The Slaughterhouse logo flickers in glowing neon as snow begins falling all around it.
It then cuts off.
Our camera pans to the right, into darkness, shortly followed by the view of a large oak table. We’re in the middle of a darkened hall, lit by red coloured wall candles that illuminate only the table itself. A skull is finely carved into the centre, bold and beautiful.
Around it, four chairs sit.
Slowly but surely, cloaked figures start entering the room, taking a seat at the table. They’re all wearing masks, but only one is illuminated by the light.
And it’s red.
He reaches for a gavel, slamming it down on the table.
“Skulls, I’m afraid I’ve had to summon you to this emergency meeting with grave news,” he says rather solemnly, in a soft voice. His eyes are barely visible through the mask that hides the frustration on its face. “I’m led to believe that our greatest fear will shortly be realized.”
That announcement brings murmurs from the room. Red Skull puts a hand up, silencing them.
“Our texts have done their job and muddled the purpose of our order, but it isn’t enough. He still searches for the item Stephen stole from us. He’s close to finding it.”
“Can he be reasoned with?” They enquire.
Red Skull shrugs.
“I don’t know. Should he find it, Flavo, you’ll need to speak with him.”
Everyone turns their attention to one of the figures, who nods agreeably.
“Yes, I’ll keep a watchful eye,” he says confidently. “However, does the skull know of our current affairs?”
Red Skull nods, slowly.
“He does,” RS admits. “But we’re not in that dire of a situation yet that he must be summoned. If we contain this threat, as I created this order to do, he won’t need to be bothered.”
“Understood!” Flavo replies.
“Be on high alert, skulls. We don’t know why Sigil wants the item. We don’t know what purpose it serves him, or what he knows of it. It will not be a silent night.”
He slams the gavel once more.
OBASI BOCAMO VS. LUKE MARSHALL
A church stands in the centre of an arid desert, smoke billowing from its blown windows. A recent explosion from a tank shell leaves the building smouldering.
Above, vultures circle.
Within the confines of the destroyed church two men stand across from one another. Men who have known each other for a very long time.
Obasi Bocamo and Luke Marshall face one another. Luke’s clothes are blackened by smoke, torn. Blood seeps from his wounds including a large gash above his eyebrow.
Obasi charges at his opponent. His huge weight advantage is put to good use with a hard lariat which send Marshall crashing straight to the concrete floor of the church aisle. The fight OPENS with BLACK DEATH!
He nearly takes Marshall’s head off!
Marshall is OUT COLD, but Obasi isn’t finished with him.
“Many year ago I said you should leave, white man.” He tells Marshall’s bloodied, unconscious face, “Now I must insist you leave.”
A curb stomp to the front of Marshall’s face, his nose EXPLODES!
Obasi DRAGS Marshall to his feet, contorting his body as he begins to rouse, his thin weak arms gently flailing.
Obasi easily locks in the guillotine choke hold. As he chokes the life from Marshall he goads him once more, “I told you many yea’ ago.” He grunts, “there is NO God ‘eah but me.”
Obasi drops Marshall’s limp body to the ground, releasing the hold.
Obasi Bocamo is victorious by knockout!
But Obasi isn’t done with Marshall!
He picks one of his feet up and starts to drag him down the aisle of the church, a trail of blood spreading behind the unconscious self-professed ‘Father’.
Obasi drags the lifeless body of his opponent out into the baking heat of the African desert.
The vultures circle lower in the sky…
GODS OF WAR
“Ah told you white boy. If God is still ‘eah it is only to watch the SUFFERING.”
Obasi drops the limp body of Luke Marshall. Sand gathers around his many wounds. The deep gash above his left eye, the broken nose which is smudged across his face, and the countless lacerations to his body from tank missile shrapnel. The only solace Marshall has from the midday African heat is the ominous shadow cast from the huge body of his nemesis as he towers over him.
Marshall regains consciousness slowly as Obasi paces around him. As Marshall’s eyes open he sees the sun catch an object being pulled from the belt of The Blood King. A hard, sharp glint of the sun refracts into Marshall’s eyes, blinding him for a moment. When his eyesight returns he is face to face with Obasi, who is leaning over right into him, brandishing a round-edged knife.
“This ‘eah knife ‘as travelled many miles to be with us today. It is the knife of an old Siberian militia that I ‘ad the ‘onah of shootin’ in da face long befo’ we met. It ‘as been used many times before and ‘as only ONE purpose.”
As he talks a jeep pulls around the building and four of his militia jump out. They are hammering four poles into the ground and laughing with one another.
“Today ah am going to show you de purpose of this knife, white boy.”
The militia drag Marshall over to the four posts, stripping him naked and tying each of his limbs to one post each so that he is suspended four feet in the air.
“Torture ‘as been around a LONG time, white boy. But in mah humble opinion it was perfected by the Siberian’s in World War One.”
Obasi sets to work with the knife, tracing precise lines around the wrists, up the forearms and around the shoulders of Luke Marshall. Thick, dark blood drips from the wounds. Luke whimpers.
Obasi begins to PEEL the skin from Marshall’s arm, skinning his arm with great precision. Luke Marshall screams a blood curdling scream.
Obasi repeats the process for the other arm and both legs as he continues to talk. A black pool of blood sinks into the sand beneath Marshall.
“They took a liking to skinnin’ their enemies ahlive an’ leavin’ dem for de wolves.”
On the fourth leg the screaming stops.
“Eah though we ‘av only vultures.” He says, peeling the face away from Luke Marshall, unveiling bulging eyeballs and a full set of teeth.
“Ah’ll be seeing you, WHITE BOY.” Obasi says as the skin of Marshall’s face slaps against the sand.
Soon the jeep leaves with all five men aboard. Then the vultures land…
JUNKRAT VS. MONTY STRAIGHT
In the middle of the wasteland stands a ring, rigged to the asshole with explosives.
The Mayoral Sash is on the line tonight, and perhaps a lot more, as Monty Straight takes on Junkrat in a battle for mayoral supremacy!
Timekeeper Spacerat rings the bell!
Here we go! Junkrat and Monty Straight circle each other in the ring, a little cat and mouse going on. Monty Straight shoots on Junkrat’s leg, but Junkrat escapes and drops a double axe handle over Straight’s back! Junkrat drops to a knee and transitions Straight into a side headlock!
He wrenches Monty’s neck a few times as both men slowly move to their feet. Monty is able to back up and bounce off the ropes, using the momentum to shove Junkrat off of him! But Good ol’ J.R. bounces off the opposite set of ropes and nails Monty with a dropkick!
Monty hits the mat and reaches his feet! Another dropkick! Once again Monty climbs to his feet! Another dropkick– No! Sly enough to move out of the way of the dropkick, Junkrat hits the mat belly first!
PUNT KICK ACROSS JUNKRAT’S JAW AND NOSE!!! BLOOD SPURTS OUT OF JUNKRAT’S NOSTRILS!!!
Monty quickly moves in to try and lock Junkrat in Straight Shooting, but Junkrat pushes him into the turnbuckles with his feet! Junkrat kips up! Monty with a clothesline! NO!
JUNKRAT HOOKS HIS ARM AND LEAPS BEHIND HIM!!! CRUCIFIX PIN ATTEMPT!!!
MONTY’S LEGS ARE FLAILING!
Monty quickly reaches his feet! He dodges a lariat from Junkrat, spins him around!
He lifts Junkrat onto his shoulders!!!
BY GOD HE’S GOT JUNKRAT IN A TORTURE RACK!!! THE TORTURE RACK SUBMISSION!!
JUNKRAT CRIES OUT IN PAIN!!!
BUT MONTY SHIFTS IT INTO A GOD DAMN BRAINBUSTER!!!
Monty has taken complete control of this match now!!! He lifts Junkrat’s legs!!!
HE LOCKS IT IN!!! STRAIGHT SHOOTING!!! AND WITH HIS KNEE ON JUNKRAT’S NECK HE HAS NOWHERE TO RUN!!!
JUNKRAT TAPS!!! JUNKRAT TAPS!!! IT’S OVER!!!
…BUT THE REFEREE DOESN’T SEE IT!!! A SPACERAT IS ON THE APRON DISTRACTING THE DAMN REFEREE!!!
Monty sees what’s going on and let’s go of the hold! He walks up to the Spacerat on the apron and slaps the piss and the vinegar right out of his fucking mouth! Spacerat drops to the cold concrete outside the ring!
Monty turns around!
CONCUSSION MINE!!! TILT-A-WHIRL DDT BY JUNKRAT!!! HE SPIKES STRAIGHT HEADFIRST INTO THE MAT!!!
HE MAKES THE COVER!!! HOOKS THE LEG!!!
Monty hangs on by the skin of his teeth.
Suddenly, a voice comes over a loudspeaker:
“SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE, ENGAGED.”
And a beeping noise begins playing.
Monty and Junkrat both look around a little nervous. They know they have to pick up a win soon!
Junkrat charges at Monty and attempts a crossbody block!!!
But Monty catches him in midair!!! He transitions him into position!!!
