Hardcase | Issue 4 | Title Page
Some corrections that I’ll make for the print version: Cover Ink by William Grapes. Color Cover and pages 1-6 by Tonin Cezar Jr and Ozzy Longoria of Gemini Comics.
- Issue 1: Ray woke up vomiting in a bathroom, not remembering where he was. He discovered he was in his girlfriend Chloe’s apartment in New York, and she’d been murdered by someone with super strength. The Defense Force was immediately banging on his door, and he decided to run. Night burst into the room as Ray escaped out the window. Night vowed to take Ray down and pursued him. Night caught up to him on a bridge and used a device to disorient Ray. Ray’s strength and invulnerability are tied to his focus, and the device made Ray helpless. Night began pounding on him, but the altercation caused a huge auto accident. Ray escaped into the river as Night sorted out the civilians. Ray crawled out of the river only to be attacked by Jolt. Ray defeated her and escaped and was forced to sleep on the streets. It’s then revealed that three months ago Night was going to ask Chloe to marry him on the anniversary of Ray and Night joining the Defense Force, only to learn Chloe had been cheating on him with Ray. Back in the present, Ray seeks help from his formal girlfriend and teammate Flare.
- Issue 2: Flare reveals that she uses Ray as a lover because her pyrokinetic powers hurt everyone else, and that she’d pushed Ray into being involved with Chloe because that was love. Flare also welcomed him back into her life. Ray stayed briefly and then fled. Ray began questioning super strength suspects with his fists. The first was the Concrete Man, an ex-con gone straight. Ray pounded him into the dirt, but decided this wasn’t the guy. Ray then went after Carver, a soldier for hire that was working for the mob. Carver knows how to fight and nearly beat Ray until ray cheated and electrocuted him with the wires from a telephone pole. Night followed Ray’s trail obsessively and figured out Ray was going after strong men, and put the Defense Force in place ahead of Ray. Ray arrives at the Russian Consulate to fight Mischa the Bear, only to have SciMage and Flare ambush him. SciMage disorients Ray with an illusion, but Flare snaps Ray out of it by burning him. Ray knocks out SciMage and secretly tells Flare thanks. From far away Night watches Ray talk to Flare.
- Issue 3: Ray needs money and information as he’s run out of easy suspects. Ray goes to Control, but scares him off. He goes to Flare as Night watches, and sends Flare to seduce information out of Control, meanwhile Ray tries a crazy scheme where he lets people shoot at him for money. SciMage is recovering in the hospital when a news report breaks that an FBI raid of SciMage’s room in Vegas was filled with Child Pornography. He is arrested. Colonel Niven brings Carver on board the team to replace Ray, and gets into an argument with Night. Night quits, setting off an EMP to cover his escape. Night arranges to move his money offshore, and accept citizenship from another country. Night flies south to Louisiana to visit the fallen hero Zeus that led the Defense Force before Ray and Night joined the team. Zeus was fired for having an affair with the presidents underage daughter, and has been living off the grid in a shack on the bayou. Night had provided him the property and the alias that Zeus lived under. Night calls in that favor card and asks for Zeus’s help in taking down Ray. Night has figured out Ray is heading to Chicago. Flare gives Ray the information, then tells him to stay away as she’s now in charge of bringing him in. Ray hops a train to Chicago.