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Darkhawk # 20

Issue Date: October 1992

Story Title: Portals of Power, part 2: Sleepwalker’s Rage

Staff: Danny Fingeroth (writer), Mike Manley (artist), Joe Rosas (colorist), Bill Oakley (letterer), Nelson Yomtov (editor), Tom DeFalco (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description:
Sleepwalker confronts Darkhawk and Portal, claiming that Portal’s armor belongs to him. Darkhawk wants to spend time with Portal, however, to learn the origins of their mysterious armor, while Spider-Man was just on hand to assist during a battle. Sleepwalker attacks Portal, who makes a quick escape by teleporting away. Sleepwalker tries to follow, but Spider-Man stops him. This angers Sleepwalker, who explains that he wants the armor because it may be able to house his true form, instead of remaining a prisoner to his human host, leaving only when he sleeps. When he realizes that Darkhawk’s armor is similar, Sleepwalker attacks him, until Spider-Man separates them, and convinces them to work together to find Portal. However, Portal has gone to Fireheart Industries, with the hope of enlisting the help of a member of his tribe, also known as Puma. He is recognized by a security guard, who lets him rest on a sofa. When Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Sleepwalker track Portal down to Fireheart Industries the next morning, they find Portal missing, and the kindly security guard murdered, and they realize that the Brotherhood has been here before them. At that moment, Toad and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants have indeed captured Portal, who is quickly placed under Sauron’s hypnosis power. They depart through one of his portals to obtain a powerful weapon, but instead, they arrive in Times Square. Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Sleepwalker aren’t far behind, and a battle ensues, with Portal still under Sauron’s control. In the chaos, Spider-Man is thrown into one of Portal’s warps, and starts to free-fall through a strange dimension. The Brotherhood soon escape with Portal, leaving Darkhawk and Sleepwalker to protect some innocent civilians from a falling billboard - however Sleepwalker abandons Darkhawk, and follows the Brotherhood and Portal through the warp, leaving Darkhawk alone, and worried that he will not be able to save the bystanders. Meanwhile, a strange being with armor similar to Darkhawk’s is on a space ship headed to Earth, and a mysterious man remembers the curse of the Darkhawk.

Full Synopsis:
Darkhawk, Spider-Man and Portal have just fought off the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, who then escaped. In the aftermath of that climatic battle, Darkhawk believed he might at last convince Portal to share any secrets of his Darkhawk-like armor - the better for them both to understand more about themselves. But another figure has suddenly appeared - with a distinctly different agenda. ‘I am Sleepwalker…and I swear by the sacred thoughts of the silent ones…that armor shall be mine!’ Sleepwalker drops down beside Chris “Darkhawk” Powell, Peter “Spider-Man” Parker and Charles “Portal” Little Sky and declares that they must let him study the armor, as it is his only hope. ‘Keep away, alien - I warn you’ Portal calls out, while Spider-Man tells Sleepwalker to take it easy, and Darkhawk exclaims ‘No! He’s ruining everything for me!’

Portal then declares that all any of them cares about is themselves. ‘I was a fool to even think you really wanted to help me - or that I even needed any of your help’. Portal exclaims that he has fought his way through a hundred terrors across the Multiverse, which is where he shall return to. He starts to open a portal, but Sleepwalker calls out ‘No! You mustn’t -’, but Portal boasts that no one tells him what he is allowed to do and moves into the portal. ‘No - if he gets into that dimensional portal -’ Darkhawk exclaims, firing his claw-cable towards Portal, who aims his weapon, and knocks the cable back. Sleepwalker lunges forward and grabs Portal, who declares that he knows looking out for himself is the only way he is going to stay free and stay alive.

