The Question v.1 #4
"The Sacrifice" - May 1987
- Script: Dennis O'Neil
- Pencils: Denys Cowan
- Inks: Rick Magyar
- Lettering: Gaspar
- Colors: Tatjana Wood
- Editor: Mike Gold
- Cover: Denys Cowan & Bill Sienkiewicz
- Published by DC Comics
The Reverend Hatch is onto The Question -- or should he say Charles Victor Szasz, or Vic Sage? "By all these he is known. But whatever he is called, he is mine enemy." Hatch believes Sage was sent by the "Dark Master" because Hatch has not been wicked enough!
Jake still wears the bandages from the fight he had with the Question in issue #2. He tells Donny, another of Hatch's thugs that the Reverend's belief of the Question being a ghost aren't true: "We didn't kill him good enough is all." Jake wants to grab what he can and quit the operation, but until he can, he's got secured "beefed up to the max." He asks the location of Hatch's in-pocket policemen, and the thug tells him that the Reverend sent them out on a job.
The two cops watch a little girl building a snowman through binoculars, planning a kidnapping. Their only hesitation -- a nearby nun and the man who's helping the little girl stack the snowman's head. Vic Sage asks the girl, Jackie, what she wants to call the snowman. "How 'bout Frosty?" she replies. "Frosty, huh? Kinda catchy. I like it. Like it a lot. You may have a great future as a copywriter," Sage says. The nun recognizes Sage from television and asks if he once lived at St. Catherine's. Before it was called a "special residence," he says. Back when it was just, "a plain old orphanage." The residency faces financial problems and may be shut down, the nun confides.
The two policemen interrupt the conversation to say they're taking Jackie to her mother. When Sage intervenes, one policeman shoves him. "You wish you hadn't done that," Sage says. "You mean you wish I hadn't." "No," says Sage as he swipes a hand across the bridge of the policeman's nose and flips him over his back, kicking his gun away, "You wish you hadn't." But Sage has no choice but to let the policemen take Jackie, as the other cop puts a gun to the nun's head. One of the cops kicks over the snowman on the way out.
Sage figures out they're taking Jackie to control her mother Myra, the Mayor's wife. He climbs in the Volkswagen and gives chase, but the oil gauge reads empty and the engine seizes up. He returns to Tots house for some yoga and regrouping. Tot questions Sage's motives -- was his love for Myra that great? No, says Sage, it has something to do with kids being pushed around, and governments betraying their constituencies.
Meanwhile, at the Mayor's mansion, Jake recounts the day's events. The cops reunited Jackie with her mother. The Mayor got drunk and wandered around talking about Teddy Roosevelt. And Reverend Hatch -- interrupts the play by play. Jake tells Hatch it's time they settled up. He accuses Hatch of being in the operation for more than money. Hatch agrees, and says he's after power. He capitalized on using the weak mayor -- who at that moment stumbles in and begins to protest that he deserves respect, before Jake knocks him out -- to carve a path to the White House. Jake calls him a fruitcake and says he's leaving the next morning.
Mayor Fermin wakes up and finds his way downstairs to his car, driving it through the front of the garage, the gate, and into a tree across the road from the estate. As the guards rush to help him, the Question looks on.
Hatch meets Myra upstairs and orders her to dress Jackie in a new suit of clothes. He expects her to be ready by midnight. Myra asks why. Genesis 22, replies the Reverend. He walks out of the room to instruct his men on where to place an altar.
Outside the Spot Bar and Grill, two policemen find an empty place where their car once was. Coincidentally, Vic Sage drives through the front gates of the Mayoral estate, claiming he's been sent for to take the detoxing Mayor Fermin to the hospital.
Jake crouches in the darkness downstairs, his face lit by the blowtorch he uses to crack the safe. Donny keeps lookout, and sees Myra walking down the hall. She heads to teh library where she pulls a copy of the Bible to find Genesis 22: the chapter where God calls for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. "Hatch! Hatch...you bastard!" she yells.
Sage parks his car behind the Mayor's house and transforms into the Question. Hatch has Myra bound, as she tries to talk him out of his plan: "The Lord was only testing Abraham...he stopped Abraham from killing his son. The cracked theologian replies: "To be precise, an angel stayed Abraham's hand -- and if an angel appears tonight, my hand will likewise be stayed. Barring that unlikely event..." and he shows Myra a long, sharp knife.
Donny continues his lookout role downstairs, until he sees -- "Naw...it ain't possible." A gloved fist sends him flying as the Question enters the room, asking where Myra is. Jake jumps up with the flamethrower, and the Question knocks it away from him. The flames go dancing across the room, finding a pair of drapes to ignite. Sage continues the fight with Jake until the thug runs himself into a brick wall. Donny pulls a gun that misfires and the Question knocks him out too. The fire's already too large to contain. The Question has to find Myra.
Myra continues trying to talk the Mayor out of whatever he's planning. He reveals that he's not a real minister -- he was kicked out of seminary for mental instability. He fooled his way into the army, where he realized his true lot in life -- bringing about corruption until God has no choice but to rain down fire and brimstone. The master demands a sacrifice, Hatch says, and it's to be Jackie. He prepares to stab the girl, when the Question appears in the doorway speaking his name. Hatch falls to his knees and asks who sent the Question.
The Question frees Jackie, and turns to Hatch as smoke fills the room. "I want to kill you. ...But if I did, I'd become something I'd despise...Something like YOU! Something base and cowardly and vicious. Something corrupt...And so I'll let you live." He drops the knife and tosses the minister behind him. Myra scrambles on the floor and finds the knife. "I won't!" she yells, plunging the knife through Hatch's back. "In the story...the Bible...there was a sheep caught in the bushes...it became the sacrifice," she tells the Question.
The Question hands Jackie over to a pair of firemen and tells them she's been drugged. He turns to leave but Myra chases him. "Don't you have anything to say?" she asks. "Better you than me," he replies.
- Jeremiah Hatch
- Vic Sage / The Question
- Jackie Connelly
- Aristotle Rodor
- Myra Connelly Fermin
- Wesley Fermin
Trivia / Minutiae
Jake revisits the mansion to recover the loot in The Question Annual #1
This month's Recommended Reading: Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman
- From the King James Version on Bible Gateway.com
- 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
Views From Other Sources
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