End of Summer
 

Fanzing Secret Files: 

Primal Force 

By David R. Black 

This column is a Who's Who of the Leymen, the team of heroes whose adventures were recorded in the DC Comics series Primal Force. But before we begin, some background information on the series is in order.

What is Primal Force?

Primal Force was a fifteen issue series published by DC comics in 1994 and 1995. The series ran from October 1994 to December 1995, and the series was one of four (Starman, Manhunter, and Fate being the others) to be launched after the conclusion of the Zero Hour mini-series. The Daily Planet Zero Hour Special Edition says of Primal Force;

"Not much is known about this group other than previously known heroes like Red Tornado and Jack O' Lantern, and some monster they call Golem. There's also this maniac called Claw and a woman named Meridian. They claim to have formed to battle the dark evil emanating from supernatural forces."

Who are the Leymen?

The Leymen is actually the name of the super group whose adventures appear in Primal Force. For the past two thousand years, a group of ten men known as the Leymen have been led by a man named Maltis. The Leymen's duty has been, an always will be, to band together in times of global imbalance and protect Earth from the forces set against it. After the event known as Zero Hour, the remaining members of the previous group of Leymen decided to retire. Their time had passed, and a new team of Leymen would be called. While performing the ritual to summon the new group, Maltis requested that the Earth bring him not just ordinary humans, but superheroes. The Earth itself chose which heroes would become Leymen and brought Maltis five relatively unknown heroes. There were supposed to be ten members, but this was the first time that less than that number responded to the call the join the Leymen. This was also the first time that a woman had been chosen to join the group.

Comprised of Claw, Golem, Jack O' Lantern, Meridian, and Red Tornado, the team would battle the supernatural and dark forces that sought to spread evil across the Earth. Other heroes, those who did not answer the original call to join, would also come forward to defend their planet in its time of need. These latter heroes included Black Condor, Nightmaster, and Willpower. And now, on to the Who's Who entries!

Black Condor


Black Condor and NightmasterPersonal Data

Full Name: Ryan Kendall
Occupation: Adventurer
Known relatives: Creighton (grandfather)
First appearance: Black Condor #1
Eye color: Green
Hair color: Black

History
Black Condor gained his abilities when his grandfather Creighton's secret organization altered his genetic structure. His grandfather's organization was trying to create humans who could fly, and out of many attempts, Ryan was their only success. Creighton himself had undergone a similar genetic treatment, but it left him disfigured. Ryan escaped from Creighton, and taking the name Black Condor, lived for a time in the Pine Barrens (essentially a forest) of New Jersey. There he met his friend Ned Smith, a park ranger.

Creighton's organization wanted to recapture Black Condor to find why, out of so many attempts, Ryan was the only test subject to receive powers. Creighton also hoped that a cure could be found for his condition. Over the course of Black Condor's twelve issue series, this story line slowly faded into the background. Black Condor took on the role of "reluctant hero" in many of his early adventures, especially those against the new Sky Pirate and the Shark. He slowly comes to accept his status as a hero, however, and after his series comes to an end, he joins the Justice League America in issue #71 of that series. Along with the Ray, Wonder Woman and Agent Liberty, Black Condor is part of the new recruits that join the JLA after Superman's death. Black Condor was barely used in JLA, but did appear in the excellent "Destiny's Hand" story line that ran from JLA #72 - 75.

Black Condor's relationship to the original hero of the same name is a bit complicated. At first, the original Black Condor appears as a blue hologram that only certain people (Ned Smith and the Ray, for instance) can see. This situation is not fully explained until The Ray #20-21, where it is revealed that Black Condor 1 is working for a different organization that wants to monitor Black Condor 2's progress. Black Condor 1 enlists the help of the Ray to try to convince Black Condor II to become the "champion" that Black Condor I wants him to be. Black Condor 2 eventually confronts and defeats his replacement as champion, a meta-human named White Eagle.

After a couple guest appearances in Hawkman, Black Condor joins the Leymen in Primal Force #8. Condor was one of the heroes called to join the Leymen that did not originally do so. To be honest, Condor is not given much attention in the series or further character development, but Primal Force's impending cancelation was the likely cause of this. After the Leymen disbanded, Black Condor traveled to Opal City, where he can be seen in the nighttime skies…….

Powers and Weapons
Black Condor's chief ability is his power to fly. He also has heightened senses of hearing, sight, and smell, limited telepathic powers, and also heals/recuperates from injuries faster than normal humans. Black Condor also carries a throwing knife, and he wields it with pinpoint accuracy.

Claw
Claw

Personal Data:

Real Name: John Chan
Occupation: Student - studying for a master's degree in Chinese history
Known Relatives: unnamed father, Valcan (ancestor, presumably deceased), Kregar (ancestor - Valcan's
father - deceased)
First appearance: Historical - Claw the Unconquered #1, Modern - Primal Force #0
Eye Color: Brown Hair Color: Black

History:
Centuries ago, on the alien planet Pytharia, a man seeking arcane knowledge that might help better his world accidentally released a demon. The demon tried to possess the man, but it was eventually exorcised. However, the demon left its mark on the man, transforming his right hand into a fur tufted, purple claw. The claw was a mark passed on to all the man's male descendents. The greatest of these descendents was Valcan, also known as Claw, who was trained to be a warrior of unparalleled skill, daring, and a master of all forms of combat.

