THE GRAND PREMIERE
On the anniversary of the Battle of Detroit that destroyed Detroit in 1982 and ultimately resulted in it being rebuilt as Millennium City, the newly-formed Retributors team is invited to attend the special premiere event of the new blockbuster movie, The Battle of Detroit, in Millennium City not far from the locations depicted in the film. They encounter several Hollywood personalities, including obnoxious fading bad-girl starlet Gloria Toback. During the first reel of the movie, there is a flash of light and the team finds itself sucked into the recreated events of the movie, with characters resembling not the real people depicted but the actors portraying them. They get involved in a street fight with the soldier minions of the archvillain Doctor Destroyer, culminating in a fight with the rampaging giant robot dinosaur Mega-Terak. They join with the heroes of Detroit on the offensive against Doctor Destroyer, with the Retributors tasked with securing Destroyer’s rooftop Asteroid Attractor from its robotic Destroid defenders, reversing its polarity, and deflecting the asteroids on a collision course with Earth while all the other heroes pin down Destroyer in his underground lair below. Blip teleports them in and Mechanoid re-enngineers the Attractor into a Deflector while the Destroids attack. Destroyer triggers his orbital laser, destroying the quasi-real Detroit simulation, and the Retributors are ejected back into the real world. They return to the theatre and encounter the real mastermind of the recreated Battle, Professor Paradigm, and his henchman/men Avant Garde, who is multiplied and shapeshifted into various black-and-white Hollywood stars heavily armed with futuristic weaponry. They are handily defeated, but Paradigm and his minions escape via their own teleporter. The Battle of Detroit goes on to be a massively successful blockbuster, in part due to the events of the premiere.
The Retributors become involved when a fancy art gallery has a special auction of ancient Lemurian artifacts and art objects, including a crude crystalline statue several thousands of years old. Team member Gibraltar, an exiled earth elemental prince, feels an oddly familiar agitation in connection with the artifacts. An odd, wealthy individual is hanging around the gallery, ultimately revealed to be the rogue Lemurian sorcerer Zorran the Artificer. He and his henchman Leviathan attempt to steal the statue, but are partially thwarted by the Retributors; they take a chip of the crystal statue and flee into a newly-created tunnel. The Retributors follow into the underground labyrinth, only to encounter Gibraltar’s childhood friend, the female elemental warrior Turquoise (aka Turk). Turk informs them that Gibraltar’s sister, Princess Uluru, was betrayed and captured by Zorran when she came to the Earth Dimension to enlist Gibraltar’s aid in the liberation of their homeland. Uluru’s elemental life force is being used to animate an army of crystalline golems which depend on elemental animus to stay mobile. Together the Retributors and Turquoise free Uluru and capture Zorran, who is turned over to law enforcement agency PRIMUS for arrest.
One of ladykiller team member Fortress’ many girlfriends uncharacteristically cancels a get together when she unexpectedly extends her one-week stay at posh Montana health spa resort Silent Springs. The Retributors investigate, only to find that a number of guests of the resort have disappeared. Investigating, they encounter Gloria Toback again. They ultimately uncover that the resort is actually a recruitment operation for the Elder Worms, who magically transform kidnapped human guests into members of their horrific humanoid worm race through the power of a magic talisman. A fight ensues which the Retributors lose and are captured. Blip begins to be transformed, but they manage to escape with the aid of a still-human slave of the Worms. Ultimately they drive the fully transformed Worms away and reverse the still-savable abductees with the talisman. When informed of the presence of the Worms, teammate Mechanoid abruptly disappears, taking their spaceship base with him.
THAT WHICH HAS FALLEN
Telepath Psychon joins the team, replacing the missing Mechanoid. Brought in by PRIMUS to intervene in a metahuman case involving multiple murders and a missing child, they discover that several parties are tracking a twelve-year old Chinese-American boy named Kenny Jiong. Involved in the hunt for Jiong is the fringe-Buddhist doomsday Cult of the Red Banner, with their army of martial artist warriors and mystics, lead locally by wealthy real estate developer and “philanthropist” Sidney Pang. Also hunting for Kenny is the mysterious kung fu swordswoman Bladejade, whom they find out is trying to kill the child. They learn that Kenny is the missing 23rd incarnation of the Badi Lama, the reincarnated soul of the founder of the Cult, and the Cult had abducted him in order to ultimately shape him into their new leader. They also discover that the Retributor Blip is also a reincarnated soul whose past lives had been in service to the Red Banner, and that the Cult had arranged her parents’ murder to similarly shape her destiny and bring her current incarnation back to the Cult. The Retributors convince Bladejade to refrain from killing Kenny (and destroying his soul forever with her magical sword, the Sword of Blood and Jade) and assist in recuing him from the Cult. During the rescue they encounter and fight Bladejade’s former comrades, Iron and Gold, who are defeated along with Pang. (They also briefly encounter the summoned ghost of Blip’s mother, but they escape before interacting with it meaningfully). Bladejade agrees to give Kenny (and, incidentally, Blip) the chance to break from the path laid out by their former incarnations, but warns that she will be watching and will kill them if it appears they will succumb to the Cult’s long term plans.
