Police Chief Mulligan takes Shadow into custody after Audrey Burton, a former friend of Shadow’s is shocked to find Shadow in Lakeside. While being processed in the county jail, Shadow calls the Ibis and Jacquel Funeral Parlor in hopes of finding Mr. Wednesday to fix things. But when Mr. Wednesday can’t be reached and Chief Mulligan questioning the real identity of Mike Ainsel, the New Gods make a bold tactic to turn the war of the gods to their favor.
Issue nine brings another unexpected visitor from the past to Lakeside, Audrey Burton was Laura’s best friend until it was discovered that Laura was cheating with Audrey’s husband. Previously Audrey was involved in a situation in the past that she witnessed the death of two government agents and has blamed Shadow for it. Her loud outburst in front of her cousin, Chief Mulligan, prompts the officer to investigate Mike Ainsel and place him under arrest. Shadow tries his best to play innocent to the ordeal and chooses his actions carefully to not raise any more suspicion. He hopes help can arrive in time before his past is found and is placed in great danger.
With this issue, the Mike Ainsel saga reaches its close and the war of the gods begins. Mr. Wednesday’s efforts to recruit fellow gods to his fight gained him an army and angered the opposition. Some gods were willing to join to maintain their image, some to reclaim their past glory, and a few there wished to stay neutral. Shadow living life as Mike Ainsel gave him a taste of what it’s like to hide from your true self while keeping up modern appearances. But the quiet period of hiding is over, and the New Gods kickstart the war with a trap that leads to forever change Shadow’s role in the fight.