Categories
Comics

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 09/08/2021)

She opened her eyes, exhaustion weighing on her fluttering heart. Time was relative. She had no idea how long it had been since before, but knew these journeys were transformative both physically and cosmically. Waiting to land in another world always spiked her adrenaline in the black unknown. This time was different, though. Running from a force intent on capturing her had taken its toll. She remembered flying, erratic and desperate to escape the light being. A space, spanning the lengths of the universe, yet full of nothing, beckoned her. Stars danced, dizzying and all-consuming. Then, a voice spoke.

I am the one that took you, and the rest, out of your homeworld. I wish there were more reasons behind my acting that I could explain to appease you, but that’s not the case. I was desperate. I shall start from the beginning so you can at least maybe understand.

When I pulled you out, it was not the first time you traveled. It wasn’t the first time for any of you. Every time you go to sleep, a piece of your mind leaves your body. Everything you have ever dreamed of was real for someone else. The nicest dream you had, the most utterly terrifying nightmare is just other worlds your mind was attracted to. What I did was merely bring your body with it to serve a purpose. That’s also why your memory was fragmented at the start, because of all the unusual heavyweight.

But the reason I did all this was that I needed help. The beings that chased you here, they’re threatening to end it all. They may not realize it, but they’re leading everything into extinction. You see, trillions of years ago, their civilization was going to disappear rather sooner than later, so they retreated into themselves, learned to control the journeys their minds went in to escape their reality. We achieved what we set ourselves to do, but we never stopped. At some point, I realized we were changing. Deep inside ourselves, we were different. Our minds were lost in the infinite universes with nothing to come back to, and so, we recessed into something that we never meant to become. I retreated here, into this limbo detached from any world, to remain forever. Alone, but sane. Now, my people are unrecognizable. If they still think, it’s in a way that nobody else can understand, and their behavior is simply erratic. There is no helping them anymore.

They feed off the places they inhabit through the objects you’ve been finding. I wanted to do something before, but if I ever go out, my mind could simply never return. Using you was the only way to stop this, and even then, communicating has been hard. They’re far too sensitive to the ways of the universe now and able to feel any alteration in it. Even when you travel. Even right now that I brought you here. Now that you know this, you have to focus. You have to find the world they once belonged to and bring me the object so that I may destroy it, and them, once and for all. What I have placed on your shoulders might be a burden, but I fear it’s a necessary one.

Nothing more and nothing less needed to be spoken. She nodded firmly before entering the magic embrace of another world.

Mamo

She tumbled, her hair caught in the grassy knoll in the forest. There, she saw her familiars. Jo and the witch of Haresden, Orla, repaired a cairn to appease Mamo’s restless spirit. The woman wrote in her journal. Documenting her travels for the Higher Being now equated to saving her world from ruin.

Emilia’s Journal: The world is so much bigger than anyone could ever fathom. I’m grateful to again visit Orla and Jo’s universe, where magic seeps from the whispering leaves of the forest to roots buried in hardened soil. Orla and Jo build the cairn, and Jo asks Orla to teach her magic. Jo wants to wield this power. She is drawn to magic and the secrets it contains, and now, I feel a similar pull. If magic settles in the right hands, it can change the world.

Mamo #3 (By Sas Milledge) / Source: Boom! Studios

Much to Jo’s surprise, she realized Orla had already shared a magic conduit. The necklace hanging around Jo’s neck — once a gift from Mamo to Orla — was a gift from Orla to Jo. A pedant yields power. A pendant funnels power from its users: the power to share, to give, and to accept the responsibility of this power.

Emilia’s Journal: I am transported as Orla and Jo bike around town. My own body feels untethered from time and reality at this point. It’s becoming harder to discern reality from a dream, and I feel as if I am merely a soul floating at this point. I have to find an object to return to the Higher Being. In a land with magic literally altering the town itself, I’m sure the object will turn up when I least expect it.

She searched heartily, the traveler once confined to isolation, then shivering with enlightenment. Orla and Jo collected nettles under the simmering sunlight to ward off bad magic. They collect enough, gently uprooting their stalks and weaving them into a protection ward. Together, the two casted magic upon a group of sheep standing in a concentric pattern around one of Mamo’s buried bones.

Emilia’s Journal: Jo performed magic! Magic can be utilized, learned by the power of willfulness and collaboration. The creepy sheep crop circle dispersed and revealed another eerie bone. I hurried to keep up with them as they headed to this forest where black birds circle the sky unendingly. Hopefully, they can find the answers to why Mamo’s bones are misplaced, strewn throughout Haresden. 