‘So whatever your sad story is - I’m not interested!’ Portal shouts as he fires his weapon, knocking Sleepwalker back, he is then able to enter the portal. Sleepwalker attempts to follow Portal, but Spider-Man pulls him back with some webbing, ‘We don’t want to lose you in there’ Spider-Man tells him, but Sleepwalker exclaims ‘Nooo! What have you don! You’ve doomed me!’, but Spider-Man reveals that he has snagged Portal with a spider-tracer. ‘But he is gone now…and I somehow doubt its range extends across light years and dimensions’ Sleepwalker mutters, his back turned from Spider-Man and Darkhawk. ‘Maybe you’d have preferred I left you to get lost in some alien dimension?’ Spider-Man asks.

‘I am lost in an alien dimension. My true home is in the mindscape - where I once glimpsed the one you call Portal as he passed through. He’s been there’ Sleepwalker announces, adding that, otherwise, he is a prisoner in the mind of his human host, free to roam this planet only while his host sleeps. Sleepwalker explains that Portal’s armor was his best hope in a long time to return home, what with its dimension traversing secrets. ‘Your “best hope”? He was my only hope of finding out things about myself I’ve been trying to find out for months!’ Darkhawk exclaims, grabbing Sleepwalker by his arm. ‘Take your hand off me before I - wait. Your armor - some of it resembles his - perhaps you hold the same secrets he does!’ Sleepwalker exclaims, grabbing Darkhawk.

‘Well…?’ Sleepwalker asks. Darkhawk replies that he has no dimension-spanning powers, and points out that if he did, he would have followed ‘The power’s in Portal, not the armor. And, thanks to you - he’s gone forever! Along with any possi-’ Darkhawk exclaims, before Spider-Man drops down between them, he tells them that they are all on the same side, and that they can help each other, but that they need to work together. ‘We need a plan’ Spider-Man points out. ‘Like what?’ Darkhawk asks. ‘Yes, what is your plan?’ Sleepwalker enquires. ‘Uh…give me a second here…’ Spider-Man mutters.

Night time, in the New York headquarters of Fireheart Industries, where a glow from within heralds the opening of a hole in the very air itself. ‘Yes. The armor still works perfectly’ Portal thinks to himself as he emerges, deciding that the directional mechanism he came upon in the Szell dimension just before his first return to Earth still focuses his dimension-hopping powers as well as ever. He knows that without it, he had no way of knowing exactly where he would end up on a long hop, and even when he escaped the Police, he didn’t go too far from New York. ‘But it’s just a gizmo I keep in the belt. The Darkhawk-like stuff’s purely a trophy - of an early kill’ Portal thinks to himself, deciding that it is too bad Darkhawk didn’t believe him. ‘That’s his hard luck. And without that tracer I found and destroyed, he and his pals will never find me’.

Looking at a portrait on the wall, Portal tells himself that the reason he is here is to find that very man, the guy who might be able to help him figure out his next move - Thomas Fireheart - Puma. Portal thinks that his fellow tribesman has done well, and recalls that he once offered him advice that he was too proud to take. ‘Now, I need his -’ Portal thinks, when suddenly, someone shines a torch on him and shouts ‘Freeze!’ Portal turns around to find a security guard standing nearby. ‘Who are you? How did you get in here?’ the guard asks, holding up a pistol, he orders Portal to put down his weapon, otherwise he swears he will shoot.

‘Don’t challenge me, or your life is - Edgar? Edgar Running Bear?’ Portal calls out. ‘You know me…?’ the security guard asks. ‘Of course. Aren’t we tribesmen?’ Portal asks as he removes his helmet. ‘Charles…’ Edgar gasps, before telling him that they were all so worried about him when they heard about his powers. He adds that none of them believed it. Charles confirms that it is true, and announces that he needs to see Fireheart, but Edgar replies that he is away, suggesting he might be at the reservation. ‘No. I was just there’ Charles replies. He sits down on a couch and tells Edgar that he will wait for Fireheart here. ‘Sure, Charles’ Edgar replies, turning away. Charles thanks him, and when Edgar looks back, he sees that Portal is asleep on the couch, and wonders if Fireheart can help Portal, just like he helped him - giving him this job and turning his life around. ‘Though I got a feeling this kid’s got worse problems than I ever did’ Edgar decides.

