The Follower is an artificial humanoid used to mimic the precise movements of whoever is (apparently) in its proximity. In the beginning of Mister Miracle #2, when Scott Free and his assistant, Oberon, are being observed by Overlord, they are taking inside packages, containing Follower components, for Scott to assemble. Oberon notes that the “factory people came through on time!” indicating, I would assume, it was manufactured to Scott’s specifications. Dressed in a Mister Miracle costume, it looks to be made of metal and, if I interpret Scott’s statement correctly, is of Apokolips design: “My people refer to this kind of unit as a ‘Follower!‘ — a sort of test-figure!” As Scott finishes the assembly, Oberon responds, “Your people, whoever they are, play with strange toys!” Demonstrating the Follower — Scott swings his arm and the Follower copies him exactly — Mister Miracle tells his small friend, “A ‘Follower’ is not a toy! He is in truth — an extension of yourself! Like a mirror-image — he does exactly what you do! I need the ‘Follower’ in this experiment! We’re working with a volatile explosive!”
Scott jumps on a platform and the Follower does the same, and then they are both suited up in straitjackets. “By duplicating my movements, the follower will tell me how well I’m doing!” Oberon gingerly brings over the explosive just as the Overlord strikes! Luckily, the Follower, mistaken for the real Scott Free, takes the brunt of the attack and the super escape artist says over its broken figure, “The Follower seems beyond hope.”
But later, as Oberon is sweeping up the debris, the Follower suddenly rises. “Yipe! Preserve me! It’s that weird, crawly ‘Follower’ thing! I-it’s come to life — trying to rise –” And, yet again, Apokolips agents believe the Follower to be the real Scott Free and they seize it and Oberon to deliver to the matron of Happiness Home of lovely Apokolips, Granny Goodness herself. But the witch immediately recognizes the fakery. “What!” the harpy screams. “You mindless fools! What have you returned with!!?? Didn’t you notice the dead eyes? This is a ‘Follower!’ not Scott Free!” The last we see of this particular model, it is being thrown across the room by mean ol’ Granny.
But the another version of a Follower arises in the penultimate ish of The Forever People, in “The Scavengers,” when Mark Moonrider and Serifan create a model for the spectral form of Boston “Deadman” Brand to inhabit. The Director of an international heist group (that’s his name: the Director) called The Scavengers is watching a surveillance film secretly shot while the Super-Kids are inspecting their Follower, the spitting image of Deadman. Mark says, “The ‘Follower’ is almost ready, Serifan! It will make a fine vehicle for our friend!” The copy-cat cowboy concurs. As he demonstrates the Follower’s ability to copy movements, he tells Mark, “The ‘Follower’ works smoothly, indeed, Moonrider! He has strength and a good response! Using the body of the ‘Follower,’ our friend will be able to pursue his destined purpose on a physical plane!”
The Director henchmen named Operator Twenty-Four tells his boss: “This ‘Follower’ thing should be studied! These Wonder-Kids blabbed that it can be grown from anything organic! — And re-shaped atomically!” (Interesting shift here though maybe the New Genesis model is organically grown; the Apokolips version manufactured as machine.) The Director, who may or may not have been involved in Boston’s assassination, croaks, “Boston Brand is a ‘Deadman!’ Now — this ‘Follower’ is built — ‘to house a friend!’ Your next job is to steal that ‘Follower!’”
Deadman is grateful for Mark and Serifan’s efforts and looks forward to “possessing” the replica. “And in the body of the ‘Follower,'” Boston vows, “I’ll track [my killer] down! — And bring him to justice!” But, wouldn’tja know it, one of The Scavengers has broken into Trixie Magruder’s basement — in the house where the Forever People are staying — and has run off with the Follower (by having the artificial person copy his every move, so there must be a delay option on the mimicry, huh?) The silent, masked intruder notes, “There’s the ‘Follower’ — unguarded — and ripe for the taking! Uncanny! It’s like a zombie — with reflexes!!”
(Interesting that Jack describes the Follower at this point to be “cooperative and meek,” and on the next page, to quote Mark Moonrider, “The ‘Follower’ is active and strong!”)
The Follower is taken for inspection in the Scavengers’ hidden lair, where a brute wearing a steel glove attempts to “test his hide,” but when the thug throws a punch at the thing, the Follower hits him square in the jaw, knocking him cold. The Director’s henchmen then orders the faux Deadman to stop and says to his boss, “He reacts like a mirror-image! Only — with the power to floor an elephant!” The Director is paranoid about the Follower being made in the late Boston Brand’s image. “– I get the feeling that this thing is a — shell! — A shell — waiting for — ‘something’ to possess it!” And, on cue, the restless spirit of the former circus aerialist takes possession of the Follower and a donnybrook ensues. Deadman — or the Follower he inhabits, to be exact — is struck frozen by a “Frost Beam” while The Forever People deal with the Scavengers attack. After being defrosted by one of Serifan’s Cosmic Cartridges, Boston exclaims, “I-I feel nothing! I’m not the Follower! — Just its tenant! Fantastic! I’m a Deadman — moving an organic machine that looks like — myself!” Boston then swings into action — “This sure beats operating in spirit form!” — and uses his acrobatic skills to get the better of the remaining gang, only after being taking six bullets at point blank range. Seizing the gun from the culprit, Deadman is triumphant before the incredulous assailant: “Don’t look surprised, you rat! You can’t kill a Deadman! The Follower’s body has the self-sealing faculty to absorb and close these nasty bullet-holes!”
The adventure concluded, the resurrected hero turns to the team and says, “I want to thank you for this physical body! — With which I can get the job done!” Serifan then retrieves a capsule from his hat belt and hands it to Deadman, telling him, “And this will help you remain in it! — The Blue Cartridge! It’ll link your spirit atoms permanently with the Follower’s form!”
Thus a dead super-hero is given new life, now inhabiting a Follower, one created by the Super-Kids of New Genesis… Leave it to Kirby!