THE DEAL BREAKER!!! EMERALD FLOWSION POWERSLAM!!!
The beeping sound is getting faster!
Monty knows he has Junkrat where he wants him.
BUT ANOTHER FUCKING SPACERAT IS ON THE APRON JIVING THE DAMN REFEREE!!
Monty walks over and delivers a punch to the first Spacerat! And the second!
BUT NEVER SEES THE THIRD SNEAK UP BEHIND HIM IN THE RING AND HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH THE STEEL CHAIR!!!
The beeping is so fucking fast now!
Spacerat is forced out of the ring by the referee!!! But the referee hears the beeping just like the rest of us and evacuates the squared circle!!!
Junkrat and Monty are motionless on the mat!
THE RING FUCKING EXPLODES!!!!!
JUNKRAT AND MONTY SOAR INTO THE AIR!!!!
AND WHEN THEY HIT THE FUCKING GROUND!?!?!
JUNKRAT LANDS ON TOP OF MONTY!!!
MONTY’S SHOULDERS ARE DOWN!!!
THE REFEREE MAKES THE COVER!!!
NOT LIKE THIS!!!
Junkrat has no idea he has won the mayorship of Gary, as he is completely unconscious!!! But he has done so! And now, the town is his…
But at what cost?
In the backstage room of Berkshire Ellison Green, the World Champion sits alongside Mark Gouldern, talking business ahead of their respective matches tonight, when there’s a knock at the door.
Without invitation, Alton Whitlock sheepishly enters.
His face is no longer that of frustration – no, he appears sombre, if anything.
“Well, if it isn’t Mr. ‘I’m done’,” BEG comedically announces. “Come to pick up your things, big shot?”
“You know why I’m here, don’t you?” He asks, shaking his head. “My team have gone from pillar to post searching for new funding and haven’t secured a dime. You’ve blackballed me everywhere.”
Mark Gouldern chuckles.
“When are you going to understand the dynamic here, Alton?” Green asks with a smile. “I’m the only game in town.”
With that, Whitlock closes his eyes, leaning his head back.
“My offer is still on the table. I’ll fund your Campaign and have you in office by 2020. I’m offering to give you everything you need and what I’ve asked for in comparison is minute.”
“You’re asking me to compromise everything I am,” Whitlock retorts, pleading almost. “You’re demanding I change policies, create conflict and turn my back on all that I promised my supporters. Don’t you understand how difficult this is?”
Green stands up, placing a hand on the shoulder of his puppet.
“Ask yourself whether or not those things truly matter.”
“Ask yourself whether or not finding the man who did this,” BEG says, putting a hand on Alton’s scar. “Matters more.”
BEG removes his hand and smiles.
“I’ll see you in the ring tonight, dear fellow.”
ON THREE FRONTS
The thunderous marching.
The Slaughterhouse is seemingly shaking as the entrance ramp becomes a means of deployment to a militia of monks, all of who have a fire in their eyes as they fill the ring! Surrounded by his men, Banzan turns to face the crowd, his eyes peeled for the man he has been sent to destroy.
And as if on cue, the sounds of howling fill the air, and from the crowd itself, storming towards the ring, is Scrimshaw and his crew, the pirates rejuvinated, fangs bared and the bloodlust in their hearts!
No one could say who threw the first punch.
But we were only here to see who threw the last one.
Pure training and discipline from the monks were an even match for the battle hungry ferocity of the pirate crew! A war waged on the outside of the ring and Scrimshaw found himself rushing inside, face to face with Banzan! Both men traded blows, ferociously hammering away with ill-intent!
“I’ll keel-haul you, Banzan. Me and me crew will be freed of our curse once I bring in your head!”
Scrimshaw pushed Banzan back with a boot to the chest but the Mountain countered with his own powerful headbutt!
“My head? Once I’ve removed you from this world, the Judge can help remove BEG’s men from our mountain!”
At the mention of the Judge, Scrimshaw stopped. He went to question when a plume of purple smoke filled the arena. And in the blink of an eye, a third man stood in the ring while a third army filled the the ringside.
HAYMAKER TO SCRIMSHAW! ELBOW TO BANZAN! THE JUDGE HAS JUST TAKEN BOTH MEN DOWN!
The two militia leaders look up at the Judge as the ancient being stares out at the battle at ringside, his clones capitalizing on the chaos as they laid into the enemy militia at ringside. He sighed as he looked back at the two men in ring.
“You two never saw it coming, did you? Why would I send either of you to do my work? Simple, I needed both of you in the same place at the same time.”
Scrimshaw and Banzan both moved to get to their feet as Judge continued.
“If either of you are left alive, then your sway over these men will lead to chaos and destruction. With both of you gone, order shall be restored.”
Banzan and Scrimshaw look to one another, a look of mutual understanding in their eyes.
They weren’t allies, they weren’t enemies.
And with a war on three fronts, they were going to do what they must to survive.
BANZAN VS. THE JUDGE VS. SCRIMSHAW
TRIPLE THREAT MATCH
An army of Scrimshaw’s wolf-like crew from tales of yesteryear.
An army of monk companions from Banzan’s Tiger’s Nest.
An army of The Judge’s very own clones.
All of them stand around the ring as Scrimshaw, Banzan, and The Judge stand in it!
ALL HELL BREAKS LOOSE OUTSIDE THE RING!!!
FANGED PIRATES ATTACKING MONKS! MONKS ATTACKING CLONES! CLONES ATTACKING FANGED PIRATES! AND EVERYTHING IN BETWEEN!
Scrimshaw watches the chaos outside the ring, and turns to move in on Banzan!
BIG BOOT! The Judge takes Scrimshaw out early with a boot to the cranium instead!
Scrimshaw is out like a light! The Judge turns to Banzan and charges the Indestructible Mountain!
Another BIG BOOT!
But the Mountain doesn’t even budge! Instead he sends a kick into The Judge’s stomach that literally surprises and staggers him. Banzan spins gracefully and lands a violent back fist across the Judge’s draw! He kicks him in his thigh and the Judge falls to a knee!
SPINNING KICK TO THE HEAD KNOCKS THE JUDGE THE FUCK OUT!!!
BANZAN MAKES THE COVER!!!
SCRIMSHAW BREAKS UP THE PIN!!!
But that seems only to serve to anger the Mountain, who climbs to his feet and delivers a big headbutt to Scrimshaw! Scrimshaw hits the mat but gets right back to his feet!
And Banzan grabs a handful of his hair! He tosses the old sea dog over the top ropes and into the melee outside!!!
Banzan turns around!
THE PAST MAY BITE YOU!!!
The Judge has a mouthful of Banzan’s head and he’s clamping down with those sharp teeth! Banzan’s blood begins to pour from the wound the Judge is making in Banzan’s head!
Three of the Monks rush into the ring!
Three of the clones rush in to cut them off!
The Judge frees Banzan from his jaw and kicks him in the gut!!
The clones do the same thing to the monks!!!
The monks and Banzan are put into position!!!
THE JUDGE MAKES THE COVER ON BANZAN!!!
Banzan somehow kicks out!!! The Indestructible Mountain lives up to his name!
BUT SCRIMSHAW RUNS IN THE RING, AND HE’S TIRED OF THIS SHIT!
BRASS KNUCKLES TO A CLONE’S HEAD!
BRASS KNUCKLES TO ANOTHER CLONE’S HEAD!
KNUCKS AGAIN TO A FUCKING CLONE’S HEAD!
THE JUDGE CATCHES SCRIMSHAW WITH A SPARTA KICK!!!
BUT NO!!! SCRIMSHAW DUCKS!!! DIVING SHOULDER BLOCK INTO THE JUDGE’S KNEE!!!
The Judge falls to a knee! Enziguiri by Scrimshaw!
He wants to lock in the Captain’s hook, but The Judge is struggling with him each and every step of the way! Scrimshaw is having to claw tooth and nail just to get it locked in!
MAGGA BY BANZAN!!! MAGGA FROM OUT OF NOWHERE!!! HE TAKES SCRIMSHAW’S HEAD CLEAN OFF!!!
As their respective armies are at war with one another outside the ring, Banzan has taken control! He quickly moves to his corner and sizes jp the Judge! Scrimshaw is out!!! He’s just waiting for The Judge to sit up! The Judge starts to try and stand, but Banzan charges across the ring!!!
MAGGA BY BANZAN!!! HE NAILS IT!!! BANZAN MAKES THE COVER!!!
Banzan picks up a huge victory over two men he went to war with, the monks he led from Tiger’s Nest finding the victory just as sweet as their leader!
As the daze slowly leaves Kenny Freeman’s eyes, he awakens to the horror of what surrounds him.
It’s four wooden walls, the size of a wrestling ring. He’s sat dead square in the middle on a rickety wooden chair, blood dried on his face from a gash on his forehead.
Then he remembers the brutality that brought him here.
“This is it, isn’t it?” Kenny groggily concludes. He’s wincing as he looks around. “This is The Toybox.”
“Do you like it!?” SeeSaw excitedly asks, almost bounding around the place like an excited child on Christmas morning. “It’s filled with all my favourite toys; especially since you’re here!”
