"The Hunt, Part Three: Totems": Travelling through The Red, Buddy Baker and his daughter Maxine eventually find themselves face to face with a group of massive animal men who call themselves the Totems.
Appearing in "The Hunt, Part Three: Totems"
- Detective Krenshaw (Dies)
- San Diego
- Lucky Star Truck Stop
Synopsis for "The Hunt, Part Three: Totems"
Meanwhile, the creatures known as the Hunters Three stand outside of Buddy's home in San Diego. They are aware that his wife Ellen is still inside, but when they realize that Buddy and Maxine have gone into The Red, they decide to split up. Two of them enter The Red to prevent the avatar from connecting with the Totems, while the third decides to capture Ellen, noting that because she gave birth to one avatar of The Red, she may be able to produce another.
The Totems welcome Buddy, having been expecting him. Maxine explains that this is The Red, and these are all of the old Animal Men. She knows this because she comes in her dreams all the time. The Totems explain that Maxine is one of them, but Buddy is not one of them. They are all of the former avatars of The Red, but Buddy is not, and never has been an avatar of The Red. Buddy's destiny has always been to father and protect the next avatar of The Red: Maxine. They explain that Buddy's memories of having been given his powers by yellow aliens is simply a narrative that the provided which he could more easily comprehend. They gave him the identity of Animal Man so that he could occupy and train until Maxine was ready for the coming war between The Red and The Rot.
In the Baker household, Cliff Baker becomes frustrated as he tries to play his video game while the reanimated corpses of local pets play around on the couch. Meanwhile, Ellen can't concentrate on her illustration work because she's too worried about her husband and daughter. Reluctantly, she decides to try out Cliff's game, but she's interrupted from that by a ring at her doorbell. When she answers it, she is horrified to see one of the Hunters Three, its horrifying dead tissue bursting out of its once human host's form.
Buddy is bothered by the Totems' words, reminding them that she is only four years old, and isn't ready to fight in any wars. The Totems respond that she has no choice. Both The Red and The Green must prepare for the fight against The Rot. Suddenly, the Totems are alerted to the arrival of the Hunters.
Ellen grabs Cliff and they escape through the garage into their car. The Hunter chases them from the front door, and as they pull out, the creature slams hard against their windshield. As they drive on, Ellen expresses mock regret that she married a superhero.
Buddy swears to protect Maxine, and feeling more powerful there in the heart of The Red, he valiantly defends her. She begs the Totems to help him, but they respond that it is only she who can help him.
From a diner down the highway, Ellen makes a call to Detective Krenshaw begging for help. He tells her to stay put, and heads off in her direction.
While Buddy keeps fighting the Hunters, Maxine warns that Ellen and Cliff are in danger. The Hunters taunt them, readily admitting that they are planning to devour Buddy's wife and son. Buddy is still no match for them, and one of them gets a bite out of his shoulder.
Meanwhile, Detective Krenshaw gets out of his car only to come face to face with the third Hunter, who takes possession of his body. Hiding within Krenshaw's body, the Hunter joins Ellen in the diner, and promises that everything will be okay.
- This book was first published on November 2, 2011.
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