Comic books in the 1990s are stereotyped as being about overmuscled men with big guns and gritted teeth engaged in mindless violence. I am totally playing to that stereotype with today’s offering, but with some characters you might not have seen in a while.
Epic Comics was Marvel’s “creator-owned” subdivision that printed more “mature” titles, and ones that didn’t fit into the Marvel Universe, so the creators could re-use the characters elsewhere. The “Heavy Hitters” line tended towards macho violence. As a cross-promotion, they did a handful of team-up specials.
Lawdog is driving through a desolate, irradiated wasteland with anomaly readings off the scales. He hasn’t been here before, and notes some sort of energy beam performing scavenging activities. He’s not interested until suddenly his head is spiked with pain, and steers directly into the beam. It lifts the car up to a spacecraft that is the source of the anomaly readings, it doesn’t belong on this plane of reality.
He left ‘Lina on a plague world full of hostile zombies (in fairness, not his fault) and has been trying to get back to her ever since. Lawdog decided to get some answers and shoot people, not necessarily in that order.
Not that far away in cosmic terms, Jugger Grimrod of Force Nomad (basically the French Foreign Legion In Space) is bored out of his mind with his current assignment of cargo inspection in a backwater sector. His crew, who may all be Mik (I remember Alien Legion only very faintly) cower behind him as he asked what he did to rate this snoozefest.
Then a ship is observed blowing right past the customs blockade; very fast but slightly sub-light. Grimrod hates it when they run.
On the ship itself, Lawdog is getting nowhere, but he’s getting there determinedly. He can actually feel the anomalies piling up as this ship has crossed multiple realities. Also, the headache is back, and he realizes it’s a mental distress signal. The only good thing is that there’s no way the Elect (his mysterious bosses) can interrupt, as even their tech won’t find him this far away. No sign of a crew, but there’s an acid stink and–
Grimrod and crew suit up, lock and load to prepare for boarding.
Lawdog sticks to the shadows for now, sneaking towards the location of the distress call. He now realizes that it’s the anomaly-detection gear in his skull that’s allowing the telepathic contact.
Grimrod has taken the time to remove the starter from his ship so that the Mik can’t run away. The ship’s crew come up on attack vehicles, and they aren’t any species known to the Union. They also seem very hostile. Jugger decides that as non-taxpayers, the crew don’t have any claim to his conscience, and blasts away. He then commandeers an attack craft.
Lawdog reflects that he vastly prefers traveling on a vehicle he controls, preferably one made in Detroit. Also, he’s getting really ticked off at the telepathic pain spikes. While battling the crew, he has a catwalk blasted out from under him.
The Mik sense that something bad is about to happen, but Grimrod shrugs it off as their natural cowardice. Lawdog has just about made his peace with final death, still falling.
The two protagonists engage in a fistfight, as is the custom of their people. After a couple of pages, the ship’s crew interrupts by attacking again.
The Mik suggest a tactical withdrawal. Lawdog asks if they’re Grimrod’s friends, to which Grimrod replies that he has no friends, which doesn’t surprise Lawdog. On an elevator, the two humanoids engage in (umm, what’s an acceptable term for what used to be called “a Mexican standoff”?) until the Mik clarify that they should join forces against the mutal enemy. Lawdog has another pain spike and explains about the prisoner who is calling for rescue.
The stasis field room is too heavily guarded, so the Mik are sent off to create a diversion by blowing stuff up. (This is the only scene where Mik shows any individuality.)
Lawdog and Grimrod jump into the room and start trying to shut down the stasis bubble, despite the mental messages making Lawdog ever more confused and angry–until he suddenly makes a realization.
Having forced the creature in the bubble to drop its harmless appearance, Lawdog riddles its body with bullets.
The Maran Kha drew power by creating anomalies in each reality the ship passed through; evventually this would have led to multiversal collapse. Grimrod is confused and angered by metaphysics and wants to know how they’ll get home. Turns out that without the Maran-Kha keeping the anomalies open, they’ll heal up, and reality will snap back–
Ladies, gentlemen and other refined folk, the Nineties!