A black crow, obsidian wings reflecting the light, spoke to the young women. Jo had saved Caractus before, and she was calling in a returned favor.

Emilia’s Journal: I don’t know why a talking bird surprises me after all I’ve seen now, but the gravelly timbre to his voice makes me uneasy. He looks like a shadow. A streaked ink stain painted on a canvas. Caractus wears a lengthened black hat upon his bird head that appears to mesh into his body. Finally, Jo and Orla find answers to their burning questions from this corvid. Before her death, Mamo asked the corvids, the magical birds, to scatter her bones in all corners of Haresden. Oh god…she let the bird eat her body for…power? Power seems dangerous in the wings of these creatures. Talk of death and bones upsets my stomach still, but my intrigue has overtaken my fear of death these days. “Power given freely is power doubled.” The mantra repeats itself again in this universe. It holds nuanced implications about the cycle of life and death itself.

Mamo #3 (By Sas Milledge) / Source: Boom! Studios

Bound by the bargain, Caractus explains how his deal with Mamo came with no additional inquiries. They simply accepted the exchange of services and unleashed Mamo’s chaos into Haresden. Without understanding, Orla and Jo charted the buried bones once again on their map. A pattern emerged on the piece of paper.

Emilia’s Journal: They’ve buried nearly all the bones at gravesites except one. Looking at their map, they realize they’ve fallen into a trap! This devil bird and the untamed magic duped the two women. A faery ring pattern has surfaced on the map. I remember faery rings meaning curses from before…they’re in trouble now. 

Next to her, the woman found a black shape no bigger than her fingernail pushing through the earth. She dug up the soil to find a ceramic figurine in the shape, carved in the shape of a black bird. From the figure, blackness swirled until it overwhelmed her body and stole her back into the void.

Eve

From the depths of that empty space outside of everyone’s reach, Aimée now appeared on a beach. They remembered it well. It was the first time they met with Emilia. Wexler, the threatening robot, was there. Pacing, waiting for something to come out of the water. It dawned on them he was waiting for Eve, who, the last time they saw her, had dived into the water to look for the vault that could save humanity. 

A threatening sound came from underneath the sea, like the world itself was roaring. A giant monster made of metal thrust out to the beach. In a rapid series of events, Wexler threw a blow against the robot, but it was a useless attempt, as it made no real damage, and the machine suddenly returned the favor with a missile. Everything happened so fast that Aimée’s head took time to process the sound of the chaotic scene. When they finally reacted, they hid behind some debris to write what they just witnessed. 

Aimée’s journal: The missile did not explode or anything. It…grew trees in the collision area, they trapped Wexler. The mecha is not attacking either. They’re…talking! It’s Eve! And that’s the vault, I’m guessing. She’s telling him to do better while she’s away, trying to save the world. She will go for a long time, planting the seeds all around the continent. But she will come back.

Eve #5 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

The vault then started walking in the opposite direction across the beach, shooting the seeds from its mechanic tail, automatically planting them into the ground. Trees grew large in a manner of moments, as the gigantic silhouette became little until it disappeared in the distance.

Aimée’s journal: How does Eve manage to maintain so much hope? She not only firmly believes she’ll be back, but she will also save the whole world, preserve humanity. It’s admiring. I wish I could do the same. What I find hard to understand, though, is Wexler. Does she really expect him to be better? I mean, he clearly has a deep care for all the Eves, but…I don’t know, how can that work out? Talking about that, I should check on him. 

Aimée returned to the wooden chains where the robot was trapped. Somehow, walking on that beach, they noticed how the sensation of the world had already changed. It wasn’t just a devastated and ruined world, but a devastated and ruined world with a future brighter than its present. However, when they reached the place, Wexler’s absence surprised them. He had already escaped, which worried Aimée, considering his previous homicidal tendencies regarding any humans apart from Eve. 

Eve #5 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

It felt like he could be right behind her, with his claws prepared to rip them apart. But despite that, they kept looking and were able to hear sounds coming from the house at the shore. Some growling mixed some steps. They got dangerously close to the window in order to check what was going on and found the killer robot with an unexpected prisoner inside: Eve. The older Eve who turned into one of the monsters. She was tied to the wall, with the eyes blank and an inexpressive face. 

