‘Rampage - if the Beast is dead -’ Wonder Man a.k.a. Simon Williams threatens as he holds the motionless body of Hank McCoy a.k.a. the Beast in his arms, on a rooftop in Los Angeles, while Rampage and his army, the Recession Raiders, hover in the air before him. ‘What’ll you do, “Wonder Man”? What can you do to me - and the others like me - that the world hasn’t done already?’ Rampage asks, before swooping downwards and punching Wonder Man hard in the face: ‘Nothing!’ Rampage shouts. ‘The world destroyed my business - drove me to crime - threw me in jail and then to the streets - I’ve got nothing to fear!’ Rampage exclaims as he starts to fly away. Wonder Man sets the Beast down and tells his good friend to hold on. ‘I’m getting you out of here, but I can’t risk it until I’ve cleared out - CLARKE!’ Wonder Man shouts as he takes to the air, jumping after Rampage.
‘I don’t care what the world did to you - or what you did to yourself - I just want you and your lunatics out of here!’ Wonder Man declares as he punches Rampage several times. ‘Jumped as high as you can, ain’t you boy?’ Rampage remarks as he smacks Wonder Man in the back of his neck. ‘Time to go down’ Rampage exclaims as Wonder Man falls back onto the rooftop. ‘Get out of my way!’ Wonder Man shouts as he leaps upwards, and Rampage tells him to give it up, as they have the suits now. ‘You’ve got - nothing!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he spins around and smacks one of the Recession Raiders in the face. He knocks another one back, while Rampage tells his army to get away from Wonder Man, that they mustn’t get themselves killed just to prove something. ‘Hit him where he’s weakest - right in his friendship!’ Rampage declares, pointing at the motionless Beast.
‘Got it!’ one of the Recession Raiders exclaims as he flies downwards towards the Beast. ‘NO! Hank!’ Wonder Man exclaims, but as he moves to go and help his friend, Rampage attacks him from behind, telling Wonder Man that this is pointless, that he should be on their side. ‘We’re both victims! You know! Technologists - creators - ruined by -’Rampage begins, while his Raider lands beside the Beast. ‘Shut up!’ Wonder Man exclaims as he knocks Rampage back. ‘There’s only one victim here -’ Wonder Man adds, while the Raider calls out to one of his comrades and knocks the Beast towards him. ‘HANK!’ Wonder Man calls out. ‘All right! Jim Plunkett time, homeboy!’ the Raider calls out as he catches the Beast mid-air. ‘Keep away! Keep away!’ one of the Raiders exclaims as he throws the Beast to one of his comrades. Wonder Man looks on in horror, wondering what he should do, as Hank is already hurt, and if he charges the Recession Raiders, they will throw Hank. ‘But if I don’t charge…’ Simon thinks to himself.
‘Whoops! It’s a high one, bro!’ a Raider calls out as he throws the Beast so high that his comrade doesn’t catch him. ‘Oh, Lord…oh, Lord…’ Simon exclaims as he leaps downwards. ‘Give me speed…I jumped as hard as I could, Lord…give me speed’ Simon utters, while hoping that Hank will flatten out, as he is currently falling to the ground head-first. ‘Just a little…’ Simon calls out, when he reaches Hank and grabs him by his ankle, pulling Hank upwards so that they are at the same level - and instant before they hit the ground so hard that the road shatters and explodes into the air.
‘Hank? Are you okay, buddy? You alive?’ Simon calls out as he emerges from the rubble, pulling the Beast with him. He puts his hand to Hank’s chest and feels a heartbeat. ‘Now I gotta get you to -’ Simon tells Hank, but Rampage and his Recession Raiders appear. ‘Where, Williams? A nice private hospital?’ Rampage calls out. ‘Where they give such good care to privileged boys like you?’ Rampage exclaims. He and his comrades close in around Wonder Man, as Rampage declares that Wonder Man wouldn’t go where he was sent - County - in the jail ward. ‘I’m going, Clarke - try and stop me’ Wonder Man snarls through gritted teeth, before he takes Hank in his arms and leaps away from Rampage and the Recession Raiders.
