"Splinter Species: Conclusion": The video of Animal Man's battle with Clinton Hogue of the so-called "splinterfolk" had hit six million views on ViewTube, but the fight's temporal proximity to the upcoming academy awards - for whic
- She's dying! Something is killing the Red!
- — Shepherd
Appearing in "Splinter Species: Conclusion"
- Vita Delores (On a TV or computer screen)
- Captain Longneck
- Blue Bird
- The Red
- The Sea of Blood
- The Freckled Manatee
Synopsis for "Splinter Species: Conclusion"
The video of Animal Man's battle with Clinton Hogue of the so-called "splinterfolk" had hit six million views on ViewTube, but the fight's temporal proximity to the upcoming academy awards - for which Buddy is nominated Best Actor - has led to speculation that the entire thing was a publicity stunt. Naturally, this disgusts Buddy. Feeling overwhelmed by the attention he's been getting, Buddy has spent days locked away in his tiny hotel room. He has tried several times in that time to call his wife Ellen to talk, but she never picks up.
Ellen, meanwhile, happens to be sleeping next to their daughter Maxine - but the little girl is wide awake and waiting for her next opportunity to return with her friend Socks to The Red and try to find her brother Cliff, and bring him back to life. With a few hours left 'til morning, Maxine hurries back to Shepherd. Since gaining dominion over the Red, Maxine has imagined herself a crew of animal pirates to help guide her across the Sea of Blood to find her brother. They have heard tell of his soul making its way to the Rib-Cave, where newly dead souls pass through on their way to reincarnation. Maxine finds that upsetting, because she wants Cliff to come back as himself, not a bug or a dog or something. Hopefully, Shepherd and the pirates assure her that they can get her there fast enough to get Cliff before he's remade anew.
That night, Buddy attempts to break into Belle Reve, intending to talk to Hogue and find out for whom the splinterfolk were working. Using various animal-powers, Buddy gets into the air-vents, and drops down into Hogue's cell. Angrily, Buddy demands to know why he was targeted. Hogue considers this a stupid question, explaining that because Buddy is one with every living thing on the planet, he could do so much more with that power. Instead, he plays superhero, and couldn't even save his own son with his power. So, they have taken his blood - his power - and given it to someone who can put it to better use.
From his cave beneath the Hollywood Hills, Brother Blood complains to his followers of how he was born with a connection to the Red, but was passed over by the Totems, who chose Buddy Baker instead. However, the Red has called to him again, recently. It whispers to him that he was meant to be king of the Red, and not Buddy. He believes that by drinking Buddy's blood, he will be able to access the Red.
The splinterfolk attempted to gain access to the Red through experiments, as well, but they have since learned that they may gain access by allying themselves with Brother Blood. Now that they have collected a sample of Buddy's blood, they hope to have a piece of the power that Brother Blood will gain by drinking it. They present him with a flagon of the blood, and after drinking it, he breaks out in the same bloody tattoo-like pattern that affected Buddy long ago.
As Maxine and her friends near the Rib-Cave, they begin to sense that something is wrong. Brother Blood's access to the Red is having an effect there. Buddy, too, doubles over with pain as Brother Blood enters the Red and engages with the winged guardians of the Red. He faces the Totems, angrily demanding the power that he believes he was promised by the Parliament of Limbs - and if not that, then revenge.
On the Freckled Manatee, Maxine screams with pain as she feels Brother Blood murdering the totems. She cries out for her mother, who suddenly wakes from her sleep, and finds the spot that her daughter had occupied empty, to her horror.
The Totems are confused as to how Brother Blood could have gained so much power, but one of their number steps forward and admits that he called on Brother Blood to come to the Red. Having tired of the Totems' indecisive behaviour and affinity for the Baker family, he has called on Brother Blood to put an end to the Parliament of Limbs' dithering.
- This book was first published on August 21, 2013.
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