Kickers, Inc. Issue Guide #1
This Legend Born!
Our story begins in the midst of a football game between the New York Smashers and some unnamed team. The hero of our tale, one Jack Magniconte, is struggling to pull a last minute win out of his hat along with 'Dasher' Corbin, 'Brick Wall' Wohl, and 'Suidice' Smythe. Thanks to a lot of quick thinking and excellent teamwork, the Smashers indeed achieve a winning touchdown as the clock ticks down to nothing.
After some post-game locker room hijinks, Jack went with his wife, Darlene, to visit Steve at his nearby laboratory, where Steve told him about his newest breakthrough, the so-called Intensifier device, which could dramatically increase a body's muscle mass and reaction time. Theoretically speaking, of course, though it hadn't appreciably helped him or any of his test subjects as of yet.
Agreeing to be it's most recent test subject the next day, Jack left with Darlene and spent some time with her in New York's Central Park. There, the two discussed Jack's experimental Intensifier, as well as the potential health risks involved. As they left the park, though, Jack and Darlene bore witness to the so-called White Event as it affected the earth, and the curious energies deeply affected Jack.
Finding himself disoriented by the energy display, Jack made his way home with Darlene, though he felt fine by morning, when he returned to Steve's laboratory to participate in his Intensifier experiments. Something went wrong with this particular use of the Intensifier, however, as when it was activated, it crackled with unanticipated energy, and zapped Jack Magniconte something good.
By the time Steve and Darlene removed Jack from the Intensifier, they saw that his hair had turned white, and he had swelled with dramatically increased muscle mass. Though he claimed he was mostly fine, Jack wound up feeling sick all night, and upon the dawn of the next day, he went for a simple jog through Central Park to clear his head and, hopefully, to feel better for the exertion.
Things didn't go smoothly, however, as several joyriding punks drove their car onto the jogging path that Jack was using, and splashed him with a nearby puddle of standing water as they passed him. Enraged, Jack ran after the car, and found that he could keep up with it - even though it was going over forty miles per hour! Furthermore, when he grabbed the car's bumper, he pulled it off!!
Returning to Steve's lab, Jack had his brother run more tests on him, though the scientist couldn't determine exactly what had happened during his experiment. Nonetheless, Jack found that he had indeed attained apparently super human strength, and he wasn't too concerned about how he got it... he was just thrilled that he had, indeed, gained an exceptional edge in his football career.
When Jack left for the day, however, we find that Steve is in serious debt with one Mr. Sloan, a money lender of ill repute. He asks Steve about the money he owes him, though he doesn't put any pressure on the man yet; after all, Sloan saw Steve as an investment, what with him being the brother of one of the best quarterbacks in the league. A wise choice, especially given how things were about to change.
You see, that Sunday, Jack found out exactly how advantageous his newfound strength and speed were, even though he hospitalized his pal Dasher with an exceptionally hard throw - one that cracked his ribs! Over the next couple of weeks, Jack continued to use his 'edge' to help the Smashers gain dominance over every team they faced, making him and his pals ideal for pricey product endorsements and such.
Over time, though, Jack grew bored with the whole thing, as he'd lost the challenge he felt when he was simply a regular football player, and it started to show. Furthermore, Mr. Sloan was starting to lean on Steve more, trying to get him to convince Jack to maintain a specific point spread in the Super Bowl - since the Smashers had made it there thanks to Jack and his secret 'edge'.
Steve wouldn't do it, however, and when Jack and the Smashers bowled over their opposition, Sloan's men came to pay Steve back for his lack of results - inadvertently shooting him fatally in the process. Arriving at just that time to visit his brother, Jack saw Sloan and his goons standing over Steve, and he went totally berserk, trashing the criminals up but good - though it didn't help to bring Steve back.
Confiding in his wife and three good friends from the Smashers, Jack explained what had happened, and tried to reproduce the effects of the Intensifier on them, but to no avail. Nonetheless, Jack had decided that he wanted to use his newfound powers for more than just scoring touchdowns, and as such, he intended to help people in need - by founding a paranormal investigation firm!
