The Question v.1 #10
"Santa Prisca" - Nov. 1987
- Script: Dennis O'Neil
- Pencils: Denys Cowan
- Inks: Rick Magyar
- Lettering: Gaspar
- Colors: Tatjana Wood
- Editor: Mike Gold
- Cover: Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz
- Special Thanks to Angelina Genduso
- Published by DC Comics
The Question falls. And as he falls, he hallucinates. And as he hallucinates, he remembers:
Junior year of college. Bursting in on Marty Basin. Punching him in the face. The stuff he'd given Sage at the party. "I couldn't tell what was real!"
Sage comes to, and stands. Beneath his feet, he finds a flight schedule that one of the thugs must have dropped. He goes to the lab where he thought his friend Tot may have been taken, but finds the place stripped clean. He "goes inside."
Sage flies to Washington, remembering his thoughts about Marty Basin. He finds Basin working a punching bag in the gym, having been sent by Basin's secretary. They chat for a moment and Basin confides that when Sage, nee Szasz, punched him in college, he was humiliated. He used that humiliation to quit drugs and get in shape, went into the Marines, and later became a DEA officer.
Basin has information on Tot Rodor, and shares with Sage as they spar: a Ph.D by 23, with a thesis on binary gases. He sold a formula for a tranquilzer to a pharmaceutical company for 1.5 million, but the company put the drug on the market without testing. It turned out to be dangerous, disfiguring children and driving adults insane. Basin accuses Sage of being soft, as he's easily landing all of his punches. The drug Sage inhaled sounds like something the DEA has traced to the island of Santa Prisca, says Basin, but no one can do anything because the stuff is so new that it's not illegal.
Sage takes one square in the face and wipes at his mouth with the back of his glove. He asks Basin to confirm what he said earlier -- that one punch in college led to Basin straightening up his life and becoming a DEA officer. Basin answers in the affirmative. Sage unleashes a barrage of kicks and punches, knocking Basin to the floor. "Congratulations. You are now a shoo-in for the presidency."
Sage flies to Santa Prisca, ignoring Heroin Hellhole, the in-flight movie starring Randy Violent, to read up on Santa Prisca. On the way out from the airport, he sees himself followed by someone who looks to be ex-military. Riding across the island in a cab, Sage sees the dichotomy of the tropical island: dilapadated slums growing up around 4-star hotels. He tells the concierge he'll be spending the night in his room to throw off his shadow, who he figures has every exit covered.
Sage changes into the Question and leaves via the one exit he doesn't think he can be seen from -- from the balcony to the roof, and down in a service elevator. He follows a gut hunch to go to "El Forteza," an 16th Century Spanish fort, and there he finds an army of guards, machine gun towers, too much defense for him to try. He retreats.
Tot Rodor finds himself led by armed guards to meet Hector "El Beato" Gomez -- The Beast. Gomez shows him a particle accelerator, the second best in the world, that was purchased with a billion dollars of drug money. He leads Tot through the labs where his workers purify drugs. Then he leads him to the dungeon, and discusses torture. Gomez was an interrogator in El Salvador, before leaving the country with a large part of the national treasury.
Gomez's guards bring in a man. They suspend him from the wall as Gomez prepares a hot knife. Gomez explains to Tot that the prisoner has done nothing wrong, that he has not met the man before this moment. He asks Tot if he understands, and Tot says he does. Gomez takes the knife and cuts the man's belly open, killing him. Gomez walks from the body, and asks Tot if he can guess how he's feeling. Gomez says he feels joy, ecstacy. "I am a monster," he tells Tot. "Help me."
The Question walks through the Santa Prisca slums, unsure of every step. He hears shouting, sees a man strike a woman. The man pulls a gun. The Question jumps through the window, and kicks the gun away. He fights the man until a shot rings out. The woman stands behind Vic holding the gun. She expresses no remorse, calling the man a pig. He was the captain of the guard at El Forteleza.
The Question has an idea. He tells the woman to help strip the man's clothes. " Because I'm about to take the biggest chance of my life. Biggest -- and maybe the dumbest."
- Vic Sage / The Question
- Marty Basin
- Hector Gomez
- Aristotle Rodor
- Friendly Senorita
Trivia / Minutiae
- The Official DC Comics Website
- The Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
- Mikel Midnight's Golden Age Directory
- Mike's Amazing World of DC Comics
- Who's Whose in the DC Universe
- The Denny O'Neil Message Board at World Famous Comics Community
- From the Cyber-Den at World Famous Comics Community
- The O'Neil Observer Internet Archive cache
- Interview with Denny O'Neil - Conducted by staff of VicSage.com
- "I Was a Teen-Age Comics Artist" - Interview with Denys Cowan
- Catching Up With Denys Cowan - Interview with Newsarama
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