Aimée’s journal: I thought he killed her after she turned! He’s saying something…He’s gonna keep her alive and try to cure her somehow. Even he hopes for things to be better, no matter how bleak they seem. I guess…maybe I should allow myself to do that for once. 

They held their journal against their chest, a bit afraid, a bit braver. They realized now what they needed to change. Then, the time would come to put that into practice.

Aimée’s journal: Night is just about to come, and I’m gonna go to sleep. Until next time. 

Categories
Comics

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 08/11/21)

Mamo

World matrices and a labyrinth of unexplored realities merged. Dark spirits transported the woman in their palms, passing her along until quantum dimensions synthesized. The bodiless forces quavered momentarily, reticent. Nevertheless, she somersaulted into a universe where spirits crawled from the galaxy’s outer reaches onto quiet grasslands. But something changed. She was sent here before, she recognized, hiding in an attic behind wooden boxes and a long-forgotten childhood basketball. Reality-jumping came full circle, like a snake consuming its tail.

Emilia: Orla. Jo. It’s them again…

Already, her fingers meshed with the quantum-strained pages of her leatherbound journal. The witch, Orla, and the girl with the sick mother, Jo, climbed down the creaking attic stairs before the woman could slither out to follow them.

Emilia’s Journal: Somehow, I am back. Fate has returned me, and I watched Jo and Orla capture Mamo’s insidious, viscous-appearing spirit inside a taut coin sack. No time has passed here since I left them. How is it possible? Is magic key to returning home? Do I want to return home? At least I landed inside Jo’s house this time. I entered a cabinet, the slats providing me enough light to watch them from afar. But I am finding darkness and isolation…not as comforting as I used to.

Mamo #2 (By Sas Milledge) / Source: Boom! Studios

As Orla sewed luminous threads of magic into the sack containing her grandmother’s restless spirit, the woman wrote everything. Their existence was the antithesis to the woman’s own secluded life. Orla prepared an altar at the hearth and set it aflame. A coal-colored spirit resembling a lizard extracted a bone, Mamo’s bone, from beneath the hearth’s ashes.

Emilia’s Journal: Orla and Jo are leaving the house now, so I’m writing as quickly as I can. Orla, with her magic and knowledge, released the hearth spirit building a nest out of Mamo’s bones. The bone, no smaller than the length of my Orla’s finger, was radiating untapped power. Jo’s mom should get better from her sickness now that the girls extricated the bone. Mamo didn’t receive a burial after death, Jo explained. Instead, her energy was redistributed…and they need to locate Mamo’s bones to conduct a proper burial. Death…I am so familiar with death. I can’t help but hold out hope that maybe…maybe Mamo isn’t dead?

Orla and Jo traversed the sweeping countryside, burying the bone at Haresden’s border. The woman trailed them, emotions rolling through her like the ebb and flow of the hills surrounding them. She noted a tangible connection growing between Jo and Orla. For the first time, after watching Orla describe how the anchoring talisman Jo wore on her neck was a protective witch power source, a longing for human gnaws at the woman’s broken heart.

Emilia’s Journal: Mamo’s unburied bones have been scattered across countryside gravesites. Jo doesn’t hesitate when Orla announces the necessity of visiting each gravesite and fixing the berserk magic plaguing Haresden. Although they barely know one another, and Orla remains somewhat closed off, they have a deep-rooted understanding. The symbiotic borders of Haresden need to be maintained. Jo will do anything to quiet the restless fae and swelling waves threatening her town, even without magical abilities. I remember that desire…a burning flame of loyalty toward my father throughout our limited time together. Orla and Jo… are showing me that death does not have to be an endpoint. Through death, an ember can spark, leading to new relationships. Have I been wrong to close myself off from the outside — from everyone — my entire life?

She followed them, listening to conversations multiplying her grief while Orla dined with Jo’s inviting family. She followed them as they mapped their journey on paper, identifying a pattern in Haresden’s borders coinciding with Mamo’s power as a hedge witch. Talk of patterns was paramount. A spell was required to reinstate the deceased witch’s power. If only spells could restore the woman’s life so easily, she yearned.

Mamo #2 (By Sas Milledge) / Source: Boom! Studios

They traveled to Haresden’s docks, where a humble fisherman and an old fishwife pointed them toward vexed fae in the rockpools. Diminutive rock trolls ambushed Orla and Jo on their escapade. Mankind intervened in magical beings’ natural order, and Mamo’s death meant an inability to protect the finite balance between structure and chaos.

