Credits: Len Wein (writer), Steve Erwin (penciler), Brian Garvey (inker), Bob Lappan (letterer), Steve Mattson (colorist)
Summary: The police spy on Van Horn Industries, suspicious of Gunfire’s connection to the company. Andrew is caught using his powers to destroy his father’s weapons technology. Solomon Perggia, a.k.a. Purge, arrives to steal the weapons, killing all of the police except for Detective Connover, whose life is saved by Gunfire. Soon, Gunfire ambushes Purge and his men on a train that’s carrying more weapons components. When Purge attempts to use his powers on Gunfire, he agitates the molecules of Purge’s armor and sends him exploding into the sky. Gunfire, however, is left on a runaway train.
Irrelevant Continuity: Purge reveals that he’s an Italian mobster who discovered his metagene after getting shot twice in the chest. He has the power to absorb life energy, but unlike a southern X-lady with bad taste in men, Purge’s power devolves his victims into goo. He turned to Gunfire’s father for help, only to discover Gunther Van Horn was mechanically replicating Purge’s power and using it as a weapon. He now wants all of the Van Horn technology based on his biology. So…does the post-post-post-Crisis DC Universe still have “metagenes”?
Review: The Solomon Perggia/Purge storyline continues, as we discover that the elderly mobster from the previous issues not only has super powers, but his own indestructible suit of armor that rivals the one worn by Iron Man…or F.A.C.A.D.E. at least. This is obviously ridiculous, but Wein plays it so straight I’m compelled just to go along with it. Purge is given a fairly convincing death scene this issue, which doesn’t stop the creators from ending the story with yet another cliffhanger, as Gunfire is trapped on a runaway train that’s about to go off the tracks. This is very traditional, old school superheroics. I personally enjoy it, but it still seems an odd fit for a character once described as having “the most ‘90s powers ever.”
The subplots offer the first real glimpse of Gunfire’s love life, and we discover that he is absolutely not Peter Parker. Gunfire’s having casual sex with his chauffeur Monika, which bothers his friend Ben (who’s perhaps better versed in sexual harassment law than Andrew). Yvette’s still in the background, literally, as she hides out in their base and watches the events from a distance, helping out whenever the plot needs her to. Another addition to the supporting cast is made when Detective Connover debuts as an investigator on the Van Horn case. He discovers Gunfire’s secret ID and is rescued from sure death by him within a few pages, quickly setting Connover up as Gunfire’s ally on the police department. Those always come in handy in superhero comics. Again, this is all very traditional stuff (although Gunfire’s relationship with Monika is a little racy for a Code-approved comic of the time). That doesn’t mean it’s bad, but the series does feel somewhat tame for the era.