John Chan is the son of a wealthy Chinese business man, with whom he has a poor relationship. John left China to live in Hong Kong and eventually the USA, where he was a graduate studying Chinese history. Approached by a mysterious man, John is asked if he would like to buy some armor and a sword that supposedly dates back to the Ming dynasty. Unbeknownst to both men, the armor and sword are actually from the planet Pytharia - how they came to Earth is unknown. Although the goods are black market, John agrees to buy them. Opening the box containing the armor and sword, John finds a purple claw hand in the box. The demon claw hand, having sentience of its own, leaps out of the box, cuts off John's right hand with the sword, and mounts itself on John's right arm. In John's own words, the claw "turned me into some kind of monster." The demonic spirit of the claw hand makes John more susceptible to rage, anger, bloodlust, and his own dark side. Returning to Hong Kong, John - now calling himself Claw - becomes an adventurer and hero/vigilante.

Powers and Weapons

Claw is an Olympic level athlete, master swordsman, and a savage hand to hand combatant. His greatest asset, and greatest liability at the same time, is the demon claw that is his right hand. John must wage a constant inner battle to keep the demonic spirit of the claw from possessing him completely and turning him to evil. The claw itself can actually speak, and it has been known to occasionally protect Claw from dangers that would harm him - and itself. Claw's sword may or may not be the magical sword Moonthorn used by his ancestor Valcan.

Golem

GolemPersonal Data

Full Name: goes by "Paul"
Occupation: none
Known relatives: none
First appearance: Ragman miniseries (1991)
Eye color: Yellowish brown with no pupils
Hair color: None, later appears but is made of rock.

History
In Jewish folklore, a Golem is a figure artificially constructed in the form of a human being and endowed with life. Golem is a gentle natured being made of earth, mud, and clay, and he desires nothing more than to become human. Golem is also a very….slow…talker….which…..drives….his……. teammate…..Claw….nuts. Golem was created in the swamps of Louisiana, and he helped the hero Ragman fight villains there. Golem was taken in by a kind hearted woman named Jean Lizotte, and when someone killed Jean, the police blamed Golem. Golem did not kill Jean, but chased into Manchac Swamp by a police helicopter, Golem is shot by heavy artillery fire. Startled more than injured, Golem falls into the waters of the swamp and is mystically transported to the Leymen's headquarters. Golem accepts the offer of team membership.

Golem adopts a more human like appearance in issue #8, and he now looks like a stone statue of a man. Gloem adopts the name "Paul" and does his best to pass for a normal human, even to the point of painting himself with flesh colored paints. Jack and Paul's conversation in issue #9 about what it means to be human is well done. Giolem seemingly perishes in issue #12, but being a creature of the Earth, he returns in issue #14 apparently unharmed. Golem simply creates a new body for himself out of the mud and dirt surrounding the Leymen's headquarters.

Powers
Golem is super strong and has a lot of endurance. Being made of rocks and clay, he is also very difficult to injure. Water can dissolve Gole, but he is able to reform his entire body, or parts of it, after drying out.

Jack O' Lantern

Jack O'Lantern
Personal Data

Full Name: Liam McHugh
Occupation: Former factory worker
Known relatives: unnamed mother, unnamed sister, Daniel Cormac (cousin, deceased), Padraic Cormac
(uncle).
First appearance: Super Friends #8 (historical), Primal Force #0 (modern).
Eye color: Blue
Hair Color: Brown

History
Liam McHugh is the third hero to call himself Jack O' Lantern. The first was Daniel Cormac, Liam's cousin. Daniel was given a magic lantern by the fairy queen Maev, and thus he became the Irish superhero Jack O' Lantern. Daniel joined the Global Guardians, and served alongside them until they were disbanded because of the formation of Justice League International. Daniel and his girlfriend Wenonah Littlebird, also known as the super heroine Owlwoman, then traveled to Bialya where they unwittingly became the mind controlled pawns of the villainous Queen Bee.

Daniel was apparently killed in Justice League Europe #4, and the Queen Bee had him replaced by an imposter. The imposter, Jack O' Lantern #2, was killed in J.L.A. #55 (2nd series) when a bomb destroyed the Queen Bee's secret laboratories in Bialya. The Global Guardians were shocked to learn of the imposter, and Owlwoman tried to find out what had happened to Daniel, the original Jack. In Justice League Quarterly #6, Owlwoman finds Daniel alive in the underground torture chambers/catacombs of Bialya. Owlwoman rescues the near death Daniel, and he soon reclaimed his rightful role as Jack O' Lantern.

Later, Daniel actually did die, and at his wake Daniel's cousin Liam McHugh finds the "pumpkin of power" that used to belong to Daniel. Wenonah (Owlwoman) is also at the wake and she tells Liam that he may keep the power pumpkin if he promises to keep the legacy of Jack O' Lantern alive. Liam agreed and he became the third Jack O' Lantern. For six months, Liam tried to help those in need in his war torn home of Northern Ireland. He was inexperienced, but not lacking in enthusiasm. Liam answered the call to join the leymen, and he has become better at the heroing business as time progresses. Liam meets the mysterious Woman of the Water in issue #7, and she tells him of his destiny to become head of the brotherhood of the Leymen once Maltis' time is done. The first prophecy of Liam's destiny comes true when Liam begins to manifest the powers of the magic lantern without actually using the lantern itself.

