Kickers, Inc. Issue Guide #5
Watch Your Step
The final Kickers, Inc. issue begins with the team at Runyans, a bar in Manhattan, where they've managed to get into a fight with an entire Canadian hockey team! They brawl for a good ten minutes, by which time the cops show up to drag everybody involved into custody - including Jack and his compatriots! It takes a good long while, of course, but the police manage to bring everybody downtown.
Of course, as the Kickers are processed by the Man, we find that one of the patrons of the bar was busy taking rather detailed photographs of Jack's activities in the bar, and did so for Scott Templar, a CIA operative that had been looking into Jack's... special abilities for quite a while. Of course, he wasn't done with his photographer, Meyers, who he had go to where Jack was being held.
Once Darlene showed up to bail the rest of the Kickers out of jail, Meyers waited for tempers to flare again between the Smashers and their Canadian counterparts, the Icecutters, who had choice things to say about Jack since he was fired from the team. When the atmosphere was correct, he suggested a relay race between the two teams, for charity, to prove who was best once and for all.
Mounting media pressure and their own, personal vendettas caused both teams to sign up for this, and soon enough, Kickers, Inc. showed up in Alberta to run this race, one that trekked through the wilds of that Canadian province. The race started after more bickering between the two groups of pro sports players, with Dasher going against Iggy, one of many obnoxious hockey players out to get the team.
He took a route alternate to Iggy's, one that was slightly longer but not quite uphill, though he found that the bridge he needed to use had been sabotaged. Using quite a bit of innovation, he managed to get across the river before him, and made it to the first check point before his opponent - though he showed up covered in muck and river ooze as he handed the race over to Brick Wall.
Taking Dasher's advice, Brick Wall took the alternate route on his leg as well, though he found it similarly blocked to his progress. However, he smashed his way through the various barriers before him, and made it to his own checkpoint only seconds after his opponent - who wasn't quite as exhausted, since he'd actually followed the path Brick Wall cleared on his way there!
He handed off to Suicide, who again took the alternate, 'scenic' route on the race, but was caught in an avalanche that he could've sworn was triggered by somebody on top of the rocky hill where it came from. The rock slide caused him to fall into a ravine somewhat, but he refused to climb down and lose time on this race; he's too stubborn for that, so he climbed back out the hard way, and beat his opponent.
Handing off to Jack before his opponent made it to the final checkpoint, Suicide gave Jack a significant lead, and that, with his 'edge', should've made winning the race a cinch. However, on his way to the finish line, Jack saw several bright lights moving in the sky above him. That, and the large, simian footprints he saw in the track before him, caused him to wander off the trail in search of answers.
Soon enough, he ran into that 'reporter', Meyers, being abducted by silly green aliens, and dragged into a cabin that rested under a swarm of U.F.O.s. Breaking into the place to save Meyers, Jack found himself face to face with a bigfoot-like monstrosity, and tried to clobber it. It was insubstantial, however, and disappeared as soon as the cabin caught on fire. When it did, Jack leapt for safety out the back door.
Overwhelmed by the sheer amount of weirdness he'd uncovered, Jack raced to the finish line to collect his fellow Kickers, though the race was already over by that time. Blabbering on about all the stuff he'd found, Jack didn't manage to convince the team of anything, and when they went to check the place out the very next morning, the Kickers only found a burnt out cabin.
No aliens. No bigfoot. No Meyers. They then left to go home at that point, feeling frustrated with Jack for ruining things for them yet again, and also believing firmly that he'd ate something containing lots and lots of hallucinogens. Jack didn't get it, however, and followed behind in a stupor, barely missing Meyers and Templar exiting a small bolt hole in the basement of the former cabin, film in hand...
A few months after the events portrayed in the last issue of Kickers, Inc., we find that Scott Templar finally decided to make his move, and tried to recruit Jack Magniconte into the CIA He failed to do so, however, in that Jack decided to dodge the CIA by joining up with the Army - a move he figured would have to save him, what with there being a Draft going on in the wake of the Pitt disaster.
Naturally, this put a dent in the operations of Kickers, Inc., what with Jack being their principal paranormal muscle. However, since folks with weirdo powers were coming out of the woodwork these days, the team would definitely have enough business to go around. In fact, they'd have enough to keep themselves busy - and in the money - while Jack was with the Army.
The Army was more than glad to have him, what with his previous military experience as a reservist, and of course his paranormal powers. The Army spent several months training him in the proper use of his powers, making him much more than a bumbling, super-strong idiot. In fact, their martial arts training made him like unto a living weapon, one they christened the All-American.
He was to serve not just as a leader of the Army's Paranormal Platoon, you see, but as an example of a patriotic American serving his country with pride. Unlike all other paranormals drafted of late, he was given a special, almost comic-book like uniform with which to serve as the Platoon's leader. He filled this role until Major Kathy Blizzard was brought into the program as team leader.
Jack would still be the field commander, though, and was forced by Blizzard to don a 'standard' Army uniform, not that Captain America inspired tripe. Once he did so, Jack and the rest of the Paranormal Platoon were put into action, as the government believed that they had identified the paranormal who created the Pitt, a madman in Africa who demonstrated startling powers on a video tape.
And, of course, claimed responsibility for the Pitt devastation. As such, the Platoon was sent to Angola to wreck the place up and find this guy, though they quickly discovered that the whole deal was a hoax that various racist South Africans perpetrated in order to disguise their use of nuclear weapons against their ethnic neighbors... that's right, they were really unpleasant people.
Jack and company then acted to stop this plot, though it was discovered (after their use) that nuclear weapons worldwide had been somehow rendered inert, and as the engines of war rolled across the earth, the Starchild appeared to end all these armed conflicts once and for all. This was a good thing for Jack and his Platoon, as it covered their escape from Angola as things went truly bad for them.
After he got back home, Jack continued to serve with the Paranormal Platoon for years, on the request of President Voight, though he eventually reverted to his role as the All-American, being a patriotic hero for a country that needed him. He did so up to the point where he was recruited by Nightmask to save the world from a nefarious invasion from a parallel earth!
This invasion, perpetrated by the evil Starblasters, intended to get ahold of the nigh-invincible power of the Star Brand, and woe be anybody that got in their way. Banding together with about a dozen other heroes from his world, Jack fought these aliens on their own ship, which turned out to be the techno-organic entity known as Skeletron - and were ultimately beaten by heroes from the Starblaster's timeline.
They'd mistakenly identified these folks from Jack's world as minions of Skeletron. This battle turned when Skeletron fought with the enigmatic Stranger, however, a fight that ended when Jack's world pulled into Skeletron's timeline, and Skeletron was in turn stranded in the now virtually empty timeline where his world once rested. Their world was then sealed off from the rest of this new (to them) universe.
Jack's fate since then, as well as that of the other Kickers, has yet to be revealed.
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