Firearm (comics)

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Firearm
Publication information
Publisher Malibu Comics
First appearance Firearm #0 (1993)
Created by James Dale Robinson
Howard Chaykin
Cully Hamner
In-story information
Alter ego Alec Swan
Team affiliations The Lodge

Firearm was a comic book series created by writer James Dale Robinson and artists Howard Chaykin and Cully Hamner for Malibu Comics' Ultraverse imprint, which lasted 18 issues, with an additional 0 issue. The 0 issue included a 35-minute Firearm movie, on VHS. The series was about Alec Swan, a private investigator who, against his own wishes, becomes embroiled in cases involving the strange and the ultra-human.

After the series ended, there was a six-issue mini-series called Codename: Firearm about another character with the same code name, which featured Alec Swan in backup stories.

James Robinson wrote the script for an unpublished Firearm Annual #1 issue, and briefly offered copies of the script to fans through the letters column in his Starman comic.

Fictional character history[edit]

Alec Swan's career began when he was a member of the Special Boat Service, the British equivalent of the Navy SEALS; his mission record was extraordinary. He then became an agent for the Lodge, one of England's covert agencies. As one of its "squires", Swan earned his codename, "Firearm", due to his proficiency with guns. As a Lodge agent, Swan did many things which haunted him.

His last mission as a Lodge operative concerned two rogue ultra-human agents, one from the Lodge and one from Aladdin, an American agency. A transatlantic operation arose, combining the forces of both agencies to stop the agents. High command, determined to eliminate the targets, decided that pawns were needed to die with them in order to ensure the scenario looked realistic. Swan was the only one to walk away from the mission, and upon learning the truth left the agency. The only thing he took with him was his weapon, which he informed the Lodge he had "lost."

Swan left England for America, where he finally settled down in Pasadena, California. He set up shop as a private investigator, hoping for a quiet life, but never finding it. His cases almost always, sooner or later, involved the fantastic.

Sportsmen[edit]

While investigating the disappearance of Artie Tate for Claire Brody, Swan found himself facing down the Sportsmen, a group of wealthy cannibalistic ultras, who hunted down retired servicemen for sport. Alex battled and killed the Sportsmen, one by one. He also had to deal with their chef, the man who prepared the human flesh. He eventually rescued their intended victim. The lone survivor of the Sportsmen, Edwin Mosely, was entranced by stellar phenomena and flew off; he would return later in the series to bedevil Swan.

Ellen[edit]

A few hours after the Sportsmen incident. Tired, battered and bruised, Swan sees two figures perched high on a building. Painted on the side is the words "...said T.E. Lawrence, picking up his fork". Entranced by the ongoing stellar phenomena, a multi-limbed man named Ramon was trying to convince Ellen, who has small wings, to fly to the moon. Ramon, mentally ill, doesn't realize that even if Ellen had larger wings, flight to the moon would be impossible. Swan quickly incapacitates Ramon and talks Ellen to her senses. Swan learns she only stays with Ramon because he didn't think she was a freak because of her wings. Swan tells her he thinks her wings are sweet and talks her into a date.

Prime[edit]

A missing child case took an interesting turn when Swan discovered that the child in question was Kevin Green, better known as the ultrahuman, Prime. Unable to find any information on the streets, Swan was forced to ask for help from the Lodge, something he had promised himself he would never do. The West Coast liaison for this organization was the owner of Yates Bookstore. This would tie in with Swan's deep love for books, as he enjoyed the huge variety of novels Yates stocked. He just did not enjoy the Lodge part of the business. In exchange for the information provided, Swan would have to take a case for them in the future.

Swan was able to infiltrate the military base where Kevin was being held. While fighting the guards, Swan finds himself staring down the barrel of a pistol. Expecting death, he is surprised to find the mysterious guard letting him go.

The Lodge case involved Swan having his consciousness projected, against his will, into a cyberspace recreation of Glasgow, Scotland. Once there he had to free the program from the control of a double agent, rescue the professor that had created the program, and find his way home. He succeeded, and, once free, proceeded to make it clear that he would never work for the Lodge again.

Rafferty[edit]

Alex became involved in the hunt for the ultra-killer, Rafferty. By now, Alex and Ellen are seriously dating. Alec is hired by Samuel Garrett to find his son's killer, and soon finds himself contacted by Rafferty, who challenges Swan to stop him. Rafferty leads Swan on a cross-country chase leaving a wake of murdered ultrahumans behind him. During the chase, Rafferty is able to destroy Swan's special firearm. The chase ends in San Diego at Reverend August's cathedral. Rafferty had stormed the cathedral to kill the ultra-child Penny Slater, who has the ability to heal with a touch, but soon found himself surrounded by the police. Using the cathedral workers as hostages, Rafferty calls for Swan, hoping to use him as a distraction to aid his escape. Swan defeats Rafferty's men and rescues the child. As the bomb-rigged cathedral explodes around them, Swan and Rafferty mortally wound each other. Rafferty dies inside the burning cathedral, Swan on the steps outside. Penny Slater, herself unhurt, is able to revive Swan.

In the midst this case, Alec marries Ellen, who was now working in Las Vegas as a showgirl. They began a life together, and Alec is trying once again to peacefully settle down.

Black September[edit]

Following the Black September Event, Alec Swan's whereabouts were unknown. An amalgam version of Alec Swan and the Black Knight appeared in Ultraverse/Avengers and later appeared in Ultraforce.

Equipment[edit]

Swan used variety of weapons over his career and has even improvised on occasion. Until it was sabotaged by Rafferty, he had relied on a special gun he received from the Lodge. The weapon provided him with a variety of destructive options, from large caliber rounds, full auto-fire to explosive charges.