Liking the idea, Jack's pals (and his wife) signed up for the long haul, christening themselves Kickers, Inc.!
the Robot in my Rose Garden!
This mystery begins as the members of Kickers, Inc. appear on the Tonight Show, with Johnny Carson, in order to plug their new group. As they do this, one Mrs. Mirano is watching the show, but is interrupted by... something that's prowling around her neighborhood, terrorizing everybody within. That next day, as the various Kickers return to their headquarters - formerly Steve's building - she calls them.
Traveling to her home in the Bronx that next day, the Kickers listen to her story in person (her call had been handled by the legion of telemarketers the Kickers had hired to weed out more... mundane problems). Checking out her back yard, they found odd tracks there, tracks that drove right over Mrs. Mirano's fence, though Suicide found something more... realistic than the robot Mrs. Mirano claimed to have seen.
Sharing his find with Brick Wall, Suicide explained that he'd found some sort of gang emblem, and while Jack and Dasher went to talk to the police, they started asking questions. The gang emblem, a sort of fist patch, didn't seem to inspire anybody to talk, though they did get someone's attention. Several someones, in fact, all of which were rivals of these 'Fists', the Broken Skulls!
Suicide and Brick Wall talked to the punks, and actually managed to avoid getting hurt in the process, convincing them that the Kickers aren't cops, and definitely aren't out to 'move in' on their territory. With that, they left in peace, continuing their search for these 'Fists'. Soon after, a street informant got a hold of that same group, and told their leader, Fist (go figure), what was going on.
Sounding in conversation as though they were a part of some... international conspiracy, Fist and his cohorts discussed the situation, and vowed to make the Broken Skulls pay for their interference in Fist's plot (whatever it may be). That night, the Broken Skulls' hangout was attacked... by something big and metal! Worse than that, of course, was that whatever it was, it was armed with automatic machine guns!
That night, the leader of the Broken Skulls decided that he needed help dealing with the Fist and his flunkies, and called Kickers, Inc., as a result. Arriving on the scene, the team found the hangout to be riddled with gunfire, and smashed all about. Once the 'metal creature' was mentioned, however, Jack was overwhelmed with curiosity, and asked the Broken Skulls to lead him to the thing.
His gang took the Kickers there, but they had to journey through a nasty sewer tunnel in order to get to the Fists' headquarters. Sneaking in beforehand, Jack and the Skulls' leader discovered a huge arsenal of destructive weaponry, but were captured before they could alert the authorities to the danger that they were in. Fist and his men then started to beat on Jack and his 'friend' mercilessly.
While Jack was in no real danger, thanks to his 'edge', his companion was not so lucky, so it was a good thing that the rest of Kickers, Inc., along with the Broken Skulls, broke in to the Fists' base just then to rescue their friends. In the melee, however, Jack got himself shot by Fist, at which point he found out he was relatively bullet proof, in that the man's shot bounced right off his skin!
Seeing this, Fist called in his heavy hardware, at which point a large robot, moving on two large tank treads, rolled through the wall! Looking like an eighties movie reject, the robot had a gun for its left arm, which it used in its assault on all the Fists' enemies! Before it could kill anybody, however, Jack managed to disable the gun-arm with a powerful punch - even if it did hurt his hand severely.
Able to look more closely after the bullets stopped flying, the Kickers discovered that the thing wasn't a robot, so much as it was a curious mini-tank, and that it was occupied by at least one pilot. Knowing this, Jack tried to disable the vehicle further, and after leaping atop the thing, he managed to at least get it out of the cramped quarters of the Fists' home base - he took the fight outside!
However, Fist armed a self destruct mechanism in the robotic mini-tank, hoping to take all these interlopers out in one fell swoop - he's not a very nice guy, you know. Before it went off, however, Jack managed to disable the thing with an electrical line, a fire hydrant, and a judicious amount of property damage. He even managed to pull the drivers out of the mini-tank before it, and Fist's base, self-destructed.
While Fist and his chief revolutionary cohorts managed to escape justice, Kickers, Inc. did manage to make a significant difference in the neighborhood - especially since the Fists were now disbanded. Of course, knowing that the police wouldn't buy their story, the team beat feet before the cops could show up, though they managed to miss a sickeningly sweet happy ending by doing so. These things happen, though...
the Witches of Westchester!
