The Magic Wars ended with the death of The Keeper. Wracked with guilt, Shaman handed himself over to the authorities and was incarcerated at Blackstone Penitentiary. Not long after this, Nevermore broke into Blackstone in an attempt to gain revenge on the man who killed the woman he loved. His attack was ultimately unsuccessful but in the confusion and chaos that ensued, several highly dangerous inmates were able to escape, including possibly the most dangerous of them all. Nightstalker and Entropy.
Several months later, it was revealed that Entropy had broken free of Nightstalker’s hold on him and was now using Vox’s powers of influence to manipulate a war between the United States Government and the superheroes of the world. (See Trickshot for more on this.)
In the end and to the surprise of many, it was Neutron who saved the day, tricking Entropy into believing he would make the perfect host. As one of the strongest beings on the planet, Neutron certainly was powerful. When Entropy agreed and possessed him, however, Neutron resisted the spirit of destruction’s hold on him long enough to blast free of Earth’s atmosphere and hurl himself and Entropy towards the sun at near the speed of light.
Comet pursued and attempted to stop his long time foe from sacrificing himself, insisting that they could find another way, Neutron new better though and knocked Comet out long enough to escape. When Comet finally came to, it was too late. Neutron was gone. The former hero, disgraced for his ruthless methods, had finally proven himself a true hero and saved the world from its biggest threat.
But there was an even bigger threat looming.
Weeks later, when the United States was just beginning to recover from the damage Entropy had done to its political structure, the interstellar explorer Damian Scott and his sentient ship Damocles returned to Earth, crash landing on the outskirts of Freedom City. Rescuers boarding the ship found Scott unconscious but he had managed to scrawl an ominous warning on the floor beside him before passing out. It read simply “They’re coming”
With Scott at deaths doorstep, his crew dead or missing and no one else able to interface with the damaged Damocles, there was no way of knowing who “They” were but if the damage to the Damocles was anything to go by, the were certainly dangerous. Earths heroes had battled alien threats before though and were confident they could again.
No one was expecting what came next.
It was barely two days later when the ship suddenly arrived in Earth’s orbit. A single vessel but large enough to sow panic across the planet.
The invaders acted quickly, striking at Earth’s defences and its defenders in the superhuman community. Comet seemed to be a particularly important target and many attacked him. He did his best to fight them off but the masked enemies seemed to share many of his powers, including his massive strength and he struggled to fend them off while also protecting his friends, allies and innocent civilians. Eventually he was overwhelmed but his attackers seemed to want to take him alive. The relentless assault left Comet unconscious. When he awoke several hours later, he was confronted by a strangely human looking man who announced that he was the leader of these invaders, whose name was simply unpronounceable by human tongues of even audible to human ears. Instead to took a new name. Since Comet and others seemed to take their names from stellar bodies, he would do the same and be Gamma Ray. Comet took note that he had chosen to name himself after one of the most dangerous things in the galaxy.
Gamma Ray greeted Comet like he was an old friend but Comet had no idea who he was. This didn’t surprise Ray. He seemed to know that Comet had no recollection of his life before he arrived on Earth and implied that he had been told all about his heroic career as one of Earth’s defenders. It didn’t take long to discover the source of this information however. Gamma Ray soon introduced his informant.
Comet was relieved to see that Neutron wasn’t dead but surely this meant that Entropy lived too. Sure enough, Gamma soon introduced his other prisoner. The malevolent Entropy was however locked away in a containment unit advanced enough to hold him and keep him from possessing anyone.
Gamma Ray explained that he had intercepted Neutron before he hurled himself and Entropy into the sun. He didn’t do it out of the kindness of his own heart though. Comet noted how uncomfortable the normally strong and confident Neutron seemed around Gamma Ray. He almost seemed afraid.
Gamma Ray on the other hand was frighteningly confident and had a sinister air to him.
Comet demanded answers. Answers Gamma Ray was all to happy to provide.
