devastate the walls of the reformatory with rocket propelled grenades. Meanwhile, hundreds of criminals are teleported away, aided by staff that have shut down the facility’s power. Majestic accidentally triggers an explosion attempting to remove a bomb near the backup generator, causing the collapse of the administration building. Only minor casualties result, and the remaining prisoners are contained by C.H.E.S.S. and other law enforcement. Suddenly most of the inmates are mysteriously returned. Interrogations by Typhon reveal involvement by former C.H.E.S.S. agent Fourarm, and it is learned that Dark Clown and Obituary controlled others with a powerful serum, including the warden for over a month. 16 convicts remain at large.
#246 – Severance Packages – Kismet dies in prison, but is discovered to be a clone. Majestic learns that Tesseract has escaped from a secret containment facility. Using information from the Crimelord/Organizer, the Guardians fly to West Wilton, Maine, to check out a potential site with Intercrime/T.O.T.E.M. operatives Mandrake Cobb, Jimmy Hoffa, and Hans Klijsters. As Neutron, Typhon, Surge, Kubera, and Majestic watch from the Black Diamond, C.H.E.S.S. ally Lin Pei investigates and is ambushed by five wheel droids outside an INC office park. The team retreats and regroups, but finds that Intercrime Assassins have Mischief as a hostage. After confirming that the real Mischief is safe, the group attacks from two fronts, battling through numerous buildings and avoiding blasts from explosive charges. Eventually they dispatch multiple Assassins and droids, as well as Klijsters and a powerful shapechanger who impersonates both friend and foe. Black Orchid escapes, but Kismet is captured and found to have a complex detonator. Typhon aggressively questions the sociopath, who reveals the codes for an explosive at the Mall of America in Minnesota; it is stopped only three seconds before detonation! The shapechanger is revealed to be the Chairman (Mandrake Cobb), a being who was constructed from the brain tumor of Dr. Mercury-Beta and who apparently killed and absorbed Hoffa. Also recovered are Intercrime/TO.T.E.M. soldiers and technology.
#247 – Memento Mori – Former villainess Solaris appears to have reformed, performing many heroic deeds. Warp and Araneae are moved to inactive status, and Typhon joins the team. Numerous robberies and thefts of a host of ordinary items, as well as money, chemicals, and diamonds, plague the D.C. area. Agent Charles of the U.S. government informs Majestic that the thefts appear to have been committed by criminals currently locked up in Minos, a secretive containment facility. At a celebration with family and friends for Kageryu and Majestic’s baby Hoshi at Chandler’s, a news report shows Solaris fleeing from an attack at a Federal Reserve Bank. Titan, Kubera, Dreamer, Leech, Typhon, Paradigm, and Majestic fly in the Black Diamond to rural Virginia and visit the underground complex of Minos, where they question and scan prisoners and staff. They learn much information from the villain Ramses, eventually coming to suspect Carroll Shipley, a psychologist who sat on parole boards for each of the suspects. Solaris meets the group at a costumed nightclub, and an attack occurs at a nearby jewelry store. The Guardians choose to only observe, but Titan ignores orders and engages Leo, Albatross, King of Swords, and Sabredance. The heroes spot Time Thief and a janitor from Minos, but the villains attempt to escape through a time portal. Time Thief is knocked out, but the janitor (Memento) flees through the doorway, followed by Leech, Typhon, and Majestic. The remaining supervillains dissipate into nothingness, and the gateway disappears, stranding the three adventurers wherever (and whenever) they have gone!
#248 – Troubled Times – Typhon, Leech, and Majestic find themselves in the Old West of 1869, stranded in an isolated storehouse in the remote Arizona desert. They quickly capture Memento, who was using the location as a supply depot. Leech is contacted via his implant, and later an emissary visits the heroes. The following day, the emissary returns along with six large creatures (Vai’Kesh Warriors) that resemble the ancient Egyptian deity Anubis. With Typhon away, Leech, Majestic, and Memento are helpless against the powerful beings there to judge them, and are swiftly killed. Back in the present, an elderly Typhon arrives and informs Kubera, Dreamer, Paradigm, and Titan that they must travel back in time to prevent the deaths. Neutron and Araneae join the group, and everyone hears of a new leader in the Middle East: Imam Mahdi (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi), who rallies the masses and speaks of peace; Typhon identifies him as the emissary from the past. An urgent summons takes the team to Minos, which is under assault from numerous Vai’Kesh Warriors and Hand of Allah clones, including two of Leech. Many prisoners are killed, and the Guardians battle the invaders as a spacecraft decloaks above ground and begins cutting a massive hole towards the underground facility! Some of the Warriors are felled, and the remaining ones teleport away with Ramses and Time Thief; the clones all surrender. Neutron grabs onto the ship as it rockets away into space!
#249 – A New Threat – The heroes enlist the aid of the GamesMaster and travel back in time, where they rescue Majestic, Leech, and Typhon and apprehend Memento. Majestic receives a note from the veteran Typhon explaining that he was a future version of the hero; he also warns about the device implanted in Leech. Neutron explores the spaceship and learns much about the Vai’Kesh and their clone army, agenda against Earth, and infiltration of multiple government agencies; Jensen and the Hand of Allah appear to be working for these hostile aliens. Typhon informs Majestic that he will be taking some time away from the team. Majestic tells Neutron that he is also taking a leave of absence to be with his new family, and turns leadership of the group over to him. Joined by Kubera, Mischief, and new member Paradigm, they discuss many topics, including Araneae and A.M.I. Security measures and the alien threats are evaluated, and they consider whether to utilize the recently discovered shapeshifter (Infiltrator). The Guardians learn that the Leech clones died in custody, and make a decision to completely sever ties with the vigilante. The team also meets with publicist Craig Kovar and plans to become more aggressive in future public relations.
#250 – Games and Wishes – Neutron, Paradigm, Kubera, Mischief, and ally Infiltrator respond to an insistent request to meet with the GamesMaster. Aboard her floating fortress, she explains her wish to play a game, with the winner taking possession of a powerful artifact after completion of a mission. Paradigm outmatches her in a board game based on the Guardians, so she tells them of Intercrime agent Sanders Randolph unearthing the item at a dig in Brazil. Her associate Moonfang leads the group down the Amazon to the excavation, where they enter and disrupt the operation. Multiple factions have converged upon the site, and a melee erupts between the four Intercrime operatives, the sorcerer Malastra and his demon, a Hand of Allah holy warrior and clone of Mischief, and the heroes. Moonfang’s massive pet chimera, Guthix, and Dreamer join in the fracas as well, and the Intercrime forces are subdued; the other villains are all forced to flee. Infiltrator absorbs the memories and knowledge of every agent but Randolph, whom Neutron turns over to the GamesMaster. The champions disinter a box amid ancient Arabic writings, and transport it to the Star Guardian. There Neutron removes a ring, which releases a jinniyah named Lilith that grants him three wishes. He uses the wishes to attempt to save Leech as well as to triple his own intelligence, which comes at the expense of Vai’Kesh brain implants. Immediately after, he appears before Liao (the Primordial), who informs him about the evil genie, purifies his increased intellect, and vouches for the nobility of Moonfang and Infiltrator. Moonfang inquires about the fate of Randolph, and the Guardians begin to question their loyalty to the GamesMaster.
#251 – Destiny’s Auction – Kubera studies implants from the captured Hand of Allah clones, identifying ways to neutralize them and discovering that the clones are genetically unstable. He learns that Leech’s implant is larger and more complex, but his attempts to find the missing paranormal indicate he might be off-planet. U.S. Air Force Colonel Maybourne offers Geoffrey Wills (Neutron) the opportunity to join a secret organization claiming to help the common man against aliens and paranormals. Mischief and Dreamer hear reports from the Middle East of support and popularity for Javed Ahmed Ghamidi. Paradigm meets new superhero Compass at the Longbranch Saloon in D.C., who tells him of a recurring powerful dream from the Primordial about the Vai’Kesh, the Guardians, and Leech; Paradigm has him repeat it to the rest of the team. Neutron receives a package from the future Typhon, giving him clues about the Vai’Kesh origins and motivations, as well as information about an ancient Mesopotamian artifact the aliens are likely seeking. An investigation reveals the last piece of the relic is going to be sold at a high society black market auction in upstate New York. Geoffrey Wills gets an invitation and has Infiltrator, Moonfang, and Mischief set up as hired help inside while Paradigm masquerades as his bodyguard. Dreamer observes invisibly while Kubera and Compass guard the outside. Wills is outbid on the item by an old man, but the Guardians intervene, snatching both the artifact and the money. As they exit, the old man and several others are taken down and revealed to be Hand of Allah clones; the team captures them and retrieves all of the stolen merchandise.
#252 – Deadline – Paradigm gets an unusual message from the Alliance with a vague warning. Neutron is awakened by an automated distress call from Kubera. The Guardians rush to the D.C. suburban home of Jay Harris (Kubera), where police investigate; the residence is demolished and their teammate missing. Clues point to the Tong, who send a package to the team with Kubera’s amputated bionic hands. Vai’Kesh efforts to stir up mistrust appear to have been successful: the three branches of the Tong (Wei, Wu, and Shu) believe they are at war with the Guardians and are prepared to fight to the death. Neutron, Paradigm, Titan, Infiltrator, Moonfang, and Compass defeat mercenaries for the Wei: Black Tiger, Dowager, Hayagriva, Old Man, and Ghengis Chi, in combat at a warehouse in San Francisco. The victors convince their opponents of their intentions and learn where to go next. In Seattle, Shu lawyer Mr. Kausito freely passes along clues before Paradigm bests him at Go over tea. At an abandoned estate in Los Angeles, the group finds an injured and comatose Kubera. Evidence shows that the Wu recently left after disabling a deadly automated bomb in the basement. Three recent messages, from Black Tiger, Hayagriva, and an unknown person, vouched for the Guardians’ honor. Epilogue: Neutron concludes that the Alliance knew of Kubera’s secret identity and gave the information to the Tong.
#253 – The Vision and the Start of the War – At the wedding of Majestic and Kageryu, swarms of ninjas invade the community center and begin slaughtering guests. As attackers are dispatched by the heroes present, more appear to take their place. One ninja warns Dreamer that the war is already lost, then a mysterious stranger shapeshifts into a crow and flies away. Dreamer awakens and realizes that the assault was a vivid nightmare, then spots a crow outside that eludes her attack and escapes. The mystic from her dream visits her, informing the hero that humanity is facing destruction; she or someone else must save everyone. The prophet again turns into a crow and departs. C.H.E.S.S. contacts the team for assistance when Avian Base comes under siege; the likely target is a powerful new Thermal Blaster. Neutron, Paradigm, Dreamer, Compass, and Infiltrator rush to the floating fortress and find many dead personnel. They overpower time-traveling Robot 62417 and Fourarm, stopping their theft of the experimental weapon and then destroying it. The robot is deposited on Mercury and the captured traitor Fourarm’s memories are absorbed by Infiltrator.
#254 – Plant Closure – Evidence suggests a split between Intercrime and T.O.T.E.M., with the latter organization consolidating and regrouping in South America. A postcard purportedly from J. Charles Rush (the Organizer/Crimelord) to the civilian identities of Majestic and Kageryu leads the Guardians to Ketchikan, Alaska via the Black Diamond. Kubera, Paradigm, Compass, Moonfang, Infiltrator, and Maccane learn of a criminal enterprise known as the Alaska Sweater Mafia and of a wheel droid factory in nearby Saxman. A lone Moonfang is taken out by an enormous, moving plant as he investigates. The rest of the squad, including Moonfang’s pet chimera Guthix, invades the factory, capturing the Mafia thugs and Black Orchid, and defeating her many vegetative minions. They rescue their downed companion, and then flee with their captives as an intense chemical fire destroys the entire facility.
#255 – Criminal Liaisons – At the D.C. club/casino Pair-a-Dice, Paradigm learns from contact Cole Rivers that there is a new East Coast crime boss, that T.O.T.E.M. is relocating to South America, that homeless people are disappearing from major East Coast cities, that a contract is out on Dr. Desist, and that a meeting of criminals is happening in New York City. Neutron and Kubera, along with Dr. Desist, Mirage, and Justiciar, spy on the New York gathering at the restaurant Crossroads. The conference includes representatives of a new organization, mercenaries for T.O.T.E.M. (including Mercury Mercenary), and agents for the South American drug cartel Triumvate (Death Adder amongst them). A disguised Sting watches and gathers intel for the Alliance, unrecognized by anyone present. The vigilantes choose to not interrupt the proceedings, satisfied to learn of a date and location in Rio de Janeiro where drugs, money, microchips, miniature power sources, and sophisticated weaponry are to be exchanged.
#256 – Climbing the T.O.T.E.M. Pole – In the streets of Rio, the crimefighters bust up the exchange. T.O.T.E.M. operatives Backfire, Gila, Blonde Berserker, Karnage, Menton, Faultline, and Hellspawn, as well as Triumvate mercenary Death Adder, attempt to fight off the heroes, who focus on taking out the many helicopters, trucks, and other vehicles at the locale. Other than the invisible Blonde Berserker, the criminals are all dispatched and captured, Gila only after a standoff with a hostage. T.O.T.E.M. agent Samuel Kinnes is found to have been permanently blinded by Justiciar, and all of the contraband loot is either confiscated or destroyed. The captured foes reveal that Psi-Prime is the new leader of T.O.T.E.M.
#257 – Assassin Redux – Joshua Stevens (Dr. Desist) announces that he is resigning as King of C.H.E.S.S. Despite the rumor of a $1 billion bounty for his assassination, he decides to go forward with plans for a public declaration of his presidential candidacy. C.H.E.S.S. asks the Guardians for assistance in guarding him, so Neutron brings Compass, Moonfang, and Infiltrator along to assist Archbishop Entropy at the crowded event inside the Des Moines Convention Center in Iowa. Speedster Parker Bowman drops a small nuclear device at the podium, but Compass hurls it from the building and the Star Guardian transports it into space before it detonates! The decision is made to continue, but the powerful Japanese warrior Osore attacks shortly after, and it takes the combined might of the heroes to stop him. The honorable opponent reveals that Carson Rodriguez, a former Intercrime accountant, is financing the hit from Acme Feed Research in nearby Ames. Journeying there, the group invades an abandoned military base under a missile silo, swiftly trouncing paranormals Bluto, Doc, Shadow, and Merc and capturing Rodriguez.
#258 – Prototype – C.H.E.S.S. informs the Guardians that Mindbender has gone missing while investigating the homeless abductions. A C.H.E.S.S./Guardians team travels to Charlotte, North Carolina, where hobo Buford Culpepper tells tales that sound like alien abductions. Surge and Silent Thunder create traps for the abductors while Compass and Justiciar meet with people on the street, the latter drawing media attention when he flashily cleans up a local homeless shelter. Dr. Desist, Kubera, and Neutron do research and acquire a note from Culpepper, which leads everyone but Silent Thunder and Surge to a warehouse on the south side of the city. The vigilantes quickly dispatch an illicit operation run by minor drug lord Marco Biazzi, then discover coordinates that lead the entire group to a small island in the Caribbean. Many levels down in an underground complex, they receive a holographic message from Gir, then a hidden wall slides away to reveal a bloodied Mindbender and many Alliance Super Soldiers! The Soldiers, created from the homeless, attack as a metal covering traps the heroes in the facility. Justiciar, disheartened that he didn’t protect the hostage in the recent Gila incident, valiantly shields Mindbender with an energy field, unknowingly saving everyone from deadly internal explosives inside the captive! Finding their adversaries extremely resilient, the attackers burst the carapace enclosing them to evacuate their wounded ally. Most of the Soldiers flee via teleport pads, but two are captured. Dr. Desist, aided by the others, does emergency field surgery on Mindbender, then they rush their fallen comrade to a C.H.E.S.S. sanctuary, where hours of procedures finally rid him of the dangerous devices.
#259 – Fade to Black – An assailant attacks Infiltrator and absorbs power from him. The Vai’Kesh attempt to frame the Guardians over a period of several days; Paradigm is alleged to have gunned down a drug dealer in N.Y.C., Majestic and Neutron are accused of killing a Tong leader at a club in L.A., and Typhon and Kubera are blamed for downing a charter plane in Miami and killing the terrorists aboard. Even though evidence absolves the heroes in each case, Senators Robert Kinsey and Jim Webb call for paranormal oversight by the National Investigations Department (N.I.D.), a civilian-run watchdog group. Moonfang, Compass, and Infiltrator are made full-time Guardians. Intel from A.R.T. confirms that three systems have fallen to the Vai’Kesh. An imposter of Infiltrator drives Geoffrey Wills to a lunch meeting with Nick Black, CEO of Obsidian Enterprises (a.k.a. Mr. Black of the N.I.D.), who reveals a flaw in one of Lockheed’s aircraft. Black wants a partnership between Obsidian and Wills Aerospace to exploit the defect and gain a government contract; he also invites Wills to join ‘the Trust’ (the board of the N.I.D.). The false Infiltrator touches Wills, absorbing Neutron’s knowledge and memories. In the early morning, the entire northeastern U.S. loses all power and communications, including all back-ups and batteries. The fake Infiltrator enters the Guardians’ base and disables the Leech-monitoring device, while lower in the facility Compass, Araneae, Moonfang, and Titan fumble about in the darkness; simultaneously across town mayor Adrian Fenty is abducted from his home. Dreamer, Paradigm, Neutron, and Kubera race to the base, and a short time later the Infiltrator duplicate and a black robed figure kidnap Coral Snake from Neutron’s residence; clues from both locations reveal that it was not the real Infiltrator. After 15 minutes of darkness, all power is restored, and it is discovered that the Chaos Scourge escaped from the Elderess during the blackout.
#260 – The Enemy Within – Quiasar arrives and helps Moonfang and Titan guard the base, while Kubera, Neutron, and Paradigm head to Infiltrator’s apartment and find that their teammate has been missing for over a week. A hologram of a black robed mechanical figure demands the Mesopotamian artifact (stolen from the auction) be exchanged for the hostages by midnight; otherwise fusion devices will be detonated in numerous major cities. Later the robed being appears along with Javed Ahmed Ghamidi before the people in Mosul, Iraq, revealing the purposes of the Vai’Kesh. Paradigm hacks the feed and illuminates the truth about the enemy, while Neutron flies to the site to confront them. The robed man, Acolyte Alu, is revealed to be Leech, and he quickly drains Neutron of energy. Through Leech a plague is released on the masses in Mosul, and Dreamer publicly denounces the act; the Guardians send immediate aid to further expose the evil intentions of the invaders. Araneae, with help from the GamesMaster, finds the corpse of the false Infiltrator in a D.C. sewer. The team then devises an artificial relic and hides the original in Paradigm’s dimension. Kubera bolsters his armor and Mischief improves the implant dampening device. In a New Jersey warehouse at midnight, Neutron, Kubera, Araneae, Dreamer, Mischief, Paradigm, Compass, and Typhon meet with Leech, paranormal villainess Lynx, a Vai’Kesh warrior, two Hand of Allah minions, and a clone of al-Zarqawi, who have the captive mayor, Infiltrator, and Coral Snake. Negotiations fail, so the Guardians activate the dampening field; it immediately severs their enemies’ connections to their hosts. The team pleads with Leech to turn from the Vai’Kesh, and only after a long stand-off does he rejoin them. The disoriented Vai’Kesh forces are then easily rounded up. Leech’s implant is destroyed, the captives are freed, and the bomb threat is found to be a bluff. As a safety measure the heroes destroy the real artifact and send a duplicate towards a distant galaxy.
#261 – Downfall – Paradigm and Kubera study Leech’s former implant by hooking it up to a laptop, but quickly disable everything when nanites multiply and take over all systems! Dreamer and Compass meet with the imprisoned Lynx; she claims to be an unwitting agent of the Vai’Kesh who permanently exchanged superpowers with Infiltrator. She doesn’t trust her C.H.E.S.S. captors, and convinces the Guardians to lessen surveillance in order to share sensitive data with them. The heroes work with C.H.E.S.S and acquiesce to Lynx’s requests, and she shares that many high ranking U.S. officials have been replaced by Vai’Kesh doppelgangers; they include C.I.A. boss Michael Hayden, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Marine General Peter Pace, and N.I.D. leader Nick Black. The champions strategize with the Queen, then take Lynx into their own custody. Compass hypnotizes Leech, and they learn that the Vai’Kesh plot is being coordinated by the Melding, the merged combination of Brainmelt and an alien Nemesis droid. Suspicions fall on a blackout area surrounding a mountain range in northeast Iraq, so the group decides to thwart the Vai’Kesh with a multi-pronged approach. The Star Guardian sends a global dampening signal, as well as an electronic broadcast essentially shutting down all implants; A.R.T., Neutron, and other interstellar heroes tackle the far away systems controlled by the aliens; C.H.E.S.S. forces discreetly round up the impersonators; Kubera, Compass, Dreamer, Paradigm, and Leech invade ‘the Ship’ (the mountain stronghold). Overwhelmed on many fronts, the Vai’Kesh forces are battered and confused, and most of the Leech clones, which make up the bulk of their forces, turn on each other. Inside the mountain, the heroes take down three of the four-headed beast from Compass’ dream: Shadowfist (William Jensen), Doc (Adam Snyder), and Devoted (Javed Ahmed Ghamidi), as well as Jensen’s crony, Commando. The real officials are rescued, but the Melding (the mysterious fourth head) gets away. In a distant system, the Vai’Kesh fleet collapses a planet to create a black hole/supergate, which they then flee through and collapse behind them.
#262 – Beware the River Card! – Mayor Fenty expresses the city’s desire to keep the Guardians in Washington, D.C. The Gwai’ir reveal to Surge that he is a member of their race. Neutron, working with A.R.T., implodes the Vai’Kesh supergate. The team receives an invitation to join a high-stakes poker event on a Mississippi river boat, with the winner receiving the recently freed Chaos Scourge. Research reveals that Dark Clown is sponsoring the game, which has a $2 million buy-in. Dreamer, Paradigm, Compass, Neutron, and Scion (formerly Infiltrator) acquire the entry fee via Elderess gems, then board the paddleboat Mississippi Queen in St. Louis and begin the slow journey down the river. Scion, disguised as a crewmember, discovers a superpower dampening device, and the Star Guardian removes it; in response all cash and valuables collected as entry fees are teleported away. The other four begin the tournament; after being quickly eliminated Dreamer spots the dealer cheating and confronts him and Dark Clown. Hostilities erupt, and the insane joker paralyzes everyone into fits of laughter. Paradigm recovers and chases down the villain; the heroes then take down Bear Claw and multiple henchmen while another associate activates a device that frees the Chaos Scourge. The beast begins wreaking havoc near some caves outside Kansas City, Missouri, and the Guardians secure their captives and rush to the scene. Air Force fighters engage the flying behemoth, but the teammates heroically protect it from dangerous missiles! Using persuasion rather than force, the champions reason with the attacking monster, convincing it to go with them to a place of peace. After the captive Lynx gives the creature the ability to survive in space, Neutron tows it to the distant planet holding the Wraiths.
#263 – Larcenous Rumors – One after another Guardians Compass, Paradigm, Dreamer, Leech, Mischief, Kubera, and Scion are called to bank robberies in progress around the D.C. area involving paranormals. Each occurs at a different bank, the color scheme of the matching bandits is changed, and their weaponry is continually more potent. Dreamer is injured in an early skirmish, but the remaining heroes take down the robbers and rescue hostages at each location, then are immediately called to the next attack before they can catch their breath. Eventually Paradigm follows one group of thieves into Virginia, while the others, joined by Neutron, take down the final band of thugs. From a secret location, Dr. Destroyer gloats about his manipulation of the team and expresses interest in being joined by his daughter, Mischief.
#264 – Guardian Angels – At a Wills Aerospace press conference Geoffrey Wills presents the Guardians with an incredible, advanced vehicle, the Guardian Angel, based on reverse-engineered Gwai’ir technology. Scion (disguised as Neutron) attends, as does Kubera, Compass, Leech, and new applicant Phase. Later Neutron introduces Ami and Delphi, twin androids that he constructed. The heroes learn that the Gwai’ir race is dying due to a genetic condition, but that Surge is not affected. A team is assembled and accompanies Surge, Kodiak, and the aliens home aboard the Star Guardian, including geneticists Crocodile and Typhon (with family), as well as Araneae, Titan, Moonfang, Paradigm, and Ami. A month later, a Wills Aerospace facility in Seattle is attacked by Pentacle soldiers, demanding Wills and other Guardians. The entrepreneur is unavailable, so Quiasar leads Kubera, Scion, Leech, Compass, and Phase against the enemy, who launch small nuclear missiles from utility trucks and also attack with the powerful commandeered M-5Q tank. The vigilantes swiftly dispatch the Tarot Masters combatants, forcing the tank to flee through a dimensional rift.
#265 – Dinosaurs – Obsidian Enterprises and General Dynamics close major deals in the U.S. and abroad, and money is funneled to Swiss bank accounts. The C.I.A. removes Lynx from custody for national security reasons. Neutron discovers business concerns at Wills Aerospace, and the Guardians’ attempt to claim a European island falls through. Mischief learns that she is pregnant. Following an incredible discovery, geologist Carl Spielman contacts his old friend Peregrine, who in turn alerts the Guardians. Scion, Leech, Phase, and Peregrine journey to Montana, where they learn that dinosaurs seem to have remarkably emerged after a cave-in. One of Spielman’s students was gutted by the predators, which archaeology major Lance Trainer identifies as Deinonychus from the early Cretaceous. The four heroes stop some of the beasts at a nearby farm, then rescue victims in the woods and dispatch more of the prehistoric creatures with the assistance of Trainer, instructor Alexander Patterson, and local crackpot Abner Lill. Patterson and Lill accompany the team in the Guardian Angel to Bozeman, where the Lizard King utilizes more of the reptiles to assist him in robbing First National Bank. The assembled vigilantes go on the offensive, neutralize the threat, and rescue many hostages, but the villain momentarily mesmerizes Leech and slips away.
#266 – Assessments – Dreamer takes a sabbatical. Lin Pei and Mindbender are promoted to Archbishops in C.H.E.S.S. Kubera learns that Obsidian Enterprises is excavating the ruins of the Vai’Kesh ship in northern Iraq, and that the U.S. commandeered ‘the Ship’ away from C.H.E.S.S. some time ago. Senator Kinsey calls the Guardians to the Pentagon for a briefing. Phase, Leech, Scion, and Compass look on as Mischief and Kubera meet with representatives from other groups: Kamikaze and Magnet Master for A.R.T., Dr. Mercury and Mindbender for C.H.E.S.S., and Kinsey and Terrance Henderson, Director of Intelligence with the C.I.A., for the U.S. government. The Iraq dig site, Outpost Tango Romeo, was raided the day before by well-trained Russian mercenaries, and classified materials were stolen. The intentionally confrontational meeting becomes heated at times, especially Dr. Mercury with both Mischief and Kinsey. Eventually Kinsey reveals that a powerful energy source needs to be recovered. After diligent analysis, the team believes the robbery to be an inside job by American forces. Suddenly, the GamesMaster abducts the heroes with a desire to play high stakes Texas Hold ‘Em. With luck Compass barely beats her, and in return she gives them three discs that reveal more about the theft and cover-up and show that Russian villain Snowstorm is working for a man identified as Nemo. They fly via the Guardian Angel to Siberia and corral Snowstorm and his son, Spetsnaz, but at the same time darkly clad operatives (Shadow Company) raid Geoffrey Wills’ home and office for computer information.
#267 – Setup Message – Kubera wisely recognizes that the Guardians’ enemies have been keeping them busy with distractions; he also points out recent dangers with Leech and the need for tactics and strategy. Neutron calls a team meeting and is joined by Compass, Phase, Kubera, and Scion. They discuss Leech, review their enemies, and assign Delphi to do research on criminal groups. Afterwards Leech is encouraged to be a team player and follow instructions. With an emergency session, Congress passes a law declaring Jurisdictional Privilege, granting U.S. law enforcement authority on American soil over all foreign or international agencies (including C.H.E.S.S. and the Guardians). It is alleged that $2.5 million paid to Snowstorm came from the Palladium Corporation, a company owned by team attorney Andrew Thornton. The lawyer is taken in by the C.I.A., who wishes to speak to Geoffrey Wills as well due to implications against Wills Aerospace. The heroes learn that Antarctica has been scanned frequently over the last several months, and that the blockage on their purchase of a European island was illegal. C.H.E.S.S. files an injunction to suspend the new law, but the Guardians begin loading secure items from their base into the Guardian Angel anyway. Following clues, Neutron flies the team to Europe, confronting Leech en route about the new armor and technology he bears. After hacking a Palladium office computer in Carlisle, England, the trail leads back to New York, but the group stops at Leech’s D.C. apartment first after he reveals that Nemo recently contacted him via email. Leech denies knowledge of a softball-sized mechanical, round object found there, but the others don’t believe him. After further confrontation, the team takes the ball and cuts ties with him again. They travel to an office in Brooklyn and confront Jovia and three thugs, who are remotely killed by Nemo after a message via a different silver ball. Four satchels with $1 million each are recovered, and Neutron uses his vast intellect to deduce that Nemo might be Mindbender.
#268 – Missing Persons – Scion, Neutron, Compass, and Phase visit the scene of a gangland slaughter in the Bronx. Police information implies that Vampire’s minions – boosted to metahuman proportions – have been wiping out low-level drug dealers and independent criminals. Later in Kamakura, Japan, Majestic and Kageryu are wed in a beautiful ceremony; present are Portal, Neutron, Kubera, Mischief, and other family and friends. Immediately after, a courier delivers a package with Majestic’s handwriting to the couple. Days later at the Guardians’ base, a failed experiment in the electronics lab destroys Kubera’s armor. Moments later, robot Battletron 117 arrives via a temporal displacement, claiming to be a creation of Kubera from the future. Import company Lawson & Sons has apparent ties to the Alliance, and an I.R.S. audit team investigating them was recently wiped out in various “accidents”. Missing agent Douglas Gantry is believed to possibly still be alive, so the team, joined by the time-traveling automaton, pursues numerous leads to try to find him. Compass, disguised as a civilian, challenges a mysterious man at a fencing club in downtown D.C., and is momentarily taken out by the amped-up thug. The criminal flees, but Compass recovers and dispatches him outside. Neutron diverts to a disaster in space.
