One drunk and stormy night, Elsa Bloodstone and Tabitha Smith take a six-pack of beer and a bear trap with them as they drive up to a secluded location in the forest. Elsa, a monster hunter, lays out the bear trap and sets its trigger. Some monsters have to be hunted old school, she tells Tabitha. Tabitha, the mutant better known as Boom-Boom, sets the beer in the trap as bait. With the trap set, the two girls get back in the Jeep and watch. Tabitha asks if they can hate boys while they wait; Elsa approves with enthusiasm.
"It all started when I turned thirteen," Boom-Boom begins. She remembers how, until that day, boys were just fart-faced booger machines. But then, Bret McAllister made her tingle and she blew the roof off the lunch room.
Elsa can relate. Her dad celebrated her womanhood by throwing her in the drink with the great white sharks—the ones in South Africa that jump out of the freaking water. She remembers her father, Ulysses Bloodstone, lifting her high over his head near the ledge of the ship and vowing he would strip her of her weakness and fill her with courage.
"Wait," Tabitha asks, "...since when did you know your dad as a kid?"
"Who are you, Uatu the Watcher?" Elsa replies. Changing the subject, she mentions Tabitha's former relationship with Sam Guthrie. What's the deal with the Cannonballer, anyway?
Tabitha groans. Sam, she says, was such a straight shooter—a real Southern gentleman. "I mean what a bore. You can't rent a movie every night the world's not on fire," she says. She remembers one instance in which she surprised Sam with a sexy French maid outfit, but he was too transfixed by watching Gone with the Wind on TV—in particular the part where Rhett Butler says a swear.
"I know, right?" Elsa commiserates. Her first boyfriend was almost N'Kantu, the Living Mummy. She explains that he was one of those quiet guys who stood in the corner and wouldn’t talk to anyone, hoping girls would assume that inside, he was all dark and mysterious. She recalls the night of a school dance, when N'Kantu, dressed in a powder-blue tuxedo, stood near the punch bowl and made eyes at her. In his mind, he hoped she would look deep into his dark and mysterious eyes and, while listening to the music of the Cure in the background, would see the real him. However, all Elsa saw was some dude rotting in the corner not asking her to dance. Little did she know that at that moment, N'Kantu was working up the nerve to ask her—but decided to first get some more punch. He left her feeling sullen and alone. "Boys," she says, "I swear sometimes the make me want to switch teams."
Boom-Boom says she wants a guy that will engage her and make her laugh. Elsa agrees; humor can save even the most helpless bloke. Jack Russell, aka Werewolf by Night, is a laugh riot when he gets going, Elsa says. Tabitha seems surprised, but Elsa insists it's true. One wouldn't think it at first, but he really opens up after a few pints. She remembers one particularly raucous night at a bar when Jack stole the show over a round of beers. However, it wasn't meant to be. Jack got funnier as the moon came on but Elsa was synched up with the lunar cycle too; he was always in heat when she just wasn't into it. "I broke his heart but only silver can kill the wolf," she says.
Tabitha goes next. She brings up Bobby daCosta, also known as Sunspot; he was a stud. Elsa asks if it was the Latin thing. Definitely, Tabitha says. She had to get used to his Speedos and the machismo got old, but he was one hot tamale.
Tabitha asks if Elsa wants to know a secret, which she of course does. She admits the best kiss she ever had came from the best kisser ever—the Beyonder! She describes it as a stolen moment between cosmic chaos, but it was like the whole universe just opened up and she fell in. The Beyonder wanted to learn about human emotion—about love. "It was just a kiss but OMG, it still haunts my dreams."
Elsa asks Tabitha the big question: has she ever been in L-O-V-E? Tabitha would say she has, but then, when she really thinks about it, she admits she has her doubts. To those super-boys they date, neither she nor Elsa will ever come first. They'll never be the most important things in their lives. There's always going to be a stupid world that needs saving. She asks if it's totally selfish to want love unconditional. "Yeah, it is," Elsa says. "But we're worth it."
Suddenly, the bear trap snaps shut and a man screams. The girls shine their flashlight on their victim, who holds the six-pack in one hand has the bear trap clamped over his other arm. It seems that back in the days when science was still young, a ‘Modern Prometheus’ created a monster, and it made a bride. He should have quit while he was ahead. The girls see that the man they trapped is actually... Franken's Teen! "Shut up! That's not your stupid name," Tabitha yells at him.
Franken's Teen flexes his arms—one of which comes from an ape—and introduces himself. "That's right, baby. Franken's Teen aka Tank-enstein. Boo-ya!" he says. He tells Tabitha she can call him anything she wants. Tabitha groans and looks at Elsa; she dated this thing? Elsa emits an embarrassed moan and admits she has a criminal weakness for beastly football hooligans made up of dead teenagers—all of whom were Darwin Award-winners who were too stupid to live. He at least gets style points for the ape arm, Tabitha says. He tells her that after quite a bit of study, he has mastered the Paleolithic skill of sewing.