Powers and Weapons

The magic lantern, or "pumpkin of power" as Liam likes to call it, allows Liam to fly and project energy blasts. The lantern runs out of power every noon, but it then begins the automatic process of recharging, becoming most powerful at midnight. The lantern can be used anytime at partial power. The Lantern is also able to cast spells, shrink items, and create a fog, but only Daniel was able to use the lantern to do these things. Liam apparently doesn't know of the lantern's other functions, since it didn't exactly come with an instruction booklet! However, Liam has internalized the lantern's powers and no longer needs it to use his powers.

Meridian

MeridianPersonal Data

Full Name: Meridian Mychaels
Occupation: Martial arts instructor
Known relatives: Marsha LeAnne (sister), Christine (adopted daughter).
First appearance: Primal Force #0
Eye color: Blue-green
Hair color: Brown

History
Two years before the current group of Leymen formed, Meridian Mychaels was attacked by a mugger while walking home at night in New York City. Meridian fought with her attacker, having just been to a self defense class, but she was not strong enough to fend off her attacker. While being attacked, Meridian kept wishing she could be somewhere else - anywhere else - and suddenly she was! Fighting for her life had caused her dormant meta-gene to kick in, and Meridian now found that she possessed the ability to teleport. Not satisfied with just having superpowers, Meridian became an avid student of various forms of self defense and martial arts. Meridian soon became such a skilled martial artist that she was hired by Grant's Gym (located in Manhattan) as a self defense instructor and personal trainer.

After hearing the call to join the Leymen, Meridian was initially rejected by the sexist Maltis, who could not accept that a woman had been chosen to become one of Earth's protectors. Meridian proved Maltis wrong by assisting the fledgling team tremendously, and Meridian soon became the unofficial team leader. Meridian formally joins the team in issue #4 at the request of her teammates. After the apparent death of Maltis at the end of the series, Meridian adopts Maltis' daughter Christine.

Powers
Meridian is an excellent hand to hand combatant and an Olympic level athlete. She is skilled in numerous forms of martial arts. Additionally, Meridian possesses the power to teleport herself and others to various places on Earth. She cannot teleport anywhere, but rather she moves along the "ley lines" of Earth. Like her name implies, ley lines are similar to the system of latitude (parallels) and longitude (meridians). Meridian can normally only teleport one or two other people along with her but has been able to teleport more than that number in certain cases.

Nightmaster

Personal Data

Full Name: Jim Rook
Occupation: former musician, now bookstore owner
Known relatives: Nacht (ancestor), Janet Jones (fiancee, probably his wife by now)
First appearance: Showcase #82
Eye color: Blue
Hair Color: originally black, now gray

History
Back in the late 1960's, Jim Rook was the lead singer for a rock band called the Electrics. As it turns out, Jim is a descendent of the Myrran hero Nacht. King Zolto, ruler of the dimension of Myrra, needed to find a descendant of Nacht in order to save Myrra from the evil Warlocks. Only one of Nacht's descendants could wield the Sword Of Night, the only weapon which could stop the Warlocks' ongoing attacks. King Zolto transports Jim to Myrra, inadvertently bringing Jim's fiancee Janet Jones along as well. Jim was reluctant to help Zolto defeat the Warlocks, and wanted to return home, but when Janet is kidnapped by the Warlocks, Jim sets out to free her. Outfitted with the Sword of Night and a replica of Nacht's costume, Jim calls himself Nightmaster. Nightmaster defeated the Warlocks, rescued Janet, and eventually returned home to Earth. Jim brought the sword and costume with him to Earth, and it is unknown if he ever returned to Myrra.

Fast forward to the late 1990's, and Jim, having long since retired as Nightmaster, now owns a small bookstore called Oblivion Inc. Oblivion Inc. specializes in mystical and occult books, and one of Jim's frequent customers is Will Twotrees, alias Willpower. When all the members of the Leymen except Black Condor are captured by the August, Jim is persuaded by Black Condor to come out of retirement. Donning his guise of Nightmaster once again, Jim helps Black Condor defeat the August and free the other Leymen. Jim then re-retired his Nightmaster identity, content with tending his bookstore.

Powers and Weapons
Nightmaster is a skilled swordsman, and although no longer in prime physical condition, an above average athlete. His principal weapon is the Sword Of Night, which fills Nightmaster with additional strength, deflects magical energy, and can warn of danger by emitting a humming sound. The sword's touch causes a person to speak the truth, and only a heroic descendent of Nightmaster can wield it.