Emilia’s Journal: I’m exhausted. After a few days here, I’m beginning to wonder if I will have to leave. Haresden is beautiful, and Orla is bringing peace back to the unsettled land. When Jo speaks about her love toward Haresden, I want to experience that same joy and commitment somewhere. I don’t love the solitary existence I meticulously created for myself back home…I want a home again. Traveling is new after years locked inside a self-made prison, yet it also brings me a feeling of…catharsis? Orla and Jo rebuild the cairn townsfolk had destroyed to widen the road. They appease the trolls, but Orla’s demeanor is downcast. She explains how magic is a resource meant to be harnessed, and how constant traveling brought her a similar sensation of magic. Magic holds potential, but corkscrews and flourishes in different places for each person who wields it. Orla left Mamo because she could not thrive with her grandmother. My father left me through death, and I could not thrive without him. Could Mamo and I be harboring similar resentments?

Ruminations on life, family, death, and magic spilled into her mind like a gurgling water pitcher until the dark maelstrom seeps inside. Her thoughts cracked into a million shards as magic whisked her away to another world.

New Day

Francesca was suddenly awoken once more. When did she fall asleep? Was she knocked unconscious? If she had a body she could readily discern, it would be aching. She felt pangs of discomfort and soreness, despite not really being in a corporeal form. What was going on?

She looked at the screen again to see Xavier Woods, Kofi Kingston, and Big E once more. The pain she was feeling seemed irrelevant when she saw these three men before her. The trio was in Triple H’s office after their successful first outing as a tag team. They were introduced to awkward dudes who seemed to be doing the same song and dance she had seen earlier with Kofi, trying on different gimmicks and corresponding costumes, only to feel like none of them felt right. Francesca started to feel a deep sense of sadness, “Why am I so attached to these people? Why do they feel so familiar?”

Big E, Kofi, and Xavier finally settled on an evangelist gimmick that they didn’t entirely love but were asked to stick with at the behest of Xavier Woods. They agreed they love the name The New Day but felt like the preacher angle is mildly offensive at best. Francesca looked on with anxiety, “I know this is incorrect, but I can’t figure out why exactly I know this. Why does this feel so wrong and still so…gah, why does everything HURT?” She muttered to herself.

WWE: The New Day – Power of Positivity #2 (Written by Evan Narcisse & Austin Walker, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, and lettered by DC Hopkins) / Source: Boom! Studios

As Francesca continued to watch these men struggle to find their place amongst their WWE peers, the men finally seemed to come to some kind of impasse. They separated, only for Xavier Woods to hope that once their break was over, they’d all come back as the New Day to fight in the ring again. Francesca’s anxiety built as she witnessed each member go back to their respective homes and lives outside wrestling. They discussed with their loved ones how they couldn’t seem to find the right footing yet, and whether or not they should bother continuing on their current trajectory. She was suddenly drawn closer to the screen as she saw Xavier Woods gently caressing his locker as he cooed: “The time isn’t right. Not yet, old friend. We have to wait” Francesca could hear this echoing in her mind and started to feel dizzy. Was this a déjà vu?

After several disappointing losses left both the New Day and Francesca feeling pretty deflated, Xavier Woods, like the lovable rapscallion he is, decided the best course of action to get their star on the rise was to simply…be themselves.

As the New Day was asked to use their power of positivity to boast about potatoes in the great state of Idaho, they did exactly what WWE creative generally didn’t want from their performers; they improvised. Francesca cringed the entire promo as they haphazardly tried to talk up the special spud but started to feel a rush of prideful adrenaline when the improvisation began. Xavier, Kofi, and Big E started bad-mouthing the potatoes given to them for the spot. This pivotal moment was where the future of the New Day really became clear.

Francesca watched as the light in Xavier Woods’ eyes glimmered. He showed Kofi and Big E the internet’s reactions: they were being talked about. ”Hey, any heat is better than none, right?” She thought. The New Day then found themselves in a feud with The Shield over the differing opinions regarding their formerly slighted tuber. The Shield had challenged them to a pancake fight in Philadelphia. She felt the infectious energy of the men’s excitement built on this absolutely ridiculous angle.

The three men were lost in thought, stunned by the chance they had always wanted but unable to process how overwhelming that opportunity was. They are then pulled back by a young girl who notes she is a fan of theirs and wants a selfie with them. The New Day knew at that moment how they were going to proceed with this huge opportunity they had been given.