Turning to Elsa, Franken's Teen tells her she should take a peek at all of his improvements. Elsa folds her arms, turns away from him and tells him not to try chatting her up. Besides, she's mad at him. She explains to Tabitha that after they broke up, Franken's Teen put compromising pictures of her on the internet. Incredulous, Franken's Teen tells her she should be proud of that fit kit. He asks her to relax and not get her knickers in a twist; he'll delete them. "You can't undo the internet, Frank!" Elsa screams in his face.
This brings her to introductions. "This is my mate Tabby Cat," she says. "She makes jerks go explodo!" Boom-Boom readies a time-bomb and lobs it at Franken's Teen. After two ticks, it explodes, obliterating the monster's rotting corpse. Tabby pumps her fist and cheers. Elsa tells him this is what he gets for messing with super-chicks. The top of Franken's Teen's head gives Elsa the doe-eyes and asks her not to leave him like that; there are hounds about! Elsa tells him to suck it up and pull himself together. She picks up the bear trap and heads back to the Jeep with Boom-Boom.
Back at the car, Tabitha asks Elsa if she thinks her ex learned his lesson. Elsa doubts it; hell, she'll probably even end up taking him back. As they speed away, Tabitha says they need to go out into deep space to find some new stinkin' boys. "No, enough of boys," Elsa says. "We need some men."
New York City. Years ago…
At night, a burly man in a trench-coat and a fedora hat walks down the street. The moon casts his shadow long on the sidewalk, silhouetting two tufts of hair and pointed ears. The man approaches a secluded restaurant and steps inside. The only patron in the restaurant—a dark-haired woman in sunglasses and a sparkling dress—asks if anyone saw him. He assures her that he and the shadows are quite familiar with one another, fortunately.
He admits her call surprised him. It was delightful, to be sure—but it seemed a bit out of the blue. As he removes his hat and robe, revealing the fine coat of blue fur that covers his body, Hank McCoy, aka the Beast, asks the woman to excuse his obvious pun.
The woman also removes her disguise. She lowers her sunglasses and slips off her dark wig, revealing a head of blonde hair. She tells Hank she is sorry for how they left things, but Hank lets Alison know she doesn’t need to worry about it. She knows he’ll always be there for her. “Thanks. With the world believing the Dazzler is dead,” Alison Blaire says, “sometimes I think you may be the only one.” Alison asks Hank how he does it; how can he be so… out? As the Beast, he walks around freely and nobody says anything. However, she was outed and the world went crazy. “God forbid a singer be able to provide her own light show,” Dazzler says.
Hank assures her living the life of the proverbial beast is not quite as easy as she paints it. He has found it takes patience, tolerance—and friends. As he caresses Alison’s hand, he informs her that he, Angel and Iceman are thinking of moving on from the Defenders and starting something new. There’s a place for her, he says. If she wants it, she need only say the word.
Alison pulls her hand away. She’s sorry, but as much as she adores him and Warren, she can’t. She can’t be back out there, in front of everyone. Not yet. While she’s thinking about it, she asks Hank to please thank Warren for letting them meet in this place. She’s sure it’s one of his restaurants. All any of them want for her, Beast says, is for her to feel safe and comfortable—and to be herself.
Hank tells her she’s radiant. Alison thanks him, but turns her head away; he doesn’t have to say that. Beast clarifies; he meant that in the literal sense. She’s glowing, he says, indicating the faint aura emanating from her body. Apologizing, Alison lifts her arm and glances at her skin. This is exactly what she means; with everything that’s been happening, she can’t even control the basics anymore. She needs to get away—far away. She tells Hank that Lila Cheney offered her a spot on her band for their galaxy-wide tour. Chances are no one outside of Earth has even heard of the Dazzler. Just in case, though, they decided she should wear the black wig. Alison sighs. She’s gone from a solo act to a backup singer in a bad Joan Jett disguise. She admits to Hank she doesn’t know if she can do it. How does she go from the spotlight to barely noticeable? Does the Dazzler just… fade out?
“I’m sure you’ll find how much light you actually have inside of you,” Beast tells her while crouching on the back of his chair. “And the power in subtlety.” As he moves around the room snuffing out candles, he tells her the story of when he crushed his mother’s crystal stemware when he was sixteen. It was at a party, and his parents were trying desperately to pretend everything was normal, despite their baby boy having the hands and feet of a gorilla. Then came the toast and the snap of the crystal. Hank had no idea how it happened: just the slightest bit of pressure and the glass broke. “The dinner party ended quickly thereafter,” he tells Alison. It was the last his family had until he left for Xavier’s.
Now doing a handstand opposite Alison, Hank tells her she can still be the light in the room without blinding everyone. It takes control and grace, both of which Alison has in spades. Practice those and he knows she will find that even the softest of lights can be enough in the long, dark night of the soul. Wiser men than he know this to be true.
