...The Question!
Banner: The Question by Denys Cowan

The Question v.1 #6

"...That Small Rain Down Can Rain..." - July 1987

The Cover of The Question #6 by Denys Cowan
ENLARGE
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

Junior Musto suspends a bottle of acid above his face, wondering about his father. "What will happen, father? When that acid hits my face? Will it sear and shrivel and burn and scar? Will I shriek like a girl? Or will I be brave and manly? Will it disfigure me? Make of me a monster? Then will you love me, father?"

In his mind's eye, Junior relives the abusive moments -- the vicious taunts, the punches, the cigar stubbed out on his brow -- given out by his own father. The acid drips and splashes across his forehead.

Tot Rodor looks out the window at the rain, pondering the forecast. Rain's good for the farmers only sometimes, says Tot, citing the presence of sulphur dioxide and nitrous oxide in "acid rain." Sage puts on his Question outfit, mentioning that Hub City's prime pollution offender is the McVey corporation, which he's also investigating for reported ties to terrorists.

Junior Musto stands with his back to the vial of acid, wrapping his face in bandages. He finishes, takes the bottle and corks it. "Father!" he calls.

Vic Sage finds the security guard at the McVey factory knocked out, and decides that the time for the Question has come. He applies the mask and releases the binary gas to become the faceless hero. The workers at the plant are gone, and a single light shines in the building. "A place to start," thinks the Question.

In the office where the light glows, Benno Musto pummels the already-bruised face of a young businessman. As the young man spits blood, he says to Musto that the beatings won't do any good. "Maybe not. But is fun," says Benno. Having sent all the workers away with a bomb threat, Benno could kill the man if he wanted. But first they must talk. A shipment of farm supplies arrived in South America containing only farm supplies -- and not the guns that had been promised. The young man tells Musto to blame his father.

The Question leaps down through the skylight and takes on Benno and his two thugs. The thugs go down easily, but Benno comes back for a second round, choking the Question from behind. The Question spins him around, and kicks him in the face, but finds himself with a knife in his back. The businessman buries the blade a few inches into the Question's back before taking a chop to the face. The Question cracks Benno with a wooden chair, shuts out the lights, and makes a getaway. "You shouldn'a stabbed him inna back. Inna throat is better. Safer," Benno tells the young man.

Sage sits at the KBEL studio going over footage about the McVey Corporation. The elder Angus McVey, the archive footage tells him, turned over the company to his son Farley and retired. Finch interrupts the viewing to fuss at the now-freelance Sage for not sticking to his assigned work. Sage exits from the viewing room and finds himself in the presence of Myra Fermin, whom he describes as running the city. She says her job only involves taking care of her sick husband, and shakes off Sage's attempts to ask her to dinner.

Farley McVey, the young businessman, says his father found out about the terrorist dealings and stopped shipment. But there's one mutually amicable solution for he and Benno: to kill his father, Angus McVey. Junior Musto, lurking outside, hears McVey's idea and decides to take action.

Sage and Tot drive down the road to Feeleyville, as Tot questions Sage on how he handled his hospital visit. Sage says he told the intern who stitched his stab wound that he'd been mugged. The intern advised calling the cops, but then quickly followed up: "Why bother?" Sage "goes inside," for a bit.

Junior Musto arrives at Angus McVey's home with a dire message: "I've come to kill you." McVey takes this statement in stride, inviting his would-be murderer in for tea. He converses with Junior as they drink. As bad as Farley is, Angus says, he's not the worst thing that Angus must take responsibilty for. The 15,000 acre estate where the old man has retired languishes under the constant assault of pollution -- the pollution caused by the McVey Corporation. Angus asks what Junior has to say, and the potential killer with the bandaged face asks, "Why don't you like your son?"

Sage comes out of his trance with the realization that Farley and Benno plan to rub Angus out. They stop at a gas station to ask directions, where the attendant says they're the third people to ask about the McVey farm today: "The first was all wrapped in bandages -- second look like his thumbs was busted...."

The busted thumbs of Benno Musto hold a pair of binoculars, staring in through the windows of the McVey place. He spies the bandaged Junior in the fedora and trenchcoat and mistakes him for the Question. He calls for a rifle and rings out bullets that crack the teacup in Junior's hand. Sage hears the gunshots and orders Tot to call the cops. "Why don't you find them with me?" Tot asks. Sage, already in his featureless costume considers, then says, "No. I've got to know what happened." "As always," replies Tot.

Benno calls for an uzi and orders his two other thugs to fan out. Inside, Angus believes it's Farley himself and Musto promises to shield the elder McVey from his bad son. The Question takes out both thugs as Benno prepares to enter the front door. He riddles the door with bullets from the uzi that sail over the heads of the prone Angus and Musto. Benno kicks in the door, and Junior fires a shut that catches him right in the gut.

Junior walks through the front door and sees who he's shot. "Father?" He kneels, removing his hat. "I guess I fouled up again." He begins to remove the bandages. "But look..." As the layers come off, the grotesque face peeks through. "...What I did." His lips are curled back over gums and teeth. "Not a sissy-boy's face anymore." He removes the final bandage to reveal the horrible face beneath: "Now do you love me?"

Characters

  • Junior Musto
  • Benno Musto
  • Aristotle Rodor
  • Vic Sage / The Question
  • Farley McVey
  • Ian Angus McVey
  • Finch
  • Myra Connelly Fermin
  • Jeremiah Hatch
  • Wesley Fermin
  • Jackie Connelly

Gallery

Trivia / Minutiae

This month's Recommended Reading: The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim

Relevant Links

DC Comics

Denny O'Neil

Denys Cowan

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