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Rune [vol. 1]

Complete Series Synopsis
Rune # 0   |    Rune # 1    |   Rune # 2    |   Rune # 3    |   Rune # 4    |   Rune # 5    |   Rune # 6    |   Rune # 7    |   Rune # 8    |   Rune # 9
Giant-Size Rune # 1   |   Rune/Silver Surfer # 1    |   Rune SPIN Limited Edition

Rune # 0

Rune # 0 Cover

  • RUNE Created by Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Plotted by Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Scripted by Chris Ulm & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by John Floyd
  • Colored by Barry Windsor-Smith, Keith Conroy, & Albert Calleros
  • Computer Coloring by Albert Calleros
  • Edited by Steve Gerber
Other Notes:  This issue of Rune was originally presented in segments of three pages, throughout all of the January Ultraverse books.  Each was a "flip book" (which the Ultraverse became infamously known for), containing a larger than usual issue, and on the flip side, a part of the Rune story.  Also within each issue was a coupon, that when all were collected and mailed in with shipping, would result in the reception of the very rare Rune # 0.  However, this was later reprinted with some ads added and given free with SPIN Magazine, as Rune Limited Edition (SPIN).

This Issue's Synopsis:  The stones are cast.....and bait the user with hope.  They appear to tell him something, then he states that it is the scent of power.  Power to make himself whole again.  Flashback:  Rune is in an African village in 303 AD.  Here, he is worshipped as a god.  A woman is offered as a sacrifice to the god, which is gladly accepted.  Later, 1895.  A man writes to a friend, describing what surely must have been a dream--of someone who entered his study, to inquire about the secrets of dynamic energy and magnetism.  A glass bauble was left behind, with a symbol, for fire...or perhaps...sorceror.  November 1, 1952, Eniwetok Atoll.  His rune-stones have led him here with a prophecy of power.  In his haste for power, Rune is caught in the detonation of the hydrogen bomb.  In its wake, he is left with a body ravaged by the explosion, and a disease eating away at him from within.  June 24, 1993.  A streetcar was hit by a bolt of energy from space.  59 passengers left frightened, a motorist comatose.  And Edwin Doyle, confused, meets someone who had been awaiting this day.  Rune leads Doyle home, where he soon mutates into the most powerful man on the planet.  Still not comprehending what has happened, Doyle is murdered by Rune, who takes his life essence into himself.  Rune is filled with raw power, and once more made whole, his body his to command!  But the energy quickly drains away, as Rune realizes that it will take more to save himself.  The next day, Rune catches another victim, this one dead-drunk.  At the height of his powers, ANY prey would be fine for Rune.  Sickly that he is now, the man's alcohol-filled blood is nothing but poison, causing Rune to vomit the blood, and leap to the sky to purge himself.  Struck by lighting, the vampire is purged of the poison, but not the malignancy that knaws at his being.  June 27, 1993--Mecca Flats, Arizona.  An Aladdin operative watches a creature sitting near an abandoned Aladdin Facility.  It scans the creature, realizing the fangs of a killer.  Surprise is expressed as the creature begins eating a skull, and then lapses into a coma-like state.  Two hours later, the subject awakens, and finds an object lying in the sand, with the Aladdin logo on it.  The creature turns to look at the person watching it, then takes off, flying southwest towards Scottsdale, Arizona.

"In the countless millenia before the dawn of mankind upon the planet Earth, there raged among the stars an imperious warlord whose insatiable lust for carnage destroyed entire races and culturs among the galaxies.  With his vicitms numbering in the billions he was known by many names among the thousands of empires he destroyed.  Prince of blood:  his savagery in battle was but a prelude to his hedonistic rituals of eviscerating many of his victims and gorging on their flesh.  Prince of Void:  so called for the utter desolation left in his wake; relentlessly razing entire cities to smouldering husks.  The Dark Lord:  Finally defeated in a spectacular battle that raged for five hundred years, the bloodied prince fled to earth, a planet still in its infancy, where, among the burgeoning clans and tribes of early man he was worshipped as a god.  Here, in hiding from his galactic enemies and in need of life-sustaining energy he fell victim to the withering power of the hydrogen bomb.  Riddled with disease, the once conqueror of the stars themselves now struggles to defeat the sourge that consumes his ravaged body.  We know this creature as...RUNE."    --RUNE:  Limited Edition


Rune # 1

  • Written by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by:  Alex Bialy & John Floyd
  • Lettered by:  Patrick Owsley
  • Colored by:  Keith Conroy & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Computer Colored by:  Jennifer Schellinger
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm

Other Notes: Continued from the send-away special, Rune # 0.

