Freedom's Five

A Mighty Tale Told in the Might Marvel Manner!

Under Blood Soaked Skies

On the fog swept moor near the manor house came the distinct roar of an engine. High above the ground, seated in the cockpit of his plane, was the Phantom Eagle, otherwise known as Karl Kaufman. The American pilot brought his plane around for a landing on a specially marked runway near a barn on the outskirts of the estate. Taxiing down the paved driveway, he brought his plane to a stop as a young man approached him.

"They're waiting for you in the drawing room sir."

Doffing his goggles, the Phantom Eagle nodded as he stood up. "Thank you Hodgekins." He stepped down as the young man unfolded a large tarp and began to cover the plane.

Walking on the path, he never stopped being impressed by the land around him. "Monty sure knows how to live it up." He slipped through the hedges and entered the manor house via the servants' entrance. The house was quiet; as all the servants save Hodgekins had been sent out for the evening. Walking down the darkened corridors and past the gloomy portraits of the former residents served as no distraction to him as he marched past the chiming grandfather clock and entered the drawing room.

Before him were his comrades in arms, better known to the world as the Freedom's Five. Standing off to the side and wearing his usual formal wear was the owner of the house, James Montgomery, Lord Falsworth, otherwise known as the Union Jack, and de facto leader of their band. Reclining on the sofa was the other peer of the realm, Sir Steel. His son, the Silver Squire sat dutifully in a chair next to him. Both Brits were dressed in normal attire, but both were wearing their masks.

"Alright Monty, what's so important I had to be dragged away from the front?" Kaufman made his way to the sideboard and helped himself to the cold roast and a bottle of brandy.

"In due time my colonial friend, we are short a member."

Just as the British Lord spoke, the window was kicked open as a scarlet clad man burst into the room. He tucked and rolled into the room and stopped in a kneeling position. "Ta da!"

"Really, Cavalier, must you do that every time?" Falsworth sighed as he pulled the golden cord to close the curtain.

"Ah my friend, is it my fault you English have no sense of the dramatic?" The French hero theatrically bowed. "But tell me, what is so important that it requires the attention of the Crimson Cavalier?"

"This." A new voice spoke from the shadows. In a flash the Frenchman's hand fell to his dagger, while Kaufman drew his pistol.

"Stay your hands friends." Union Jack held up his hands as the stranger entered the room. Kaufman relaxed, but only a little. The others followed suit as the stranger stepped over to the far wall and set up a screen and small metal box. "This is-"

The stranger cut him off. "Names can be dangerous in this line of work. For convenience's sake, you may refer to me as Mr. Stone." Kaufman was intrigued. He had never seen anyone give orders to the Union Jack before. Looking at the man, he got a strange feeling about him.

Mr. Stone, if that was his real name, stood nearly six foot two. His blond hair was short, but not military regulation length. His blue eyes, however, just seemed off. This was a man who had witnessed far too many things.

"Gentlemen, I am here unofficially. As far as anyone is concerned, this meeting never happened."

"Standard cloak and dagger rules, we know the drill by now." Sir Steel grunted under his mask. Stone narrowed his eyes at him.

"What I am about to show you must not leave this room." Nodding to Lord Falsworth, the lights were dimmed as Stone turned a projector on. It hummed to life as it projected a bright light onto the screen. Kaufman heard nothing, but he knew everyone save Stone were shocked by what they saw.

On the wall was a thing. It looked like a man's skeleton, save that it was clearly animated. Its bony maw was opened wide, in its hands a flaming saber. It was wading through dead soldiers before the footage stopped. "Is this a joke?" Steel spat as he stood up.

"It's no joke, I can assure you." Stone opened a small case and pulled out a glass jar. Holding it up to the light, there was a collective gasp as they saw the contents. It appeared to be an oversized rat wearing a tattered coat. "Gentlemen, what I hold in my hand is something called-"

"Short Teeth." The Crimson Cavalier spoke up.

Stone put the jar down. His eyebrow was raised. "You've heard of them?"

