Cover Artists: Alex Saviuk & Geof Isherwood
It is the Day of the Dead, and after a few hours in an automobile driven by Arnie, the cab driver (see Justice #2) Tensen and Rebecca Chambers decide to go alone into Baja California, where the suppsoed home of Daedalus Darquill is. After Arnie drives off, Tensen and Becky walk through the city of Cabo San Lucas only to encounter police officers who are under Darquill's influence. The Justice Warrior subdues them and he and Becky run away through the streets, only to encounter the Japanese man caused them trouble at the diner (see Justice #3) many weeks ago.
Becky goes after the Japanese man, who is called "Tattoo," only to be knocked unconscious by him. The man then begins to magically remove a tattoo from his body, which he will plant upon Becky to make her kill Tensen. However, Becky recovers in time and with the help of Tensen they scare Tattoo away. Tensen then says that the reason why the tattoo could not enter her is because he and Becky are bonded on an ethereal level, that their souls are mingled somehow. Becky observes that this is a feeling not unlike love.
After a long period of searching for directions, Tensen and Becky finally locate Darquill's estate. The guards outside question Justice, then call Darquill, who bids them to enter the gates. Once inside, Tensen and Becky are greeted by Daedalus Darquill along with his son Damon Conquest, as well as a number of auraless Hounds. Tensen observes that like the Hounds, "Dad" has no aura, but does not have the ability to absorb auras like the Hounds. Darquill explains that since every attempt to kill Justice has failed, he has but one recourse -- to ask Justice, the premier warrior, to join him. He elaborates upon the contaminal effects of living on Earth, and tells Justice that he was actually the first to cross from the homeland to Earth -- and that he had his agents brought over later to secure his place as the most powerful man on Earth. He bids that Justice reform and ally himself with him.
When Justice refuses, Darquill transforms into a giant creature which he destroys as soon as it appears. However, Darquill regenerates his body from the ashes, telling the warrior that he is fully contaminated, not of Earth nor his homeworld any longer, and thus not susceptible to Justice's power. Darquill once again transforms and hits Justice with all his might, but a barrier is erected just in time to prevent serious injury. Tensen and Darquill continue fighting until the warrior sends a sword bolt toward the level above, bringing Damon Conquest crashing down between them. Justice takes Conquest, threatening to kill him, but is distracted by the ninja, who escapes with a struggling Becky Chambers through a green portal which leads to the homeworld. While trying to stop this disaster from happening, Tensen accidentally lets Darquill and Conquest escape into the portal as well. The portal then closes behind them all, leaving Tensen alone to swear vengeance.
Some really distasteful artwork here, which is surprising because I usually like Tony Salmons' pencils (prime examples being his first issue of NIGHTMASK and the first WEB OF SPIDER-MAN ANNUAL). It was, I think, rushed, and not made any better by Vinnie Colletta. The story here echoes of Star Wars to the point of insanity, with the introduction of "Dad" being an unclever, transparent fromage to Darth Vader, the "Dad" of that trilogy. The props are all there, such as Justice's being much of a Luke Skywalker type trying to escape the "Dark Side of the Force," or rather, the evil of the Wizards of the Winterland. Such is the dialogue between Justice and Darquill so falsely evocative of those moments in The Empire Strikes Back wherein Vader claims Skywalker is already falling into the trap of the Dark Side by doing what he's doing. And of course, what good would it be if "Dad" didn't transform into a big, ugly monster? Steve Englehart made these parallels to Star Wars which did continue throughout the rest of his run and into the writing stint of Gerry Conway, who, IMHO, does this concept much more justice (no pun intended). What it comes down to is, after the last issue, I was really expecting something better than what I ended up getting. As things are, this was just adequate.
Rating: 2.5 Bolts (out of 5)
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