#8, June 1995
A (K)Night at the Circus: Part Two
Jack returns to the circus and tries to sneak back in, only to be captured by the freaks. Knocked unconscious, he is later revived by the freaks. Octavia apologizes and explains they needed to make sure Bliss did not discover Jack. She explains that Bliss is not human and has the ability to control the minds of others. It was Bliss who commanded them to attack Jack earlier. This same mental power also keeps the freaks from being able to leave the carnival, though they all wish to.
A midget named René interrupts Octavia. René apologizes for hurting Jack, saying that he is a dwarf, “but not the bad dwarf. No I’m not. The bad is somewhere else.” René is obviously not in full control of his mind, and Jack asks Octavia who the Bad Dwarf is. Octavia explains that she knew René several years before and that he was brilliant then: he was a trivia expert who called himself “The Pocket Encyclopedia”. He was always going on trips around the world to learn facts, Octavia said, and that after one trip to Europe, he was fond wandering the streets of Vienna: his mind gone and his reasoning that of a child. All he would say when questioned was that “the Bad Dwarf” did something to him.
Octavia further explains that not only is Bliss more than human; he is an incubus, a demon who feeds off negative human emotions. Bliss is apparently a connoisseur of sorts, his favorite meal being the pain, humiliation and sorrow felt by freaks and the sadistic joy of those who like to watch them. He holds each “special person” for years, until all of their life force is drained and they die. Moreover, Bliss also goes out of his way to torture each person in a unique way. René, who is Jewish, is forced to play the part of “Max, The Nazi Doll Boy”. Octavia, who is by no means proud of her appearance, is forced to dress like a Playboy centerfold or a bikini model. She then notes that Michael (Mikaal) has been there the longest of them all, somehow managing to have survived in the show for ten years. Octavia reveals that she is mildly psychic and knew who Jack was by reading his mind while they spoke. She hoped that he might try to save them while Bliss was asleep. As soon as Jack agrees, a loud scream is heard and Octavia announces that Bliss has woken up.
We have two brief interludes at this point. Back in Opal proper, Matt O’Dare is asleep, sharing his bed with a hooker who decided a night with him was better than a night in a cell. We are told that Matt is a dirty cop and that he’s been taking bribes from various criminals for years. As he sleeps, Matt dreams of the past life of another man: a man who was once a lawman in Opal. A man named Brian Savage.
The second interlude shows another person, a middle-aged businessman this time, being consumed by the Poster Demon (First seen in Starman #4)
Jack confronts Bliss, who just then realizes that Jack is Starman. The two fight, with Jack holding his own but not making any real process in hurting Bliss. The freaks watched in stunned amazement and one of them, Mikaal, acts. The gem embedded in his chest starts glowing and Mikaal joins Jack in the fight, both using the energy of rod and jewel to fight the demon. Bliss dies then, but it is not known whether it was due to Jack and Mikaal’s combined attacks or if the sight of two men fighting their captor gave the freaks a sense of hope that destroyed all the despair that Bliss was feeding off of. At any rate, the issue ends with the newly freed freaks giving Jack the cheers worthy a true hero.