The French hero nodded. "Yes. There were rumors of the Germans using giant rats. I laughed at them, until I saw them with my own eyes."

"Rats in trenches? That's hardly shocking." The Silver Squire spoke up, but a glare from the Cavalier silenced him.

"True, rats are quite common in the mud, but tell me, do the English rats were German uniforms?" Rolling his sleeve up, he thrust his forearm into the light of the protector. It was riddled with tiny bite marks.

Stone slipped the jar back into his case. "It is good one of you believes, as it saves me the trouble. Gentlemen, the reason you've been brought here is because this," he pointed towards the skeleton, "is connected to this."

"According to reports, this, ghost, as the Germans are calling it, was fighting with the creature called Verminus Rex, the apparent leader of the Short Teeth. It killed the rat, and due to that the Short Teeth disserted the German Army."

"And this is a problem, how?" Kaufman was unnerved.

"Word has come from the very top that the Germans are quite displeased with this turn of events, and have dispatched an agent to try and find this ghost. The belief is that they intend to either offer up this figure as a sacrifice as means to get to the Short Teeth back or in some way use this figure's power for their means."

"And who is this agent?" Sir Steel had a feeling he knew the answer, they all did, as the Union Jack turned on the lights.

"My brother, Baron Blood."

Somewhere in Germany

John Falsworth, otherwise known as Baron Blood, sat at the head of the table while the Kaiser talked. He licked his overdeveloped canines, knowing the effect it had on the men around him. Before him was the Kaiser, whose tone would have put him to sleep if he weren't already dead. Next to him was van Rintelen, one of the better spies Germany had to offer. He knew van Rintelen was scared of him, as the man's hands dropped to the cross in his pocket every time he looked at him.

"Baron," The Kaiser wheezed through his moustache, "Do you understand your orders?"

"Find this American freak and bring him back here? I think I can manage." Blood smiled widely before slowly turning into mist. Drifting up and out through the air duct, the mortal men in the room both breathed a sigh of relief.

"Has it come to this? Using monsters to find other monsters?" Wilhelm II wiped his brow.

Captain van Rintelen withdrew the cross from his pocket. "And an English monster at that."

"Captain, you are one of my best spies. I want you to follow him. Make sure we find that creature responsible for this mess."

Meanwhile

If there was anything Private Jeremiah Kale hated the most, it was mud. Hunched in it up to his shins, he had long given up trying to make himself warm or dry. Around his were his squad mates, Tex, Pumpkin, Tunnel, Cotton, and Top Shelf. Those weren't their real names, or even their nicknames. The original men who bore those titles were long dead, and he never saw the point in trying to come up with new ones.

"All right you gold bricks, on my signal, we give the Hun what's coming to them!" The Sergeant sloughed through the mud. Peering through his battered binoculars, he pulled out his whistle. "On my command, charge!" He blew the gold plated trinket for all it was worth. There was a great cheer, save from Kale. He watched the sun begin its descent, and he knew the demon inside he would be free. Tightening the grip on his rifle, he leapt to his feet and took off into a sprint as the ground around him kicked up from the steady fire of the machine gun.

"God, let me live for one more night!" He prayed as he threw himself into a pile of corpses. If any of his fellows had bothered to pay him any mind, they might have turned their guns on him instead of the Germans. His skin warped and smoked as an internal heat began to build. Smoke rose off of his body as his flesh disintegrated. Evaporating, he dug his now skeletal hands into the rifle's stock, igniting the wood and melting the metal before he flung it away.

Bursting free of the corpse strewn hole, he gave a silent prayer that nobody on his side could see him, or at least no one who was still alive, as he held out his hand and concentrated. In his hand a flaming cavalry saber formed. Holding it before him, he started to laugh, a ghastly, mocking thing straight from the very bowels of Hell itself.

Spying a machine gun nest, he charged, swinging his saber wildly before him. "Mortal fools! Now your journey into Hell shall begin in earnest!" Ignoring the bullets that pierced his uniform, he easily jogged up to the nest and kicked over the gun. The two German troops screamed. One fell to his knee and began to pray as the other drew his pistol.