Kenny gulps. “What happens now?”
SeeSaw grins, walking over to him and kneeling in front.
“We play, silly!” He says with a childlike joy. “I’ve built this just for you, Kenny. You should see some of the toys we have to play with tonight.”
“It isn’t just for me,” Kenny retorts, shaking his head. “This is for you and your sick delusion. I’m not a toy, SeeSaw. I’m a human being. I’m flesh and blood.”
Mr. Make Believe doesn’t like that.
“What’s the matter Kenny, don’t you like it? You haven’t even seen the toys we get to play with yet. There’s so many wonderous things inside The Toybox.”
Freeman shakes his head. “I’ve made a mistake. I should’ve never entertained you. Let me out of here right now!”
SeeSaw grumpily walks over, undoing his restraints. Kenny stands up and looks for the door, only he’s met with four wooden walls and no way out.
“Oh, I’m sorry, I simply can’t do that,” SeeSaw muses, now skipping around the Toybox in circles. “Who else will I have to play with? I’ve even installed CCTV,” he notes pointing up at us. “Now children all around the world can see us play.”
Freeman realizes, there and then, what he must do.
If he wants to get out of here alive.
He has to play with SeeSaw.
SEESAW VS. KENNY FREEMAN
KENNY DOESN’T WAIT FOR A BELL TO RING!
HE HOPS OUT OF THE CHAIR THROWING LEFTS AND RIGHTS BUT SEESAW ISN’T REACTING!
DING! DING! THE MATCH IS OFFICIALLY STARTING NOW!
FREEMAN SHAKES HIS HEAD AND HOPS ON THE ROCKING CHAIR!
JUMPING BACK ELBOW!
NO! SEESAW CATCHES HIM AND STARTS SPINNING HIM AROUND!
MERRY GO ROUND!
HE STOPS SPINNING AND DROPS FREEMAN WITH A GERMAN SUPLEX THROUGH THE CHAIR!
THE CHAIR EXPLODES AND SEESAW COVERS!
. . .
. . .
KENNY KICKS OUT!
“Yay!!! You do want to play! Let’s see what we have to play with huh?” SeeSaw grabs a rocking horse but the rocking legs are covered in barbed wire! SeeSaw lifts it and shoves it into Freeman’s back! The rocking horse is deep in the back of Freeman! He’s screaming in agony!
WHAT IS SEESAW DOING?!?
HE IS SITTING ON THE HORSE AND NOW HE’S ROCKING!
THE BARBED WIRE IS DESTROYING FREEMAN’S BACK!
FREEMAN IS TAPPING!
SEESAW IS LAUGHING! “HAHA SILLY, PLAYTIME DOESN’T END UNTIL I SAY IT DOES!”
SEESAW STANDS ON THE SEAT, JUMPS UP AND DOUBLE STOMPS THE HORSE TO MAKE IT DIG IN ONE LAST TIME!
“You don’t seem to like that one, I’m sorry, let me put it up!” SeeSaw rips the horse out of Freeman! Flesh and blood are all over the rocking horse of the apocalypse! “Get up, I’ll let you choose the next toy!” Freeman is getting up and SeeSaw is waving his hand over all the options! Freeman chooses the G.I. Joes! “Ah, choosing toys your scale I see! We can be soldiers for a while!” SeeSaw charges at Freeman!
FREEMAN PRESSES THE FIRE BUTTON ON THE PYRO!
SEESAW IS COVERED IN FLAMES BUT HE’S STILL RUNNING!
SUPERFINE TURBINE BLAST WITH LIMITED EDITION FIRE EFFECTS!
SEESAW GORES FREEMAN AND PLANTS HIM WITH A SPINEBUSTER ALL ON FIRE!
HE STOPS, DROPS, AND ROLLS WHILE CACKLING THE ENTIRE TIME!
“That was fun! Good choice friend! My turn!” SeeSaw grabs the pyramid and waits for Freeman to get up! He grabs Freeman by the throat but Freeman clubs SeeSaw’s arms off of him! Dropkick by Freeman! SeeSaw is still standing! Another dropkick! SeeSaw won’t go down! A third dropkick and SeeSaw is finally teetering!
FREEMAN IS CHARGING!
HE’S GOING FOR A HURRICANRANA BUT SEESAW CATCHES HIM!
POWERBOMB ON THE PYRAMID!
THANK GOD THOSE WERE LEGOS OR KENNY WOULD BE IMPALED!
. . .
. . .
. . .
. . .
FREEMAN KICKS OUT!
“Yes! You’re a great playmate Kenny! Your turn again!” Kenny rolls out of the ring for a quick breather! “Come on Kenny, don’t make me bored!” Kenny sighs and grabs a toy dart gun! “Ooh! Fun! Hit me with your best shot and fire away!” Kenny pulls the trigger! It’s not just a dart! SeeSaw added nails to the end! Kenny puts it down! “Let me guess, you’re an it’s Nerf or nothing kid huh Kenny?” Kenny nods and charges at SeeSaw again! SeeSaw plants him with a sidewalk slam! “Sorry friend, we can’t get sponsors like that!”
SEESAW GRABS THE GUN AND SHOOTS THE NAILS INTO KENNY’S HANDS!
KENNY IS STUCK THERE AND SEESAW GETS ON THE TOP ROPE!
FLIGHT OF THE ORNITHOPTER!
BODY SPLASH TO A TRAPPED FREEMAN!
. . .
. . .
. . .
IT’S FINALLY OVER! SEESAW HAS DESTROYED KENNY IN THE TOYBOX AND IT LOOKS LIKE HE IS FINALLY DONE WITH HIS TOY!
NO! KENNY GETS HIS FOOT ON THE ROPE!
KENNY IS STILL FIGHTING SOMEHOW!
“Wow, no one ever wants to play this long with me, Kenny… I actually feel special, here let me take those nails out. I know you didn’t like the last toy so choose anything you want.” Kenny shakes his head and does what any kid does at Christmas, he grabs the largest toy, the pit of Vietnam, the barbed wire boxspring filled with G.I. Joes! “You chose my favorite Kenny, I knew you cared about me!” Kenny slaps SeeSaw! “No, I just want this to end…” SeeSaw grabs Kenny by the throat! “So be it!”
SEESAW CHOKESLAMS KENNY ON THE PIT OF VIETNAM!
KENNY IS CAUGHT IN THE BARBED WIRE AND SEESAW IS DANCING IN GLEE!
HE LIFTS THE BOXSPRING UP ON HIS SHOULDERS!
HE FLIPS IT OVER!
THE REVERSE DEATH VALLEY DRIVER PLANTS KENNY FACE DOWN UNDER THE PIT!
SEESAW PULLS IT OFF HIM!
HE WANTS TO PLAY MORE BUT KENNY IS OUT COLD!
PLAYTIME IS OVER AS KENNY IS UNCONSCIOUS ON THE FLOOR!
SeeSaw has demolished Freeman in the Toybox! He has made it clear that no one can take him in his world!
Kenny Freeman is unconscious.
And the demented SeeSaw is anything but. He continues to skip around the Toybox, around Freeman, absolutely thrilled with what he’s done here today.
He had a play date he’ll never forget.
But now it’s over.
When that dawns on him, he looks rather sad.
He stops short, looking down at Kenny.
“Kenny, I’m afraid I lied to you before,” he admits, lowering his head in shame. He kicks at the ground a little like a petulant child. “I-I know I shouldn’t have but I couldn’t help myself.”
SeeSaw bends down, stroking Freeman’s hair.
“I told you toys can leave the Toybox. I wasn’t lying about that really, was I? After all, they can. What I kinda neglected to mention was that once a toy enters my toybox, this toybox, they can never leave.”
“That means you can never leave, friend.”
Freeman hasn’t budged even an inch since the end of that match.
“But it looks like you’re a little broken and maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe I can fix you up, huh? Yeah, that’s right! I can make you as good as new! No, wait, I can make you better than new!”
He hops back to his feet, grabbing Kenny by the legs, beginning to drag him off camera.
“You’re going to be the best new toy in The Toybox!”
Kenny Freeman sits – alive and well, thankfully. His eyes are open, though his mouth looks a little odd to say the least.
SeeSaw meanwhile comes marching over, a controller in his hand.
“Ladies and Gentlemen, allow me to introduce to you,” he says proudly, tapping his chest as if a drumroll. “The Freeman Blaster! Now with REAL exploding miniature rockets!”
He presses the button on his controller and Kenny’s mouth slowly opens, like some kind of trap door.
Out of it fires a rocket, exploding at the feet of SeeSaw.
The CCTV switches to a view from behind.
Kenny Freeman’s head sits attached to a spike, dismembered from his body. A contraption is fed into the back of his head, feeding rockets through to the loading chamber that now exists within his mouth.
He’s become a toy in SeeSaw’s Toybox.
He cackles maniacally, absolutely delighted with his murderous new toy.
COMING TO NITRO
Pickpocket comes to Nitro 191, battling Mez!
