Time to wrap up a three volume plotline from the 2000AD Devlin Waugh series. Devlin Waugh started out in the very early nineties as something of a parody deconstruction of the over-muscled, over-maco types in UK and US comics. Written by John Smith and painted by Sean Philips he was indeed a very muscular man who could get pretty violent in a fight. He was also an openly gay, foppish dandy of a fellow highlighting the extreme homoeroticism that comics were often unwittingly depicting. After his first story, Swimming in Blood in which he got turned into a vampire, he was forgotten for a while, before trimuphantly returning with a slightly less extreme look depicted by the highly talented artist Steve Yeowell who beautiful depicts the now more psychedelic world of Waugh. We got to see more of his backstory as a special occult investigator working for the Dredd-worlds equivalent of the Vatican which now monitors all occurances of magic and mystery. After attempting to retire, the reluctant Devlin Waugh was pulled into an investigation which in the first volume resulted in the release of a creature called "The Herod" which is a huge monster impervious to harm and viciously violent under the control of "Lord Benjamen Hekt" who uses it as an assassin killing everyone born on July 23rd. In the second book, a meeting of all the various occultists in the world comes to the realisation that someone has struck "the massmind of the world" Hekt attacks them and the rest of Earth with tidal waves. Hekt is planning on bringing back something called "The Nommo" and is preparing the way for it by flooding the Earth. The book culminates in an attempt by Devlin and companions to stop the Nommo, but they fail and flee the place it hatched in, they now have six days before the end of the world. I don't think I've summed this very complex story up very well, so check out Book 1 Chasing Herod and Book 2, Reign Of Frogs if you haven't already.
|Devlin contemplates the end of the world.|
Devlin: "I can feel it even this far away. The vibration getting higher... a popping and whizzing like water on a hot plate... Spacetime is growing then Ralph - and the closer we get to July 23rd. The worse it's sure to become."
Back at the Vatican, Eddie Whyteman, a sort of seedy paranormal P.I. is admiring the new prosthetic hand he's been fitted by the Vatican boffins. It has all sorts of functions, including a built in "Ferromagnetic bomb". Then he attends a recap meeting of what the situation is now, by Pussy Willow, another Vatican operative.
To sum up, the Earth Grid is a lattice of force "analogous energy meridians in the human body used in acupuncture." The lines correspond to seismic faults and ocean ridges as well as atmospheric highs and lows. Where they intersect they form "chakras" seven of which are designated "Centres of Pestilance." Five have already been triggered and one has just been activated, the one in Brit Cit. So all that is left is the one at the North Pole.
Pussy: "On July 23rd these massing energies will stream into our atmosphere and Hekt plans to focus them in the Artic Circle where the Earth's magnetic field is weakest. That will be Ground Zero for the mutagenic changes that'll ripple out and reverberate through the grid."
Hekt has killed everyone born on July 23rd so he will become the sole focus for the Sirius Transmission. But Pussy believes the changes will be triggered in everyone, humanity has gene sequences coded in it's DNA encoded by the Sirians millenia ago.
|Eddie gets drafted.|
In Brit Cit Devlin gets ready to travel in a ship, Ralph notes that the Vatican Psi-Teks are reverse engineering start-up codes the Fakir's rope, a magical item that allows travel through space from one end to another. Raplh says they might stand a chance, though Devlin asks him not to bet on it.
Devlin: "I'm about to go traipsing round the Artic with an amatuer psychic sleuth in the dire hope we can prevent poleshift and save the Earth from invasion by amphibious extraterristrials. We need more than a chance. We need a bloody miracle."
And he takes off to meet Eddie. We cut to them using a sled and dogs to travel to the North Pole. They now are down to six hours to save the world. Eddie complains the Fakir's rope is trying to strangle him. He doesn't know why they have the damn thing, they still haven't cracked the codes. Devlin tells him to quit whining, he's having to deal with sunlight which is "absolutely ravaging my skin". They find the Vatican Tac-Team ready to try and stop this last Centre of Pestilence being activated.
|The Vatican Tac-Team.|
We then cut to Hekt, one of the Jack of Knives tells him he's sent the Herod to deal with the Judge troops and soon they will activate the final node when it's been purged. Hekt is looking a foetus in a jar saying he is remebering his birth, how they begin as amphibians on the way to growing into a man, "millions of years of evolution compressed into months". The womb is the "ultimate biological machine".
He asks if the "Jack of Mice" is ready to join them. But he's still downloading his consciousness into his new body. Hekt says he is the first of his cloneselves, "the first of my sub-personalities to develop full autonomy". So he wants him by his side when they trigger the deluge.
Hekt: "This is my crowning moment. Twenty long years of planning and every piece is finally in place... rhyming and chiming in harmony. We tremble on the brink of a new reality. Soon I'll gaze upon the face of the deep."
We then return to Devlin and Eddie now diving deep down underwater, while a Judge-Inquistor asks Luciano if they stand a chance and Luciano says they better suceed, "I don't fancy the idea of waking up to find the world flooded and ruled by frogs from outer space. Do you?"
Inside the submersible, Eddie notes Devlin's dapper clothing. Devlin says it would be neglectful to face their nemesis in "anything less than Armani". He has a reputation to consider after all. Eddie asks what they are looking for, and Devlin says their info is somewhat vague so they are looking for any anomalies. Eddie finds one and they head off to investigate, Devlin grins and says, "I'd forgotten how exhilarating saving the world can be."