This Issue's Synopsis:  We begin in Erik Johnson's bedroom.  He wakes up from a nightmare, realizing this was the worst yet.  Then he mutters "These dreams are gonna...Kill Me!"  at this, Rune has burst into the room through the window.  Erik screams for his parents, who rush in.  Rune turns on the father, and kills him.  Then he goes after Erik, who recognizes him from his dreams.  The room lights up, strange energy crackling around him, and Erik blasts Rune out of the house and past some police officers.  Erik and his mom then talk, Erik wondering what's going on, scared, and his mother seems unsure of what to say.  Something apparently has been tracking Rune.  It realizes why they couldn't find subject U-193--he'd been blasted fifteen miles away.  Back at the Johnsons' home, Mrs Johnson and Erik are being questioned.  The officers seem incredulous that something--"...a vampire...an alien...it's eyes...like red hot coals..."--being behind the death and carnage.  It has also been revealed to the reader that the apparent father was a "biocon", some sort of extremely life-like android.  At the point where Rune was laying, a new arrival is on the scene, and tells the officers there to leave.  At the Johnsons', Erik's girlfriend, Markie is given a hard time trying to get in to see what was going on.  Recognizing her, Erik convinces them to let her in.  At Rune's crash-site, two men in suits talk over the body, and it is shown that it's a General Rayder's "pet project".  In Genie headquarters, the attendants lay Rune on some sort of table, and leave at Genie's request.  General Rayder steps in, and questions why the creature was after Erik Johnson.  He notices the gems worn around Rune's neck, and wonders if they are the source of its power.  As Rayder continues to look for answers, Genie realizes that the creature is somehow manipulating it.  Meanwhile, the police gather the two women and Erik into their car to take them for questioning in this incident.  At Genie, the computer reveals some info about the creature, that it is ancient, and that it is dying.  At Rayder's order, Genie prepares to assimilate Rune into itself.  Back to Erik, he and Markie realize they're being taken to somewhere that is most certainly not the police station, but there's nothing they can do about it.  The scene shifts to Scottsdale, New York.  Two men arrive at a house, where the person who answers the door comments that Noel is 93 days from "Graduation".  Hints are given that this person is also a biocon.  Then we're introduced to Noel.  He appears to be quite similar to Erik in appearance.  The men take him, while Noel's parents sit idly by, watching.  Next the scene shifts, and Rayder recieves a communication that Noel is on his way, per Rayder's orders.  This is a surprise to him, and he attempts to try and stop this.  However, Genie is incapable of dealing with it, due to the creature's interfearance.  The creature emerges, and Genie concludes "Apparently--the assimilation process has failed."

This issue of Rune seemed ok.  It introduced some integral characters, and seemed to indicate from the start that Rune himself may not be the major feature in his own book.  The presence of Genie indicates that the boys at Aladdin will be playing quite the role in this book, as well, and Genie will be a major player.  General Rayder's appearance is of a robot, but seems to have a human mind.  As Genie had attempted to assimilate Rune, it appears that it succeeded in assimilating General Rayder, and perhaps is controlling him.


Rune # 2

  • Written by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by:  John Floyd
  • Lettered by:  Patrick Owsley
  • Colored by:  Keith Conroy & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Computer Colored by:  Jennifer Schellinger
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Other Notes:  continued from Rune vol. 1, # 1

This Issue's Synopsis:  The police officers holding the Johnsons and Markie have some problems, as they are unexpected.  It appears that a code black was issued without notifying everyone.  While the officers try to sort it out, Erik and Markie make a break for it, while Mrs Johnson stays behind to try to stall if need-be.  Erik and Markie decide that if they get split up, they'll meet at his house.  The scene shifts to Rune, attacking General Rayder, shouting "You would dare?  To drain me of my energies--of my knowledge?  I, who once feasted on nations?  YOU WOULD DARE?"  Rune then proceeds to rip the general apart somewhat, and in the process learns that the computer's name is Genie, and that it is actually alive.  The vampire flies off, with Rayder shouting for Genie to give up no information to the monster.  The scene shifts back to Erik and Markie, as Erik stumbles and collapses.  Next the scene shifts to a plane, where Noel Robinson has passed out burning up with fever.  The men with him radio for medical support.  The scene next shifts to Rune, sitting on a part of the interior of Genie.  They converse, and the vampire begins feeding on the living part of the computer.  Scene Shift:  Markie leads Erik into a building and tries to figure out what to do.  Erik's eyes begin glowing, and energy crackles around him.  He tells Markie to run.  She refuses at first, then runs out to get help.  Back on the plane, one of the men attempts to awaken Robinson, but to no avail.  Scene goes back to Rune, who accesses data he should not be able to.  He learns of the young Rayder, in Vietnam, and how he stumbled quite accidently upon the site of an ancient alien crash site, deep below the earth's surface.  Meanwhile, Rayder himself orders the execution of one of the men who brought Erik.  They then set off to find him.  At the same time, the scientists are coming to realize that Rune has merged with Genie, and knows of their secrets.  Scene shifts again.  Markie surrenders, leading the men in search of them to Erik to try to help him.  Once there, she takes one of the guns and tries to make them surrender.  They stop her, and Erik moves towards them.  Threatening to harm the girl, Erik is kept back.  Then an explosion cuts loose with Erik at the epicenter.  Menwhile, the plane carrying Noel erupts into flames and goes down.  Within Genie's "memory", Rune learns of how Rayder first realized the alien parts as parts of alien bodies.  Alien power...his to plunder!