PRIMUS arranges for the newly orphaned Kenny Jiong to be enrolled in the Ravenwood Academy, a fancy boarding school that fronts for a training school for superheroes. It is reasoned that it is the only place with a staff strong enough to put off intervention by the Cult of the Red Banner and with a sufficient moral bent to guide him to use his powers for good rather than the evil the Cult seeks. Psychon is engaged to periodically check on Kenny’s development. While there, the school’s headmistress, Rowan, introduces the Retributors to the Academy’s next graduating class, who plan on forming a new super-team called the Ultra-Millenials. She also reveals that the computer simulation of the Battle of Detroit that originally was used in the Grand Premiere of that movie had originally been a training simulation designed for the Holodrome, the Ravenswood Academy’s holographic training facility. It had been pirated months before by parties unknown. In a demonstration of the simulation, the leader of the Ultra-Millennials, Dubstep, was injured when the simulation was sabotaged. Suspicion was initially directed at the team’s socially awkward semi-autistic mentalist, Emoticon, but the true culprit was ultimately revealed to be team super-genius Prodigy with the assistance of duplicating martial artist Flashmob. They had previously pirated the simulation and sold it to the scientific villain organization ARGENT. Thereafter, they sought to frame Emoticon with the assistance of Flashmob’s duplicating power and the school’s standard-issue holographic disguises, plus some creative hacking of the school’s security software. They attempted to escape with ARGENT’s aid, abducting Prodigy’s crush, Bling, the brick on the Ultra-Millennial team. The Retributors thwarted the escape/abduction, and the Ultra-Millennials decided to reform later with replacements for their treacherous classmates.
TUNE IN, TURN ON, FALLOUT
Mentally challenged mega-brick Grond is rampaging in downtown Millennium City, at the site of a local hospital. Blip, Fortress and Psychon scramble to stop him, only to discover that he is being backed up by several “Irradiates” with various powers. Irradiates are a kind of ‘mutant zombie’ with powers created by testing of the Delta Bomb in New Mexico in the 1950s-60s. This little group is led by an Irradiate who appears to be an eyeless little girl, Enola, a mentalist who has the power to shield Grond from mental attacks, his only real weakness. Grond and the Irradiates defeat the (partial) team of Retributors, and escape with a canister of radioactive isotopes from the hospital’s radiology department; the Irradiates cannot survive long without exposure to levels of background radiation that would hazardous to normal humans. The Retributors did manage to capture one Irradiate, however, who revealed that they had fled their home in Burning Sands, New Mexico (one of the few places on Earth with strong enough background radiation to sustain them) because their leader, an Irradiate called Littleboy, had embarked on what they considered a suicidal plan to war with non-Irradiates and spread fallout over a large territory to allow the Irradiate ‘race’ the opportunity to expand and grow. The team, excepting Fortress, charged into Burning Sands… and was badly beaten by a group of Irradiates led by Littleboy. The fled, regrouped with Fortress, and sallied into Burning Sands again, only to find it abandoned. The Irradiates had attacked the nearby Sugar Creek Nuclear Power Plant and gained control of its control room, and inducing a meltdown. The Retributors, better organized, infiltrated the plant with Blip’s teleportation powers and managed to overcome the Irradiates before the plant went critical. Having defeated Littleboy, Enola managed to take leadership of the Irradiate community and agreed to cooperate with a plan to relocate to a high-radiation habitat the Retributors and Stone Industries agreed to set up on the moon.
