The story so far:
Wanda Magnatova arrived at Exhampton Academy and discovered that it wasn't
like other prestigious boarding schools: several of her classmates were in
the exclusive "Magnat Program," working on beam weaponry, sentient robots,
and dimensional warps. One of these warps let in the fabled Dark Ages
warlock Loki. Wanda's classmates have subsequently become markedly fewer.
The first to go was Blake Olson, the interdimensional physics
student who opened the warp in the first place. He got Loki's gargantuan
brother Thunar to put a beating on some football players who had bullied
him, then got ambushed by other members of the team when Thunar wasn't
around. Loki magically stole his quantitative reasoning abilities, and
Blake had to drop out of Exhampton.
Next was Josie Blackrock, electronics expert and Wanda's first
roommate, who got in the way when Thunar, in the body of a powerful robot,
went on a rampage. The possessed robot broke Josie's neck and left her
a quadriplegic, but with the help of a device built by Wanda's father,
she was able to cobble together a primitive exoskeleton and regain
movement, if not sensation. She went home to South Dakota to recuperate.
Wanda's second roommate, Robin Stanjian, lasted only a couple of
hours before being possessed by a demon sent by the dark lord Pandemonio
to pay fealty to Loki. Those familiar with the occult say that the
possession could not have been reversed, but it's a moot point, as the
body of Robin's demonic double was incinerated.
Simon Fisher showed Wanda around when she arrived at the Academy.
Though not a student in the Magnat Program himself, he was very impressed
by the Magnat students and attempted to hang out with them as much as he
could. He also led his parents to believe that the program encompassed
the entire Exhampton student body. He developed quite a crush on Wanda's
third roommate, Cynthia; this backfired when he introduced her to his
parents and she revealed that he wasn't in the program. His parents
immediately withdrew him from Exhampton to enroll him at a less expensive
Jenna Walcott — bookish, mousy, overweight, and easily
scandalized — was drugged and framed for marijuana possession
by Cynthia for reasons that have yet to come to light. Though headmaster
Gerald Ford was willing to let her off with a few hours of community
service, she withdrew from Exhampton.
Claire Vanderline was Jenna's roommate. Though everyone who knew
her was impressed by how much less spoiled she had become since she'd
first arrived at Exhampton, her bratty behavior tended to resurface
whenever she was around her father Ted Vanderline, billionaire owner of
the Vanderline chain of hotels. Then one of those hotels was blown up
with her parents in it. Now an orphan, Claire has left Exhampton to
Natalie Rome had enrolled at Exhampton under false pretenses: she
was actually 23 years old and had been sent by her father, Secorp CEO
Nathan Rome, to keep tabs on the Magnat Program and recruit its best
talent for the company. Having received a better offer from one of the
Magnat professors, she has been sent to Salt Lake City to embark on a new
career as a spy.
Bart Clinton had been involved with Natalie for a time, but she had
to dump him when it came time to recruit her target, Tony Fujikawa, for
Secorp. Natalie had let it be known that she had developed feelings for
Tony after he had saved her from one of Thunar's rampages; Cynthia
suggested to Bart that a similar display of heroism might win Natalie
back. He therefore attempted to break up a gas station robbery. It
didn't go well.
So who does that even leave?
Well, there's Wanda Magnatova, a foreign student with a cloistered
upbringing. She was raised to be a telekinetic, but it didn't quite take:
instead, she has the power to destroy small objects with a thought. She
was one of the people who formed a demon-hunting team in the wake of the
initial demon attack; others included Bart, Claire, and...
...tech prodigy Tony Fujikawa, who now finds his life in disarray
after not just being dumped but finding out that his first relationship
had been a sham all along. How he will react remains to be seen.
Jim Rose, Tony's roommate, also participated in the first demon
fight, but quickly bowed out. Consequently he has managed to avoid most
of the trouble that has followed, though as a teammate of Bart's on the
football and lacrosse squads, he has been affected indirectly.
Cynthia Maxon is Wanda's current roommate. As noted above, she has
turned several lives upside down since arriving at Exhampton —
but no one knows it, including her targets, who blame themselves for their
downfalls. People tend to think of her as the good-natured new girl, to
the extent that they think of her at all.
Pieter Pimm is also technically still an Exhampton student, though
he is currently holed up in a secret underground laboratory working on a
gigantic battle robot. He thinks it might help him win the heart of his
longtime crush object, Claire. Yes, this was Cynthia's idea.
Of course, there are many more players in recent events than just Exhampton
students! Some of the most notable include:
Alibeca Juarez, who claims to have been transformed into an angel
after touching a Zia sun symbol she found in the sacristry of a New Mexico
church. This symbol, now imprinted upon her right palm, has given her the
ability to fly, to produce bursts of light, and to turn demons to ash; she
was the one who incinerated the demon who possessed Robin Stanjian, and
formed the demon-hunting team shortly thereafter.
Dave the Robot is better known to some as the warlock Loki; he
possessed the robotic body some time back. He joined the team of demon
hunters in order to get closer to Alibeca Juarez's weapon, which he calls
the Sun Talisman, in hopes of poaching it for himself and using it to
conquer the world.
Ben Greenberg is the last of the seven demon hunters. A chemistry
professor at Exhampton, he spent weeks fending off advances from Claire,
but finally gave in during a trip to New York; the fact that his resolve
was weakened by a phone call from Cynthia suggests that there may be
Pandemonio is Alibeca's arch-nemesis and, secretly, Dave's ally.
He controls the hordes of demons that Alibeca's gang has been fighting.
The demons take many forms. A common type of demon looks a bit
like a buzzard. Others are humanoid; one such is...
...Der Teufel, a demonic entity that, according to Wanda's father,
fought on the side of the Nazis in World War II. Its current whereabouts,
if it still exists, are unknown.
Wanda's father is Erich Magnat, founder of the Magnat Program,
which seeks to "smash through the ceiling of human capability." His
attempt to create a device that would allow him to become telekinetic was
successful, at the cost of giving himself life-threatening brain tumors.
Gerald Ford is the headmaster at Exhampton Academy. He has been
doubling as the administrator of the Magnat Program due to Erich Magnat's
Surely that must be everyone? No, not quite:
Daniel Saint is a mysterious stranger who appeared in Vietnam
in 2003, claiming he had arrived to stop the Vietnam War. He foiled an
assassination attempt against the leader of the victorious Guinea Rios
insurgency, but couldn't prevent the Vanderline hotel in that country
from being blown up. The dying Ted Vanderline gave him a message to pass
on to Claire...
...but at the moment we have more pressing matters: at the end of the
last issue, Bart had a gun pointed at his head. Let's see what happened!
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