In the last issue, Eddie was kidnapped into the sewers by giant mutant rats under the command of a creature calling itself the Griz. The Griz insinuated that it had crossed paths with him before but needed time to grow strong enough to find him. Dusk sensed that Eddie was in danger and appeared to Johnny to tell him. They searched Eddie's dorm room and after a fellow classmate named Susan dropped off a bag that Eddie had dropped, Ricochet and Dusk found the jet pack that Eddie used as Hornet. The buzzing of the pack scared some rats out of hiding and they were followed into the sewer. Unground, they found Eddie held captive by Griz. Ricochet was injured quickly and teleported home by Dusk. She turned her attention to Eddie and Griz, who had Eddie by the throat.
Perched on a sewage pipe, Dusk was uncertain of how to handle the situation. She could try to teleport Hornet to safety, but she was certain that Griz would kill him before she reached him. Griz told them him backstory of how he had been a construction worker named Mac Garrity who had been building the Grande Royale Hotel. He and others were loading drums of radioactive waste onto trains when one collapsed onto him and spilled its contents.
The chemicals burned him, especially on the inside, like a creature trying to claw it's way out. He somehow healed but the pain remained. He tried to end it by waiting for a train on the elevated tracks. It was Hornet that swooped in and saved him before the train hit. He hated Hornet for taking his decision away from him and he survived the pain. He promised that he wouldn't be the only one to burn. Griz fled to the sewer and kept his ears open to learn anything he could about Hornet. In the end, Griz decided that he didn't want to die and that living well was the best medicine.
After the obligatory origin speech, Dusk teleported away telling herself that she'd be back. At home Johnny was working on the buggy that he and his father had once worked on, dubbing it the Ricochet Mobile. Elsewhere, a capeless Prodigy was taking on a street gang. He took them down quickly, breaking the arm of one in a way that he was certain that it would be useless. Looking down he noticed the gun of one of the gangbangers. It had gone off accidentally and shot the female member of the gang. He was stunned, swearing that he had been careful. He carried her away to a hospital, promising that she'd be ok.
Back in the sewer, Griz took Hornet to the water treatment plant, where he had gathered drums of the substance that had mutated him. Griz told him that he was going to make everyone better. He admired rats. They survive plagues and famines and breed and grow. As the creature spoke, Hornet reached for one of his gauntlets, which was swatted away. Griz mocked him for his weakness and told him he was going to be exposed to the chemicals that had changed him, make him burn as Mac Garrity had burned. Hornet was kicked across the water filter and fell into a stockpile of the drums, making them fall into the water. Finding his gauntlet, Hornet armed himself and fried the mutant rats that Griz had ordered to attack. The air filled with the smell of burning flesh and hair. Griz continued the attack, despite his charred body.
Dusk finally arrived at Johnny's garage, where he had finished the Ricochet Mobile. Dusk wanted the energy pack used to power Hornet's suit but it had been added to the vehicle. She teleported them all away, just in time for Johnny's father to barge through the door to see that his son was gone. Grabbing Hornet, Griz wondered how long it would take for him to be ground up in the water treatment plant's grinder when Ricochet and Dusk arrived. The Ricochet Mobile had been pimped out with a cannon that fired his disks. The buzz of the energy pack drove the rats away and Ricochet rammed the vehicle into Griz. The creature fell into the untreated water and was ground up by the gears that he had threatened to kill Hornet with. Ricochet asked if Hornet liked the Ricochet Mobile and he replied that they'd talk later.
Later, the rats collected the pieces of their dismembered leader and reassembled him. His eyes snapped open.
I really had to root for Hornet in the episode. His disability was constantly mocked by Griz, as if he were not already aware of it. The art showed the agony that Mac Garrity suffered very well, as well as his ugliness as a monster. I always love when a story comes full circle, as the suicidal man in issue one turned out to become a recurring villain.
We've gotten into the "villain of the month" part of the series. The drama of the origin is behind us but it's time to move on. Griz may have ripped off a plot that the Lizard could have used but hopefully he would have uh...evolved had the series gone on.
Prodigy is still as arrogant as ever, over confident of his skills until he realizes that he isn't flawless. The fate of the injured gang member works as a cliff hanger.
The thing that bothers me is the amount of time it took for Dusk to show up at Johnny's home. Two issues ago she was complaining that her team mates didn't trust her to be there, no matter how late in the game. By the time she arrived at Johnny's garage, he had made some major changes to the buggy. Why did Ricochet think that creating the thing was worth wasting time on when his friends were in a life and death situation. Personally, I would have hauled my butt back to the sewer as fast I could.
Actually, I'd hide in bed but I'd like to be heroic.
It's an enjoyable read but some of the plot holes are pretty noticeable.