"Waiting in the Sky": In New York, in the en suite bathroom of a beautiful nonhuman woman's apartment, John Constantine is dealing with the headache of a blood absinthe hangover, when he suddenly sees a planet about to smack into the Earth. With adrenaline kicking in, he recognizes it as Mars...
- I decided to be human. I stand for Earth. I... always did.
Appearing in "Waiting in the Sky"
Synopsis for "Waiting in the Sky"
In New York, in the en suite bathroom of a beautiful nonhuman woman's apartment, John Constantine is dealing with the headache of a blood absinthe hangover, when he suddenly sees a planet about to smack into the Earth. With adrenaline kicking in, he recognizes it as Mars... but the use of a nearby telescope confirms that it can't be Mars, which is hanging exactly where it should, roughly 1.5 AU from the Sun. Worse, neither his host nor any other person in New York is reacting in the imminent destruction of the planet.
Realising that this event must be the work of powerful alien magic, John grabs his trenchcoat - and no other clothes - and leaves the apartment at a dead run, determined to contact the Justice League, as they are (usually) the only people who could stop this threat.
Meanwhile, on the paradoxical Mars, two colossal warmechs are locked in fierce battle. One, operated by the Rebel Army of Mars, manages to overpower the other, commanded by the nefarious Ma'alefa'ak, and launch boarding parties. From the command deck, Ma'alefa'ak takes this as a personal slight by Mars itself, since he has slaughtered its people in the planet's name. However, receiving a telepathic chiding for this, Ma'alefa'ak realizes that the Mars Child is somewhere nearby, and that he can still gain victory and escape the disaster he has created. When one of his underlings calls him out on this, but he responds by shapeshifting into a monster and killing the underling.
In the Rebel Army's prison, Daryl Wessel and the Pearl are debating whether Mister Biscuits, their cellmate who just escaped, has gone mad. Daryl wants to follow him, but the Pearl is still in shock, considering herself human but looking Martian. Daryl, not hesitating, moves to comfort her: if she feels human, she can be human. Daryl hugs her.
Dangling from harpoons on the side of the war mech of Ma'alefa'ak, J'onn J'onzz drifts back into consciousness. His captors talk about how violent their plan for him will be, and J'onn briefly considers just surrendering to guilt and death... until he remembers the child from the city. In them, he has something to live a little longer for.
Killing his captors with force vision, J'onn is suddenly aware of a rise in power. His strength stems from Mars, which was a dead or dying world... but here, now, he is able to tap the power of a still-living planet, which augments his powers and inspires a bold tactic: turning himself to a thin film, he seeps into the war mech, bonding to its sensor arrays and power system, supplanting its core processors, and reshaping its exterior. Soon, J'onn is the warmech. which now resembles a colossal Green Martian, and Ma'alefa'ak and his forces have been ousted.
Ma'alefa'ak escapes by jumping from a window, growing a set of wings and flying away, vowing to hunt down the Mars Child. J'onn, meanwhile, gets an idea for a way to save the rest of the refugees. This pause is the break the Rebel Army wants, as Alicia, their leader, blames J'onn for all of the tragedy that has befallen her on Mars. The rebel mech winds to punch, but J'onn catches the fist. He can sense Alicia, and recognizes her from the memories of Mister Biscuits. He tells how her childlike trust was what made Mister Biscuits the friend he was, at a very precarious time. He asks her to lay aside the grim cynicism and grit-caked fear that her life on Mars has mandated, and to trust him again, just once. This shocks Alicia enough that he agrees to listen.
In the mountains above the city, Mister Biscuits is running up a hill while monologuing to himself. The Mars Child will have answers, and he saw the Mars Child up here, and he needs answers. Alicia, his friend, thought he was a good person, and a good person would do this, and so he must do this. At a sudden chasm he stops, even as a disembodied voice urges him to fall and surrender to truth. He is skeptical, but the rock supporting him crumbles and he falls anyway.
In the city, the colossal J'onn J'onzz ask the help of Daryl Wessel and the Pearl, who are both elements of him. The Pearl appears, having regained her human form, and vows to stand with Earth. J'onn lays out his plan: the Rebel Army can lead the refugees into the two war cities, one piloted by him and one by Pearl, and both can rocket to safety. Meanwhile, Daryl must hunt in the mountains for the Mars Child, who controls who enters or leaves the planet. If they can find the Mars Child and convince it, they can escape Mars and get the planet to teleport back to its natural point in time and space. However, if Ma'alefa'ak gets there first, he could leave a wake of cosmic extinction across reality.
In a cave, Mister Biscuits eavesdrops on the plan, and finds it sound. He suddenly snaps back to himself, and find himself facing an enigmatic child toting an occult green light source, who cryptically asks if he wants to know how he came to be!
- This book was first published on February 17, 2016.
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