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Strangers: A New Twist #10
May, 1999

Creatures of Good and Evil

Written by Lex
Edited by James Pedrick
Created by Steve Englehart
Property of Malibu Comics


- - New York City, Brownstone Junior High School - -

"Thanks for the lift Aunt Ruth," says Kevin. Mrs. Green couldn’t give Kevin a ride to his first day of school, so she got Kevin’s aunt, who they are currently living with, to drive him to school.

"It’s my pleasure, pumpkin. I’m glad to help Martha out now that her new job is just starting…and since your dead-beat of a father isn’t around to help your mother out anymore."

Kevin growls under his breath at his aunt’s words and then he just stares out the window.

The car stops in front of Brownstone Junior High School. Kevin opens the door of the 1986, light brown Chrysler LaBaren. "Bye Kevin, have a wonderful first day at your new school."

"Yeah…" says Kevin as he closes the car door, "…right."

Kevin looks at the school in front of him. He looks at it’s three stories, it’s multiple widows, and the two pillars that stand to the side of the entrance giving the school an ancient feel to it. Kevin also notices all of the other students, his peers, standing in the front yard of the school. Some are in groups, carrying on conversations about what happened the night before. Others look at Kevin and are curious at who the new face is, already making first impressions, whether good or bad. Kevin finally looks up at the American flag, flapping in the breeze. It looks so majestic up there. So patriotic. So heroic.

Suddenly the first bell rings and brings Kevin out of his trance. All of the students begin to shuffle into the building to start their day. Kevin turns right around and begins to run, as fast as he can, down the adjourning street. He finds an alley to duck into and catch his breath.

Today Kevin has a different mission. Going to school and making new friends will have to wait for a day. He has to take a trip. To San Francisco. His dad told him that there might be a cure for him so he doesn’t have to be Prime anymore.

Kevin has to transform. It’s the only way he can get to California without his mom finding out. He hasn’t transformed into Prime for a while. Not since that awful dream. But he must do it this one last time.

Kevin pushes and pushes, sweat beginning to form all over his skin. He feels his chest begin to rip open and the familiar strain that always accompanies it. The Prime good flows out of the opening in his chest and covers his entire body. The goop solidifies into a whole new body, a much more muscular one with a flowing red cape. This is Prime’s final appearance. Prime takes to the air and starts his journey to California and, more specifically, San Francisco.

- - San Francisco, California - -

Prime lands on the roof of a high building to try and get an idea of where he is. He looks around for a building that might be where his father is in. Something else catches his attention.

"Wow. The Strangers."

***

"Slam ‘em Strangers!" The battle cry comes from Atom Bob’s mouth as he and the other Strangers come to the street where they were told TNTNT were spotted. And there they are. The Strangers split up in taking on TNTNT. Grenade against Tyrannosaur, Yrial and Zip-Zap against Naiad, Spectral against Torso, Atom Bob, Electrocute, and Lady Killer against Nue-Ronnie and Tugun. None of the Strangers notice that each member of TNTNT is wearing special collars that are increasing their powers.

"Hey, big guy," says Grenade to Tyrannosaur. "Remember me?"

"Do I?" says Tyrannosaur as he slams his fist into Grenade’s jaw, knocking him unconscious. "That’s one."

"You’re going down, Torso," says Spectral in his orange flame.

"I think not, firebug," says Torso as he changes his right arm into water and starts to shoot a column of water at Spectral. He retaliates by changing into his blue flame to control the water, but only softens the force of the blow. With the power enhancer around his neck, Torso can now transform one limb into one thing while transforming a different limb into something else. He changes his left arm into electricity and shoots a blast at the water still coming from his right arm and dousing Spectral. The electricity takes a split second to travel to Spectral and zaps him into unconsciousness. "Ha! Two down."

Yrial and Zip-Zap hurry to face Naiad, the Water Witch. Yrial sends a wave of her ice magick at her while Zip-Zap spins his right arm fast enough to create a mini tornado heading right for Naiad. She creates a wall of pure water in front of her that is frozen by Yrial’s magick and then shattered by Zip-Zap’s tornado, saving her from that fate. She then shoots two huge blasts of water from her net-like cape which incase Yrial and Zip-Zap in blocks of water. They can’t move or breathe.

"That’s three and four!"

‘Oh no!’ thinks Yrial. ‘My magick will allow me to survive without breathing for a very long time, but poor Leon doesn’t have that advantage. I wish there was something I could do to help him.’

Tugun seemed to get the most benefit from his power enhancer. Before he was limited to only being able to create gun-like weapons with his solid blue energy. Now he can create anything as he proves by creating a shield to block a blast of electricity from Electrocute. "Nice try, cutie," he says as he creates a thin hover platform which lifts him into the air. He then creates five high-powered machine guns that weightlessly float in front of him. All five begin firing at Electrocute. She manages to dodge the barrage except for one bullet that passes through her thigh. She hits the ground in pain as her repair circuits begin to fix the wound. "That’s five, heh."