‘Come on! We can still he him! No way he can jump as fast as we can fly in these -’ one of the Raiders calls out, watching Wonder Man jump away. ‘No’ Rampage calls out. He removes his hood and tells his comrades that it is fun playing with these suits, especially satisfying for him, after having his company, and the patent for the suit, taken from him. He tells his Recession Raiders that he is pleased to see them learning to use the suits so quickly, although Paco has to learn his own strength. ‘Sorry, man. Used to play ball in high school, you know?’ Maco remarks. Rampage tells the Raiders that he doesn’t expect them to go from the street to combat perfection, only to follow his orders. He declares that they need to regroup, as he has a new idea - an idea on how the suits might help them bring a little economic justice to these tough times.
Meantime, at a hospital, ‘How will he be, Doctor?’ Wonder Man asks. The doctor points out that the Beast is pretty banged up, so it is hard to say where it will go, but that he is putting up a fight. ‘I only wish all my trauma patients were mutants’ she adds. Simon tells Hank to keep fighting, that he can’t let this break him - not them being stupid, being cocky. ‘It’s fun to loosen up, like you said. Plat life as a game…sometimes. But you’ve got to know when to be serious, bud’ Simon exclaims. ‘Like now. You fight and I’ll bring down those -’ Simon begins, when he suddenly hears some commotion coming from outside the room. ‘But I have to see Simon Williams!’ someone exclaims. The doctor declares that there are no visitors in this ward, and asks ‘Who let you in here?’
Simon enters the corridor, to see Ginger Beach and her brother “Spider” arguing with the doctor. Ginger exclaims that Dr Lemke let her in, to which the doctor mutters ‘Ah, it comes clear. Well, now you’re dealing with a doctor who thinks with her brain, not his -’ she is interrupted as Simon calls out to Ginger. Ginger and Spider go over to Simon as he asks them what they are doing here. Ginger explains that she saw the news, that Simon was in a big fight, and then seen at the hospital. ‘They said you were busting up whole buildings and these dudes were flying!’ Spider exclaims. ‘Was it amazing?’ Ginger asks. ‘I heard there were seven of them! Did you beat them all? Was it incredible?’ Ginger asks excitedly. ‘Who got hurt? Is it -’ Ginger begins, when Simon suddenly snaps at her, telling her to shut up, that this isn’t a game. ‘Do you understand that? A friend of mine got hurt!’ he exclaims. ‘Oh. Is it permanent? Will he die?’ Ginger asks.
Simon turns away from her and he replies ‘I don’t think so. Thank God’, to which Ginger asks him why he doesn’t get into the excitement of it. ‘Jeez, Simon, if you’re going to walk a tightrope, don’t hang an emotional net under yourself, you know?’ Ginger tells him. ‘Ginger, you can’t -’ Simon begins, when suddenly, another female voice calls out to him, and he turns to see Alex Flores approaching him. ‘Simon, I heard on the radio that you were -’ Alex begins, but Simon declares that he is not hurt, that it is someone else. ‘Now let me do something about it!’ he shouts as he turns and strides away.
‘He’s upset. What happened?’ Alex asks. Ginger replies that she doesn’t know, before asking ‘How do you know Simon?’, so Alex explains that she is a writer and they met on set. ‘Why would you be a writer? You’re too good looking to be a writer’ Ginger replies. ‘My parents didn’t have a mirror when I was growing up’ Alex remarks. ‘I guess writing wrecks your eyes, hm?’ Ginger suggests. Adjusting her glasses, Alex states that she just wears them for affectation, before asking ‘You’re an actress, aren’t you, sweetie?’. This causes Ginger to smile and she asks ‘How’d you ever guess?’ ‘Just the sharp eyes of the writer, dear’ Alex replies, before excusing herself as she goes to check on their mutual friend. ‘You just gonna stand there and let her go after him?’ Spider asks his sister. ‘I’m the Michael Jordan of the business, little bro. let somebody else take the rebound’ Ginger replies, adding that when it comes time to score, she will have the ball in her hands.
‘Blast it! Nothing opens!’ Simon mutters as he has difficulty opening a window. ‘Hate to smash a hospital window, but -’ he tells himself, when suddenly a hospital staff member tells him to leave the window alone. ‘With a floor full of overmedicated depressed patients you want to open a fifth-floor window?’ the staff member asks, before motioning to the stairs. ‘Blast it. Most heroes would just bull right through. Sometimes I’m such a good-guy, I can’t stand my -’ Simon mutters to himself, before Alex finds him. ‘Yo, Williams!’ she calls out. ‘What do you want?’ Simon mutters. ‘Don’t let me delay you, Simon…but I want to apologize if I got in your way back there. I was just worried’ Alex tells him. Simon turns to Alex and tells her not to apologize, and admits that he lost it when his friend got hurt. ‘We were in the Avengers together, shared a lot of scary times, and now…’ his voice trails off.