Red Tornado

Personal Data

Full Name: Uses the alias "John Smith," also known as Tornado Champion and Tornado Tyrant.
Occupation: Android, elemental
Known relatives: A robot "family" he built for himself
First appearance: (as Tornado Tyrant) Mystery in Space #61, (as Red Tornado) Justice League of
America #64, series 1
Eye Color: Blue
Hair Color: None

History
The Red Tornado began his existence on the planet Rann as a sentient living tornado called the Tornado Tyrant. He tried to conquer Rann, but after seeing Adam Strange and the J.L.A. in action, the Tornado Tyrant decided to become a hero. He renamed himself the Tornado Champion, but his evil half split off to become a separate entity, a new Tornado Tyrant. The scientist T.O. Morrow created an android called the Red Tornado to use for evil purposes, and to defeat Morrow, the Tornado Champion entered the android body. Doing so cost the Tornado Champion his memory, and he also found that he was stuck in the android body. Calling himself the Red Tornado, he eventually became a member of both the JLA and the JSA. When his android body was destroyed during the Crisis on Infinite Earths, Red Tornado reformed himself as a powerful living tornado - the Tornado Champion again. The Red Tornado was now an elemental being, a force of nature.

Tornado's android body was rebuilt, but its activities and whereabouts were unknown until two boys discovered it in a cave near the Grand Canyon. Red Tornado was badly damaged and curled up in a fetal position. The two boys thought Red Tornado was dead, but in moving him, they somehow reactivated him. Tornado then joined the Leymen, but the damage he had suffered previously caused him to make rattling noises and occasionally collapse. Tornado could not speak until issue #9, and even then, he was only repeating phrases he had said in adventures prior to joining the Leymen. The Tornado Tyrant portion of Red Tornado returns in issue #13, and the two become one again. Red Tornado defeated the Tyrant, pulling it into his android body, and has managed to suppress its evilness. After the Leymen disbanded, Red Tornado went home to his "family", Kathy Sutton and Traya.

Powers
Red Tornado can create and control wind, ranging from a gentle zephyr to a powerful tornado. He can also fly and has limited control over the weather.

Willpower

Personal Data

Full Name: William Twotrees
Occupation: Unknown
Known relatives: unnamed mother, unnamed grandfather, Johnny Thunder (father), Simon Thunder
(paternal grandfather, deceased), Mildred Thunder (paternal grandmother, deceased).
First appearance: Primal Force #2
Eye color: Brown, in electric form they are white
Hair color: Black, none in electric form

History
Will's mother is a Jicarilla Apache, and the father Will never knew was white. Part of two cultures, Will tries to live his life embracing both heritages. As a child growing up in New Mexico, Will's grandfather, a shaman, told him tales of spirits that rode the clouds looking for bad children and taking them away. Will was told that a thunderstorm had taken his father away from him, but as grew up, Will no longer believed the stories, accepting that his father had abandoned him. One day a severe thunderstorm swept past Will and his mother's home, and Will felt the storm calling him. Reaching out to the stormy sky, Will was struck by lightning and carried away into the clouds. While in the clouds, Will became a living thunderbolt, unable to return to Earth. Will is pulled out of the clouds by Red Tornado in issue #6 and discovers that he is able to switch between his normal human form and his thunderbolt form.

Will learns that he was one of the five Leymen who didn't answer the call to join the team, but he joins now in order to see if he can learn who his father is and his whereabouts. During the final battle with the August in issue #12, Will learns that his father is Johnny Thunder, member of the golden age JSA. Johnny apparently traveled a lot after the JSA disbanded, met Will's mother in New Mexico, and fell in love with her. After Will was born, Johnny left because "there was a lot of prejudice back then. I couldn't stay. Could have cost me my career to admit that I had a son of a different race. I know that's not much of an excuse though…." After the Leymen disbanded, Will joined a touring group of musicians as a "human light show." Will feels that touring the country will be the best way to locate his father, if Johnny thunder is indeed his father.

Powers
Will can turn himself into a living thunderbolt, a being of brilliant blue energy. While in this state, Will can project blue energy and lightning beams, and make thunderous "KRAK-A-BOOM" noises. Will can "power up" into his superhuman form as long as he is not too fatigued, and he can change back to normal at will.


Primal Force Issue Synopses

Issue #0 - "The Call"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Ken Hooper, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: This is a fairly standard first issue, with the individual characters being introduced separately, then coming together to form the team. Jack O' Lantern saves the victims of a bus bombing in Northern Ireland, and the method he uses to do so shows his inexperience as a hero. In New York City, Dr. Mist/Maltis' daughter Christine foretells the arrival of the villain Cataclysm. Christine also makes cryptic reference to most of the other villains who will appear in the series. In South America, vulcanologist Harold Ross becomes the villain Cataclysm by plunging into the Incan well of life. Claw is tracking down the villainous Silver Dragon, who has kidnapped a few girls in Hong Kong, and Red Tornado is reactivated by two boys who find his battered android body. Golem is on the run from the police in Louisiana, and Meridian is teaching a self defense class. Feeling the threat of Cataclysm draw near, Maltis summons the remaining members of the previous group of Leymen, but against Maltis' wishes, they choose to retire instead of facing the threat represented by Cataclysm. Maltis summons the new group via the mystical water pool, but while doing so he is attacked by Cataclysm. Cataclysm leaves Maltis to drown, but as the new group of Leymen arrives, he is pulled out of the water by Jack O' Lantern and revived by Meridian (she knows CPR). Claw, Red Tornado, Golem, Jack, and Meridian are all left somewhat disoriented and confused by their instant arrival at Maltis' mansion by way of the water pool. Claw is especially confused, and still thinking he is in battle with the Silver Dragon, the enraged swordsman attacks his soon to be teammates……

