Undercover cop Jake Ryan just had one of those days. You know, the kind where your deal goes bad, you kill a couple of pushers in the line of duty and then get shot yourself, wake up in an alley and slowly realize…you’re in Purgatory?
Created by Joe Halpin Sr. and Joe Halpin Jr.
Death is only the beginning of Jake Ryan’s story in Gateway.
Shot and killed during a busted drug operation, cop Jake Ryan wakes up in Hopetown—a city in purgatory led by a God-fearing Councilman named Mason. Roped into a crowd of the recently deceased, Jake watches the Council’s orientation video, which introduces them to the Dark Souls—black-eyed humans turned monsters after crossing over. To a hardened cop, it reeks of a scare tactic that Jake quickly dismisses. He’s only interested in one thing Hopetown has to offer: the registry of purgatory citizens. He’s got a name he’s interested in finding; a name connected to his most prize possession in his afterlife—a photograph of a small boy kept safe in his wallet.
When he doesn’t turn up a match in the registry, Jake ventures outside the barricaded borders of Hopetown. He brings a knife that was gifted from one of the guards and Shadow, the German Shepherd who died with him. His next stop is Freedom Town. Freedom Town isn’t as organized or friendly as Hopetown, which will make Jake’s search more difficult. But now that death has come and passed—Jake’s no longer frightened of what might happen.
Hopetown fills its pews with god fearing by casting out the unredeemable – generally druggies, prostitutes and thieves. These undesirables find themselves in Freedom Town, a settlement run by an ex-Muslim named Jericho. Jericho eyes Jake with a healthy does of suspicion… it’s hard to trust a man who would walk out of Hopetown on his own violation. Jake Ryan smells a bit too much like a spy, or worse—competition. Until he gets a read on him, Jericho sends Jake to the circus settlement’s local bar. It’s run by a woman who’s got a soft spot for Shadow. And when she realizes the very capable Jake is about as honorable as a man can get in the wastes of limbo, she offers him a partnership to keep the peace in her bar.
But Jake doesn’t want people relying on him. He’s got his own battle he needs to fight. It’s this purpose that drives him from the safety of society to the dregs of degenerates. It’s a photo of someone not in the Hopetown registry or in the memory of Freedom Town folk. Maybe the boy in the picture has moved on. Maybe he got to skip purgatory all together. Or maybe he’s not as human as he was before.
For Jake Ryan, it doesn’t matter if he’s in Hopetown, Freedom Town, or in the heart of the Dark Soul masses. All that matters is finding the boy in the photograph—and making up in death for the mistake he made in life.