The fight was over before it started. With one flash, the armed trooper's head fell from his body, the wound cauterized instantly. His companion screamed and fell backwards into the muck as the flaming specter loomed over him. "I will spare you, and only you. Go, and tell them the Ghost Rider haunts this battlefield and all others!" He held his sword high overhead and laughed madly as the solider scrambled to his feet and ran away gibbering.

A few days later

The trip over had been longer than it should have been. The fog over the channel was thicker than normal. "My brother's power grows more each month. All the more reason we must put an end to him now." Union Jack's response gave the rest of the team no comfort.

Even the sun's light seemed dim. Even for the fall, the air had a chill about it. Rolling smoke and fog swarmed over the field. Kaufman stretched back in the cockpit as the other members mulled around. "So, what's the plan?"

Union Jack took a picture from his belt. "Blasted thin, that's what." Shaking his head, he pointed towards the woods. "Eagle, you and Steel head towards this coordinates. Every sighting of that creature has coincided with the movements of this Army unit. Their last known position was here. Do you remember the password?"

"Toads in winter? Yes." Kaufman took the scrap of paper and tucked it in his jacket.

"Squire, you and Cavalier wait here with the radio. If we fail to return or signal, head back to base. Understand?"

"Yes sir!" The Silver Squire saluted sharply. Union Jack frowned under his mask. He admired the boy's enthusiasm, but bringing children to a war? Was this what the world was coming to?

"What about you?" Sir Steel asked as he checked his broadsword.

"I'm heading due south. If my brother is here, he'll go for me first. That should buy you all some time."

Elsewhere

Baron Blood lay perfectly still. Encased in the pine box filled with his native English dirt, he was for all purposes dead to the world. Captain van Rintelen would have preferred he stay that way forever, but his orders still stood. The coffin was gently placed, as well as the undead fiend's orders, in a shallow grave. Several sentries were placed around the ditch, all with orders not to leave.

He sighed as he walked a few feet away from the ditch and entered the churchyard. Slipping past the stone markers, he stepped into the chapel. Taking a seat, he crossed himself. "Dear God in Heaven, what have I done?" Those men, those poor brave men…

He broke a leg off of an overturned chair. That strike, that was all he needed! Why, he could order the men away, dig the fiend up and be done with before anyone would know!

No, he chastised himself, someone would know. They were losing the war; he tried to argue to himself. With the Americans moving ever closer to Berlin, he doubted they could keep up the fight for much longer. He couldn't disobey an order, no matter how repellent he found the task. Drawing his cross out, he clutched it tightly in his fist as he waited for the sun to set

PE

Sir Steel marched stoically through the blasted countryside. He knew the jokes people told about his costume, and in truth they were right. Chain and plate mail were extremely heavy and very cumbersome. A knife would be dented, but that came at the ability to jog. Using a secret method, he had worked diligently to create a new kind of armor, something that was light enough to run in, yet heavy enough to stop a bullet. As the few rays of light weakly shone through the clouds, he grinned grimly under his helmet as he saw the Phantom Eagle's brightly colored plane. "At least I don't have to worry about attracting any spotters."

UJ

The Union Jack, in the relative safety of the trees, checked his weapons once more. His Webley .455 was loaded and cleaned. His dagger, forged from the purest of silver, rested on his hip. His belt was loaded with more bullets, both silver and regular. "Well James, it looks you've the tools, but do you have the strength?" Baron Blood was a monster, yes, but he was also his brother. The sun started its setting as he rolled down his mask. "Heaven, give me strength."

CC

The Crimson Cavalier popped his neck as he sat by the radio. The Silver Squire had been busy practicing with his mace and shield. "Squire."

"Yes?" The boy didn't even stop his exercises as he fought bravely against the imagined enemy.

"Why do you fight?"

"What do you mean?" That was enough to stop the boy's swings.

