The beginning of a new arc, God and the Devil. The world is still in a post-apocalyptic state, although somewhat more civilized than in the incubation years of the previous arc. The U.S. is divided into various Systems (states) on the West Coast. The Church is one of the most powerful forces in the country, and is headed by Pope Innocent XLII. C.O.P., the Confederacy of Police, is another great power. The idea of Grendel is spread throughout the culture, but there have been no individual Grendels for years. It is the year 2512.
The comic uses animals as a metaphor throughout the arc. In this issue, a bird tries to feed its babies a burst balloon, but they die from eating it.
Pope Innocent XLII is completely corrupt. He is building Vatican Ouest, or the Tower, to enormous heights for mysterious reasons, and needs huge amounts of money to do so. The people flock to his proclamations and do whatever he says.
Orion Assante is a rich aristocrat determined to improve society, starting with the Church. He gets Sherri Caniff, the head of his System, to help him start an investigative committee under the power of the Board, the inter-System governing body of the country. He gets advice from his wise and thoughtful sisters, Cesti and Neki. He also works with a group called the Deva Princes that are also dedicated to removing corruption. However, they disagree about how to do so; some of the Princes want to simply kill the Pope. Orion wants to get rid of him legally.
Orion confronts Innocent, telling him he is starting his investigation. The Pope does not take it lightly. They begin a long-term antagonistic relationship.
The Pope gives a major sermon and fundraiser, bringing in tons of money. It is interrupted by the sudden appearance of a new Grendel, who breaks into the church and lands on the enormous money plate.