Issue #1 - "Water Signs"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Ken Hooper, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The issue begins with narration by Maltis while Claw continues his attack on the others. Maltis comments on each of the members as they try to stop Claw, and watching Meridian manage to subdue Claw, Maltis is shocked to discover that a woman has been chosen to join the team. After the group ceases fighting and gains their bearings, Maltis realizes that Cataclysm has kidnapped Christine! Christine is an oracle (meaning she can see into the future), and having other mystical powers as well, "she is the key to Cataclysm's power." Cataclysm is "an ancient creature who carries the power of Earth's natural destructive forces" and wants to "force the planet to consume all its inhabitants." Maltis explains to the group what the Leymen are, and he tells them that they have answered their planet's call to become members of a new Leymen team, and defend their planet in its times of need. Being sexist, Maltis then asks Meridian to leave ("there has never been a woman among our order"), and he then inducts Claw, Golem, Jack, and Red Tornado into the brotherhood of the Leymen. Maltis tells them of the origins of the Leymen, and gives them each a ley pendulum, which can augment their powers in times of need. Meanwhile, Meridian manages to stumble across Cataclysm in Central Park, and she teleports herself back to Maltis' mansion to tell the others. The team confronts Cataclysm but cannot stop him from reaching one of the Earth's "power points" and spreading his evil across the world. The evil energies released by Cataclysm will cause strange things to happen throughout the rest of the series…..

Issue #2 - "Dust"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Ken Hooper, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The Leymen seemingly defeated, Cataclysm feasts on the energy entering his body from the power point. The Leymen launch one more desperation attack, which allows Meridian enough time to rescue Christine from Cataclysm and teleport her out of harms way. Meridian takes Christine to the midtown Manhattan apartment of Meridian's sister Marsha, and returns to the battle to find the rest of the team in trouble. Not only is Cataclysm soundly thrashing the team, but innocent bystanders are being injured as well. As Golem diverts Cataclysm's attention, Meridian gets close enough to Cataclysm to teleport both of them to the river/bay. --- Two interludes break up the action. The first introduces William Twotrees, who will eventually join the team as Willpower, and the second foreshadows the events of issue #3.--- The team hurries out to the bay to confront Cataclysm, who is now losing power and needs another power point to recharge. Without Christine, Cataclysm has no means to locate another one. The Leymen slowly begin to turn the tide against Cataclysm, but when Maltis suffers a heart attack, the team loses (though not permanently) its experienced leader. The ley pendulums reach out to their wearers, however, and endow the five heroes with additional strength and power. The mystical power boost is enough to defeat Cataclysm, who is swallowed up by the Earth. Afterwards, Meridian - who does not yet have her own ley pendulum - inadvertently touches Claw's pendulum while trying to determine how the group's powers were boosted. The pendulum overloads Meridians powers, and the entire team is transported somewhere in order to stop another evil spawned by Cataclysm's powers…..

  Issue #3 - "Histories"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Pencillers: Ken Hooper and Christopher Schenck, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The team ends up on Dolos Island, located in the South Pacific Ocean, but they haven't figured that out…yet. Trying to determine where they are, Claw and Golem take a look at a Greek style building they find on the top of a hill. They find footprints and a photograph of two tourists, but no actual people. Claw guesses that the tourists are gone by now. Nightfall soon arrives, and Meridian, lacking the power reserves needed to get them off the island, suggests that they each tell one another about themselves. Claw, Golem, and Jack tell of their origins, but the mute Red Tornado can only draw strange hieroglyphics in the sand - which nobody understands. Meridian's origin is left untold until issue #10. At dawn the following day, the team discovers a wrecked ship along the coast, but its crew members are nowhere to be found. Jack finds a diary which leads them to believe that the crew is on the island and in trouble, and the team sets off to find them. The Leymen find the ship's two person crew in a cave, held prisoner by a Minotaur! Claw, Jack, and Golem defeat the minotaur while Tornado and Meridian rescue the crew. Once the crew is rescued Meridian begins to transport the team and the crew off the island one by one. But where will Meridian's suddenly unpredictable powers take them this time?…….

Issue #4 - "Hunters"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nick Choles, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: In a tale featuring Claw, the Leymen find themselves in Hong Kong. Continuing where he left off in issue #0, Claw learns the whereabouts of the Silver Dragon, and Claw sets off to free the girls kidnapped by him. Before setting out to find Claw, Meridian officially joins the Leymen team. Red Tornado gives her his ley pendulum, and Jack performs the initiation ceremony (at least the parts of it he remembers accurately anyway). The Leymen then set off to find Claw, who by now has infiltrated the Silver Dragon's headquarters. Claw fights his way past many of the Silver Dragon's men, discovers the secret behind the man paying Silver Dragon to kidnap the girls, but is ultimately captured. The remaining Leymen arrive, and Claw uses the ensuing commotion to escape. Reunited, the team defeats the Silver Dragon and his employer, and Meridian teleports the team to Australia. What evils await the Leymen there?…..