‘It must be tough, being you’ Alex remarks. ‘What?’ Simon asks her. Alex reveals that she has been doing some research on him. ‘I hope you don’t mind’ she adds, before announcing that she knows hr was in a death-like state for so long, and that she knows about his brother being a killer called the Grim Reaper. ‘It must be…’ Alex begins, but Simon puts a finger to her lips and tells her that he doesn’t talk about those things, before thanking her for caring anyway. ‘Yeah. I guess I can’t really understand. So…well, I’m just glad I’m a normal human being’ Alex remarks. ‘That’s funny. I’m glad you’re a normal human being, too’ Simon replies as he puts his hand on hers. Alex offers to drive Simon where he needs to go, but he tells her that his is jumping. ‘You can survive in LA without a car, you know…if you’ve got ionic powers’ Simon replies, while smiling and telling Alex to watch the news and root for him. ‘Oh, I’ll root for you, Simon Williams. But I don’t know if I can handle watching the news’ Alex replies.
With that, Simon jumps away across the buildings, and tells himself that he doesn’t know what Rampage is up to or how he is going to handle the Recession Raiders. ‘But I will. I have to. Just got to focus. Give it everything - for once’ Simon thinks to himself.
Meanwhile, the Recession Raiders are gathered in a building, and the one whose real name is August alerts Clarke - Rampage - to the fact that there are cops surrounding the building, with choppers hovering outside. Rampage tells his “brother” to relax. ‘Let them come closer…so when we pull out we can do a little more damage. And gain a little more publicity’ he explains. ‘Publicity for what?’ August asks. ‘For customers. I know countries that will give us refuge if I promise to develop American technology for them’ Clarke reveals, adding that they will make millions on the international black market off the high-tech they are liberating from Pactech. The Recession Raiders are filling sacks with the various technology and equipment, while Rampage adds ‘The same countries who’ve given America it’s lousy balance of trade - and its recession - will pay me for American inventions they gobbled up through corporate piracy! Beautiful!’ he exclaims.
Rampage continues, claiming that he will turn his Recession Raiders into a super-army, then can return to drive out foreign investors and lead Americans to retake their economic destiny. ‘Hey, hey - I’m all for street people taking something back from the rich. But when you’re messing with the economies of poorer countries -’ August begins, but Rampage cuts him off, boasting that it will make them national heroes, that it will open the doors to the dreams he has nursed all these years, in prison and on the streets. ‘The dreams of technocracy. Power to the fittest! Wealth to the natural rulers of the modern world! The great inventors!’ Rampage exclaims, putting his hood back on and pumping his fist into the air.
Shortly, the Recession Raiders fly out of the Pactech building and Rampage announces that they will go and redistribute some power. ‘All right, Clarke. I’m in this deep…but I don’t know about this’ August remarks to himself, as the Recession Raiders start to attack the choppers. Weapons are fired from the choppers, but the bullets just bounce off the Raiders’ armor. ‘That’s it boys! Fire! Pit your technology against mine! It’s no contest!’ Rampage boasts as he flies up through one of the choppers, causing it to explode. ‘Clear out! Clear out! We can’t fight these -’ one of the soldiers calls out, but too late, as Rampage blasts into the chopper. ‘What now, Mr Clarke? What -’ one of the Raiders calls out, when suddenly, Wonder Man leaps towards him and latches on. ’Gotcha!’ Simon exclaims.
As the Raider begins to fall downwards, Wonder Man decides that he better take out the weak links first, as he can’t let Rampage stall him while the others attack. ‘If I can just get his pack - off!’ Simon exclaims as he tears the jetpack from the Raider, who starts to free-fall. ‘Hang on! I’m -’ a Raider calls out as he swoops down towards his comrade. ‘Stupid’ Simon exclaims as he throws the jetpack at the Raider, and it explodes. The Raider falls to the ground just after Simon and the first Raider land with a thud. ‘Okay, two down…and a third…and a fourth?’ Simon thinks to himself as he sees two more Raiders fly towards him from different directions. Simon tells himself not to freak, not to overdo it, like usual. ‘This is why you asked Captain America for fighting lessons’ he reminds himself. ‘Just remember what he taught you. Take the guy’s force, swing the back leg…and pivot’ Simon thinks to himself as he grabs the first Raider, throwing him into the approaching second Raider, and they fall down together.
