Elementals was an American dark superhero comic book first published in 1984 and created by Bill Willingham, for which he was both writer and artist. During the evolution of the early 1980's Independent comic companies were at their height in creativity and the Elementals were noticeably violent and sexual in content. It was a sustainable comic series for several years, and was published by Comico Comics.
There were several tie-in specials, including a few sex specials. The focus on sex in later issues of Elementals was maintained throughout the following issues and the book declined after these first five issues. Comico went out of business, Comico's publisher Andrew Rev purchased the Elementals property from Willingham in the 1990s.
Four unrelated persons died in four unrelated accidents on the same day, each killed violently by one of the forces of nature, but following their deaths the four found themselves placed before the very spirit of the element that had slain them. Returned to life and imbued with the power of that element, The Elementals became the world's first recorded account of factual superheroes, as well as the first people to return from the grave.
Battling first against the evil Lord Saker who had unleashed the Shadowspear on the earth, and later against various other magical beasts which were created in the aftermath, The Elementals found themselves pitted against powerful magics and fantastic beasts. While the spirits of the elements that rested within them compelled them to battle against the evils, none of The Elementals had chosen the path of the superhero and often they found themselves torn by the consequences of their actions.
The Elementals enjoy rapid celebrity status in the world, in contrast to other settings where heroes are reviled and criticized, and were received well by the public for their efforts. The Elementals also made a strong commercial presence in the world, performing endorsements, marketing merchandise, signing autographs and forming their own corporation, Elementals Inc., which acquired them massive financial resources.
Perhaps the largest difference in The Elementals from both other comic teams and the common people in their world was the fact they were dead, and unlike other franchises, return from death was not simple nor without repercussions. Bystanders frequently referenced The Elementals seeming overly detached, emotionally deadened and uncomfortable to be around. Even The Elementals' closest friends noticed the discomfort and observed how they only truly seemed to enjoy being around other persons who had died and returned.
Despite what would seem a strong common bond between the team to unite them, The Elementals frequently fell to petty squabbling and in-fighting, their contrasting personal beliefs and personalities clashing nearly as often as they did with villains.
Also noted should be, while most Superheroes seem to seek out villains and criminals to battle, The Elementals rarely concerned themselves with any crime not of supernatural nature. More often than not, it was actually the Shadowspear directing the plot-line, attempting to fulfill Lord Saker's final directive that it destroy the Elementals by creating powerful creatures for that purpose. Most battles with the Elementals were initiated by foes specifically hunting them for the purpose of destroying them, not villains seeking wealth or conquest.
Major Story Arcs
Lord Saker and the Shadowspear
The bad guys, called the Destroyers, hold Becky’s father hostage so that the Elementals come with them. They fly to Nacht Island where Saker has his private island hideout complete with all-female armed forces. The Elementals escape and fight, but are eventually captured by Saker. heroes get captured by Saker after defeating his squad of resurrected villains, the Destroyers. The year the Elementals spend incarcerated on Nacht Island as his prisoners Saker's is haunting.
Saker’s interactions with the Elementals show a man who is evil but not completely uncivilized. He explains throughout the book that he was brought back to life by a preacher in the Middle East a few thousand years ago. The Elementals find out what happened to Lazarus after Jesus brought him back as Saker takes on the Lazarus role, and we come to realize that being raised from the dead. While giving the raiser a great deal of followers, doesn’t do much for the raised. Saker cannot die, and in the instant he came back, he saw the utter vanity of humanity and rejected it. He explains that he has become a “lodestone for mystic energies,” which have been building within him. When he releases those energies through a “Shadowspear,” it will bring about Armageddon.
Saker speaks to three of the Elementals, and he tries to recruit some of them to his side. He doesn’t do this with threats, but through simple conversation.
He speaks to Jeff Murphy about their shared experience of being dead. Vortex is recovering from horrific injuries inflicted by Ratman, one of the Destroyers, and he and Saker discuss the terror they both went through. Saker implies that he and Jeff are far more similar than the regular humans.
When Saker talks to Morningstar, she thinks about escaping, but he reads her thoughts and, as punishment, puts her through the experience of drowning or being crushed.
Saker actively tries to bring Monolith over to his side. Despite being the youngest of the Elementals, Tommy is a genius, and Saker feels most comfortable with him. He appeals to Tommy’s intellect, but Tommy rejects him, as he has before. Saker believes that humanity has grown weak and needs to be culled before it can move on and he can’t understand why beings as powerful as the Elementals would stand against him.