WWE: The New Day – Power of Positivity #2 (Written by Evan Narcisse & Austin Walker, illustrated by Daniel Bayliss, and lettered by DC Hopkins) / Source: Boom! Studios

The pancake fight with The Shield was underway and Francesca felt unease creeping through her. Half out of excitement from seeing The New Day looked so in sync with one another, moving effortlessly like they were three parts of one greater being. The other half being fear of the outcome of this match. Could they win? If they do, where would they go from here? Too many questions to even begin to answer, and they all made her feel sick with worry. Then suddenly, she saw it. The moment she was unaware she was waiting for: Xavier Woods jumped into the squared circle and started shouting, “NEW…DAY ROCKS…NEW…DAY ROCKS!” She started to feel and hear the echoing in her mind again and winced. Once she looked back at the screen, she saw it. Xavier Woods, proudly playing his beloved trombone in the ring for the first time with the New Day. She heard Kofi’s innermost thoughts, “I was so caught up in it, I almost forgot to pin him. Until I heard Francesca.”

Everything comes flooding back to her in this moment of clarity. She was Francesca. Francesca I, Xavier Woods’ beloved ringside companion, met her demise at the hands of Chris Jericho. Her memorial was on the January 18th, 2016 episode of WWE Monday Night Raw. This is her story.

Eve

This time they couldn’t remember what they dreamt. An all-black panorama tainted with white spots was the only image that would pop out in their minds if they tried to remember. Everything was incinerated by the white spots, as Aimée opened their eyes to intolerable pain. To their misfortune, their back was serving as a blanket to all kinds of scraps.

Lifting their upper body, they were met with a devastating view. The buildings that were still up looked like relics, ruins from a past time that left nobody to be remembered by. It felt like every frightening thought lurking in a kid’s mind at night crossed to reality at the same time. What struck them the most, however, was the silence, the emptiness. There was no one around.

Aimée: This…Looks like my world. What if it is? 

The sound of people not sufficiently far away startled them. Hiding amongst all the junk with velocity, they saw two young people relaxing on the roof of a deserted house. Aimée checked if the journal was still in the pocket and hadn’t fallen out and combined with all the trash to a pleasant confirmation. The two people could’ve been confused as the same person if it wasn’t for their age difference; one of them a kid, and the other a teen. However, there was someone else, apart from anyone else as they were, who Aimée was unaware of.

Emilia: Eve and her…sister……they’re together. They’re safe!

Eve #4 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

The pen returned to her hand. She eavesdropped and wrote because listening and writing had shielded her from harm thus far.

Emilia’s Journal: I am happy to report the older version of Eve acting as younger Eve’s guardian. I remember the fearlessness in Eve from the last time I visited this world. Although, Eve’s clone exhibits Eve’s tenacity amplified! They are a united front in the face of a hopeless world, which gives me hope for my own situation. Wexler, that evil bear I saw massacre the other orphans last time, was taken down by older Eve! Yet, I hear them talk about Wexler’s ability to rebuild — he is hunting them again.  I wonder if I am being hunted by that inexplicable light source still? We are all running from evil as it adopts different forms.

Keeping up with the two adolescent girls became an arduous task for the woman. She ran, nimbly and quickly, feeling emboldened by the freewheeling affection the girls displayed.

Emilia’s Journal: These two don’t stop moving! They have a mission to find a vault — one sunken underwater into the hollow recesses of the ocean. Their determination forces me to evaluate myself, humbling me. Overcoming impossible odds seems plausible with someone by your side. If I ever get home, I need to seek out companionship. Living life alone, I am betraying an instinct for friendship. The older Eve just told young Eve how Wexler betrayed them both. The son of a bitch bear murdered their father! Oh god, they lost their father at such a young age. At least I had nearly twenty years before my dad died…they are so young, yet so resilient.

Eve #4 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

The elder version of Eve told the younger Eve her survival methods. Her words revealed a barbaric truth undercut by irony as the two gorged themselves on a feast.

Emilia’s Journal: I slipped into a boarded-up room while the Eves ate. What I discovered…worries me. Older Eve related how she forced herself to eat a minimal amount of food to stay alive. At first, I felt horror at this planet, forcing a mere child into starvation.

As night blanketed the girls in shadows, the woman listened to a tale with enough terror to fracture her worldview.