Issue #5 - "Folktales"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Ken Hooper, Inkers: Barbara Kaalberg and Wade von Grawbadger, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: In Alice Springs, Australia, four teenagers discover a source of mystical power located in a sacred Aborigine area called Uluru (a.k.a. Ayers Rock). Against the urgings of the local Aborigine chief, the teenagers touch a humming rock that is full of mystic energy….evil energy that was released by Cataclysm. Meanwhile, the Leymen arrive in Australia, much to the dismay of Claw, who cannot believe that Meridian's "dippy powers" backfired again. However, Meridian realizes that her powers are somehow following the path left by Cataclysm's evil energy, and the Leymen's task is to stop that evil. The team meets a local man named Abe, and they agree to bring to justice those persons responsible for the death of Abe's son Alec. Little does the team know that Alec's killers are really four monsters from Australian myth that are terrorizing the countryside surrounding Alice Springs. As the team settles in for the night at a local hotel, a good deal of character development and interaction occurs. Morning arrives, and Meridian and Alec's mother go to Alec's girlfriend's house to ask her questions about Alec's murder. Upon their arrival, they find the girlfriend's house in shambles, and one of the four monsters leaps out of the rubble and attacks Meridian……..

Issue #6 - "Truths"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Pencillers: Ken Hooper and Gabrielle Morrissette, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: Meridian readies herself to fight the lizard-like monster, but it runs past her instead. Grabbing a rat, the monster kills it, and returns to human form. It turns out that the four teenagers who touched the rock in issue #5 became the monsters, and they must kill (something) in order to temporarily resume human form. Meanwhile, in a local tavern of all places, Claw learns that the creatures are called the Garkain (a giant bat), Myndie the snake woman, the devil dog Irrinja, and the lizard Whowie. Jack, Golem, and Tornado stumble across one of the teenager's cars and find blood stained clothing. Something's amiss….and when the boy who becomes Whowie the lizard runs off, leaving a note that says "Tonight. Hall's Rocks. Try to stop us," the Leymen agree to stop the monsters' murderous reign. The Leymen engage the monsters in battle, and they discover how to permanently return the monsters to their normal human forms. Getting the monsters to retouch the mystical rock that initially transformed them is all it takes. The Leymen are eventually victorious, but Jack O' Lantern is apparently killed by the Garkain. However, Jack disappeared when his unconscious body hit the water, so nobody knows for certain if he is truly dead. At the end of the story, the Leymen gain a member when Red Tornado manages to pull Willpower out of the lightning storm he had been trapped in, but what became of Jack?………

Issue #7 - "Lessons"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Pencillers: Nicholas Choles and Greg LaRocque, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Clem Robbins, Colorist: Tom Zuiko, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: Jack wakes up in the mystical dimension inhabited by the mysterious Water Woman. Initially, Jack thinks he has gone to Heaven, and the Water Woman is God, but he is incorrect. The Water Woman tells Jack that she has brought him to this place to help him learn how to become a better hero. Jack is initially skeptical, and says that he's no hero, just a factory worker. The Water Woman disagrees, and she tells Jack that he not only has a legacy to uphold, but one day he is destined to become the leader of the Brotherhood of the Leymen (the position currently held by Maltis). The Water Woman then gives Jack a few lessons on what it means to be a hero, using other DCU heroes as examples. Flashbacks to "recent" (actually circa 1994-1995) DCU events occur. From watching Superman, Jack learns how being a hero means setting an example, persevering, and inspiring others to overcome "the evils we all must eventually face." The story of Wonder Woman teaches that one should always continue to hone their abilities rather than merely relying on them and that recovering from occasional defeats and continuing the good fight is essential. From Hawkman, Jack learns that not all heroes see things the same way, and from Green Lantern, Jack learns about the three lives - hero, team member, and ordinary man - that can be lived by one man. Finally, Jack learns that a "true hero is driven by something pure, something good and right that is felt within" by observing the Azrael version of Batman do the opposite. The Water Woman gives Jack the pendulum of the Prime Ley and sends him home. But time works differently in the Water dimension, and Jack finds that an entire month has passed since he last was with the other Leymen……

Issue #8 - "Metamorphosis"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nicholas Choles, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: This is a neat little self contained story. Jack finds that many things have changed during the time he was away from the Leymen, but all the poor guy wants to do is get some sleep. Alas, it's not meant to be. Tornado is making all sorts of loud noises in the mansion's bell tower, Claw loses control of his demonic claw hand - it tries to attack both Jack and Claw -, and Meridian and Claw are apparently an item. The team has also added two new members, Black Condor and Willpower, while Jack was gone, and Golem has adopted a more humanlike appearance and wants to be called "Paul." In Jack's own words, the "whole place is a bloody madhouse." Meanwhile, the August plot line coming up in two issues is foreshadowed, and the "would you like to take a test about the world around you" cult characters are introduced for the first time. In the morning, Jack and Will head over to Oblivion Inc. Books, and Jim Rook - alias Nightmaster - makes his series debut. While Will is buying books about the occult from the bookstore, Meridian takes Christine to a carnival and buys her a straw effigy doll (a "corn baby"). Later that night while Will reads Christine a scary bedtime story, from the occult book he bought earlier, the straw doll comes to life! The doll attacks Will and Christine, and incapacitates anyone who tries to stop it by showing them their darkest fears. It's interesting to see the darkest fears of all the Leymen, and members of the supporting cast, who try to stop the doll. The doll's rampage is eventually stopped by Jack and Red Tornado, and Meridian and Claw, returning back to the mansion from a date, find the place in a state of confusion. Maltis has suffered another heat attack, and Jack thinks that Maltis is dead……

