THE DEAD OF WINTER PART ONE: Jane Vasko was once an undercover police officer attempting to infiltrate the Fonti Mob. After gaining the trust of mob boss Joey Fonti, she was given the assignment of passing a message onto rival gang member Adam, not realizing that she was planted with an explosive device. As she met her target, the explosion caused significant injuries, but Adam was uninjured. Through mysterious means, he managed to revive Jane, giving her superhuman regenerative powers in the process. Leaving her life as a police officer behind, she became the vigilante Painkiller Jane. This issue we see Jane in the darkest of all hours as she contemplates suicide.
Painkiller Jane wakes up at midnight in the Spicer Memorial Hospital covered in dry blood and bandages. She narrates as she goes into her everyday schedule. She then gets a call from Maureen and is given a mission to take down a villain so vile he is the stuff of nightmares.