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Henry Yarrow: After forty years in the arms game, Kid, let me offer you a little tip… quality trumps quantity… unless you’re talking explosives.
Synopsis "Hot Case"
Classified: General W. Eiling Eyes Only
(cont. ) As previous reported the Justice League’s proteges are conducting an investigation into the 1968 murder conviction of Nathaniel Adams. They have so far heard from Henry Yarrow, Adams’ defence counsel, that he was investigating a Vietnam smuggling ring organised by General Clement Lemar. Yarrow alleged that Lemar tried to silence the investigation by arranging an ambush designed to kill Adams and himself. They survived, but Adams blacked out whilst confronting Lemar and awoke to find him dead. With no evidence to prove his innocence you sentenced Adams to imprisonment, but he died a year later.
The sidekicks’ investigations have born fruit as they have discovered a 1960s era photograph of the conspirators against Captain Adams. Those conspirators are now seeking to conceal their tracks. A “samurai” like assassin called Rako, just a boy when the photograph was taken, has begun killing the other surviving members of the group in the photograph. His second mark was Trang, a North Vietnamese General now living in the USA. The sidekicks attempted to defend Trang from Rako, but were unsuccessful. The teens were later observed to have retreated to “Bibbos” diner in Metropolis where they appear to identify the remaining members of the smuggling ring.
The next fatal attack appeared to be against Yarrow, but it was a ruse designed to draw the teens into an ambush. Nevertheless they were able to capture Rako and former CIA Alec Rois. Yarrow, the apparent leader of the smugglers, having faked his own death once, was killed by a ricochet from his own gun. We believe that Yarrow’s death marked the conclusion of the sidekick’s investigation and that they subsequently reported back to their superiors in the Justice League.
Case file ends.
General Eiling’s comments: Captain Atom — Captain Nathaniel Adams as he was originally known, a detail he may not have revealed to the children — confirmed to me that he had instigated the investigation and that the sidekicks have extracted a psychic death-bed confession from Yarrow. There was not enough evidence for me to reopen the court-marshal, but Atom/Adams seems pleased to be able to prove his innocence to his children. Neither Adams or the sidekicks suspect that I was the person who took that damn photograph (thus being the only person in the ring who wasn’t actually in it). A stroke of luck, as I can now show my heart-felt regret at finding him guilty all those years ago. Captain Atom is now my new best friend and should serve me well in the days ahead.
- This issue takes place during the 14th of August with a coda on the 15th.
- Captain Atom is Captain Nathaniel Adams, a USAF intelligence officer who was framed for a crime he did not commit. He was sentenced to prison in 1968 and his death was faked a year later. His imprisonment and aquittal was manipulated by General Wade Eiling (the as yet unrevealed leader of the real smuggling ring).
The conclusion into the murder conviction of Captain Atom, aka Nate Adams, reveals the conspiracy ranged against him and exonerates him of any wrong doing. It a great end to one of the strongest two-parters yet in this series. I particularly liked the trick of keeping Captain Atom’s secret identity a secret until the very end of the story – after all this is Young Justice’s investigation not his.
When Captain Atom first appeared at DC Comics these Vietnam-era events were only twenty years in the past, but an additional twenty-years has passed since then. I don’t know what the retirement age is for three-star generals, but whatever it is Wade Eiling must be pretty close to it. The smuggling ring plotline stands up rather well in this two-part adaptation to the Young Justice universe. There are a couple of minor plot hole – Rois’ appearance isn’t pre-figured like the others in Yarrow and Eiling’s recollections – and the visit to Polk by the girls happens “off-screen”. But, I guess you can’t expect everything when there is just so much already included in this story.
I love the expression on Randy’s face when Artemis and Aqualad tell him that his father was actually innocent – he’s trying to keep a straight face, but he really doesn’t understand what’s going on. He’s so deep into Eiling’s mythology that he can’t quite bring himself to believe what he’s hearing.
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Cover. This issue’s cover is a homage to the first appearance of the Rako (the Cambodian) in Captain Atom (vol. 1) #7. The basic composition is the same with Rako slicing the hero, but Superboy is substituted for Captain Atom and the rest of the Team are added in the background. Chris Jones discusses the making of this cover on his blog.
Page 1. This scene, which continues from last issue, is a recreation of a murder from Captain Atom (vol. 1) #26 (Feb 1989).
Page 5. Bibbo is a supporting character from the Superman comics who is broadly based on the character of Pop Eye. The Earth-16 Bibbo and his diner first appeared in “Infiltrator” as the location where Bruce Wayne and Clark Kent meed to discuss Superman’s treatment of Superboy. The man sat at the counter holding the Daily Planet looks like a bit like Perry White.
Page 6. This photograph was discovered by the team last issue. The only character not shown so far is the CIA agent Alec Rois. In the original Captain Atom comic the character of Rois had a costumed alter ego called the Ghost. He originally worked with/for Wade Eiling and supported Eiling plans for a military coup against the US government. However, Eiling own plans changed over the years and he and Rois found themselves at odds as Rois descended into madness as the head of the Ghost cult. Rois was left alive, ghost-like, by the same energy field that powered Captain Atom. The Captain and his allies finally managed to sever that link and end Rois’s life in Captain Atom (vol. 1) #50 (Feb 1991), the last issue written by Cary Bates and Greg Weisman.
Page 7. The picture on Aqualad’s smart phone is of Tula, his female friend from Atlantis. As revealed in “Downtime”, which is set two-weeks after this issue, Aqualad was thinking of returning to Atlantis to be with her.
Page 9. Henry Yarrow’s tattoo was established last issue where he was shown wearing a short-sleeved shirt.
Page 10. Artemis refers to Rois as “this ghost” as a tip of the hat to the characters regular DCU alter ego.
Page 12. Yarrow makes reference to the x-ioniser. This was a device shown in Captain Atom (vol. 1) #7 (Sept 1987) which would miraculous sharpen blades to an almost unbelievable degree. Captain Atom first met Rako when trying to recover the device.
Page 15. The original Yarrow dies in Captain Atom (vol. 2) #28 (April 1989), shot in the head by Wade Eiling. It appears that Eiling is saving Captain Atom, but he’s actually just eliminating his pawn.