Dawn. A hole is blown in the side of the wall of the building. Portal is gone from the Fireheart building - and Edgar Running Bear’s problems have gotten about as bad as they could possibly be, a look of horror on his still, motionless body.

At that moment, Spider-Man swings towards the Fireheart Building, while Sleepwalker flies behind him, pulling Darkhawk along by the claw-cable. ‘Whoa! Look at that!’ Darkhawk exclaims when he sees the hole in the side of the building. ‘It appears your supposition that Portal would seek help from Fireheart was correct, Spider-Man’ Sleepwalker remarks. ‘Yeah, too bad it took me all night to get that flash’ Spider-Man mutters, pointing out that they couldn’t even pick up the Brotherhood’s trail, either. ‘I have a feeling we just did, Web-Slinger’ Darkhawk declares as the motley trio drops into the building. Spider-Man sees the motionless security guard, and they rush over to him. Sleepwalker asks if this could be Portal’s doing, to which Darkhawk replies that it is not impossible, but he doubts it.

Darkhawk continues, adding that Portal has a thing about staying free, so he doubts this security guard would have presented much of a threat to him. ‘Dead…but still warm’ Spider-Man reports as he checks for life-signs amongst the pool of blood around Edgar. Darkhawk places a blanket over Edgar and suggests that whoever did this must still be nearby ‘If it was the Brotherhood and they were able to get hold of Portal…’ Spider-Man begins, his voice trailing off as Darkhawk declares that they could be anywhere, in any dimension. Spider-Man points out that the Brotherhood’s goal is one of vengeance - vengeance against people on this planet. ‘So’s mine. Let’s go and find them’ Darkhawk declares, looking down at Edgar’s body.

Elsewhere, ‘Your will is my will…and my will is blood!’ Sauron exclaims as he holds Portal and looks into his eyes. ‘…isn’t that right, Charles?’ Sauron asks. ‘Yes…Sauron’ Portal replies. The rest of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants are nearby - Pyro is sitting on a chair, burning some papers, while the Blob stands back, half a sandwich in his hand. Phantazia is nearby, watching Sauron, while the Toad is at Sauron’s feet, ‘You fleshllings are so predictable. Where else would you have gone…but to the headquarters of your beloved tribesmen?’ Sauron remarks. Toad grins wickedly as he exclaims that it was so touching, the pathetic guard trying to defend him from the Brotherhood. ‘And it was so enjoyable to absorb his very life-force’ Sauron exclaims.

Tears roll down Portal’s face, as the Toad exclaims that they have the perfect ally, one who will enable them to emerge from virtually nowhere, and swiftly kill their enemies in the X-Men and the other accursed spawn of Xavier’s highly overrated “dream”. ‘Let’s just do it already, Toad. Our new digs may be spiffy as anything - but I can’t enjoy ‘em so long as we know those X-creeps could be on our backs any second’ the Blob exclaims. Toad bounds over to a table and tells Blob to be patient, as before they venture into the belly of the beast, they must be sure things will work as planned. He picks up blueprints of a weapons storage facility outside Seattle and shows them to his teammates. The Blob tells Toad that he is too late to go into an architecture degree, as there is a glut on that market.

‘How droll, Fred’ Toad replies, before telling the others that in the facility is a new, experimental laser-cannon. ‘If Portal is all he’s cracked up to be…and if he’s really under Sauron’s control - he’ll get us in there - help us kill a sizeable number of innocent bystanders - and get us out’. Toad grins and exclaims that Portal will then have proved his value, and they will have a splendid new weapon to wipe their enemies out with. Toad points at Portal and declares that he is still obeying Sauron’s command to stand still. ‘Even with my flame singeing his feet!’ Pyro’ exclaims as he aims bursts of flame down at the floor around Portal’s feet, before telling his teammates that this is fun. ‘Now let’s see how fireproof that armor - eh?’ Pyro begins, and as Portal puts his helmet on, Toad pulls Pyro away.