He blows out the single remaining candle. The room goes dark, save for the moonlight drifting in through the window adjacent to Alison. As Beast moves back toward her, he begins reciting an excerpt from a poem. “And in the luck of night, in secret places where no other spied, I went without my sight. Without a light to guide,” he says, “…except the heart that lit me from inside.”
He stands in front of the window and points his finger to the faint candlelight still flickering in front of Dazzler. “It guided me and shone. Surer than daylight in the noonday blue.”
Hank takes Alison by the hand and leads her out of her chair. She gently grabs onto his arms. Her radiance grows and slowly illuminates the entire room.
“And led me to the one, the one I truly knew.”
Beast and Dazzler embrace, his hand on the small of her back, his other outstretched as if to dance. Her ambiance swirling, Alison takes Hank’s arm and presses her hand to his chest.
“Who waited with nobody else in view.”
Beaufort Sea, the Arctic Ocean, where, a beacon of hope stands on the desolate icy landscape - the goddess Narya, better known as Snowbird…champion of Canada! As the snow falls around her, the beautiful former member of Alpha Flight gazes up to the star-lit sky and calls out ‘Hodiak…Nelvanna…Inuit gods of the North…hear your daughter’s voice!’ The ancient gods appear in the night sky, glowing pink and green. ‘A voice as strong as the tundra, Narya…with a spirit to match’ her mother, Nelvanna remarks, while Hodiak asks his granddaughter what it is that troubles her.
Snowbird kneels before her elders, and reminds them that she has served them faithfully during her time on this plane, using the gifts they granted her to exact their will. ‘But is my existence fated to be no more than a ceaseless war against the forces of darkness? No deeper purpose? No mate to love? No offspring to hold?’ Hodiak tells Snowbird that such longings betray her true nature. ‘Though birthed by a goddess you were sired by a mortal’ he reminds her. ‘Removed to the spirit world countless moons past. We old ones stood unable to affect your realm. To maintain the balance of good, an avatar was needed to act in our steed. You are that avatar, Narya. Your father’s physicality was crucial to your own. But do not let his inherited human frailties from your task’ Hodiak exclaims.
Hodiak tells his granddaughter that, even now, an ages-old threat rears its head, calling her once more into battle. ‘Go, use your mastery of the shapes and powers of the myriad creatures of the North…and the other gifts under your sway…to show this new and ancient evil…the true face of terror!’. With that, Snowbird transforms into a white wolf and joins a pack of wolves as they cross the icy landscape.
Soon, Snowbird arrives in Elk’s Tooth, Alaska. She gazes out over the small town, several buildings on fire, demolished. She can smell burnt hair, fresh blood, and senses fear, mange and rabid frenzy, not to mention the aroma of death. ‘I know this scent all too well’ Snowbird tells herself as she shifts back to her default form. ‘It has led me here…to what appears to be a place of worship’ she remarks, before using her post-cognitive abilities to replay the events than transpired here:
‘You are my wife…my feet dance because of you…my eyes see because of you…and I shall love because of you’ a man tells his wife as they clasp hands. Snowbird realizes that this was an arranged marriage. ‘My heart breaks because of you’ the wife told her husband, crying. Snowbird tells herself that the vows were corrupted on holy ground, giving something access to this realm. She watches as flames engulf the couple, and others flee. ‘Of course. I should have known. Such torment…destruction…can only bear the mark of…the Great Beasts of old!’
The post-cognitive visions vanish, and Snowbird finds two of the deadly Great Beasts, locked in battle. They are the enemies of her godly ancestors, banished in centuries past, until they were reduced to no more than fuel for native folk tales. But as the mystic barriers weaken with the passing of each new moon, they breach this plane with greater frequency. Narya sees the horrors that are Tiamaq and Herateq locked in battle. Snowbird quickly shifts into the form of a polar bear, meeting Herateq with eight hundred pounds of fury as Snowbird slams into the Great Beast, shoving it into a building. Narya senses Tiamaq lunging towards her, so she shifts her form once more - into a swarm of sixty thousand mosquitoes.
They scatter and flurry, countless eyes and wings, allowing the Beast to pass them - but not the toppled post, which Tiamaq walks into, impaling himself, he screams. Herateq wails and rushes to its opponents’ dying side, while Snowbird transforms back to her default form as everything comes into focus for her - the Great Beasts were mates as well. ‘That explains their manifestation through the Inuit wedding ritual’ Snowbird tells herself as she stands over Herateq, ‘Creature. I am the instrument of your demise. Offer you up no defense?’ she declares. ‘Very well. I…shall be swift’ Narya assures the Beast as her hands transform into deadly claws….
Soon, Hodiak tells Nelvanna that Narya has found victory once more, that Tiamaq and Herateq were slain before committing their violent mating dance. ‘But what of Narya, father? Was it cruel to deny her plea? Does her existence hold no more than the role of executioner…or could it be that the passion of the Beasts outweighs that of the gods?’ Nelvanna asks, while at the edge of the Arctic, a lone polar bear lies on the icy landscape.