This issue was a direct continuation from the first.  The story continued well, and with the constant scene-shifting, made for these first two issues to be a good read together coherantly, without a month in between.  Despite this, on its own it makes a good story, as the reader learns more about the past of General Rayder.  Rune's ability to take control of Genie, to mentally bypass safeguards, etc show more into the vampire's powers and abilities, though it doesn't say whether this is attributed to Rune himself, or his star-stones.  The artwork continues to be excellent, and more mystery builds as to what it is that these people (Aladdin) want with Erik and Noel that requires certain timing, of which they are currently 93 days early.


Rune # 3

  • Written by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by:  Alex Bialy & John Floyd
  • Lettered by:  Patrick Owsley
  • Colored by:  Keith Conroy & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Computer Colored by:  Jennifer Schellinger & Albert Calleros
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Other Notes:  Continued From Rune vol. 1, # 2.  This issue was double-sized, with a cover price of $3.50, rather than the normal $1.95, because it has the first issue of Ultraverse Premiere on the flip-side.  Ultraverse Premiere was a monthly flip-book, and could be found on the back of a different Ultraverse book each month, which also hiked the price of the given issue to $3.50.

This Issue's Synopsis:   The issue begins with a flashback to Vietnam.  Alerted by General Rayder, the government clears space and extracts the alien find completely--bodies as well as ancient writings.  A group was set up to study this, as well as other extraterrestrial entities.  The group/project was designated Aladdin, with Rayder in charge of everything.  They spend years working on trying to figure out what they're working with, until an accident reveals a breakthrough.  A form of gas, which caused madness and death to any who inhaled it.  Genie assembled organic matter into its own biomass, adding parts bit by bit, until finally, a new life-form, a sentient computer is born, and is able to speak.  Rayder quickly takes more control than ever, and experiments more on human subjects with the gas.  Finally, he himself manages to merge with Genie, where he learns of the power of the Shu-Ji.  However, Rayder is not able to harness the power, and the process fails, leaving him as a robotic-humanoid.  The scene shifts back to Rune, who learns the purpose of Erik and Noel--and that they were genetically engineered.  The process was to have them perfectly identical, and use them to harness the Shu-Ji.  The scene shifts, and we see as Noel is pulled from the wreckage of the downed plane.  Again, yet another scene shift, to the crater left from Erik's explosion.  Radiation is in the "red end".  People can't figure out how anything could really still be alive in the ruins.  Yet, the reader sees as Markie awakens Erik, and tells him of what happened.  The scene goes back to Rune, who decides Genie's usefullness to him has ended, and attempts to destroy it, gorging upon its matter.  He then flies off, shouting "Let the quest begin!" (to harness the Shu-Ji power).  Specially suited men, meanwhile, are closing in on ground zero of the explosion from Erik.  Slight visual contact is made, before both are incinerated.  At the same time, Rayder is trying to get Genie to respond.  It finally does, showing Rayder the Star stones worn by the vampire.  Back with Erik, Markie and Erik talk some, with Markie trying to comfort him.  Rayder asks if the stones contain souls, Genie tells him they contain life essences.  Markie asks Erik why he took pills, he tells her it's because his dad told him to.  Scene shifts to Noel's mother waking him up to give him his pills, he jumps up and startles her, realises he must have been dreaming, and they tell him he better take his pills and wake up now.  Rayder studies the stones, and realises that with them, he might be able to make himself human again...or as Genie corrects him...superhuman.  Meanwhile, a helicopter is headed at ground zero when it witnesses as Erik flies Markie out of the crater.  As he tells her that he loves her, she said that she loved him, too, as the helicopter is destroyed.

This issue expanded much more on the creation of Aladdin, and more specifically, the Genie super-computer.  It also reveals the secrets behind Noel and Erik, why they were to have been brought together at the proper time, etc.  More of Rune's abilities are exposed, as well as the escalation of power in Erik and Noel, a foreshadow of events to come.  As usual, the art is quite good, and the story well-written, though it can be somewhat confusing with scenes jumping around, and not always knowing whether it's showing Erik or Noel.


Rune # 4 "When Stars Collide"

  • Written by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by:  John Floyd
  • Lettered by:  Patrick Owsley
  • Colored by:  Keith Conroy
  • Computer Colored by:  Jennifer Schellinger
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Other Notes:  Continued from Rune vol. 1, # 3

