"Hollywood Babylon, Part 2": The Church of Blood has taken over the podium at the Hollywood Screen Awards, demanding that Animal Man give himself up, or the assembled audience will die. Buddy Baker, the Animal Man, is currently in Sacramento with his wife
- I don't care! This is my little girl we're talking about. If there's a way of finding her, I'm coming, too!
- -- Ellen Baker
Appearing in "Hollywood Babylon, Part 2"
- The Mountains of Muscle
Synopsis for "Hollywood Babylon, Part 2"
The Church of Blood has taken over the podium at the Hollywood Screen Awards, demanding that Animal Man give himself up, or the assembled audience will die. Buddy Baker, the Animal Man, is currently in Sacramento with his wife Ellen and mother in law, and he resolves that he must go and deal with this - particularly since his daughter Maxine is in danger, so long as Brother Blood has access to The Red, where she is currently trapped. Angrily, Ellen warns that he can't just leave her behind again. If their daughter - and only living child, since Cliff's death - is in danger, she will be coming too. She insists that whatever happens, they will deal with it together. Reluctantly, Buddy agrees.
In The Red, Maxine and her friends have escaped Brother Blood in a life boat, and found their way to the Mountains of Muscle on the outer rim of the Red. Socks explains that it is one of the oldest structures there, riddled with catacombs where the totems once hid during the first war between Red and Green. They must hurry inside, as a storm approaches. With a crack of thunder, the rain begins to fall - but it isn't rain, it is blood.
As Buddy and Ellen alight on the roof of the Hollywood Palace, where the awards show is being held, Ellen remarks that she has a bad feeling that something bad is going to happen to him. He assures her that he is a super-hero, and makes her promise to stay backstage, no matter what happens. However, as it begins to rain, her sense of foreboding increases. Blood is raining down from the skies here, too. Hurriedly, Buddy rushes Ellen inside, knowing they don't have much time.
As Buddy confronts Clinton Hogue on stage, Ellen's attention is caught by a woman begging for help. When Ellen comes to offer help, though, the woman calls out, and reveals that she too is a member of the Church of Blood, and Ellen finds herself with a cultist's knife to her throat. Rather than be captured, Ellen fights back, grabbing one of the trophies laid out back stage as a weapon to defend herself. As she knocks the woman unconscious, she realizes with some amusement that the trophy she selected happens to be Buddy's winning trophy for his role in Tights.
Angry at how his blood was used to give Brother Blood access to the Red, Buddy attacks Hogue and his cultists, explaining that for all Hogue's talk of power, it is clear to him that the power that Hogue really craves is that a performer has over a captive audience. As far as Brother Blood is concerned, Hogue is merely a sheep. Grinning, Hogue responds that there is power waiting for him, and the time has come for Buddy to show the audience that fact. Surrounded by cultists, Buddy is disturbed to see them slit their own throats. Despite that, they survive in a spirit form, revealing that from service to the Church of Blood comes power. With the rain of blood pouring down, and this revelation, the Church of Blood intends to gain followers who witness its miracles unfolding on live television.
Hogue demands that Buddy kill him, and allow his ascension to the Red, but Ellen stops him, warning that making Hogue a martyr won't help them find Maxine. Sighing, Buddy admits that while the Red is closed off, he can still feel Maxine's presence there - but there is a danger that Brother Blood and his generals will find her. Worried that she will lose her daughter, Ellen explains, through her tears, that when she left after Cliff died, it wasn't because she didn't love her husband. Buddy expresses his understanding, and responds that he loves her too. As he kisses her, though, something strange begins to happen to him. Hoping that he will find himself in the Red, Buddy is disappointed to discover that, somehow, he has been transported to another planet.
- This book was first published on November 20, 2013.
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