#269 – Blind Spot – Mischief steps in to lead the investigation. Scion spies on Gantry’s sister Deborah McDonald in Ohio. Vampire’s lieutenant Viper and ghost-like agents ambush and knock out Compass before he can corral the man he’d dropped. The other heroes track Compass’ cell phone to a false location outside the city; nearby, undercover F.B.I. agent NaPali witnesses the captive hero brought in by Viper and his gang. The order is given to execute Compass, so NaPali breaks cover and calls for backup. The Guardians intercept the transmission and Mischief and Battletron rush in to help the agent take down many ordinary criminals and an undead foreman; Viper flees. The team studies files on the Alliance, who seem to be using large Caucasian males for their augmented subjects. The trail of Gantry leads from Buffalo veterinarian Jim Strong to a city library to Metro Transit in D.C., where the fugitive seems to move past enemy forces unobserved. Clues indicate he will be meeting with I.R.S. fraud division head Marge Smith, so the Guardians set up in advance. Outside the I.R.S. building Mischief faces off with a disguised Sting, who seems content to neutralize her and keep her from the fight. Simultaneously, three heightened brutes attack Gantry in the underground parking garage as he goes to meet with Smith. Gantry is seriously wounded, but Mischief leaves Sting to police and races Gantry to safety behind a security door while Scion, Battletron, and Compass pulverize the villains in battle. Viper observes and then escapes, as does Sting upstairs. Battletron surgically removes Gantry’s infected hand, and the group learns that the man has the psionic ability to deflect attention and hide in plain sight.
#270 – Revenge – Phase, Compass, Kubera, and Scion are called to the Langham Casino in Boston, which is under attack by paranormals. Mace, F.I.S.T., and Hellspawn are seen loading a body into a van outside the establishment, so the arriving team follows in the Guardian Angel. Learning that the hostage is the immortal (but deceased) Sinder, they attempt to disable the vehicle. It surprisingly explodes, but no bodies are recovered from the wreckage. They investigate the casino, learning of odd behavior from manager Jim Henderson and owner Lance Laurel; Kubera finds a note there to the Guardians from “the Future”. Phase studies forensics from the van wreckage and Compass tails Henderson to a nearby Mormon temple, where he learns of a big meeting with high-tech surveillance happening Sunday. Scion follows casino secretary (and the owner’s sister) Julia to a dance club, where he charms her for information. On Sunday, the heroes arrive at the church early and bypass the elaborate security systems; Scion and Compass then wait inside. Henderson arrives later, then members pile in, along with two robots. When everyone ventures into the basement, the Guardians follow. Brainwave leads an elaborate vengeance ritual, beginning to sacrifice Sinder, a child, and a reporter. The vigilantes battle futuristic Robot 62417, the casino kidnappers, two Acolytes, and many robots, which fight in linked groups of three. Brainwave, who had been bathing in Sinder’s blood, instantly teleports away. Phase uses Mace’s weapon, F.I.S.T. flees, and the champions are able to rescue the captives and down many of the robots, including Robot 62417, who orders the explosive suicide of the Acolytes. Hellspawn, Mace, and a fragment of Robot 62417 are secured, but Henderson can’t be found. Alone in the aftermath, a regenerated Robot 62417 departs.
#271 – The Land Behind the Curtain – Neutron turns temporary leadership of the group over to Quiasar. The team discusses expanding to multiple units, encompassing many nations, and having an interstellar presence. A simultaneous cosmic event and lightning strike miniaturizes the entire town of CenturyCity in southeastern Minnesota. A recipient of abilities from the event, ozone researcher Thorian Stormgarde, wonders if he is to blame, and local mentalist Marion Henderson capitalizes on it and stirs up accusations from his colleagues. The government places a force field bubble over the area and begins monitoring the situation. When a miniaturized C.H.E.S.S. team disappears, Archbishop Zhi Ling (formerly Lin Pei) calls in the Guardians; Micron shrinks Quiasar, Mischief, Scion, Phase, and Battletron down to an inch tall with the Electrochemical Expotentializer for a rescue and investigation mission. They check out the location of the lightning strike, CenturyCityUniversity, then rush to stop emergencies around town. First they restrain strangely behaving youth rioting at a Wal-Mart, where they chase and meet Stormgarde. He joins the group as it races to an aircraft hanger, rescues innocent civilians, and takes down a deadly gigantic cat that made it into the township before the bubble went up. The missing agents are found and change back to regular size. Clues lead to swanky condominiums, where the heroes easily defeat Henderson and her criminal assistant Marlon Grachiowski. The team reverts to normal, but all inhabitants of the town, including their new ally and the criminals, appear to be permanently changed on a quantum level. Stormgarde decides to use the moniker Oz, while the captured Henderson chooses the name Marionette.
#272 – Computers, Robots, and Tesla Coils, Oh My! – Oz accompanies Jay Harris (Kubera) to GearFest, a technological show in Seattle. Also tagging along are Scion (as an ordinary man), Kaushal Satyavrat (Compass), and Battletron, whom Jay disguises as a prototype robot. After Jerry Hammond flies them to the Northwest in the Guardian Angel, they check out the exhibits, being drawn in particular to an apparent working Tesla coil. Suddenly, two large 20’s-era robots sprout rotors and lift into the air, firing down on the crowd! Aided by Quiasar, who joins them from nearby, the heroes battle the automatons and keep them from harming the public. They eventually disable the robots, finding two bewildered members of the local Tesla Society inside; the other two seem to have mysteriously disappeared.
#273 – Encroachment – Precious gems and metals are stolen in raids all over the country; the Guardians suspect the Pentacle suite of the Tarot Masters and, based on the shape of a pentacle, ascertain the next strike will be in Alaska. Kubera, Phase, Compass, Battletron, Quiasar, and Scion fly in the Guardian Angel to Barrow, where they find a Page, many soldiers, and three large, powerful saber-toothed cats raiding an unmarked warehouse of raw diamonds. The team dispatches the thieves before they are able to escape through a dimensional gateway back to Viné. During the skirmish, Phase commandeers and rides one of the felines, which she later decides to keep as a pet. The Alyeska Pipeline Service Company (TAPS), owned by a consortium of oil companies, donates $50 million to the Guardians, but asks them to keep the location of the diamond strike secret. Dr. Mercury is made King of C.H.E.S.S.
#274 – Chain Reaction – Scion warns his teammates of possible high-level conspiracies orchestrated by the N.I.D.; Beaumont Industries (the Obsidian Enterprises front company excavating ‘the Ship’), Roche Industries (a subsidiary of aeronautics giant General Dynamics), and Baldwin Biogen (a medical research firm tied to Obsidian) all have names that tie into the Knights Templar of old. The Guardians then meet with C.H.E.S.S., where Mindbender closes the case on the Alliance Super Soldiers. While there, Delphi receives a phone call at the Guardians’ base from Nemo, and the group witnesses a press release with General Dynamics owner Rob Stam announcing a new aircraft. Mindbender informs them of a breaking incident in the southwest, so Compass, Phase, Battletron, Mischief, and Kubera fly in the Guardian Angel to San Ignacio, a southern Texas town on the river Rio Grande. They arrive amidst a battle between T.O.T.E.M. and Force (who had been cooperating in a drug distribution ring) also involving police and civilians. They find massive property damage and many casualties, with Teleporter and Stargazer already dead. Karnage, Gila, and Mariah clash with Hailstorm, Pyre, and Oscillator. The adventurers discover sonic brainwashing (via music masking hidden auditory instructions) and government agents V (Panther), X (Mercury Mercenary), and Y (Niles Foxworth) from Shadow Company monitoring the situation. After Mariah flees and the other supervillains are defeated, a few of the Guardians blame Shadow Company for their inaction; they in turn accuse the heroes of interference. During clean-up, a critically injured Faultline is rescued from under wreckage and rushed to emergency care.
#275 – Vendetta – The Guardians are called to a hostage incident at the same Mormon temple in Boston. Jerry Hammond flies Quiasar, Kubera, Scion, and Compass in the Guardian Angel to the scene, where police and S.W.A.T. are mobilized. Brainwave kills hostages at regular intervals and demands $10 million. Mindbender leads arriving C.H.E.S.S. forces as the heroes and law enforcement agencies make tactical entries from different points. They take down multiple linked robots, but Brainwave is discovered to be a hologram and F.I.S.T. and Adamantron teleport away. Only six are found dead and 73 civilians are rescued; Mindbender takes one of the robots into custody. The team learns that simultaneously Shadow Knight has been attacked in his Colorado mansion, so C.H.E.S.S. teleports the four Guardians there. They find the perimeter breached, murdered staff, and a vault with possible bodies within, and engage agents of the Future in combat. After a fierce battle, they down one Acolyte, cause another to self-destruct, and force Robot 62417 to flee. Brainwave, bathing in blood in the crypt, delivers a puzzle they must solve to rescue the inhabitants. The vigilantes quickly find the answer (the word “vendetta”) which opens the vault, rescuing Shadow Knight. Brainwave teleports away, and White Leopard is found dead inside the vault.
#276 – A Long Way from Home – The Star Guardian ventures too close to a black hole, causing it to lose gravity and power. Suddenly, strange worm-like life forms invade the ship, leeching energy from everyone. The insubstantial creatures appear to exist at a different frequency, and the heroes find that they too are continually fluctuating and phasing to different states of corporealness, making it difficult to interact with their environment, the attackers, and each other. While Titan, Moonfang, and Paradigm struggle against the invaders, the extraordinary beings seem drawn to Typhon, and they swiftly cover him. Araneae aids Crocodile in constructing an improvised device, and they pulse an energy blast throughout the entire vessel that eliminates all of the monsters. Outside, none of the star systems are recognizable; it appears they have somehow traveled extremely far across the universe. Typhon remains enclosed within a bizarre cocoon, likely undergoing a metamorphosis.
#277 – The Dragon of Juompur – A prophetic poem found in the late Stargazer’s home suggests danger to Mischief’s unborn child. Senator Kinsey drops from the Presidential race but begins considering a run for Vice President. Scion’s ally Senator Falcon informs him of paranormals seeking a magical statue in the South China Sea. The Guardians stealth via the Guardian Angel to the small island nation of Juompur, where they split into three teams. Scion questions locals in the capital city of Hakur. Battletron and Oz discover an Apache Longbow helicopter hidden in the rainforest. Phase and her cat find a trail leading to a small temple, where Occult is performing a ceremony with a small, iron statue to open a dimensional portal. The group reunites and invades, quickly taking down Chainsaw and Occult and disrupting her ritual. As Oz flees the shrine with the artifact, the Huntsman briefly emerges from the jungle and destroys the relic with small rockets. Inside, the heroes face a counterattack, but they dispatch Oblivia and force Albatross to flee. Scion and Battletron give chase and prevent his escape using the helicopter, but he is able to elude capture by flying away.
#278 – Bug Hunt – Following up on an old lead uncovered by Scion (the undead attack on Monday Night Football nearly three years earlier), Kubera, Battletron, and Compass investigate insect reports in the basement of D.C. GeneralHospital. Accompanied by hospital security officer Scythe, they enter a labyrinthine network of underground tunnels beneath the city and are soon joined by veteran hero Mirage and the alien Kak. The further the group travels, the larger the concentration of bugs becomes. Amidst a swarm of smaller insects, they engage in battle with man-sized insectoid beasts. As their adversaries are defeated, they quickly reconstitute into larger beings again. Eventually the champions overcome the monsters and follow the path into the bowels of RFK Stadium, where they confront the mastermind, the Lord of the Flies. Kubera is able to freeze the giant organism, and the rest of the insects scatter and flee. Shapeshifter frames a janitor working at the clinic of Mischief’s doctor by appearing as him on a security video.
#279 – Innocence Lost – Agent Zero operative Dr. Antiquity is given a magical necklace by a friend at the Smithsonian. Nearby, at a Guardians anti-drug speech in FolgerPark, an explosion collapses a grandstand full of people. Oz, Kubera, and Battletron rush to aid the wounded, Scion dispatches suspect Chance Peters, and Mischief spots Annihilator observing the scene. Silent Thunder, Scythe, and Kak respond from around the city and Dr. Antiquity arrives with Ratman in tow, using the necklace to question the other spying villain. Kubera has a lively exchange with Annihilator before both Destroyers depart. Later, with Scion, Oz, and Dr. Antiquity accompanying Mischief at her doctor’s appointment, four elementals: Professor Fathom, Sylph, Inferno, and Granite, come for the child. Their allies respond from across the street and together the heroes beat back the attackers and capture Sylph. They set up a makeshift hospital room in a nearby safehouse, but the Destroyers head straight toward them as Mischief goes into labor. Her doctor morphs into Shapeshifter as Annihilator, Behemoth, Ratman, Iron Maiden, and Electrocutioner siege the building. The Guardians engage the enemy and fly Mischief to safety as Doctor Apocalypse watches the raging battle from afar. Eventually the vigilantes begin to get the upper hand, and the villains decide to flee; only Iron Maiden is captured. In C.H.E.S.S. custody, Mischief gives birth to a baby girl.
#280 – Syzygy – In space, Paradigm, Moonfang, and Crocodile follow a signal from Earth’s Voyager probe and crash their shuttle onto a strange planetoid. Numerous moons are seen in the sky, but the laws of physics don’t seem to apply and Moonfang is unable to summon Guthix. They find a beach with a planted American flag, then meet Apollo 2 astronauts Henry Williams, Hank Sutton, and Phillip Johnson from Earth, who all believe it’s the year 1967. They also encounter Kak, an alien who arrived from modern-day Earth via a time warp. After learning that their astronaut allies have superpowers, the group is told that they are champions that must overcome dangerous adversaries. First they face and defeat multiple versions of a female paranormal named Shard. They travel through unusual doorways and move through different landscapes, but the environments confuse them as they have difficulty navigating the bizarre terrains. Next they engage Power Surge, Titanus, Shard, Firebird, Shockwave, and Mecha, and best them in battle. Finally, they reach a large pyramid and are greeted by the Nexus, a near-omniscient being who watches every dimension, time, and world. He sends most of the victors back to places (and times) they came from, and transports the Star Guardian all the way to the Gwai’ir homeworld. Typhon’s condition worsens and he dies.
#281 – Discovery – C.H.E.S.S. intercepts a message suggesting that a number of major U.S. cities might be in danger from powerful biological weapons. Archbishop Mindbender briefs Compass, Battletron, and Kubera, along with paranormal Special Forces operatives Dead-Eye and Tin Soldier, and analysis and discussion points towards T.O.T.E.M. Joined by allies Mirage and Scythe, the team travels via the Guardian Angel to a T.O.T.E.M. base in Honduras, where they find an invisible stealth aircraft. Unable to gain access to the vehicle and believing that a raid by another group is already underway, they venture into an underground facility and take out many extremely tough Prime Squadron soldiers. In the heart of the complex they defeat T.O.T.E.M. leader Psi-Prime and his consort, White Heron. Before they can depart, they are confronted by Black Talon, Shadow Company Agents W (Hans Wagner) and Z (Timothy Roberts), and a mysterious person clad in black. They learn that Black Talon is Nemo, and the dark agent unmasks to reveal Leech. Nemo discloses that he is actually Mindbender (working for the N.I.D.), and they demand that the two supervillains be turned over to them. The exhausted heroes realize that they are outgunned, so Compass negotiates, getting their adversaries to spare White Heron in exchange for Psi-Prime. The N.I.D. team executes Psi-Prime and exits, leaving the bewildered Guardians and their allies to gather up the remaining captives.
#282 – The Executioner – The Guardians are called to Blue Diamond, Nevada, just outside Las Vegas. A supernatural fog seems to be emanating from a lake in the middle of the small town, and news footage shows that a determined paranormal has killed two policemen. Kubera, Phase, Mischief, Compass, Scion, and Scythe fly the Guardian Angel to the desert community and find the townspeople behaving much like zombies. The vigilantes take down the Executioner and two Acolytes from the Future while also subduing many of the strangely-behaving townsfolk. Adamantron and F.I.S.T. arrive and join the battle against the superheroes. Kubera activates a device that prevents teleportation and the adventurers take down all of the villains. They make their way into a large library in town and square off against two more Acolytes and Brainwave. Suddenly, Robot 62417 invades and launches itself straight at Brainwave, blasting him out of the building. The Acolytes self-destruct, seriously injuring Phase’s cat Frostpaw, while Scion snags Brainwave and rushes him to safety. Robot 62417 relentlessly continues after Brainwave, claiming that he is to be eliminated, but Scion bravely protects him. Finally, the automaton breaks off its attack and time travels away. The zombie-like effects and fog appear to be the result of an experiment by Brainwave. Epilogue: A captured Brainwave is found to have a terminal illness.
#283 – Progeny – Mischief takes maternity leave, and Phase and Battletron are made full-time members. Mindbender, no longer with C.H.E.S.S., contacts the Guardians and informs them of possible evidence about Psi-Prime. Following this intelligence, Phase, Kubera, Battletron, Compass, and Oz fly the Guardian Angel to CrockerMountain in Maine, where recent reports of Bigfoot have alarmed some locals. They enter an abandoned installation and find a cryo-chamber marked “Adalwolf” (Noble Wolf). Clues indicate that a white-haired being recently departed the area and the team wonders if Psi-Prime transferred his consciousness here upon death. After learning of an important gathering in Rio de Janeiro, they travel there, accompanied by former member Amber. They set up ahead of time in hopes of busting the meeting, but are surprised by a projection of the new head of T.O.T.E.M., Adalwolf, who expresses his displeasure with the current leadership. A gas is released and the heroes flee; inside Jotunn, Carlos Franco, Mariah, and the Purple Mask are instantly killed by the toxic vapor.
#284 – A New Beginning – Fugitive Jim Henderson is tailed by the F.B.I., who learns he is meeting with a cultist in a diner outside Las Vegas. Guardians Compass, Scion, Quiasar, Kubera, and allies Oz and Amber fly there in the Guardian Angel and stake out the eatery before (an unusual looking) Henderson arrives with motorcycle riding thugs. Soon after a police car shows up bearing an elegantly dressed cultist flanked by zombie-like police officers. Inside, Henderson and the cultist negotiate details on a large purchase of linked robots; the cultist fears Robot 62417 and speaks of a sacrificial ceremony that night where a new leader will be appointed until their King (Brainwave) can return. That evening, a massive convoy of vehicles including police cars, limousines, and large vans, drives to an abandoned mansion south of the city. Scion receives a flashback from Fourarm’s memories that reveals it to be Brainwave’s base of operations and the place where the Future met Robot 62417. Hordes of linked robots pile from the vans while superpowered clowns climb out of the limos; many criminals and zombie-like police emerge from vehicles as well, and the heroes realize that they are hopelessly outnumbered. Scion sneaks inside, where at least 20 hostages are held, but is spotted. Thugs begin shoving captives into tubs of acid called “streams of twilight”, so the vigilantes burst in, Kubera and Quiasar using force fields to protect the innocent. The champions fight against many opponents and take down the skeletal new leader, but become overwhelmed by the sheer numbers against them. Robot 62417 arrives and joins the battle, further skewing the odds against them and forcing the team to retreat with the hostages.
#285 – A Fistful of Force – As the Guardians and their associates are engaged in various activities, a suspicious call comes in from local shop owner Mr. Wherner. Scion is closest to the scene and responds to find Doctor Apocalypse, who is still very interested in Mischief’s child. He attempts to arrest the villain, but is swiftly smashed unconscious. Quiasar and Amber arrive after the villain has departed to help clean up. Scion returns to a meeting with Senator Able, where he learns more about T.O.T.E.M. Kubera (as Jay Harris) and Battletron both visit a robotics symposium at the University of Maryland. Phase, hiking in upstate New York with Frostpaw, comes across the discovery of a costumed body. Closer examination reveals that it is an inactive Force android, so she and Scion bring it back to their base. Oz is presented with a Key to CenturyCity and is given an incredible new airship by his proud community. At the base, Quiasar presents a briefing on Force for the newer Guardians; also present are Entropy, Dr. Desist, Majestic, Kageryu, and Neutron. Later, Quiasar, Phase, Scion, and Battletron headline a presentation at ArlingtonCemetery in Virginia, while at the base Kubera (unarmored) and Amber examine the android. When they become more invasive, Force suddenly springs to life! Kubera stalls the villain long enough for Scion to fly the others back, and a melee ensues when Force attempts to leave. Seriously outnumbered, Force takes a pounding, but gradually he uses his psionic persuasion to turn Frostpaw, then Quiasar, and finally Scion to his side!
#286 – Divide and Conquer – Oz arrives in his new dirigible, Bilskirnir, and joins the fight. One by one the heroes under Force’s psionic sway recover, and the mastermind is blasted until he is completely destroyed. The android’s consciousness transfers from his body, leading the team to a warehouse in Tappahannock, Virginia, where the signal appears to be scrambled and split into multiple directions. At this location the vigilantes also notice recent signs of military-like activity. Later, Kubera and Quiasar engage in battle exercises with the U.S. Armed Forces at Fort A.P. Hill, an installation in Virginia, and learn about powerful new M10 GS Patton tanks used to neutralize paranormals. They also hear that many European soldiers have been deserting recently. Oz, Battletron, Phase, and Quiasar visit a local elementary school and learn that Adalwolf, several supervillains, and military types have been seen in the D.C. area. Compass does a television interview and slams Senator Kinsey. Very early the next morning, Phase, Oz, Compass, and Battletron respond in the Guardian Angel to Fort A.P. Hill, where along with Quiasar and Kubera they stop T.O.T.E.M. paranormals Bjorn, Sable, and Panthera, as well as many soldiers. The champions disable many helicopters, but are informed of a hostage situation back in D.C. The villains all flee in a number of heisted M10 GS Patton tanks.
#287 – Friend or Enemy? – Compass, Oz, and Battletron fly back to D.C. in the Guardian Angel to deal with the hostage crisis while the others remain to secure the remaining tanks and weapons. Amber and Scythe join them at a hotel having a conference, and after coordinating with police they attempt to sneak in. Compass is spotted, so the armored enemy soldiers kill a couple of captives. The team attacks and starts dispatching the combatants, but are soon caught off guard as they begin facing off with their greatest foes. Compass sees Robot 62417, Oz perceives Marionette, Amber squares off with Caster, and Scythe combats a man-sized insect; Battletron is not affected. Compass blasts his robotic nemesis, but in reality hits an innocent female hostage! Other attacks by the heroes strike each other. As the last of the victims are rescued, Adalwolf slips from the building. Battletron gives chase in the Guardian Angel, recklessly destroying highway as he blasts the villain’s vehicle with shipboard weapons. An explosion results when it is hit, killing the T.O.T.E.M. soldiers, but Adalwolf is nowhere to be found. It is later learned that the villain was able to abduct six of the world’s top robotic and nanorobotic engineers. The captured soldiers, including one from Fort A.P. Hill, are discovered to be the missing ones from Europe; they are also found to be elite members that have been genetically augmented.
#288 – Black Chamber – President Bush presents Quiasar and Kubera with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian award, for their years of service and recent bravery at Fort A.P. Hill. Battletron, Scion, Compass, and Quiasar fly in the Guardian Angel to Seattle, where at a briefing they meet many law enforcement leaders and acquire new information about the Tong and Alliance. While there, they talk to representatives of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game, who alert them to a current problem. A recent explosion on the Alaska Peninsula by illegal fisherman exposed an underground facility named Black Chamber, a hidden headquarters for a secret spy organization called MI8 (a precursor to O.S.S. and the C.I.A. from World War II). Members of Fish and Game investigated, and three people appear to be trapped and missing inside. The team flies their ship to the site, where they aid three other injured persons. They cautiously venture into the structure, investigating a building that was evacuated in the 1940’s, and disable numerous robotic sentries. Eventually they find and rescue the men and evacuate them to safety.
#289 – Shootout on Space Station One – Portal returns to the Guardians’ base and shows off her young twins, boy Tarnelan and girl Syreenla. Also present, Mischief asks Neutron for permission to use the Alpha Site gateway to find a suitable safe home for her daughter; the Elderess are proposed as a possible alternative. Later, an emergency call informs the team of trouble on Space Station One. Kubera, Neutron, Quiasar, Scion, Battletron, Amber, and Phase infiltrate the facility via an A.R.T. shuttle, then find the craft the invading forces used. After disabling the enemy’s vessel, they pull it away and enter through the airlock it was docked at. They are attacked by Wrack, Crater, Soulburner, Sequoya, Centurion, and Diamondstar, and an incredible slugfest ensues. Many of the toughest Guardians fall, but they are able to eventually overcome the villains. Scion, changed into a wooden statue by Sequoya, remains transformed for nearly a day. In the aftermath, Centurion’s plans for vengeance on the Montuori Corporation are uncovered.
#290 – Night of Suffering – Aboard the Star Guardian, an impenetrable carapace surrounds Typhon’s deceased body; Crocodile has it moved to the cargo hold, where it is monitored continuously. As the starship enters the Gwai’ir system, it is suddenly flung deeper into the far reaches of space, and astronaut (and recent ally) Hank Sutton unexpectedly appears aboard. The crew determines that they are two months from their destination and begins heading back to the Gwai’ir homeworld. One evening a month and a half later, all aboard are incapacitated. When the crew awakes, they find that all systems and equipment have no power and are completely inoperable, and that dark strands of energy coruscate around Typhon’s shell-like cocoon. Titan, Araneae, Crocodile, Kodiak, Paradigm, and Sutton struggle to ascertain what is going on as a wall of energy blocks engineering and a strange vessel is detected outside, attached to their craft; an unusual darkness also seems to be growing and draining power from the ship. When Titan strikes a shadowy cloud a man falls to the ground, and the group is shocked when they discover it is Karl Benner, Typhon’s human form before his original transformation!
#291 – Dark Matter – Benner parts the energy wall blocking the engine room; inside Crocodile, Araneae, and Sutton find it filled with a variety of alien bugs, witness many crewmembers being slowly transformed, and are attacked by a dark armored being. Just outside, Titan notices Benner change into a similar dark entity, who shoves him inside with the others! The adventurers battle the adversary (actually a controlled Typhon), while the one outside (Sadow) rushes to the bridge and assails Kodiak, causing him to also begin to transform. When a controlling creature is knocked off of Typhon, he ceases fighting. Outside the ship, Paradigm cleverly damages the enemy vessel, causing it to uncouple. Power returns to the Star Guardian, and Sadow disappears. The crew in engineering is rescued, but the team remains suspicious of Typhon, again appearing human but with mysterious, new abilities. They move him to a cargo bay, where he reunites with his family. Sadow is detected on the hull, and attaches a bomb as he disengages. The heroes are able to transport the powerful explosive into space before it detonates, but are unable to grab the villain, who reappears inside the science lab. They rush there and clash with the formidable warrior, finally subduing him after a violent struggle. The Guardians remove the alien’s enhancements and secure him in a containment cell, and after debating a course of action decide to tow his ship at a distance with a tractor beam. Epilogue: Weeks later, Sadow and his ship are turned over to a rival hive.
#292 – Involuntary Servitude – Convictions of many in the Lawson & Sons trial threatens to shake up the East Coast crime cartels. Reports on Alliance activity lead the Guardians to investigate Vampire (now calling himself the Crimelord) and his organization. Maccane of Sleeper’s Agency is hired and tracks a suspected Alliance truck to a small building in D.C.; the group soon learns the F.B.I. also has it under surveillance as a suspected terrorist cell of Jihad. The heroes swiftly dispatch the criminals inside and learn that the longtime explosives factory was recently shut down, the terrorists intending to be suicide bombers. Emails from Jihad boast of his new ally, Cardinal Guido Bentivoglio, working for Vampire. Information learned by monitoring suggests Vampire has issued a kill order on the Cardinal, so the team splits up and begins searching for him. Quiasar and Compass go with new F.B.I. ally Aaron Robinson and Kubera stays back in reserve. Battletron and Scion discover the Cardinal’s files being searched at The Bronze, a famous nightclub he owns as Joe Benson. Meanwhile, Maccane and Phase find a shallow grave at a Long IslandCity safe house in Queens; inside they find a muttering old lady fixing tea. Maccane follows her into a hidden basement, where Benson and a bodyguard are waiting. Scion and Battletron are called in, the tea lady goes back upstairs, and a stun grenade reflects back on the heroes, felling Scion and Maccane along with the mysterious woman. Later, with the basement rigged to explode, Benson is dragged upstairs; his bodyguard is felled when he follows. Interrogation of Benson reveals a controlling tattoo of ancient magic; once it is neutralized, the cooperative Cardinal reveals that Jihad is about to launch a major attack on New York City! The adventurers race to a former drug factory of the Cardinal and disable trucks as they roll out, the F.B.I. capturing the drivers. The guards inside prove difficult to overpower, but once their leader Jihad is taken out they slow considerably. Shadows coalesce into Dar’kness, who threatens New York and disappears. Scion, in Neutron form, contains a massive explosion in the building with a large force field! The guards inside dissolve, but nothing else appears to be affected. The trucks are found to contain missiles armed with chemical weapons, likely destined for numerous East Coast targets. The team learns that Jihad was unwittingly being controlled, and that Freedom of Chaos was behind the entire plot.