Aimée: What if this is my world? How the fuck can I be sure that’s not the case? All those people, just gone. All the time I spent alone, avoiding everything. Guess I don’t have to make that much of an effort now…Shit, what am I talking about? I don’t know if it’s that what hurts me or the fact that it doesn’t hurt me as much as it should.

Emilia’s Journal: Out of every dimension I have visited, I can’t help but question the creation of a place so beset with horrors. The older Eve is a clone — and not a clone of the younger Eve. No, they are two out of six clones of an original, human Eve. I must be lost within the withering pages of a science-fiction novel. They were born and grown in labs, learning about a world lost to mankind’s environmental mayhem. The Eves were meant to be saviors. And the cruelty of this world continues…only these two Eves survived. I can only rely on a former instinct telling me that I will survive too.

Morning came again, and the woman soaked in daylight like a sponge.

Emilia’s Journal: As they eat breakfast, I listen intently and am determined to record every word of their encounter. Apparently, restricting calories was necessary. By hindering pubescence, the older Eve has been forcefully preventing herself from reaching adulthood. She has every reason to fear adulthood. Here, adults turn into monsters. Adulthood has its challenges in any world, but adults cannot thrive as people here. I feel my stomach churning, thinking about how much these children have endured.

They ventured outside and began to rummage through a towering junk heap on the docks. The woman tentatively followed them, overwhelmed with a chill. Somewhere, another presence lurked.

Emilia’s Journal: I waited inside the red stone building instead of following the Eves. I can see them from the slats in the wall. The older insisted on Eve taking a boat out to search for the underwater vault while the older Eve clone waits behind. As I watch the younger Eve float out toward the sea, a figure caught my eye. I am looking now, straining to look across these mountainous trash piles cluttering the land. Could it be? Another person? Another traveler? It’s definitely a human…but I can sense their impermanence in this world. They are like me. I…I am not the only one.

Eve #4 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer, and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: I saw someone moving beyond the girls. At first, I thought she was going to attack the girls, but…She’s just writing, like me. What could this possibly mean? Maybe I’m not the only one going through all of this. Should I reach out? Why would I?

Sadly, accurate conclusions coalesced in her thoughts too slowly. The robot bear clanked loudly, distracting the woman from the person writing in an exact replica of her journal. Wexler, the robot, spoke calmly to the elder Eve, igniting a reunion much like a parent returning to their abandoned child. Humanity’s continued existence depended on Eve, the bear said. Although, a suggestion floated in the air; dandelion seeds catching the wind before replanting in fertile soil.

Emilia: Humans could be…wiped out? This planet is devastated though..maybe it could regrow without humans for a while.

Her worldview splintered, and sleep came easily.

Categories
Books

BoomCrashers! Tales (Boom! Studios Releases for 07/14/2021)

When someone goes to sleep, they visit more places than they ever will while they’re awake. They may dream of beautiful pink meadows with a comfy cabin. Or maybe they found themselves being chased through a neighborhood by a monstrosity of dozens of legs and hands, thousands of eyes, and a single horrifying mouth. But it never matters. They wake up, eventually, in their beds, where they always sleep. But not the dreamers.

In a dispaired world where death and life are blurred concepts, the guts of an undead coincidentally form the word ”Eve”.

Again, the world broke. She slipped. A fissure fractured the liminal space between reality and dreamscape. Phosphorus light flashed, coalesced with pinpricks of darkness. Kaleidoscope images enveloped her in their embrace until time itself spun her around on clockwork hands.

Then, a voice warbled across in fragmented waves. The sound was rough. A man’s mid-range tenor spoke of an eleven-year-old girl — Eve. His daughter, Eve. She was the savior of mankind. The savior of the world. An apocalyptic world ravaged by a monstrous virus released from melted ice caps. And they waited, he said to a dissonant voice from a machine. The man told a listener, E-92, of his belief in his daughter’s triumph, in renewing the broken earth, and in reforging a planet broken by mankind’s own destruction while the fortunate few waited in space stations hovering above a tattered Earth.

A memory took shape, soft and malleable. But the woman craved answers. And she began to remember — she had a father of her own. She wished he was here, but he died long ago. Skin cancer stole him from her right as she was transitioning into adulthood. The memory was almost a question and not a fact she could recall completely. Instead of living, she retreated from the world outside that seeped into his bones and murdered him. But her self-captivity from the sun was fruitless, she thought, drifting through realities.