THE LAST ACTION HERO
Thump. Thump. Thump.
Luke Storm’s heart thumps inside his chest as he runs up the stairs of the Warehouse towards his poor terrified daughter. By the time he reaches the roof and flings the fire escape door open, Redwing is standing on the ledge with his arm around her throat.
“Another step closer and I’ll toss her right over the edge, King Storm,” Redwing hisses, chuckling maniacally.
Storm immediately stops dead in his tracks, his hands raised.
“You took everything from me. Do you know how long I’ve searched for you? How long I’ve wanted to find you?”
“You’ve got the wrong man,” Luke pleads, his hand slapping his head in frustration. “Why would I murder an innocent family? Why would I do that to you? I don’t have any motive, man.”
“He told me everything!” He growls. “He told me what they offered you, Luke. It’s all come true, hasn’t it? You’re a big movie star, on top of the world, King of all you see but I’m going to dismantle every part of it.”
Luke steps forward, causing Redwing to jerk, which halts him.
“Just think about it, okay? I’m not a big movie star. I don’t have the world at my feet. I’ve come here to provide for my daughter. Someone is lying to you; can’t you see that? You’ve changed. Something has changed you. You need to listen to me. If you do this, when you come to your senses, you’ll never forgive yourself.”
Redwing shakes his head vehemently.
“Don’t lie to me, Storm. You took everything from me and now, it’s my turn to return the favour.”
Before Luke can move even an inch, Redwing tosses Scarlett aside.
Right over the edge.
Her screams are guttural as she plunges towards the ground below.
Redwing looks on, laughing hysterically.
Luke rushes towards the edge, looking over in absolute terror.
Whether planned or complete luck, Scarlett thunders into an open dumpster below. The Storm King doesn’t hesitate, he runs back towards the fire exit door, only Redwing throws a redblade, knocking the handle clean off.
Storm stops, his fury building.
If he wants to check on his daughter; if he wants to survive…
He’s going to have to fight.
REDWING VS. LUKE STORM
So it’s come to this. Two tortured souls who’ve known loss and pain, who, in a different life, may have related to one another over a festive drink. Instead, they seek to spill each other’s blood on the snow…
Both men lock eyes from opposite sides of the dilapidated rooftop, a crane drawing a line in the sand—snow?—between them. A red mist descends in their eyes, as the white blizzard kicks up a notch. Luke’s breath rises in the cold air like the smoke from a dragon. The brooding Redwing is silhouetted against the snow like some hellish bat. The anger and the hatred inside them boils over – and Luke is the first to indulge it! He races across the roof, leaping over skylights and vents – wincing with every step and each landing as his wounds threaten to reopen! Redwing flicks his cape back like a gunslinger removing his duster. Concealed in his hands underneath are two Redblades – and a utility belt containing more, of course.
A TORRENT OF RAZOR-SHARP REDBLADES SLICE THROUGH THE AIR, EVEN CLEAVING THE SNOWFLAKES IN HALF!
LUKE MUST HAVE SOME KIND OF BULLET-TIME, THOUGH, AS HE EVADES THEM ALL!
All but one, anyway. Storm ignores the fresh gash on his cheek as he races through Redwing’s defence and pins him against a crumbling chimney stack. Redwing ducks, however, and Luke PUNCHES BARE BRICK! He grits his teeth and groans as an audible crack is heard. Redwing blinds him with a flurry of his cape, then rams his head into the brickwork. Luke stumbles away, and the Red Knight leaps up behind him –
THE KILLING JOKE BULLDOG!
BUT STORM PUSHES HIM OFF!
REDWING CRASHES THROUGH A SKYLIGHT!
HOLY SHIT – glass rains down on Redwing, who hangs onto the frame by one hand! We may be about to witness the literal fall of a hero at Red Snow V! Wait a minute… he saves himself with a grappling gun!
No sooner does he gain his footing, however, than…
DOUBLE-TAP LIGHTNING STRIKE BY STORM – one for the grappling gun, then one for Redwing himself! A dazed and bloodied Crimson Justice teeters precariously over the edge. Just one gust of wind in the right direction in the middle of this snowstorm, and he’s done for.
The Perfect Storm ain’t a meteorologist, though, and he jumps up –
Redwing blocks the attempted codebreaker with a kick to the nethers! Quicker than lightning, the vengeful vigilante pulls Storm into a RIPCORD KNEE – THE GODWATCH!
Blood gushes from Luke’s nose like a FOUNTAIN. He staggers back into a scaffolding section. The entire erection rattles, sending masonry equipment from above crashing to the rooftop down below. Both combatants disappear in the ensuing cloud of dust mixed with snow, only their coughs and splutters giving some vague hint as to their whereabouts.
The troubled movie-star wanders blindly through the storm, holding his arms out to feel his way around. He elects to climb the scaffolding in a bid to escape the choking dust, and perhaps get a vantage point on Redwing—
REDWING SWINGS OFF THE SCAFFOLDING WITH A DROPKICK TO THE CHEST!
LUKE PLUMMETS DOWN TO A LOWER WALKWAY!
His back cracks against unforgiving wooden planks. If he isn’t paralysed, then he’s hacking up a lung as blood oozes from his mouth. Unbelievably, however…
HE. JUST. KEEPS. GOING!
Rolling onto his gut, he forces himself onto all fours, then drags himself up the same narrow, rickety walkways he just conquered – desperate to get his hands on Redwing and end this madness.
Unfortunately for him, Redwing is equally desperate to get his hands on him.
A phantom boot suddenly emerges from the freezing-cold blizzard –
REDWING HITS THE CURB STOMP OUTTA NOWHERE!
Luke isn’t moving.
Redwing heaves his carcass to the top of the scaffolding, over which the crane is positioned. He looks over his shoulder, DOWN AT THE BROKEN SKYLIGHT!
THERE’S NO WAY IN HELL!
The Red Knight hauls Luke up and drapes his arm round his neck. He hoists him up into the BRAINBUSTER…
THANK GOD, NO!
LUKE SNAGS HIMSELF ON THE CRANE DIRECTLY ABOVE THEM!
Redwing looks up – and what goes up MUST COME DOWN –
THUNDER JOINS THE BLIZZARD!
THE SCAFFOLDING GROANS AND COLLAPSES UNDER THE IMPACT!
THEY RIDE THE LIGHTNING ALL THE WAY DOWN!
OSHA IS GOING TO HAVE A FUCKING FIELD DAY!
Wood, metal, masonry, snow, blood, broken bones, and BODIES litter the cratered warehouse roof. These two warriors have taken each other TO HELL AND BACK.
Now, as the mushroom cloud of dust settles once more, they find themselves mere inches apart…
Draped over the ledge of the roof. They burn a hole through each other, their faces bathed in the red light of the stolen ambulance so very far below – farther than the trip they just took.
Luke Storm stumbles away, screaming rapturously.
Then he runs, DIVING at REDWING!
THEY BOTH TUMBLE OVER THE EDGE OF THE BUILDING! OH MY GOD! OH MY GOD!
ONTO A FIRE ESCAPE BELOW!
REDWING’S HEAD THUMPS AGAINST THE STEEL, LUKE STORM LANDING ON HIM IN A HEAP FOR PROTECTION! REDWING IS OUT. HE’S UNCONSCIOUS!
He won’t feel like it, but Luke Storm is your winner!
THE RED DEATH
As Luke Storm escapes his battle victorious, with Redwing unconscious, he looks down from the fire escape to the dumpster below; however, Scarlett is gone.
His eyes adjust, his heart races, and then he sees it.
A green van.
Almost on instinct, Storm kicks free the fire escape ladder and watches as it slides down to the ground. He quickly hops on, moving as fast as he can towards the van below.
By the time he gets there, he notices the back door open.
Carefully, he peers around the door.
And there she is, Scarlett Storm.
Only she isn’t alone.
She’s once again in the possession of a man with no good intentions. Only this man is familiar; he’s known, he’s someone we’ve all come to fear.
Wearing a green hat with a purple face mask and tie is someone everyone remembers.
If only a little more… insane.
“You?” Luke Storm asks, oddly, as if he knows the man in question. “You’re the one behind this?”
“Of course!” Edward cackles. “How long has it been? Too long, wouldn’t you say?”
Storm goes to step forward but Newton wags a finger, reminding him that it wouldn’t be a good idea.
“Now, let’s not do anything foolish. I wouldn’t want to harm a hair on her pretty little head. After all, it’s you I want, Mr. Storm,” The Riddler shares willingly. “This whole saga has been designed to punish you and punish you it has. It’s far from over though.”
Luke grimaces. “Enough is enough, Edward.”
“Oh, I think I’ll be the one who decides that. Anyway, where are my manners? We’ve met, but you’ve not been formally introduced to my associate, have you?”
The Riddler points behind Storm who turns around, faced with Redwing. Redwing whacks him over the head with a lead pipe, knocking him unconscious.
“You were supposed to wait until I introduced you, numbskull!” Newton yells. Redwing shrugs, grabbing Storm by the legs. “The Red Death – that’s your moniker now. How am I supposed to introduce you if he’s bloody unconscious? For the love of God, get him in the van.”