#293 – One Step Forward – After Battletron’s rat displays unusual behavior, Neutron, Battletron, Kubera, and Quiasar find coding inside of it that reveals a secret message about a T.O.T.E.M. strike on a clandestine weapons facility in Cleveland. Aware of a waiting trap, the group alerts worldwide law enforcement, then Quiasar, Phase, Compass, Kubera, and Neutron head there in the Guardian Angel anyway. As they conduct surveillance, T.O.T.E.M. androids (light shock troops) attack the compound and begin terminating the military forces there; the team intervenes, moving inside the building to stop them. Leech arrives and attacks the androids, and the untrusting Guardians secretly plot to capture their former ally. As the battle with the machines rages on, Compass knocks out Leech, but Phase (unaware of the plan) wakes him again. Robots (heavy shock troops) and new light shock troops arrive and tie up the heroes outside; Leech continues to fight the enemy. Other androids with ion rifles focus on Kubera, intent on capturing him. The champion’s armor begins to fail, and the adventurers try to get him out of the fight. Jay Harris self-destructs his armor, but the light shock troops are successful in teleporting away with him. He quickly grows larger and breaks away, and the attacking T.O.T.E.M. forces retreat. The group is able to secure some of the android remains, but is unable to capture Leech, who swiftly flies away.
#294 – Two Steps Back – The same group has a post-battle analysis on the last skirmish. Leech contacts the Guardians and informs them of a T.O.T.E.M. operation center outside of Philadelphia. Feeling it is likely another trap, they decide to still investigate. Flying to the location, they spy on a farm house and find Leech, Panthera, some light shock troops, and some captured scientists. Realizing that the T.O.T.E.M. forces are pulling out, the team moves in, with Jay Harris coordinating things from the Guardian Angel. Leech again fights alongside the heroes, who decisively take down the enemy. Afterwards, they learn from Panthera and the scientists that Adalwolf recently captured Black Talon from this site; Neutron realizes the danger in this because of N.I.D. access to Vai’Kesh technology. He consults the cosmos to find the missing agent and narrows the location down to Greenland.
#295 – End Unending – The Star Guardian finally arrives at the Gwai’ir homeworld and finds it besieged by an armada of Ga’arn starships! Kodiak, Crocodile, Araneae, Surge, Howling Hank, Typhon, and Paradigm are brought before the Gwai’ir Queen, who welcomes Surge as a long-lost prince. She explains that her people’s situation is hopelessly dire; it would take many decades to heal a small minority of their race from the genetic drift threatening them. The adventurers plead for her to allow them more time to work on the problem, but she refuses, concerned about Gwai’ir culture and technology falling into the hands of the hostile Ga’arn invaders. After a small contingent of Gwai’ir citizens and an ark with priceless technology representing their civilization’s knowledge are transported to the Star Guardian, the Queen and royal court say a final goodbye and destroy their own world, bringing a magnificent end to their glorious empire! As a wave of energy from an exploding Ga’arn ship heads towards the heroes, time suddenly appears to stop outside of their vessel. Years pass for those aboard, and they discover that time is not stopped outside their ship, but is moving very slowly. Over decades, Paradigm is able to decipher how to get into the intricately locked container, where he finds incredibly sophisticated technology. More decades pass, and with help Crocodile is able to construct an elaborate device that will harness the energy from the approaching wave and dilate time, shunting the group backwards in time to the original moment of impact; the only catch is that one person will have to sacrifice themselves by going back in time to perform a specific maneuver to make it happen. After spending nearly a century together, the elderly crew puts their plan into motion. Surge volunteers and travels back in time, where he is able to angle the vessel and use the wave’s energy to propel them across the galaxy. When they finally stop, Surge is the only one who has actually experienced the last 90 years aboard the ship; for everybody else only a few seconds have passed.
#296 – Unexpected Visitors – Four days after the team returns from Pennsylvania, Neutron and Delphi are able to find the T.O.T.E.M. base in Greenland, which they suspect to be underground. The heroes fly to the icy country in the Guardian Angel, where they begin surveillance on a research facility, hangar, and barracks. A Chinook helicopter arrives, and the sleuths learn that nearly the entire floor of the hanger is a very large lift. Phase and Compass follow 150 feet down into a lower level, while topside an intercepted encrypted transmission informs the team that T.O.T.E.M. is attacking an Alaskan N.I.D. base. Jay Harris dons the Motherland Defender armor and, along with Quiasar and Neutron, flies via the Guardian Angel to Alaska, where they find the remains of a conflict and witness Black Talon get sucked into a time vortex. They also discover that T.O.T.E.M. got away with most of the technical data for beings called “replicants”. Compass and Phase hide on the lower level while Battletron waits above, and once the group from Alaska returns the entire squad launches their assault, battling Bjorn and many light shock troops. The T.O.T.E.M. operatives attempt to sneak some of the captured scientists out through a secret passage and herd them into helicopters; others activate a self-destruct and attempt to flee. Per their programming, the androids defend the scientists, allowing the vigilantes to focus on and take out many of the enemy. The champions rescue all of the scientists and capture Bjorn, and Neutron retrieves one M10 GS Patton prototype tank. The base blows up, and all of the androids are destroyed.
#297 – Uneasy Lies… – The Guardians receive a message explaining that Neutron has been forbidden from acting on Earth; he retires and takes leave of the planet for an indefinite amount of time. The case against Lawson & Sons begins to look shaky as the government appears unprepared and an appeal is granted; turmoil and chaos abound in the various criminal organizations as they await the verdict. The Guardians are called to a mansion on Long Island, where territorial squabbles at a crime scene overshadow the fact that the missing victim might be Vampire. Forensic evidence leads to Agetor’s Family Fun Park in upstate New York, suggesting to the group that the former Crimelord/Organizer might be involved. Accompanied by Maccane and Blackstone (head of security at Alpha Site), Scion, Battletron, and Compass fly in the Guardian Angel to the long-closed amusement park and sneak past the patrolling guards. Beneath a water ride they dispatch two boosted Intercrime Assassins, then venture into an underground powered armor factory run by the cyberpath Lojack. The heroes take out the villain and defeat numerous enhanced Power Infantry, shutting down the operation and securing much archaic Intercrime equipment; they also find that many power suits have already been shipped. The team flies to New York City for a meeting with the F.B.I. Security footage reveals that witness protection specialist Jack Krager (Whiteout) was assassinated in Boston by Vampire associate Viper and Tong agent Black Tiger, who used a device to extract memories before terminating him. Scion decodes Whiteout’s encrypted black book, and this leads the champions to St. Louis, where they arrive just in time to witness an explosion at a house. They race inside, overcome Viper, Black Tiger, and two ninjas, and again rescue Douglas Gantry. As they leave Missouri, news breaks of a massive gang battle erupting between Alliance and Intercrime forces. Vampire’s convoy is obliterated by the time it reaches the National Mall in D.C., and the criminal himself is disintegrated by enemy soldiers! The Guardians attempt to race there, but the conflict is long over before they arrive home. Epilogue: The government quietly drops the case against Lawson & Sons.
#298 – Tomorrow’s Yesterday – In a field in Buckingham, Virginia, Doctor Apocalypse’s magic spell (to manipulate time and apprehend Mischief’s daughter) results in a massive time rift. The Primordial pulls many superheroes from various eras to challenge him: Iron Horse from 1873, Quiasar from 1995, Acolyte Alu (Leech) from 2007, Kubera and Blackstone from the present, and Mischief and Dr. Reality from the future. Finding themselves on the streets of a town with bizarre items nearby, the paranormals swiftly attack the evil wizard. Present-day Sting shapeshifts into Scion and joins the fight against them. Moments later reality shifts and everyone finds themselves in a forest, the soul of each champion transferring into one of their companions. More items and people appear from various periods of time, and Sting is replaced by a future version of Force. The skirmish against Doctor Apocalypse continues, and Blackstone requisitions a futuristic weapon from a strange device. A short time later the shift happens again; this time Barbarian from the past replaces Force, Warp arrives from 2005, and the setting is a dank cavern. The team continues to fight, utilizing their allies’ powers as best they can against the sorcerer. Finally, time shifts again and the heroes return to their own bodies. Scion arrives from the present, and the group finds itself in the original field facing only the Doctor. He bashes and batters the vigilantes with powerful magical spells, but is repeatedly countered by Scion. A small building continually shifts with the mad villain, so Leech and Kubera begin the long trek up the magical mile-high staircase inside. Eventually the Guardians destroy the Orb of Time, which shuts down the time spell. As Leech and Kubera near his power source at the top of the staircase, the enraged and exhausted tyrant lashes out one last time, destroying the structure, then flees with the powerful new gun Blackstone acquired. Quiasar, Leech, and Mischief vanish, each returning to their own time.
#299 – R.I.P. King Brainwave – Brainwave dies of cancer. Kubera receives a transmission from Robot 62417 showing gang members taking over a bank in Salem, Oregon. C.H.E.S.S. forces intervene, but are ambushed by Pirate (disguised as one of their Knights); he disappears before he can be apprehended. Disruptor, an amnesiac paranormal with a forged Guardians ID, asks questions at Foundation Headquarters; local accommodations are provided for the con man, Iron Horse, and Dr. Reality. After multiple suicides in Salem, Blackstone rescues a young man before he is able to harm himself. He is questioned, and the group learns the cause may be a mystical artifact Pirate is trying to get rid of. After flying to Salem in the Guardian Angel, a base of operations is set up. As Iron Horse, Blackstone, and Compass respond to an incident at the zoo, Kubera and Dr. Reality are called off to deal with Disruptor, who has arrived separately and stolen a police car. At the zoo, C.H.E.S.S. forces strangely fight each other amongst demonic grizzly bears. Hidden in a cave at the exhibit, medieval magician Remnil and guard Sir Gathius are taken out, ending the bear threat. The police turn Disruptor over to Kubera, and they rush to the scene as Sir Gathius escapes and the brainwashed agents are subdued. One mauled Valkyrie dies, and another Knight is barely saved after removal of a Pirate-inserted device. A last Knight is followed to a nearby restaurant, where Jim Henderson kills Pirate. Before Henderson can don Pirate’s armor, Blackstone snatches them and teleports back to the zoo. Robot 62417 arrives and a standoff ensues. The heroes agree to turn over the new Pirate (Henderson) in exchange for the location of the artifact. They’re shown a hologram of a coin at a gravesite, but determine it is likely Brainwave’s funeral in a few days. Later, they resolve a situation with a suicidal Knight at a theater and remove another kill device. They make a deal with Remnil, the persecuted wizard who created the artifact, agreeing to help him and his three knight brothers return to their own time. The team sets up an elaborate ruse with a duplicate coin, but the plans dissolve when multiple forces converge on the funeral. Many Future cultists attempt a bloody ritual to bring back Brainwave, but are foiled when Blackstone teleports the villain’s corpse to the Moon. Robot 62417 observes for a time but disappears. With everyone after the relic, knights Sir Gathius, Sir Vayas, and Sir Lathar turn on Pirate and force him to flee. When held, the object transports the bearer through time: Compass is briefly forced to battle Peregrine in a cage match in the future; later Blackstone watches as long ago a king signs a decree and Remnil gives him the artifact. After the battle, the cultists are arrested and the coin is given to the brothers, who use it to return to the past.
#300 – The Invasion of the Machine Men – Four people are executed during a robbery at the Toronto Tessla Society and much high tech equipment is stolen; one of the two men manipulated over a year earlier at GearFest in Seattle is among the victims. The other pawn from that incident appears to have flown to Venezuela. Localized storms begin hitting the Caribbean. Responding to an alert, Kubera, Scion, Compass, Mischief, and Blackstone rush downtown to find a strange gateway being powered up near the F.D.R. Memorial. A large paramilitary group has cordoned off the area and cleared it of civilians. One of the soldiers informs the Guardians of the imminent arrival of Dr. Erich Von Reichart, a World War II experimenter with mechanical limbs. The portal appears to siphon energy directed at it, and eventually the champions’ interference activates the gate. Suddenly an endless stream of golden machine men pours through at a rapid pace, marching two-by-two with Dr. Von Reichart in the middle. Battletron arrives, and by the time the team disables the doorway via explosives planted on the origin side, 88 automatons have made it through and appear to be headed toward the Capital. The heroes quickly learn that the robots are extremely durable, taking effort from the entire group to dispatch a single one, so they decide to focus their attacks on the obvious leader. The battle is long and intense, and the vigilantes begin to fall against the superior troops. In desperation, Blackstone grabs Von Reichart and teleports him to the moon; as a result the powerful mechanical army immediately powers down.
#301 – Roads of Mystery – The Guardians accept an invitation to the Iwo Jima Memorial in Washington, D.C., where Compass, Quiasar, and Scion are honored during a public ceremony. Also in attendance are numerous members of `the Trust’: Senator Kinsey, Terrence Henderson, Colonel Maybourne, and Nick Black. The three heroes each speak, then Kinsey uses the opportunity to proclaim his own agenda. He praises the vigilantes, but explains that society has become too dependent upon them. He announces the proposal to form a new government agency, the Division of Paranormal Research and Defense (D.P.R.D.), an organization that can serve America as C.H.E.S.S once did. Quiasar overhears talk among the Trust about a secretive testing and delivery of something called “Roads”. Delphi researches this, discovering that it is a highly classified government project; she also finds possible references among ancient texts. The team learns that the Obsidian Corporation is funding digs in Egypt and other locales in the Middle East, while other clues lead to a General Dynamics project at a missile silo outside Bismarck, North Dakota. Joined by Battletron, the adventurers fly in the Guardian Angel to the silo and venture in. They find that time appears to be dilated inside, passing slower outside than it does deep within the facility, where they become baffled by a strange mechanism that pulses with mysterious energy. As attacks are directed at it, it draws the assailant toward it. One by one, each hero is pulled into the device and disappears!
#302 – Sands of Time – The four explorers find themselves in a vast desert, but even with technology they are unable to determine where they are. Someone nearby is spotted and captured; theyare surprised to discover that it is Nemo. After initial distrust both sides agree to a truce; he informs the travelers that they are all stuck in Egypt nearly 6,000 years in the past. Meanwhile, Delphi alerts other Guardians that the first team has disappeared. Phase, Blackstone, and Kubera cautiously check out the missile silo and determine that the time dilation is expanding, but are confounded by the same puzzle within. Though it is hours later by the time they are pulled into the unusual instrument, they arrive in the desert only moments after their teammates. Battletron reveals that he is actually a smaller, scorpion-like being, his outer carapace serving merely as an external shell. Nemo leads them to a nearby settlement, and their reclusive ally disappears as they take down two Vai’Kesh warriors. Using the aliens’ technology, the team teleports to northeastern Iraq, where a native town has been constructed around the newly crashed remains of `the Ship’ (the extraterrestrial spacecraft recovered by the N.I.D. and Vai’Kesh during their own time). As the heroes carefully approach what appears to be the human sacrifice of a local, Compass recalls the flaming beings from his original vision, realizing that the two leaders before them are actual Vai’Kesh that must be stopped! Scion suddenly appears to betray his companions, addressing the male (Anub) and female (Anupu). The Vai’Kesh reset Scion’s brain, who responds by smashing their teleportation device, sending the pair back where they came from!
#303 – Time Echoes – The team decides to invade the Vai’Kesh stronghold. They make their way inside, but encounter Anub and Anupu in addition to Vai’Kesh warriors. The two powerful entities annihilate the invaders, routing them with devastating, deadly attacks. One by one the vigilantes fall until only Quiasar remains; he surrenders, but the aliens kill him where he stands. Compass comes out of a trance and reveals the vivid details of the previous assault, including the slaughter of the entire team. He also shares (from the Primordial) that one of their own must be sacrificed if they are to succeed. The group prepares a more indirect and clever plan to stop the time dilation, return the team to the present, and trap the two Vai’Kesh. First Battletron’s smaller form is altered, using Vai’Kesh technology and marks to disguise it, and a tracking device is installed. Scion boosts his own personal appeal and flies to settlements around the Middle East, decrying and belittling the Vai’Kesh. His efforts drain power from the near-deities, and their strength wanes as followers abandon faith in them. As expected, the two beings race from the structure, following Scion in an attempt to stop him. The other heroes stealth inside, overpowering the Vai’Kesh warriors guarding the base and making their way to a hangar. Kubera activates a time-travel device there, and Scion races back; all but Battletron then go through the doorway. Nemo arrives and gives a message (for Neutron) to Scion before he exits, then valiantly chooses to stay behind with Battletron, becoming stranded in the past as the portal closes. Back home, the Guardians learn that they were seen as a threat to the Vai’Kesh in the present due to their actions in the past; they also locate Battletron at Area 51 in Nevada.
#304 – Mad Mesa – The Star Guardian is scanned as it travels homeward, and eight champions are suddenly teleported off the ship. Crocodile, Kodiak, Paradigm, Titan, Araneae, Typhon, Moonfang, and Howling Hank (Sutton) are held in stasis as voices inform them that they are to be tested; their approach to such things as good and evil, as well as violence, courage, nobility, and heroism will be studied and evaluated. The vigilantes abruptly find themselves outdoors at dusk, on a dusty road leading into a small settlement. They quickly discover that they are all normal humans without superpowers; even Crocodile and Titan appear to be ordinary men. The Guardians enter Mad Mesa, which appears to be a Western frontier town, circa Earth of the 1870’s. After getting settled at the local hotel and interacting with some of the townspeople, the group wonders if it has been sent back in time. Even minute details appear to be historically accurate, but the stars in the night sky imply that they remain far from home. Despite this, the team is surprised to meet Hank’s uncle Zeke, who is being pressured to sell his ranch. They learn of a feud between two clans: the Kanes and the Russells, and later find that they are not welcome at Babe’s Saloon, the establishment frequented by the latter faction. The visitors continue to gamble and explore, then respond to a nearby scream. Outside the cemetery a horribly mangled body is found torn to pieces, and the nervous crowd whispers rumors of a local monster. That night an assassin kills a man in the room next door, and the heroes spring into action, swiftly taking down the hired gun and his two associates. A note on the victim points to a connection with the Russell-Kane cattle war.
#305 – Shootout at the Railroad Corral – The next morning, the team investigates more of the town and gathers additional evidence against the Russells. Later, members of the notorious Kirby gang rob the local bank and attempt to flee on horseback, but a number of the heroes speedily take down the bandits; only the lookouts get away. Further evidence points to the Russells being the aggressors in the ongoing battle, and the vigilantes learn that many members of the Kane party have been killed in the last few weeks, leaving that side of the conflict seriously undermanned. Again visiting Babe’s Saloon, they confront the troublemakers, who challenge them to a duel at high noon the following day. The adventurers agree, then spend their final day in Mad Mesa gambling and interacting with the townsfolk. The next day the eight champions square off against an equal number of Russell gunslingers at the railroad corral, and they dispatch the ruffians in short order. The victors are instantly transported back aboard the Star Guardian, where they find their abilities restored.
#306 – Fury of the Dragon’s Claw – An elaborate parchment is delivered to the Guardians, inviting the original members of the team to a funeral in Japan for business magnate Yasunari Yamashito. Entropy, Dr. Desist, and Quiasar attend the memorial among beautiful gardens outside Kyoto, while Phase, Blackstone, and Mischief keep an eye on the event from a distance. After the service, a woman delays the three heroes while a procession of supervillains: Shogun, Tsunami, Komodo Dragon, Raiden, Dragonhand, and Spyder, march up to them. The members of the Dragon’s Claw blame the legendary warriors for the years Komodo Dragon spent incarcerated, and after some brief verbal sparring, the two sides clash. The Guardians, joined by the hero Goliath, quickly gain the upper hand on their adversaries. Spyder is forced to flee and Tsunami escapes into a large pond; each of the other criminals is defeated and captured.
#307 – Future Imperfect – With the return of the space team, a press conference is called to welcome them home and provide the public an opportunity to greet and interact with the Guardians. Quiasar observes from the crowd as Moonfang, Paradigm, Kubera, Knight Shade (formerly Typhon), Compass, and Blackstone field questions from the gathered crowd and media. A unique and unusual man, the Colonel, suddenly appears and seems to silence the crowd. He talks strangely about helping the Guardians, then transports Kubera, Quiasar, Knight Shade, Paradigm, and Majestic (from his home) to a bleak and forlorn setting, while sending Blackstone elsewhere. Each hero finds two distinct images in their mind: a number and a picture. The group explores their surroundings and soon comes to believe that they are approximately fifty years in the future of a cataclysmic event that occurred around 2014. They find an old, deserted diner, and flee into the basement as a swarm of microscopic nanites descends upon them.
#308 – Consequences of Power – The swarm seems to be drawn to their usage of paranormal abilities, so the adventurers devise ways to counteract the menace, notably hiding under structures of ice created by Kubera. In the diner they find a picture that matches Paradigm’s mental image, and this leads them to a nearby Sheriff’s Office claimed by numerous surviving humans. The survivors refer to the heroes as “Capes” and attempt to hold them off with gunfire, but Majestic teleports to the back of the structure. Inside a locked safe he discovers a special pistol that matches Quiasar’s memory picture. Again drawn by the heroes’ use of their powers, more nanites attack, and the vigilantes draw some of them away. Deep inside the police building, the humans barricade themselves, but the swarm gets inside. Two of the people are changed by the cloud, transforming into zombie-like creatures that attack the others. The Guardians rush to help, but are unable to save two victims. Quiasar apprehends one human survivor; the others succeed in getting away. The team interrogates and mentally probes their captive for clues about the apocalypse.
#309 – Rubicon – When the adventurers awake the next morning, each remembers a new image along with the number and picture they’d had before. They share their memories with each other and realize that the number for each is the same: 13. After freeing their captive, the heroes ready two vehicles, then make their way to a library, where they learn more about the deadly era they are now trapped in. The team decides to go west to a military base, but the radiation becomes too great so they reverse course. Stopping at the Los Alamos town hall, they study records and unearth a time capsule, all the while being careful not to use their superpowers. A map from the capsule reveals an old road that Paradigm’s modern atlas doesn’t have: an ancient Highway 13. The champions venture down this overgrown road for many miles before they decide to transfer everything to one truck. Eventually they come across a deserted gas station. While the team makes repairs and gathers fuel, Majestic spots a dog outside that matches the one from his mental image; the animal joins them and leads them further down the highway to the Palerno Observatory. The group fires up a generator and uses a massive telescope to view the night sky, only to discover a mysterious dark vessel docked with Space Station One. The dog brings a bone into the building, leading the team to a skeleton outside. The body has a map of nearby survival locales, including one only a few yards away. Cautiously Quiasar, Majestic, and Knight Shade approach the mysterious hatch.
#310 – The Hatch – The heroes attempt to enter the hatch, but learn that they need a second key. Clues lead them north-west, where they find more keys on another body, this one in a dusty Humvee outside a buried bunker. The adventurers successfully enter the hatch and discover an underground facility, complete with a sealed laboratory. They establish that the current date is October 2100 and the site, now owned and run by Wills Biomedical, is traced back to General Dynamics. Extensive research shows that the U.S. Government H1N1 flu vaccine of 2009-2010 led to the APDV (anti-power death virus), a disease to intentionally suppress superpowers, probably created by the government. They learn the history of the last century, including how in 2025 a paranormal with immunity to the virus, “Viral Violet” Hershog, broke into a biowarfare installation and weaponized the virus, using her powers and nanotechnology. In less than three years, 3 billion were dead, and nuclear war followed as countries blamed each other. Deadly swarms of nanites remain in the atmosphere, drawn to the surface by any use of superpowers. William Wills, Geoffrey’s son born in 2010, poured his fortune into many labs worldwide, but without success; he has not been heard from for nearly 50 years. The team considers attempting to build an aircraft to navigate the harsh surroundings, but decides they will need better equipment to do so. They decide to follow another mental image north to Seattle in an experimental vehicle. There a Wills Engineering facility, said to contain live reanimated specimens, is apparently guarded by Triskaideka, a paranormal criminal able to multiply herself. Paradigm hacks a communication network, and the group learns that the N.I.D. and Force are possible culprits involved in the fall of mankind.
#311 – Intercrime: Hostile Takeover – Prologue: In an occult ceremony, Dr. Anita Harcrow surgically transplants the arm of a demon onto Intercrime Power Infantry trooper Casey Lawson, transforming him into the paranormal Fire-Arm. Encouraged by Intercrime Mover Max Matthews, the employees of Mergent Systems (a small, struggling D.C. startup company) don flame-throwing flight suits from Intercrime. Calling themselves the Firebrands, they begin robbing stores and mugging pedestrians. Eccentric new superhero Jedi Guardian visits the city morgue and examines the demon-like body missing an arm recently found in the Potomac River. As the Firebrands assault a D.C. bank, no Guardians respond to law enforcement alerts, but Scythe, Goliath, and Jedi Guardian arrive on the scene. The three vigilantes quickly and easily take down the criminals. Later, after questioning, the police tell the heroes of the Intercrime connection. They tail Matthews to an abandoned subway platform that leads into a hidden, underground base. The adventurers invade the facility, swiftly dispatching numerous Intercrime Garrison personnel and the base’s sub-commander, Fire-Arm. Dr. Harcrow, Matthews, and many other staff members flee via an elevator platform, but C.H.E.S.S. and D.C. Metro police commandeer the installation.
#312 – Triskaidekaphobia – The team in the future travels north, accompanied by their loyal dog Gypsy. Near a shack in the woods of eastern Oregon they are attacked by two savage, reanimated tyrannosaurs. Joined by a lone vigilante, Silver Arrow, the heroes are forced to use their superpowers to survive, and this draws more nanite swarms. After an intense fight, the nanites are destroyed and the downed dinosaurs revert into dead humans. Under the shack they find another hatch, where it appears that people had been working on a cure for the original APDV before it mutated. The scientists seem to have been working toward a theoretical neurotoxin; this potentially matches Quiasar’s mental image of a Man o’ War. Knight Shade’s mind probe of Silver Arrow leads to suits of armor for himself and Paradigm. They journey on to MosesLake in Washington, where they discover a large plane that matches Majestic’s mind picture. They hide their vehicle and fly the plane west over a devastated landscape to Paine Field, north of Seattle. The group then takes a car into the ruins of downtown to Safeco Field, where they spot a mysterious woman near the place of Kubera’s mental impression. Triskaideka lures them into a nearby darkened lab, where her thirteen identical forms attack the adventurers in a sealed room filled with various jellyfish. The powerful females pound her male opponents, and for awhile it appears that she will defeat them all. The tide turns, however, and the champions finally convince her to talk. Though she reads undead to them, Triskaideka is coldly rational. She allows the Guardians to take a Man o’ War from her collection in an attempt to find a cure.
#313 – Swinging with the King – Money and items disappear from banks in Seattle, with dirt being the only clue left behind. Araneae and Compass investigate alongside Agent Scott (old friend Douglas Gantry) of Homeland Security, while outside nearby a crowd flees as man-sized ants emerge from underground. Jedi Guardian arrives at the scene at the same time as new Seattle superheroes Prism and Osprey, and the three champions quickly stop the insects. Joined by the two Guardians and Scott, the six adventurers venture into the city’s underground and find more ant guards. Delphi informs them that it is likely the unstable megalomaniac the Ant King, a geneticist who has been missing for a couple of decades; a computer search indicates many similar incidents all over the country. The heroes venture into recently made tunnels, eventually coming to an underground structure where the Ant King and many ant minions sway to the sounds of big band music. The bugs attack, but a number of the vigilantes focus their attacks on the leader. When he falls, the ants break off their assault and become instantly docile. The team confiscates the Ant King’s belt, which allowed him to walk through any non-living, non-ferrous material.
#314 – Land of Confusion – Jedi Guardian experiences a vivid dream showing an old man draining life from a young tribesman until the victim turns to dust. Days later, Guam ambassador Machatli Torres is attacked in downtown Washington, D.C. by supervillains R.A.M. 101, Brickibrak, and Armada. Oz, visiting the Smithsonian nearby, responds and arrives at the incident at the same time as Goliath and Jedi Guardian. The trio intervenes and slows the criminals, then Jedi Guardian races the target to safety. Oz and Goliath continue to struggle against R.A.M. 101, but after the mechanical spider abruptly flies away the pair decides to disengage as well. A grateful Torres invites his saviors to a feast in their honor, and two days later the three board a small plane bound for Guam. Over the North Pacific Ocean the aircraft suddenly loses power, forcing the pilot to land in the water just off the coast of a small island. After ferrying the people and supplies to shore, the heroes meet a small amphibious being named Grogg. He points them to a village nearby where they meet many friendly natives, some of whom speak English. That evening Oz follows as a group of the villagers depart. They meet up with Grogg, who leads them through misty hills to the volcano at the center of the island. Grogg takes them into a magma-filled chamber and turns them over to evil mastermind Count Hephaestus, who proceeds to absorb energy from the entire party. When the villain begins draining the life from one young man, Oz calls his friends and attacks; the Count simply compels him to flee. His two companions fly to the top of the volcano, but are unable to find a way in, even after they meet up with Oz. Later, the champions find Grogg and convince him to take them back, but he leads them into the mountain and disappears, leaving them to three flaming beings! After the men swiftly dispatch their adversaries, Grogg returns and takes them to the main chamber. He transforms into a much larger, more powerful entity, but holds back as the vigilantes engage Count Hephaestus and three more Flame Fiends! Jedi Guardian implores Grogg to change sides as the battle rages on, but he stays out of the fight. The adventurers obliterate the flame creatures and defeat the psionic vampire. A rescue plane lands and the murderer is taken into custody.
#315 – Kingdoms in Peril – Strange reports come out of a Renaissance Faire at nearby Black Hills Regional Park in Maryland, so Compass flies there in the Guardian Angel. He learns that many men are dead after a clash between knights dressed in red and white, and that a small boy has disappeared. After he departs, Jedi Guardian and C.H.E.S.S find an unusual doorway close by in the woods. Compass returns to the scene and he and Jedi Guardian, accompanied by four C.H.E.S.S. Knights, two Valkyries, and a Bishop, pass through the gate. The two heroes arrive with three of the Knights in a swampy world amidst a rainstorm, separated from the other C.H.E.S.S. agents. They observe strange insect-like aliens and travel south amongst toxic waste until they are stopped by an energy barrier. The group ferries each other over it and continues on, eventually running into a squad of white knights. The armored soldiers explain that their land, Zartha, has two warring factions, and that the southern kingdom of red knights is evil and aggressive. The explorers refuse to take sides, but the knights convince Compass to destroy one piece of machinery that seems to be harming the local trees. The team continues to venture south, eventually arriving at the castle of the other realm. There they meet King Ironfist, whose army of red knights strikes them as noble and honorable. After a short stay, the group journeys northwards to the other keep. Compass sneaks in invisibly, but is spotted by King Garza, who wields a magical staff. After a brief clash the hero flees, convinced that Garza and his white knights are the malevolent ones. The separated C.H.E.S.S. troops rejoin the party, and the entire company storms the castle, defeating the knights and their treacherous leader. They rescue young hostage Johnny Long, discovering that he is a paranormal called Ounce. The victorious travelers return to Ironfist’s territory, where they are hailed as victors and the C.H.E.S.S Knights each receive tattoos of honor. The King explains the recent history of the planet and shares about his struggles with his younger brother, Garza. Ironfist then forces his sibling to repair the gateway, and the adventurers return home with Ounce.