The man’s sonorous voice faded away into comets streaking across oblivion and black holes swallowing the night. Stars winked out before she could touch them, perforating the opaque nothingness as she fell and hit the hollow ground.

Eve #3 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

There, she saw her. She knew her immediately. Eve. A beautiful young woman who oozed confidence. Eve’s freckles smattered her face like the stars where her father watched helplessly from above. She saw the girl who would excise the sinister malaise corrupting this apocalyptic version of Earth. No sooner did she blink to eliminate the foggy barrier drifting over her consciousness did she remember the journal. Her hands already grasping the pen, she began to write before she could think about the horrors of a world devoid of any cleanliness at all.

Emilia’s Journal: It happened again. I have crossed over into another plane of existence. This is a new world, where magic has been replaced with a savage apocalypse. How do I return to my former life? Is there no end to the quantum leaping into disturbing unknowns full of substances, surely eating me alive from the inside out? Is this some punishment? I remembered my father now, and I wish I…didn’t. My dad’s death and my isolation are punishment enough! Alas, I will write, as this journal instructed. I dare not talk. I dare not breathe this air, tainted by poison and rotting flesh of creatures that are…not quite human? Oh, god. I need a mask. There’s a girl a little older than Eve here wearing a mask, like a badge of honor. Perhaps she has a supply around here? It looks like I’m in a warehouse or a shelter. And — fuck! A monster wearing the visage of a human — or is it a human wearing the visage of a monster? — attacked Eve and the other children in this compound just now!

She gasped in terror; her body trembled with shock. She watched the masked assassin and her tiny cronies impale the bone-white creature with spears, their aim precise as arrows shot from crossbows.

Emilia’s Journal: I feel bile rising in my throat. It’s a miracle I haven’t thrown up, but what contents do I have to purge from my body? Am I even thirsty? Hungry? After these children saved Eve from the mutant creature, I hastily followed them through the grime inside this public shelter. Heat sticks to my skin, and I would kill one of those monstrosities myself for a fiber-boosted smoothie. I can’t help thinking of fruit and food after seeing the masked leader girl offer Eve strawberries from their packed storeroom. These people are prepared for the end of the world, but I am not. The girl tells Eve of a god named Osiris. Could Osiris be a codename for Eve’s dad? I need to stop thinking about fathers and daughters…the memories are painful. I need to focus more on stopping this stomach-roiling air from overwhelming my lungs.

Stealing a strip of cloth from the storeroom, she wrapped it around her mouth. Although she was much older than these teenagers, she started to wonder about human contact again. Her rough mask matched the masked children somewhat. An aching stifled her breathing, convulsing in her chest when she heard the leader tell Eve about an automated transcontinental that can take her to god. To Osiris. The woman doubled over as an oppressive rush of homesickness for her life — her old life growing up with a father who held her in his arms as he pointed out the constellations piercing the comforting cover of night — choked her.

Emilia’s Journal: Eve and the girl left. I can hardly breathe because I want to leave too. They walk into the distance. The two of them look like dark spots against the mucky orange pallor of the sky. I want to follow them, but they will see me. That girl has heightened senses. She moves unnaturally. I can only hope for Eve’s safety because I don’t trust her. Who can you trust when you’ve been alone for so long? And I couldn’t fend off any attacks even if —

She dropped her pen. The noise vibrated like sonic waves against the ground in her hiding spot. A scraping sound shrieked outside. The children armed themselves with their weapons, still dripping with blood from their earlier kill. Protection against enemies for survival is all they had known. They lined up against the window, an armed force against the villain outside. He took the form of a stuffed bear. But the woman knew he was anything but a harmless toy.

Claws shaped like iron razors protrude from his paws, and his left eye glowed red. He was a nightmare, tattered and patched up, ready to send these children into an infinite slumber. The woman closed her eyes as he attacked. The bear’s speed was abnormal, and she couldn’t handle any further assaults to her splintering mind. Suddenly, tears leaked from her eyes as she shut them closed. Letters scratched against her thoughts. Words scrolled in her head as if being typed: “Eve has a sister. She will protect her from Wexler.” Breaking steel and childrens’ panicked screams echoed until she heard all sound evaporating for a second time.

Eve #3 (Written by Victor LaValle, illustrated by Jo Mi-Gyeong, colored by Brittany Peer and lettered by Andworld Design) / Source: Boom! Studios

In a less broken world, a little bird makes a nest with little branches that fly off with the strong wind, falling to the ground and forming the words ”Mouse Guard”.

