ROBIN ANNUAL #2
There have a been a rash of murders in Gotham that have left the victims with no wounds except a puncture at the back of the neck from which their spinal fluid has been drained. With Jean-Paul Valley currently as Batman, Robin finds himself exiled from the Batcave and working instead from one of his father’s buildings. On a routine patrol around Gotham, he spots what he suspects to be base jumpers climbing Wayne Tower. When he tackles them they flee, parachuting to safety, while Robin discovers they were actually trying to hack in to the Tower’s computer and telecoms network.
The hackers, led by a young woman calling herself Razorsharp, report back to the criminal called Collector who had hired them to steal Wayne Corp’s secrets. Unhappy that Robin now knows about them, he has his men kill them after he leaves. While one of the team is killed, the others are saved by the appearance of Venev who kills the goons and then attacks both Razorsharp and her team-mate Channel, leaving them for dead when the last of their team, Hackrat, interrupts her feeding.
They wake the next morning in Hackrat’s apartment and find that Razorsharp’s arms can now transform into blades that will cut through anything, while Channel is able to inhabit televisions, monitors and computers, affecting what is displayed on them. Razorsharp determines to get vengeance on Collector for the death of their team-mate.
Robin has found out who the hackers are and plans to entice them into a trap, unaware of Collector’s involvement. He ends up teaming up with them and facing off against Collector and his thugs, trying to convince Razor not to kill Collector. When the villain hurls Robin out of the window on the thirtieth floor, Razorsharp elects to jump after and save him rather than give in to her murderous urges.
Note: This is the first issue where more than one New Blood has been created with both Razorsharp and Channel developing powers.
ACTION COMICS ANNUAL #5
In Metropolis, the Eradicator tackles a criminal just as the Special Crimes Unit, headed up by Maggie Sawyer, arrive. They’re watched by an embittered cop, Eddie Walker, who was once a member of the SCU but due to his recklessness ended up in a car accident and permanently on crutches. While that put him out of the SCU, Sawyer – whom he refers to as “Mags” despite her asking him not to – manages to get him a desk job. Contemplating suicide, Sawyer calls him with details of a low level homicide concerning the death of some homeless people.
Walker investigates and is distracted by Lissik, allowing Glonth to attack and suck his spinal fluid, leaving him for dead. Lissik later spots the Eradicator and, after getting his attention, tries to feast on him but ends up being thrown from a rooftop into the same alleyway in which Walker regains consciousness. Walker suffers from memory loss and doesn’t understand why he’s now seven feet tall and blue skinned, but he assumes Lissik – in her female human form – is an innocent victim and when the Eradicator arrives, the pair fight.
They take the battle to the Hobbsneck Bridge, Walker both becoming larger and changing colour throughout the battle, until the SCU arrive. As Walker sees Sawyer – calling her “Mags” – his memories return and she prevents the Eradicator from killing him. Lissik, Glonth and Pritor arrive and attack both the Eradicator and Walker, causing widespread devastation. As the Parasites flee, the Eradicator follows them until Walker convinces him that helping the police and saving civilians is what he should do.
With the damage contained, Walker heads off, calling himself Loose Cannon.
LEGION OF SUPER-HEROES ANNUAL #4
In the 30th Century, the Legion are attempting to retrieve Timber Wolf from the 20th Century when they are attacked by undead Daxamites.
In San Francisco, a skateboarding slacker calling himself Jamm stops to help Angon who is posing as a damsel in distress with a broken down car. As Angon is about to feed, they are interrupted by a police officer who catches Angon’s eye. Dismissed, Jamm skateboards away, before crashing into a dumpster and losing consciousness. Later that night, Angon comes across him again, draining Jamm’s spinal fluid just as Timber Wolf attacks her.
At that moment, the Legion’s time travel cube is activated and succeeds in bringing Timber Wolf to the 30th Century, along with Jamm and Angon. The Legion attack the Parasite but have no luck until Jamm, in a panic, tells Angon to leave. To everyone’s surprise, she does just that, walking back into the time cube and transporting back to the 20th Century.
Jamm remains with the Legion to heal before using his new power recklessly, carelessly endangering Legion members as well as making two of the female members strip off for him (no, really). Eventually, after almost causing the death of the Legion, Jamm is sent back to the 20th Century having (hopefully) learned a lesson about taking responsibility for his actions.