#316 – City of the Dead – In the apocalyptic future, the Guardians interview Triskaideka and figure out how to utilize the medusoid in the gene map of a potential cure for the plague. As they journey south, they come across a female paranormal being attacked by human thugs. After she defeats them, they meet Prism and discover that she was placed into their path by the Colonel; like each of them she was taken from 2010 and remembers mental images from her dreams. The group stays at Paine Field for a few days, repairing damaged gear and comparing notes. During this time Prism shows herself to be an excellent pilot as she surveys the surrounding area in their plane, which she dubs Beeker II. When the company heads south again, they witness periodic comets falling eastward near the horizon. They pass over the ruins of Los Angeles and arrive at Mexico City, where they find the entire metropolis submerged under millions of zombies. Landing near the Angel of Independence monument, they face older zombies that appear more vulnerable to traditional weaknesses; they theorize that this may be from nanites leaving after corrupting their host. They find an entrance to another Wills facility, but are unable to enter via any method. The lone occupant questions them to make sure they are not ‘rotters’, then phases through the door with a belt familiar to Prism and Knight Shade (taken from the Ant King in the past); he also matches Knight Shade’s mental image. One by one he takes them inside, and the heroes learn that this man, Hector Flash, is the last of the once famous Guardians! He was able to liberate the belt from the Guardians’ base before a United Nations force destroyed it decades earlier. He has been keeping watch over the Mexico City installation for years because it is very special, a backup location with all of the combined data about the APDV. Flash was able to transfer his super speed and vibratory manipulation powers into the belt, allowing it to pass through any possible substance. After giving them access to the information, he shares the obstacle they will face next: surveillance from the Moon shows two enemy forces battling across Europe. Large, green-skinned humanoids clash with huge, armored beings. Prague, Czechoslovakia, which houses a time manipulation base, appears to be overrun by these soldiers. Having passed along the data he so carefully protected, Hector whispers something to Quiasar and passes away. The Guardians ransack the base and fly to Europe via the Beeker II in stealth mode, witnessing the otherworldly forces battling beneath them. As they near their destination, they are inadvertently struck by missiles, and their craft plunges toward the ground!
#317 – Future Perfected – Quiasar uses a force field to help everyone land safely in Prague, but their plane is damaged beyond repair. All around them is an immense battlefield with mechanized space marines battling huge orc warriors; each of the combatants appears to have swarms of nanites attacking them as well. Goliath is brought from 2010 and deposited in the middle of the skirmish by the Colonel. Quiasar flies the Guardians over the conflict and they pull Goliath aboard, but they find that he too is covered by nanites! The team swiftly demolishes the swarm and lands at a Wills bunker in Prague matching Kubera’s mental image. Inside they meet Professor Himmelsmine, a brilliant scientist spoken of by Hector Flash. He explains that he needs a diamond to focus his time travel device, which is located inside PragueCastle. The team searches the castle, and Majestic finds a hidden safe; the diamond found inside looks just like one that Knight Shade has seen in his dreams. Paradigm provides depleted uranium shells for the special gun found earlier, and Himmelsmine is able to focus their energy with the gem to power his temporal machinery. Confirming the data from a celestial clock seen in the mind pictures of Kubera and Knight Shade, the party determines that they can return to the moment they originally left. As the group departs, Gypsy leaps in at the last second, joining the adventurers as the time machine returns them to the original press conference. Majestic and Goliath are also still with them, but they realize that Prism is gone and the vials of serum are the only future items that came back with them. Unseen by anyone, an armored soldier that traveled back with them decloaks and slips into the shadows. The heroes point authorities toward the proper documents, exposing a Dr. Gard and Novartis Vaccines for their role in the creation of the virus. Gard is arrested and the government helps shut down the vaccinations. The vigilantes spend the next few months tracking down those that were immunized and destroying all of the vaccine that was distributed.
#318 – Message Delivered – Back in town after 2-1/2 years away, Paradigm learns from various contacts that new gangs have proliferated in the D.C. area. A cut from most criminal enterprises appears to be going to an organization called C.R.I.M.E. Mischief and Moonfang are moved to inactive status. Delphi brings the team up to speed on various groups like T.O.T.E.M., Intercrime, and the N.I.D., and they learn of an incredibly powerful new vehicle (the Havoc) that Geoffrey Wills (the new head of General Dynamics) has attempted to stall production on. Adalwolf and Blackstone each have one of the three in existence; the location of the third is unknown. While they discuss things with Neutron (still far away in space), a pregnant Coral Snake is seen in the background. Gypsy is taken home by Majestic and Kageryu. Scion meets with insurance collections agent Leonard Fritz, who seeks compensation from the Guardians for Battletron’s reckless damage to the Maryland freeway 1-1/2 years prior. The GamesMaster meets the heroes at an electronics store in the Shops at National Place. She foreshadows the group’s future by showing them the regal Prince Kalm in the Pacific Ocean, mud men deep inside the Earth, and the heroes Psimon and Cheetah in the Secret Land (a prehistoric sanctuary in the Amazon that she watches over). Based on info Paradigm gets from informant Cole Peters, the team sets up an ambush for a drug deal near the Titanic Memorial. When a boat pulls up off the Washington Channel and begins unloading, Scion, Battletron, Paradigm, Blackstone, and new crimefighter Mr. Electric spring into action. They take down most of the intended recipients (members of The Darlings gang), as well as CR.I.M.E operative Calvin Rich and the nonchalant suppliers, who they later discover are MS-13 gangsters. The group decides to deliver a message to C.R.I.M.E., so they drive to Diamante’s, an elegant restaurant in Fairfax County, Virginia. Blackstone and Battletron remain outside while Scion, Paradigm, Compass, and Mr. Electric go in. Scion quickly discovers stairs in a back room which lead down to an illegal casino. The other three join him, and they explore the private quarters of boss Wendell Starr, then find an elaborate lair complete with cells, a torture chamber, and traps. Scion rips open the massive door to the control room and the adventurers deliver the message to C.R.I.M.E. that their criminal activities in D.C. will no longer be tolerated!
#319 – Know Your Enemy – Paradigm (at the Tick-Tock Bar in Maryland) and Blackstone (teaching martial arts at a recreation center in D.C.) are simultaneously assaulted by a legion of MS-13 thugs. Blackstone is able to dispatch his attackers, but Paradigm is taken out and rushed to the hospital in critical condition. Quiasar and Compass respond and join the other two in doing research on MS-13 and recent thefts of electronics and industrial equipment. After they meet with a Maryland gang unit, Compass, disguised as a Hispanic, ventures into a Latino neighborhood in Langley Park, Maryland. He learns that something big is about to go down within the next couple of days. Blackstone and the injured Paradigm figure out that a likely blackout of the D.C. area is imminent, and they also postulate that MS-13 might be working with T.O.T.E.M. A probable target is the Jaguar, the world’s largest supercomputer, located in Tennessee. Blackstone brings the others up to speed on more info about the Havoc, and the team discusses the potential dangers it poses. They decide to reach out to the N.I.D., whose interests coincide with those of the Guardians and whose help they may need if Adalwolf utilizes his Havoc in an operation. Quiasar sets up a meeting with the N.I.D., and that evening at the Lincoln Memorial he and Compass meet with Panther and C.I.A. head Terrence Henderson. The Shadow Company operatives claim to be in the know on everything, but are not sure that the Tennessee site is a target; they imply that the Guardians should be the ones to protect it.
#320 – The T.O.T.E.M. Shell Game – Scion calls an important team meeting, and a large number of past and present Guardians and affiliates meet to discuss some important issues. Neutron and Paradigm are connected via video conference, and Entropy, Majestic, Kageryu, Phase, Goliath, Knight Shade, Araneae, Portal, Quiasar, Battletron, Maccane, Prism, Oz, Jedi Guardian, Scythe, and Compass join Scion on the holodeck of the Star Guardian. The 19 heroes discuss the potential threats from T.O.T.E.M. and MS-13, as well as the two supercomputer targets (the Jaguar in the U.S. and the Nebulae in China). They warn the Chinese government of the threat, and after the departure of Entropy and Oz two teams are assembled from those remaining to guard D.C. and Tennessee. Blackstone secures the Havoc belonging to Wills Aerospace and flies with Quiasar, Battletron, Prism, Compass, and Paradigm to the Oak Ridge National Laboratory outside Knoxville. They hide the powerful vehicle and set up in preparation for the assault. A green mist descends on the area, disrupting communications and long-range teleportation as Panthera, Sable, and scores of T.O.T.E.M. mechanical troops arrive. Heavy shock troops target fleeing civilians while light shock troops spread out across the battlefield. The two supervillains flee, but the robots and androids have superior numbers and prove difficult to stop. In D.C., MS-13 thugs create disturbances and clash with the second Guardians unit as the area is blanketed by a similar green mist. Back at Oak Ridge, Prism, not even aware of the urgency, triggers the Havoc’s EMP just as the androids are about to self-destruct, shutting them down and stopping the threat! The group then learns that the Tennessee attack and D.C. disturbances were only distractions; simultaneously in China the Nebulae was being stolen.
#321 – Natural Disasters – The Lord of the Earth gives authorization to Gea to devastate the world of man. In the wake of the recent gang violence in Washington, D.C., Senator Kinsey calls for a committee to help form a U.S.-led government paranormal team. Led by Emperor Surge, the Star Guardian leaves Earth in search of a new home for the Gwai’ir. Phase and Compass do humanitarian work in Pakistan, where much of the country is underwater from major floods. Blackstone, Goliath, and Kageryu lend assistance in Colorado, where the entire town of Poncha Springs has been destroyed by a rock avalanche. Two days later, Blackstone works tirelessly in the Gansu province of China, which has been plagued by massive mudslides. Pedestrians in D.C. complain of being mugged by an “invisible menace”. MS-13 violence continues across the country, forcing National Guard units to help patrol neighborhoods. Delphi calls for those present at the base to view some recent news footage, so Paradigm, Portal, Blackstone, Goliath, and Knight Shade watch as she shows them numerous ecological disasters around the world. She concludes with the breaking development that the Tigris River in Iraq has suddenly changed course! Portal creates a huge doorway and the heroes fly the Guardian Angel through it to instantly arrive near Baghdad; Blackstone then provides aid to the locals. The next morning the group learns that a massive tidal wave is headed for D.C., so Portal makes another gate and they all rush home to confront Hydraa, a water elemental riding the wave into the TidalBasin. She warns them that the earth elementals are behind the recent “natural disasters”, and that they intend to destroy mankind. Four days later she warns them that the volcano Krakatoa in Indonesia will soon erupt again. The team portals to the site and ventures into a large fissure. Deep underground they find a gigantic drilling machine and many Molosques (“lava men”), who instantly attack. After downing both the creatures and humanoid agents Mol-TON and Gnome, the vigilantes destroy the machinery that their adversaries had been assembling to cause the volcano’s eruption.
#322 – Diamonds Aren’t Forever – Gnome refuses to speak as the villains are turned over to C.H.E.S.S, but Mol-TON reveals that they serve Gea and that the next target is the San Andreas Fault. The vigilantes scout and keep tabs on the area, but days pass with no activity. They learn that the price of diamonds has increased substantially and that 33 miners in Chile have miraculously survived a cave-in weeks earlier; their rescue is expected to take months. The South African mining company Fayrig announces closures due to workers disappearing, so the five heroes fly to Africa to investigate. Shortly after they venture down into a mine, a Chinook helicopter with T.O.T.E.M. forces arrives. The champions rush to the surface to engage a squad of light shock troops while two heavy shock troopers lob mortar rounds at other buildings. Half of the androids attempt to make their way down to the mine, but Portal stops them with an energy barrier. When the Guardians begin to gain the upper hand, the T.O.T.E.M. agents disengage and withdraw. Some are captured, but as the rest attempt to fly away Blackstone destroys them all by detonating C-4 he had placed on their vehicle. As Goliath heals on the Guardian Angel, the others continue their search of the mines. Deep underground they quickly dispatch attacking Neskibin (“crystal men”) and their leader, Diamond. All they learn from their captive is that they serve Gea. Two days later the Japanese government calls the team to the city of Fukuoka on the island of Kyushu as it is beset with terrible earthquakes. The superheroes bravely rescue civilians from falling rocks and mudslides, when suddenly a humongous rock monster, Graulokk, rises up through the ground! Blackstone temporarily stuns the 70-foot tall beast with C-4, but nearly kills Portal and Goliath in the process! Eventually Paradigm, Blackstone, and Knight Shade take out their gigantic adversary.
#323 – A Dry Well – C.H.E.S.S. forces arrive and Graulokk is turned over to the Elderess. The group departs, but a call comes in from Homeland Security contact Dex Vanderbilt explaining that the Saudi Arabian port city of Ras Tanura has not made a petroleum shipment in weeks. A Saudi military force attempted to retake a terminal and was defeated. Blackstone and Goliath rush to the site and find a pipe siphoning off much of the oil underground. Blackstone shuts down the entire operation, but numerous Jesbakin (“mud men”) attack the two and are quickly dispatched. The heavily wounded Goliath presses on to investigate underground, but Blackstone teleports the hero far away to keep him safe. As the rest of the team flies east in the Guardian Angel, they pick up Goliath and Prism in Seattle. The heroes consider that Blackstone might be an android, perhaps even one that has neutralized Neutron! Knight Shade contacts Majestic, who recommends a telepathic scan of Blackstone. Knight Shade and Paradigm discuss the plan, but end up in a heated argument with Prism over individual rights and the exclusivity of the Guardians. Prism pushes Knight Shade’s buttons in the debate, and a dark, shadowy form surrounds him as he violently throws her against the wall with telekinesis! Portal intervenes, but the situation devolves until Thomas Carter (Majestic) and daughter Hoshi step aboard via a gateway by Portal. The former leader gets Blackstone to join them, and when their ally arrives he reveals that he is secretly Neutron! Majestic calms the vigilantes with an impassioned speech, encouraging them to finish the mission for the sake of the entire world. He and Hoshi depart and the squad returns to Saudi Arabia, again shutting down the flow of oil before venturing underground. They trounce more Jesbakin and Earthworm, but the enemy operative is first able to turn the collected stolen oil into an immense oil beast! The champions race to the surface and quickly decimate the creature before it can destroy the surrounding area, but then learn that nuclear weapons have been stolen from the U.K.!
#324 – Into the Sub-Realm – Blackstone, Knight Shade, Paradigm, and a weakened Goliath and Portal fly to England in the Guardian Angel and find a hastily made tunnel leading down. After surviving an avalanche trap, they fly swiftly, following the path for over 100 miles until they are under Western Europe. When they reach the Sub-Realm deep underground, they find that they are unable to fly, jump, or teleport. As they cross a wide cavern the adventurers are ambushed by deadly Rock Throwers, and Paradigm is incapacitated. He swings at Knight Shade when being awakened, and in response the hero turns dark again, angrily retaliating and knocking his friend back into unconsciousness. The group recovers and meets Myu Dum Am Gaasam, a powerful entity tending plants around a large pyramid. They attempt to win over the ancient being with respectful diplomacy, but the talks break down. Myu, assisted by nearby vines, dispatches them all, but then departs. When the heroes awake, they find a secret door inside the pyramid leading to a lower level. Overcoming more obstacles, they explore the entire area and eventually arrive at a large cave, where they face off with Gea, Mole, and numerous small creatures called Eluwab. The vigilantes swiftly defeat their subterranean opponents and find the stolen nuclear warheads. Gea is suddenly spirited away by the Lord of the Earth, but Hydraa reappears and takes them to the young villainess, who the Water Lord trapped as she attempted to escape.
#325 – Opportunity Strike – Quiasar meets with Phase, Blackstone, Scion, Compass, and Battletron at the base and reveals that Paradigm has left the team; he also explains that he apologized to Prism on behalf of the Guardians. Scion informs all that a special session of Congress is pending regarding the paranormal committee; it is believed that Senator Kinsey’s camp might call on civilians injured by paranormals. Blackstone visits Alpha Site with an unidentified female guest. Kageryu and Majestic discuss becoming more involved with the Guardians again. A call comes in from Leech, who warns Quiasar about an impending T.O.T.E.M. “snatch and grab”. Quiasar, Kageryu, Compass, and Blackstone then meet Leech outside an N.I.D. facility slightly outside Wilmington, Delaware, and the group quickly stops 8 Light Shock Troops who appear about to raid the place. The team studies a found laptop and the androids, which now appear to have threat assessment programming prioritizing their Guardian opponents. They learn about Project Arcturus, and as Blackstone studies things he discovers a crucial flaw in their plans. T.O.T.E.M.’s endeavor to achieve zero-point energy will jeopardize another dimension and likely destroy the entire solar system! Blackstone learns from a contact of Leech’s that the crucial module for this scheme is currently being targeted by T.O.T.E.M. as it is transported by the N.I.D. T.O.T.E.M. causes two highway accidents, diverting traffic and forcing the semi truck carrying the module to travel through the heart of Washington, D.C. Pilot Hammond races the squad to the Southwest Freeway in the Guardian Angel, where they swiftly engage the convoy of three trucks just as Sable and 16 Light Shock Troops arrive. The vigilantes then learn that the White House (with President Obama present) has fallen under attack by T.O.T.E.M. forces. Communications are disabled, and another green energy dome covers D.C. Sable and the androids attack the vigilantes, who stick with the convoy as Delphi rallies other heroes to go to the aid of the White House. Quiasar takes out scores of the enemy and the Guardians assault the middle truck as the device goes active and Sable flees the scene. The physics of the area begin to distort as waves of energy cascade from the activated device in the trailer. Leech places himself inside the device, but he and Kageryu are unable to disrupt it; Compass stops all of the androids and nearby vehicles with a massive EMP, but the module is not affected. Blackstone sheds his costume (revealing Neutron), and as he grabs the device, Leech falls out. Neutron rockets into space with the machine, while Leech contorts and undergoes a metamorphosis in front of everyone, spiked armor forming on the outside of his body. Contact is lost with Neutron as the device detonates, but the Primordial rewards the selfless act and rescues him.
#326 – Assault on the White House – At various places around the D.C. area, Scion, Araneae, Phase, Battletron, android Amethyst, and C.H.E.S.S. King Dr. Mercury hear Delphi’s emergency call as the city is covered with a green energy field and communications are severed. The heroes respond to the White House from different directions as 14 light shock troops, augmented by four heavy shock troops, march across the South Lawn toward the West Wing. The champions join Secret Service agents Iron Claw and Agent Fusion, who had already repelled a wave of the enemy that took out many agents and Marines while President Obama was evacuated. The mechanical agents relentlessly assault the group and cause significant damage to the South Portico, but after a major battle the vigilantes subdue all of them. Towards the end of the skirmish outside, Panthera and five light shock troops (in stealth mode) invisibly invade the West Wing from the north. The allies engage them and force Panthera to surrender, but the androids self-destruct inside, causing even more damage to the Presidential offices. After the conflict, the Guardians formally meet Amethyst, another android created by Neutron who looks identical to Delphi and Ami. Epilogue: Sable reports on the mission’s failure to Adalwolf, expressing frustration that most of their mechanical troops have been destroyed or captured. Adalwolf dismisses the report and speaks cryptically about the future.
#327 – Combat – Jedi Guardian alerts the team that Goliath, his partner in the Sentinels, has gone missing while investigating an underground fight club. Quiasar, Majestic, Phase, Amethyst, and Kubera accompany the hero and C.H.E.S.S. forces to a D.C warehouse with a gateway, where they meet German diplomat Kurt Brauer. The European ambassador is uncooperative, but after he departs the superheroes venture through the portal and arrive in an opulent but unknown location. They appear to be trapped, and many of their powers seem to be dampened. They meet Heinrich von Eckardt and demand to see Goliath, but the representative placates them and promises that they will see him soon. The vigilantes decline opportunities to fight, instead choosing to study their environment. They spend the evening in the lavish quarters, but the next day they decline the chance to pick their opponents in arranged battles, even after promises and a threat to kill a small girl. Pirate (Jim Henderson) contacts the team and offers them von Eckardt, Goliath, and the whole operation if they help him defeat von Eckardt and steal his profits. Reluctantly (and with different motivations), the group finally chooses to fight. They split into three teams: Quiasar and Jedi Guardian, Majestic with Phase and Frostpaw, and Kubera and Amethyst. They square off with pairs of opponents in three unique environments: Adamantron and Valcanus in a room with a lava stream, Alligator and a werewolf monster amongst an icy blizzard, and Mace and Behemoth in a cave-like area. Soon after each skirmish begins, the heroes are transported to the adjacent arena, where they clash with that setting’s adversaries, all wagered on by wealthy pay-per-view gamblers. Majestic realizes that the wolf creature is Warp (disguised) and as the Guardians defeat the other villains he communicates with his old teammate mentally, arranging an escape for the group. Suddenly the apparently victorious Guardians are cut down by Warp (in actuality he transports them to the dimension of Underworld), who informs them that the combat facility is located in a different dimension. The adventurers emerge again in another part of the facility and find the threatened girl, but she appears to have been deceased for some time. They make their way to a control room, where they face off with Pirate, surrounded by F.I.S.T., Strength, Taurus, Hellspawn, and Robot 62417. Pirate executes a weeping von Eckardt (who lost everything wagering on the Guardians) in front of them, then allows Warp to transport the travelers home.
#328 – True Intentions – Kageryu and Majestic leave Hoshi with Scion before going out. While they are at the Guardians’ base, they are shown news that Scion just assassinated Senator Kinsey at a speaking engagement in D.C.! As the startled crowd watches, an angelic being steps forward and resurrects the Congressman. Araneae, Kubera, and Witness (formerly Amethyst) study video of the event and see T.O.T.E.M. operatives Menton, Blonde Berserker, and Samuel Kinnes, who they realize is no longer blind. The team does more research and begins to suspect a plot by T.O.T.E.M.; it also appears likely that an infiltrator similar to Scion was impersonating Trust member Nick Black at the assassination. Scion shares the weaknesses of these infiltrators and explains that he was one of 20 GELF (genetically enhanced life form) units brought to Earth by the Vai’Kesh. They also learn that Black was likely replaced many months before. The heroes, joined by Knight Shade and ally Xeo Fey from New Babylon, meet up with Razor (formerly Leech) at the Shops at National Place, and he informs them that he has learned from a contact that Black is dead; Witness identifies Leech’s contact and informs Kubera of the person’s identity. Knight Shade slips away, and Majestic issues a quick press release to inform the public of their suspicions about T.O.T.E.M. The four Guardians are called back to the base for an incoming T.O.T.E.M. message. They see through a ruse by Blonde Berserker, but the villainess still threatens that there are bombs all around D.C. Majestic retrieves Knight Shade from Providence Hospital, where he had telepathically scanned Kinsey against his will. He chastises his teammate back at the base, forbids him to continue on the mission, and informs Quiasar of his growing concerns. The signal from the message is traced to an abandoned apartment in Maryland, but Razor relays the correct coordinates to the group as T.O.T.E.M. attacks a hidden N.I.D. base in Langley, Virginia. Razor flies Xeo Fey and Witness to the site while the others join them via the Guardian Angel.
#329 – Changing Times – Razor, Araneae, Kageryu, Kubera, Witness, Xeo Fey, and Majestic enter the mostly underground building just outside C.I.A. Headquarters. On multiple levels they clash with two Infiltrator units, six LSTs, Menton, Blonde Berserker, and Judicator (a transformed Kinnes bent on revenge against Justiciar). During the battle an Infiltrator absorbs Xeo Fey’s appearance and memories, learning much about New Babylon. Eventually the heroes take down the T.O.T.E.M. agents and rescue captured N.I.D. personnel, but one Infiltrator, two LSTs, and Judicator escape. Evidence suggests that the androids, which appear to be among the last of T.O.T.E.M.’s supply, were able to download the N.I.D.’s database; Araneae copies it as well. Xeo Fey tells the others that New Babylon has a new parliamentary government, and that the rulers and lords of the nation’s cities have been killed over the last half decade. He also alerts the team that his twin brother Gosentsu is a T.O.T.E.M. operative. Freedom of Chaos appears to be gathering public support as a political party in New Babylon; the F.O.C. Corporation also announces that they will be opening businesses and factories in America soon. Thomas Hedgestrom is found murdered in his home, with many of his magical items stolen. The underground fight clubs function with autonomous leaders (collectively known as the Hydra); a new group known as Force of Change is involved, and two other leaders include Pirate and former Guardian Titan.
#330 – In Broad Daylight – Supermodel Holly Cooks mysteriously disappears at a very public bungee jump off the ChryslerBuilding in New York City. Ms. Pembrose, corporate council to Holly’s prestigious modeling agency Caveat Allure, solicits Xeo Fey to round up lesser-known allies to investigate the disappearance. With help from Delphi, he enlists associates Enigma, Scotoma (Douglas Gantry, formerly Agent Scott), and Sir Rathos. In Manhattan, the veteran hero Volcanic Man encounters Summoner and Rune; the latter two are followed by new champion Angelus as they meet up with the others at LaGuardiaAirport. The group, still followed by Angelus, is given a limousine and hotel by Caveat Allure, and owner Madame Barpofsky gives them a video of the jump. A C.H.E.S.S. analysis team, led by Knight Seth Demaris, aids the team in scrutinizing the images. While Scotoma investigates personnel and Enigma, Rune, and Sir Rathos check Cooks’ apartment, Summoner and Xeo Fey, led by a clue from the video (a blue flash), meet insurance agent Max Pestana and pediatric neurosurgeon Alvin Grayson in the Warranty Room of the recently robbed Bank of State. Dr. Grayson explains that a little boy’s life is at stake, as a special microprocessor was also taken. A sudden blue flash of light blinds the doctor, heralding the arrival of the Ximix, an extra-dimensional monster. Angelus rushes in and the three swiftly defeat the creature. C.H.E.S.S. theorizes that the being may have been pulled to our world by quantum entanglement, and that the site of Holly’s disappearance may be the next locale for a similar incident. The area around the ChryslerBuilding is cleared with a police barricade, and the vigilantes are all present when a ten-story tall ambulatory plant creature, the Megaspur, arrives via another blue flash!
#331 – The Isle of Aeaea – After a very lengthy battle, the adventurers destroy the Megaspur. They meet Angelus (the being who had recently revived Senator Kinsey), and he agrees to accompany them. C.H.E.S.S. provides the team with a device to track the residual energy signature, and it leads past Coney Island out into the Bay. Amongst piles of floating garbage they discover a large mound inside a massive fog bank. Realizing that this island (Aeaea) is a vessel of sorts, the adventurers make their way inside and quickly demolish the Provider and his Refuseniks: Doctor Phage, Chiroptera, Twisted Man, Marauder Undine, Moppet, and Whisperer. The villains are taken down, with Marauder Undine escaping to sea and Whisperer surrendering. She points Enigma, Angelus, and Rune to a store room, where they find an unconscious Holly Cooks. When awakened, she attacks them as Lady Armageddon. The three champions incapacitate her and find a cache of stolen goods. They also recover the Teleportation Projector (that the Refuseniks used to commit their crimes) as well as the microprocessor (which is used to save the life of the young boy). The Provider escapes from custody as he is loaded onto a police boat. Caveat Allure donates $250,000 to charity in the name of the heroes.
#332 – An Unlikely Request – Doctor Apocalypse turns himself in to C.H.E.S.S. Headquarters in Washington, D.C. The Guardians are called, and Phase, Araneae, Compass, Kubera, and Scion arrive, along with ally Maccane of the Sentinels. Scion, Maccane, and Compass question the heavily shackled mastermind, who tells them that he was betrayed by the Shadowed Prince of the Demon World, Dar’kness, who also took away his gem (with which Apocalypse kept demonic hordes at bay). He asks for their help in getting the gem back because of the great danger posed by Dar’kness and the World’s Scorned, whom he alleges will tamper with the timestream in an effort to resurrect Time Holder. The team reluctantly follows his information via the Guardian Angel to Montana, where they set up watch alongside the military present at a compound; inside the continually relocated research base, the N.I.D. works on the secretive Project Time Holder. Late at night the installation falls under attack, with small pockets of darkness appearing and Dar’kness speaking out of them. When the darkness lifts, many explosions follow, which litters the yard with destroyed tanks and dead soldiers. Sabredance races out of the building with the remains of Time Holder, and Dar’kness disappears with them. Sabredance, wielding the powerful katana Ambition (stolen years before from the secret vault of C.H.E.S.S.), and numerous Mystic robots then attack the assembled heroes!
#333 – Vain Ambition – Razor flies in and joins the fight. Sabredance proves very deadly, and with the aid of the robots holds his own against most of the assembled vigilantes. After a long fight, Compass disables the villain by wrapping him in a metal cocoon made from the remains of a tank, but Ambition disappears. Dr. Desist arrives, and all of the Mystic robots self-destruct. Sabredance is turned over to C.H.E.S.S., and after assisting with the clean-up all of the heroes but Kubera and Maccane teleport to Aqua Base. Scion, Compass, Dr. Desist, and G-Force question Apocalypse again; the mage tells them that their adversaries have apparently “locked” this period of time so that nobody is able to travel into or out of it. The group is briefed by C.H.E.S.S. and Delphi on the World’s Scorned, Zarton Team, and Freedom of Chaos, as well as the Book of Lost Souls and the ancient city of Atlantis.