Issue #9 - "Shell Game"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nicholas Choles, Inkers: Barbara Kaalberg and Jordi Ensign, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The spotlight is on Red Tornado in this issue, and all of the issue's events are seen from his unique point of view. Tornado watches as a comatose Maltis is given a poor prognosis by a doctor, who believes that Maltis may have less than a week to live if his vital signs do not improve. Tornado then defeats a villain known as Prince Inferno, accidentally burns Christine when he returns to the mansion (his metallic body is still radiating Inferno's heat energy), and he discovers that Willpower is being attacked in the courtyard. Members of the August, a dastardly group bent on the Leymen's destruction, are slowly capturing Leymen one by one. Tornado and Will fight the bad guys, but when Tornado suddenly conks out, Will is captured. Meanwhile, Jack and Golem are taking a stroll through Central Park, and Jack is trying to teach Golem what it means to be human. Tornado and Black Condor soon arrive, and tell them of a man that is turning people and objects to stone. The man is Matthew Nieman, a news reporter who was seemingly killed by Cataclysm by in issue #2. Nieman calls himself "Fossil," and though he causes some more destruction, he is eventually stopped by the quartet of heroes. One of Golem's arms is broken off during the fight, but that's OK since he says that he can always make another one (even though it won't match). Tornado returns to the mansion and finds that the August has kidnapped Maltis. He also realizes that Donovan, a member of the previous Leymen team who was guarding Maltis, has betrayed them. The entire team gathers, finds the symbol of the August burned into the ground outside, and stepping onto it, Red Tornado speaks for the first time in the entire series……

Issue #10 - "The Inside"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nicholas Choles, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The issue begins with the two sub-leaders of the August, Alder and Camille, posing as relatives of their "nephew" Lucian, the Mind Grabber Kid. Mind Grabber Kid, who has only appeared once in an old issue of Justice League of America (1st series), has been institutionalized for the past many years in a psychiatric hospital. Alder and Camille get him released, and they plan on using Mind Grabber Kid as a pawn in their battle against the Leymen. Back at the mansion of the Leymen, Red Tornado is speaking again, but he's not making much sense. After many frustrating minutes spent trying to communicate with Tornado, the other Leymen give up. Claw and Black Condor decide to search the city for the missing Maltis and Willpower, while Jack accompanies Meridian to a women's rights "Take Back the Night" march. This little subplot is very well done, and it also features the first telling of Meridian's origins. In the meantime, Claw, Tornado, and Black Condor find Mind Grabber Kid terrorizing visitors at the Guggenheim Museum. The trio tries to stop Mind Grabber Kid, but he handily defeats them. Tornado realizes that something is wrong, and upon their return to the Leymen mansion, the trio finds that the August has kidnapped Golem. The battle with Mind Grabber Kid was just a diversion! Claw finds Donovan, the former Leyman, unconscious but unhurt from the attack. Donovan was present when Maltis was kidnapped as well, and Claw rightfully believes that Donovan has betrayed them…….

Issue #11 - "Siege"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nicholas Choles, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: Part two of the August story line. It is told by Black Condor to an unseen ally in the form of a flashback. Claw and Black Condor interrogate Donovan and learn where the August are keeping their teammates. Meridian, taking Black Condor with her, teleports to the August's headquarters to do "a quick reconnaissance" so they can decide what to do next. Meridian inadvertently teleports inside of the August's headquarters, and Mind Grabber Kid captures her but Black Condor gets away. One by one, operatives of the August capture the members of the Leymen. Jack and Tornado are soon captured, and as August operatives swarm into the mansion, they manage to capture Claw as well. The only one left, Black Condor realizes that "the fury of the August's assault and the constant metamorphosis of their plan were ruses used to divide and conquer" the team. Knowing that the August will soon be coming for him, Black Condor searches for an ally to help him rescue his teammates. Black Condor goes to Oblivion Inc. Books, and the reader learns that the person Condor has been telling this story to is Jim Rook. Jim agrees to help Condor, and removing the Sword of Night from its glass display case, Jim is transformed into Nightmaster! Black Condor and Nightmaster travel to the headquarters of the August, and sensing the evil emanating from the building, Nightmaster remarks that "it may be too late - for everything!"……..

