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We see once again John Pablicattiaka Joe Public relaxing in his bathtub, soaking after a stressful night of crimefighting. He stretches and yawns, and with a sigh of utter contentment, sinks further down into the tub. As he does so, his toe hooks onto an electrical cord that’s now hanging partly over the tub, and it drags the item it’s attached to — an older model electric blowdryer, that’s plugged in — into the tub. Jack looks on in horror as what is about to happen unfolds almost in slow-motion before him, and his last thoughts are, “But I don't even have a hairdry—!!” as he is electrocuted.

The ozone rising from the water where the hairdryer fell in coalesces into the human (or, as we now know, human-like) form of Starman. He stands there, and thinks:

STARMAN: I thought it would get easier to bear with repetition, but I was wrong. I’ve killed so many already, and each time it’s just as hard, just as painful. But I am getting more experienced. I’ve now executed most of the new, inexperienced heroes who manifested after my “death,” during that strange alien parasite invasion I’ve heard of.

Here, there is a two-page spread, the background of which is formed of a collage of several panels showing the death scenes from the various New Blood hero(ine) stories that apperaed in the earlier Showcase ’93/4issues, only this time we see how it was actually Starman, transformed into invisible gas or some object in the scene, that was really behind the deaths. For instance, he became the truck that ran Jamm off the road, caused molecules identical to Razorsharp’s own blades to grow from her elbow and form the blades which stabbed her, transmuted one of the drugs in Terrorsmith’s bloodstream into a cyanide compound which he then changed back to its original form once it’d done its job, created the “rat urine” that killed Ballistic, etc. Other panels show deaths of other New Blood heroes not told in these stories, and deaths of other minor or unknown metahumans. Over all of this is Starman’s face with a contemplative expression, with thought balloons near each panel explaining any death that isn’t immediately obvious.

Following this is another page containing several more panels of Starman musing on his situation, while standing in John Pabicatti’s bathroom.

STARMAN:After a few more other inexperienced heroes and villains and even other metahumans who don’t use their powers for good or evil are eliminated, I’ll have to start the really hard job — killing my friends.The ones I knew.The more experienced heroes. And I have to do it in such a way that they never catch on.

(He catches sight of himself in the bathroom mirror, still wearing the black, red, and white version of his Starman costume that he’d “died” wearing.)

STARMAN:I — I can’t go on looking like this, even though no one sees me unless I will it. This is the costume of a hero, based on the one my sister, or who I thought was my sister, made for me when she thought I was her brother. She designed it for a hero. I was a hero myself, but now I am just — an executioner. And after that, a benevolent but absolute world dictator or monarch. But I just can’t continue to do what I have to do, looking like this, sullying the faith she had in me. If I’m to be an executioner, I must look the part:

At this his form changes. He is now wearing a costume formed by his power that resembles a primitive prototypical version of the Monarch armor. There’s just enough resemblence so that it’s plain that the Monarch armor could be a more refined, more futuristic version of this costume. It’s not armor, yet. It’s made of cloth (or a cloth-like substance), not metal. It has a hood that completely hides his face, not a helmet.

THE EXECUTIONER: Dark blue, not black, because what I do, I do for the hope of a future for humankind. A silver lining forming trim to further symbolize that hope in the midst of what will at first look like the darkest storm in all of human history. A hood, to cover my face, hiding it in my shame of what I must do, even though I could easily change its appearance. I am no longer worthy of either the costume or the name of a hero, especially a name which had been faithfully borne by other heroes before me. I was never Will Payton, and I can no longer answer to the name of Starman. When I first sit on my worldwide throne, after all the metahumans and aliens are dead, I will take yet another name, and perhaps another appearance, to symbolize that new role. But for now, for this role, I am, simply — The Executioner.

The Executioner transforms himself into invisible nitrogen gas and drifts out of the bathroom through the ceiling fan, on his way to continue his deadly mission.

The End of “Alt.Showcase.94”

But not the end of the story! (Would I leave you on a cliffhanger like that!?) Coming in July: the next phase of the “Alt.DC.FiveYearsAgo” project: the Big “Unnamed” Summer Crossover of 1994! To finally learn its name and nature, see this full page “ DC house ad ” drawn by our own John Torrisi, which would appear right after the above Epilogue at the end of the May issue of this alternate history Showcase ’94.

And yes, there will be an associated Writing Challenge, just as there was with the “Alt.Showcase.94” phase! More details to be sent via the contributors’ mailing list and/or posted on the Fanzing Forum. This time I will need Annuals to go along with the main “bookend” series.

All characters are ™ DC Comics
"alt.showcase.94" concept by Joel Ellis Rea.
This story is © 1999 by Joel Ellis Rea.