‘Enough, Pyro! You’ll have your chance to hurt plenty of humans - in a few seconds’ Toad assures him. Toad turns to Portal and tells him that he has seen the blueprints and the map, and orders him to take them there. Portal opens up a hole in the air, ‘He’s doing it - he’s actually doing it!’ Phantazia exclaims. ‘Of course he is, Phantazia, thanks to me - he is ours to control - ours to conquer with!’ Sauron exclaims as the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants follows Portal through the warp.

Meanwhile, somewhere else - something - someone - approaches in a strange star ship. He is somehow familiar, somehow all too unfamiliar. He has one goal - the destruction of the being known as Darkhawk. His armor resembles that of Darkhawk’s.

And, in Queens, New York, the man who claims to have possessed the power of the Darkhawk before Chris Powell feels a wave of terror - a terror generated by the approaching stranger - wash across his very being. He remembers for the millionth time…the curse of the Darkhawk.

An instant after they disappeared into Portal’s dimensional door, the Brotherhood exits another - but not exactly where they planned. ‘Times Square?’ the Blob exclaims. ‘At morning rush hour, no less!’ Toad points out as they materialize in the middle of a busy road, traffic all around them. ‘Portal - you lousy - you double crossed us!’ the Blob exclaims, smacking his fist against Portal, rendering him unconscious. ‘Blob - you idiot! Now he can’t get us out of here!’ Toad exclaims. The Blob points out that he won’t be able to betray them again either, not until he wakes up. Suddenly, two police officers appear and aim their weapons at the Blob, telling him to freeze. The Blob does not look impressed.

Toad leaps onto a car and remarks that it appears their test did not work. ‘Let’s just take this vehicle and be gone’ he declares, shoving his fist though the windscreen of a car, he covers the driver’s face with a hand, and tells him not to mind the resin, that he will be seeing fine again in a month - suddenly, a blast of energy strikes the Toad, knocking him from the car. Up above, Spider-Man, Darkhawk and Sleepwalker hover, as Darkhawk remarks that they didn’t have to look far for these guys. ‘But maybe we have to let them get away - who knows how many innocents could be hurt in a battle here?’ Darkhawk suggests, thinking to himself that after the way Dr Vonya died, he is hesitant to jump into anything like this. But Sleepwalker declares that they must stop them, or else they will surely hurt many when they will not be around. Spider-Man decides that Sleepwalker is right, and declares that they hit the Brotherhood hard and fast, and make sure they don’t hurt anybody.

Spider-Man drops to the ground, and fires webbing at the Blob, covering his face, while Sleepwalker fires eye beams at Phantazia and Toad, causing the objects around them to bend and twist, tangling them together. Phantazia remarks that Sleepwalker is powerful, before exclaiming that cases like Sleepwalker are the reason she is part of this group, as an instant later, she is free from the objects and Sleepwalker’s powers have ceased. ‘Impossible - and yet - she is indeed disrupting my powers! I would never have thought it possible on this plane!’ Sleepwalker exclaims, surprised.

At that moment, Portal gets up, ‘Uhh…what hit me?’ he calls out, as Sauron descends over him, ‘It was the Blob, Portal…but his physical impact is as nothing compared to the strength of my control over your mind - is that not true?!’ Sauron declares, once again placing Portal under his control. ‘Yes…my will is again yours, Sauron…’ Portal responds, before Sauron orders him to attack their enemies. Portal raises his weapon and fires it at Darkhawk, who responds with a burst of energy, blocking the attack, while calling out to Portal, telling him to snap out of it. ‘All I’ve “got to” do - is kill you!’ Portal replies. Darkhawk is grateful that his force-shield can keep Portal’s blasts at bay, while wondering how long it will be before any innocents get hurt.