He revealed that he had known both Comet and Neutron eons ago. All three were members of an alien race that would become known as The Preservers, an ancient race of aliens who had played a hand in the evolution of many other races, including humanity. Humans and other alien species knew of the Preservers through scattered tech found in hidden places across Earth and other planets but the Preservers were thought to have either died out or ascended to a higher plane countless millennia ago. Gamma Ray confirmed that they had in fact become something far greater than simple carbon lifeforms but they were still around. Or at least his particular faction were.
He and a handful of others had apparently decided that the Preservers role in shaping the galaxy should resume and rebelled against their people in a war that over ideological differences that lasted centuries. The most shocking revelation for Comet came when Gamma Ray claimed that he had been one of their number. A great leader in the revolution and a brilliant scientist. Worse still was the news that he had been responsible for turning another of their race into Entropy.
Neutron had been among a number of law enforcers sent to stop them amid a civil war that had collapsed stars and killed countless mortals. In the end, he managed to trap Comet and Entropy in a containment unit that was lost in deep space during an attempt by Gamma Ray to recover it. The containment unit shot through the galaxy, passing through many star systems accruing rock and ice particles on its journey and eventually forming what humans would eons later refer to as The Holmes Comet.
Neutron began a search for his missing prisoners and in a strange twist of fate wound up on Earth where he went into seclusion for thousands of years. Unable to interact with humanity in his energy form, he took a mortal form. An eternity of life as the sole being of his species on a planet full of lesser beings eventually had an effect on him and he lost much of his memory, convincing himself that he was actually an advanced human rather than an ancient being from across the galaxy.
Gamma Ray and what was left of his forces went into seclusion too at the centre of the galaxy and waited for a sign from their missing leader. That sign eventually came countless millennia later when they happened upon an explorer venturing into the center of the galaxy. This explorer was none other than the human Damian Scott.
The Preserver rebels learned from Scott about the heroes and villains of Earth, including a malevolent entity known as Entropy. Gamma Ray knew from Scott’s description of Entropy that it was the same being imprisoned with Comet. When pressed on whether Entropy had arrived with another, Scott told them about Comet and how he had become one of Earths greatest heroes. This was all Gamma Ray needed to know. He knew who to look for and where they were. So the Preservers headed to Earth, dragging Damian Scott and the Damocles with them.
On their way, they saved Neutron from his suicidal mission to destroy Entropy. Their decision to remove Entropy from the now humanoid form of Neutron forced them to build a ship to contain him and took their own human forms in the process, in order to interact better. Learning more about Earth and its people from Entropy convinced Gamma Ray that he needed to take the planet by force.
And that was exactly what he planned to do now that he had been reunited with Comet. He knew Comet didn’t remember his previous life all those eons ago, a side affect of spending so much time in a prison cell perhaps, but he believed he could convince him to join their cause again.
He was wrong.
Comet wanted nothing to do with this plan to conquer his adoptive home by force and made that perfectly clear by punching Gamma Ray in the face, rocketing him through the Preserver ship. Before Gamma Ray even had a moment to regroup, he was struck by another blow, this time from Neutron.
As the would be conqueror battled the two heroes in the sky above, the rest of Earths heroes (and even villains) had organised enough to mount a counter offensive against the rest of the Preservers who had been building several strange devices in the sky. There was one Preserver currently unaccounted for though. The fight between Comet, Neutron and Gamma Ray had damaged Entropy’s containment unit enough to allow the spirit of destruction to escape.
Despite being stronger than both Comet and Neutron, they were both faster and more strategic than Gamma Ray and the fight aboard the Preserver ship eventually seemed to come to an impasse. Gamma Ray had one last trick to play though and turned to the one ally who could turn the tide of this battle. Entropy had possessed both Comet and Neutron in the past and realised that neither of them were willing enough to serve as a host. Gamma Ray on the other hand was arrogant enough to believe he could control Entropy.
