City of Heroes
(This article deals with the comic series. For more about the MMO, see City of Heroes MMO.)'
City of Heroes is title for several different comic book series based on the City of Heroes MMO game.
There were three official comic books licensed and approved by NCSoft/Cryptic Studios to help promote the MMO game published by Dark Horse, Blue King, and Top Cow. Each of these comics were then uploaded to the MMO website for people to view for free.
In addition, there were two fan-created comics by ChaseArcanum that tied into the comic series enough for NCSoft to include on their website and thus be considered cannon.
Dark Horse Special
The Dark Horse "City of Heroes" comic was a one-shot promotional issue introducing new players to the City of Heroes universe.
Thunder-Clap as he accidentally makes his way into an unauthorized Hazard Zone and befriends two other heroes, War Witch and Apex, as they face various villains including the Freakshow and the 5th Column. This is the first City of Heroes comic and includes a special appearance from Statesman.
Blue King Studios
The Blue King series is the second City of Heroes comic book adaptation and the first ongoing comic series.
The series focuses on the characters War Witch and Apex following their appearance in the Dark Horse one-shot issue, who are now roommates in a Steel Canyon apartment, and introduces us to the mysterious character known as Horus. Although certain in-game characters such as Back Alley Brawler make their appearance, the series focuses its attention on the more "average" hero as they deal with the various challenges in Paragon City.
# 1 Undead in the Big City: Part 1
Trouble comes literally crashing into the Steel Canyon apartment of War Witch and Apex.
# 2 Undead in the Big City: Part 2
Apex and War Witch help Horus find out what happened to him. Unfortunately that also means dealing with the Vahzilok.
# 3 Dread Carnivale: Part 1
# 4 Dread Carnivale: Part 2
The heroes take the battle to the Carnival of Shadows.
# 5 Jury Duty: Part 1
It had to happen! It's the worst thing that a superhero could ever get in the mail: a notice for JURY DUTY!
# 6 Jury Duty: Part 2
Apex is torn between doing his job as a superhero and his duties as a member of the jury. Which will he end up having to do?
# 7 Jury Duty: Part 3
Going against better judgement, Apex leads a team of heroes to save the day... but at what cost?
# 8 Training Day
Apex's sister starts working for Crey Industries, and Apex is under house arrest!
# 9 Clothes Make The Man
Finally free from house arrest, Apex and War Witch raid a 5th Column base and Horus infiltrates Crey Industries... with disasterous results for everyone.
# 10 The Resurrection Man
# 11 Welcome the Kheldians
Requiem has killed War Witch's coven, and now the 5th Column leader is out to get her. But Requiem also has to deal with the strange force that has been awakened inside Horus. What is thier connection? Special appearance by Back Alley Brawler.
# 12 Best Issue Ever
Back Alley Brawler leads the heroes to their final battle against Requiem and the 5th Column, but not everyone will make it through to the end. Who will survive?
Top Cow Comics
The Top Cow series run is the third City of Heroes comic book adaptation and the second ongoing comic series.
This series focuses on the in-game signature characters of the Freedom Phalanx, and specifically on the interactions between Manticore and Sister Psyche. Several in-game heroes make guest appearances, including War Witch from the Blue King incarnation. Several of the characters and storylines in this series would eventually be incorporated into the MMO itself as part of the Ouroboros Flashback missions. The series ends just prior to the Second Rikti Invasion.
The series is divided into a series of story arcs or storylines.
- (See also "Hard Crash")
Although not given an acutal storyline name by the artists, the first three issues deals with Arachnos and Lord Recluse striking hard against the heroes of Paragon City. It also reveals the origins of both Statesman and Lord Recluse.
#01 Hard Crash: Part 1
Lord Recluse strikes a devastating blow on Paragon City as his Arachnos agents deprive the heroes of their abilities. Demoralized and powerless, it's up to Manticore to bring the team back from oblivion.
#02 Hard Crash: Part 2
Manticore and Sister Psyche continue their search to reunite the Freedom Phalanx as they scour the city looking for Statesman and a way to get their powers back. But in order to do that, someone has to die.
#03 Hard Crash: Part 3
Statesman is dead! But will his death bring back the powers needed in Paragon City to thwart an all-out invasion by Lord Recluse and Arachnos? And how did Recluse know the secret to Statesman's abilities in the first place?
Smoke and Mirrors
- (See also "Smoke and Mirrors")
The first "official" storyline of the series deals with the Freedom Phalanx as they meet with old enemies and encounter an old hero.
#04 Smoke and Mirrors: Part 1
The Freedom Phalanx must turn to an old hero of the day in order to save the world from the threat of the Circle of Thorns.
