Written by Mike Costa; Art by Fiona Staples; Cover by Cully Hamner
There's a man lying dead in his San Francisco house, a mysterious woman with a tragic story, and Jack's powers are on the fritz. When Jack goes looking for answers, things get explosive!
Contains a special sneak preview of Casey Blue.
Still in the house where he found the body of a man apparently named Ben, Jack Hawksmoor is hanging upside down from the roof in a corner where Juliet cannot see him. As she comes more into the house she hangs up her coat and Jack takes a look at the lamp on the table next to her. He can smell that it was made in Shanghai and can see Juliet’s fingerprints on it telling him that she’s turned it on before. He’s fairly certain that Juliet had something to do with the murder so when she goes to turn on the lamp he whispers to it and boosts its output about ten thousand percent and it knocks her out cold.
When Juliet regains consciousness she’s strapped to a chair hanging off an antennae over the edge of a building several stories off the ground. Jack starts to interrogate her. He finds it strange that he met her earlier that day during a robot attack and now he finds her in the house of a dead man. He asks her to tell him what’s going on. She starts to threaten to break free when she catches his words and asks if he really said “a dead man’s house”. Jack’s eyes glow read and he tells her not to mess around with him. He says he’ll have the concrete swallow her up and then kick her head off like a soccer ball. Juliet’s not hearing any of the threats though, she seems stuck on the idea that Ben is dead. To get her attention Jack lets the antennae lean forward and she drops a little. Juliet isn’t scared by his threats however and says that if he drops her she’ll just get up and have a head start on finding out who killed Ben. Jack decides he believes her and tells the antennae to let her up but instead it snaps and she drops. Jack catches her but only inches away from the ground. After that they take things inside. Jack finds a perch on the wall and it freaks Juliet out so she asks him to sit like a normal person. Jack gets off the wall but he’s becoming impatient. He let her dry herself off and even made her tea but not he wants answers. Juliet says that she and been worked together for years as civil engineers and she had come over that night to talk about the bridge, but she says she doesn’t know anything that could help Jack. He changes the subject and asks about her powers, which seems to unnerve her, but she tells him anyway. Juliet is a grade D powerhouse. She lifts about seven hundred pounds and is exceptionally durable against blunt force damage and can withstand incredible temperatures. She can also jump about fifty feet but she hasn’t practiced in a while. All this comes from being part Kherubim, ninth generation in fact. At eighteen she joined Stormwatch and washed out early on but was put on a watch list so she wouldn’t go out fighting crime on her own. She did it anyway. She went by the name Iron Belle and about a year into her superhero career she got a call from her sister at bank that they were being held up. She went to help and beat the robbers but her sister and three others died in the rescue. After that she hung up her costume and hasn’t used her powers in seven years.
Jack is climbing on the walls again and he can feel the house’s sympathy for Juliet. He tells her that he knows she didn’t do it but he doesn’t know who did and that doesn’t make sense given his own powers. He tells her basically what he can do, saying that he talks to cities and usually in a situation like this he can just have the TV or a mirror replay what happened or get various clues from other parts of the house, but this murder is different. Something is interfering with that this time and on top of that San Francisco has never really liked him all that much. He asks if there’s anything she can tell him about Ben that might be a clue and all she can do is tell him that he was a civil engineer that worked in a small, boring office and complained about paying for his kid’s college. She says she hardly knew him but Jack notices her clutch at her heart and that tells him that she’s lying. He doesn’t push it though, just tells her to call the police as he leaves the house and takes off into the night to find answers.
As he moves over and through the city he realizes that things aren’t acting as they should. Antennae don’t move out of the way for him, the spires don’t reach out to him, the power lines don’t even cycle down as he skates across them. San Francisco isn’t giving him much to work with. He makes his way to a train stop in Oakland to see a friend, a man by the name of Sal. Sal is homeless and comes to the Oakland stop so he can beg money and get some sleep, but Jack thinks to himself that he’s never actually seen the old man sleep. As Jack strolls over to the Sal the homeless man says that the city’s mad today. He also says that some kid spat in his cup. Jack offers to find the kid but Sal says he’ll handle it, says he memorized the train by its smell. Jack notices a weird man with a backpack getting on the train but stays and talks with Sal who’s surprised to see Jack in October. Jack lights up a cigarette and says he doesn’t know why he keeps coming back to a city that doesn’t listen to him and never gives him answers. He asks why Sal is always there and the man says that he really has no choice, he’s married to the city, stuck just like Hawksmoor. Jack feels the trains moving and Sal says he and the city are happy to have him back. Just then the train explodes only yards away from them.
A short time later the fires are put out and Jack is standing over the wreckage. There were 126 causalities but all from the train, no one nearby or in any buildings were hurt as far as he can tell, but he’s still having problems with static keeping him cut off from the city. Jack keeps looking and sees two men on the train tracks and one of them is the guy who with the backpack. They see him and run so he gives chase. As Jack runs he feels the pollution in the air and puts on some more speed but just when he’s catching up the two men leap a superhuman distance off the tracks and onto the roof of a nearby building. Instead of being upset or acting surprised, Jack is happy, he wants to hand out some superhuman punishment tonight. As the men land a huge hand comes up from the building’s roof, grabs one of the men and slams him back down. His friend tries to help him but the first man tells him to go on. He runs and Jack starts to make a second hand when the man holds his hand to his head, looks intently at the hand and it breaks apart. Jack intense pain and realizes that the city isn’t listening to him. It’s ok though, he’s not completely empty-handed. Jack has caught one of the men. He’s about to start with some violent interrogation techniques when the man jumps and attacks him. He’s tougher and faster than Jack assumed he’d be but Jack gets a pipe and starts beating him with it. He asks why the man killed all the people on the train and what he did to Jack’s connection with the city but the man head butts him. Jack choke slams him against the wall and finally gets a response. The man says that he doesn’t know how Jack survived but it’s all over now. Jack is confused and looks down to see the man is carrying another bomb. The building below him is empty but it won’t let him sink it so all he can do is make a run for the edge and hope he makes it over before the bomb goes off. He doesn’t and he gets blown into another building where he interrupts two people in bed in the middle of an affair which he learns about because the man feels guilty and suspects that Jack was sent by his wife. Jack is hurt but takes notice of the man’s comment.
Soon after, Jack finds himself at Juliet’s door. She asks how he knew where she lived and he tells her that he knows where everyone lives. He asks her why she didn’t tell him she was having an affair with Ben and she looks shocked. She composes herself and says she didn’t know who he was and she was right not to because he’s apparently the kind of man that breaks into people’s homes at night to harass them with questions. She guesses though that that’s not why he came to her this time, that he came because he had nowhere else to go. She sees that he’s hurt but pushes him away saying that she’s not his nurse or his friend. He grabs her and she threatens to put him through a wall but instead they kiss.
Outside the window someone is watching.