DEATHSTROKE THE TERMINATOR ANNUAL #2
While stalking luggage handlers in Metropolis airport, Venev is accidentally trapped in a plane’s hold and taken to Paris. Once there, she notices Slade Wilson and senses something different about him that sets him apart from the other people. She follows him to a meeting at Van Horn Industries where the owner, Gunther is proudly inspecting his latest armour. He is also ignoring his grown son, Andrew, who is more concerned with saving the planet than inheriting the Van Horn arms company.
Slade arrives and is introduced by Gunther, an old friend, to Andrew before Gunther takes Slade off to do business. While Slade inspects the armour, Gunther is attacked and killed by Venev; when Andrew discovers his father’s dead body, he too is feasted upon by the Parasite. Waking shortly after with a temporary memory loss, Andrew resolves to find and kill the intruder who killed his father. With the aid of his friends, he dons armour and weapons and heads to the factory floor after security alerts are triggered by Venev’s attack.
Assuming Deathstroke is the killer, Andrew attacks, almost fighting him to a standstill before discovering he can fire energy “bullets” from just about anything. Deathstroke reveals himself to be Slade and the pair team up to find the real killer, Andrew distracting her so that Deathstroke can use his sword to stab her, driving her off.
Later, another airplane makes an emergency landing in Metropolis; when boarded, the rescue crew find everyone dead while Venev slips away undetected.
ECLIPSO ANNUAL #1
Adventurer Johnny Peril drops his friend and documentary maker Sid Bateman off at the Salt Lake laboratory of Linus Powell, a scientist who had worked out a theory to allow faster than light travel and was now putting it to practical uses. He has created a nuclear fusion reactor, in essence a miniature sun, and has stabilised the core using one of Eclipso’s black diamonds. Eclipso is determined to both retrieve the diamond and stop Powell’s research and attacks the laboratory nightly. Sid and Powell watch as the lab’s defences use artificial sunlight to repel him.
Fleeing from the latest attack, an eclipsed victim finds Angon feeding on a nearby truck driver. Eclipso fools Angon into thinking that the lab is producing a weapon to stop Angon, and he uses his proxies to try to stop her getting closer, enraging her further.
Angon attacks the lab and feasts on Powell and others, causing damage to the building, knocking out the defences which in turn allow Eclipso to enter. He snatches the diamond from the reactor and uses it to eclipse Angon. Powell, wounded by Angon, tries to fix the reactor but it explodes with him in it.
Blasted from the building, he wakes on the shore of the lake and is found by Nightblade, Sparx, Loose Cannon, Edge and Anima who have banded together to track Angon. Powell finds he has been transformed into a crystalline form that can fire energy and manipulate light. After a brief fight brought on by Powell’s confusion, they fill him in on what’s happened to him.
Eclipso, meanwhile, uses Angon’s body to fly to the alien craft where he witnesses an “alien fetus gestating in its bizarre womb” and realises that as the fetus grows, Angon becomes weaker. He returns to Salt Lake.
Johnny Peril returns and finds Powell and the other New Bloods and takes them to nearby solar installation that is being attacked by swarms of eclipsed people. As the New Bloods help, Angon arrives and attacks Powell who is able to remove and destroy the black diamond that eclipsed her, freeing her from Eclipso’s control as well as releasing all the others, though Angon escapes in the confusion.
Note: This is the first time a group of New Bloods (not including the “ready made” ones in Justice League America Annual) have been seen together and are looking for one of the Parasites.
DEMON ANNUAL #2
Tommy Monaghan is in a Gotham hotel room with a rifle, waiting to shoot mob boss Robert Dubelz who’s across the street. Just as he gets him in his crosshairs, however, Glonth bursts into Dubelz’s room and kills him, feasting on his spinal fluid. Glonth catches sight of Tommy’s laser sight and leaps across the street, bursting into his room and eating from his spine. When he wakes in hospital, Tommy discovers he can both hear people’s thoughts and has X-ray vision. Guarded by the police who found him with a rifle, Tommy makes a break for it and heads to his friend’s apartment.
Elsewhere, Jason Blood, host of Etrigan the Demon, attends a wine tasting which is gatecrashed by Glonth. Jason releases the Demon who joyfully attacks the Parasite, eventually battering him through the street and into the sewer below.
Later, at the wake of their father, conjoined twins Moe and Joe Dubelz hear that Glonth was responsible for their father’s dead and swear to kill it. Monaghan, now calling himself Hitman, heads to the wake in order to kill as many of the Dubelz gang as possible. Prompted by Etrigan, Jason Blood also attends. Once again, Glonth appears and Blood releases the Demon. Eventually, both Hitman and Etrigan face off against Glonth in an uneasy, temporary alliance. Working together, they defeat Glonth who runs off, as well as cutting down most of the mobsters, including Joe Dubelz.
As he leaves, Hitman scans Jason Blood’s mind and is surprised to find the Demon within.
