Chapter One: Outrageous Slings and Arrows*
Thrusting themselves into the lonely life of Kevin Matchstick are the mysterious vagabond sorcerer, Mirth; the evil Grackleflints, with their poisonous elbow spurs; and a power that runs through Kevin's body and spawns from a struggle as old as time itself. Passing all this off to a dream, Kevin sets off for work, only to find himself trapped in a subway car with three Grackleflints. In a desperate move, Kevin dives through the window, directly into the path of another train!
*All Chapter Titles are from Shakespeare's Hamlet.
Chapter Two: Too, Too Solid FleshFollowing his run-in with the subway train, Kevin again encounters Mirth. After a revealing episode on a skyscraper (Kevin has acrophobia), they settle down in the park for more questions and answers. Meanwhile, elsewhere, a mysterious young girl in a shiny red Edsel begins to tail a Grackleflint only to find herself trapped. Suddenly, Mirth suffers a painful bout of precognition just as the girl is about to fall prey to the Grackleflint's spur.
Chapter Three: The MousetrapKevin and Mirth arrive to save the girl (whose name is Edsel) only to have the flying Grackleflint (Stanis) summon his father's shade for aid. In the ensuing battle Mirth, at a high cost to his magical powers, succeeds in driving off the shade. Meanwhile, the Umbra Sprite dispatches Lazlo to check on a possible lead to the Fisher King and proceeds to conjure up the dreaded Marhault Ogre while our three companions rest up in a football stadium, unaware.
- Page 8: The Umbra Sprite sends in his Shade, and sticks around for a little banter from Alice in Wonderland with Mirth
- Page 11: Edsel: "Forgive me, my Lord. I'm your most humble and loyal servant" our first clue that Kevin isn't just some Joe with fancy powers
- Page 16: The Umbra Sprite announces he is summoning the Marhault Ogre
- Page 18: Mirth enchants Edsel's bat (actually bringing in Kevin's "weapon" and covering it with a powerful spell, one that will stick until Chapter 14)
- Page 27: The Marhault Ogre's first appearance
Chapter Four: O What a Rash and Bloody Deed
Kevin fares less than wonderful in his battle with the immense Marhault Ogre, and so the combat is joined by Edsel (Mirth being too weak from his offense strike against Stanis Grackleflint) Edsel finds her bravada to be insufficient, though, and is soon out for the count. In a rage, Kevin succeeds in driving the beast back to its own plane, but is distraught by his loss of control. Elsewhere, Lazlo discovers the supposed lead to the Fisher King to be a fraud, while a sudden flaring of The Sight warns Mirth and Kevin to be on their way. They sneak out a side door directly into the arms of the police.
- Page 24: Mirth reveals his lack of legs
- Page 25-26: First time we see the effects of Grackleflint poison
Chapter Five: Rosencrantz and Guildenstern
Following the disappearance of Mirth and his own arrest, Kevin attempts to dispel his own doubts by proving his powers to his rather seedy cell-mates. Meanwhile, Emil Grackleflint begins to voice his unheeded doubts over his father's leadership. Mirth returns from his retreat in the faerie realms and provokes Kevin into freeing himself and (unknown to them) one of Kevin's cell-mates. During their subsequent escape, they are surprised to encounter Sean Knight (whom we learn in Kevin's public defender) in the magic lands where normal humans are not known to tread. All the while, they are unaware of the impending danger of Lazlo and three little strange men.