"I mean, why are you here, in the mud and blood of men? Shouldn't you be at school? Or playing with your fellows?"

The Sliver Squire stiffened. "My father though highly enough of me to begin my training, and that I was allowed this honor speaks well enough of him."

He sighed. "Of course, why didn't I think of that?" He then noticed the unusually heavy fog that seemed to rolling directly towards them. Leaping to his feet, he drew his sword. "Get behind me boy." Before the Squire could protest, he held up his hand. "Don't argue! Get up in the tree and hold on to that shield, no matter what!"

BB

"Dear Lord, just let their suffering end!" van Rintelen clutched his cross as the screams echoed throughout the chapel. Hearing approaching footsteps, he pocketed the cross and stood up.

"Captain? I believe you have my orders ready?" Blood's voice was raspy. "Just slid them under the door, that's a good fellow." van Rintelen shook with revulsion.

"Did you have to kill them all?" He whispered to himself as he slid the paper under the door.

"Why captain, if anything I made them more efficient. Don't worry, they'll be up and about in a few days." Blood's laughter faded away as van Rintelen flung open the door.

"No they won't!" Snapping off the rest of the chair's legs, he marched over to the blood soaked bodies with the makeshift stakes in his hand…

PE

Kaufman swore as he stared down the barrels of the various rifles and pistols being pointed at him. Sir Steel was arguing his case with the CO, but the man refused to listen to them. Kaufman lit a cigarette as the two men argued.

"And I'm telling you, the password is 'Frogs in Winter'!"

The CO spat on the ground. "And I don't care. Nobody told me about any kind of passwords, secret handshakes, or two costumed bums running around here. So unless you can prove you ain't no Krauts, I'd suggest you had over that pig sticker of yours." Pointing with his pistol, he gestured towards the trench wall. "Kale! Get your sorry hide over there and watch them."

Kale nervously nodded before leading them back away from the rest of the men. "Sorry about this." He mumbled as he hung his head low. When they were good distance away, down one of the smaller trenches, he stopped. "What's that?"

The area had grown silent. A strange fog crept over the battlefield, swallowing up everything in sight. Kale felt the all too familiar tingling just as thousands of red eyes appeared near the edge of the trench. "You two," he dropped his rifle. "Get out of here." Breaking into a run, he darted away from the confused Phantom Eagle and Sir Steel. "Just run and don't look back!"

SS

The Silver Squire fought to maintain his balance as the wolves surrounded them. The Crimson Cavalier had his back to the tree, furiously slashing away with his rapier and dagger as the wolves attacked him and the tree. When he could, he swung down and cracked on the beast's heads with his mace. "How are you doing boy?" The Cavalier was breathing hard. Blood ran down his scarlet pants and into his boots as he vainly tried to hold back the assault.

"We have to warn the others!" The Silver Squire started to panic. The radio had been torn to pieces. How could he warn his father and the rest of the team?

"And spoil the fun? No, I say we give these mangy mongrels what for!" He laughed madly as he speared another wolf. A small barrier was forming at his feet of the dead and dying animals. The Silver Squire silently said a prayer as a snapping jaw tore away at the low hanging branches around him.

UJ

"Blast!"

He was too late. Arriving at the supposed drop off point, Union Jack cursed himself as he found only a disrupted hole in the ground and several dead Germans. Noticing the stakes in their hearts, his anger gave way to curiosity. Who had done this?

"Halt!" His question was answered when a man in a German officer's uniform stepped out from the chapel. "Who goes there?"

"Only a well-dressed loon." He held up his hands.

"Wait, you are the Union Jack, correct?" the officer stepped closer and lowered his gun. "My name is van Rintelen. I was assigned to aid that monster you Brits refer to as Baron Blood. Tell me, do you plan to stop that monster?"

"I do."

The officer holstered his weapon. "Then go. There is a motorcycle right behind this chapel. It should get you there without too much trouble."

"Why are you helping me?"

