Profile: Triple Zero

Attending college and in need of money, he answered an ad for a supposed medical trial, only to be kidnapped by the scientist. Unspeakable experiments were mercilessly conducted on Triple Zero, the very first test subject of the scientist's career. It is presumed that the crude methods and techniques practiced on the helpless student were later employed to alter Buzz Kill, Manhkee, and S-O-G. He awoke in a dumpster, forever changed and with no memory of his past, his single clue a paper tag affixed to his toe with the words "Test Subject 000" scrawled across it. Forced to live like a nocturnal animal due to his appearance, he scavenged food after dark and sought shelter during daylight, his rage growing with each passing day. A chance encounter with S-O-G and the scientist late one night triggered a series of memories about his suffering at the hands of that lunatic. Since their fateful meeting, Triple Zero thinks of nothing but revenge.

He rides the city streets and alleyways from dusk until dawn, searching for the scientist and his three loathsome accomplices, his blacked out motorcycle cobbled together from salvaged and stolen parts. Triple Zero will run down wrong doers with the ominous machine when his true prey is nowhere to be found. Only dead criminals have gotten a close look, but those who have caught a glimpse describe a being that isn't quite right. His silhouette and the way he moves make it obvious that something terrible is hidden under those dark clothes. A few citizens even claim to have spotted him during the day, lurking in the shadows at the scene of yet another bloodbath by The Murderers. Triple Zero is becoming more and more aggressive in the pursuit of his enemies, so the odds are good there will be more sightings. Hopefully, we will learn more about this vigilante and whatever "modifications" he received courtesy of the scientist.

The Murderers

Once believed to be acting independently, we now know that the top three most wanted criminals have in fact been working together for some time. Why these homicidal maniacs chose to join forces remains a mystery, but all agree that the union of Buzz Kill, Manhkee, and S-O-G means death, destruction, and mayhem for our city and its inhabitants. According to recent intelligence, this alliance of pure evil called The Murderers is in league with a mad scientist of sorts. It is alleged that this scientist has physically altered each member of the organization to better suit their individual personalities and killing styles, and may very well prove to be the mastermind of the operation.

The efforts of law enforcement agencies and private security firms have thus far been ineffective against The Murderers. The only party to achieve favorable results against this gang of mutants is Test Subject 000. Although not working in cooperation with the authorities and often breaking the law himself, Test Subject 000, or Triple Zero as some call him, has a very personal interest in bringing the mad scientist to justice.

Profile: Buzz Kill

His childhood idol was serial killer John Wayne Gacy, which accounts for his malevolent clown persona. Buzz Kill stands over six feet tall and has an overweight, pear shaped physique. The hair follicles on the top of his head have been surgically removed, the remainder of his hair worn long and dyed yellow. His ghostly white complexion makes a perfect canvas for the multi-colored facial tattoos that substitute for traditional clown makeup. The entire lower half of Buzz Kill's face is covered by a gruesome red smile, with a hideously bulbous purple nose sitting on top of his oversized upper lip. His beady eyes are surrounded by sloppy, green starbursts and two black diagonal slashes on his forehead act as eyebrows. His outfit can vary depending on the situation, but his favorite article of clothing is a bright orange, bloodstained prison jumpsuit.

Buzz Kill's passion for magic is second only to his love of murder. To further his craft, the scientist implanted tubes beneath the skin on the undersides of his forearms, leaving the ends closest to the wrists open. Victims may watch as a foam ball, silk scarf, or shiny silver dollar appears out of thin air. However, the last thing they will ever see is a pair of long titanium spikes that Buzz Kill reveals with a flourish before jabbing them through the eyeballs and into the brain. It is rumored that his comically large combat boots are actually filled with flesh (yet another surgical enhancement) and make for formidable blunt trauma weapons. More than a few poor souls have undoubtedly perished under the crushing force of that lethal footwear.

Profile: Manhkee

Never considered a handsome guy, this already simian-looking slayer took it to the next level. Inspired by news stories of owners mauled by their pet chimpanzees, Manhkee made a few changes to his appearance with the help of the scientist. His legs were shortened and arms extended. Hair growth serum was applied to the skin with mixed results, producing a mangy, patchy coat of greasy black. Lastly, the jaws, teeth, mouth, and nose of some unfortunate chimp were shoddily grafted on to round out the twisted transformation. What you are left with is an abomination that is hard to wrap your head around, never mind look at.

As luck (or strange forces of primate destiny) would have it, Manhkee has been a student of Monkey Kung Fu, specifically the Drunken Monkey form, since he was a teenager. This style of martial arts uses ape-like movements and attacks usually directed towards the knees, groin, throat, and eyes of the opponent. His new body structure is perfectly suited for this ground based assault, and most people are unable to effectively defend against it. If all else fails, he will simply bite off whatever body parts he can sink his teeth into until you bleed out or run away screaming. Although not officially confirmed, it has been said that Manhkee tends to chew and swallow what he tears off, adding cannibal to the list of things horribly wrong with him.

Profile: S-O-G

This raven haired gun-for-hire has left bodies scattered around the globe. As a paid assassin, she lived the life of a nomad, the pack on her back holding all her worldly possessions. Finding no real need for money, she started killing for free, asking her clients to merely cover travel expenses. The joy she got from a clean kill was priceless. A stray landmine in a war torn country ended her illustrious career...for awhile. According to the grapevine, the scientist gathered what parts he could from the blast and scavenged the rest from local cemeteries. He reanimated the patchwork killer and dubbed her S-O-G. No one truly knows what that stands for, but one theory is Straight Outta Graveyard. Could the mad scientist be an N.W.A fan?