An excruciatingly lifeless white invaded her line of sight. They thought that maybe it was light, The Light. But it was too opaque, and their time hadn’t come yet. But everything started to focus, like reality itself decided to come together, and they realized it was a room. Like a cloud or a hummingbird, Aimée was floating above the ground in a corner when someone entered the room. It took them a moment to recognize the person, but it was them, and that was their house. They observed themselves as their (past?) version went through a normal day. They stayed in bed for hours, maybe watched something if they were lucky enough to be able to distract themselves, and that was it. Work, rest so you don’t go any crazier, repeat. That was their perfect formula. The days passed, and they thought it was a loop, but the truth is, it was impossible to realize. Then, almost like they just came back to life with a deep breath, Aimée woke up from their dream.

Aimée: Wh-what? That was my life? Shit. Literally. At least my memory’s coming back, I guess.

As they rubbed their eyes to adjust to the sunlight, they started to notice their surroundings. It seemed like an old village from the medieval era. It was a place that exuded history and a little bit of desolation.

Aimée: What the fuck?! Where am I supposed to be now? The thing in the castle was a dream then? How do I know that this isn’t a dream too? As if I could do anything if it was or not. The only thing I have to do is ‘’Write everything’’ apparently. Who even wrote that?

After a long gasp, they decided it was better to wander around and explore. At least that would be interesting and supposedly mean something. They found a cozy home but discovered that the people inside were humanoid mouses. Surprisingly, they loved mouses, and the problem was trying not to hug them more than in fear. Although that sentiment didn’t stay long with Aimée, seeing as the inhabitants were facing difficult times. Following the only rule they now had, they took the journal out from their pocket and started writing everything from outside the window.

Aimée’s journal: It appears the son and the mother are tending to the father’s needs now that he’s ill. He doesn’t look good, and they don’t look hopeful. The mother insists that they stay with him, but the son is hesitant; he wants their attention to be with their restaurant. She is very disapproving of his mentality, so she’s going to tell him a tale!

As Aimée’s pen flowed in the paper like a person dancing on ice, the mother started lecturing her son. She spoke about a mouse who protected an owl. In their culture, it was common for the owls to have multiple mice as guards to defend them from other beasts and as caregivers to help their needs. But that owl chose only him.

During one unforgivable winter, the mouse returned to the owl fatally ill. There wasn’t much the owl could do to help him except being there for him, so he did exactly that. He did every single task the mouse needed help with, and when time ran out for the little mouse, his owl friend stayed with him.

Mouse Guard: Owlhen Caregiver #1 (Made by David Petersen) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: I wonder if I’ll have someone to look over me like that. The odds don’t seem to be with me, though. At least I know it’s possible. The child is now sure he wants to stay for his dad because helping when needed is the correct thing. I feel like I shouldn’t be here. This moment belongs only to them.

The day was young, so Aimée kept exploring this world that seemed very much like their own. Although if you asked them, they’d probably say it was cuter. They now encountered a little mouse on top of a tower. She was writing about a book she discovered. As she was narrating out loud what she wrote, Aimée found out the book told the story of a mouse. She decided to explore the world and learn as many cultures and languages from other animals as possible. Considering her family was grieving for her sister in ways incomprehensible to one another, Aimée imagined the possibility of learning to understand other people as well as we understand ourselves must’ve been comforting. 

Aimée’s journal: I think I never got the hang of people either. Everyone’s so complex in their particular way. I guess even we are. But you’ll get there, little mouse, I’m sure.

Aimée walked down the tower into a forest. All this nature was a bit threatening for them, but this world never felt malicious; it felt normal. She encountered two mouses trying to go past some fence made of rocks when an older mouse stopped them and warned them to never go past it. He told a great story of how one mouse parted from his village with his insect friend to hunt beasts, but a wolf attacked them and kill them all except him. He would’ve been dead if it weren’t for the spirit of a mouse hunter that saved him from the wolf. He finished his anecdote by telling the two children that they should only fight beasts if they come for them or the village. Looking for a fight where there is none would’ve stripped them from any morals they might have.

Mouse Guard: Owlhen Caregiver #1 (Made by David Petersen) / Source: Boom! Studios

Aimée’s journal: He says going past the safe territory is not a good idea, so what’s left for me? It seems that’s all I do, and I don’t even want to. Shit, it’s getting dark, and I walked a lot. A part of me doesn’t want to sleep; I know what will happen. But what else can I do?