Sighing, van Rintelen looked out at the vast night. "I love my country, but I can not align myself with monsters, no matter the cost." He silently turned and went back inside. Union Jack didn't miss a beat. Running towards the motorcycle, he revved the engine and rode on towards the battlefield. The NSU was beat up, but it still rode.

FF

"What the blazes are those things?" Kaufman heard one of the men cry as a tidal wave of rats dropped over the side and started to fill the trench. Drawing his gun, he joined the rest of the men as they fired round after round into the thick black mass.

"Retreat!" The CO shouted as he yanked the pin out of a grenade and tossed it into the approaching blackness. The explosion was muffled and failed to show the rats down.

"Get to your plane!" Sir Steel shouted as he cleaved a path. Kaufman nodded and fought back the urge to vomit as dozens of tiny teeth pierced his boots. Climbing up the closest ladder, he stopped as he saw a pair of leather clad feet. Looking up, he saw the owner of those feet.

"Baron Blood!" He brought his gun up, but Blood had his hand around his throat in an instant.

"Ah, the so-called Phantom Eagle." With a shrug, he tossed him over his shoulder. "I have bigger concerns that you boy." Changing into mist, he floated down into the trench. "Where is the one I seek?"

"Monster!" Sir Steel charged. The vampire easily sidestepped him.

"Yet another peasant." Kicking the armored man into the mud, Blood picked him up by his helmet and began to squeeze. "You should be more mindful of your station. Perhaps if I skinned that brat of yours would make you more mindful of this."

As Steel's visor began to crumble, an unearthly laughter filled the air. Blood, his nostrils flaring, flung Steel away. "Come out!"

Through the mist and the fog, they all spied a figure walking towards them. Dressed in a bloody and mud splattered uniform, no one said anything until the madly laughing being lit a flare and held it up to his face. Steel gasped and several of the men openly prayed. Blood snorted and flexed his claws.

"Be careful of what you command monster, for the Ghost Rider shall see to it that you're suffering shall be legendary!" The figure clutched the flare as it suddenly exploded. In the Rider's bony hand was now a flaming saber.

"You speak of Hell to me? I will personally send you there myself!" Blood bared his fangs and rushed towards the flaming skeleton. As the Ghost Rider drew back his blade, Blood suddenly turned into mist and reformed behind him. His teeth glistening, he reached out and snagged the Rider from behind.

UJ

Union Jack killed the motor as he approached the grove. Two figures were hobbling toward him. "Squire!" Hopping off the motorcycle, he rushed over to the boy just as the youth's legs gave out from under him.

Kneeling down, he checked the Crimson Cavalier's wounds first. The man's legs and arms were chewed and blood stained his clothes. "So, my friend," he wheezed, "do you have any other siblings we should know about?"

Union Jack tied the wounds as best he could. The Silver Squire's injuries, by comparison, weren't as severe. "Stay with him."

"But what if those animals come back?" The Squire gazed back at the woods.

Under his mask, the Union Jack's face grew grim. "They won't; Blood has found what he was looking for."

BB

Baron Blood howled with rage as he ordered the vermin to swarm over the Ghost Rider. With each wave the ghostly figure grew closer, as he easily sliced his way through the rats and burned the rest with his unholy fire. "Why won't you die?" He snarled as he turned himself into mist to avoid a sword thrust. Reforming behind the flaming skeleton, he found that the Rider was quite immune to direct bodily attacks, as he attempt to grab the Rider's neck resulted in a scorched hand.

Sir Steel forced himself up. The rats were ignoring him and the rest of the men. The Phantom Eagle was busy helping the rest of the unit up and out of the trench. When the last man was away, he helped haul Steel up. "So, what's the plan against that?"

"Hope they kill each other." Steel spat and felt something warm sliding around his mouth. "Come on, we have to regroup. I think our ghostly friend can handle this fight." As they limped away, the unmistakable sound of a motorcycle filled the air. "Reinforcements?"

Seeing the blue-garbed figure streaking towards them made something break in the men. From the wounded troops came a great shout as the Union Jack raced over the hard ground towards them. Gesturing towards the trench, Steel and the Phantom Eagle both dived out of the way as he raced past.