Neither fully living nor completely dead, S-O-G exists only to take life from others. Unlike the classic movie zombie, she is highly intelligent and agile, and can essentially pass for a normal human being. Until you see her in a bikini, that is. Because of her massive scarring and slightly mismatched appendages, she covers herself from the neck down in black fatigues. S-O-G's eyes were damaged from the flash of the explosion, causing her to wear dark smoke goggles at all times. She still requires food (not brains), liquid, and sleep to survive, but she can get by on a minimal amount of each. The scientist made several secret upgrades to her anatomy that have yet to be revealed, but you can be sure they involve guns and knives, the tools of her trade.

Darkness Falls

I sat with my son recently as he watched Legend for the first time via a DVD I picked up at Newbury Comics (I introduced my daughters to the movie years ago on VHS). Watching it again reminded me of just how cool the character Darkness is (see picture), especially when he asks "what is light without dark?" The following short verse is not about Darkness or the film, but was very much inspired by both.

I take to the sky, let my mind soar.
Thoughts of disease, of famine, of war.

And those who suffered such horrible things.
For I did much evil to earn these black wings.

With no hint of remorse, I fed my desire.
A world filled with death, my fate cast in fire.

All for nothing, betrayed by my master.
I laugh as I plummet, earth coming faster.

Right Angle

I was barely keeping my balance on the very top of a step ladder, the exact spot the warning sticker tells you not to stand on. A nasty summer storm had torn through our town the week before, and a fairly large branch had broken off one of the pine trees and lodged itself in the crook of a neighboring maple. It was only a matter of time before it made its way to the ground. The tree in question was kind of tucked in a back corner of my yard where I didn't spend much time so I probably could have just left it there, but looking at it made me feel kind of depressed, like peering down through clear water at a shipwreck. A reminder of how bad things can happen unexpectedly, I guess.

As I teetered on the ladder, yanking on this pine branch that didn't want to let go of its new maple comrade, I happened to glance over my right shoulder. I'm really not sure why I did; my attention should have been focused on what I was doing. But I did it anyway, and it struck me that in all the years I had lived in my house, I had never looked at the yard from this angle. Was that strange? As a homeowner, shouldn't I know my property from every angle? I mulled this over, one hand gripping the broken pine branch and the other holding the base of the closest maple limb. Then I saw it, and my life was different, just like that.

It took me a few seconds to realize what it was, and more than a few seconds to believe it. There was a face in the grass. Not a mixture of dark and light spots that kind of looked like a face if you tried really hard, and not an actual human face that landed there from a plane exploding 30,000 feet above my house. It was a grass face, somewhat three dimensional, and it was looking right at me. We stared at each other for a minute, not saying anything, and then it spoke.

"If you're not careful, you could fall and hurt yourself," the grass face said casually. "Not supposed to stand on the top of a step ladder, you know."

"Yeah, I know," I replied. I was at a total loss for words. What does one usually say to a face in the grass? I had a feeling there was no precedent for this kind of thing. We continued to look at each other for awhile longer, that awkward silence building between us. The grass face had broken the ice, so I figured the least I could do was to keep the dialogue going.

"This branch was really bothering me and I wanted to get rid of it," I mumbled lamely. "Guess I should have gotten a taller ladder." That is really what I said. Leave it to me to be the first person in the world, or at least the first person I ever heard of, to speak to a face in the grass, and all I can do is talk about the stupid branch and my inadequate ladder. Luckily, the grass face was a much stronger conversationalist than me, and kept things flowing nicely. We passed the afternoon together.


I eventually got around to telling the face in the grass about how, just before we made eye contact, I was thinking that I had never seen my yard from this particular point of view before. We agreed that it wasn't a normal spot to be hanging out in, and if the branch didn't break off the pine tree and land in the maple tree, we would not have met. It seemed that of all the possible angles to look at my yard from, I had unknowingly stumbled upon the only one, so far anyway, that revealed the grass face. I have to admit, I felt pretty special.

Roger and I tested our theory over the next few months with a new ladder purchased for the experiment. We picked that name for him because "face in the grass" sounded sort of rude once we got to know each other better. I would position myself in different places in my yard, generally at least five feet off the ground. Roger decided that most of the angles below that level had already been viewed by me during the course of my normal activities over the years. No matter how much we searched, we could not find a second location that allowed me to see him.

"Do you think there are other faces in the grass out there?" I asked Roger one crisp, October day. The brilliant blue sky was broken here and there by drifting clouds, marshmallows floating in hot chocolate. I could feel the cold of the coming winter in the metal rungs of the ladder.

"I'm not sure, Tom," he answered softly. "I would like to think I am not the only one, but who knows? He sounded sad about the prospect of being the sole grass face on planet Earth. I quickly changed the subject to what I should wear for Halloween.


Every once in awhile we will try a new spot, but mostly we are content to just spend time chatting together. Roger has so many questions for me, and I have as many or more for him, so we never run out of interesting things to talk about. Some day I suppose we may get bored with each other, and maybe I will start looking for grass faces at the ball field or within the pristine lawns of that new industrial park. Or maybe I won't. It's hard to know what you will do once you're friends with a face in the grass.