THE CITADEL OF ISOLATION, Part I
Electrical speedster “Surge” joins the team. Metahuman human history expert Regina Hamilton, who had been a script consultant on the Battle of Detroit movie and had been caught up in The Grand Premiere adventure, has a new job as curator of Millennium City’s new Museum of Metahuman History, and invites the Retributors to its Grand Opening. One object going on display for a brief time was The Omnihedron, a mysterious artifact once owned by the late Vanguard, who had been the most powerful metahuman in history. The opening is crashed by the villainous Brain Trust led by the Overbrain, a disembodied brain in a tank. They combat the Retributors but successfully snatch the Omnihedron and teleport away, but Blip is able to use her dimensional senses to track and locate their secret base at the edge of town. The Retributors go on the offensive, defeat the Brain Trust, and retrieve the Omnihedron.
THE CITADEL OF ISOLATION, Part II
The Retributors inadvertently activate the Omnihedron, which morphs into a hyper-tech real-time globe monitoring the whole world. A spot in the middle of the Sahara Desert in central Algeria. Investigating, they find behind a cloaking force field the replicated habitat of an alien planet with a metal tetrahedral “pyramid” at its center, and are attacked by a giant alien beast. They suborn the creature, only for what appears to be the late Vanguard himself to appear and begin playing with it, referring to it as “Fido.” They learn that “Vanguard” is actually one of several robotic “Vandroids” left behind by the deceased Vanguard. The pyramid was none other than Vanguard’s secret base, The Citadel of Isolation, created from alien (Malvan) hypertechnology for services Vanguard had rendered to the Malvans. The technology appears to be very similar to that of their missing teammate Mechanoid. The Omnihedron was the control module for the Citadel’s resident artificial intelligence, the Custodian, which revealed that by breaching the cloak around the Citadel it had been exposed to discovery by the Elder Worms, who were closing in on its location. The Vandroids are destroyed trying to stop them; but the Retributors manage to route the Worm scouting force handily. The Custodian informs them that with confirmation that Vanguard was dead, he would self-destruct with the Citadel to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The Citadel implodes into a micro-singularity and the Retributors return to America, acquire the Brain Trust’s secret base for their own use, and move in.
The Retributors, who have made known their plan to create a habitat for the Irradiates to live on the moon, are approached by veteran superhero Diamond and informed that the moon is secretly inhabited by the reclusive, insectile Selenites. Diamond and his former team the Fabulous Five had negotiated a peace treaty with the Selenites in the late 1970s vowing not to reveal their existence to the world in general and forbidding humans to make permanent colonies on the Moon. He suggests going with the Retributors to renegotiate the treaty to permit the Irradiate settlement. Unfortunately, the Retributors find that the Selenites had become manipulated by the alien supervillain Galaxia, whose Cosmic Gem made her appear as a goddess-like Selenite to the moon natives. Fortress challenges her to a fight, which he wins. Removing her Cosmic Gem, her true form (neither human nor Selenite, but a strange tentacled alien form) becomes apparent to all. The Selenites abandon her and agree to the relocation of the Irradiates, even suggesting appropriate locations. With the assistance of Stone Technologies, the Retributors set up the habitat and relocate the Irradiates there.
THE JUSTICE SQUADRON
Superhero Tomahawk, a member of world-famous New York based superteam The Justice Squadron, is seen in Millennium City after a mysterious rumored falling out with his teammates. The Justice Squadron (which is understaffed) appears and starts battling him, with the Retributors intervening and suborning both. Although the Retributors are victorious, the Squadron accuses Tomahawk of attempted murder of their new publicist and insists that they be left to address the matter “in house.” The Retributors do not wish to walk away, but Squadron teleporter Blink snatches Tomahawk and his teammates away. The Retributors follow them to their mansion base in New York City, only to discover that all of the Squadron except Tomahawk had fallen sway to a leanan sidhefairy named Umbriel who had been posing as the publicist. Tomahawk had seen through the ruse and attacked her. Umbriel reveals that either she or Rainbow would be chosen the following year to be “The Teinde,” a sacrifice the modern fae were required by ancient treaty to make to the ancient primordial fae known as the Fomorians. Umbriel commands the remaining Squadron members to capture Rainbow, but then flees when the Retributors turn the fight against her. The Squadron, freed from her enchantment, reconcile and apologize to the Retributors.
