Chris Powell's house has been destroyed and his mom is badly injured. Before he knows what's happening, he and the stranger are attacked by what the stranger, named Talon, calls a Hunter Drone. They manage to take down the creature after Darkhawk switches armor to form a strike suit, but Talon warns that more will be on their way. Chris heads to the hospital to check on his mom who lies in a coma. Mickey has a long dig at him for not giving up the armor sooner, but Chris tries to explain that it's a part of him and he cannot give it up. Talon then shows up and Chris attacks him. Their fight quickly comes to a halt as Talon explains exactly why he is there. He has come to join the only other member of the Fraternity of Raptors - namely 'Designate Powell.' They are the only remaining raptors and they have a duty to bring order to the chaos that is taking over the cosmos. Chris reckons that's a pretty tall order. He takes time out to attend a meeting of Excelsior and explains the situation. Mickey understands and promises to watch over his family while he's away. Chris then heads outside, joins Talon, and enters a stargate.
A massive explosion has torn apart the home of Chris Powell: Darkhawk. He tries to remain calm, but it's not really in his personality these days. However, if there was ever a time to be angry, now's the time.
Chris looks around at the devastation and then remembers that his family are somewhere in the mess. He finds his mom who lies under some burning timber and grabs her, along with his two younger brothers. He thanks God that they're breathing and he flies away from the house, asking Mickey to call 911. She asks what that thing was that crashed into his house, but before he can answer, the stranger informs 'Designate Powell' that it would be better for them if they left the area, now. He should listen to the datasong. It says that the Hunter Drone that was chasing him is still alive. Chris turns to him and orders him to get away from his family. "Who the **** are you?" he asks. "I am Talon," replies the stranger.
The pair of them are hit by a blast of energy. Chris asks what just shot at them, before looking around and seeing a massive creature with red eyes and large claws; seemingly metallic in composition. "What is that?" he asks. Talon informs him that it's a Drone Hunter, sent to eradicate their kind. "Our kind?" Chris asks. Talon explains that they are the Fraternity of Raptors. Does he not know what he is? Chris replies that he doesn't know anything. He crashes into his backyard and then this monster levels his home. What the **** is going on, and how does he keep his family out of it? He blasts the creature but doesn't even scratch it. It powers up and assaults him again, only this time, Chris somehow manages to reconfigure his costume subconsciously. He is surprised by the change. He's never been able to do that before.
Talon says that the datasong was wrong about him. His bond to the amulet, though faulty, is deeper than anyone could have suspected. He calls Darkhawk Designate Powell again, and tells him to make haste. He should use the strike suit he's reconfigured and coordinate his attack with his own. Chris struggles to understand what just happened, but Talon asks him to save his questions for later. They need to survive the next few seconds. Chris feels supercharged, and Talon suggests he use that energy against the Hunter. Target its weapons array while he immobilizes it. "You can control the change?" asks Chris. Talon informs him that strike suit mode should serve their purpose against this foe.
He asks Chris to stay airborne and says that he can hit the Hunter with a micromunition assault (rockets) while it's distracted. Chris asks Talon, whatever he's doing, to do it fast. He doesn't like the way this Hunter is looking at him. Talon's missiles strike home, and Chris celebrates, for a moment, before realizing that the creature is still alive. It grabs Chris in its massive golden claws and Chris is forced to cut himself free. Talon then asks Darkhawk to follow him in. They will target the Hunter together. With their combined weapons, they attack the creature one more time, and this time the explosion tears the Hunter apart. "Nicely done, Designate Powell," remarks Talon. Chris asks why he keeps calling him that. Talon explains that he is a designate; a novice. A raptor in training. Chris has no idea what he's talking about, and asks once more how he changed his armor like that. Talon explains that it's called reconfiguration - his amulet's ability to draw variant armors for use. All he needs to do is to focus on his old armor and he will transform back. Chris tries but it doesn't seem to work. Talon asks him to relax and feel the amulet's pulse. The armor then disappears, leaving Chris in his human form.
Mickey is still there to see his transformation. Talon informs him that his armor responded when he was surprised... another subconscious reaction which he finds puzzling. He tries to continue speaking but Mickey interjects, telling him now isn't the time. Chris asks about his mom and his brothers. Mickey tells him that the paramedics are there. His brothers are stable, but him mom... she's sorry. Chris asks to be taken to her, but Talon thinks that there are more pressing matters. Chris warns him to leave him alone. He brought all this down on them. As soon as his family's safe, he is owed some serious answers.
(Long Island Hospital - later)
Mickey informs Chris that his brothers are okay. The doctor's say they have mostly cuts and scrapes. She got them some hot chocolate from a machine. They must be fine as they're arguing over who gets the marshmallows. Chris looks at his mom who is lying comatose in a hospital bed. He counts slowly, trying to reign in his anger. Mickey doesn't think that his anger management techniques are working too well. Chris asks what that means. Mickey asks if he's going to get angry with her now. Fine. She's outta there. Mickey chases after her, but Mickey tells him that she's waited long enough. She knows that he has anger issues, but she's tired of excuses. He's always telling her that he's got it under control, that he's got a new technique and that he's a new person, but then he flips out again and goes crazy. Everything seems to set him off. Every last thing. She's sick of hearing his excuses. Can't he see that he's making excuses and blaming everything but himself? She points at Chris and says it's him. It's all him. It's the armor. From the moment he found it it's messed him up.