Note: It seems DC learned nothing from the original Vibe as they create another character based on a fad/music style that instantly dates him, along with saddling him with terrible faux-slang dialogue. That and the fact that he uses his powers to make women strip off makes him easily the worst New Blood so far.
GREEN ARROW ANNUAL #6
After breaking up an art gallery robbery, Green Arrow bumps into a blind, hook-handed ex-army veteran who’s living rough and begging for change. As they speak, a nearby transformer is struck by lightning, shocking the pair of them as well. As they go their own ways, one of the burglars Arrow left hanging for the police is attacked by one of the Parasites.
At a charity function, Arrow is approached by Lissik in her human form and he cannot help himself flirting with her. When he hears a report of the art gallery burglary that mentions murder, however, he heads to the police to see if he can help. offering up the description of the blind vet, Masterson, he saw.
Masterson runs in to Lissik who lets him tell the story of how he lost his sight and hand in Vietnam before she attacks and kills him, draining his spinal fluid. By the time the police contact Arrow to get him to identify the body, Masterson has returned to life, an electric hook in place of his prosthetic and the ability to both see and produce energy.
He tracks down and attacks Lissik but is stopped by Arrow who thinks she is just a woman. When she transforms and attacks him, Masterson cuts down the transformer from an electricity pole which hits her, driving her off in a flash of light. Masterson returns to normal and walks off, Arrow deciding to pretend none of it happened.
Note: Never a fan of including superheroes in his Green Arrow run, it’s interesting to see Mike Grell writing this tie-in story; the previous year’s Eclipso tie-in was written by Sarah Byam and featured Black Canary rather than Green Arrow.
DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #6
Batman breaks up a drug gang execution with some of the intended victims escaping. One of them, Rodney, runs into a field near the Chem-Max chemical plant and is attacked by Pritor who drains him but is interrupted by the arrival of the police. Later, Rodney wakes and finds his arms, which were tied behind his back, can now morph and change, allowing him to slip the ropes and run away.
Dwayne Geyer, an accountant in Chem-Max, leaves the plant after completing the late shift and is attacked by Pritor who feeds on him in flight. Before he can kill Geyer, Pritor is almost struck by a police helicopter. He drops Geyer and instead kills the police; leaving Geyer to land in a garbage container.
Rodney returns to his gang’s hideout and confronts the leader who had planned to have him and the others killed as a lesson to the other members. Rodney uses his new powers to defend himself, attracting the attention of Batman who arrives too late to save the gang. In a moment of compassion, Batman lets him leave.
Geyer wakes and finds that in light he is invisible, but in shadows he can be seen. He fashions a costume and heads back to the chemical plant to see if something there can explain his powers. There he runs into Pritor who is attacked by the police looking for the killer who’s been terrorising Gotham. Now calling himself Geist, he saves Officer Montoya from the Parasite and then saves Batman from it as well. Police reinforcements arrive and drive Pritor away and Batman leaves Geist wondering what to do now.
Note: As far as I am aware, despite technically being a New Blood, Rodney James never appeared anywhere else ever again.
JUSTICE LEAGUE AMERICA ANNUAL #7
Being diagnosed with cancer and given six weeks to live is the latest in a long line of setbacks for Jack Mobley, including his wife leaving him, taking their daughter with him, and marrying someone else. He stumbles across Lissik holding the murdered body of someone she claims to be her brother and, unable to resist her, Jack takes her back to his apartment where she reveals her true form and feeds from him. Venev arrives and the two Parasites leave Jack for dead.
He wakes later, transformed into a fearsome faced figure who, when confronted by his landlord, turns him into a bloated, misshapen figure. Scared, Jack heads into the streets where he witnesses Justice League America battling Angon. Jack heads back to his doctor who informs him that the cancer has gone, but so have most of his organs; whatever has happened to him has changed him from a human into something else. Angry, he changes both the doctor and a nurse into monstrous creatures that fight each other. When confronted by passersby who think he’s one of the aliens, he changes them as well. Alerted to the disturbance, the JLA chase him into a cinema but he gets away by changing many of the patrons into monsters.
