"Blood & Ashes": In a cave in rural Markovia, Sebastian Faust sits conjuring up visions of the Outsiders and plotting to reform the group for his ends. A vampire comes to attack him but is killed by a bear that is seemingly loyal
- I'm about to obtain the two things I want most in the world! A throne for myself... and a casket for you!
Appearing in "Blood & Ashes"
- The Outsiders
- Batman (Flashback only) (Cameo)
- Black Lightning (Flashback only) (Cameo)
- Gardner Grayle (Flashback and main story) (Cameo)
- Gregor Markov (Mentioned only)
- Metamorpho (Flashback only) (Cameo)
- Windfall (Flashback only) (Cameo)
- Castle Markov
- Granstok (First appearance)
- United States of America
Synopsis for "Blood & Ashes"
In a cave in rural Markovia, Sebastian Faust sits conjuring up visions of the Outsiders and plotting to reform the group for his ends. A vampire comes to attack him but is killed by a bear that is seemingly loyal to Faust.
The next morning, Prince Brion hosts Geoffrey Barron and Charlie Wylde who have come to propose their Technocrat armor to the Markovian security forces to ensure the kingdom's safety. Brion and his sister-in-law, Queen Ilona disagree sharply about whether they should purchase American technology and she vetoes his objections. After he leaves, Prince Roderick emerges from the shadows to conspire with Ilona: the two want to kill Brion and will instigate a war if necessary.
Brion retreats to a cabin that night and is attacked by vampires wearing uniforms of his national guard. Between this and a bomb attack that he narrowly avoided earlier that day, he decides to adopt his Geo-Force suit and investigate.
At the palace, Geoffrey is suited up for a demonstration and makes a brief call home to his wife Marissa. The phone dies and Charlie enters to say that there appears to be a conflict outside. The two travel into the woods and are attacked by the same bear from before; Charlie suffers mortal wounds. As he lay dying, Faust appears and tells Barron that he can save Wylde's life for a price. Geoffrey agrees and Faust merges the man and bear into one being. As he does, another contingent of vampires attacks and the trio make short work of them. They continue toward the castle and encounter Geo-Force.
As they approach, Ilona and Roderick issue a declaration that they have put down a coup by Brion. As the men reach Castle Markov, they are greeted by Halo, Katana, and Looker, who also arrived from America for the young prince's christening. The group is swarmed by vampires and Geo-Force takes off after Roderick. When they arrive in Ilona's chambers, Roderick snaps her neck on camera but due to being a vampire, he is not shown on the news feed and it instead looks like Brion killed her. Roderick escapes and Geo-Force finds Looker's lifeless body in the hall. The team thinks they that have saved Markovia from an invasion, unaware that the world's media sees them as villains.
- This issue was published simultaneously with Outsiders (Volume 2) #1: Omega. Their stories intertwine.
- This is the first appearance of Gregor Markov II. His mother's pregnancy was revealed several years ago.
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