#05 Smoke and Mirrors: Part 2
Little children, spandex supermodels, and a hero from the past... what do these things have to do with the mystery of Oranbega?
#06 Smoke and Mirrors: Part 3
The heroes face their worst nightmares as one of them makes the ultimate sacrifice.
- (See also "Bloodlines")
"Bloodlines" focuses on Manticore's past and marks the return of the Back Alley Brawler (last seen in Issue #12 of the Blue King Studios incarnation) from his "retired" status.
#07 Bloodlines: Part 1
Manticore is in the hospital. Who put him there? And what does the Back Alley Brawler have to do with it?
#08 Bloodlines: Part 2
Manticore's life takes a turn for the worst, forcing Sister Psyche to risk her own life to save him, and Back Alley Brawler discover that the culprit is someone from his past.
#09 Bloodlines: Part 3
Back Alley Brawler is back in costume again as he hunts down Protean. But with Manticore and Sister Psyche dead, who will save him?
- (See also "Trading Places")
Following "Bloodlines", Manticore treads down a path nobody would ever expect. His actions set the stage for the in-game Alignment System.
#10 Trading Places: Part 1
For his actions in "Bloodlines", Manticore has been kicked off of the Freedom Phalanx! So what is a hero to do? Will he join the Vindicators? Or will he do something that nobody would ever suspect?
#11 Trading Places: Part 2
Say it ain't so! Manticore has joined Arachnos! And his first mission is to kidnap Sister Psyche! Will he actually turn on his former teammates? And not everyone is happy with Statesman's decision to kick Manticore off the Freedom Phalanx in the first place. What happens when the Phalanx ends up in a fight with their former sidekicks, the Vindicators?
#12 Trading Places: Part 3
Lord Recluse finally reveals his plan involving Sister Psyche. Can the Freedom Phalanx and the Vidicators put aside their differences and work to defend Paragon City from the threat of Arachnos? Special guest appearances by War Witch and many City of Heroes player characters.
- (See also "Awakenings")
"Awakenings" introduces readers to W.I.S.D.O.M., the Pacific-based superhero team that were seen in a special City of Heroes video to promote the Asian launch of the MMO.
#13 Awakenings: Part 1
An old friend of Statesman comes to Paragon City, bringing with him his own team of heroes as they unlock the secrets of the Banished Pantheon.
#14 Awakenings: Part 2
The Freedom Phalanx must team up with members of W.I.S.D.O.M. as they fight off a prison break fueled by the mystical powers of the Banished Pantheon.
#15 Awakenings: Part 3
The heroes must work with the Circle of Thorns to defend Oranbega from the threat of the Banished Pantheon as an ancient evil is awakened.
"Praetoria" is another storyline that was not "officially named" by the writers, introducing the readers to the "evil universe" which we know today as "Praetoria".
#16 Dark Mirror
It's Hero versus Praetorian as Statesman leads his team to the Praetorian universe to face off against his evil counterpart, Tyrant. But why are they there in the first place?
With the Freedom Phalanx off in the Praetorian Universe, it's up to Ms. Liberty and the Vindicators to keep Paragon City safe. Can this supergroup of former sidekicks stand up to the challenge?
#18 Ladies' Night
Statesman and the Freedom Phalanx are back from the Praetorian Universe, and they brought Ms. Liberty's evil counterpart with them. Can Dominatrix play nice with the Vindicators as they pay a visit to the Pocket D nightclub?
Passing The Torch
- (See also "Passing The Torch")
The final issues of this series deal with the return of an old Freedom Phalanx member, the return of the U.N. defensive force known as the Vanguard, and it serves as the prelude to the Second Rikti Invasion.
#19 Passing The Torch: Part 1
Dark Watcher, one of the original founding members of the Freedom Phalanx, is back. And he brings a dire warning to the Freedom Phalanx: Stay away from the Rikti! Meanwhile the Vanguard are looking to bolster their ranks, and they want Manticore. Will he join them? Special guest appearances by Ascendant, Castle, and War Witch.
#20 Passing the Torch: Part 2
INVASION begins here! Hero 1 is back! Or is he? The Vanguard know, only they aren't talking. Will they at least help the Freedom Phalanx or will this last issue also be their last hurrah?
- (See also ChaseArcanum Specials)
ChaseArcanum created a few special comics using in-game screen images that helped introduce and guide players through new several major updates and/or events. The developers deemed these stories to be special enough to be included on the comic page of the website and therefore are considered cannon.
#2 Guide to Issue 12: The Midnight Hour
Chase guides the player community through the new Cimerora zone, as well as highlight new Villain Epic Archetypes. But with all of those new villains around her, will Chase make it back alive?
All comics listed on this page are in PDF format and are availible for free.