This Issue's Synopsis: We are in the bedroom of Noel Robinson.  He has had a dream--that his parents had betrayed him to a secret agency.  It had to be a dream, right?  It couldn't have really happened.  Noel realizes he needs his pills, feels like he's going to die...Rune breaks in through the glass, crying "Prepare yourself, godling--!  YOUR TIME IS COME!"  Noel calls for his parents.  When they enter, Rune attacks, and "kills" the father.  Then it is revealed that this is all a set, to recreated the situation/conditions when Rune first appeared....only Rune himself is very much the authentic entity, and proceeds to be the bringer of a bloodbath of real people and android humanoids.  Rune tosses Noel down in the midst of the bodies, where he tries to understand, but comes to the conclusion that nothing is real, the world gone mad, that everything he knows is a lie.  At the same time, Erik has the same realization, erupting in energy as "Markie" tries to soothe him.  He finally loses it, and releases a shockwave.  As this goes on, General Rayder is attempting to use Rune's star-stones to put his own essense into another body.  A new body is selected, and the sequence begun.  As the process starts, Rune enters, carrying an unconscious Noel Robinson to claim the starstones that are rightfully his.  Realizing the vampire means to destroy him, Rayder begs for mercy.  This cry does not go unheeded as Rune replies "Mercy?  You dare appeal to me for mercy?  I am the Dark God!  I am RUNE!  I have no mercy!  . . .  No one defies me--and lives!"  General Rayder is then torn apart by Rune.  Proclaiming that if he (Noel)  were not needed for his plan, he would be dead, Rune takes him and leaves.  Genie then apparently attempts to keep Rayder "alive", though begged not to.  A distress call is sent out, the sky on fire.  Rune carries Noel into the heart of the "firestorm".  Rayder asks if Genie will save him.  Genie replies that while he is expendable, Genie is not.  The general dies, as Rune reaches the heart of the inferno, his body burning up, and throws Noel into the center at Erik, crying "Heed me, mortals!  Though I plunge into the heart of your Inferno--!  Though my eyes are seared from my skull--my hand will not be stayed--!  Join your burning brother--and become a GOD--SO THAT THE PRINCE OF VOID MAY LIVE!"

This was a very good issue.  The way it opened the same as issue 1 was a nice bit of irony, actually leading one to wonder mildly if perhaps the first three issues really were a dream, at least on Noel's part.  The issue was mainly action, as many people enjoy.  Rune is shown as being truly merciless and evil in this, and how he deals with those at Aladdin.  The way Rayder died was appropriate, considering what he tried to do to the vampire.  It also tied up the loose end of the star-stones, whether Rune would be getting them back or not.  The art continues to be superb, the story well written and advancing to a major point--the birth of a God.


Rune # 5  "Gemini"

  • Written by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by:  John Floyd
  • Lettered by:  Patrick Owsley
  • Colored by:  Keith Conroy & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Computer Colored by:  Jennifer Schellinger & Chris Young
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Other Notes:  continued from Rune vol. 1, # 4

This Issue's Synopsis:  "July 4, 1993.  5:59 am.  Rune, Prince of Void, Savaged and stripped to the core by the powers he would wield, is sole witness to the birth of a god.  Rune has been worshipped under many names throughout the eons...Anasi...The Prince of Void--The Dark God.  But for all his sorcery, Rune is a false diety, powerless before the ultimate manifestation of cosmic energy...the chaos storm of Shu-Ji...the genesis of...Gemini.  Noel Robinson & Eric Johnson struggle against their mutual destiny...but their star born genes and chromosomes were destined for this moment...this time of times--as the synthesis accelerates, flesh and souls unite...melding into the raging core of a newborn star!  Their screams are ripped from them in shrill octaves unknown in this world.  Then...their very atoms pause and mingle...as...a sudden shimmering calm falls upon twin bodies that coalesce into one...and a reluctant young god is born into the world on the eve of its destruction.  WE ARE ONE.  WE LIVE!" --Rune, volume 1, # 5

Rune forces the two young men, Erik and Noel together, and with the power of the Shu-Ji, they are bonded into one entity, Gemini.  As this is going on, Genie manages to restore order to the Aladdin complex, imitating Rayder, and realising that with "Rayder" as its figurehead, Genie now has control over all Aladdin.  Meanwhile, Rune is dying...again.  This time, the flesh is seared from his body, totally withering away in the awsome power that resulted from the "Shu-Ji storm".  He watches as the entity brings life anew to an entity that appears to look like Markie, dead for a time now.  As they are reunited, something is revealed to be on the moon, an alien entity that has changed some of the world's populace.  Rune calls Gemini over to himself.  Genie orders the termination of the spacewatch.  Rune cons Gemini into "blessing" him with a kiss.  At this, Rune bites back, and steals Gemini's power.  Realizing ultimate power at last, he revels in this, before realizing that he can't control it, and as such, the earth...HIS earth...is doomed.  With the traditional bite in the neck, Rune transfers his powers back to the young godling.  Gemini is then subjected to his "dream" again, but sees through it, prooving his will is strong.  When he declines to be Rune's servant, the sorceror leaves, stating that when next they meat, he will kill his "son".  Flying off, Rune warns that he/they can seek him at their peril.  Gemini retrieves the new life he created, and walks off, claiming that their love will keep them together, always.  Meanwhile, Genie puts into motion another "experiment" to harness the Shu-Ji.

This issue was the apparent conclusion to the "Gemini Saga".  Rune is empowered once more, just not as much as he'd like to be.  Gemini is still on the loose, leaving stuff open for a storyline later.  As usual, art is superb, story excellent.


Rune # 6

  • Writers:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Penciller:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inker:  Alex Bialy
  • Cover Art:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Letterer:  Patrick Owsley
  • Color Design:  Keith Conroy & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Interior Color:  Jennifer Schellinger
  • Production Editor:  Dan Danko
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm  
Other Notes:  Continued from Rune vol. 1, # 5.  This is the last issue in which the story stays within the series itself.  This issue continues in Giant Size Rune # 1, and somewhat leads into a series of cross-overs/etc.

