Caption: “I ain’t gonna lie to you, boy.”
A small light appears in the midst of the darkness.
Caption: “This is gonna hurt.”
The light begins to grow larger.
Caption: “A lot.”
Full page. The light is glowing huge now.
Title: Shadow Ridge Chapter One: Afterbirth
Quote: “All things take place by strife.” Heraclitus.
A large eye appears in the darkness.
A form begins to take shape in the light.
A large, black cat holds a dead mouse in its mouth.
Caption: Squirlg had finished playing with his prey. Now it was time to eat.
Within the light, we begin to see a weapon taking form. It resembles a Native American tomahawk.
We see a large nuclear explosion.
A hand reaches out through the darkness to grasp the weapon.
A star collapses and implodes.
The fingers of the hand close around the handle of the axe.
Caption: “I can hear it.”
On a dark city street, drug dealer “Freddie the Finger” has been shot in the gut and is doubled over in pain. We do not see his assailant.
Caption: “Freddie the Finger pays the price for double crossing one of his clients.”
Dark tendrils extend from the axe, moving towards the hand.
Caption: “It’s in my head. . .”
Repro of the cover of Javier Hernandez’ El Muerto #1.
Caption: “A young boy becomes a tool of the Aztec gods.”
The dark tendrils continue to flow, the visible portion of the arm is now completely black.
Caption: “IT’S TALKING TO ME!!!!!!!!”
A car on a winding, hilly road spins out of control and in front of an oncoming truck.
Caption: “I ain’t been drinking, baby, I swear!”
The Angel of Death flies toward us.
AoD: “Someday you will be honored. . .”
Victorian occultist Clive Collins loses a game of Russian roulette as his wife, Elsa, looks on horrified.
AoD flies closer to us.
AoD: “. . .with the full horror. . .”
We see Vernon Equinox in the dark woods, standing over his latest victim.
VE: “Say goodbye to the little girl tree.”
AoD flies closer.
AoD: “. . .of my features.”
A six panel grid, but in the midst of the grid, we see Jeff Grimm’s full body for the first time. It is breaking through and shattering the panels. The left side of his body is completely black. The right side is visible, but being covered by the black tendrils. The axe in his left hand, now appears to be a double headed battle-ax.
Again we see the Eye.
The car collision, only broken up by Grimm’s form.
The Russian roulette panel, only shattered and falling apart.
Closeup of Vernon Equinox’s face.
The only new panel on the page. We see a female bartender, dark hair. She stands behind a bar. To her right is a large gargoyle.
Closeup of AoD’s face. We see a pendant on his cloak. The pendant is the Eye from Panel 1.
Closeup on Grimm’s face, now completely covered in darkness, but glowing. He is screaming in pain.
We see a skeletal Native American war chief holding the tomahawk.
Caption: “We called him “The Terror.” He chose me to find his replacement.”
We see the spirit of an old confederate Civil War general. He is exhorting Grimm to fight through the pain. He is the one who has been speaking to Grimm on and off since Page one.
General: “Fight through it, boy!”
We see a skull-faced prehistoric barbarian warrior holding an even earlier version of the axe.
Caption: “That thing has been around longer than we know!”
Long panel. AoD even closer now. Arms outstretched, as if in welcome.
Closeup on Grimm’s face, now split in half again. The left side is visible, and skeletal. The right side is still completely dark. Behind the left side of his face, we see a picture of a beautiful girl in a carhop uniform standing in front of a drive-in.
Caption: “Remember why you’re doing this!”
Flashback with Jeff and the girl in an embrace.
JG: “I focus on her.”
In the present, Grimm’s right hand emerges from the water of a swamp.
Long panel. Silhouette image of Jeff and the girl making love.
Grimm emerges from the swamp. He holds the axe in his left hand. It is glowing and tendrils of energy snake out from it.
Caption: Oct 31, 1986. It begins. End Chapter one.