THE CAULDRON OF ARAWN
Rainbow, seeking information about Umbriel and the Teinde, arranges a meeting with dark elf supervillain Vilsimbra, a member of the evil mystical supervillains the Devil’s Advocates. Vilsimbra tells Rainbow that within a year either the Dark Fairy, Umbriel, or the Light Fairy, Rainbow herself, would be selected by the powerful fae lord Arawn as a sacrifice to the Fomorians. She suggests that Rainbow could gain leverage by stealing Arawn’s magical cauldron (which had the power to raise undead) from the fear spirit Samhain, who once a year at Halloween was entrusted with the Cauldron to perform a ritual in Germany’s Black Forest. The Retributors call magical superheroine Witchcraft of the Champions for assistance; she appears and counsels them not to trust Vilsimbra. She gives them magical amulets to protect them from mystical forces. The Retributors disrupt Samhain and his Necrowights in the Black Forest and steal the Cauldron. Returning to their base with it, they find an apparently beaten Witchcraft disabled their. The ruse is dropped almost immediately, as it is revealed that the “Witchcraft” who had appeared had in fact been Vilsimbra herself all along. The amulets were actually booby trapped and momentarily stunned the Retributors. A fight ensued, with the Devil’s Advocates being beaten but all but two of them escaping with the Cauldron. Arawn himself appears and announces that he could track his property to any dimension. He makes a deal with Rainbow that he will not choose her as the Teinde if she (A) retrieves the Cauldron for him, and (B) captures and delivers Umbriel to be the sacrifice in her stead. He guides the Retributors to the Devil’s Advocates’ extradimensional Chantryhouse, and they retrieve the Cauldron after a fight with Vilsimbra, Tartarus, Golem, and a variety of Necrowights.
TERRAYNE OF TERROR
Fortress, aka Chris Savage, is away while filming a new movie. The news is filled with reports of an unexpected acceleration of global warming as geothermal vents at the bottoms of the oceans begin sustained eruptions, heating the seas at an unprecedented rate. Simultaneously, Gibraltar senses elemental manipulation of the Earth’s crust centering on the earth deep beneath the Indian Ocean. The Retributors borrow the WWII-era mole drill, the “Pelucidar Express,” from the Smithsonian and follow the ancient Lemurian sub-Pacific tunnels to their source. They discover an underground fissure leading down to the magma crust, its sides populated by a kingdom of mole people tyrannically ruled over by Terrayne, seemingly an Earth elemental like Gibraltar but actually an ancient Atlantean construct fueled by the devoured animus of earth elementals. The immensely powerful Terrayne knocks out Gibraltar in a single blow and the Retributors barely escape. A rogue English-speaking mole person, named “Digby,” tries to escape with them. They regroup and use Gibraltar’s powers to burrow into Terrayne’ Amethystine Sanctum, where they discover the tyrant was being magically bolstered by a techno-magical device operated by their enemies, the Elder Worms. The Worms were seeking to terraform Earth into a humid hothouse more suitable to their bodies. A fight ensued, in which the Elder Worm sorcerer One Who Ensorcels possessed the body of Surge while the other worms and Terrayne himself attack the other Retributors. The Retributors attack the device feeding power to Terrayne, causing both to explode. The Elder Worms retreat, and the mole people are liberated. The geothermal activity subsides and the mole people embrace “freedom” obviously without understanding what it is.
A VERY SPECIAL CHAMPIONS: THE RETRIBUTORS CHRISTMAS
While watching the ceremonial Millennium City Christmas Tree lighting ceremony, the Retributors observe a fugitive humanoid alien fleeing a squad of high-tech ARGENT soldiers. They defeat the ARGENT agents and learn that the alien is Doctor Ulaari, the “Third Star-Sage of Mandaar.” His superiors, the First and Second Star-Sages of Mandaar, had tracked readings of the legendary “Lost Star” to Earth and subsequently disappeared. Ulaari followed suit, following the readings to Millennium City, but when he approached their source he had been ambushed by ARGENT. Ulaari leads the Retributors to the corporate offices of Solex, Inc., a research company developing solar energy. It is quickly revealed to be an ARGENT front with a heavily shielded underground base beneath. The Retributors infiltrated the base, defeated the ARGENT troops and super-cyborg “Borghemoth” stationed therein, but in the process the energy field containing the “Lost Star” collapses. The Lost Star is revealed to be Glorianna, the teenage human incarnation of a nascent star, and, enraged by her imprisonment, she threatened to destroy them all. Fortress talked her down. Glorianna departs with the ARGENT personnel in tow to face her wrath. Ulaari is reunited with the First and Second Star-Sages, and they agree that Glorianna is unstable and dangerous, and announce they will be observing Earth for her activity “From a safe distance.”