UJ

There was no hesitantly on his part. His mind was calm and free of distraction as he angled the motorcycle towards the trench and raced alongside it. Seeing Baron Blood floating in midair, he gunned the engine and that's when things went wrong.

The engine started to sputter as the ground gave way to mud. Going into a slide, he tried to fight against the momentum he had built, but Blood offered him no chance. Solidifying his arm, Blood struck him across the chest, knocking him free of the cycle. Crashing hard, he tried to stand as Blood reshaped and stood on his chest. Glancing back towards the Ghost Rider, he gestured towards the teeming black horde. Millions of rats swarmed the Ghost Rider, pushing their dead comrades end over end, quickly burying him alive. "That should hold him for a while." His fangs bared, he bent down closer to the Union Jack's prone form. "Brother, I am going to enjoy this."

GR

The Ghost Rider strolled through the rats. It was hard, but he flame burned them away as he struggled to regain his footing. His hand burst free of the fleshly quagmire and blindly groped around. Shifting away the mud and muck, his bony hand creased something hard. Working his other hand free, he shoved his sword into the trench wall and used his new handholds to climb up and out. Emerging from the waste and filth, he looked down to see the dented motorcycle at his feet. Righting it, he looked away to see Baron Blood looming over the prone Union Jack.

"Hold fast mortal!" Slipping one leg over it, the Ghost Rider tried to make the engine run, but the ignition clicked emptily. Gripping the handlebars tighter, he concentrated and felt the mystical fire that flowed through and his sword enter the machine.

The tires began to spin, kicking up great amounts of mud. Sinking into the muck, the Ghost Rider tightened his grip, forcing more fire into the metal. The tires responded by bursting into flame. Oddly, the fire didn't spread, but rather flared out before reshaping into the form of the former tires.

Strange as it may have been, the motorcycle easily worked itself free of the hole. One quick glance back later, the Ghost Rider was racing towards Baron Blood, madly laughing all the way. Drawing his sword, as he grew closer, the hellish flame danced on the blade as the engine screamed with all the sound of the damned and the dying.

BB

Baron Blood was not a man to fear many things. Holding his hated brother down, with his neck at his mercy, he relished the scents around him; flesh, blood, sweat, and dozens more. As he lowered himself, he was suddenly struck by another smell.

Brimstone?

Releasing the choke on the Union Jack, he spun and froze. Before him, racing on a machine that could have only been dreamt by the Devil himself, was that blasted ghost! "Now, now you will suffer!" Blood hissed as he broke into a run. The Ghost Rider showed no signs of stopping.

The two hellish figures drew closer. With only a few heartbeats (assuming the Ghost Rider was capable of such a feat) between them, the Rider suddenly swerved away and raced up a small incline. Launching himself into the air, he sailed over Blood, landing neatly behind the vampire.

"What?" Blood swore, as he turned around, utterly mystified at the ghost's actions. Looking up, he saw a chain connected to the back of the cycle. The chain glowed white, as it stayed suspended in the air. Turning around, Blood saw that the chain was apparently pulling something; or rather it was connected to something. Before he could move or even change into mist, he found what was being pulled: a stake

The wooden shaft hit his chest and easily shot past his breastbone, burying itself in his heart. He was jerked back by the impact, falling into the dirt and mud. "No!" He shrieked as his flesh dissolved. His eyes rotted away in his head as his organs turned to a foul smelling dust. "I'll get my revenge! Someday James, someday!" His words died as his tongue shriveled and fell away. The ground around him gave way, sending the body into the trench and burying under the weight of battle.

The aftermath

The Freedom's Five stood uneasily as the ghostly figure killed the motorcycle's engine. The flames died instantly, causing the machine to fall over as the Ghost Rider slipped off it. "Who…what are you?" The Phantom Eagle spoke first.

"Someone who hunts evil in all shapes." The Ghost Rider's voice echoed.

