The “Lone Knight” returns from the pages of Hero: 9 to 5, but how will The Loner, and the finest men and women that publicly funded super hero protection can supply, cope when a mysterious figure leaves a trail of unconnected corpses in his wake? Who is the Nightress and what keys does she hold to this mystery? How silent and deadly is a ninja’s fart? All these questions and many more probably won’t be answered in this issue! In a world where being a super hero is just another job, what happens when there’s nobody left alive to pay the bill? Quietus– some men just want to watch the world die.

Since I thoroughly enjoyed the collected edition of the first 4 issues of this series, I had to get the next three issues that are currently available. The creative team of writer Ian Sharman, artist David Gray, and colorist Yel Zamor return for this issue, “THE LONE KNIGHT RETURNS” which gives the spotlight to Heroes 4 Zeros member, The Loner. It begins with him patrolling the city at night, and he stops wannabe supervillain called The Knifler from attacking a prostitute (with a big knife, of course). The grateful woman then tells him about a friend of hers, a fellow prostitute who was recently found dead. The Loner agrees to look into case, and is soon confronted by a rogue vigilante called The Nightress, who patrols those streets herself and doesn’t want The Loner’s help. But he convinces her that they can accomplish more by working together and pooling their resources, which Nightress reluctantly agrees to.

The Loner picks up his sidekick, Budgie, who is a computer wiz, and takes him back to his place. We learn that The Loner is really Marcus Covington-Smythe, who inherited a small fortune from his deceased parents. So, despite working for the lowly-paying Heroes 4 Zeros, he lives in a mansion with the best computer equipment, although he doesn’t know much about computers which is why he needs Budgie’s help. Budgie hacks into the dead hooker’s phone records, learning that the last two phone calls she got were from a man named Elliot Travers, whom the Loners thinks could be a suspect. He lets Budgie leave to go back home, and we see The Loner looking up a woman named Evelyn Covington-Smythe, a former love of his (wife?), whom he sees is now apparently happy, living with some other man. The Loner is happy for her, although he clearly regrets not being with her himself.

Meanwhile The Nightress sneaks into the dead woman’s old apartment, and finds her old journal, and then is attacked by 6 ninjas, whom she quickly makes short work of then escapes. The Loner is called by Steve, who sends him to a gas station that’s being attacked by a supervillain called The Joicenator. The Loner stops him, but kind of uses excessive force in beating him up. The Nightress arrives, taking note of The Loner’s violence, and recognizing that a man who spends his night’s patrolling the streets like this may have some “issues” to resolve. They compare notes about the case, the Loner tells her about Elliot Travers, and she says the hooker’s journal mentioned meeting a man she called “E.T.”, so they know he must have something to do with this. Nightress also offers to be willing to listen, if The Loner has anything personal he wants to talk about, but just as it looks like they may be making a connection, The Loner rebuffs her, because “the night” is his only mistress.

A pretty solid issue. The Loner is a hero in the mold of Batman, including an intense internal monologue which narrates most of the issue. But despite the serious tone of this story, with dead hookers, and unrequited love, Sharman manages to sneak in several bits of humor, to help lighten the mood just right. Once again I was impressed with Gray’s art (he sure does like to draw his women “busty”) and Zamor suitably muted the colors in this issue, to match the darker tone, as opposed to the bright colors he used in first 4 issues, which had a much lighter tone. Chacebook rating: 5 STARS

Available digitally via COMIXOLOGY

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