VERITAS VS. MEZ
Veritas stands in the last cell. If he can leave this windowless room, he can have his freedom.
The only problem is standing across from him is none other than Mez.
And Mez wants so badly to hurt him.
A referee steps into the cell and closes the door behind him.
No bell rings. This is no usual match, Veritas’ freedom is on the line! But it is Mez who charges him, head first, with the zeal we’ve come to expect from the inmate!
Drop toe hold from Veritas sends Mez falling face first into the cold, concrete wall! His mask absorbs a great deal of the blow, and he is back up just as quickly as Veritas!
JESUS CHRIST! HE GRABS VERITAS BY THE THROAT AND SLAMS THE TRUTH TELLER AGAINST THE WALL!
AGAIN! AGAIN! AGAIN!
Veritas’ helmet saves him from a major concussion, but Mez’s stranglehold is wearing him down too soon! Veritas desperately sends his knee up into Mez’s little inmates! Mez lets Veritas go and haunches over!
DDT ONTO THE COLD FLOOR BY VERITAS!!!
HE MAKES THE COVER!!!
KICKOUT BY MEZ!!
It’s gonna take more than that to slow down the unstoppable psychopath!
But Veritas isn’t letting Mez get his bearings about him! Patient Zero lays into him with several snap kicks that POP with every impact into Mez’s skin! Yet in spite of that, Mez is slowly working his way to his feet! Each of Veritas’ martial arts kicks seem less and less effective!
Mez is to his knees! He grabs Veritas’ foot as he sends another kick at him. Veritas is hopping to remain standing as Mez reaches his feet! Mez makes an awful, gutteral sound!
HE DRIVES HIS ELBOW DOWN ON VERITAS’ KNEE AS HE JERKS HIS LEG UP!!!
DID HE JUST BREAK VERITAS’ FUCKING LEG!?!
Veritas cries out in pain! He hobbles away from Mez, but Mez moves in on The Freedom Fighter!
THE SEDATIVE!!! THAT SPINNING ELBOW RIGHT INTO VERITAS’ TEMPLE!!! VERITAS DROPS LIKE A FUCKING BRICK!!!
MEZ MAKES THE COVER!!!
Somehow, The Sedative wasn’t enough to knock out Veritas! An angry Mez drags Veritas up to his feet.
He turns and sees the wall of restraints in the middle of the room, and stares at them for a moment as though they were holy relics.
He pulls Veritas towards that wall of restraints in the middle of the room. He grabs Veritas’ wrist and tries to force it towards an iron shackle, but Veritas fights free!
HE PUNCHES MEZ IN THE THROAT!!!
HE WRAPS HIS ARMS AROUND THE MONSTER’S WAIST!!!
HOLY FUCK!!! RELEASE BELLY TO BELLY AND MEZ COLLIDES INTO THE WALL OF RESTRAINTS!!! HE SLUMPS TO THE GROUND LIKE A FUCKING RAG DOLL!!!
VERITAS DRAGS MEZ AWAY FROM THE WALL AND MAKES THE COVER!!!
Veritas has done it!!!
NOOOOOOOOO!!! MEZ KICKS OUT AT THE VERY LAST FUCKING SECOND!!! GOD DAMN HIM!!!
Veritas reaches his feet angrily. He looks at that metal wall with the restraints and looks back at Mez.
ANARCHY!!! THE LOU THESZ PRESS FROM MEZ!!!
PUNCH AFTER PUNCH AFTER VICIOUS, MONSTROUS PUNCH INTO VERITAS’ HELMET, NECK AND CHEST!!!
Mez is beating him like he dreams of beating people every week!!! There might be nothing left of Veritas after this!!!
But Veritas reaches up with both hands!!!
SEEING IS BELIEVING!!! THE EYE GOUGE!!! THE FUCKING EYE GOUGE!!! VERITAS SHOVES HIS THUMBS DEEP INTO MEZ’S EYES!!!
MEZ LIFTS VERITAS UP AND SLAMS HIM INTO THE METAL SLAB!!! ONCE!!! TWICE!!! THREE TIMES!!! FOUR TIMES!!! FIVE FUCKING TIMES!!!
VERITAS LETS HIM GO!!!
GUTCHECK BY MEZ!!! RIGHT INTO THE METAL FUCKING SLAB!!!
THE FUCKING WALL TOPPLES OVER!!! MEZ SPEARED VERITAS INTO THE THING SO FUCKING HARD IT FELL OVER!!!
HE PINS VERITAS ON TOP OF THE SLAB!!!
Mez has won! He has defeated Patient Zero and guaranteed his stay!
So what does this mean for Veritas?
ESCAPE FROM MIRROR LAKE
With the match over, Mez crawls off and into a straddling position, sat on the chest of Veritas.
“Why’d you want to fight me!?” The brute angrily yells. “I thought we could be friends.”
He grabs Veritas by the head, jamming both of his thumbs into his eyes.
The Truth Seeker bellows in agony.
“What are you doing?” Johnson bursts in, screaming.
But Mez does the unthinkable; he ignores him.
Blood begins seeping out of his eye sockets as Mez pushes his giant thumbs deeper into his skull. His screams are terrifying.
“You told me that we’d be friends. I wanted a friend!” Mez says, not budging an inch as orderlies rush in to try and subdue him. “You said we could be friends!”
The orderlies finally pull Mez away, somehow dragging him into his waiting straight-jacket. The Warden walks over to the body of Veritas – his face bloodied and caved in from the brutality of his opponent.
He reaches down, checking for a pulse.
“Fantastic, you fucking killed him,” he roars. “What did I specifically tell you in private before this fight?”
Mez lowers his head.
“What did I tell you?” The Warden demands a response.
“Not to kill him,” Mez replies sheepishly.
“I would’ve made him pliant. I would’ve made him a member of our roster. I told you, didn’t I? I have plans to grow our roster exponentially. How am I supposed to make friends for you if you kill them?”
The orderlies begin walking Mez away, who looks at the ground in disappointment.
“Take him to the chamber,” The Warden says, halting them in their tracks. “He must be punished.”
“No, please, not the chamber.”
Clearly the Warden has plans to create a roster of inmates that fight for him. Veritas didn’t make the cut, but who’s next?
Unfortunately, Veritas found out the hard way that there is no escape from Mirror Lake.
COMING TO NITRO 191
MARVOLO II…. NITRO 191!
MARK GOULDERN VS. X
This is not planned obsolescence. One of these augmented competitors is cutting-edge – but the other is bleeding-edge. It’s time to find out which model is superior!
Having seen with his own, non-bionic eyes what X 2.0 is capable of, Gouldern himself steps out from behind the ballistics glass and into the chamber – kicking aside the strewn remains of his cannon-fodder robots. This is it.
The final test.
Mark stands at ease, confident in Telaris’ analyses of every possible scenario. X stares at his creator hungrily, his newly-improved optics performing its own combat diagnostics. Whose equipment will give them the opening advantage!?
X strikes first!
He pounces on Gouldern with 50-cal rights and lefts, but Mark is on auto-pilot as Telaris takes over, ducking under and to the side of each shot! X goes to sweep the leg, but Mark hops over it and punches him right on top of the dome, grinding his vertebrae into each other! Telegon’s CEO grabs X by his non-regulation hair and smashes his head off a piece of deployable cover! He then whips him back-first into an opposing piece of cover.
Gouldern charges in after him, but X snatches a robot torso from the floor and lobs it right into Mark’s face! The visionary is stopped dead in his tracks—his reinforced glasses still intact—and X spears him into the bullet-proof glass wall! Both men bounce off it and splat onto the cold steel floor. X recovers first, and goes for the mount. Mark fires up the TeleBoot, however, and monkey flips him over the top and into a pile of twisted, severed metal limbs!
The Herald of the Future’s mechanic kicks propel him to the top of Mt. Scrap, and he unloads on X with hydraulic-powered punches! The force of the blows buries X further into the pile, but Mark retrieves him and pulls him in close. In a calm but stern voice, he says…
“Remember: I made you, and I can break you!”
Mark goes for the knockout – BUT X BLOCKS THE TELEGAUNTLET WITH HIS BIONIC ARM!
The unflappable Gouldern simply raises his eyebrows in surprise, before struggling to try and overpower the competing technology! The assassin, however, holds the TeleGauntlet at bay. You can practically see the Matrix-like code raining in his red eye, as it furiously crunches numbers, his bionic arm overclocking. A guttural roar escapes X, and—
HE HURLS MARK OFF THE SCRAPHEAP AND TO THE FLOOR BELOW!
Gouldern instinctively troubleshoots the Combat 2.0 suit while writhing in pain. It can withstand punishment, of course, but that was a hard fall – and it’s rattled something loose. Mark crawls backwards to buy himself time, but X bears down on him. Telaris takes over once more, and the TeleBoot kicks in –
NO! X GRABS THE TELEBOOT—AND MARK—IN MID-AIR!
HE’S HOLDING HIM THERE MID-FUCKING-DROPKICK!