#334 – Problems Cubed – After recuperating and doing more research, the Guardians are able to track a temporal energy signature to a location in Antarctica. Jerry Hammond flies Scion, Araneae, G-Force, Razor, Compass, Phase, and Kubera in the Guardian Angel to the spot, where they find an invisible cube ¼ mile long on each side. They find a door, but the laws of physics don’t seem to apply inside, and the interior is different depending on whether the door is open or closed. Time also appears to pass faster inside, and many of their superpowers do not work there. The group makes their way past obstacles, and in another room when they open the far door the room changes. Suddenly they are outside on the ice with the Zarton Team, who are working on an infernal machine. Using Time Holder’s remains, the device appears to draw the mystical gems away from different versions of Doctor Apocalypse (from other dimensions or times). The heroes clash with Caster, Barbarian, Medusa, and Phase, and the powerful villains begin to get the upper hand.
#335 – Scorned Foes – As the battle rages, the battered heroes focus their attacks on the pylons supporting the large machine. Finally, G-Force turns himself into a missile and destroys the entire structure, but as a massive explosion occurs the images inside the gems become more focused. The group, suddenly healthy and outside of the cube again with time frozen, hears Dar’kness tell the Zarton Team that they have served their purpose. The cube then becomes surrounded by darkness and disappears. The team realizes that they have gone approximately 20 minutes back in time, yet G-Force still retains a recording of all that happened. As they depart in the Guardian Angel, a temporal energy signature manifests in the Sahara Desert of Africa. Suddenly a solar and a lunar eclipse appear in the sky, along with strange ecological conditions all over the globe. The team flies to southern Libya, where they find the World’s Scorned amidst a large and growing area of sand swiftly turning into a field of black glass. The Guardians attack the villains, while high above the combat a sphere containing gems, dust, and temporal distortion hovers. Conditions quickly turn bleak for the heroes as Dar’kness (bearing Doctor Apocalypse’s gem) and Lokilani, as well as Koal and Vol (who combine to become the single entity Kool) smash the seven champions hard, turning Scion against the others and knocking many of the vigilantes unconscious.
#336 – The Fall of Heroes – The team rallies. Scion recovers, and Phase and Razor wake Compass and G-Force as the others continue the skirmish against the World’s Scorned. Kool throws a stone into the sphere, and a human body materializes there. Some of the adventurers begin to focus on the temporal mystic anomaly, which slowly shows the decaying body of Doctor Apocalypse circled by numerous gems. As the fight continues, Kubera smashes the bubble and the force field protecting it seems to fail; Araneae then pulls it towards himself with webbing. The spell seems to be disrupted, and the black glass begins turning back into normal sand as the gem of Apocalypse leaves Dar’kness and begins to float toward the ravaged body of its former owner. When the gem suddenly begins to return to Dar’kness, Razor intercepts it. He resists demonic temptations from it and lets it go. Scion fells Dar’kness, and Compass finishes him with a well placed light grenade. All five gems fly to Doctor Apocalypse, who is instantly healed and appears much younger. Energy crackles around him as he gloats and stops time within an energy field that surrounds them all. After he reveals that the World’s Scorned were in league with him the whole time and magically removes the Elderess locks that exiled them, the villains vanish. He resurrects Time Holder from the dust in the anomaly and she too disappears. Finally, he unleashes the Chaos Scourge upon the Earth again by retrieving it through a gateway. The energy field suddenly drops, and the evil mastermind is gone. The Guardians learn that they have been gone for a month, and that in that time multiple prison breaks occurred and many vigilantes were slain.
#337 – Enter the Gene Pool – A villain named Drifter teleports his teammates in the Gene Pool to Dugout Books in the Baltimore suburb of Towson, Maryland. While Sunscar blinds many in the crowd at nearby Irving Park, Roadkill snatches the speaker, sociologist Dr. Simone Redleaf. Simultaneously Persephone freezes people in the bookstore, where the Invisible Menace grabs actor Scott Capuletti (who played the 80’s TV hero Cap’n Cape). Drifter teleports out the two villains and their captives, but returns, and the three remaining criminals are taken down by Rune, Sir Rathos, and new heroes Lomdi, Mosquito, Spartan, and Ragnarr, who all arrive from around the area. Police announce ransom demands from the Gene Pool, but Lomdi uses telepathy to learn of their purpose (gaining notoriety) and location, so Rune creates a doorway to a ranch outside Taneytown, about 30 miles away. The vigilantes descend upon the compound, and the Gene Pool’s leader Professor Phylum injects Redleaf with a syringe. The adventurers swiftly defeat the villainous Professor, his pet hippogriff, Roadkill, Invisible Menace, and Serenade, but Redleaf grows and changes into a massive Plant-Thing. While his companions battle and try to contain the mindless creature, Mosquito creates an antidote to the Phylum Formula and ends the incident by transforming Redleaf back into human form.
#338 – Escape from the Micro-Universe – The Guardians discuss the recent crop of new applicants, and Delphi briefs Compass, Scion, Kubera, and Kageryu about each of them. The night before a symposium by the Subatomic Physics Society (SPS) in D.C., two of the scheduled presenters are found murdered in their homes. SPS President Roy Newbeck asks the Guardians to provide security for the conference, so Ragnarr, Enigma, Xeo Fey, Scotoma, Spartan, and Rune meet him in a sculpture garden outside the convention center. A strange craft suddenly appears on the lawn, and Bugbear and six amphibious beings (Ipzin soldiers) assault the heroes. The attacking forces are swiftly taken out, and Newbeck confesses an elaborate tale. Eight years before, he and three other colleagues that were working on Project Zacchaeus (a federally funded endeavor to study subatomic space) had secretly entered the micro-universe via an experimental Micro-Craft vessel. When one of the quantum physicists, Keith Mikkelsen, was severely injured by a booby trap, they deserted him. After returning home, they sent the vehicle back to the micro-universe, reporting that Mikkelsen alone had stolen it. The project was discontinued, and the scientist never returned. Now the craft is back, and two of the four original explorers have been murdered; Newbeck fears that he will be next. The team shrinks down via the Micro-Craft and encounter more Ipzin, who rebuff diplomacy and fire weapons at them. The group sweeps through an outpost, taking down the android Replica and many Ipzin. Xeo Fey and Spartan go back to guard their vehicle, but first have to overcome a deadly creature, the Slithering Ooze. The rest of the party fights Viberon (Mikkelsen, now with powers), forcing him to flee into the nearby ruins of the demolished NaqlidCity. They find and destroy the Inversion Bomb he had been constructing, as well as his computer records. Ragnarr rescues an Ipzin named Uub from a brig, but after their return the lowly Gamma soldier escapes at the first opportunity.
#339 – Return to the Micro-Universe – Shannen Aimes is appointed as the new President of the SPS, and Project Zacchaeus is restarted. Early one morning an unknown supervillain, Pillager, breaks into the new secret research facility for the project, but paranormal security Red Hawk prevents the theft of the Micro-Craft. Aimes calls the Guardians, and Rune, Scotoma, Ragnarr, and Enigma respond to the secretive sub-basement. Pillager had spoken of the planet Erdoon, which Red Hawk confirms is a remote (and supposedly cursed) planet in the micro-universe. The adventurers again shrink down via the Micro-Craft and fly to the icy world of Erdoon. They follow tracks in the snow to a cave, where they take down the criminals Pillager, Amphibia, Torrid, and Understudy (disguised as Bugbear). The heroes return, bringing the villains with them.
#340 – Sandy Situation – The Japanese yakuza families seem to have consolidated, answering to a single senpai kumicho. Sting appears to have taken over Vampire’s Alliance forces (and also sometimes appears as him); he also apparently has a tenuous truce with the Suit (of Intercrime). People have been ravaged and mutilated all around the D.C. area. Enigma, Scotoma, Rune, and young hero Makeshift respond to a bank robbery downtown, where hostages are clustered in circular formations. In the center of each circle is a darkly clad person with exposed wiring from their chest. The vigilantes cautiously check things out, then launch an attack on the criminals. The bomb-like devices are determined to be bluffs, and numerous thugs that had been disguised as hostages fight back, along with paranormal mercenaries Cyclone, Bonesaw, and Sandblaster. The adventurers take down most of the robbers, but Cyclone is able to escape with a small object taken from a safety deposit box.
#341 – Omni-Primus – Responding to a request by A.R.T., the Guardian Angel loses power upon arrival in Chicago. Kubera creates a force field around the vehicle, allowing Jerry Hammond to land safely in Lake Michigan. Rune creates an exit doorway, but the magic he uses for a prestidigitation spell a moment later inadvertently transports the team a short distance away into a South Side industrial building. Enigma, Knight Shade, Rune, and Kubera find that they are in the lair of megalomaniacal supervillain Omni-Primus, who along with minions Vibron, Tengu, and Stigmata are as surprised as they are. The two forces fight; during the battle the evil mastermind turns Knight Shade into glass and Stigmata breaks it apart. Members from both sides fall, and eventually Omni-Primus is forced to teleport away. Soon after Stigmata disappears as well, and the heroes rush the transformed segments of their teammate to the Guardians’ base, where he is reassembled. After Knight Shade awakens, his body swiftly recovers. Earlier, the group had discussed news and recapped some of their recent adventures. Baron Heinrich reveals that the Bloodsworn have acquired a powerful artifact and seem poised to take over all of the vampire clans. A Homeland Security agent (Michael Chretien) is missing in San Francisco after a recent Asian gangland massacre, the attacks in Washington, D.C. seem to be from an animal-like creature, and Kubera warns that the barriers between dimensions might be breaking down. Geoffrey Wills holds a press conference in Florida, announcing that he is turning Wills Aerospace over to a board of directors while he takes a sabbatical.
#342 – The Mirror Cracked – Ragnarr reports that organized crime seems to be on a decrease nationwide, but the East Coast’s numbers remain steady. A bound Compass is given cryptic information by the Suit, leader of Intercrime; he comes to in a D.C. alley and realizes that the entire event happened only in his mind. A.R.T. agent John Smith delivers information to the Guardians about the recent local “monster”. City Hall in San Francisco is attacked, so Smith deposits Quiasar, Warp, Ragnarr, and Compass inside the building via a flaming gateway. They move downstairs into an ornate lobby wrecked by an indoor storm and engage Asian paranormals who dub their opponents “Worthy” or “Unworthy”. Quiasar deposits many civilians outside, and as the heroes take out the enemy they accidentally kill some of them. Each of their foes appear to be of a different ethnicity, missing Homeland Security agent Michael Chretien is among them, and all appear to be undead (but to have died at different times). Unseen by any of the adventurers, the dead and injured individuals rescued earlier by Quiasar stand up in unison, kidnap two people, and disappear. The team finds that the target for the assault was City Administrator Edgar Greene, who along with two aides was executed in his office. Blackstone (Neutron) uses the Alpha Site gateway to depart to an unknown destination.
#343 – Serenity Now! – Compass meets with Hayagriva in prison, and the gangster tells him about a powerful entity that has crushed all opposition among the various West Coast factions of the Asian underworld. This being seems to be wiping out corruption among the Triad Tong, and Compass realizes that Old Man was among the recent inhuman opponents at City Hall. Kubera and Quiasar are called to the Pentagon, where various government heads suspect Force is behind a growing Serenity movement spreading across Central America; citizens all over the subcontinent appear to be joyous, happy and dancing, as does Rune after he returns from an expedition to Guatemala. Enigma, Rune, Kubera, Quiasar, Compass, and Ragnarr fly in the Guardian Angel to El Mirador in northern Guatemala, but Kubera mysteriously disappears (to assist A.R.T.). The team makes their way underground into ancient Mayan ruins. After journeying past traps and puzzles the group encounters the Mayan Tree of Life. Rune perceives that the powerful creature, who appears to be behind the Serenity cult, is an imposter, and after much questioning they discover that archaeologist Augustus Riversson is a captive inside. The insane Riversson breaks free from his delusion and smashes the tree; this frees Riversson and the two twins held captive by it. One of the twins, Manuel Esquivel, is discovered to be a local money man with ties to the Triad Tong.
#344 – The Silence Shall Reign – Enigma, Spartan, Ragnarr, Majestic, and Quiasar find themselves at a children’s soccer game without their costumes or gear. They see and hear strange things, as animals, astronauts, and red-skinned aliens appear and disappear while a threatening thunderstorm nears. Everything goes dark with complete silence, and the five adventurers suddenly find themselves among medieval nobles and a man named Charles Gates in the dining hall of a castle. This time they wear their superhero garb and learn that they are at the coronation of a King Nivar, in celebration of a defeated “shadow creature”. Again they continue to see spacemen and animals, but the red aliens appear more clearly, begging for help. After another period of darkness, one of the aliens explains that they are called Sensorites; he explains that they are the last of their race and warns about an adversary called the Silence. The group then finds themselves in a weightless environment of extreme dark with absolutely no sound. Under these difficult conditions, the predatory Silence assaults them repeatedly, and the heroes discover as they fight back that they are aboard the Guardian Angel. The team relies on tactics, teamwork, and infrared technology, and after Enigma absorbs many of the monster’s abilities they are able to defeat it. Quiasar quickly takes the beast outside into space and slays it. Charles Gates is found aboard, and the Guardians learn that he is an agent of A.R.T.
#345 – T.O.T.E.M.’s Pandora Bots – Unusual seismic activity is detected in El Salvador, and the President of Honduras is assassinated. A.R.T. notifies the Guardians that a Vai’Kesh ship was spotted on the other end of the galaxy bringing an old mining facility online. All N.I.D. projects are shut down as a result of the poor economy. The Guardians hold a meeting and discuss internal security matters. C.H.E.S.S. asks for assistance investigating some caves in El Salvador, so Compass, Enigma, Quiasar, Kubera, Rune, and Warp fly to the small country in the Guardian Angel. They work with C.H.E.S.S. in searching the caves, and encounter a man, Silent Shadow, who vanishes from memory the second they look away or no longer see him. After making their way past a stuck elevator, the group ventures deep underground into a facility, where the party is attacked by swarms of insect-like mechanical replicants. The heroes fight them off, and the creatures retreat into the walls. The replicants flee via Adalwolf’s Havoc, and the adventurers learn that the Serenity movement freed the mechanical beings from T.O.T.E.M.’s control.
#346 – The Poseidon’s Adventure – The Guardians Council (Majestic, Kageryu, Scion, Quiasar, and Kubera) discusses ethics, a possible oath for the team, and Warp’s status, and Enigma and Rune are made full-time mission specialists. Charles Gates from A.R.T. gives the team a briefing on the ten most prevalent alien races interacting with Earth. Later, Rune and Kubera travel to a recently raised island near Crete, where A.R.T. maintains a quarantine zone around ancient Minoan ruins. Fearing alien influence, Rune brings in the Guardians when it appears the zone was breached. Araneae, Enigma, Majestic, and Ragnarr join their two teammates and follow a trail to the yacht Poseidon’s Venture, from which the gigantic god Poseidon hurls tidal waves at Athens! The team confronts the mighty deity and three water elementals, and Kubera and A.R.T. protect the city as the others battle the ancient mariner. After he is defeated, they find that the entity was created from four AthensUniversity officials. The similarity to the incident in Guatemala leads the team to surmise that it might be connected to the Serenity Now movement, since both situations involved ordinary members of academia being converted to gods of local mythology.
#347 – Anarch – Phase, Scotoma, Knight Shade, Rune, and Araneae continue to look into the recent savage attacks in D.C. and begin to suspect something insect-like. They also learn that there has been a lack of pest-type insects in the eastern part of the city. In the sewers near where they had found the Lord of the Flies (years earlier) they encounter a strange, glistening, biological wall. Knight Shade travels through the thick structure and discovers seven-foot ants beneath RFK Stadium. The group decides to monitor the situation, and finds that there is also a lack of pest insects in Baltimore, New York, Jersey City, and Boston. Rune transports the same group to the National Sylvan Theater in the shadow of the WashingtonMonument, where Anarch, a powerful villain, has gone on a rampage, killing civilians. As the others rescue innocents and shepherd people to safety, Araneae and Knight Shade take down the mysterious being.
#348 – Viking Raiders – In a D.C. subway Enigma realizes he is being watched by a cloaked figure. Arik Lökken (Ragnarr) and Scandinavian scholars in Greenland discover the Valcuary, a B.P. mining vessel with drilling equipment and blasting agents but no sign of her crew. Edmund Drake (Rune) finds that someone has gone through his personal items and cleaned up his D.C. penthouse. Rathos Zealnon (Sir Rathos) sees police investigating a mangled corpse in Baltimore. C.H.E.S.S. Knight Demaris gathers Enigma, Rune, Summoner, Sir Rathos, and Spartan to discuss criminal activity involving Caveat Allure. Ragnarr follows reports that lead to a longship of Viking warriors plundering a yacht off the coast of Ireland. He contacts the Guardians while following them in an inflatable boat, and Rune teleports the heroes present at the meeting to Birmingham, England; C.H.E.S.S. flies them the rest of the way to join him. The six vigilantes battle Viking and fifteen pillagers, who travel across a magical rainbow bridge between the Bird of War and the target vessel. After a lengthy skirmish, the champions defeat all of the hardy Norsemen.
#349 – Welcome to the Hood – Quiasar calls a meeting of the Guardians Council and reveals information from the GamesMaster about a secret facility near the Arctic Circle. After analyzing messages that indicate an SOS, a team is put together to investigate. Kubera, Warp, Compass, Portal, Razor, Knight Shade, and Phase meet Charles Gates at the location while Araneae and Jerry Hammond stay aboard the Guardian Angel. Gates informs them that the installation belongs to A.R.T. and that it should be filled with ice, allowing access only deep underground via teleportation. The group learns that the ice has been cleared out and enters, finding signs of recent use and strange surveillance equipment. Gates reveals that another gateway exists beneath them, and that A.R.T. has been monitoring what they call Beta Site for years. The heroes make their way around a deadly trap, finding the place deserted but also recognizing signs that the doorway (slightly different from Alpha Site) has been used. Clues also indicate that the A.R.T. personnel have been missing for months, and that somebody masquerading as them sent daily updates. At Foundation Headquarters BBC reporter Oscar Standish claims to have information, so Scion, Quiasar, and Kubera meet with him while a hidden Compass and Warp observe. Standish gives details about mysterious activities (strange lights, creatures hunting wildlife) in the far North and missing vehicles (numerous ships and a plane) in the North Atlantic. The Guardians begin to suspect a possible alien invasion, and a team is assembled. Scion, Razor, Compass, Kubera, Phase, Warp, and Araneae fly in the Guardian Angel to Iceland, where they enter a cave on the volcano Eyjafjallajökull. Warp and Araneae scout ahead by swimming through an underground stream, but detect four large beings approaching underwater!
#350 – The Host – The two vigilantes retreat back into the cavern. Realizing that the environment favors their adversaries, the team has Compass create an impromptu river with his wrecking ball, which flushes the four creatures down the side of the volcano! The insect-like Host rush up the mountain slope and use tactics, attacking the Guardians in pairs. As the heroes concentrate their attacks on single aliens, more of the monsters emerge from the cavern, including a gigantic Host Princess! Oz (aided by a boy his size) arrives in the Bilskirnir, and as the intense battle rages the team begins to realize that their weapons and limbs are dissolving after exposure to the acid blood of their enemies! They hastily retreat in the Guardian Angel, leaving Oz’s ship behind as the volcano erupts! Araneae injects his limbless companions with ReGenx, a serum he acquired from the GamesMaster, and they immediately start to heal. The adventurers travel to the GamesMaster’s flying platform for further aid. Phase, Frostpaw, and Razor remain in her care as the others call in Neutron (who returns to Earth), Quiasar, Kageryu, Witness, Shadow Knight, and Majestic. The group contacts Archbishop Chernetsky, who gives them intel about a Siberian base that T.O.T.E.M. commandeered from the Russians 50 years ago; the aliens are suspected of having been there for the last two months. Knight Shade constructs a pheromone masking agent for everyone, and a stealth team made up of Compass, Araneae, Warp, Shadow Knight, Witness, Kageryu, and Knight Shade flies to a remote area in Siberia with a lone cabin. Knight Shade scouts ahead, discovering a vast network of tunnels making up a facility deep underground. He eventually finds a large room full of captive humans, and makes telepathic contact with one. The captives, A.R.T. personnel taken from Beta Site and forced to work for the aliens, reveal much information about the Host, who have placed a nuclear bomb in both Moscow and Washington, D.C. They serve a Queen, who has been using her “children” to explore Earth since coming through the gateway in the Arctic.
#351 – The True Queen – The heroes decide to attempt to reach a truce with the Host, so Knight Shade makes contact with the Queen. A meeting is arranged, and Majestic, Neutron, Scion, Kubera, Araneae, and Paradigm meet with the alien leader and four drones. The Queen, who wears a bracelet made from T.O.T.E.M. replicants, shares that her race (who come from another dimension) are being hunted by an enemy called the Timal’ar. The Guardians propose finding a new planet for the Host, and Scion agrees to stay behind while the team takes the Queen to it. Scion enters a massive hangar where a craft similar to the Havoc is being constructed; the aliens share that they are building these vehicles for transport to another world. The true Queen reveals that what the vigilantes believed was the Queen before was actually one of her princesses. Neutron, Paradigm and the Princess journey to a distant world, where they show her a gateway that is part of Alpha Site’s network (hopefully safe and separate from the Beta Site network, which also transports between dimensions). The Queen reveals the locations of the nuclear devices, and the two sides exchange information. With help from A.R.T. they help transport all of the Host off Earth to a far-away planet. The same tiny boy shows up again and leaves Oz’s completely intact dirigible at his residence. Epilogue: The Queen requests a return visit to Earth in one year.
#352 – (Not so) Great Balls of Fire – The Guardians hold a year-end meeting. Kageryu shares that she has found underground tunnels all over the northeast U.S., but only in Union Civil War states. More mutilated bodies are found, including two fatalities. The team considers the Serenity Now movement, with definite alien involvement at Minos and a possible connection at the Mayan one. Rune’s research points towards a dig in El Bahr, Egypt, but officials deny access. Rune gets permission through a contact, and Enigma, Ragnarr, and Araneae join him in flying to southern Egypt in the Guardian Angel. The team tells A.R.T. about suspected alien involvement, and the agency identifies Gorene nanobots; A.R.T. then sets up a quarantine of the area. This prevents the local populace from acquiring fire-based powers. In New York City, C.R.I.M.E. puts a $10 million bounty on an unidentified competitor and new drugs spread on the streets. Kubera shares that he plans on taking ReGenx (which would regenerate his missing limbs and cause the loss of his bionics) and that he is going on a diplomatic mission to the GoreneRepublic. The Guardians discover Gorene nanobot infection is involved in the Serenity movement, which includes the disruption of the yakuza in Japan many months ago. President Obama makes an immediate change of plans, and the heroes face great difficulties as they attempt to find out more information. Scion, Majestic, and Quiasar attempt to contact different leaders in the U.S. and C.H.E.S.S., but continue to feel stonewalled. Scion even reaches out to the N.I.D., but has no luck. Quiasar and Scion finally succeed in reaching C.H.E.S.S., who put them in contact with A.R.T.
#353 – MisJudgment Day – After a briefing by A.R.T., the superheroes are called to the United Nations Headquarters in Manhattan. John Smith teleports Ragnarr, Compass, Rune, Araneae, and Enigma to the site, where an assembled army fights a lone person. C.H.E.S.S. (including Entropy and other paranormals), National Guard troops, and agents of A.R.T. and Homeland Security fire on the Judge, who continues to advance on the evacuated General Assembly building. The Guardians join the assembled forces trying to stop the target, but the being, made up of Gorene nanotechnology in a human host, is merely slowed down. As he enters the structure, C.H.E.S.S. teleports the entire allied army to a nearby military base. The Judge explodes, heavily damaging the building; the government describes the blast to the public as an electrical problem. Majestic and Scion meet with President Obama, who assures them that the team will be kept in the loop in the future. The adventurers begin to realize that the four elements are involved with the various excavations: air in Japan, earth in Guatemala, water in Greece, and fire in Egypt. Araneae contacts Homeland Security and arranges to meet their analyst. He is surprised to discover it is Scotoma, who had amazingly intuited the attack on the U.N. The power grid of the Northwest and a large portion of the Southern U.S. crashes. The heroes use the Guardian Angel to meet up with an A.R.T. vessel in space, and Enigma, Ragnarr, and Rune go aboard. After demanding to see Jay Harris, they find their teammate cryogenically frozen. He is awakened, and tells them that he sent Battletron back in time to save Scotoma, who could then save all of mankind. He also explains that the Gorene threat is devastating, and he theorizes that left unchecked, the poles of the Earth will flip instantly, destroying all of civilization! Jay has been temporary transformed into a Gorene “Planetary Manager”, and an illusion makes him appear human. More than 15,000 years ago Gorene colonization protocols seeded Earth with nanobots. The nanites were shut down (until recently being unearthed) because there was no Planetary Manager. The Judge was the nanites from all four sites combined into a single entity. Jay adds the illusion of his Kubera armor, then accompanies Compass, Araneae, Enigma, Rune, Ragnarr, Scion, and Phase as they teleport deep underground into a complex in the Republic of Mali in Western Africa. They battle their way past multiple nanobot elementals, and Jay shuts down the nanobots. He suddenly collapses and dies, but Phase miraculously resuscitates him. Araneae injects him with ReGenx, but it does not work. The team rushes him to the A.R.T. spacecraft, where he is stabilized by being put back into cryogenic sleep. Epilogue: Jay Harris steps down as Security Chief, and Neutron replaces him in that position and on the Council.
#354 – An Attack from Within – The highly addictive street drugs ‘mind’ and ‘body’ spread across the entire East Coast of the U.S.; a different drug called ‘perfection’ is given to lieutenants and another called ‘ascension’ to crime bosses. Meanwhile, athletic records are broken and new scientific discoveries are made in the same regions. The F.O.C. Corporation takes over all government-funded N.I.D. projects. Knight Shade alerts Delphi that the mucous wall made by the giant insects is down, when suddenly all communication is lost. Quiasar, Kubera, Rune, Warp, Ragnarr, Sir Rathos, and Makeshift journey to the location under RFK Stadium and attack many oversized ants in an old cistern. A mysterious being cloaked in darkness fights the heroes as well, and the champions begin to fall. The group pulls back and negotiates with the Queen Ant, who reveals that something close to them is a great evil. The adventurers begin to believe that the unknown opponent could be Knight Shade. Quiasar contacts Majestic, but Delphi suddenly warns all that the Guardians’ base is under attack, so the team rushes to their facility. Majestic assists Warp in getting there, while the others leave Makeshift at the entrance. On the lowest level of the base, the team clashes with Vile Shade (Knight Shade) in the dark, also discovering that the control center has been smashed and the armory and trophy room breached.
#355 – Knight Shade’s Denouement – Vile Shade breaks off his attacks and departs, and the Guardians find that he has taken many powerful items. Two labs containing all of his past work have been cleansed, and gone are the Staff of the Great One, Motherland Defender armor, a Slave Collar, parts of androids (including the head of Force), and C-4. The base has only emergency power, the main backup generator is missing, and Delphi appears to have been slain. The Ant Queen seemed to know something about their adversary, so as Kubera and Warp work on restoring power Quiasar and Majestic teleport back to question her. As they arrive, they see a hastily restored Motherland Defender stagger into the hive and explode, causing a small earthquake all over the D.C. area! Giant ants emerge onto the streets of the city and begin attacking civilians and police, wreaking havoc and chaos everywhere! Rune, Majestic, Makeshift, and Ragnarr do what they can to protect and rescue people from the crazed beasts while more of the insects make their way towards the team’s base. The group is able to restore power, but it is swiftly cut again and the attackers tear into the titanium exterior. All personnel are evacuated, and Warp generates a massive cold field that stops the insects just outside. After restoring power again, the team reviews records and data. They find that Knight Shade seems to have changed over time, influenced by alien technology (from Sadow), recent skirmishes with the ants (a rival hive), and the slow transformation into a vampire (by Lord Malek). Scans show increased musculature and robustness as well as no body heat, but he cleverly altered the security system to hide everything. Kubera deduces that all of the recent, baffling animal-like attacks and mutilations were done by Vile Shade. Scion and Araneae protect the base as Warp, Neutron, Majestic, Kubera, and Quiasar travel to Baltimore to question a different ant colony. They learn that the gigantic animals have been around for millennia, but they also generally fear and avoid humans. Neutron gets pheromones from this new Ant Queen and builds a device that will neutralize Vile Shade’s pheromones. Vile Shade broadcasts a message for the heroes to meet him deep underneath the Pentagon, but the adventurers discover that he is lying. The ants surrounding the base suddenly leave, joining others to attack both the White House and Congress! Majestic teleports all directly into the West Wing, and they rush to the bunker to confront the dangerous menace for a final time. Neutron’s invention stops the ants (who join in attacking Vile Shade), and the Guardians fight their powerful former teammate in the dark. Majestic attempts to reach any humanity in Karl Benner, then is joined in this by Neutron. Paradigm suddenly joins their plea, and their opponent drops to the ground and cries out. Darkness swirls and coalesces across Knight Shade as he struggles mightily, and a dark form peels from his body and flies away! The heroes check the fallen form of their old friend and find that he has died fighting off the entity. Paradigm sadly queries the Guardians about why they had done nothing as their colleague deteriorated, despite a letter he had given Quiasar asking that they watch him. The group recovers the Staff of the Great One and Slave Collar and heads home.