Gamma Ray/Entropy did indeed turn the tide of battle and he gained the upper hand, knocking both Comet and Neutron clear out of the ship and plummeting to the Earth below.
The battle continued on the surface but was joined by many of Earth’s heroes and the rest of Gamma Ray’s forces, resulting in a massive battle royale in, around and over Freedom City.
Many retired heroes returned to fight the invading Preservers and even known villains took up arms against the invaders. There were even some truly unexpected alliances between sworn enemies like Nevermore and Shaman, who had both broken free from Blackstone to help battle Gamma Ray. But it was one unexpected individual who finally turned the tide of battle.
During the fight, Red Star sent out a call to every ally who could still hear her over the comms. While rescuing civilians from collapsing buildings, she realised that there was one building in much better condition than it was supposed to be. The nightclub Avalon had burned down at the hands of the Promethean Flame the night The Keeper died but now it had miraculously returned as though nothing had happened. It didn’t take much to realise what was happening.
If Avalon had returned, then that meant the Keeper was back too.
Sure enough, the Keeper soon emerged for Avalon and headed straight for the center of battle, swatting aside anyone who came near. She had a target and nothing was going to stop her from reaching it. Shaman assumed it was him but she brushed past him like he wasn’t even there. No, she had a different target. Before he even knew what was happening, the Keeper was upon Gamma Ray. With a hand on his chest, her touch burned more than it logically should. He cursed the witch and moved to strike at her but was restrained by Comet and Neutron as the Keeper continued her spell, muttering under her breath. A scream was heard, both from Gamma Ray and from deep within him. The Keeper pulled and with her hand came Entropy, torn clear from Gamma Ray’s body.
The Keeper had the spirit of destruction by the throat and for the first time, Entropy looked afraid. From under the shadows of her hood, the Keeper smiled before uttering a single word.
Entropy tried to scream but was quickly silenced as his ethereal form hardened for the first time in eons and shattered into a thousand pieces, flying in every direction.
There was a brief moment of eerie quiet as everyone looked on, astounded by what had just happened. Everyone thought The Keeper was dead but here she was, destroying the spirit of destruction. The Keeper only had time to give a brief smile to Nevermore before she was struck by Gamma Ray who had broken free of Comet and Neutron. The sorceress was knocked clear through a nearby building, almost dying again in the process.
Comet and Neutron will tossed away too by an enraged Gamma Ray. He was tired of these blasted humans. In his eyes, they were beneath him and yet they continued to resist. Comet was the one who pointed out that humanity would never stop resisting so long as people like him continued to exist. So long as there was breath in their lungs, they would fight.
An almost frightening calm came over Gamma Ray.
If he couldn’t have this planet…no one would.
It was then that he issued one last command to his troops. Do it.
The Preservers fail safe was initiated when the devices they had been creating in the sky suddenly activated and it soon became painfully, horrifyingly clear to everyone what they were for. One more threat approached, filling the hearts of everyone with dread. They had seen this before, decades go, when Omega, the extra-dimensional tyrant of The Terminus, had torn through into our dimension. Humanity had barely managed to send him back to his dimension the first time and at great cost.
But Comet had been right when he said that humanity would never stop resisting. They would never stop fighting. So the combined forces of Earth rallied to battle the forces of Omega while Comet and Neutron battled Gamma Ray and what was left of his forces, eventually resulting in all of the Preservers reverting to their energy form and battling in the sky above in what looked to most as a violent aurora borealis above America’s eastern seaboard.
The battle against Omega lasted for some time and there were many casualties, including Jupiter of The Mortal Gods, who sacrificed himself to destroy Omega’s flagship.
Eventually, it was Adrenaline who realised that if the Preserver devices could be used to open a portal to the Terminus, then surely they could be used to close it too. There was a sudden scramble to close the portal, sending Omega and his forces back to where they belonged in the process. In one last combined effort, everyone united to force Omega back through the portal, knowing that his troops would follow him wherever he went. With Earth’s mightiest like American Dream and Apollo battling the Tyrant back to the Terminus, Adrenaline left his A.I Alice to activate the shutdown procedure while he rushed into the portal to rescue those who had forced Omega back to the Terminus. With nanoseconds left to spare, the speedster burst out of the portal with Apollo and American Dream before it closed.