Fathom is kept watch by Ratman and the two form a tight bond, Fathom starts working on his infatuation convincing him to become slack thereby helping her escape. Using her water-wielding abilities she escapes through a toilet. Fathom slowly takes form in the waters off Nacht Island and comes back bringing an enormous tsunami with her. The wave sweeps over the island, killing mass people and shorting out the electrical systems. The rest of The Elementals escape and all four get off the Island with the assistance of the United States military. Fathom is than shocked at the realization that she ending up killing hundreds of Saker’s troops by having the tidal wave come down on the island.
Vortex confront and Saker decides to meet Jeff on his own terms. However while battling him creators form the Shadowspear come forth and take Saker away to a hellish plane casts him into Hell. The Shadowspear is released into the world and becomes hellish storm cloud that goes around resurrecting people and creating monsters.
The Oblivion War begins as the Elementals, depressed over the savage death of agent Porter Scott at the hands of Captain Cadaver, are drinking at a local bar. Deciding to walk home and Tommy being intoxicated the team is not prepared to battle the powerful villainess Holocaust and her sidekick Floater. Both sent to Earth by the forces hiding behind the Moon. A terrible battle commences with the Elementals being beaten badly. Then Thor the Northern thunder god appears. Turning the tide and giving the Elementals a chance to defeat both villains until they escape.
Tommy summons the Elementals together so that they can discuss the team's future and lead a focused direction for them all. However their private conversation turns out not to be so private as they discover agents of the Governments F.I.S.H organization are monitoring and recording their actions.
Thor and Tommy travel to the long abandoned Asgard, former home of the North Gods of ancient lore. but are attacked by some trolls. The gathering of all of the world's paranormals takes place within the walls of Asgard. Monolith as the host welcome all the "talent" the world has to offer. He tells them of what he's seen, of the forces of Lord Oblivion and the carnage that will befall them all. He convinces them to join forces and go on the attack and destroy their home base.
The Oblivion forces attack Nacht Island killing every living being on the Island and commandeering the land. Vortex and hand picked members of the Supernation attack Lord Oblivion's headquarters capturing Cold Mary while filming the ships layout. However once back on Earth Cold Mary escapes and causes trouble for Morningstar, Commander Chaos and others while Vortex, Fathom, Walker and Frog Prince have problems of their own. As the final assault begins, the battle is taken to the heart of the Oblivion Planet with an explosive resolution.
Tommy, with Lord Saker's guidance, sheds his golem form which forces Monolith to seek a new host body, and then Tommy and Saker visit Lord Oblivion. Fathom and Vortex meet the new Monolith and discover what happened with Tommy, shocked and uncertain if they should trust this new Tommy. Tommy now believed in Saker's view that the supernatural beings were entitled to be in charge across Earth, and he quit the Elementals and absorbed some of Saker's 'power becoming one of his generals.
Monolith had found a new host body in Donald Ridgeway who continues to adjust to being the host for Monolith. Shadowspear strikes at Earth, a newly resurrected Tommy rallies the Supernation and the Elementals and quickly end the war.
A former LAPD homicide detective, Jeanette Crain was killed due to a serial arsonist setting fire to the location she was investigating. As the spirit of the fire needed a representative to battle the evil Saker and his Shadowspear from controlling the planet it changed her death. Returning her spirit to its human body Jeanette was now reanimated with control over fire itself, now she was Morningstar.
Jeff Murphy, a Coast Guard pilot who was asphyxiated in a helicopter crash and died. However the Shadowspear returned him to life, almost more of a undead. Now calling himself Vortex; he received various air-related abilities, including flight and wind-blasts. He is the representative of the very atmosphere on the planet Earth and the very wind is at him command.
Becky Golden, a young, rich, and flighty debutante who fell off a boat and drowned while boating with a male friend in Washington state would be another member of the Elementals. Her's would be the mastery of the very waves of the seas and oceans to the very last drop in the desert; she received various water-related abilities from the spirit of water. She was now also able to convert her body entirely into sentient water as well as now having bright green skin and webbed fingers.
The first Monolith would be Tommy Czuchra, a brilliant if introverted teenaged boy who was crushed to death by a landslide; he received the ability to become an enormous super-strong stone/earth golem. Later, Tommy came to follow Saker's view that the supernatural beings were entitled to be in charge across earth, and he quit the Elementals and absorbed some of Saker's 'black' magic, to become one of his generals.
The second Monolith would be re-embodied in a deceased insurance salesman Donald Ridgeway, who neither wanted the power, nor ever understood fully how to use it or how to integrate with the other three Elementals.