Cover Artists: Sandy Plunkett & P. Craig Russell
Justice is chasing the lone survivor of a child pornography ring, a man named Everett Sloan, convicted three times on rape and felony charges. He chases him into a run-down, abandoned desert town. The two of them fight with Justice ‘deterring’ the man with his sword arm.
Heading to the highway, Justice encounters a rattle snake and is bitten. Thinking nothing of it, he continues to stride through the desert, the poison seriously taking effect. Finally he collapses under a rock outcropping and sleeps off most of the effects of the poison.
Upon waking, he continues his trek through the desert and finally comes upon a highway restaurant. He drinks several glasses of water and eats three orders of steak and eggs, slaking his hunger and thirst.
At this time the waitress and another man get into a heated arguement. Justice tries to read their auras only to find that he cannot, due to the lingering effects of the poison.
Several hundred feet away, a construction site is hit by a bombing. Justice runs out and uses his shields to save a man from flying rubble. The man he saves and the local sheriff that just arrived talk about who could have perpetrated this unspeakable act.
Justice follows the tracks of the vehicle the bomber used, and stumbles upon a couple sitting around a campfire. His observations are interrupted by someone knocking him out cold.
He awakens to see three people sitting around a fire and himself tied up -- two men and a woman. Their names are Edward, Wiley, and the woman, Redpath.
Redpath tells Justice a little about herself before going to sleep. The next morning she cuts him free while Wiley and Edward are off getting supplies.
He travels with them as they go about setting dynamite to blow up a bridge, only to be ambushed by the sheriff and his men who deduced that the bridge might be next.
They open fire, and Justice saves Redpath with his shields as Wiley gets shot in the leg. They flee in the jeep they are using. Justice uses his sword to destroy the sheriff’s front wheel, allowing them to escape.
The group climbs atop Bandit’s Cliff, reasoning that most people don’t look up for their quarry. A helicopter shines its search light on them and identifies itself as working with the sheriff’s department.
Edward pulls his revolver to allow Wiley to flee, only to be gunned down by the helicopter. Wiley, Redpath, and Justice run into the sheriff and his men, waiting for them at a key location. Wiley suggests to climb down into one of the many caves lining the cliff, only to fall to his death.
Redpath rushes to his aid as a single bullet strikes her square in the back, dealing a mortal blow. The sheriff aproaches and demands they surrender. Justice is ready to ‘deter’ the sheriff only to have Redpath’s final words stop him.
Justice says he will bury them there in the desert, as the sheriff tries to stop him. Justice blasts the revolver out of his hand, picks up Redpath’s body and walks away while the sheriff tells his men to let him go.
An okay story, with the primary drama coming from the fact that Justice does not have his aura-reading ability for the majority of the time. This story has an average script by Sandy Plunkett (who does a much better job of illustrating than writing) coupled with good art by Dave Hoover (who has really come into his own since this story was published). It makes a decent conflict between the law/commonfolk and the Indians, but that's all I can really say for this obvious fill-in story.
Rating: 3 Bolts (out of 5)
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