Written by Peter Milligan
Two generations of StormWatch officers clash! Shortly after the Demon Knights disbanded, the demon Etrigan and his human host, Jason Blood, managed to break the spell binding them together and become two separate people again. Afterwards, Etrigan was sealed underground by Madame Xanadu, Jason’s lover. Centuries passed…
Etrigan’s grave became a place of dark influence; the demonic presence attracted all kinds of psychopaths to the place. First it was the hunting grounds of a Georgian-era killer named Bloody Ben; afterwards it was an infamous Victorian madhouse. Nowadays it became Malory House, an apartment building which drew several designers and builders insane creating it. All of its inhabitants are insane in one way or another, and its corruption spread to the entire neighbourhood. In the last year, four arsonists and two serial killers came from the House’s block.
That night, Apollo and Midnighter felt like disappearing from StormWatch, going AWOL to have some time for them, to take the edge off. In truth, Midnighter wants to visit the area around Malory House because he worked around it before joining StormWatch, and he could never get to the bottom of why it drove people so crazy. Apollo is a bit upset that Lucas wasn’t honest with his motives, but he joins him anyway; they both happened to bring their costumes. Etrigan’s presence is growing stronger.
The demon had waited for a child to enter his building, a sensitive soul that he would be able to control. Tapping into his mind, he’s slowly driving him insane, trying to force him to say the spell that would free Etrigan.
Up in Eye of the Storm, Jenny is passing time with Hawksmoor, who was tasked with babysitting her. She’s trying to analyse the big horn they picked from the Himalayas back in issue #1. They’re interrupted by Angie, who seems in a bad mood. She tells Jenny to leave that damned horn alone and she’s pissed at Apollo and Midnighter for going off the grid; she’s “this close” to reporting them to the Shadow Lords. In reality, she’s being affected by the Devolver she swallowed from the Hidden People; it is slowly turning her evil.
Back in the streets, Etrigan’s influence is drawing all the people from the neighbourhood towards Malory House. He manages to make the kid he’s seducing say the terrible spell: “Concealed within the world of man, release the Demon… Etrigan!” And the demon is back on Earth. Fortunately, all the centuries sleeping have him weakened, but he’s still powerful enough to give Midnighter and Apollo a hard time. Apparently, Midnighter learns his powers of prediction don’t work against magic creatures. All the other StormWatch members teleport into the action…
Right around that time, Henry Tanner conceals himself as one of the Shadow Lords and teleports to the Island of Avalon. He pretends he’s the fourth Lord who disappeared so many years ago, claiming he was captured by Mayan priests. Still affected by the information he received from the moon and wanting to save Earth through extreme means, Henry attempts to convince the Shadow Lords to change StormWatch’s way of operating.
As the team fights Etrigan, they discuss among themselves and deduce that he’s from the Demon Knights. Etrigan hears them, concluding that the Demon Knights and StormWatch are two different incarnations of the same thing and deciding that makes StormWatch his enemies. After all, the Demon Knights imprisoned him.
Without Projectionist in their team, they have no means of concealing their presence to the media. Jenny comes up with the idea of creating a bubble of dark radiation around them, but it could cause everyone around the perimeter of the bubble to catch some kind of cancer. But Engineer is turning evil, so she forces Jenny to do it.
As Midnighter strikes a lucky blow on Etrigan, the demon decides to step back and run while he can. After all, he has all the time in the world to release his centuries of frustration on StormWatch. He hides within the body of the kid who summoned him. It is right then that Jenny disintegrates her radiation bubble; orders or not, she won’t give people cancer. While Midnighter and Apollo congratulate each other for being in one piece, Engineer gives them crap for having gone AWOL: she prohibits any close personal relationship between agents. Engineer’s dark transformation gets stronger by the moment.
Back in Eye of The Storm, Midnighter and Apollo discuss their relationship. Apollo isn’t willing to date in secret; he’s spent too much of life in the closet. But Midnighter can’t quit StormWatch; he needs to be part of it to keep his psychopathic tendencies at bay. Apollo begins doubting their relationship. Meanwhile, Jenny confronts Engineer on becoming less and less human, but they’re interrupted by Henry, pretending to be a Shadow Lord. He demands to bring everyone together… and that’s the beginning of the end.
Next: Stormwatch Vol.3 issues 15 – 18, written by Peter Milligan.