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"The Candidate": After the loss of Agent 25, Matron was given the opportunity to nominate her next partner. She nominated Dick Grayson - a former acrobat whose parents were murdered before his eyes by a [[Anthony Zucco (Prime


Quote1 One man described him as... ahem... 'a pretty cool little dude.' Quote2
-- Matron



Appearing in "The Candidate"

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Synopsis for "The Candidate"

After the loss of Agent 25, Matron was given the opportunity to nominate her next partner. She nominated Dick Grayson - a former acrobat whose parents were murdered before his eyes by a mob enforcer when the circus' owner, C.C. Haly failed to pay protection money to the Maroni Family.

Dick was then taken in by Bruce Wayne, whom Spyral had learned was also the Batman. When Dick realized who he was living with, he was given the opportunity to become his partner, taking the identity of Robin. In that role, he was a much needed foil for Batman's grim persona, and helped to incarcerate a number of costumed criminals.

As he grew older, he began to leave the limits of Gotham City to join other young heroic protégés such as Arsenal. With them, he met with the alien princess Starfire - and developed an understanding of foreign relations. Upon achieving adulthood, though, Dick chose the new identity of Nightwing. He maintained a strong relationship with Batman, and eventually took up his mantle for a brief period.

When the world was attacked by the Crime Syndicate, Nightwing was kidnapped and unmasked on in a broadcast that was aired around the world via satellite. Many believed Dick had been killed in the aftermath of that attack, but Helena herself had encountered him alive and well, interfering with her investigations into the Fist of Cain cult. As they were allied in their aims, and Dick clearly couldn't give up fighting crime, despite being considered dead, Helena believed he would make a good Spyral agent.

In response, Mr. Minos revealed that he already knew her choice, and had refused it in advance, given that Spyral was no fan of the Batman Family. In fact, he had captured Dick Grayson, and wanted to send him back to Batman dead - but Helena would have to kill him.

Without hesitation, Helena shot a bolt from her crossbow into his brain, and Mr. Minos applauded her loyalty, revealing that the man she had killed was a dummy, and it had been a test. He would indeed consider Dick as a candidate. Soon, he was partnered with Helena as Agent 37.

Appearing in "Animal Man"

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Synopsis for "Animal Man"

When Anton Arcane murdered an avatar of The Red in the Congo, the Totems selected a new champion - but she had not yet come of age, and it would be too long to wait, and leave the Red unprotected. So, after much deliberation, they settled on the unprecedented solution of making her father, Buddy Baker, the temporary protector in the interim.

He was so unfit a candidate, though, that he had to be tricked into accepting the role using a narrative that painted him as a super-hero gifted with his animal powers by dying aliens. Ridiculous though it was, the narrative helped him to accept his transformation, connecting him with the lifeweb of the Red, so that he could draw on the abilities of the animals around him.

Buddy embraced his new role and new life, but his humanity bogged him down in no way moreso than in his commitment to family. And that preoccupation led him to deny the truth that it was his daughter who was the real avatar, and not he. Her own connection to the Red was so strong at only four years of age that she confounded her father. Before he could come to grips with the fact, she was captured and corrupted by agents of The Rot.

Without her, all life was doomed to an eternity of decay, and as the Guardian of the Red's next avatar, Buddy had failed. As a father, though, he refused to accept defeat, and allied with the Avatar of The Green to storm the castle of Anton Arcane and end the Rotworld. In doing so, he encountered the Parliament of Decay, who offered him one chance to reverse the damage done by his failure.

Returned to the past, Buddy guided his daughter to overwhelm the Hunters Three with the power of the Red, and defeat the Rot - but their victory was overshadowed by the death of Buddy's son Cliff at the Rot's hands. The loss tore his family apart, and in an effort to protect Maxine, Buddy demanded that the Parliament of Limbs remove her obligation to them. He was punished and stripped of his power for that insolence, just as a rogue Totem made his move in a coup to destroy the Parliament and place Brother Blood in Buddy's place as new Avatar.

When Buddy finally returned to the Red, he learned that Brother Blood had targeted his greatest vulnerability - his family. But in the interim, Buddy had been transformed from a mere surrogate to the one true champion of the Red. He defeated Brother Blood and restored the Red and what remained of his family, turning his greatest weakness - his love for them - into his greatest strength.

Appearing in "Full Deck"

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Synopsis for "Full Deck"

Katana is escorting Mona Shard through the desert of the American West to Gallowstown, growing annoyed with the bickering between Shard and the little girl she possessed. She intends to see both of them dead, but there is still a ways to go before they reach their destination, and at her prisoners' urging, she agrees to tell the tale of how she became who she is.

When Tatsu Toro was a girl, her best friends were the brothers Maseo and Takeo Yamashiro. They had been obsessed with a game of collecting weapon-themed cards, and they often fought each other fiercely in the effort to build a full deck. Tatsu was one card away, and she made the brothers compete for her.

One night, they spotted a sign advertising a one-night only visit from a ghost train to be carrying the Weapon Freaks, and they hoped that by attending the event, they could get the cards they wanted. On the train, they encountered the Weapon Freaks and Tatsu fought them to gain the card representing the Soultaker Sword - the card she needed. Afterward, the train disappeared.

When her parents found out that she'd stolen the card, they took her to a dojo for guidance. The master told her of a band of outlaw swordmasters called the Outsiders, and commented that she had their spirit. He advised her to hide her wild spirit, and trick her parents, while secretly devoting herself to the sword, and remain alone so as not to see anyone she loves hurt.

But Tatsu did marry and make friends - and those friends and her husband are now dead. She leads her prisoners through Gallowstown, explaining how the Chinese who built the railroad died pounding its last spikes. The ghost train she had boarded as a girl was run out of Japan, and now makes its home here. As the train pulls in, Katana pulls out the Soultaker sword and forces Mona Shard into it, leaving the sadistic girl she had possessed behind.

Though the girl is not an ideal candidate, Katana sees that she is a hot-head - like she was - and agrees to take her on.

Notes

  • This book was first published on December 24, 2014.

Trivia

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