Gouldern has never been outclassed like this before. He trips the TeleBoot quick-release and falls to the floor. The Lethal Weapon stands on his ankle to prevent him from moving. He pulls him up and leans in close, retorting…
“Nobody can break me.”
With that, he winds back—
THE DOUBLE AXE HANDLE COLLIDED WITH THE SUPERMAN PUNCH!
BOTH MEN ARE DOWN!
With their various extensions and appendages, both warriors are camouflaged by the sea of broken metal in which they now swim.
X rises to his feet.
Mark looks up at him from the floor through cracked lenses. With a wry smile, he tries to stealthily tap a button on the TeleGauntlet – but X cuts him off with the TONGAN DEATH GRIP!
Gouldern fights it, but the bionic arm exerts enough pressure on the nerve as to render him unconscious soon after.
The creation has bested its inventor, but is X truly superior, or is Mark just waiting to hit the killswitch!?
Mark Gouldern gets back to his feet, absolutely exhausted. He looks down at X who is slowly coming to.
“Can you feel it now?” He asks. “Can you feel the power?”
X pulls himself to a kneel, nodding in agreement.
“I can,” The Lethal Weapon growls. “It feels different.”
Mark holds out a hand, offering to help him back to his feet. Oddly, X accepts it, standing up alongside his once tormentor.
“Your past is your past, but you get to decide your future,” Gouldern says with a glimmer of hope. “These upgrades make you better. They make you more powerful than you ever could hope to be.”
He waves X over towards a monitor that replays their epic encounter.
“I can remove them, I can hand you the flash drive and you could continue on your mission to find the truth,” he offers, hands on hips. “Or you could join Imperium, take the flash drive, keep your upgrades and I will personally help you find out about your past.”
X thinks about it.
“You’ve been a puppet for so long. You’ve been commanded, prompted, pushed and prodded for the entirety of your life. I’m offering you the chance to take control of your own destiny. I’m offering you the chance to work with us, for money, power and glory.”
The Leather Weapon smiles wryly. “As an equal?”
“As an equal,” Gouldern nods. “No command prompts, no mind-games, no control. You’d be an equal partner in Imperium, sharing in the profits of our plans to dominate globally. We’ll work together to unravel the mystery of your past whilst achieving a collective goal. You’ll be a soldier, but for the collective, including yourself.”
There’s a slight pause.
“For the first time in my life, I’m going to take control,” he growls. “No orders and no superiors,” he continues. “I’m in.”
Mark offers him a handshake that he happily accepts.
Imperium now has a soldier.
A soldier who not only fights for them, but himself.
THE GREATER GOOD
We return to The Meat Locker, watching as Darby Sorrow stands toe to toe with Sigil, his hand wrapped around his throat.
Behind him, hanging from a meat hook – his fifty-three-year-old son.
When we last left them, Sigil was moments away from telling Darby the truth and that’s where we join them tonight.
“Power; isn’t it obvious?” The Void Walker asks, zapping away from Sorrow and appearing behind him. The Grave Digger turns around to face him. “What you’ve kept hidden holds a great wealth of power. That power can be harnessed.”
Darby looks dumbfounded. “You did all this for power?”
The Butcher steps in.
“The world has gone to shit, kid,” he argues, hands on hips. “Since every God died, the planet has turned into a murderous cesspool. No-one cares anymore.”
“But that trinket, it can change all that,” Sigil interrupts.
“What Stephen did in stealing it from The Red Skull Order is open up a world of possibilities,” The Butcher continues. “With it, we can change the course of history.”
The Void Walker shoots The Butcher a look, as if to say nothing more.
Darby begins pacing. “You’ve tortured me and put me through hell. You’ve hacked pieces off my family and now you claim it’s all for the greater good?”
Sigil nods, stepping forward to stop Darby pacing.
“Look, you can fight, you can hurt me, you can take your revenge inside this room and walk away with your son; all you have to do is take me to the item,” Sigil says, looking Sorrow dead in his eyes. “But if you don’t, if you refuse, there is nothing in your world across hundreds of years that I won’t decimate until you do.”
The Grave Digger looks across the room at his son, making a decision. It’s now or never.
“I’ll take you to it,” he finally relents. “But I have conditions.”
The Butcher nods. “What do you want?”
SIGIL VS. DARBY SORROW
THE MEAT LOCKER
The Meat Locker awaits Sigil and Darby Sorrow. The Butcher watches on as the door is slammed shut, leaving the three men alone among the hanging meat carcasses. One thing is for sure… This is not going to be pretty.
There is no bell that sounds, only the gruff voice of the Butcher who beckons Sigil and Sorrow together before stepping back into the background. Both men oblige and come to blows in between the rows of hanging beef carcasses. BRUTAL CLUBBING BLOWS ARE EXCHANGED BY BOTH MEN! SORROW ROCKS SIGIL WITH A SWIFT ELBOW!
SIGIL RETALIATES WITH A FLURRY! FOR THE COLLECTION!
HE BACKS SORROW UP AGAINST A COW CARCASS AND GOES FOR THE FACE!
EYES, NOSE, MOUTH, THROAT! HE’S ATTACKING THEM ALL!
FINITE! THE LEAPING ROUNDHOUSE KICK!
DARBY SORROW DROPS TO THE GROUND AND THE PLANESWALKER KICKS NOTHING BUT COW!
While Sigil’s leg is caught up in the carcass, Darby Sorrow grabs his elevated leg and lifts him up into the air. LEG HOOK GERMAN SUPLEX TO THE MEAT LOCKER FLOOR!
THE BACK OF SIGIL’S HEAD BOUNCES OFF THE CONCRETE!
Darby continues to take advantage of the opening, taking himself over to a set of shelves with assorted meatworks tools. Sorrow smiles to himself as he takes a cattle prod from the table and heads back to his foe, who is beginning to find his footing.
SORROW POKES SIGIL WITH THE CATTLE PROD!
SIGIL LETS OUT A HOWL AND WRITHES IN AGONY!
A SECOND PROD! THIS TIME HE HITS HIM WHILE LYING DOWN! RIGHT IN THE RIBS!
“Give up! Do you yield?!”
Sorrow’s words are met with an immediate response, to which Sorrow simply unleashes the prod a third time. Again, the Planeswalker writhes about on the concrete floor and howls in agony, ending up lying face down and still. Sorrow tosses the prod aside and it skids over to the feet of the Butcher who watches on.
Darby climbs up a concrete ledge along the wall of the meat locker, where a collection of hooks hang from the roof. He takes a meat hook in each hand before placing his hands across his chest…
COFFIN DROP ONTO THE CONCRETE!
SIGIL GETS HIS KNEES UP AND DRIVES THEM RIGHT INTO THE BACK OF SORROW!
THE IMPACT IS ENOUGH FOR BOTH OF THE HOOKS TO TEAR GASHES INTO DARBY’S SHOULDERS!
Darby Sorrow splutters and wheezes, gasping for air from the impact that has winded him. Sigil finds his footing and wrenches one of the meat hooks free from Sigil’s hands. He stabs the hook into the shoulder of Sorrow, embedding it in his flesh and pulling him up to his feet.
“Your turn… End it now.”
“Go to hell.”
The response? Darby’s screams echo around the room as Sigil pulls the hook free again!
THE VICIOUS CHOP SEES SORROW COLLAPSE SIDEWAYS INTO A HANGING MEAT CARCASS!
HE’S DAZED, HE’S BLEEDING… BUT HE’S HOLDING ON TO THAT SKINNED COW FOR DEAR LIFE!
DARBY SORROW JUST WON’T QUIT!
This time, it is Sigil’s turn to cast an eye on the assortment of tools and he quickly settles on a meat cleaver. Before Sorrow can find the energy to stand without the support of the hanging meat, Sigil is back. With Darby’s hand placed on the cow’s carcass for support, Sigil looks to pass on some of his son’s ailments to the father, aiming the cleaver for his fingers.
THE CLEAVER HITS FLESH!
BUT THERE IS NO SCREAM FROM SORROW!
HE MOVED HIS HAND JUST IN TIME AND THE CLEAVER IS NOW EMBEDDED IN THE COW CARCASS!
INSTEAD, SIGIL TAKES HIS MEAT HOOK AND RUNS IT THE LENGTH OF SORROW’S BACK, OPENING A HUGE GASH!
This time, Sorrow does howl in agony. He falls to the ground and scrambles away from his assailant, dropping his own hook in the process. He hides himself behind another couple of meat carcasses and tries to pull himself together.
LONG ROAD AHEAD! FROM NOWHERE!
DARBY FINDS HIMSELF ON THE GROUND AND THE PLANESWALKER ATOP HIM!
ELBOW BARRAGE TO THE FACE OF DARBY SORROW!
HEAVY BLOWS THAT LOOK SET TO KNOCK HIM OUT COLD!
A particularly heavy blow does exactly that, and Sigil watches as Darby’s body falls limp. He takes a glance over to the Butcher, asking if he’s done yet but the Butcher gives no response. Sigil kicks the carcass of Sorrow, but no signs of life or response can be found.