This Issue's Synopsis:  This story begins in a palace....the palace of the dark god--Rune.  He seeks an ancient weapon.  Discovering it to be in the possession of a mortal...and a woman, even worse, he swears it will be his again.  The scene cuts to Mantra, who realises "she" has been scried, and senses something nearby.  Next we meet Kevin Greene being harassed by some young men.  As Mantra works on figuring out who or what it is she senses, the punks beat Kevin savagely.  As Rune attacks Mantra, Kevin "Primes up", and PRIME is ready to kick some tail!  Rune demands the Sword of Fangs from Mantra, while Prime gets the attention of the kids that beat his alter-ego.  Rune senses that Mantra is not "pure woman" as "she" appears.  Reaching up to the star stones, Mantra is stunned, and realizes that the only chance is to get help, and Rune prepares to feast.  Prime challenges the punks, intimidates them, then crackes his knuckles, and disappears.  Reappearing by Mantra and Rune, he hauls off and Punches Rune across a highway. Bouncing off a semi, Rune is then crunched underneath, and the semi flips over.  In the resulting explosion, Rune claims the prize as his, and flies aay.  Rather than fly after the vampire, Prime stays with Mantra, noticing that she's hurt...her neck bleeding.  Meanwhile, back at his home, Rune unlocks the powers of the Sword of Fangs...powers Mantra had never even known it had, to be able to use.  A detective-like guy arrives on the scene, and discovers the "aura" of a bloodsucker, and suggests the police stay out of it.  Prime flies Mantra as they track Rune, only to be discovered by the vampire himself, and attacked.  Prime flies at Rune to attack him.  As Rune is shocked that he dares to lay hands on "The Prince of Void", Prime comments that "Prince of Void could use some Mouthwash...!"  They battle, and Rune emerges victorious, taking out this latest Prime body.  Rune is surprises as he realizes Prime and the young boy are one and the same.  As Rune prepares to kill the now-defenseless Kevin Greene, Mantra enters, having retrieved the Sword of Fangs.  She slices the Star-gems off of Rune's neck, and shatters some, releasing the souls held captive within.  As she flies away with Kevin, the souls attack Rune.

Not much commentary on this issue.  The art's great as usual, and the story was good.  I enjoyed this issue, as it was self-contained for once, after the five-part Gemini storyline.


Giant-Size Rune # 1

  • Script:  Chris Ulm
  • Layouts:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Finished Art:  John Floyd
  • Letters:  Patrick Owsley
  • Color Design:  Keith Conroy
  • Interior Color:  Jennifer Schellinger
  • Edits:  Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Production Editor:  Dan Danko
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm  
Other Notes:  Continued from Rune vol. 1, # 6.

This Issue's Synopsis:  El Gato.  Ultra-hero of Mexico.  Rune is on his tail (no pun intended), and catches him.  Rune leaves after feasting, and the police and Janus investigate.  A newscast is shown in which it is told that authorities are turning to "mumbo jumbo" to try to learn the identity of their mysterious killer.  The newscast is observed and commented on to a person watching.  They know that it is the work of Thanotos, Death.  He has eluded this group for ten thousand years, hiding his visage under the many names he has been known as.  An ancient prophecy apparently is coming to pass.  Signs or coming true.  "Demigods rule the skies. (Prime).  Mere mortals have become titans...(Hardcase, the Strangers) the bones of gods have been unearthed (by General Rayder)...and demons rule the underworld (Aladdin/Genie workers)..."  All is ready for the "Gateway"--apparently the return of the god Argus.  Yet, there remains one thing...the goddess formed of clay--Pandora.  This "Pandora" is actually "Markie", the entity created by Gemini.  The scene shifts, the Gemini and "Markie".  They converse, Erik still refusing to believe she isn't the same person he'd loved.  As she runs off, Noel tries to convince him to let her go, that if they go after her they'll get caught.  Unfortunately, Erik doesn't care anymore.  Reaching a local store, "Gemini" learns that she'd just left with one of the Rigs that had passed through.  Meanwhile, Rune casts his stones to learn of the "forbidden knowledge".  Memories flood back, as well as sensations, and then as he tries to piece together what it all means, he is confronted by an image of Argus, who speaks in riddles, hinting that Rune has set into motion something far beyond his comprehension.  Rune is cast out.  Erik dreams.  He remembers trying to escape from the Aladdin agents, and how he inadvertantly killed markie, and how much of what has transpired is his fault.  As he dreams, Noel works to wake Erik from this slumber, to convince him that it is not his fault for everything that has happened recently.  Just before waking up, they bear witness to the beginning of an apparent sacrifice of Markie...  Rune has somehow tapped into the dreams, and calls Gemini his "son".  He declares that he must discover the truth, that Argus must die stillborn.

Not much to say on this issue.  Good story and art, and it leads into the next phase of the Ultraverse--GodWheel.  The GodWheel mini-series brought together the Ultraverse and the Marvel Universe.