Back at the North Pole, the Judge-Inquisitors are battling the Herod. They are throwing everything they have at it, but not even scratching it as it smashes the tanks and kills them. "It's like trying to stop a Earthquake" yells one of the Judges.
Eddie is sinking fast, going into shock due to the cold of the water. Then one of the sharks swallows him. The story cuts between them and the devastation at the North Pole. Back at the Vatican they see the activating of the Centre of Pestilance. Lucy says they haven't lost yet, Devlin and Eddie might just make it. She tells Psi-Tek to focus exclusively on cracking the codes of the Fakir's rope.
Eddie and Devlin are still in telepathic contact. The warmth of the shark's insides have revived Eddie. Devlin draws some of his own blood to get himself eaten by the same shark while Eddie tells him not to throw his life away saving him. Inside they meet up. Eddie's leg is injured and he's bleeding profusely. Devlin fixes him up while noting his blood is AB negative, "the Dom Perignon of blood. You're bringing out the gourmand in me."
|In the belly of the beast.|
Devlin and Eddie surface inside Hekt's base. Eddie notes that of all his debauched experiences, he's never had mouth-to-mouth with a vampire. Devlin says it was his first time with "someone of the non-caucasion persuasion". They go and look for the poleshift generator. Eddie uses the EM scanner in his bionic hand to locate the generator which is being fired up as they speak, "well he might have lit the fuse but let's see if we can't put a stop to the fireworks." says Devlin.
As they walk, Eddie asks if the poleshift really results in mass extinction. Devlin confirms it as well as jump-starting evolution as well. If the dinosaurs hadn't become extinct they'd all still be living in trees. They come across the Jack of Mice being reborn in his new body. Devlin takes great delight in killing him again quipping, "you only live twice."
Hekt: "It's opening hyperdimensions interlocking with our own. A great rusty gmte opening onto the future. The deep is calling me home."
Then Devlin and Eddie arrive on the scene and Devlin points his blaster at Hekt, telling him he'll put him down "like the mad dog you are."
Hekt calls him a thorn in his side and becomes angry when he realises The Jack of Mice has been killed. Eddie yells at Devlin to shoot him, but both are frozen in place by Hekt's new powers. Hekt takes away the blaster saying he's paralysed his brain stem, "isn't it amazing the things you can do when you put your mind to it."
|Hekt and Ixaxxar versus Eddie and Devlin.|
Lucy: "Global switch-on. Everyone - everywhere - evolving into a new lifeform so we can survive the catastrophic earth changes caused by poleshift. Mutate or die."
Back in Hekt's base, he's starting to change physically. The "Spirit Lens" is focusing and vibrating every cell preparing his body for ascension. He shoots Eddie in the knee caps when Eddie tries to tell him he's wrong about the Nommo. He transforms into a being made of blue light saying Ixaxxar has shown him the way.
Devlin yells at him that Ixaxxar is senile from being entombed from so long. But Hekt again says Ixaxaar has shown him the way. Freed him from the shackles of everyday consciousness. And when the gateway opens, the rest of humanity will follow. He's so close already, "they're coming to take me away." Then he shoots Devlin three times in the chest.
Hekt, Jack of Knives, The Herod and Ixaxar then travel to the snowy surface as the born-on-the-23rd man back at the Vatican also starts mutating too. Soon everyone else on Earth will follow, and greeting Hekt, The Herod, Jack of Knives and Ixaaxar is a huge floating spherical object which declares it's "III greetings from the Sirius Corpus: III You have our attention".
|This could be bad.|
Hekt meanwhile is joyfully saying that Ixaxxar showed him how to "draw down the lightning. Filled me with the fire of rapture".
Sirius Corpus: "III You have disrupted earth's presequenced evolutionary schedule: III Global grid disruption will trigger human psycho/somatic failsafes: III The decloaking of Sirius Conciousness in the Human Lifewave:"
Painfully Eddy drags himself through Hekt's base while Devlin finally reaches the surface and challenges Hekt, while the Sirians start to prepare for the turn on of the next phase of human evolution when the EM generator triggers the poleshift.
But before he can do anything, Hekt is cleared for ascension by the Sirians and disappears in a puff of blue flame along with Ixaxxar leaving Devlin with the Jack of Knives and The Herod. "Now prepare for the end of everything" says Jack as The Herod looms over them. Jack doesn't intimidate Devlin who starts to kick his ass while dodging the attacks of The Herod.
|Devlin makes his escape as Eddie makes the ultimate sacrifice.|
The Sirians state "III Evolutionary shift parameters: stabilised DNA activation program on shutdown: : III Disengaging holosphere:" Devlin realises what Eddie - "that poor sweet boy" - had done. But they still have The Herod to deal with and it's halfway through the hole the rope made.
But this is it's downfall, they shut the rope off and the hole closes which neatly slices The Herod in half. Then Devlin and the two others manning the rope push the half Herod into the volcano and for good measure blow it up sealing The Herod in the lava for good.
|The bisected Herod entombed for good.|
Devlin: "I'll fix us some Bloody Marys and we shall all get roaring drunk and toast another glorious day on Spaceship Earth".
There is a short sequence after this that shows what became of Hekt. Now a Nommo himself he swims through the Sirius system and reflects that "I'm happy here. For the first time in my life this is where I belong... Sirius rises".
|Nommo!Hekt is sort of cute.|