"Candy!" yells Atom Bob as he starts to run to help his love.

"Take a seat!" yells Neu-Ronnie as she jumps on his back and places her hands on his head. He power to scramble the neurons in a person’s brain puts Bob down for the count. With her enhanced powers, he’ll be out for fifteen minutes and then have a nasty headache for a day or two. If she would’ve kept her hands on his head for more than a minute, Atom Bob’s brain would be fried like an omelet. "Six little piggies, all ready to be made into sausages. Yeah, baby!"

"I won’t be so easily taken down." Lady Killer jumps from a parked semi truck onto Tyrannosaur’s shoulders and starts to squeeze his neck with her legs. He just shrugs, pulls her off, and throws her to the ground. She looks up and sees him grab a huge chunk of the street and lifts it high in the air to crush her. She has no defense against that so she just closes her eyes and prays until she feels a sudden rush of air past her and then feels a large rumble in the ground.

Lady Killer opens her eyes to see a crater a few feet to her left. At the bottom of the crater, standing on top of an unconscious Tyrannosaur, is a huge figure of a man. His muscles ripple with the slightest movement, his short, brown hair blowing in the air along with is flowing red cape. His costume was yellowish with a symbol of a "P" on his chest.

"Prime," says Lady Killer as she breathes a sigh of relief.

"I was in the neighborhood and saw that you guys could use a little help."

"Believe me, the help is GREATLY appreciated." Lady Killer turns to look at the rest of the battle. "Up and at ‘em, Strangers! If you’ve got a second wind in you, it’d be really good right about now."

Zip-Zap, almost out of air, uses all his might to spin himself into a human tornado and rid himself of the watery prison surrounding his body. Before Naiad can think, she is pummeled by fifty punches a second until she falls to the ground, knocked out.

With Naiad out, Yrial’s water cage collapses into an evaporating puddle and she just wrings out her cape like nothing happened except getting a little wet.

Grenade gets up, rubbing his jaw and sees Tugun create a huge cannon to destroy Electrocute. With as big of a blast as he can muster, his shrapnel shreds the blue cannon and knocks out Tugun.

Electrocute crawls over to Atom Bob to protect him while he’s unconscious. She sees Torso turn his attention to Prime and transform his limbs into steel. Torso jumps high in the air and comes down with both fists on Prime, sending him to the ground. Torso starts beating him with his steel fists, as does Tyrannosaur who has just climbed out of the crater. Electrocute blasts both of them with her electricity. It shocks them long enough for Prime to get the strength for two more punches that send both Tyrannosaur and Torso flying a few blocks down the street.

"Thanks," says Prime, a few bruises showing up on his body. Electrocute nods and then looks back at Bob, who hasn’t come to yet.

Lady Killer and Neu-Ronnie are in a hand-to-hand combat. Lady Killer proved to be too swift to try and use her neuron scrambling powers on, so Neu-Ronnie stuck to using her fists. They were quite evenly matched in hand-to-hand. They traded blows and wore each other down enough that

Neu-Ronnie felt confident about using her power to finish Lady Killer off. She doesn’t expect her tactic to be seen a mile off. Lady Killer easily ducks and then takes off her chain belt. Before Neu-Ronnie can react, she is smacked in the face by the belt and goes down out of pure exhaustion. Lady Killer stands over her, victorious, and then begins to tie her up.

The battle arena is quite. The Strangers look like they’ve come out on top. Lady Killer sees Yrial and Zip-Zap standing over the unconscious Naiad, Grenade tying up Tugun, Prime and Electrocute helping Atom Bob and Spectral back up, and she sees Torso a few blocks away, unconscious.

"Anyone injured?" asks Lady Killer.

Electrocute walks over to Lady Killer with the report. "Bob, Dave, and Hugh have major headaches, my repair program is almost done healing my wound, and Prime is pretty beat up. All things considered, we came out of this smelling like roses."

"Yes," says Lady Killer. "And it’s all thanks to Prime. He came in at the right time, which gave us a second wind. We don’t know how to thank you Prime."

"You don’t have to thank me. I was glad I could help out. And it was nice to fight along side the famous Strangers. By the way, who were those guys?"

"They call themselves TNTNT," starts Electrocute. "Tyrannosaur, Naiad, Torso, Neu-Ronnie, and Tugun. A powerful businessman named J. D. Hunt keeps sending them after us because of me. Y’see, I’m an android. Hunt’s android. When the lightning that gave us our powers hit us, it gave me a mind of my own. So I chose the Strangers over Hunt and he wants me back."

"Wow," says Prime, "and I thought my life was complicated." They all laugh.

"Say," says Lady Killer, "what brings you to San Francisco, "Prime?

"It’s…um…kinda personal. Listen, it was wonderful to meet all of you but I really must be…"

"Hey!" yells Grenade. "What happened to Tyrannosaur?"