Rune # 7

  • Writer:  Chris Ulm
  • Penciller:  Javier Saltares
  • Inker:  Chuck Ivey
  • Letterer:  Clem Robins
  • Color Design:  Lydia Nomura
  • Interior Color:  Jennifer Schellinger
  • Editorial Assistant:  Larry Reynosa
  • Production Editor:  Dan Danko
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm  
Other Notes:  Continued from Giant Size Rune # 1

This Issue's Synopsis:  Rune casts his stones to learn more of the dead god Argus.  He then releases the soul of "The Sorcerer...Two-Finger" to reveal it to him.  The ghost of the sorceror detects fear, and Rune is angered at that being pointed out to him.  The ghost asks for patience, as Rune has already killed him once.  It says that the answers lie in the past.  The scene shifts to Africa, 315 A.D.  This is where the Spider-God, Anasi resides.  Sacrifices are made, and as tribute to the one who has allowed their continued survival, the god must be fed.  A young woman is brought, and Anasi feeds.  The villagers take this as a sign that the harvest will be great, and a second offering is given.  When Anasi refuses, it is deemed sacrilege by the shaman, who says that it must be taken or the people are doomed.  The god accepts a second sacrifice...the shaman.  Scene shift:  a rival city.  In a religious rite, a father dies, and is 'reborn' within his son.  Meanwhile, Rune is intrigued by the woman he spared.  She senses good in his heart.  Unknown to the two, they are watched.  The spy returns home and is almost killed.  He reveals what he knows, that a prophesy is coming true.  The woman was found naked, with no memory, bewitched Anasi, and he has lain with her.  The spy is then killed, despite a beg for mercy.  The king then recalls the prophesy:  "A great star shall herald her coming.  Death will succor her.  For she is the virgin birth.  She is the gateway.  She is the golden haired Pandora.  And must die, ere Argus live again..."  The king then mounts an attack against Rune's village, wishing to take the woman Pandora to sacrifice her and return Argus to the living.  In the resulting battle, Rune leaps in the way of a spear intended for the woman.  As he lies dying, the woman refuses his last request to flee.  She declares that he must live.  Despite protest, she cuts her own throat, that her god and lover, Anasi might live.  The king witnesses the latter, as does Two-Finger.  The Dark God declares that Dyata died for him, and will be avenged.  Two-Finger then loses his head to Anasi, his soul condemned to the star stones for eternity.  In the present, Two-Finger retreats back to the star-stone, refusing to give Rune any more visions.  He reveals, however that even now Pandora lives, and will soon be sacrificed.

This was an excellent issue, and sheds light on Rune's earlier time spent on earth.  Usually, he is shown as a blood-thirsty vampire, intent on the death of others, the unconditional worship from those he considers lesser beings, etc.  Perhaps the most intriguing aspect was the genuine feelings shown that Rune had for Dyata, and so on.  This truly shows the human side of Rune, and in the scenes of battle, Rune is shown in his glory as a mighty warrior, able to stand his own, felled only to save the one human he has shown true passion for.  This is in direct contradiction to most of what we have seen so far in the Rune book, and is the type of thing I personally enjoy.  Very few entities are truly pure evil, or have been that way totally and forever.  Rune, though quite evil in and of himself, is capable of some "lesser" traits.


Rune # 8

  • Script:  Chris Ulm
  • Pencils:  Richard Pace
  • Inks:  Alex Bialy
  • Letters:  Clem Robins
  • Color Design:  Ruth Yarsharpour
  • Interior Colors:  Jennifer Schellinger
  • Editor:  Dan Danko
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm  
Other Notes:  Continued from Rune vol. 1, # 7

This Issue's Synopsis:  We begin with Noel urging Erik awake, that they’re in danger...a snake wrapped around him/them. Erik then finally wakes up to the police. Refusing to surrender, he vaporizes them, transforming to a vampiric form, wishing to be simply left alone. Gemini is then horrified by what he’s becoming, killing and enjoying it, etc. The scene then shifts to “Markie” and the truck driver she’d hitched a ride with. She’s been tied up and is taken to a spider-like creature. The truck driver then changes into an alien entity as well. He then draws some of his own blood for a teleportation. Meanwhile, Rune finally realizes through his star stones who Pandora truly is, that he had the chance to kill her and didn’t. He then leaves to seek out the “goddess”. Finally, beneath the ground itself, he locates the secret hidaway of the acolytes of Argus. He realizes the girl is gone, but kills the spider creature and leaves. Scene goes back to Gemini/Erik/Noel. They stop in a restroom of a gas station, to examine their injuries. As they watch, the wounds heal themselves. Another man walks in, as Gemini “vamps out”, turning on the man to kill him. In part due to Noel, he snaps out of it and flies away, hiding in a passing truck. At the gas station, Janus questions the man and gains a lead to the “bloodsucker”, though not the one he’s after. Rune has teleported through a portal where he realizes his hunger, and decides to dine on a passing cruise ship. At an island, “Markie” is brought in, as the goddess Pandora. She is “prepared” and inspected by Oshi, who reveals they’ve been waiting for over 2,000 years. The “truck driver” then kills himself for mishandling the goddess. In the truck, Gemini wakes up, and makes his escape as the drivers check a flat tire. Seeking shelter, Gemini spends a night in a cemetary. Later, at a touch on the shoulder, he wakes up and cuts loose, vaporizing the area. Flicking a cigar his way, Janus calmly states “Ya gotta watch yer temper, kid. The name’s Janus...and we have a friend in common name o’ Rune.”