Issue #12 - "Virtues"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Pencillers: Nicholas Choles, David Ammerman, and Paul Guinan. Inkers: Ron Boyd, Barbara Kaalberg, and Paul Guinan. Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Lee Loughridge, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: The conclusion of the August story line. This issue is narrated by Willpower, and he and his fellow captive teammates, along with one man Will doesn't recognize, are imprisoned within The August's sacrificial chamber. The August plan to kill the Leymen one by one using a mystical acid pool, and by sacrificing the Leyman's "noble soul," they will be able to remake the world anew. The leader of the August, Modrus, desires to create a new reality where the August rules supreme. Modrus allows his followers to have a try at creating a new reality, and the first to try is Alder. Golem is thrown into the acid pool and seemingly killed. Alder's reality is ultimately rejected by Modrus, and the mental strain of having his reality rejected leaves Alder a babbling incompetent. Meanwhile, Nightmaster and Black Condor have entered the headquarters of the August and have begun to fight their way towards their captive friends. The August member Camille is the next to try her hand at creating a new reality, and the Leyman sacrificed to allow this to happen is a previously unseen character called Noir. Noir turns out to be one of the heroes who did not answer the original call to join the Leymen, but it matters little now since he is killed! Camille's version of reality is eventually rejected, leaving her mentally disabled as well. But before the August can try again in their quest to create a new reality, Nightmaster and Black Condor arrive to free their teammates. An all out battle royal ensues between the Leymen and the August. During the battle, we learn that Maltis has somehow gotten inside Tornado's android body and that Jack has internalized the powers of his "pumpkin of power." Maltis is thrown into the acid pool by the evil Modrus, and a third alternate reality springs into being. In this final reality, Zatanna guest stars, Will learns who his father really is, and ultimately Will summons the power to reject this alternate reality. The August defeated, the world returns to normal. However, the Leymen have lost Maltis and Golem in the process of triumphing over evil. And as the last page shows, their battle against evil is not yet complete as Cataclysm returns……

Issue #13 - "Severance"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Penciller: Nicholas Choles, Inker: Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorist: Phil Allen, Editor: Jim Spivey
Plot Summary: This issue is supposedly an Underworld Unleashed tie in, but not by much. We begin in Jack's room, where he is praying to both God and the Water Woman. Jack has a feeling that "something awful is going to happen," and Meridian also sense big trouble ahead. Martian Manhunter makes a one page cameo appearance, and during his talk with Red Tornado, we learn that the still-on-the-loose Tornado Tyrant part of Red Tornado has been the cause of Tornado's troubles. Meanwhile, the demon within the claw is waging an internal battle with Claw for control of Claw's soul. Claw has had enough, and to escape the demon's influence, he uses his sword to cut his demon-claw hand off! Will hears Claw's cries of pain, and finds the self mutilated Claw bleeding profusely. Will and Meridian quickly take Claw to a hospital so his wound can be healed before he bleeds to death. Cataclysm is revealed to have spread his powers to "followers" whom he controls. Cataclysm releases his weapon toting followers on an unsuspecting New York, and chaos is soon everywhere. As if Cataclysm alone isn't enough, the Tornado Tyrant has returned and is battling Red Tornado at the waterfront, and Meridian and Claw stumble across the super villain Lord Satanus. While Meridian and an injured Claw battle Lord Satanus in the hospital, Will and Red Tornado battle the Tornado Tyrant, and Jack and Black Condor confront Cataclysm. While all this fighting is going on, Christine is quietly going about creating a new body for Golem in the sand outside the mansion. But even if Golem is somehow brought back to life, will he have any comrades to return to? The three villains are on the verge of overpowering the Leymen…..

Issue #14 - "The Course of All Things"
Writer: Steven Seagle, Pencillers: Nicholas Choles and Jim Hall, Inkers: Don Hillsman and Barbara Kaalberg, Letterer: Willie Schubert, Colorists: Phil Allen and Tom Zuiko, Editors: Jim Spivey and Peter Tomasi.
Plot Summary: Series finale. Times Square is in chaos as the Leymen continue the fight against Cataclysm, Lord Satanus, and the Tornado Tyrant. The Leymen are given a temporary reprieve while Satanus and Cataclysm fight each other, but when the two villains form an alliance, things get even worse for the Leymen. Golem makes his semi-unexplained return to the team, and a near death Claw agrees to allow the demon-claw back onto his arm. Just as it did for the previous men who have called themselves Claw, the demon-claw protects its host from mortal injury, and by re-attaching itself to Claw's arm it saves his life. In the meantime, Red Tornado has defeated the Tornado Tyrant. By reuniting with the Tyrant, Red Tornado becomes whole again, and thus ends his frequent collapsing and malfunctioning. The reader never does see how the battle against Satanus and Cataclysm ends. We're just told that the Leymen, even though they looked doomed, eventually won. The final six pages are narrated by Jack, an undetermined amount of time later. The team eventually broke up, and everybody went their separate ways. The whereabouts and activities of the individual members are revealed, and some of the series' loose ends are tied up as well. Jack comments that it seemed disappointing - "like we [the Leymen] had let the world down somehow" - that the team had disbanded. But as soon as the ley pendulums tell them that the team is needed again to restore order to the world, the Leymen will be ready…….

David R. Black is Fanzing.com's magazine editor and chief archivist. A big fan of "The Warlord," he has a cat named Shakira and is looking for a girlfriend named Tara....

 
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