"Standing on Death's Doorstep": This winter, Gotham City has been overtaken by a plague. It was originally thought to be an outbreak of cholera in the more unsavoury districts of the city, and as such, it was cordoned off, and declared a no-man's-land called "Death's Doorstep". Now, [[Jonah
- Perhaps it is wiser not to mention the existence of such a fine-looking woman for fear of her heart being stolen by another.
Appearing in "Standing on Death's Doorstep"
- Death's Doorstep
- Wayne Casino
Synopsis for "Standing on Death's Doorstep"
This winter, Gotham City has been overtaken by a plague. It was originally thought to be an outbreak of cholera in the more unsavoury districts of the city, and as such, it was cordoned off, and declared a no-man's-land called "Death's Doorstep". Now, Jonah Hex and Amadeus Arkham are searching the plagued quarantine area in search of a woman: Catherine Wayne is missing.
It all started the previous spring, when a strange man came to the city from across the sea. His intent was malicious, but his wealth, power, and charisma helped him to rise in Gotham's elite circles, garnering respect from its most hardened criminals and its lowest citizens over that summer. He found his way to the popular Wayne Casino, where he won so much that he drew the attention of proprietor Alan Wayne. The man introduced himself as Vandal Savage, and accepted Mr. Wayne's invitation to join a private game upstairs.
His opponent - Jonah Hex - soon drew his pistol, convinced that Savage was cheating, but Catherine Wayne intervened, warning him not to spill blood in her husband's casino. Grumpily, Hex warned Savage that he'd best not show his face to him in public again, as he stormed out. Intrigued by Catherine's spirit, Savage flirtatiously remarked on her beauty, though she was firm in her loyalty to her husband.
When winter came, Death's Doorstep had long been blocked off, and the citizens therein were hungry. Rumours of cannibalism had spread, and the mayor had made it illegal to feed the packs of sick people within. Catherine Wayne, unable to let those people starve, would secretly bring food to the edge of Death's Doorstep by night. One night, though, she found herself tugged down from the wall, and dragged into the quarantine area by the angry plague victims. She was taken away, and it was warned that she would never be seen again if they were not given supplies and doctors.
Harrowed by the loss of his wife, Alan Wayne found no support from the mayor, and so hired Hex, Arkham, and two others to find her. As compensation for the risk to his own health, Hex demanded a thirty percent share in the casino.
Now, at Death's Doorstep, Hex and his companions are soon over-taken by the sick and ravenous citizens, forcing he and Arkham to leave their backup behind, and escape to the roof of a derelict building. Hex confides that this doesn't look like cholera - it looks more like rabies. Presumably, though, the people who kidnapped Mrs. Wayne are not afflicted with it yet, and they must be hiding out in a defensible position. Searching the skyline, his eyes settle on the Gotham Bank, and he decides that it fits the bill.
There, they discover a mortally injured man, who manages to admit that he was among the ones who took Mrs. Wayne, having only wanted to get some food and supplies. Unfortunately, she was taken from them by Vandal Savage.
Elsewhere, Savage explains to Catherine that the plague in Gotham was his doing. He brought it, dormant in his own body, across the ocean to infect the city. He considers himself an usher to the apocalypse, serving to "prune away the luxuriant growth of the human race."
Appearing in "19th Century Stormwatch"
- Smokestack Jack
Synopsis for "19th Century Stormwatch"
Jenny Freedom is a Century Child, and she has seen the civil war, the end of slavery, and now, the beginnings of the industrial age. With the power to control both steam and light, she has entered this mechanical world with an advantage. Now, she is chasing Smokestack Jack, a genius of mechanical engineering, who intends to use a zeppelin to assassinate president Chester A. Arthur. In the service of that plan, he has reanimated an army of Incan Mummies to protect him.
Leaving her fearful companion to deal with the mummies, Jenny attacks Jack, assuming that his plan has something to do with the recent assassination of President Garfield. In her absence, though, her companion is torn to shreds as the zeppelin nears the White House and Jack arms his lightning gun. As he aims it, Jenny knocks him off-balance, causing the gun to shoot the zeppelin's balloon instead. As they go down in flames, Jack is eager to see his enemy die with him, but she leaps from the airship, opening a parachute and landing comfortably next to a pub for a drink.
While putting her feet up and seeking a match for her pipe, she is offered a light by Adam - a man whom she has met before, who invites her to return to Stormwatch.
- No special notes.
- The quote that Vandal Savage speaks at the end of the issue is from Tertullian, an early Christian author.
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