The whole world seemed to fall quiet as the Preserver devices fell to Earth with the clatter of their destruction finally returning sound to the world as everyone breath an almost simultaneous sigh of relief. Omega had been defeated for the second time. Much of Freedom City lay in ruin and many people had died but it was finally over.
Or so they hoped.
It was only now that most started to realise that the lights in the sky had stopped too. What had happened to Comet and Neutron? What had happened to Gamma Ray and the Preservers? No immediate answers came. The Preserver ship was still in orbit but it floated there in silence. There was no one left to control it. No Gamma Ray. No Preservers. They were all simply gone.
Several days later, when they still hadn’t received any kind of word from either Comet or Neutron, Earth’s heroes had no alternative but to declare them K.I.A. Two more casualties to add to the list. On the plus side though, Gamma Ray and the Preservers seemed to be gone too. At least they hoped.
During a memorial service for those who had been lost during the battle against the Preservers and Omega, there was a sudden flash of light in the crowd of mourners, much like the flashing light that had been seen in the sky days ago. People began to run in fear and the heroes in attendance converged on the light, ready for whatever may come.
Much to their surprise, the light coalesced into a huddled human form on the ground. When the light stopped, Comet sat upright, eyes closed and head to the sky as he breathed in deeply.
Eyes wide in surprise and not sure what to do, everyone simply stared at him until he looked back at them and smiled, offering the crowd of heroes and civilians a simple “…Hi.”
The chorus of cheers that arose was deafening. Earth’s champion had returned.
It took Freedom City months to recover from the combined assaults of Gamma Ray and Omega and its citizens even longer than that. Eventually though, some form of normality began to return.
Earth had lost many heroes in the battles but gained many new ones like Knockout, Spectrum and 8-Bit, who all rose up to fight the invaders.
In the aftermath, The Keeper and Shaman (who was pardoned for his apparent murder of the Keeper after she returned) put their differences aside and agreed to work together to find The Promethean Flame and lock it away again for the safety of everyone.
Damian Scott recovered and took a team of scientist aboard the Damocles to investigate the Preserver ship in the hopes of turning it to humanity’s advantage and perhaps even using it to track down the missing Preservers, both Gamma Ray’s troops and the mysterious main civilization of Preservers that Gamma Ray and his faction rebelled against. If they’re still around, Scott and many others believe they may be able to learn enough from them to usher in a new era of human prosperity. Some believe they’re just begging for trouble.
Shards of the shattered Entropy began to show up in various parts of the world. The shards reportedly granted their wielder powers and there is now a thriving black market for even the smallest confirmed shards. The largest shards command enormous prices. Nightstalker emerged from hiding to track down these shards, apparently still feeling some responsibility for containing the spirit of destruction even now that it has been shattered into pieces. Some believe his motives are good but others believe he is simply grasping for power. Whatever the case, Nightstalker does his best to avoid the masked heroes of the world. His reputation still isn’t the best.
While most of the Preserver devices were quarantined by the military, Adrenaline managed to secure one for his own study in the hopes of preventing another gateway to the Terminus being opened. The military is well aware that he is in possession of this device and have made several attempts to retrieve it but he has so far managed to keep it out of their grasp.
With many of Earth’s heroes either falling in battle against Gamma Ray and Omega or retiring afterwards, Comet formed a new team of heroes to protect the Earth from future threats. While he lost track of Gamma Ray in the battle, his working theory is that Neutron continued to battle the Preserver rebel and both of them may still be out there somewhere. Comet knows that if he managed to reform after the battle then they could too. He continues to watch the sky at night for any sign of either Neutron or Gamma Ray returning.