‘Whoa!’ Spider-Man gasps as he narrowly dodges a blast of flame which Pyro shoots towards him, and the Blob starts to rip the webbing away from his face. ‘You cannot be allowed to menace the public, Sauron!’ Sleepwalker exclaims, to which Sauron points out that it is the public who menaces he, by their very existence. ‘Enough! We can delay no longer!’ Toad calls out as he laps towards Darkhawk, grabbing him, Darkhawk falls off balance, and his energy shield is thrust towards a man nearby who is filming the battle on a video camera. The man falls backwards, while Darkhawk asks him if he is okay. The man rubs his head and replies that he is fine - before telling Darkhawk to look out, as the Blob comes up behind him and grabs him. ‘Too late, Hawkie!’ Blob shouts.

Darkhawk tells himself not to panic, that he needs to think straight and nobody will get hurt - except the bad guys. Darkhawk is able to maneuver himself, flipping over the Blob’s arms, he then releases a blast of energy, which strikes the Blob in the head. Darkhawk realizes that he is hurtling towards a crowd of people, so he twists his body awkwardly, and lands away from them, ‘Did it!’ he thinks to himself, pleased. ‘Your hopping days are about to end, Morty! Why not just surrender?’ Spider-Man calls out to the Toad as he smacks him backwards. Sauron orders Portal to get rid of Spider-Man, so Portal aims his weapon at the hero, and fires, as does Pyro, releasing more flame towards Spider-Man, but as Spider-Man dodges the flames, he falls into a portal that opens behind him.

‘NOOOO!’ Spider-Man cries out, but even as his horrified scream erupts, Portal closes the shimmering circle, trapping the Web-Spinner in a terrifying, strange dimension, where he floats aimlessly about. ‘Spidey’s gone - don’t wanna be next’ Darkhawk thinks to himself, but he knows they have to stop the Brotherhood, and wonders how. ‘My head reels from that arachnid’s attack! We’ve no time to waste here anymore’ Toad declares, reminding his teammates that they have an agenda, he adds that this has ceased being amusing. As Pyro and Phantazia gather around him, Toad orders Sauron to create a diversion for them. ‘With pleasure, Toad - with pleasure!’ Sauron exclaims as he flies upwards.

‘What - what’s he doing?’ Sleepwalker cries out. ‘What the Toad ordered - in a big way!’ Darkhawk declares as they watch Sauron rip a large billboard advertising the Sony Discman off the top of a building, and holds it overhead. ‘Tremble down there, humans - in the moments before your crushing deaths!’ Sauron calls out, before ordering Portal to open a doorway and get them out of here. ‘You heard Sauron, Charles - do it! Betray us this time - and your life is forfeit!’ Toad warns him, as a portal opens, and Portal, Toad, Phantazia Blob and Pyro enter it. ‘NOOO!’ Sleepwalker exclaims, while Sauron drops the large billboard down to the ground, then flies into the portal. ‘Come on, Sleepwalker - we’ve got to catch that sign!’ Darkhawk calls out.

But, Sleepwalker turns and races into the portal. ‘Wait - where’re you going?’ Darkhawk calls out as he releases his cable claw towards the sign. Sleepwalker replies that it is imperative he follows them, while Darkhawk thinks to himself ‘He’s deserting me - dooming innocent people - to follow his own needs!’ At that moment, civilians run around in a panic, while Darkhawk catches the frame of the billboard. ‘Got it!’ he thinks to himself, but he can barely support it, and the ledge beneath his feet begins to crumble - ‘People below me are going to die’ he thinks to himself, distraught. ‘All because I failed!'

Characters:
Blob, Phantazia, Pyro, Sauron, Toad (all Brotherhood of Evil Mutants)

Darkhawk
Spider-Man

Sleepwalker

Portal

Edgar Running Bear

Evilhawk

Unidentified man

Civilians
Police officers

Notes:
This story follows Darkhawk #19 and concludes in Sleepwalker #17.

The hostage situation took place last issue, during which Darkhawk was mind controlled.

Darkhawk previously encountered Portal in Darkhawk #6.

First appearance of Evilhawk - the mysterious being in the spaceship.

Dr Vonya died in Darkhawk #18.

Issue Summary written by: Daytripper (Steven Bishop)


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