Sir Steel acted next, drawing his sword. Instead of fighting, he kneeled before the figure with his blade before him. "You saved my life and the life of my son. Thank you."

The Rider looked at the men, his expression unreadable. He silently turned away and righted the fallen cycle. With a touch, the flame wheels returned. "Wait!" The Union Jack stepped forward. "Who are you?"

"I am that which mortals call the Ghost Rider. I am cursed to seek out evil in all its forms and deliver vengeance upon the wicked. Pray we never meet again." With a mad cackle, the flaming skeleton rode off into the night, leaving the five men alone to tend to their wounds.

"What are we going to tell Stone?" The Phantom Eagle looked around at the devastation.

"Why not the truth? I doubt we could make anything up that would be half as fantastic." The Crimson Cavalier joked as the rest of them flagged down a passing ambulance. Leaving the battlefield behind them, the five of them quietly drifted off into their own worlds for the trip back to England.

The end

Epilogue

Night came, as it usually did, and the battles were no closer to being finished. The roar of a motor filled the as a lone runner raced between mounds of pockmarked dirt and dead men. The runner, a low ranking fellow, knew his mission was important, yet there was something that seemed to be calling to him from a caved-in trench. Slowing down, but letting the motor idle, the runner put the kickstand down and walked over to the area.

"Hello?" He called but heard no response. Drawing his pistol, he spied a broken piece of wood jutting out from the dirt at an odd angle. A compulsion filled him. He must remove that stake!

Dropping his gun, he walked over and gripped the wood shaft with both hands. It seemed to take forever, but he slowly edged the rotting wood free of the dirt. He couldn't help but notice a rank smell that emanated from the hole. A stench of death and decay filled the air around him.

Suddenly, the Earth under his body shifted. A hand burst free, clawing wildly at the night sky. Tumbling backwards, the runner blindly groped for his gun as a filthy figure emerged. "I live again!" The runner's body shook as he recognized the beast before him.

"Baron Blood?"

The vampire turned his unholy eyes upon the runner. "Yes, and I have you to thank." Stepping lightly, he helped the runner up to his feet. "What outfit are you with?"

"16th Bavarian Reserve, Regiment List, sir." The runner sharply saluted.

Blood smiled. "You have orders?"

"Yes sir!" The salute never wavered.

"Then I fear you must break them. Take me to the nearest command post. I must get word back to the High Command at once."

"Sir, begging my asking, but what happened here?"

"Oh, nothing important." Blood's gaze lingered over the field. "A battle was lost, but a war may still be won. And if it isn't, then there will be another one. It may take a while, but the blood will flow again before too long." The runner said nothing as they climbed onto his cycle. Blood saw a glimmer in the runner's eyes as he spoke. "Did I say something amusing?"

"No sir, but what did you mean, 'another one'?"

"What I mean, is that there will always be a place for war, and thus always a place for me. Germany has need of my skills, and I won't starve yet. This land has its need for monsters and men who behave like them." The runner, his eyes sparkling, simply nodded in agreement as they rode off into the night.

Amazing Letters

Well, thus ends another issue. A few notes before we begin.

Unlike Amazing Adventures, this series is going to be an anthology. Expect rotating stars and all manner of wild stories, from all corners of the Marvel U. We'll be seeing sights from the Old West, all the way to the far reaches of Outer Space and beyond. The expected, the unexpected, all will be right here so don't miss out on the wildest, most amazing web series today!

This particular tale was wholly original, but the characters are all own by Marvel Comics, all rights reserved.

Next time, we jump ahead to the fabulous 1950's, as we see Monster Hunter extraordinaire Zawadi do battle against the evil Blackjack. The prize? Wakanda itself!

And speaking of upcoming work

Tales to Astonish#10 - Kreature from the Kosmos!

Sensational Comics#11 - Showdown at Midnight!

Journey Into Mystery#12 – Thor and Loki attack the Human Race!

And from our Distinguished Competition

Sensation Comics #1-Wonder Woman Arrives in Man's World!