BATMAN: LEGENDS OF THE DARK KNIGHT ANNUAL #3
At a cabin upstate from Gotham, criminal Luke Hames holds Father Perry Dennison and a handful of children hostage while waiting for a getaway car to be delivered. When his deadline passes, Hames plans to make good on his threat to kill the hostages but is attacked by Gemir before he can do so. Using the distraction, Father Dennison sends the children running before trying to save Hames from the Parasite’s attack; instead, Gemir turns and feeds from him as well. They both wake sometime later and Hames discovers he has the power to heal the Father who seems somewhat changed by the ordeal.
When a sheriff and deputy find them walking to Gotham, Dennison attacks them both as Hames looks on shocked. Dennison finds his own power can kill and, after killing the sheriff, leaves for Gotham to track down Bishop Manwell, a priest famed for doing good deeds. Hames heals the deputy, restoring him to health but is unable to do the same with the sheriff. The deputy, being a God fearing man, claims it’s a miracle. He gives Hames some new clothes so he won’t be so recognisable (him being a wanted man, after all) and drops him off at the bus station, Hames planning to head to Gotham to stop Father Dennison.
Meanwhile, Dennison gets a lift from a costumer whom he kills, stealing an outfit from her and calling himself Cardinal Sin.
Batman is alerted to Hames’ arrival in Gotham and rescues him from corrupt cops who had sought to kill him, though Batman is wounded in the attempt. Back at the Batcave, Hames uses his power to heal Batman, gaining his trust and they determine to go after Cardinal Sin who is in Gotham to kill Bishop Manwell. They are too late to save the Bishop from Cardinal Sin but Hames uses his powers to resurrect the clergyman before saving Batman from the Cardinal’s attack; their powers cancel each other out but while Cardinal Sin is left powerless, Hames is sent into a coma.
In desperation, the Cardinal returns to the cabin and begs Gemir to return and grant him his power once more.
Note: Despite the Bloodlines tag line of “New Heroes. New Villains.” Cardinal Sin is the first outright villain to be created in the event; Terrorsmith from Justice League America showed remorse for his actions and was convinced to help the heroes; Myriad from Superman was whatever person she absorbed.
TEAM TITANS ANNUAL #1
The Team Titans are alerted to one of their members, Nightrider, being attacked by one of the Parasites, Gemir. Concentrating on saving the badly wounded Titan, they allow Gemir to flee and rush their friend to the hospital.
One of the team, Redwing, is off line as she’s attending a school dance but, aware that none of the other students want her there, she flies off, only pausing when she sees her sole friend, Sanjeet, arguing with her father before driving off, apparently under the influence of drugs. Redwing follows her and sees her being attacked by Glonth who drinks her spinal fluid before Redwing can save her. Driving Glonth away, Redwing takes Sanjeet to the same hospital room as Nightrider.
Nightrider dreams he is in Oz and is attacked by its inhabitants, but when he wakes he finds he’s still there. Escaping from room allows him to get out of the real world illusion and the team realise Sanjeet’s imagination is creating physical worlds within the room. Realising that when Sanjeet’s drugs wear off, her dreams could get worse, the team split – one half tracking down the supplier of those drugs, the other remaining to look after Sanjeet.
Thinking Sanjeet’s boyfriend is the drug supplier, the team tries to help by entering Sanjeet’s dream and convincing her that she isn’t to blame. However, they cannot get through to her as Sanjeet conjures deformed versions of Superman and other heroes to combat them. Meanwhile the rest of the team discover it was Sanjeet’s father who inadvertently turned her on to drugs after Sanjeet had threatened to turn him in for drug dealing and beating Sanjeet’s mother. They force him to confront Sanjeet, and her mother convinces her not to kill him but to let justice take its course, calming Sanjeet down and ending her dream world.
L.E.G.I.O.N. ANNUAL #4
Having seen the Parasite’s craft emerge from a rift in space (way back in LOBO ANNUAL #1), Vril Dox and the LEGION fly through that rift to examine what lays beyond it. Breaking through, they’re stunned to see a universe with only six stars, though it doesn’t take long to discover they are not stars, but rather planets on fire. One of them appears to be sentient or holds a vast creature that sends a tentacle up into space to capture the LEGION craft, but they escape thanks to Lobo and Layla.
Finding the solitary planet not yet aflame, Lobo, Layla and Captain Comet land to investigate but are attacked by the sole human, named Pax, who thinks they are the Parasites, shape-shifted to confuse him. When Dox and the rest of the team arrive, they convince Pax they are no threat and he tells them of how he preached non-violence towards the Parasite when they first attacked. His people obeyed him and they Parasites slaughtered them, leaving Pax the sole survivor, the Parasites feeding having made him stronger.
He reveals he has been working on a nuclear bomb that he will take to the nearby mountain where the Parasites live, detonating it and killing them all. Dox, however, wants to escape the dimension and use the bomb to seal the rift behind them. When a horde of Parasites attack, Dox and LEGION fight back. Just as they seem to be winning, the mountain is revealed to be nothing of the sort – rather it is a cocoon hiding a vast Parasite that is covered in more of the creatures.
Lady Quark convinces Pax not to use the bomb but to accompany LEGION back to their universe, sealing the Parasites in behind them. They escape just in time, the bomb closing the rift, though Pax can feel the presence of the Parasites already on Earth, and LEGION head off to combat them.