by Joseph Harris and Greg Luzniak
I know there have to be better places to start a comic book than with two working stiffs going down into the sewers to fix something. But, hey, Avengers this ain't, so that's where our story begins. They don't last long, though - the water level starts rising, one of them gets attacked by these huge rat-things, some with three eyes, all with tentacles around their noses and big nasty pointy teeth. The guy literally disappears into the attacking horde...not the best way to go. The other guy also gets attacked and killed, but not after he hears something say, "...horrrrnnnet... "
Speaking of Hornet, he's walking around the ESU campus, and just heard something in the bushes.... The next thing he hears is Susan, the girl that he bumped into in #3 seems to have a crush on. She thanks him for checking up on her, 'cause he boyfriend's "overprotective" sometimes. Sure. Anyway, shortly after she leaves, Eddie hears a familiar sound. A clawed hand pushes aside the manhole beneath him - convenient location, wasn't it? - and something knocks him off of his feet. Down on the ground, the massive rat creatures surround him, and drag him down the manhole. It sucks to be Eddie right about now.
Across New York, in Trinity Church, Dusk sits in a pew. She's the only one there. The narration says that she became Dusk partly because she was searching for an identity...and look what she ended up with, eh? Funny, I always thought you would know that the whole "secret identity" thing would come in with being a hero. Anyway, a new aspect of her powers kicks in - she suddenly knows that Hornet's in trouble, in pain. Apparently, they've developed some kind of bond. (maybe this means they'll actually get together, eh?) She teleports out of the church, in a hurry.
Back at Ricochet's house, he and Kathy are in the midst of...going through the garage. Actually, he's going through stuff, but she's admiring the Ricochet suit, and apparently thinks he can look better. Rico, can you not find a woman with better taste in heroic fashion? He makes some excuse, and then digs up a "go-kart-buggy thing" that he and his dad built some time back. Kathy feels sorry, but Ricochet says something about his dad having a chemical imbalance of some kind. Apparently, they don't talk much. Kathy hands him back the suit, commenting on how she knows he's not going to get any groupies and that she doesn't want to lose him. Just after she's gone, Dusk appears on top of an old fridge. Rico is not exactly thrilled to see her, of course. He wants Hornet to be there, because he knows Hornet has a thing for Dusk. She tells Rico that something is wrong with Hornet, and he - not all that pleased - teleports out of there with her.
Down in the dark, rank sewers, Hornet is being carried through the tunnels on the backs of the giant rat-creatures. Hey, there are worse ways to go.... They drop him off in some dark room, where he can hear something breathing. A voice mocks him, and lights a fire in - well, in something, revealing this giant man-rodent-beastly thing, the Griz. He's freaky-looking. Hornet faints. Hey, I would.
Cut to a slightly worn-down looking apartment building in the North Bronx. A young man enters one of the dark apartments. It's Prodigy, carrying the helmet and looking rather worse for wear. An old woman in a wheelchair calls out to him. He goes to his room, tells her that he's there - apparently he hasn't been home in days. He sits on the bed in his overly sports-themed room, and looks in the mirror. This is not a happy young hero. The mask sits on his dresser - it's slightly dented, but complete. Wasn't it broken last issue?
In the ESU dorms, Ricochet and Dusk are in Hornet's room. He's not there, and the suit is in the closet, and nicely displayed at that. They don't know where he is. Someone knocks at the door, and Rico answers it - it's Sarah, returning Eddie's backpack that he dropped when the rat-creatures jumped him. Dusk looks pissed off that a woman's coming to Eddie's room - sure, now she seems to like him? - but Ricochet manages to get the backpack and close the door before Sarah gets too suspicious. Ricochet comments on this as he tosses the backpack into the closet...accidentally turning the winged jet pack on, sending it flying into him. He crashes into the wall. Nice going, Rico. The sound of the wings sends two rat-creatures fleeing out from under Hornet's bed and out the window. How long has it been since he cleaned? Anyway, Rico remembers what the deal was with the rats and the jet pack's sound....
...So down into the sewers go Dusk and Ricochet! Naturally, he complains about the smell. Yeesh. In the Griz's lair, he's got Hornet chained to the wall, and he's talking at him, telling him how he searched for him, after growing enough to be able to remember his scent. The Griz actually scratches him(it?)self across his chest with his bony claws, drawing blood...and the cuts heal up almost instantly. The Griz gets closer and closer, tosses two of the rat-creatures across the room, calls Hornet anti-social and otherwise belittles him, and then looks to be about to kill him. Just as the smelly beast is about to claw Eddie, one of Dusk's teleport fields appears over his hand. Hornet is overjoyed to see and hear that. Ricochet and Dusk charge in, kicking tail and taking names. Unfortunately, the hand that Dusk...removed from the Griz grows right back. Rico lets Hornet loose, and gets the jet pack from the backpack they brought. As Hornet tries to get into the suit, Ricochet holds the jet pack up, and, despite Hornet's warnings, turns it on. Oops. He gets slammed into the wall again, and seems to be hurt. Dusk teleports him out of there, back to his room at his house, still holding the jet pack, just as his dad knocks on the door. Uh oh.
Back in the sewer, Dusk, who has learned that she needs to be fast and strong to be a hero, threatens the Griz if he hurts Hornet. The Griz laughs at her, because it seems she can't hurt him. But he can hurt Hornet, who he's holding in a headlock with claws to his face....