This tale begins with the Master of Ceremonies, an occult figure, holding some sort of ceremony (go figure) out in the woods of upstate New York. He begins by condemning one Michael Courtney for betraying the group to outsiders. Before he can even protest properly, the Master of Ceremonies condemns the man's soul, and suddenly Michael falls to the ground with a scream - right before the Kickers are discovered!
Figuring they'd lost the element of surprise, the team attacks the Master, though he managed to escape by hitting Jack in the head with some sort of 'magic ball', one that apparently draws forth several demonic monsters that wanted to rend him limb from limb. While Jack and Dasher deal with these things, Suicide and Brick Wall chase after the fleeing Master, though they lose him quickly in the woods.
They find two other fellows hanging around, though, and these guys flattened poor Suicide before he knew what hit him. Of course, they determined that Suicide wasn't with the party they were looking for, and as such, the two thugs split before Brick Wall could show up to help his friend; they chased after the Master of Ceremonies together, yeah, but Brick Wall's somewhat slower than his compatriot.
Collecting Suicide, Brick Wall returned to Jack and Dasher's position, by which time the duo had dealt with the monsters left to take care of them. Of course, they simply faded into non-existence, instead of being actually defeated, leaving Jack at a loss as to what he'd actually seen. Since Dasher looked woozy, and couldn't recall any 'monsters', Jack decided to drop it and take the Kickers back to their building.
There, the team talks with their current client, Michael Courtney - who apparently had recovered from the attack that had supposedly condemned his soul. There, he retold the story of how he got involved with a local college coven, one that had been perverted by this Master of Ceremonies, who tempted the group with 'real power', and demonstrated his ability to summon monsters from... elsewhere.
This caused one of his fellow dabblers in the occult to commit suicide, and this then caused Michael to seek help in the matter from Kickers, Inc. More than interested in the mystery, now, the Kickers vowed to indeed help Michael in his plight. Of course, they had to discuss the matter at length first, and they couldn't get right on it as they had to do their jobs as professional athletes first.
After dealing with Coach Kirby and a rather rough practice session, the Kickers went to Trace University, where Michael was introduced to his mysterious coven by one of his instructors, Professor Jordan. The chemistry guru was less than pleased with being asked about the whole occult mess, and threw them out of his classroom. On their way off campus, the Kickers were accosted by those goons from the woods.
After a bit of talking, it was determined that they weren't out to get the Kickers after all, and once they apologized for the misunderstanding, their boss wanted to talk to Jack. Jack found out that the man behind the thugs was an Italian businessman, one Mr. Cannelloni and the father of the coven student who killed himself. He wanted Jack to lead him to the cause of his son's death... so he could deal with him.
Jack refused, of course, not wanting to be a party to murder, and knowing the police would eventually deal with the responsible party anyway. Leaving the odd lunch, Jack rejoined the Kickers, who then journeyed to a location provided by Mr. Cannelloni, in order to dig deeper into this occult mayhem. When Jack and Brick Wall entered the derelict building, they were gassed unconscious by the Master of Ceremonies!
When they recovered, the two football players were bound to a sacrificial altar, and after the Master threw 'magic powder' on the duo, Jack and Brick Wall started seeing 'spirits' flying over their heads. Before the Master of Ceremonies could sacrifice them, however, Suicide and Dasher broke in to rescue their pals, and all heck broke loose! Naturally, however, the Kickers won this fight.
After the dust settled, it was determined that the Master of Ceremonies was none other than Professor Jordan - who would've gotten away with it if it weren't for these meddling football players...! However, Jordan befuddled the Kickers with his legal mumbo jumbo, and they left him in despair, believing that nobody could bring the man down. All save for Jack, of course.
Seeing those two goons hovering nearby, Jack went ahead and told them that Professor Jordan was the man that Mr. Cannelloni wanted to 'deal with', and then left with his compatriots - knowing that Jordan would at least meet some kind of justice. Even if it was a justice that wasn't necessarily morally fulfilling, ethically sound, or even legal... but he felt that it was the best he could do at the time...
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