This issue continues the story of Gemini, Pandora, and Argus. The events in this book soon send shockwaves throughout the entire Ultraverse, as will be revealed in issue 9.


Rune # 9

  • Script:  Chris Ulm
  • Pencils:  Keith Conroy
  • Inks:  Alex Bialy
  • Letters:  Patrick Owsley
  • Color Editors:  Ruth & Sharleen
  • Interior Color:  Gone Fishin'
  • Editorial Assistant:  Larry Reynosa
  • Editor:  Dan Danko
  •  Rune Created by:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm  
Other Notes:  Continued from Rune vol. 1, # 8

This Issue's Synopsis:  This issue opens with Janus attempting, and finally succeeding in lighting a cigar. He talks to Gemini, treating him frankly but telling him to ask away, that he’s there to help. Meanwhile, on the Mediterranean, two party-goers ascend to the uper deck, where they find the mangled bodies of their guests littering the deck...remnants of Rune’s feast. The vampire then attacks and kills the man, but spares the woman, stating that she reminds him of the one he seeks...that perhaps fortune shall smile upon his quest if he allows her to live. On the island of Mytos, “Markie” still believes fully that she is not the goddess, not Pandora. She just wants to leave. Meanwhile, Professor Tantalus wonders if it might be best she lives, but is reprimanded by Oshi, who points out that she must die to fulfill the prophecy and bring back the dead god Argus. Yet, even then, their companion reveals that her vision of the “correct” future dims even as they speak. The scene goes to Hollywood. Here, Gemini demands answers from Janus, who cooly avoids answering. Finally, he tells Gemini to look around, where Erik and Noel see into people...their arteries. Lying, he claims that he doesn’t see anything different, where Janus claims sarcastically “Sure, ya don’t. You lie like Rune hisself....” and holds out a star-stone. Janus then cuts Gemini, catching some of the blood into the palm of his hand, where it coagulates into a symbol. Janus then gets up to leave the pub, and asks Gemini if he’s coming with him, and that he has to if he wants to find his girlfriend. They agree, and get into Janus’s car, which then takes off flying to central America. The scene then goes to Rune and Mytos, where Rune bursts in to disrupt the sacrificial ceremony, and kills some of the acolytes. He is then impaled, and “Markie” is taken away. Over the Yucatan Peninsula, Janus’s car crashes due to a warding spell. The Acolyte prepares to sacrifice “Markie”, as another realizes they’ve accidentaly imprisoned Oshi. The sacrificial blade is raised...
From dust she was created...an innocent born into a world where she was nothing more than an artifact...a plaything created by a newly minted god...a doppleganger wearing the flesh of a memory. An item of power for the Acolytes of Argus...a living device for the fulfillment of their mad, slumbering dreams. The embodiment of fear for the creature called Rune...the gateway for the resurrection of an ancient enemy. But for herself...she only desired a name of her own...and to be loved...
The knife falls, and Pandora dies. Rune makes his entrance, and realizes he is too late, that Argus is reborn. Angered at his reawakening on the world of his exile, Argus kills the acolytes, then opens a portal to Vahdala. As he leaves, he calls out to Rune (Thanatos) that he allows him to live, because he wishes it so. As the god disappears, Rune soars after, and through the portal as well, claiming that he will not rest until he feasts on Argus’ still beating heart.

This was the final issue of this original series of Rune. Originally to be a monthly book, due to scheduling conflicts, etc, it began bi-monthly, and eventually led to this issue. This issue continues first in the GodWheel miniseries, #’s 0, 1, 2, and 3, in which Argus attempts to regain his former godhood. One thing that allows him to even begin...is Rune’s stolen star-stones. The story follows Rune first to the GodWheel mini, then to the Rune/Silver Surfer crossover/special, and Rune returns to the Ultraverse in the Curse of Rune mini.


Rune/Silver Surfer # 1

  • Script:  Chris Ulm & Dan Danko
  • Pencils:  Henry Flint
  • Inks:  Mark McKenna
  • Letters:  Patrick Owsley
  • Color Designer:  Tim Divar
  • Color Editor:  Emily Yoder
  • Interior Color:  Violent Hues
  • Editorial Assistant:  Larry Reynosa
  • Editor:  Dan Danko 
  • Rune Created By:  Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
Other Notes:  In my opinion, this should have been "Rune/Warlock # 1", as the main part of the story affects Warlock and his Infinity Watch far more than it did the Surfer.  Continued from GodWheel # 3