#356 – Infinity Lounge – Rune, Enigma, Kubera (without armor), Ragnarr, Sir Rathos, and Summoner come to and find themselves in a strange environment. Exhausted and battered, they vaguely recall seeing strange figures before they were paralyzed and pummeled by hideous creatures. They explore their surroundings, but find no exits in their zoo-like enclosure modeled after an airport lounge from around 1960. They make many strange discoveries, including the mummified body of former Brazilian superhero O Cometa and a severed hand with a World War II-era, high-tech German pistol. The hologram-like image of a bizarre, cloaked alien (Analyst Phi, a Petahelian) observes them occasionally, but does not speak directly to them. Summoner discovers that outside of one wall is a devastating sandstorm. The adventurers are surprised by a bustling porter that appears human, but the young man claims to not know how he got there. An alien being suddenly drops into the center of the facility and attacks the group, and the porter disappears as the heroes attempt to negotiate. Unable to communicate with it, the team is forced to dispatch the monster, which disappears a few minutes later. After a half-hour of waiting and resting, two different monsters appear and also attack. Over the next few hours the cycle repeats, with wave after wave of strange-looking (but apparently intelligent) creatures attacking and being swiftly defeated, each time in larger numbers and with a greater rest period in-between. Each time the Guardians try to use diplomacy, but the aliens ignore their pleas and furiously assault them. The Petahelian continually makes appearances as well, commenting and observing. After the vigilantes demolish a fifth wave of ten unique attackers, Phi appears and speaks to them. He honors them for their performance and attempts at peace, and he gives Kubera a strange device before teleporting them to a classroom back on Earth. Epilogue: Kubera notifies the family of O Cometa.
#357 – Lojacked! – Ragnarr is made a mission specialist, and the team decides on mandatory quarterly psychological examinations. Intercrime puts a “Proof of Death” bounty on a New York City ganglord named Fagin. A Havoc is spotted on the other side of the galaxy, near the Vai’Kesh mining facility. An attempted break-in at U.S.A. (Universal Spatial Applied) Robotics in upstate New York results in a call to the Guardians, who fly there in the Guardian Angel. Enigma, Rune, and Ragnarr investigate the office portion of the facility while Araneae and Makeshift check out the large (and entirely automated) factory, which the raid had attempted to teleport out completely. Head of Security Sigurd Helmholtz (himself a paranormal) shares that C.R.I.M.E. and Intercrime have stolen raw materials recently. The A.S.A. allows Ragnarr to interrogate the captured burglar, Randy Hutchins, a low-level crook with technology upgrades. The team learns that the C.R.I.M.E. bounty was also on Fagin, and Hutchins (a devotee of Fagin) speaks of “ascension”. Enigma and Rune masquerade as down-and-out types at Kip’s Bar in Manhattan, but discover they are too late to get Fagin’s attention. Following a lead, the heroes travel to an abandoned complex at Shore Haven in the Bronx. Despite darkness, the five invade the basement of the building, clashing with foes wearing older-style Intercrime Power Infantry armor. The armored opponents are controlled by Lojack, who has merged with a huge piece of machinery. The vigilantes rip him free, but this allows the criminal to be teleported away by his enemies! The adventurers find that their cyberbot foes had been derelict people transformed into cyborgs by Lojack. They recover many stolen items, rescue people in the process of being converted, learn that Lojack is Fagin, and find elaborate plans to take over New York City.
#358 – Chasing Apparitions – T.O.T.E.M. activities reportedly change, with a rebuilding of light and heavy shock troops and MS-13 making thefts of electronics and machine parts; an incident in Germany also links the organization to a robbery of World War II archival records. Doctor Sudhakar Kaipa, on the verge of a major scientific breakthrough, is abducted by T.O.T.E.M. An anomaly is found in the power emissions of the force field for the Guardians’ base. Delphi returns with a replacement body. After a meeting of the Council, Majestic, Kageryu, Scion, and Kubera respond to northern D.C. in the Guardian Angel, where new criminals called the Wingmen rob a Technology Depot. Wind Shear and Shockwave lead ordinary thugs garbed with body armor and wings, taking hostages among the customers. As the heroes rush in to help, most witness nine light shock troops arrive. Kubera watches as his teammates struggle against foes that aren’t there (the T.O.T.E.M. androids), while all but one of the Wingmen use the opportunity to escape. The vigilantes begin to believe Kubera, so Majestic teleports them back to the base, where they witness Quiasar, Compass, and Neutron also battling non-existent foes. After all are calmed, team Doctor Raymond Kenveis informs them that recent dark events with Knight Shade destabilized the modifications made by the Gwai’ir nanites. Over the next day all modified tissues are flushed from each affected person’s body, and all communication abilities gained from them are permanently lost.
#359 – Moments in Time – During a meeting in the Guardians’ base, Kubera, Compass, Araneae, and Enigma notice that the map in the background (on the feed from C.H.E.S.S.) is quite different; Germany appears to be much larger. Waves of temporal flux impact the building, and each time they do historical details change. The Beatles and Elvis announce reunion tours, John F. Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe attend a fundraiser for Nancy Pelosi, and Archbishop Mindbender is seen alongside Leech. Troop movements of Psi-Prime are witnessed, and they learn that D.C. and most major cities have been obliterated by nuclear strikes. All inside the base (which includes Neutron, Razor, Warp, and pilot Hammond) move through time inside a temporal bubble while things continue to change outside. Doctor Apocalypse was killed before he acquired his gem, leading to the Demonic Wars. Many paranormals and organizations (including the GamesMaster) are gone, and the T.O.T.E.M. symbol replaces the one for CNN on their monitors. The heroes learn that Hitler was assassinated during World War II; Goering took over, but he too was struck down and replaced by someone unknown. Later, Psi-Prime was killed by Adalwolf, and Mindbender became King of C.H.E.S.S. The vigilantes also observe massive robots patrolling death factories just outside the rubble of New York City. Tracking time distortions to Corvo Island in the Azores, they construct temporal shielding for themselves and the Guardian Angel and Hammond flies them there. The adventurers invade a facility underneath a caldera, taking out Bjorn and many light shock troops and shutting down esoteric equipment. As they analyze the strange gear (which includes the stolen Chinese supercomputer Nebulae), they realize that they must use it to go into the past, setting things right for their proper timeline to exist. Neutron powers up the technology and sends the seven champions to Germany in July of 1944!
#360 – We Have to Save Who? – Arriving in a forest, the adventurers realize that Warp is no longer with them. Moments later, they meet freedom fighter Darius Hax, who followed them through from his own nightmare future. After confirming that they are in Germany and witnessing troop movements, they discover a concentration camp not far away being spied on by Colonel Jack Temple. Temple is skeptical at first, but the group convinces him to join them as an ally in their mission. After scouting the area, they reluctantly decide to ignore the camp and make their way to Poland, insuring that Operation Valkyrie (the attempted assassination of Hitler) continues as it did in their own timeline. The team sets up and watches the Nazi compound, but detects Adalwolf arriving in a truck. Neutron destroys the vehicle by ramming it with a force field rocket ship, and Adalwolf immediately surrenders. The bomb goes off as it had originally (with Hitler surviving), so the group (including Hax and Temple) returns to 2012 with Adalwolf in tow. They arrive back in the underground T.O.T.E.M. complex, and Adalwolf explains that they have to choose: either face him and his forces or save a nearby village on the island. Kubera, Compass, Enigma, and Araneae rush over a mile away to save the community, engaging Sable and both heavy and light shock troops. Neutron and Hax go after Adalwolf, and Razor and Temple contest Judicator, a gigantic warbot, and more light shock troops. Neutron is diverted away by Adalwolf, but both groups trounce the TO.T.E.M. forces. The automatons self-destruct, destroying the facility and the supercomputer, but Temple survives the blast and the others escape it. Adalwolf, Sable, and Judicator get away. Confirmation is made that the original timeline was preserved.
#361 – Twists of Time – Little is known about history before the Eternal Empress. After Justice Force disbanded, a great leader rumored to be from the future stepped into the power vacuum, using technology to overcome all opposition. Her Enforcer bots monitor all human behavior and terminate the rebellious. A collection of heroes evades disintegration in a factory by stepping through a portal. Quiasar, Ragnarr, Enigma, Goliath, Spartan, Contagion, Kick Puncher, and DragonHeart emerge onto a strange, oversized game board opposite the Empress and her bots. A being called the Time Guardian informs the group that their timeline is wrong and that only defeating the Eternal Empress will stop the threat. They travel through a shimmering portal to the first battle of the Guardians, where Dr. Desist, Entropy, and Crocodile fight the Midnight Men (Apollo, Stormstress, Black Empress, Detonator, and Noose). Unable to interfere in the decades-old battle, the vigilantes battle Robot, Semdifor, and T-479, who guard a hidden and shielded Empress (actually Time Thief). After they take down the villainess, time fast-forwards and the original Guardians are defeated. The adventurers are pulled into a temporal vortex and find themselves on the game board again. The earlier encounters seem like a dream, and they now remember being part of a resistance against the Crimelord/Organizer, who wiped out the Guardians and C.H.E.S.S. with the aid of other criminal organizations and Destroyer bots. The Time Guardian warns that something is manipulating reality on a massive scale, and that Time Thief was not the true threat. The travelers activate a portal and arrive in the midst of a fight in an underground base. Crocodile, Entropy, Shadow Knight, and Hematite face a series of challenges while they are opposed by the Organizer, Noose, Black Empress, and 2166. Robot and Detonator are also present, but respond against the new arrivals.
#362 – Endgame – The events of the past seems to play out slowly while the modern champions fight a different battle, focusing on the Organizer, who also has an energy field. A Destroyer bot (a robotic Motherland Defender) appears and joins the skirmish against them, but the group rallies and defeats all of their adversaries. The past scene fast-forwards through a Guardians victory, and all of the new squad, now restored, heads towards the game board. However, a Destroyer bot follows and blasts the party, driving them off course, and they find themselves in a featureless void. Soon after, they realize that their surroundings are collapsing! The Time Guardian rescues them by transporting them to a large, artificial construct in space. Powered by chronal energy, they rest, then Quiasar intuits a portal back to Earth. The Time Guardian warns that the attack on reality is too large for him (or them), but the focus used to power the attack could be destroyed; once that happens, however, the reality pocket will crumble and they must find a way out. The team then battles multiple robotic Motherland Defenders and Lojack (inside a large temporal device), joined by the Time Guardian, who wears a newer version of the Motherland Defender armor. Lojack, like Time Thief and the Organizer, appears to be a controlled pawn in the grip of a greater power. The heroes launch strikes against the shielded focus and its protectors. A flurry of attacks brings down the shield for a few seconds, allowing the Time Guardian to slip inside. As the Time Guardian destroys the focus, Quiasar rallies the team and flies them through the exit portal as the bubble collapses. The adventurers find themselves in their proper time, with full memories of recent events. Worldwide, mentalists suffer an unpleasant vision of enslavement, and many have nightmares about killer robots.
#363 – When Worlds Collide – Three witches show the vampire Malek visions of him ruling. Feeling invincible after resurrecting his wife, he uses a magical ring to cross dimensions, then discovers that a relic called the Doombringer (destroyed in his world) has never been unearthed in this one. Hidden long ago in a pocket dimension by King Arthur, he locates the necklace in a now underwater temple overgrown by jungle, and after numerous attempts wrests it away from gigantic golem-like robot guardians. Many superheroes respond to a robbery at PNC Bank in Washington, D.C. Ragnarr, Witness, Makeshift, Magnet Master, and new hero Magman arrive to find the Vindicators (from Malek’s dimension, Delta): Rockasaurus, Frost Bite, Dr. Overwatch, Goldeneye Girl, Serpent, and Magic Man. After initial mistrust, the two sides decide to work together to stop the evil mastermind. The large squad follows clues to the Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland, Ohio, where Magic Man opens what remains of a small portal. Inside, they find themselves underground in an ancient temple, and Witness translates runes that depict Malek’s recent retrieval of the artifact. After discovering a large holding cell (believed to be for a gigantic demon), they find another tiny portal. When opened, it leads the two teams into another pocket dimension, where they find that Lord Malek is constructing a castle and large army. The adventurers fight an epic battle with villains Whirlwind, Shrew, Jackal, Inferno, and Everto, while also struggling against zombies (raised with the Doombringer) and large piranha. Once all of his minions are defeated, Malek confronts those still standing, gloating that he will conquer both worlds. The champions devastate the undead overlord with a flurry of attacks, but the vampire telekinetically tethers himself to Frost Bite and Rockasaurus. He warns all that killing him will also kill the pair, but they both valiantly insist on his destruction. Frost Bite plunges a grenade into a gash in Malek’s neck, and the three disappear as they are sucked into a dark portal! The pocket dimension begins to collapse, and the large party retrieves their allies and flees home via a portal by Magic Man.
#364 – High on C.R.I.M.E. – F.B.I. Special Agent Shawn O’Conner, heading a joint White Collar/Organized Crime Task Force, asks the Guardians to help investigate street drugs that are affecting many on the East Coast. One drug (‘mind’) enhances mental abilities, while another (‘body’) augments physical traits. There are also rumors that some have gained superpowers. The highly addictive drugs are apparently sold on the street, but the F.B.I. has been unable to obtain even a sample. Compass, Ragnarr, Enigma, and Goliath land the Guardian Angel on the Georgetown University campus and question students, learning about a man named Zane, while Rune and a disguised Araneae visit with Professor Remling there. The team follows leads to an underground casino beneath an auction house in Columbia Heights, Maryland, which Compass and Araneae stealthily scout. After ascertaining that the establishment has top-notch security and planting a tracer on the man running the back desk, Araneae disconnects a video camera. The entire operation is quickly shut down and the customers sent away, but the bugged man suddenly appears much more muscular. The entire group ambushes and pounds the man after he returns home to his condominium, which is loaded with many illegal guns and weapons. The only drug found is a mysterious inhaler, which the group has tested. The man, who it turns out is Zane, agrees to talk in exchange for witness protection, and reveals that C.R.I.M.E. is behind the drugs ‘mind’ and ‘body’, and that a secretive lady named Madame A runs the show.
#365 – Mind and Body Ascends to Perfection – Goliath joins the Guardians. Neutron and Scion oversee the construction of an android-creating facility inside a hollow asteroid in the main belt outside Mars. Neutron attempts to make contact with Kubera; not believing A.R.T.’s story that his friend was killed on a space mission, he notifies the Guardians Council and continues investigating. On an evening a week after getting the information about C.R.I.M.E. and their drug operations, Compass, Araneae, Rune, Enigma, Ragnarr, and Goliath wait in ambush inside a warehouse on the D.C. docks. A portal heralds the arrival of Madame A (Arachnia) and Dark Clown. Araneae attempts to talk his sister into leaving the drugs she carries, but she in turn offers the heroes a chance to surrender. The two sides fight, and the evil duo makes short work of the adventurers; after a short time all are either unconscious or left laughing uncontrollably. Ragnarr and Goliath are taken, and the others recover. After trying to get help from the GamesMaster and Queen of C.H.E.S.S., their two missing teammates are returned, branded and crucified: Ragnarr outside Foundation Headquarters and Goliath on the lawn of the White House. A DVD taped to each of them gives a warning from Freedom of Chaos that bombs will be detonated at three maximum security prisons; similar videos delivered to the media also show Dar’kness and Arachnia crucifying the pair and warn against interference. The Queen removes the brands, which she says were made with Dark Atlantean magic. The next day at noon the bombs go off at the penitentiaries in Soledad, California, Leavenworth, Kansas, and Attica, New York, but catch everybody by surprise as only a gas is released. As they breathe the airborne drugs delivered in the gas, the prisoners and staff suddenly become smarter and stronger and begin to manifest new superpowers. Authorities scramble to contain the chaos, and massive numbers of inmates escape amongst the resulting anarchy!
#366 – Ancient Evil – Ragnarr resigns. Enigma, Rune, and Goliath attend a G.I.A.N.T. conference in nearby Kingstown, Maryland, and meet up with old friend Sigurd (former Head of Security for U.S.A. Robotics) as they check into their motel. The next morning, the main speaker at the conference, Dr. Floyd Capek, suggests that the four investigate the scene of a recent burglary, where a paranormal named Slithe was mysteriously incapacitated. Allies Angelus and Summoner arrive and join them, and at the home the group discovers an ancient spearhead with magical powers. The party is unable to convince the homeowner, Roy Ronson, to relinquish the Spear of Daedalus for further study. Summoner spends the day fashioning a shaft for the blade, while Angelus seeks out local occultist Robin Todd and visits the intolerant Revelation Church, meeting head pastor James Gregson. Throughout the day Angelus senses a growing feeling of dread, and as the weather deteriorates Warp arrives to assist. At night the team divides and covers the town, then responds to a break-in at the Ronson home. They arrive to find a young, strangely-clad girl, Seraide, held at gunpoint by Roy. She explains that the magical item is needed to defeat Profundis, a mythical being that Todd mentioned to Angelus; Sigurd confirms this information based on his own recent dream. Ronson finally agrees to relinquish the artifact to the party, and Summoner fashions it into a spear. Seraide joins the heroes, and as the group begins to return to their posts they are attacked by Psyclone, Necroscope, Mnipre, Animus, Cannonmouth, Gutter, and a swarm of rats. Goliath fells many of the villains, but Cannonmouth arouses hatred in a number of the Guardians, turning them on each other. Angelus swipes the Spear from Summoner, but is then pulled (along with the enchanted weapon) into a Hellmouth portal created by Psyclone!
#367 – Black Sunday – The Hellmouth closes, and Mnipre flees as the rest of the villains are taken down. Several of the team fight each other, but eventually all snap out of their madness. After securing their adversaries, the group takes measure of an immense energy dome that covers the town. Warp is able to teleport out, so he visits the GamesMaster for possible future aid. Rune strains his magical abilities and retrieves Angelus from thousands of light-years away, where he had been stuck at the event horizon of a black hole! Mnipre rescues the captive Psyclone, Cannonmouth, and Necroscope by teleporting them out of their cell at the police station. The Spear is given to Summoner, who fashions facsimiles of it for his duplicates. Realizing that Cannonmouth is Reverend Gregson, the team assails the Revelation Church, overcoming the security guards inside. They find technicians assembling psicasters, strange devices for translating psionic impulses electronically, and Angelus destroys them. He then discovers a secret tunnel that leads to an underground chamber, from which they rescue Sigourney Heard, a witness who Gregson had kidnapped. The party gets some sleep, and the next morning begins to search Kingstown. They find and dispatch a pair of fish-like Ychthyon guarding the grave of Noah Albertos III in the cemetery. Enigma then peers into the unlit brazier atop the grave and slowly disappears! Angelus does the same, followed by Rune and then Goliath.
#368 – The Strange, High House in the Mists – Summoner races back to the motel to find Seraide, while Enigma, Angelus, Rune, and Goliath find themselves in a small room with a teleport pad. They overpower two Leftand sentries, then are attacked again in the corridor outside. After again defeating Psyclone, Mnipre, Necroscope (identified as Robin Todd), and Cannonmouth, as well as three ghostly shades, the heroes find living quarters for the four villains. All but Rune travel through an airlock into a water-filled area, where they fight off Ychthyarch and her many Ychthyon children. As Summoner and Seraide return to the cemetery and Rune deciphers the teleporter, the underwater trio makes their way up a level. Angelus scouts ahead and finds another teleport pad, but is knocked unconscious by another pair of Leftands. Enigma and Goliath rush through the airlock, but before they are able to intervene one of the androids teleports away with their teammate! Enigma and Goliath follow and arrive underwater in a massive dome deep underground, where they face the ancient titan Profundis sitting upon a humongous throne! Goliath dispatches the Leftand and recovers Angelus, but Profundis sends sharks to attack him. Rune arrives and creates a doorway back to the cemetery, through which Summoner and his duplicates come through. After defeating the sharks, the vigilantes assault Profundis, who ignores all but the Spear. With everyone attacking, Summoner thrusts the artifact repeatedly into the creature’s singular eye, eventually dropping the gigantic beast. After destroying the life support controls in the throne, the Spear is plunged into the monster, destroying it for good! Unbeknownst to the team, the spaceship Charon removes the energy dome and departs. The group returns to Kingstown and lends aid to the populace.
#369 – Razor’s Edge – Neutron confirms that Kubera was indeed killed while on a routine mission for A.R.T. After the Vai’Kesh make numerous attempted incursions through the Alpha Site gateway, Neutron alerts the Guardians. Scion becomes sick for the first time and is examined by Phase and team physician Dr. Kenveis. A message is received from the Vai’Kesh, and Rune is able to use Latin to decipher that “emissaries” want the “false prophet Leech”. Paradigm returns and flies in the Guardian Angel with Araneae, Goliath, and Compass to Alpha Site. Meanwhile, Scion begins compulsively building a machine, so the team quarantines him in a research room. They soon ascertain that his DNA is in a state of flux. He finishes creating the strange device and begins speaking in another language. Majestic and Kageryu meet with Leech at Foundation Headquarters and tag him with one of Araneae’s trackers. Phase alerts the others that Scion, who continues to change, is becoming more primal and instinctual. Portal and Rune assist in assembling a squad, and after Scion jams a second device into the console of the Guardian Angel, Jerry Hammond flies Majestic, Quiasar, Phase, Scion, and Neutron to a small island in international waters off the Atlantic coast. Razor, in contact with his mentor, Watcher, joins them there. The heroes follow Scion into a small shack, and the whole party descends into an underground facility, where Razor’s scarred and wheelchair bound contact reveals himself to be Mindbender (formerly Nemo/Black Talon). He explains how he used the crashed ruins in the past to build a cryo-unit; it wrecked his body but allowed him to survive until the present. During the last year he has been secretly aiding the Guardians and monitoring the N.I.D. and Freedom of Chaos. He shows them the original prototype Havoc, and Scion attaches a device to its underbelly. The five adventurers board, and Scion uses his constructed machinery to pilot the craft into space and across the galaxy! Razor is questioned about why the Vai’Kesh might want him, but reveals little. They travel through a dense nebula and land on a volcanic planet. The Havoc cuts a hole into a dome, allowing them to drop into a huge city underneath the surface, and an energy dome reforms over them. They follow Scion into a building, where he lays on a bed. Energy crackles over him as his DNA is resequenced and reset. As Neutron and Majestic explore (and learn that the planet is a giant ship), the travelers interact with a holographic human who explains that Scion has been away for too long. The ancient city begins to crumble around them, and five Vai’Kesh warriors and a cloaked man approach. Phase and Frostpaw get the unconscious Scion into the Havoc as the others square off with the threat. Razor is told that the young man is his son, and when his daughter joins them they learn that the two humans are the emissaries that were spoken of. The pair implores Razor to return to the Vai’Kesh, but he rebuffs them. They warn that the Vai’Kesh are coming, but Majestic responds that when they do they will be destroyed. The aliens leave, and the champions depart as the planet/ship self-destructs. Scion recovers, but is found to have new abilities.
#370 – All Hallows’ Eve – When an earthquake strikes Japan and further threatens the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear reactor, the team assembles to lend aid. They are called off, however, when legendary Japanese hero Tamonten suddenly appears, rescues the robot Kintetsu, and saves the plant! Quiasar and Neutron view a DVD left by Jay Harris and deduce that Kubera was the Time Guardian who saved the team months earlier. The team decides to have a statue made in their fallen teammate’s honor. The drugs ‘mind’ and ‘body’ are acquired by more aggressive organizations. New Babylon declares itself a sanctuary for any paranormals seeking refuge. Scion and Neutron inform everyone that they have begun work on a large-scale project to build a construction facility on an asteroid in the solar system. They plan to work with many nations, build an army of androids, and construct a massive starship for Earth’s protection. Scion informs the team that a powerful mastermind, Doc Negation, is now active in the U.S. with his team, the Universals. The spirits of Dale Max (Warp), Edmund Drake (Rune), Johnnie Many-Eyes (Summoner), Sigurd Helmholtz (Tarnhelm), Rey LaCosta (Spirit), and Ryan Henderson (new hero Helios) fall through their beds, then find themselves alone in darkness. Each man discovers that he is in the upper room of a hunting lodge (in rural West Virginia). They scramble to find light sources and improvised weapons, but are startled to hear the sound of a chainsaw downstairs! Manslaughter moves up the stairs and attacks, but most of the men rally together and fight back against the madman. Chainsaw arrives and also assaults the heroes, while Manslaughter hones in on a fearful Warp and chops off his left arm! Manslaughter disappears, and Chainsaw appears to drag the unconscious Warp outside. The team flees through a window, then are beset outside by Samhain and Chainsaw. They rush for the woods, where Rune is able to protect them with trees. The six suddenly awaken back in their own beds, and Warp finds that his arm is whole but disabled. The villain Nightmare claims credit for terrorizing past and future Guardians, and asks to join Freedom of Chaos; one of the leaders of the organization is revealed to be a tattooed man (the teenage boy met years earlier).
#371 – The Universals’ Truth – The superhero Azwraith, accompanied by numerous ninjas and monks, informs the Guardians that “shaeds” have entered both his world (that the Vindicators came from) and theirs from the pocket dimension where Lord Malek was defeated months earlier. Numerous Guardians lend aid to the battered East Coast after Superstorm Sandy. Kingstown, Maryland honors Summoner, Angelus, Goliath, Enigma, and Rune for their heroics three months earlier; Warp is invited but chooses to watch from a distance. Afterwards (as Dale Max), he approaches the other adventurers at a diner, then takes them (as Warp) to Inova Fairfax, a Sanctuary Hospital in Falls Church, Virginia. He introduces the others to the supervillain Dr. Squallus, who tells them all about a deadly paranormal named Doc Negation. Dr. Squallus’ former teammate Shocker succeeded in protecting his children from the menace in Japan, but this left him in a coma. Dr. Squallus himself barely escaped after a number of Doc Negation’s Proto-Corpsmen attempted to apprehend him. He warns the Guardians that this new threat is active in the area and after Enigma. He directs the team to a recently robbed tech firm, Particle Futures, in Richmond, Virginia, and clues there lead them to Gravimedical Technologies in Washington, D.C., where acquired parts could lead to weaponized gravity equipment. Racing there, the heroes battle the Universals: Miss Mass, Fetch-Fire (formerly Boogeyman), A.C.E., Brightshade, Chem, and Twisted Man. Miss Mass’ density powers surge out of control when Rune slows her with a spell, and she proves impossible to harm, so they focus on other targets. One by one the villains fall, and Rune draws a magical doorway under Miss Mass, stranding her on a Greek island. Brightshade flees, and the heroes secure the scene and aid downed civilians. A.C.E. awakens, but escapes by running off before he can be taken out. F.I.S.H. then arrives and takes the other incapacitated thieves into custody.
#372 – A Dangerous New Adversary – Goliath and Warp depart and the others retire to Rune’s Sanctum to recover. Afterwards at the Guardians’ Base they research Doc Negation and the villains they just faced, discovering that most are malcontents with origins involving scientific accidents. A week passes, and an invitation is received requesting that Enigma meet with Doc Negation at the Smithsonian. The Guardians Council meets and discusses Warp, recent contact by the Host, and the invitation. On Thanksgiving Enigma, Summoner, Rune, and Angelus visit the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History. Doc Negation greets them in the crowded Human Evolution exhibit, inviting Enigma to serve him as one of the Universals. Enigma defiantly spurns the Master of Mutation, and numerous nearby civilians transform into Proto-Corpsmen! The N-Matter Man joins the fight against the heroes, and the two sides furiously battle, with most of the enemy focusing on Enigma. Suddenly Doc Negation halts the assault and informs the adventurers that he has heroine Evelyn Epoch as a hostage. The vigilantes allow their opponents to retreat, and in exchange the evil mastermind gives the location of his captive.
#373– Return of the Queen – Neutron flies Quiasar to the planet with the Host, and the Queen informs them that she needs to retrieve something back on Earth; the pair returns to discuss things with the Council. Intel is learned from Oscar Standish that others (Russians and a mysterious organization) appear to be interested in what the Queen left behind. C.H.E.S.S. provides information that Miss Mass escaped custody and that the freed Evelyn Epoch is grateful, but also angry about how the standoff was handled by the Guardians; she continues to work with Apollo. Warp meets with the Council and reluctantly agrees to register and make some changes to become a member of the team again. Scion, Majestic, Neutron, Warp, Goliath, and Enigma escort the Queen, two Princesses, and many drones to the former N.I.D. base in Alaska. Neutron and a small contingent of the aliens and A.R.T. personnel remain there while John Smith transports the Queen, a Princess, and some drones as well as the others (now including Rune) to the southern coast of Iceland. The Host leads the party into an offshore underwater cavern, where they are assailed by Pisces, Cancer, Scorpio, and Aquarius of the new Zodiac (who each bear magical symbols). During the struggle, the Queen breaks through a wall into a hidden chamber, but the new Princess and the drones that emerge from it attack her and her forces! The underwater environment proves to be a challenging battleground for the heroes and sets Scion aflame. Rune makes a portal to an airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, which he and Majestic use to get fire extinguishing equipment. Enigma absorbs Pisces’ powers and appearance, convincing her to surrender.
#374 – Antagonistic Allies – The battle continues, but the Queen and her forces only deal with their Host opponents until Goliath persuades her to honor their agreement for aid. Rune runs into trouble with Israeli security and makes his way back. Scorpio, Cancer, and Aquarius are forced to flee, and attention turns to the new Princess. When she is knocked out, the Queen goes to execute her, but Scion protests. Debate ensues, and the Queen quickly slays the new Princess anyway. Quiasar appears, but the others discern that he is actually a sophisticated android and take it out. A heated exchange follows, and the heroes explain to the aliens that their trust has been violated. The Queen shares that the Princess was a deadly threat that would have never relented. The Guardians explain that humanity’s laws and rules must be respected on Earth. The two sides agree to further dialogue, and make an alliance to aid each other in the future. The Queen and her kind use advanced technology to sterilize the cavern to remove any contaminants. The group travels back to Alaska and the aliens depart. Oscar Standish, watching from a nearby tree, is found to have been spying on the entire mission. They learn that he has an amazing innate understanding of technology, and agree to utilize him as a future ally.