Sigil grabs Sorrow by the wrist and tries to pull him to his feet.
WAIT… A FLICKER IN THE EYE!
SORROW IS AWAKE!
CRADLE TO THE GRAVE!
HE DIDN’T CATCH ALL OF IT, BUT ENOUGH TO SEND SIGIL STAGGERING BACKWARDS INTO A WALL OF HANGING MEAT!
Darby retrieves his meat hook and charges in with reckless abandon. He swings the hook, aiming for the jugular of his foe but finds nothing but air. Sigil had sidestepped the blow and now unloads a DOUBLE AXE HANDLE of his own that disarms Sorrow. Both men scramble for the meat hook, but it is Sigil’s hands that grab it first!
THE MEAT HOOK HITS HOME!
AGAIN… THERE IS NO SCREAM FROM SORROW…
ONLY BECAUSE THE MEAT HOOK NOW PIERCES HIS NECK! RIGHT INTO HIS THROAT!
A gargling sound escapes Sorrow’s mouth as he tries to cry out to no avail. Sigil attaches the meat hook to the overhead bar and hoists him into the air.
DARBY SORROW’S FEET LEAVE THE GROUND!
HE’S HANGING BY HIS NECK AND CAN’T BREATHE!
The wild flailing of feet soon slows, then stops as the life fades from Darby Sorrow’s body.
DARBY SORROW IS DEAD!
SIGIL HAS WON THE MATCH!
HE LOOKS OVER AT THE BUTCHER FOR CONFIRMATION…
THE BUTCHER SHAKES HIS HEAD.
DARBY SORROW NEVER QUIT!
THE MATCH CONTINUES BUT SORROW’S BODY IS HANGING LIFELESS!
SIGIL CANNOT BELIEVE IT!
A FOOT TWITCHES!
SORROW IS BACK!
Darby reaches up and pulls himself up to the roof to free the meat hook from his neck. He drops back down to the ground on an unsuspecting Sigil…
COFFIN DROP! OFF THE MEAT HOOK!
NO! HOLY CRAP!
SIGIL TURNS AROUND WITH ANOTHER MEAT HOOK AND CATCHES SORROW IN THE SHOULDER!
Sigil has Sorrow on his back and drives the meat hook home.
“Just give in, Sorrow. This only ends one way.”
Sorrow shakes his head and utters a no as best he can. Sigil turns the hook that is embedded in the shoulder and Sorrow screams in agony.
“Just Say it!”
Sorrow again refuses. Again, the meat hook is turned, tearing more flesh from the shoulder. Sigil then pulls it free and Sorrow screams louder than ever before.
“Okay, okay! I give in. That’s enough!”
Sigil drops the hook, leaving Sorrow where he lies. He turns back to the Butcher with a simple nod.
DARBY SORROW QUITS! SIGIL HAS WON THE MEAT LOCKER MATCH!
Sigil has put Darby Sorrow through hell here tonight. Inside this meat locker was hell, and Sigil will be leaving standing tall. What will this mean for Darby Sorrow?
THE THEATRE OF DREAMS
There’s a tension inside the ring.
Berkshire Ellison Green stands, his World Championship draped over his shoulder. He looks smug, as usual.
Opposite him, Alton Whitlock looks the opposite – stuck between a rock and a hard place.
When BEG produces a microphone, the crowd let him have it.
“Have you made your decision?” He asks, stepping forward proudly.
Alton, now with a microphone himself, looks disgusted.
“Since the start of my political career, I’ve looked out for the best interests of the people,” he says to applause. “And to continue with you, would be to put my interests above theirs.”
Green shrugs. “Why shouldn’t you?”
“Because that’s not the politician I chose to be,” Whitlock admits. He begins pacing the ring. “That’s every other politician, but never once me.”
Suddenly, before Alton can say another word, Steven makes his way down the entrance ramp, much to the surprise of his employer.
Green steps back, frowning.
“Stop this at once,” Steven demands. “Alton, I’ve figured it out.”
The Politician looks bemused as Steven enters the ring with a file in hand.
“I’ve spent all weekend tracing our funding and-”
GREEN NAILS HIM WITH THE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP!
Whitlock is stunned and frozen to the spot. He finally snaps out of it and runs towards Steven, dropping to his knees to check on him.
BEG meanwhile straightens himself out, shaking his head.
“He wants you to know the dirty little secret, old chum,” The Champion continues. “But none of this is by accident. Many moons ago, I was searching for the perfect candidate and as you well know, men uncorrupted by power are few and far between.”
Alton looks up at him in confusion. “What?” He questions.
“That’s when I found you; a man on a mission to do great things.”
That causes Whitlock to stand.
“I’ve funded your campaign from the very start. From the very moment you secured your very first cheque, it came from me,” BEG announces to a chorus of boos. Whitlock looks dumbfounded. “Look at the evidence he brought if you don’t believe me. I’m your key benefactor and I always have been.”
The Politician looks furious.
“And yes, I pulled my funding at Drag Em To Hell; but I had good reason. You needed to see things in a different way.”
“You did this to me?” Alton questions angrily. “You put me through hell and for what? Your own amusement?”
“No!” BEG powerfully announces. “I put you through hell so you could finally see what true power is. I can make you the President of the United States of America. I can give you power; I can make you the leader you yearn to be.”
Whitlock scoffs. “For your benefit?”
“For our benefit,” BEG corrects him. “Don’t you see? I have everything you want. I can make you the man, I can deliver you this country and together, we will be unstoppable.”
They both share a look with the crowd pleading for Whitlock to punish him. They’re baying for his blood.
“Think about it. Tonight, we can rip each other to shreds; you can get your vengeance for being a puppet in my theatre of dreams, but as long as you lay down and let me win, all yours will come true.”
He steps forward.
“Money. Power. Glory.”
Whitlock looks down at the canvas.
“The man who scarred you for life, found, punished and put behind you.”
Green closes in even further, standing right on top of Alton.
“The entire country in the palm of your hand.”
ALTON WHITLOCK WITH A RIGHT HAND!! WHITLOCK WITH A RIGHT HAND!!
It looks like Alton Whitlock has made his decision! Berkshire Ellison Green, you’re in for it now!
BEG (C) VS. ALTON WHITLOCK
WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
ALTON WHITLOCK WITH A RIGHT HAND!! WHITLOCK WITH A RIGHT HAND!!
Just like that, it is all on for love and war. BEG reels from the right hand and Whitlock is quick to bring the noise a second time.
A WILD HAYMAKER FOLLOWS THE FIRST AND BEG IS DOWN!
ALTON WHITLOCK IS TAKING THIS RIGHT TO BEG!!
BEG is on the ground, scrambling backwards to try and get out of the strike zone, but Whitlock backs him right up into the corner and begins to STOMP THE HOLY HELL OUT OF HIM!
STOMP! STOMP! STOMP!
EACH STOMP LANDS WITH VINEGAR AND A DESIRE TO CRACK RIBS!
BEG HAS NO ANSWER!!
Only when Whitlock has made a permanent imprint of the sole of his shoe on BEG’s thousand dollar suit, does he stop. But, even then, he only stops in order to hoist BEG up onto the turnbuckle itself.
TOP ROPE BELLY TO BELLY SUPLEX!
WHITLOCK PUNCTUATES HIS ONSLAUGHT BY PLANTING BEG IN THE MIDDLE OF THE RING!
Feeling the buzz of the crowd, Alton climbs the turnbuckle. He raises a hand into the air before leaping. DIVING LEG DROP!
ALTON GOT A TON OF ELEVATION!
BUT BEG ROLLS OUT OF THE WAY AND ONLY CATCHES A GLANCING BLOW!
ALTON WHITLOCK ALL BUT CRASHES AND BURNS ON THE CANVAS!
Both men reach their feet at about the same time and one more, it is all on for young and old. They trade blows, right hands that rock the other with their gaining a real advantage. As the battle wears on, neither bothers to even defend himself against the incoming strike.
BRUTAL RIGHT FIST FROM WHITLOCK!
AN UPPERCUT FROM BEG ROCKS THE CANDIDATE!
BEG TOOK THE BATTLE DOWNTOWN!
WHITLOCK GOES DOWN LIKE A TWO DOLLAR HOOKER!
This is the time where BEG can take the fight to his opponent, opening an advantage that lets him use his submission expertise over the Candidate’s in ring inexperience.
BEG LOCKS THE HOLD IN AND TWISTS FOR ALL HE’S WORTH!
He manages to position himself between Whitlock and the nearest ropes, not allowing any advantage to the Candidate. The only way free of the move is for Whitlock to kick BEG away from him and that’s what he does…
BUT WHITLOCK’S FOOT IS CAUGHT BY BEG!
BEG WRAPS HIM UP IN A MODIFIED FIGURE-4 INSTEAD!
WHITLOCK’S FACE IS FILLED WITH AGONY!
ALTON IS GOING TO TAP OUT!
WITH THE HAND POISED AND READY TO TAP, WHITLOCK MANAGES TO FIND ANOTHER GEAR!