This Issue's Synopsis:  As the story opens, we see the heroes (from the GodWheel) preparing to leave, thanks to the Mighty Thor.  However, Rune attacks, and is blasted into a portal that takes him to Earth.  Once there, his star-stones tell him that he is not in his own universe.  He senses the powers of many, realizing that he will find much in this new "hunting ground".  Later, having disguised himself as Thor, Rune senses his prey.  This prey turns out to be Powderkeg (an old Thor villain?), who is holding someone hostage.  "Thor" attacks, and reveals himself to be something other than the God of Thunder.  Powderkeg dies, but as he does, Rune's star-stones alert him to a source of incredible power that is very close, and seeks it out.  This power source is Gammora, now a former member of the Infinity Watch.  She had left the team, and returned to her surrogate father, Thanos (who once weilded the Power Infinite, with the Infinity Gauntlet).  Rune corners her, ready to forcefully take the power, his prize forcefully.  But then he realizes something...she no longer has it.  What he has sensed is but a glimmer of the true power.  He forces her to reveal to him the location of the source.  We are then shifted to Monster Island, the home base of the Infinity Watch.  Rune catches Maxaam, his first victim, and steals the Time Gem.  With Time itself now his plaything, Rune commands time to stop, and stop it does.  The self-proclaimed god then seeks out the other gems, their guardians helpless to stop him, frozen in time.  From Pip the troll, the Space Gem is stolen.  Next is the once-secret member of the Watch, Thanos, who weilded the power of the Reality Gem.  Fourth is the Mind Gem, stolen from Moondragon, daughter of Drax the Destroyer, from whom the Power Gem is next taken.  Finally, we come to the leader of this group, the man who never asked for this responsibility, and whom once held the power Infinite himself.  Adam Warlock, now guardian only of the Soul Gem.  Rune senses something different about him from the others.  Nonetheless, Rune attempts to take the gem from its owner...and finds himself apparently in a different dimmension.  Wondering what trickery caused this, he is hit by a karmic blast from Warlock.  (Note:  this apparently is but an aspect of Warlock, sharing the bond with the Gem, and/or from the time Warlock himself was one with the Gem).  Rune taunts the warrior, and reveals his control over reality itself, pointing out that he possesses five of the gems.  Warlock states that they can never be used together again, and so long as he possesses the Soul Gem, the will not.  Then, a moment of ultimate betrayal.  The Soul Gem, originally given by the High Evolutionary to the still-young and brash "Him", renamed Adam Warlock, the same gem that augmented his already considerable might, the gem which preserved not only the souls of his friends Pip and Gammora, but himself as well, and had not been unlike a friend through the years, turns on its "master" and goes to Rune, also a vampiric entity, a much more welcomable host.  The gem is taken, but takes control over the others, causing them to attach to Rune's fist, re-forming the Gauntlet.  Rune himself quickly loses control of the situation.  Thinking himself master of all that is, when he himself is now but an apparent pawn of the Soul Gem.  The Gem commands Rune to open a portal back to his own universe.  Meanwhile, the Living Tribunal calls on someone to stop the monster from succeeding.  As the portal opens, a familiar figure, riding a cosmic surfboard, appears, and tells Rune that he has stolen that which belongs neither to him, nor his universe, and orders him to surrender...or face the Power Cosmic.  Refusing, the Surfer cuts loose and blasts Rune's hand off, and the gems are lost into the vortex, as Rune falls into a body of water.  As he lies at the bottom, the Soul Gem, still bonded to the vampire, declares "Foul vampire!  You shall pay for your insolense!  Oh, how you shall Pay!".

This issue to some is not put together very well.  The art is good, but the continuity has much to be desired.  Perhaps the most glaring point is the way in which the assembling of the Infinity Gems, and the instant availability of the power to Rune.  Waaaay back in Warlock and the Infinity Watch # 1, the Living Tribunal ruled that the gems would not work in unison.  During the Infinity War, when the Gauntlet was re-assembled to use against an entity known as the Magus, Warlock even lost the power of the Soul Gem--the gems WOULD NOT work TOGETHER, as ruled by the Tribunal.  Cosmic beings, including Galactus had to petition the Tribunal to allow them to work together, giving the weilder of all six the Power Infinite.  After the affair was concluded, the Tribunal ruled that NEVER AGAIN would they work together, no matter WHAT the crisis or disaster.  Yet, in Rune/Silver Surfer, the story seems to revolve around that the gems are simply not ALLOWED to work together, and the situation is simply as before the ruling--the gems are a coveted prize, and if all six are gathered together bring ultimate power.  This issue has two stories.  The one reviewed above, and the flip-side, dealing with the Surfer.  The surfer's appearance in this part is the only time Rune appears in the other, and thus will not be covered here.


Rune--SPIN Limited Edition

  • RUNE Created by Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Plotted by Barry Windsor-Smith & Chris Ulm
  • Drawn by Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Scripted by Chris Ulm & Barry Windsor-Smith
  • Inked by John Floyd
  • Colored by Barry Windsor-Smith, Keith Conroy, & Albert Calleros
  • Computer Coloring by Albert Calleros
  • Edited by Steve Gerber
Other Notes:  This issue of Rune was originally presented in segments of three pages, throughout all of the January Ultraverse books.  Each was a "flip book" (which the Ultraverse became infamously known for), containing a larger than usual issue, and on the flip side, a part of the Rune story.  Also within each issue was a coupon, that when all were collected and mailed in with shipping, would result in the reception of the very rare Rune # 0.  However, Rune # 1 was later reprinted with some ads added and given free with SPIN Magazine.

This Issue's Synopsis:  See Rune # 0.  (Originally presented as Rune # 0.)