Shawn and Gus head to the Breyfogle house, where they discover a pile of cash stashed in Malone's room and clues to his last known whereabouts – the TriCon, the tri-annual comic book and science fiction convention which is being held in Santa Barbara at the moment.
Tickets to the TriCon have been sold out for months, so Shawn and Gus talk their way inside by convincing the administrator that they are assistants to this year's featured guest, George Takei. While there, they meet two executives from Parastone Pictures, who tell them they are premiering footage from their new film "The Red Phantom." Gus tells Shawn he already knows the movie will bomb because it has been panned on a popular internet website that reviews movies based on comic books. It's unfortunate because the last movie Parastone made, "The Adventures of the Green Spirit," was so bad, it nearly killed the Green Spirit character altogether.
Shawn and Gus soon discover how Malone got all his cash. He is, in fact, the mind behind the website. Parastone paid for him to give a good review to "The Red Phantom." Clearly, he went back on his word, which makes the Parastone executives prime suspects in his disappearance. However, the investigation soon takes a turn when those executives go missing as well. This has now become a full-fledged police investigation.