#375 – Demon’s Deal – After they each fall asleep at night, Quiasar, Compass, Enigma, and Scion find themselves in a dream-like state, together in a room. Josh Dev’roe, the tattooed human form of the Demon Prince of Nightmares, appears and asks them to battle in an underground fight club. He informs them that the lives of those close to them depend on this agreement, but the Guardians refuse to agree or sign his contract. The two sides negotiate, and the heroes agree to the contest, but only to save their family and friends, and insist on some of their own terms. After they awake, they learn that nearly half of their loved ones are in comas and that Coral Snake has been killed by a drunk driver. Force of Change announces a public challenge to battle the Guardians on New Babylon; the team responds with a press release explaining why they’re being forced to fight. Joined by Witness, the four fly to the African nation, where a limousine takes them west of the city of Elestia. At a bunker, their explosives and some other items are removed before they journey deep underground via an elevator. They emerge into a Romanesque coliseum, where they observe numerous other teams at the Opening Ceremonies. In their quarters, a sponsor named the Gentleman offers perks as a favor to Warp, but Compass rudely rejects him. Hours later, a man named Pusher offers them the drug ‘perfection’, but the champions decline. Having met their obligation, they learn that their loved ones have all recovered. Compass continues to stir up trouble, and the group refuses to bet with bookies. The next day the five are taken to the arena for their first match. The large rock platform they stand on divides; they quickly learn that they have limited air to breathe and that their superpowers don’t appear to work in-between the segments. Suddenly the Ace in the Hole team: Mirage, Headhunter, Behemoth, Skullcrusher, and the Silent One, appears and engages them in combat. The platforms move as the two sides skirmish, and anything or anyone that goes over the edges of the rocks takes damage and randomly reappears again on one of them. Enigma destroys Headhunter’s magical belt and the adversaries prove very tough. Eventually the vigilantes down their opponents, with Enigma accidentally slaying Skullcrusher.
#376 – Sabredancing – Some Guardians rest while others observe the next two matches. In the first, Arachnia mostly watches as her Spider Division defeats the Nightriders in an environment where the temperature continually rises. Then Force of Change smashes the magic users of the Dawn Bringers in an arena containing areas with different levels of gravity. Days pass and the team heals. At night the ghost of a young girl named Laura tells Witness and Quiasar that a bad man (Malefactor) working for the Demon Prince is doing something his boss doesn’t know about; she explains that he “changes good to bad” and asks them to stop him as a favor to her. The next day the group has lunch with the Gentleman in Elestia. He offers them information on their upcoming challenges, but only if they agree to participate in a future fight organized by him; they politely decline. The following day brings their next battle. In a storeroom with large, different-colored cubes (each with a distinct, deadly effect) the champions clash with Efram Dusas, Law, Order, and Jimmie Keen. Keen commits seppuku with a rusty sword, then magically transforms into a blood-red Sabredance (who had previously died in prison), now bearing the magical sword Ambition. After Law is knocked unconscious the speedster decapitates him and his soul is pulled into Ambition. Dusas and Order surrender, and the party struggles mightily against Sabredance until Enigma absorbs his super speed. Quiasar then protects the (surrendered) opponents as Compass envelops their foe in an iron shell made from his wrecking ball. The heroes are declared the victors.
#377 – The Darkest Deal – The team rests and recuperates, and the next day they face Force of Change in a live match held in a coliseum. Josh Dev’roe, Obituary, Nightmare, Samhain, and Malefactor utilize areas of darkness and decimate the heroes. Scion drops, and the other adversaries seem almost impossible to harm. Concerned that Scion may be dead, Compass turns visible and volunteers himself as a sacrifice to the Demon Prince of Nightmares, as long as the others are spared. Quiasar offers himself as well, but Dev’roe accepts only Compass’ offer. Force of Change are declared the victors, Compass goes unconscious, and all are teleported out of the arena. Back in their quarters, Scion demands that the Gentleman get ahold of Dev’roe, but he smugly refuses. Scion slugs the man, then wraps him up, but he escapes and teleports away. The group returns to the U.S. via the Guardian Angel. Over the next few days, Scion implores Congress to pressure the U.N. Security Council to place an embargo on New Babylon. A week later, Compass is located in a mental health facility in Idaho. Tormented by nightmares, he has little memory since he disappeared. He is seen by many experts, including the Queen of C.H.E.S.S. and the Elderess, and it is learned that undoing the demonic soul-bound nightmare curse will require negotiating with or destroying the Demon Prince of Nightmares. The U.N. levies economic sanctions and a complete embargo on New Babylon for providing a safe haven to terrorists. Enigma ventures into the ocean with Pisces to seek answers. Epilogue: Malefactor resurrects the greatest hero from each nation that was slain two years prior.
#378 – Wing and a Prayer – Kageryu and Araneae look into an incident near the Senkaku Islands, where months earlier a Japanese vessel fired on Chinese jets. Missile attacks proved ineffective as fabled Tamonten blocked the attacks. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe (himself surprised) abruptly ordered his forces to stand down and withdraw. C.H.E.S.S. stepped in and maintained a truce, discovering that Osore and his Rising Sun party were behind the incident, attempting to provoke a war. Most of Osore’s operatives were arrested. A week later, Tamonten was seriously injured as he took down Osore and the last of his supporters, who were defending their island hideout. The Guardians find that Scion has disappeared and is unable to be contacted. Tarnhelm alerts Quiasar that a precognitive dream revealed to him that high-tech demons will invade Poughkeepsie, New York. Jerry Hammond flies Quiasar, Phase, Compass, Tarnhelm, and Angelus there in the Guardian Angel, and the group swiftly takes down seven Wingmen robbing a Technology Depot. Under interrogation they reveal that Satanis, a demon lord of Hell, is taking machinery somewhere else, and plans to raid a Technology Depot main warehouse in Scranton, Pennsylvania. In the early morning hours the team flies there, finding Satanis, Circuit Breaker, and a dozen Wingmen already at work inside. They attack the criminals, but the powerful demon proves quite resilient. After a number of his minions fall, Satanis discorporates before them. One by one the same thing happens to the unconscious Wingmen, and the demon lord reveals that their souls are being pulled into Hell. Realizing their possible fate, Circuit Breaker and the remaining Wingmen surrender.
#379 – Mall Madness – Rune, Angelus, and Summoner join Evelyn Epoch for a D.C. press conference discussing the need for superheroes to be proactive in the pursuit and apprehension of major villains. Quiasar sends Oscar Standish to a fundraiser for emergency services at the food court of the Citadel Mall in Charleston, South Carolina. The celebrity attendees include Spartan, Sir Rathos, Helios, Spirit, Perihelion, Psypher, and the Japanese robot Kintetsu. An explosion occurs shortly after the event begins, and a dozen large H.A.R.M. (Human Armed Resistance Movement) troopers spill into the mall, denouncing the superheroes as inhuman freaks. The adventurers bravely contest the attackers while protecting the large throng of innocent bystanders. The armored assailants prove difficult to take down, but Helios is able to magnetically restrain many. Spirit saves numerous lives as the panicked crowd flees and tramples each other, and with the aid of Standish, police, and other emergency workers they are able to get them to safety. After a long battle, the heroes eventually take down or incapacitate all of the H.A.R.M. soldiers. The men inside the battle armor turn out to be indoctrinated bigots who see themselves as patriots.
#380 – Comic Tragedy – In their civilian identities, Edmund Drake (Rune), J.J. Johnstone, Jr. (Quiasar), Dr. Tai Larson (Phase), Jack Madison (Scion), and Sigurd Helmholtz (Tarnhelm) find themselves in an empty room with five other men, one woman, and a small white cat. Nobody seems to know where they are or recall why they are there. Suddenly there is a flash of light, and everyone present transforms or wears a costume. The white cat is now Frostpaw, the vigilantes now wear the garb of their superpowered personas, and they feel a sense of competition against six opponents: Superman, Batman, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Captain America, and the Hulk! Flashback: After a dream about mystical gems, Tarnhelm calls in the Guardians after a number of grisly deaths at a U.S.A. Robotics facility in Mixco, Guatemala. Jerry Hammond flies Rune, Quiasar, Phase, and Scion in the Guardian Angel to Central America, where they join Tarnhelm and track down former hero Sihuanaba, now resurrected as a succubus-like monster and protected by four undead Mayan soldiers. When she is defeated her minions disappear, and only a golden bowl and comb remain. When Rune picks them up, it magically transfers the consciousness of each of them into a nearby interactive video game, where they must beat the assembled DC and Marvel champions to prevent Darkseid from wielding the Infinity Gems! Back in the game, a lengthy fight ensues. Scion swipes Batman’s utility belt and later knocks out Captain America with his own shield! Quiasar resists multiple blows from Superman, and Phase and Frostpaw knock out Spider-Man! Finally, Superman flies Quiasar out of the area and the two leaders agree to join forces. After they return, the heroes unite and succeed in calming the rampaging Hulk. Victorious, the teammates awaken back in the jungle clearing in Guatemala.
#381 – The Lion Roars – The Guardians’ Council meets and discusses the need for bolstering the team. Angelus, Summoner, Sir Rathos, Spartan, Makeshift, and Spirit are made full-time mission specialists, and Tarnhelm, Psypher, Perihelion, and Helios are designated as associates. They decide to appoint Phase as a second security chief (joining Neutron), focused on personnel. President Leo the Lion of Malawi invites Rune to visit him, but as the team gets ready to depart Tarnhelm alerts them of possible danger. Jerry Hammond then flies Rune, Tarnhelm, Spartan, Helios, Phase, and Quiasar to the African nation in the Guardian Angel, landing just outside the city of Lilongwe. When the truck they are transported in is assaulted by rebels, Quiasar’s force field protects everyone, thanks to Tarnhelm’s warning. The heroes confront the attackers and learn that Partisan and her forces despise the dictator. They continue on to the royal palace, where the President asks Rune why he plans to assassinate him. The Guardian is caught off guard but refutes the rumor, suggesting instead a friendly duel. They adjourn to an arena, where Leo swiftly bests Rune, choking his grizzly form unconscious. Having learned much about the country and its ruler, the adventurers return home.
#382 – Vengeance – Rune introduces his new Tome of Villainy to the team; together they look up the mysterious assassin that shares his name. C.H.E.S.S. Knight Demaris brings a piece of advanced surveillance equipment to Foundation Headquarters and tells the Guardians it was found outside a nearby underground decommissioned Intercrime base that Goliath helped clear years earlier. Rook Henry Caldera disappeared while investigating. Goliath leads Phase, Rune, Araneae, Spartan, and Angelus through an abandoned subway tunnel to the site, where they find the entrance booby trapped. After Angelus looks through and discovers ensnared captives inside, he rushes in and engages Anarch. Araneae phases the others in, and some battle the villain while others rescue the Rook and civilians. When the mighty villain is knocked unconscious, Araneae covers him with webbing and Angelus absorbs the explosive. Rune teleports the wounded captives to safety while Angelus accompanies and heals them. After a few minutes, Anarch shreds his bonds and viciously attacks Araneae, revealing that everything was set up to ensnare the hero who had defeated him previously. The alien warlord proves to be quite durable, but the vigilantes work together and eventually take him down.
#383 – The Arrival – Neutron alerts the Guardians’ Council that Lojack likely converted paranormals into augmented cybernetic creatures able to act independently. The Guardians send Spartan, Spirit, Helios, Psypher, and Perihelion to a G.A.L.A.N.T. Hero Conference in Los Angeles led by Wanda Stitch. The Lizard King, while stealing information from Biological Innovative Operations in Marina, California, causes a lab accident, transforming scientist Garth Strucker and a lizard into rampaging monsters the press dubs Razorback and the Saurian. The criminal then takes advantage of the resultant chaos by directing dozens of rattlesnakes to attack the local populace. The visiting heroes avoid the press and rush to the beachfront site, Helios arriving first and corralling the snakes. Flying in Halley, the others land at the same time as Kensai (who drove from San Francisco) and find a massive response from police, fire, and military. After the vigilantes work together and defeat the menaces and Elisa Fathom (daughter of Bluegill, who used the opportunity to strike the military from the sea), a submarine-like craft emerges from the ocean. An exhausted blue-skinned man spills out and begs for their help, followed by ten attacking soldiers in two similar vessels. The adventurers come to his aid, fighting off the water breathing warriors while Spirit and Halley race away with the victim into the sea.
#384 – Danger in the Depths – Sir Rathos arrives with responding F.I.S.H. agents, and together the heroes take out the soldiers and disable the werapons on their submersibles. Aquins with broken breathing apparatus are rushed to the ocean and saved, then Halley and Spirit return with Prince Kalm, who has fallen unconscious due to exhaustion. After questioning one of the enemy and learning they serve a Queen Shalel who was hunting the Prince, the soldiers are allowed to depart with their two craft. A few of the vigilantes speak to the media, and Perihelion recognizes a feeling of restlessness that occurred after he spoke to the press on his first public outing. A General Grant declares himself in charge and demands that the “fish-man” be returned, but the Guardians circumvent his instructions, contacting Majestic and getting permission to take the fugitive elsewhere. They take Kalm (and tow his craft) to a Coast Guard base (Integrated Support Command Alameda) in the Bay Area. Kensai returns to Japan and the rest of the team stays with the Prince as he recuperates and heals. Three days later the local airwaves are commandeered by Queen Shalel, who demands the return of the “criminal” within 24 hours. She promises a show of power on a nearby unproductive oil rig in one hour. The group, joined by Kensai, meets with local dignitaries and Pioneer Oil executives and agrees to protect the rig if the refugee is not released. Shortly after they assemble on the evacuated structure, a colossal squid attacks!
#385 – The Attack – The squid assaults the rig itself, but the heroes draw its attention onto themselves. Perihelion spots something nearby, but Aquin Doctor Aquinas escapes into the murky depths before he can be reached. They blind the creature, dump oil on it and set it aflame, and the monster retreats back into the water. Minutes later, Queen Shalel again demands over local airwaves that the criminal be released. The team returns to Marina, where the city council insists that the Prince be surrendered, but General Grant arrives and takes charge. He accompanies the adventurers back to Alameda, then has the still unconscious refugee moved to the hospital in Marina and begins evacuating the community. The party aids authorities in insuring that everyone is out of the area as the military sets up a defensive front with tanks and soldiers. Twenty Mermen (mercenary humans), most in mini-submarines, strike from the sea precisely at Shalel’s deadline, but the heroes swiftly decimate the enemy forces. Minutes before the attack, Grant, concerned about intercepted transmissions, had Kalm secretly moved to the city aquarium, with only leader Sir Rathos aware of the plan. The other vigilantes, unaware of the move, struggle with communications and race around town in confusion while mercenary leader Natas sneaks to the hospital, believing the Prince is still there. Perihelion finds Natas’ mini-sub submerged north of the battle zone, and the group responds to the hospital when Natas blows open a door, taking out the two soldiers guarding it. After Sir Rathos enters, he finds himself in darkness!
#386 – Counterstrike – The team, stymied by thick smoke, is unable to locate the intruder, who slips deeper into the hospital. Searching for the refugee Prince, Natas uses evasive tactics to make his way to the basement, where Sir Rathos and Kensai ambush him. Psypher uses a tank to drag the mercenary’s mini-sub onto the beach while Spirit helps his companions take him out. Sir Rathos attempts to question Natas, but the villain mind controls the Guardians’ leader and the others swiftly dispatch him again. Back at the aquarium, Prince Kalm finally awakens and tells the adventurers about the Aquin people. He explains that his father was beguiled by the witch Shalel, who seduced and married him. After his death (which she may have caused), she had Kalm, the rightful ruler, imprisoned. He was rescued by freedom fighters and fled to the surface world for aid. The heroes offer to help, though Kensai and Spartan decline. Boarding the Prince’s craft and Halley, Prince Kalm, Sir Rathos, Spirit, Helios, Psypher, and Perihelion venture into the Pacific Ocean, bound for the underwater kingdom of Aquina.
#387 – Aquina at Last – The group travels underwater for over two days. Halley is attacked by a giant octopus, but Helios drives the beast away with the Prince’s craft. Finally they arrive in the Mariana Trench and make their way to the hidden city of Aquina. Kalm gives a coded signal that allows them entry into the metropolis, and they continue on to the royal palace at the center of the First City. Word spreads of the Prince’s arrival, and huge crowds of citizens join rebels in the streets below. The team lands on the palace roof, blocking Queen Shalel’s escape ship. They enter the Queen’s bed chamber via the balcony, swiftly stopping the tyrant from fleeing and dispatching her gigantic pet moray eel. Eight Aquin guards and General Mokar respond, but the guards immediately join the rebellion. Mokar struggles for some time, but the heroes easily disarm him and render him helpless. The Aquin people rejoice, and Shalel and Mokar are imprisoned in the palace dungeon. Giant parades follow, along with banquets and feasts, and the Guardians learn that their intervention likely saved Aquin society from devolving into nomadic barbarism. Two days later Kalm is crowned King. Before the champions depart he implores them not to reveal Aquina’s location. The journey home is uneventful.
#388 – The Accidental Ambush – Rune looks into the theft of the Copper Lion relic from the National Museum of Mali and determines that mercenaries Brain and Brawn likely stole the artifact for someone else. Tarnhelm and criminologist Kimi meet Angelus, Rune, Spartan, Makeshift, Phase, and Araneae at Foundation Headquarters. Tarnhelm’s Helmholtz Security was hired by Okita Foundation for Archaeological Studies (O.F.A.S.) as additional defense for an African dig site in Somaliland. An alarm occurred the day before, and contact with the primary Secom security team was lost. Tarnhelm, no longer having precognitive dreams, experienced a waking vision of an unsuccessful response by his team, where the camp’s robot defenders (possibly controlled by a technopath) wiped them all out. Rune teleports the party to Mogadishu, and as they take helicopters to the site he alerts the others about paranormal villain Sultan Salaad. The eight invade the camp, and Araneae phases Tarnhelm into the command tent, where he quickly shuts down the robotic sentinels. The scientist hostages are found to be infected and zombie-like, and the heroes dispatch them and Salaad. A statue, revealed to be an heir of Lojack, speaks cryptically of an artifact not being present and a target which didn’t arrive before teleporting away. The adventurers determine that everyone there was infected; the cyberpath both took over the robots and infected the humans. Phase notes that with the Lojack heir gone the hostages slowly improve. When the Secom team arrives, Ryoma Okita (Kensai) is amongst them and the group learns that he is on the board of O.F.A.S.
#389 – When Kaiju Attack – Kensai tells of a recent Intercrime attack on a dig, where they apparently sought an artifact. Battletron learns of Kubera’s death and contacts the Guardians. After reviewing files, the team realizes that Jay Harris is gone, but that Kubera might have survived. A mystery person appears to have been aiding Kubera, possibly even helping construct Battletron. John Smith retrieves Battletron from the Moon, and Kageryu deduces that the elusive Tamonten could be Kubera. From Japan, Kageryu alerts the group that there has been a riot and breakout at Mito Prison, where Osore is held. Kensai also informs them that a kaiju is attacking Tokyo. Smith portals Araneae, Spartan, Makeshift, Angelus, Phase, and Battletron there, where the 50-foot tall metal monster is supported by Rising Sun troops. Araneae phases the squad into the top of the robotic beast, and they swiftly and easily defeat Osore and the guards inside. Battletron luckily removes the power source of the leviathan, causing the entire construct to crumble, but the heroes escape, also rescuing all of the technicians and operators. The reluctant head technician, Dr. Chion Nakamura, assists the adventurers. They learn that the power source came from the stolen Copper Lion artifact, and Kamikaze of A.R.T. explains that it is chronal energy that may have come from the attack on reality over a year earlier, likely containing a piece of Lojack. He warns that more pieces might exist, which could give infinite power to a malevolent entity if combined. Clues point towards a holy mountain in Japan, and Kensai reveals that he is able to find chronal objects.
#390 – Echoes of the Past – In search of possible pieces of Lojack that may have been spread through history, Araneae, Phase, Angelus, Battletron, and Kensai travel to Mount Ashigara in Japan, the location they believe to be the focal part of the chronal storm more than a millennium prior. After they recover a piece of armor from a Japanese collector, Rune arrives and transports them all to Argentina, the site of another man who has amassed a vast storehouse. The Guardians agree to protect his treasures and set up a successful ambush in an archive under his mansion, corralling Brain and Brawn soon after they arrive, though Intuition is able to teleport away with Spirit, Will, and Passion. After removing an energy artifact from a Byzantine statue, the heroes realize that each piece has an additive effect on the others and secure their three sections far away from each other. They speculate that there may be as many as three distinct Lojack heirs who successfully converted paranormals, each with different goals and abilities. The party travels to Mexico, only to find that a Lojack heir beat them to another relic. After some time spent researching and testing a piece, they interrogate Brain and Brawn. In Belgium, investigating the mysterious Mr. Jones who hired them, the group realizes he is searching for an artifact there. Using their superior technology, they find it first and Araneae carefully removes it. The champions successfully ambush and defeat Jones, who proves to be another of Lojack’s heirs, but an artifact on their adversary is teleported away before they can acquire it. Makeshift arrives and helps identify the relics; they prove to be a match for Kubera rather than Lojack! They learn that Lojack, back when he battled the Time Guardian, was likely enslaved by someone else. The team, flying in the Guardian Angel, secures another object from a remote location in Siberia, but learns that in China, the zombie-like minions of one Lojack heir defeated the robotic followers of another. Battletron is examined, and the adventurers learn that he was preset to get involved; they also learn of alien influence in his construction and discover a message to find Kubera. Kageryu joins them in Japan, where Kensai reveals that he built Kintetsu; together he and his robot are Tamonten/Kubera! He was also the fabled Golden Child of legend, brought to Earth in a lightning strike, as well as a master samurai during pivotal historic battles. The gathered artifacts are pulled into the ancient warrior, who they implore to help them in the final battle against the heir of Lojack, who has accumulated the remainder of the pieces.
#391 – Echoes of the Future – A few days pass as Tamonten and Lojack each assimilate the artifacts into themselves. The Guardians discover that a piece of Lojack is among the relics inside Tamonten, and the ancient hero neutralizes it, freeing himself of much pain. The team learns that contact has been lost with islands along the southern coast of Chile, so Rune teleports Angelus, Phase, Battletron, Tamonten, Spartan, Makeshift, and Araneae to the archaeological site of Monte Verde. Tamonten flies the group through an energy barrier to a forested area, where the Ultimate Lojack materializes along with six Enjac minions. Their foe appears more organic than before, and it takes the combined might of all assembled to defeat him and his converted soldiers in battle. During the fight, Tamonten is shattered, leaving only Kensai, along with Kintetsu in pieces. They learn that only Kintetsu had the artifacts and Kubera’s memories.
#392 – Guerrillas in the Midst – Phase and Araneae visit Atlanta, where they interview witnesses and look into encounters with the new vigilante Electronique. President of Malawi Leo the Lion visits the U.S., and the government asks the Guardians to assist with security, due to rumors and a recent assassination attempt on the foreign dignitary. Quiasar, Rune, Phase, and Helios meet Leo at Ronald Reagan National Airport in Virginia, then escort him via convoy along with one Simba, paranormal bodyguards Kimi and Z-Spiker, and numerous C.H.E.S.S. Power Cavalry. They make their way to a parking garage in D.C. adjacent to the Malawian Embassy. Suddenly numerous Knights in the garage attack them, and the assembled heroes find themselves flanked and outnumbered, as well as protecting a luminary many of them do not trust. After a furious fight they defeat Alexander VI, Silencer, and five other mercenaries disguised as Knights: Wrack, Simon Shrew, Solo, Trickshot, and Overload. Their leader, Alexander VI, is found to be an active (and disabled) Rook for C.H.E.S.S.
#393 – The God of the Lost Valley – After a U.F.O. crashes in the Himalayas, Professor Henry Falswith is sent there to look into it. A week later, a second object lands near N.O.R.A.D. in Colorado, but when the military investigates, an alien life form attaches to General Eli MacCaffery’s neck. MacCaffery suggests exploring the earlier landing in Asia, but all contact with Falswith is lost. Due to a rift between A.R.T. and China, Samson (Charles Gates) and Traveler (John Smith) ask the Guardians to check things out instead. Once through a Traveler gateway, Spirit, Helios, Perihelion, and Kimi find a lush, tropical valley hidden in the mountains! They soon locate and rescue the Professor’s daughter, Amanda, at the site of their plane crash. Taking Amanda with them, they make their way north and find an ancient temple built into a hillside. Inside they interrupt a service, where natives worship Professor Falswith as a god. Controlled by the alien K’arr Hokum, he orders Kaela, Bengal, tribesman Mengazi, and many Ohibi warriors to attack the heroes. The adventurers quickly defeat their opponents, but Hokum disengages and successfully flees into the jungle. The team does what they can to keep the location secret, but notify the authorities. Back in Colorado, the alien Msst Klar detaches from the General, revealing that he is a law enforcement agent attempting to apprehend Hokum. He embarks to continue pursuit of the felon.
#394 – Acts of Extortion – President Obama and many world leaders gather in New York for a U.N. special session to discuss the threat of superpowered villains. Spirit is showing Psypher and Perihelion the Guardians’ base when a call comes in that someone with a bomb is blocking the 3rd Street Tunnel under the Capitol Reflecting Pool. Helios and Warlock (Kimi) respond from nearby and get into a heated exchange with a local policeman before they join the others at the scene, where Munition demands money. Together they quickly take the extortionist out, Warlock sending the explosive back in time via a portal. Warlock learns that Robert, the child of wealthy businessman Andrew Topple, has been kidnapped, but the millionaire is requesting discretion. The five heroes visit the daycare in Baltimore where he was abducted and view video of the woman who took him. Warlock tracks the boy to rural Westmoreland County, Virginia, where he is held in some underground caves. Deadly Wasp, leading an insect-themed group called the Cluster, refuses to surrender the hostage until Topple accepts responsibility for a massive water contamination incident in West Virginia. The two sides fight, Painted Lady only defending herself. Helios and Warlock go down, but the vigilantes rally. Perihelion fells Army Ant and inadvertently slays Deadly Wasp. Lightning Bug surrenders, and Flea is dropped as he attempts to escape.
#395 – World Under Siege – Psypher and Halley race the child to safety; Perihelion seems shaken with his companion vehicle gone. Army Ant awakens and refuses to surrender. He runs through tunnels up to a field on the surface, but Helios flies after him with Warlock and they drop him again. The others make their way there, and each time the villain comes to and refuses to relent, the team takes him out. Eventually agents from F.I.S.H. arrive, but all present are stymied by how to incarcerate the 19-foot tall, 9-ton behemoth. Finally, C.H.E.S.S. personnel transport the felon back to his native Congo, for authorities there to deal with. A few days later, after being contacted via fan mail, Rey LaCosta (Spirit) meets a Turkish man named Kaya at the Connecticut Inn in downtown D.C. with Augustus Swakhammer (Perihelion), Ryan Henderson (Helios), and Kimi Castle (Warlock) ready to intervene if necessary. Kaya explains that he is an apprentice to Yonday, a missing white mage, and that both he and the world are threatened by the evil magician Black Seer. The four take the young man back to the Guardians’ base for protection. Spirit privately confronts Warlock about possible drug abuse, but the mercenary only admits to using steroids. Perihelion reveals to the others that he wears a harness, and would otherwise be confined to a wheelchair. That night, Shadow Slayer teleports into the office Kaya sleeps in and nearly kills the apprentice before being taken out by the others. Delphi informs them that the assassin was recently brought back from the dead, likely by Black Seer, a sorcerer possibly linked to Freedom of Chaos. Early in the morning they visit Yonday’s mansion in Philadelphia, and Kaya helps them bypass its mystic defenses. In Yonday’s study the old wizard’s image tells them of his imprisonment by Black Seer, who seeks to gain control over the world’s leaders by performing a complex ritual. Yonday also directs them to the villain’s lair, an abandoned coal-fired power plant outside the capital. The heroes race to the complex in Alexandria, Virginia, and rush inside, interrupting Black Seer’s ritual and forcing him to magically teleport away. The group then quickly takes down Cestus, Pit Viper, Surge, and Whip. Imageer slips away while the others are fighting her psychokinetic illusions.
#396 – Rumble in the Park – Maccane alerts the Guardians that the squirrels and raccoons are battling in Central Park, with superpowered mercenaries fighting alongside the squirrels! Compass responds in the Guardian Angel along with Wraith and Rune’s new apprentice, Cold Witch, and the three join Maccane in contesting supervillains Ravage, Savage, Terrorsaur, Gargoyle, and Bloodhunt. Summoned by the squirrels, an immense octopus-like monster with massive tentacles appears and attacks both sides! The legendary knight Galahad then materializes in a stream of sunlight, and each hero feels completely replenished. The villains and vigilantes unite against the beast, and the smaller mammals leap at them (the squirrels at the criminals and the raccoons at the champions), sacrificing themselves to allow their spirits to empower each paranormal. During a lengthy struggle, they use animal-like claws to repel the horror. Finally, Compass drives his wrecking ball, complete with an icy spike courtesy of Cold Witch, into the evil monstrosity’s brain. Reality warps, and the fiend disappears, leaving a circle of dead, squished squirrels. Galahad remains from the past, and the animal spirits depart from their hosts. Compass feels relieved at last of the nightmare curse he has suffered from for over a year.
#397 – Chesapeake Bay Blues – Scion urges the other Council members to review the current team roster. Helios, Psypher, and Perihelion are made full-time mission specialists, and Warp, Goliath, and Spartan are moved to inactive status; no contact can be made with Warp or Goliath. An emergency call comes in, so pilot Hammond drops off Phase, Araneae, and Witness in Chesapeake Beach, Maryland, before flying Scion in the Guardian Angel to New Haven, New York to check out Goliath’s home. The trio bravely rescues citizens out of the water off the docks of the Chesapeake Beach Resort and Spa as giant Aquin Megalodon and a dozen tiger sharks under his control savagely rip into them. The heroes save all the people they can and knock out the deadly warlord. As Helios and Warlock arrive, they spot a small blue-skinned observer in the Bay. Helios briefly apprehends Wave, who arrogantly claims to be one of the Five Ancients named Legolon and breaks free. As the team finishes their rescue efforts on the beach, Wave returns, taunting and challenging the champions to face him in the water. Araneae protects the being from Warlock and attempts to reason with him, but Wave insists that his kind will destroy the human race, then departs into the sea. The legendary hero Psimon appears in astral form, asking the group to claim a powerful artifact in the Badlands at sunset before adversaries acquire it. Scion finds no clues in Goliath’s dwelling, a refurbished church. Delphi alerts the Guardians that the Gwai’ir ark has been stolen from the trophy room in their base, an elaborate device fooling their security.