Chris tries to speak, but Mickey is on a roll, furious at Chris for messing up, not only his life, but those of his friends and family, too. The armor makes him angry, and crazy. He's got to get rid of it before it ruins his life completely. Chris replies that he can't. It's bonded to him. he can't let go of it. "Can't you?" asks Mickey, "Can't you really? Or is that just the addiction talking?" Chris says it's not like that, but Mickey replies that it is. She thinks he loves the power and the rush of being a big, angry tough guy. "No," replies Chris, but Mickey says in that case, give it up! Give it up and be a normal guy. Or, he can go get help, maybe from Talon. Chris balks at the idea. Talon's the reason his mom is in a coma! Mickey asks him to listen to himself. Talon was on his side; fighting on his side.
Chris holds his head in his hands and feels his anger brewing. He changes into his Darkhawk costume and looks out the window to see Talon hovering there. Mickey gets out of the way quickly as she knows things are about to kick off. Darkhawk crashes through the window in anger, and Talon informs 'Designate Powell' that his friend is advising him not to fight. Chris hates being called Designate Powell and warns him not to call him that. Talon asks what he should call him. "Darkhawk," replies Chris. "I'm Darkhawk! He takes a shot at Talon using his chest plate, but it misses and Talon tells him that he is an angry child playing with toys he doesn't understand. He responds in kind, blasting Chris and sending him hurtling backwards. Talon informs him that he's come a great distance and at great cost to find him. The Fraternity of Raptors is needed now, more than ever. The galaxy needs them and they are the only ones left. He punches Darkhawk who reels from the power.
Chris replies that he's talking crap, but Talon says he came to teach him about what he is. He came to find his last comrade in arms. He came to help save the future. Chris takes a swipe at Talon and tells him it doesn’t mean anything. Talon vehemently replies that it means everything. He needs to help him untangle his mind. The raptor armor wasn't built for humans. He has never properly bonded with it, and its alien presence in his head is driving him insane. See for yourself, he adds. With that, Chris's amulet emits images of events unknown to Chris. Black Bolt, Lilandra, Vulcan and other raptors are shown alongside massive space ships.
"Wh-what was that?" Chris asks. Talon informs him that it's the past, the future, a glimpse of the memories stored in his armor. A predictive flash of the variables that wait to be aligned. "Aligned?" asks Chris. Talon continues to add that they need to be aligned by the raptors. He showed him the chaos in his head. The overload of data has been pouring into his head since he and his armor were first joined. He's tried to shut it out, explain it away or ignore it. All the time it's been there - driving him crazy and making him angry. "Because the armor wasn't built to fit humans?" asks Chris. Exactly, replies Talon. He found the armor by accident, but it was never intended for him.
Chris asks about the Hunter Drone that they just fought. Talon informs him that it was sent by their enemies; those who oppose the work of the raptors. He should understand that the Hunter was the first of many. So long as he is bonded to the armor, they will keep coming for him and his family will be caught in the crossfire. Chris asks if he can be taught how to use the armor and fit it. Talon says this is why he came across half a cosmos to find him.
(later, the basement of the Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Manhattan)
A meeting of Excelsior is taking place. Johnny, Chris, Namie, Mickey and Julie are in attendance, as well as two other males. As is the custom, Chris introduces himself to everyone and they all say hi. Chris tells them that he appreciates them coming out on such short notice, and he knows that he's caused them a lot of trouble recently. He hasn't exactly been a model member of the group. Johnny asks how his mom is. Chris tells him she's okay, but she's still in the I.C.U. At least the doctors are hopeful. That's actually why he came tonight. He wants to keep this simple.
He explains that he became Darkhawk by chance. The armor's given him some great adventures and friends. There've been some amazing times, he confesses. However, it's also damaged him. It's been screwing with his head; some sort of 'incompatibility' problem between alien tech and human software. He knows that they might not believe him, but it's the truth. So, he adds, he's sorry for all the pain he's caused. The group listens patiently as he continues to inform them that he now has a chance to learn how to become Darkhawk for real. It's make or break time. He masters it, or he gets rid of it forever. It seems to be so important. The Darkhawk armor is tied to something so big, he barely gets it. Mickey, standing with her arms folded, asks if he's going away. Chris shrugs and replies that if he remains, he'll put others at risk. There are things hunting him and last night one of them almost killed his mom. He can't be here, drawing these things to his family.
He adds that he needs to go away and sort out this mess. He doesn't want to leave his mom and brothers, but they're safer without him right now. He was hoping, maybe, if he could ask them to keep an eye out for them while he's gone. "You know it," Mickey assures him, before giving him a big hug. Chris thanks her. "Come back," she says. "I will," he replies, "For you." Chris then departs, leaving Excelsior behind. Once out the door he transforms into Darkhawk and sees Talon flying above him outside the church. He asks when they start. Talon tells him right now, if he's ready. Chris asks what he is. What is 'Designate Powell.' Talon informs him that he is a raptor, one of two in existence. The raptor armors were forged eons ago to equip those who would serve as architects of the universal fate. "That's a pretty vague job description," quips Chris. Talon adds that raptors are sworn to use all their considerable skills and powers to safeguard the advance of galactic culture. They influence, they adjust, they shape and they improve. They are the curators of history and the custodians of the future.
Again, Chris jokes that there's no pressure, then. Talon continues to explain that there have been no raptors at work in the galaxies for millennia. He has only recently awoken from dormancy. Without the stable, guiding hand of the raptor fraternity, universal culture has been sliding out of control. They are needed, now more than ever. "To do what, exactly?" replies Chris. Talon spreads his wings wide, and informs him that war is about to reshape the landscape of the cosmos. They need leverage; influence, if they are going to perform their role for the greater food. They will start in a place called the Negative Zone. Chris says that he's heard of it, but how do they get there? Talon takes to the air, and asks him to follow. Darkhawk takes off in pursuit, heading skywards until they disappear into some kind of stargate.
My name is Chris Powell. I'm Darkhawk, and everything I thought I understood, just changed.