"I’m right HERE!" yells Tyrannosaur from the shadows where he leaps at Prime. He punches Prime right in the jaw, surprising everyone in the area. Prime staggers back as the Strangers scatter out of the way. With the power enhancer around his neck, Tyrannosaur is easily Prime’s equal in strength. Each of them trade powerful blows that could level a three story building.

"Is there anything we can do to help?" asks Atom Bob.

"No," says Lady Killer. "If we try to hit Tyrannosaur with something, we might hurt Prime, too. Prime is on his own."

"Y’know something’s not right here," starts Grenade. "Did you guys notice how powerful TNTNT were? And how can Dino-butt there go toe-to-toe with Prime? I’m thinking it’s got to have something to do with those stranger collars they’re wearing. Do you guys see the one on his neck?"

"Yes," says Electrocute. "And I can feel its energy from here."

"Do you think you can shut it off?" asks Atom Bob.

"I think I can get a blast of my electricity to it and short circuit it, but I’ll have to be careful with my aim."

"Get ready to go for it, Candy," says Lady Killer. "Because I don’t think Prime has much left in him.

Prime gets another punch off but before he can strike again, Tyrannosaur connects with two punches. Kevin realizes that his body is getting weaker with each hit, but he can’t stop. Prime connects with another punch. He mustn’t give up. Tyrannosaur hits him again. Prime is a hero, and he has to fight until his last breathe if need be.

Tyrannosaur hits him again. This time Prime realizes that he has one punch left in him. He better make it a good one. Tyrannosaur prepares to slam both fists down on Prime with both fists for a final blow.

"Candy! Now!" yells Lady Killer.

Electrocute sends a condensed bolt of electricity towards Tyrannosaur. Guided by the electric current in the collar, the bolt doesn’t miss. With a muffled explosion, the collar shorts out, making Tyrannosaur clutch his hands on it in pain.

With this distraction, Prime gathers the last of his strength into both of his fists and uses both to give a huge uppercut that finally knocks Tyrannosaur out.

Prime falls to his knees out of breath. The Strangers all run to him.

"Are you all right, Prime?" asks Lady Killer.

"I’m…fine. But…I have…to go now. Bye." And with that, Prime slowly lifts into the air and heads to where he was going before.

"So long Prime," says Lady Killer. "I hope we meet again soon"

***

‘I need to find…somewhere to…rest.’ Prime suddenly drops out of the sky like a stone. He lands on soft ground below and just lies there for a few minutes. After what seems like an eternity, Prime stands up and feels tiny droplets of water falling from the sky and caressing his skin. "Rain. Great." Prime looks around at where he landed and sees rows and rows of gravestones. "A cemetery. This is too perfect. I hope fate isn’t trying to tell me something." He looks around his immediate area and doesn’t see a single living soul so he seizes this opportunity to de-Prime and recuperate until he can make a new Prime body.

Kevin feels Prime’s chest rip open as he exits through it and the Prime body liquefies into a pile of greenish goop at his feet. The cemetery Kevin is in is on the edge of the San Francisco city limits. Beyond is a small forest, so Kevin decides to walk in the rain until he finds some shelter to rest for an hour or two. Perhaps he’ll find a cave or something.

***

- - Interlude - -

"Hurry up, will ya?"

A small group of people slither about the shadows of the recent battle scene once they see that the Stranger have left. They move along the unconscious bodies of TNTNT until they find what they’ve come for.

"Quick," says one of them. "Grab him and let’s vamoose before the cops arrive. I’m sure the Strangers have called them already."

"Four members of the group pick up the unconscious body of Tugun and begin to carry him back into the shadows with them.

***

Back at the cemetery, a figure floats down from the clouds, descending upon the pile of goop that was once Prime. The figure is the Pilgrim. His eyes are glazed over as if he is in some kind of trance. He says nothing as he begins to cast a spell. The whole area glows with magickal light. He uses his magick powers plus his transformation power on the goop. The goop pulsates with life as it begins to grow into a human-like form. The thing eventually towers over Pilgrim, who is exhausting all of his powers.

With a mighty roar, the beast lives. It appears to be a close look-alike to Prime. The only differences are that it has dark skin, a torn cape, glowing eyes, and a huge mouth with an even bigger tongue swarming out of it.

"I’M FREE!!" The creature’s yell was like something out of a small child’s worst nightmare, and in reality, that is where this creature came from. "I must find HIM! I need HIS power!" The creature looks at Pilgrim who is on his knees, out of breath, and no longer under the beats’s control. "You! You freed me and now you will help me find HIM!"

"No!" was Pilgrim’s response. "My power…is drained. I am no use…to you. Now let me go!"

"Fine. I will find the one I seek on my own." And with that the creature flies away.

Pilgrim stares at the being he has just given life as it goes high into the atmosphere and for the first time in a very long while he feels a familiar feeling once more. That feeling is fear. Not many things in the world frighten the Pilgrim but this monstrosity does.

"May God help whomever that creature is after."

- - Continued in Primevil #1 - -

 

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