#398 – The White Buffalo Pipe – Scion alerts the team that Goliath appears to have been missing for some time. Neutron returns to Earth over concern about the stolen ark, and after some Council discussion he and Phase institute new security procedures for the base. Hammond flies Phase, Araneae, Helios, and Witness in the Guardian Angel from Maryland to a remote locale in the South Dakota Badlands, where they set up and wait for hours. As the sun sets, a lightning strike and funnel cloud deposit a Sioux White Buffalo Pipe, which Phase secures. Moments later, supervillains Brickibrak, Kali, Focus, Sir Lance, Cobra Queen, and Hyper teleport in for the relic and a fight ensues. Quickly the heroes trounce the enemy, and Phase uses the Pipe to heal the wounded. The adversaries are turned over to F.I.S.H.
#399 – The T.O.T.E.M. Strain – Goliath remains missing. The team gets counseling for Perihelion, who was rethinking his decision to be a superhero due to his accidental slaying of Deadly Wasp. There are reports of internal power struggles within T.O.T.E.M., with a group supporting Adalwolf contesting another faction. Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) begins to affect paranormals. Rune and Ragnarr travel to an archaeological dig site in Tennessee, where an ancient Viking ship was unearthed. Quiasar, Neutron, Compass, and Phase respond to an explosion at the Shops at Georgetown Park in Washington, D.C. They find wounded citizens, but there doesn’t appear to be any serious casualties. A darkly clad stranger present refuses to surrender, responding instead by shooting each of them (except Frostpaw) in turn with a blast of energy that washes over and through them without causing harm. Their opponent vanishes, and the heroes learn that they each now have a slight variance on a cellular level. In the wreckage they find a metallic box with strange symbols. Neutron sets up monitoring equipment on the four affected teammates, who quarantine themselves as a precaution. Scion confirms that the markings on the box are Alteran and say “need source blood”; he suggests that he (or someone he trusted) made the device. The next day, C.H.E.S.S. alerts the Guardians that T.O.T.E.M. villains Bjorn and Panthera were assassinated in prison (killed by Silent Shadow), though details are unclear. A short time later, C.H.E.S.S. responds as if they’ve never heard of them before, and no record can be found of them ever existing; only the four Guardians remember the pair. The adventurers are contacted about a death at a water reservoir on the outskirts of D.C., where they discover the deceased body of Jedi Guardian. Paradigm arrives and confirms his identity. Jedi Guardian’s corpse disappears, and later others there (including Frostpaw) do not recall Paradigm being present. Jedi Guardian appears to have also been erased from history, again remembered only by the quartet. The group finds markers in the water, apparently there to test flow. Neutron queries the cosmos and ascertains that Adalwolf is both Patient Zero and the “source blood”. They learn that both the box and the armor worn by the mysterious stranger are made of the same dimensionally-locked alloy, then deduce that their armored opponent was a female martial artist. They realize that the entire party (including Frostpaw) are infected by the MERS variant (MERS-x), and begin to coordinate with C.H.E.S.S. and Dr. Peter Embarek, who is analyzing the strain. Together they reason that they are also affected by a second condition, carried (and masked) by the MERS-x, retarded in the four of them due to the cellular variance. They construe that Frostpaw likely has less than a day to live!
400 – Adalwolf’s Last Stand – Razor arrives to aid the group, and Quiasar contacts Paradigm via an online message board. Dr. Embarek works up a possible cure to the MERS-x, which Neutron relays from Avian Base. Paradigm puts Quiasar in contact via phone with Sable, who reveals that Adalwolf is using a virus that unravels DNA; she also tells them that her and Judicator hope to assassinate their former leader, and shares the location of one of T.O.T.E.M.’s ‘Green Sky’ devices to prevent him from fleeing. Phase takes new blood samples and Neutron flies her to Avian Base to assist Dr. Embarek. Paradigm joins the others, and Neutron flies them all to an abandoned D.C. office building, where they quickly demolish most of a squad of LSTs and secure the Green Sky device. Dr. Embarek sends new serums to the team to help retard the MERS-x, and Phase helps him experiment to find a cure for the chronal virus, which they all learn now affects Razor and Paradigm as well. Neutron then flies Quiasar, Compass, Paradigm, and Razor to an empty warehouse in suburban Baltimore, where they activate the Green Sky device. Each hero blacks out for a second, then comes to alone inside. Each of them soon find themselves fighting enhanced LSTs, except for Neutron, who is locked in combat with an augmented HST. The androids they fight are extremely tough, and appear to instantly regenerate damage. As they battle, they find that they are unable to affect or hear the other pairs of combatants, even though they can see them (as Adalwolf caused a distortion of time, making them out of phase with each other). Adalwolf suddenly appears behind Paradigm and the two spar. Over time other Guardians converge on their location, and eventually the adventurers drop the madman. The androids all stop immediately. They put some of the villain’s blood into the Alteran box, and a massive pulse sweeps over the entire planet. The deceased bodies of Bjorn, Panthera, and Jedi Guardian all reappear where they were last seen, with their histories restored. The box disappears and a metal eye patch (with the inscription “to see the Silence”) appears in its place. Epilogue: In custody, C.H.E.S.S learns that the insane Adalwolf clone is dying.
#401 – Jade Spider – Edward Fink (Ratman), following a lead on weaponry connections of Motivator, discovers dangerous biotoxins at a manufacturing facility in Singapore. He then alerts the Guardians via an anonymous phone call from a mystical emporium a few miles away. Associates Kensai and Warlock fly to the island, meet C.H.E.S.S. agent Joseph Ng, then investigate the locale of the call, The Monkey’s Paw, and question the proprietor, Shelvas. Outside, after Fink passes by unrecognized, a thug demands they leave the area. Warlock confronts him, and the pair is assaulted by ninja assassins of gangster Koya Ree, who they swiftly dispatch. Warlock questions one of the attackers and learns details of a mysterious crimelord called Jade Spider, whose Syndicate has taken over most of the territory in Singapore. Ng introduces them to novice hero Blackbeard, and the three investigate the target location within Tanjong Pagar Terminal, on the southern coast of the city-state. They spy on and enter the building, finding it empty except for bodies of more of Ree’s assassins. They also discover elaborate avian synthetic facsimiles that appear to be delivery vehicles for biological weapons. Authorities arrive, but the local police appear disinterested in pursuing matters. As they leave, the group is attacked outside by eight Syndicate ninjas. They make quick work of the martial artists, but as the last one falls Jade Spider appears, delivers a challenge, and disappears. Suspecting a trap, the trio confronts her at a small building across the city. The villainess confounds them with many duplicates of herself, but both sides struggle to harm each other during a long fight. Kensai begins to discern her tactics, so Jade Spider stops attacking, and shortly after teleports away.
#402 – Rescue of Goliath – With Goliath missing for many months, Scion investigates his home, a converted old church in New Haven, New York, but finds nothing. He returns there via the Guardian Angel with Rune, Compass, Araneae, Phase, and Sir Rathos, but the entire group disappears, and all contact with them is lost. The next day Quiasar flies to the locale in a borrowed F.I.S.H. craft, accompanied by Spirit, Makeshift, and Helios. In the spot where Goliath’s home once was, they find a smaller, two-story building. They enter through an upstairs door into a hallway with ankle-deep water. Snow strangely begins to fall as they journey down the long corridor, which is clearly much longer than the entire building. After passing through three different colored barriers at long intervals, they finally emerge into an open area covered in a light fog, where they are significantly outnumbered by many members of the Tarot Masters: World, Diablo, Moonflash, Empress, Hanged Man, Strength, King of Swords, and four Sword warriors. Soon after, they observe the missing Guardians, including Goliath, unconscious nearby in some sort of mechanical apparatus. The villains explain that they wish for Goliath to replace Tower in the Major Arcana. Quiasar attempts to persuade them to release the captive Guardians, while Spirit flirts with Moonflash. After Hanged Man psychically attacks, the heroes retaliate, and Makeshift flees to get reinforcements. The vigilantes attempt to free their restrained companions, but quickly learn that they are only illusions; Judicator joins the fight but is later found to be an illusion as well. The remaining three champions hold their own during an extended skirmish, but are eventually forced to withdraw as they near exhaustion. When they exit the building, they learn that three months have passed during the few minutes they were in the pocket dimension. Hours later, Goliath and their other teammates are returned, the Tarot Masters having decided that their original goals were not worth the trouble. Goliath’s home is restored to its original condition.
#403 – Zyklon – The Queen of C.H.E.S.S. tells the Guardians Council that the missing members searching for Goliath are unreachable due to powerful magic, but are still alive and will eventually return. Psypher and Angelus fly to San Diego, where a paranormal assassin has been making underworld hits. They visit the site of one grisly murder and find the word “Ausländer” (German for foreigner) stenciled on a wall. At a warehouse by the docks at night, they encounter a young Asian girl (Hoshi Carter, daughter of Majestic and Kageryu) efficiently dispatching many adult criminals without difficulty; Angelus takes out one of the thugs that attempts to flee. The novice adventurer introduces herself to the pair as Ryutsume, and Angelus is surprised when she recognizes them. Another charred body is found in the warehouse, along with the same word. The girl teleports away as the police arrive, and Angelus intimidates one of the captured felons into spilling the name of the superpowered hitman: Zyklon, who appears to be slaying enemies he finds racially impure. Delphi informs the heroes of the villain’s World War II origin and history, and Psypher’s pet manticore Princess tracks him to an apartment above a pawn shop across town. The war criminal confronts the trio outside and proves nearly untouchable as they battle in the street. Psypher is able to drain the former Nazi of energy, which eventually forces Zyklon to flee. Angelus flies after him, swiftly and stealthily pummeling his adversary until Zyklon’s gaseous body completely disperses, killing him. Angelus returns and explains that the supervillain escaped. His report to the Guardians also only refers to Ryutsume as an unidentified local costumed vigilante.
#404 – River of Time – The Council meets and some changes are made: Helios is made co-Security Chief instead of Neutron, and Perihelion, Sir Rathos, Summoner, and Rune are moved to inactive status. Accepting an invitation by Dr. Ralph Boescher of George Washington University, Psypher watches as Helios, Spirit, and Kensai undergo an experimental hypnosis treatment to make subjects resistant to illusions; disappointingly, it does not seem to work. Days later, the group is contacted by Professor Michael Robinson, an expert in Egyptology. He asks the heroes to come to Egypt, to lend credence to his theory as he presents it to other scholars. Three days later, the four heroes meet him in Cairo at the Ramses Hilton, and he explains that a discovery has led to his new belief that the ancient Egyptians used super-strength to build the pyramids. As his meeting is delayed for a few days, he arranges for the curator to give them a private tour of the Cairo Museum. Later, as they view the exhibits, most of the adventurers notice a display of bronze weapons change to iron, the description by Dr. Manuel also changing mid-sentence! Outside they perceive other changes, and when on the phone Dr. Robinson mentions his magnetism theory (for how the pyramids were built), they realize that some alteration must have happened to the timestream! Helios recognizes that a news story he was following (of missing iron from a mine) has disappeared, so team pilot Hammond flies him and Psypher in the Guardian Angel to the Hull–Rust–Mahoning Open Pit Iron Mine in Hibbing, Minnesota; they don’t notice that Hoshi Carter also sneaks aboard. Helios impresses security at the front gate, and when their craft hovering above registers strange readings below, the starstruck guards accompany him to the main processing building. Psypher, Kensai, and a hidden Ryutsume also make their way into the building, where an energy sphere swirls around a hooded man stealing iron. Helios convinces Hourglass to power down his time travel powers, but when he threatens him with arrest, the paranormal reveals that he is Felix McClain, owner of McClain Iron Company. The guards are sent away, and Hourglass agrees to take them with him when he returns to the past. When he does so, Ryutsume also jumps through at the last second, and they all find themselves in a desert with a cliff and a new pyramid nearby, surrounded by many ten-foot tall, bald men! Hourglass orders the Super-Slaves to attack, and the four vigilantes make quick work of Hourglass and the seven gigantic Egyptians. After looking around and seeing a great army of Super-Slaves outside the pyramid, they are greeted by a wise old man, Scribe, who takes them back to his humble home in a nearby cave. Scribe explains that a false god named Pharaoh has imprisoned their leader, the divine Ramses. He believes Pharaoh is trying to help Egypt, but Scribe feels it is not right. He tells the travelers how they must overcome the Sphinx, slip into the pyramid, and defeat Pharaoh and those that came with him, rescuing Ramses, the only one who can rally the people and restore history.
#405 – Pharaoh’s Curse – As they squeeze out of Scribe’s cave, the company is attacked by paranormals Phoenix and Scorpion, as well as four Super-Slaves. The attackers are defeated and Phoenix is forced to fly away, but Scribe is found to have been killed by stray fire. The heroes rest in a nearby cave, then follow Scribe’s directions into a ravine, where they encounter a mythical Sphinx. They solve the creature’s riddle, and it gives them a key, which opens a tower in the valley below, freeing Ramses II. They escort the true pharaoh to the Valley of Exiles, where he rallies his army. The loyal troops draw the Super-Slaves south, away from the pyramid, allowing the adventurers an opening. Psypher’s dragon Princess knocks out both Super-Slaves above the entrance, while Helios, Kensai, Psypher, and Ryutsume make their way inside. They discover a secret door that leads to a hidden interior, and make their way up a spiral staircase. In a great, opulent chamber filled with vast treasures, they battle Pharaoh, Hourglass, Felina, Mummy, and Set. Pharaoh creates many sand creatures and flees through an escape tube, but is followed by Ryutsume. The others take down the villains, then Helios races to join his young companion, and both confront Pharaoh as he emerges from a cave by the Nile. The pair briefly fights the powerful magician, who acknowledges that his plans have been defeated. He chants a powerful curse, then disperses his life essence! As all of the vigilantes find themselves pulled back to their own time, their desire for restoration of the timeline causes the iron and supervillains from modern times to return as well. Epilogue: At night in the Museum of Fine Art in Boston, an Egyptian mummy comes to life.
#406 – Energion – Joined by Kensai, Araneae, Phase, and Angelus break up a gang meeting in a D.C. underground parking garage, intimidating nearly twenty thugs into fleeing in fear. About a week later, the same four drive the team’s prototype ground vehicle out to Charlottesville, Virginia at night, responding to strange reports about Quiasar. They arrive to find their teammate flinging bodies from the roof of a building, apparently controlled by some kind of entity. The heroes attack and try to convince their team leader to snap out of it, but the alien Energion taunts them in reply, using Quiasar’s force fields to hold them at bay. Energion/Quiasar leads the Guardians, leaping and flying deeper into the city, then rouses the monstrous Green Gargoyle by damaging an old church. The heroes work together, shattering Green Gargoyle and grounding Energion, forcing the electrical creature to flee the body of their companion. Angelus brings the slain N.A.S.A. scientists back to life. Epilogue: Green Gargoyle takes up residence atop Washington National Cathedral, while Energion plots at an undisclosed location.
#407 – A Walk in the Park– After receiving a call about a “pack of werewolves”, Helios flies Kensai to Gaithersburg, Maryland, where police have surrounded a pawn shop. Joined by the hero Tank, they engage the maniacal lycanthrope Jackal Jester and seven of his transformed Cadaver Dogs. The store is heavily damaged in the melee, but the three are able to take down the beasts. Delphi relays an emergency call about trouble back in D.C., so Helios races them to the Swampoodle neighborhood, where they find six ninjas confronting a young man (Walter Hubblet) in Liberty Park! When the ninjas refuse to back down, the heroes make short work of them. A woman (Pretender) watches the fight with binoculars, but immediately leaves when Kensai spots her. She sends a text to one of the unconscious ninjas, leading the trio to nearby Vinny’s Meat Market. The adventurers challenge five security guards on the back loading dock, then swiftly defeat them when they decide to fight.
#408 – Throw the Dog a Bone – Pilot Hammond brings Psypher and Spirit via the Guardian Angel, and Tank has to leave. The heroes find a trapdoor in Vinny’s Meat Market that leads down into a basement, where they surprise three men playing cards. Only one decides to fight and is quickly dispatched. They take an elevator down deeper into the Dog House, disable an energy rifle that pops out of a wall, then detonate disintegration bombs, destroying all secrets within a telecommunications room. Forcing their way into the security room, the adventurers overpower Dog, his pet boxer, Champ, and three more guards. They rescue thankful bookstore owner Abner Veith, who clearly was being tortured. Veith tells them about the book that the criminals appear to be after, and reveals where he got the tome (the estate sale of eccentric inventor, Dr. Erwin Wetsel), who he sold it to (Walter Hubblet, a regular at his store, The Story), and where they are likely headed next (Layman’s Auction House). A nearby pad of paper reveals the probable name of the book they seek: ClockWork Portal.
#409 – Clockworks – Psypher leaves to protect Hubblet as Spirit, Helios, and Kensai fly to Layman’s Auction House in Newington, Virginia. When they interrupt ninjas siphoning gas from company trucks, more martial artists attack from the adjacent warehouse, including ninja leader Tojo. After a long battle, the nearly exhausted heroes overcome the fifteen Shadow operatives. Owner Daniel Layman, clearly having been recently beaten, staggers from the warehouse office handcuffed to a chair, alerting the heroes that his family is being held captive in his house! The adventurers race the fifty yards to his residence and engage the six ninjas inside. One by one the champions fall, though Kensai is able to hide the five family members outside before he drops. Helios’ unconscious body continues to burn upstairs, inadvertently starting a fire. The Shadow agents spread the flames until Kensai wakes up and rescues his allies. He also dispatches the last of the enemy and saves everyone from the burning house as two ninjas escape. Mr. Layman tells them of a supervillain named Havoc, accompanied by armored soldiers, after a “fancy clock” recently purchased by a Desmond McBride. Helios and Spirit, battered and near death, are raced to medical attention, while Pretender delays Havoc in order for the vigilantes to catch up. Reinforcements Angelus and Phase join Kensai, and the group flies to McBride’s home in D.C. They drop in on a pair of Powered Trooper sentries on the roof, and two more Powered Troopers, along with Havoc and Mzz Blazzter, emerge from the dwelling. The two sides skirmish, but as the heroes begin to get the upper hand, the Shadow operatives decide to cut their losses and flee. McBride shows up with the actual ClockWork Portal artifact, as well as the book of the same name, and turns them over to authorities from F.I.S.H., C.H.E.S.S., and other agencies when they arrive moments later.
#410 – Precurser – Unusual technical glitches plague the Okita Robotics Company (O.R.C.) facility in Sempai, Japan, and when the supernatural is suspected, Kensai requests help from the Guardians. In Paris, Rune warns him about the danger from the curse made by Pharaoh in ancient Egypt. As Quiasar flies Helios, Makeshift, and old ally Paradigm to Japan in the Guardian Angel, they get word of a moderate earthquake that has hit the island nation, centered near Mito. They divert and provide aid to many casualties, alongside Kintetsu and other O.R.C. rescue robots. Having lost communication with the O.R.C. compound in Sempai, the team races there, finding the generator building destroyed, apparently attacked by the company’s own robots. They find wreckage outside the engineering shop and confirm that some of O.R.C.’s ordinarily pacifistic automatons are now hostile. As the team takes out multiple types, an invisible Kintetsu unit teleports away, and they find that sand has spilled out of some of the defeated machines. Helios burns a hole through an upper window, and Quiasar lifts them all up and inside. In command and control, they find that lots of robots have taken over the nearby factory; Delphi identifies one as a modified military bot. Quiasar charms his way past a Guardbot into the office of Ryoma Okita (Kensai), where they find the beleaguered hero. Kensai tells them of the battle that forced him to retreat there, and how the factory is now quickly producing robots not programmed by O.R.C. He also speculates about the Egyptian curse. The O.R.C. exec stays back as the other four assault the factory from different positions. They defeat many different robots, who all focus on Helios, and when they take out the Milbot, the others immediately stop. Lots of sand leaks from the Milbot, and shortly after the mystical energy powering the factory ends as well. The group speculates that Kensai and possibly the others who traveled to ancient Egypt might be targets, and decide to warn them. They also learn, from a Medicalbot who had surreptitiously drawn blood from Kensai earlier, that he has hybrid Gorene blood (like Kubera).
#411 – Schemes and Plots – The Egyptian curse is found to be tied to a relic somewhere, and is believed to be intelligent, opportunistic, adaptable, and ruthless, meant to cause suffering and death. The team learns that all Guardians (in addition to Kensai and Ryutsume) are likely in danger. The Council meets with all active members and discusses the peril. Ryutsume’s crimefighting exploits are learned by Kageryu and Majestic, who take further steps for their young daughter’s protection. It is determined that Kensai, more active than most members of the team, will be encouraged to become a full-time mission specialist. In response to a paranormal rampage, pilot Hammond flies Phase, Araneae, and Angelus in the Guardian Angel to Manchester, Connecticut. Police have squared off with the massive Troll, but Phase swiftly calms the simplistic brute. Moments later, Energion arrives and possesses one of the policemen. Araneae restrains him with webbing, so he body jumps over into Troll. During the following short fight, Phase attaches jumper cables to Troll’s back, which later ends up injuring the energy being and forcing him to flee. The N.S.A. contacts the heroes and informs them of a nearby blind spot in their satellite view of the area, and the adventurers soon find a walled compound nearby, guarded by lions. As they wait on animal control, they investigate further, learning that they are unable to phase through the complex, above or below ground. Angelus also spots a pair of robots. Araneae begins to suspect manipulation, considering the odds of so many strange occurrences within a small proximity.
#412 – The Main Curse – Araneae is baffled by the sophisticated touch screen entry to the high-tech building, and the robots power down. Animal control secures the big cats, and the heroes decide there is not cause to force their way inside. Kensai accepts membership, agreeing to live in the U.S. part-time, and is asked to become a mentor for Ryutsume. Surveillance, both technical and magical (with help from C.H.E.S.S.) is set up to monitor for unusual activity in Washington, D.C., Cairo, and Paris. While Kensai sets up a meeting with Rune in Cairo to discuss the curse, the team decides to temporarily move out of their base, to potentially minimize danger to civilians. All active teammates, along with the Carter family (Majestic, Kageryu, and Ryutsume) move to Mindbender’s small island off the Atlantic coast. The Guardians are informed of never before seen, unearthed artwork of giant beings in Luxor tombs, and hear that artifacts and mummies have recently been sent to the Smithsonian. Their sensors alert them of a tiny spike in Cairo, and a much bigger one back home in D.C., so pilot Hammond flies Phase, Compass, Helios, and Araneae back in the Guardian Angel. They enter the second floor of the museum, where they protect civilians by taking out numerous mummies and animals, though many are still slain. Afterwards they race to the basement, where they find the undead sorcerer Badjed and more mummies. As they fight, three of the mummies transform into Gorene-human (ancient Egyptian) hybrids. Araneae reaches inside the magician and grabs the hourglass-shaped relic in his chest, and when he is finally able to crush it, the conjured enemies all appear to disintegrate. The team learns that Badjed was himself a reluctant minion, cursed by Pharaoh.
#413 – Blood and Sand – In Egypt, Rune researches Badjed, learning that he was a loyal minor mage in Ramses’ court who became vulnerable to the curse. The intent of the curse for the Smithsonian attack was maximum civilian casualties, while Badjed’s aim was to create super-mummies that could defeat the Guardians. Investigation by the team reveals that Badjed’s organ receptacles are missing, as is a life-sized clay statue of the sorcerer. At C.H.E.S.S. headquarters in Washington, D.C., Kensai, Rune, Helios, Phase, Compass, and Araneae discuss the curse with consultant Dr. Nadja Magd and Zhi Ling. Dr. Magd leaves and Kensai introduces his Tamonten drone, JT-05, which houses most of Jay Harris’ consciousness! They contact Quiasar, but before they can meet up Rune senses the presence of Badjed and the group realizes the evil mage has stolen the heart of JT-05! Tracing the spell, Rune teleports the seven to a closed-down World Health Organization research facility in Manhattan. Rune guards the exterior while Helios provides entry into the upper level of the two-story building. In the mad scientist’s lab is a clay golem of Badjed and JT-05 plugged into a computer. The heroes easily dispatch the golem, interrupting the wizard’s ritual merging magic and technology to gain immortality. This decisively kills Badjed and nearly destroys the crystalline heart of JT-05, but Zhi Ling magically protects the heart at the last second! Though it is saved, the consciousness appears to be gone, as Kensai announces that he no longer has a mental link with his drone. In a second tank with the unneeded tissue, fluids, and other dross they find a teenaged Jay Harris, with intact limbs, no cybernetics, and many scrambled memories. Later, Araneae is contacted by N.S.A. operative Timothy Hernandez, who explains that three words (‘Cryptera’, ‘Shangri-La’, and ‘Cosmic Train’) were recovered from the destroyed interior of the strange complex the Guardians were unable to enter recently in Connecticut. Weeks later, Paradigm searches the dark web and learns of rumors about the Cosmic Train: an expensive, unearthly locomotive crewed by ghosts, that travels between dimensions.
#414 – The Secret Land – Kensai trains Ryutsume, and Compass counsels and helps Jay Harris, who the Guardians set up a trust for. The team discuss the Web and their major criminal activity. After hearing about the threat of Count Hephaestus and receiving coordinates from the GamesMaster, pilot Hammond flies Angelus, Kensai, Araneae, Rune, and Paradigm in the Guardian Angel to the Amazon basin in Brazil, and the five enter the Secret Land on foot. Journeying into a lush jungle teeming with extinct life, they are able to fend off attacks by a Pteranodon and a powerful Tyrannosaurus rex. Hearing cries, they come across a large battle between many primitive humans and lizard-like Saurids. They watch and observe from a ridge until other beasts move in. After preventing a sneak attack by five saber-toothed Smilodon, the heroes thwart the onslaught of a gigantic Spinosaurus. As the two sides separate, the adventurers grab one of the unconscious men to question.
#415 – Count Down! – Led towards their target by the primitive, the group treks through the jungle. They interrupt an attack on a mother and two children by a large pack of Raptors, but the dinosaurs quickly kill the savages, so the team disengages. After a long hike, they find the ruins of a temple, with Count Hephaestus sitting on a stone throne, flanked by Black Bow, the recently-discovered WW II Nazi villain Donner, and five Flame Fiends. Angelus knocks out the mastermind and Araneae wraps up Black Bow, but the captive Count teleports away. After destroying all of the Flame Fiends, the heroes take down Donner and Rune creates a gateway, through which the adventurers transport their captives to a secure containment facility.
#416 – Hell on Earth – The Guardians Council decides to keep lines of communication open with the N.S.A. and the GamesMaster. C.H.E.S.S. alerts the team about intense supernatural activity in Chinese Tibet, so Araneae, Angelus, Rune, and Kensai meet with the Queen of C.H.E.S.S. in London. She explains that the hidden locale seems to be warded against magical and electronic surveillance, and tells how a squad of Valkyries were chased away from a small village there by voices within a strange, unearthly fog. The four travel via the Guardian Angel to the Tibetan Plateau, where they meet the friendly natives of Shangri-La, a remote community nestled in a deep ravine. A creepy green fog surrounds them when they reach the central marketplace, and a voice warns them to leave. Angelus telepathically allows the group to converse with the stranger, who masquerades as benevolent entities protecting the villagers. The heroes continue to probe, with Rune magically sensing the location of the sorcerer as well as a nearby gateway. Angelus discerns dishonesty from the mage, and Rune counters one of his spells. Combat is joined, and five ghostly Stingwraiths fly to aid Professor Hell. The two sides trade volleys, but the sheer volume of cast spells leaves the villain exhausted. He compels hundreds of the natives to flee towards the cliffs, but Araneae and Rune make protective walls of webbing and trees. The team then heroically focuses on saving the lives of innocents, allowing Professor Hell to get away. They investigate the portal, finding stairs inside a chest leading down into a small, empty pocket dimension. Araneae also finds a sophisticated surveillance device hidden in a relic inside the same tent.
#417 – Illicit Deliveries – F.I.S.H. agent Larry Candor contacts Rune about Weesel, a recently arrested drug dealer in Oakland who briefly mentioned the Web before clamming up. The criminal, out on bail, is tailed to a suspected drug house in the Mission District of San Francisco. After journeying there via a gateway, surveillance is turned over to Rune, Phase, Helios, and Psypher, along with local hero Psilight. The team stakes out the home for hours, watching many people coming and going, eventually sending in Psypher and Psilight undercover to learn more. Phase finds out that the house is owned by Black Mamba, but the former supervillain is not currently wanted. Though he is clearly dealing drugs, they do not see any major activity that warrants an attempted arrest. Through vines and house plants controlled by Rune, he discerns that Black Mamba has many venomous snakes in the cellar, with some also moving through the walls, but they confirm he has proper permits for them. Rune creates the illusion of police lights, which clears the house of most occupants. Black Mamba disappears (via secret stairs, into the attic). Outside Phase gets Weesel to reveal that the Web has stolen a powerful weapon that is currently travelling between Las Vegas and L.A! Realizing that the few people still inside the house are not likely in any danger if they don’t go in, the heroes race away in the recently arrived Guardian Angel, flown by pilot Hammond. On Highway 15 in Nevada they intercept the convoy, made up of nearly a dozen military and civilian vehicles, including multiple armed tanks! They attack and bring everything to a stop, but the soldiers react in fear and confusion; the tank in the rear peels off into the desert. Helios gives chase, but the man in the powerful M1A2 Abrams fires on him and some of the military forces! Helios and Psilight quickly dispatch Tank Gunner while the others aid the wounded and restore order. The group learns that some of the commanding officers, addicted to ‘mind’, aided Tank Gunner and the Web in the theft of the recovered armament.