HE PULLS HIMSELF OVER TO THE ROPES AND USES THEM TO THROW BEG OFF BALANCE!
THE HOLD IS BROKEN!
Again, both men reach their feet and look set to trade blows. But this time, BEG is having none of it and goes straight for Whitlock, which catches him somewhat off-guard.
THE MILLION DOLLAR DREAM!
BEG HAS THE HOLD LOCKED IN AND WHITLOCK IS FADING!
A THUMB TO THE EYE FROM WHITLOCK BREAKS THE HOLD!
THE ACTIONS OF A DESPERATE MAN!!
Whitlock this time takes the fight to BEG, who is still blinded by the thumb to the eye.
BLUE THUNDER BOMB!
BEG IS PLANTED RIGHT IN THE CENTRE OF THE RING!
But Whitlock isn’t done yet. He picks BEG right back up and wastes no time in moving into his next assault. First, a slap across the cheek of the dazed financial mogul sends his own message.
BETTER WORLD! THE VERTEBREAKER DRILLS BEG!
THIS IS ALL WHITLOCK!
IT’S HIS TIME!
IT’S FINALLY HIS TIME!!
HE HOOKS THE LEG AND SETS UP THE PIN!
THIS IS IT!
THE CROWD KEEP ON COUNTING! THE REF HAS ESCAPED THE RING AND IS DISTRACRED AT RINGSIDE… AS A PILE OF MONEY FALLS FROM THE RAFTERS!
THE FANS, THE REF… EVERYBODY GRABS WHAT THEY CAN!!
AND BEG SIMPLY SITS UP AND GRINS!
THAT IS UNTIL WHITLOCK CLEANS HIS BELL ONCE AGAIN WITH A SEATED UPPERCUT THAT KNOCKS HIM OUT COLD!
When the referee does turn his attention back to the ring, he begins his pin count again.
TW-NO! BEG KICKS OUT!
Whitlock is quick to snap BEG up again. He pulls him to his feet again and sets him up just like he did before.
BETTER WORLD… A SECOND BETTER WORLD TO BEG!
SURELY THIS HAS TO BE IT!
THE REF SLIDES IN TO COUNT THE PINFALL!
BEG MANAGES TO GET A SHOULDER UP!
BARELY, BUT ENOUGH!
Whitlock cannot believe it. Again, he picks BEG up… Or he swoops in to do so. Only, BEG instinctively reaches out and grabs him around the throat as he bends over.
HE’S CHOKING HIM WITH HIS BARE HANDS!
WHITLOCK IS TURNING PURPLE!
BEG MOVES FROM THE CHOKE TO THE TRIANGLE!
This time the referee is in perfect position to catch any sign of submission, but for now, Whitlock gives him none. Defiant eyes that utter no word of quit.
WHITLOCK TIGHTENS THE HOLD!
HE’S SCREAMING AT HIM TO TAP OUT!
WHITLOCK SCREAMS OUT A DEFIANT ‘NO’!
The Submission Specialist in BEG moves from hold to hold, each looking at a different pressure point he can manipulate. Each hold wears Whitlock down a little more and every man has his limit.
BEG MANOUVERS HIMSELF AND FLIPS THE HOLD AROUND!
SUCH A FITTING WAY TO PUT WHITLOCK AWAY!
WHITLOCK’S HAND RAISES IN THE AIR!
HE’S GONNA TAP OUT!
HE’S REALLY GOING TO…
THEN BEG RELEASES THE HOLD!
HE RELEASES ALTON WHITLOCK FROM THE FINANCIAL CRISIS!
HE HAD HIM RIGHT THERE, ON THE EDGE!
WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON?!
Berkshire Ellison Green stands to his feet, helping Alton Whitlock to his own feet as well. Green simply nods at him and points at the mat. Whitlock knows exactly what he’s meaning, even without words.
ALTON WHITLOCK LAYS DOWN!
HE LAYS DOWN FOR BEG!!
BEG GRINS HIS FUCKING GRIN AND PLACES A FOOT ON WHITLOCK’S CHEST FOR THE PINFALL…
NOT THIS WAY!
NOT THIS FUCKING WAY!
THE REFEREE CALLS FOR THE BELL!!
THIS ONE IS OVER!
BEG RETAINS HIS TITLE… ALTON FUCKING WHITLOCK HANDED IT BACK TO HIM!
THE FANS ARE GOING NUTS, RAINING BOOS… THROWING EMPTY CANS AND RUBBISH DOWN ON THE SLAUGHTERHOUSE RING!
THIS IS NOT GOING DOWN WELL AT ALL!
BERKSHIRE ELLISON GREEN IS STIIIILLLLLLL YOUR OSW CHAMPION…
AND THE FANS FUCKING HATE IT!
EVEN THE REFEREE HIGH TAILS IT TO ESCAPE THE BARRAGE OF ABUSE THAT IS BEING HURLED AT THE RING.
BY CONTRAST, BEG AND WHITLOCK EMBRACE!
THEY ARE CELEBRATING HIS VICTORY TOGETHER!
IN A SEA OF ABUSE, WHITLOCK AND BEG JOIN TOGETHER!!
AND BERKSHIRE ELLISON GREEN IS STILL THE DAMNED CHAMPION!
THE TIMEKEEPERS MASTERPIECE
Snow falls outside the window of a moving vehicle.
The Butcher drives, with Darby Sorrow sat next to him in the passenger seat. Behind them, Sigil looks out of the window.
They finally come to a stop outside an old shack in a snowy field, secluded and surrounded by trees. Sorrow steps out of the car first, the headlights left on to illuminate the wooden building.
He walks forward with The Butcher and Sigil in tow, entering the shack.
Sorrow opens up a unit, pulling out a lockbox and placing it down on a wooden table. He takes a key from inside his pocket and opens it.
Sitting there, dusty and old, is a pocket watch.
All three stand there, simply looking at it.
“This is it?” The Butcher asks. “This old pocket watch is the source of untold power?”
Sigil steps forward, carefully taking the watch out of the case. He coils the chain around his hand and inspects it.
He looks at The Butcher, at Sorrow, then presses one of the buttons on the side.
Suddenly, the watch glows green.
A brighter hue of green than you’ve ever seen in your life.
And then nothing.
The Voidwalker tilts his head.
But there’s silence.
“Damnit,” he barks, storming over to the door. “It doesn’t work.”
He looks outside into the snowy field, only something odd has happened.
The snow has… stopped.
Not just stopped, but stopped falling. It’s suspended in air, stopped dead where it was when he pressed the button.
Looking back towards The Butcher, he walks over, waving his hand in front of his face – again, there’s nothing. The Butcher doesn’t move, doesn’t breathe, doesn’t blink.
“You’ve found it then,” booms a voice. Sigil is immediately startled, turning around to see a figure stood now in the door way. “The Time Crystal.”
The Voidwalker steps backwards.
“Relax,” says the voice. “My name is Flavo and I mean you no harm. I come on behalf of The Red Skull Order and I wish to discuss your discovery of our crystal.”
“How are you here?” Sigil demands to know. “I’ve stopped time. You shouldn’t be able to move.”
“Everyone else is halted in place,” Flavo remarks, entering the room and taking a seat. He offers a chair to Sigil with a hand, who carefully takes it. “We are the only two beings in the universe currently aware. There’s a greatness in that, isn’t there?”
Sigil adjusts himself. “This doesn’t affect you?”
“I’m afraid not,” he replies.
“What do you want from me?” Sigil questions, keeping a firm grasp on the watch.
Flavo chuckles slightly. “To the point with it, then?” He remarks by putting his hands in the air. His face is still obscured by his hood. “You’ve found something that belongs to us. Something powerful. Stephen took our crystal and placed it into a time keeper. He bound it to this pocket watch and intended to go back in time and stop Darby Sorrow from acquiring his Immortality.”
That makes sense. Sigil now understands.
“But that never transpired,” Flavo continues. “And now you have in your possession, our artefact and crystal. We must retrieve them.”
“I find it interesting that you’re asking me, instead of simply taking it,” Sigil says with an attitude. “That leads me to believe that you can’t.”
Flavo laughs. “It isn’t that we can’t, Sigil; but you are now bound to it. When someone activates a crystal, it becomes part of them. We must discuss our next step.”
“Our next step?” He scoffs. “I don’t think so. Let me introduce you to some people I know.”
Sigil is about to press the button on the watch when suddenly, everything falls apart around him.
The Butcher, gone.
Darby Sorrow, gone.
The cabin, snow, chairs – everything is gone.
Sigil stands in the middle of nothing but pitch black.
“Where am I?” He demands to know, searching the darkness for Flavo. “What’s going on?”
“Welcome to Inanis,” Flavo replies, no-where to be seen. “The empty. Everything you know has folded away. There’s no Old School Wrestling, no Earth, no Space, no Universe and no Collection. Your time piece won’t work here because here, time is empty.”
The Voidwalker tries using his powers to switch to another universe, another dimension, another reality.
But he goes no-where.
“Until we resolve this, nothing but this reality will exist.”