At the JLA headquarters, Max Lord introduces three New Bloods who will work with the JLA in order to capture the Parasites. With Guy Gardner on the team, the introductions don’t go well.
Jack heads to his ex-wife’s new home and accidentally turns her, her new husband as well as Jack’s own daughter into monsters. There he hears about a charity rally being held by the JLA and promises to cause havoc. Unknown to him, the rally is a ploy to lure the Parasites into one place so that the JLA can defeat them. Before the rally, however, Wonder Woman confronts Jack – who now calls himself Terrorsmith – and convinces him that he can use his powers for good. When his daughter turns back into her normal self, showing the effects of his powers are temporary, Terrorsmith helps the JLA and together they defeat the Parasites at the rally, driving them off.
With his ex-wife back to normal, Terrorsmith leaves the city, unsure of whether to be a hero or villain.
Note: This is the first time the term “New Blood” is used in story to describe someone granted powers by a Parasite. The three New Bloods who help the JLA – Slingshot, Shadowstryke and Krag – appear ready-made; unlike all the other New Bloods, we don’t see them being attacked and fed upon.
ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN ANNUAL #5
At the Metropolis STAR Labs, Loose Cannon helps the scientists understand how he gained their powers. One of those scientists passes the information along to his uncle Harry. A day later, Harry arrives in town with his niece, Donna Carol, or DC for short. All members of their family have the metagene – Harry himself can transform into a huge wolfman – and they’re hoping DC will be attacked by a Parasite to trigger hers.
Several of the Parasites have taken over an abandoned police station house and are advertising a feast for the homeless and hand fliers to both Harry and DC. Meanwhile, Superboy has been tasked by the Metropolis SCU to help track down the Parasites and hears about the homeless feast and decides to investigate.
A newspaper reporter becomes suspicious of the feast and is attacked by Gemir, her cries attracting the attention of Harry and DC who rush in to help the reporter who escapes and calls the police. Gemir breaks Harry’s leg before biting DC just as Superboy arrives and attacks the alien. Within the station house, the approaching police force the Parasites hand and they begin feasting upon the homeless before Gemir and Superboy crash into the building. DC, apparently dead, is shocked by paramedics and disappears in a burst of light, reappearing in the station house as a being of living electricity, her metagene now activated.
She and Superboy hold off the aliens until Maggie Sawyer and the SCU arrive, driving them off. Superboy holds the building together while the remaining homeless evacuate. Despite the building’s subsequent collapse, DC – now calling herself Sparx – survives and visits Harry in hospital. He calms her, allowing her to transform back to DC and while he leaves, DC decides to stay and fight the Parasites.
Elsewhere, the Parasites pour the juices they have collected into a vast vat containing The Taker.
Note: While there have been hints and asides in some issues concerning the Parasites having a plan or mission, this is the first mention of The Taker.
HAWKMAN ANNUAL #1
In the early 70s, an American army patrol in Cambodia is attacked and Josh Bayley is the only survivor, thought dead by the US, and brought back to health by a Cambodian man and his daughter, Xan. Bayley falls in love with Xan and they have a son. Six years later, Bayley hears the US are pulling out and convinces an old army friend to take his infant son, Josh Xan, to Chicago where he could be brought up by Bayley’s mother.
Half black, half Asian, Josh grows up hated by both peoples and has trouble fitting in, not helped by his quick temper. At home, with his grandmother dead, he is beaten by his uncle. In school he is bullied and always in fights, though his rebellious nature attracts a young student called Nhu. He tries to take her to a club in the Netherworld district of Chicago where metahumans and mutants hang out but because they are both normal they are rejected. However, they witness an attack on Hawkman and Hawkwoman.
Some time later he hears Hawkman is looking for him to find out what he saw during the attack. As he gets away, Josh is attacked and fed upon by Lissik before being interrupted by Hawkman. Josh heads to the school to find Nhu but discovers she is now dating someone else. Enraged, Josh explodes with power, demolishing the school. He returns home to beat his uncle before hearing a news report about Lissik fighting Hawkman.
Using his new powers, he attacks the Parasite, driving her into the subway. Despite Hawkman’s warnings, Josh wrecks the walls of the subway, bringing in the Chicago river from above, flooding the tunnels.