‘Amateurs’ Simon smiles, while up above, Rampage calls out to August and Ronnie, and tells them they are last, ‘Finish him!’ he orders. Ronnie remarks to August that this was supposed to be fun, that Clarke didn’t say somebody would be beating on them. ‘It’s always the same way. They tell you you’re fighting for your own…then all of a sudden it’s a rich man’s war…but a poor man’s fight’ August declares, before Wonder Man suddenly jumps towards them. ‘What do we do?’ Ronnie asks. ‘What we do, brother…is we keep the suits!’ August replies as he and Ronnie turn and fly away. ‘August! What are you doing?’ a furious Rampage calls out. Wonder Man watches them fly away and wonders if it is a trick, but decides it isn’t, not with the way Clarke is screaming.
‘So what -’ Wonder Man thinks to himself, before he is hit in the back by a flagpole, the American flag still clinging to it. Simon falls onto a rooftop, and sees Rampage up above him. Simon tells himself that this isn’t a maneuver that Cap would want him using, but he does it anyway, and hurls the flagpole at Rampage, striking him in the jetpack. ‘No! My jets!’ Rampage exclaims as he begins to plummet towards City Hall below. This concerns him, and he cuts the engines to his jet pack. He lands on a rooftop. Wonder Man joins him, ‘Now, Clarke…’ Simon calls out. ‘Have you forgotten, Williams? Been a pampered muscleman of this moron society so long…you’ve forgotten how it felt to lose your company - your inventions - your money?’ Rampage asks.
Wonder Man replies that he hasn’t forgotten, and that he hasn’t forgotten losing friends, and losing his life for a while. ‘I’ve got a friend at the brink right now - thanks to you. Next to that - money’s nothing’ Simon tells Clarke, who exclaims ‘Ha! There are no friends when the money’s gone!’ and he aims a punch at Wonder Man, who decides to cut the argument and channel his anger, focussing it, not to let Clarke make him think of what he has lost. Simon blocks the punch and shoves his elbow into Clarke’s face, while telling himself to remember what he has got and what he can lose. ‘Remember Hank!’ Simon thinks to himself. He continues to punch Rampage, and starts tearing at his armor. ‘No - no - no’ Rampage utters as Simon dodges his punch. ‘Yes! Simon exclaims as he bounds back up and kicks Rampage in the chest - knocking him off the rooftop, he plummets downwards, and lands with a massive splash in the water fountain below.
‘Remember what life is for’ Simon declares, before he leaps off the rooftop. He knows that the cops are all over those other guys, and the guys in the lab smocks seem to be telling the cops how to defuse the suits. ‘Must be the Pactech boys’ Simon thinks to himself. He realizes that the two who got away are long gone, but that they should run out of power soon enough and won’t know how to recharge, or so he hopes. He decides to report them to the cops later, but in the meantime, he has to go check on poor Hank.
‘“Poor Hank” my ionic butt!’ Simon exclaims as he enters the hospital room where Hank is sitting up in bed talking to Ginger and Spider. ‘And then what, Hankie?’ Ginger asks as she leans into him. ‘Then I was laid low by a guided chimney, darling, a veritable brick-storm creased my blue noggin’ Hank exclaims. ‘Coool! Do you need a sidekick? I could dye my hair blue - and I’d be the Beastling!’ Spider gasps. ‘Oh, well. As a great man once said: “Life is what yez makes it, brudda”!’ Simon smiles.
Meanwhile, elsewhere, ‘What have you heard about this Rampage?’ a woman standing in the shadows asks. A man in a suit tells her that Rampage is apparently a technologist named Clarke, who is bitter at the corporate world and needs money, power and revenge to validate himself. The woman decides that that sounds workable, and tells the man to arrange fro his bail, defense and employment. The woman steps out of the shadows She smiles and tells the man to keep the name Lotus out of it….