The Trail of the Dragon!
Credits: Len Wein (writer), Chris Wozniak (artist), Lois Buhalis & Clem Robins (letterers), Martin Thomas (colorist)
Summary: Ragnarok sends a holographic projection of himself to Lacey’s hospital room, explaining that he’s ordered her death because she’s interfered in his affairs. She begs for her life and is given another chance. Meanwhile, Benjamin’s brother Billy drugs him and leaves him in an alley. He’s discovered by the mob that’s been pursuing Billy. They mistakenly kidnap Benjamin, forcing Gunfire to rescue his friend. During the battle, Gunfire is drugged by a mobster and hallucinates a giant dragon. The criminals get away, but Gunfire picks up a Hong Kong Airlines ticket they’ve left behind.
Review: A fill-in issue by Chris Wozniak of Excalibur, uh, fame? I was expecting this to out-Benes Benes to an insane degree, but instead I discover that Wozniak had reinvented his style pretty dramatically by 1994. Instead of ridiculously disproportionate muscle bound freaks, missing pupils, giant hair, creepy smiles, and all-around bad cartooning, this issue brings us a gritty Janson/ Sienkiewicz impersonation. There’s even a bit of the old Marc Silvestri/Kyle Baker style in here. And it isn’t bad at all, even if the anatomy is occasionally ridiculous. Wozniak turns out to be a perfect fit for this issue, illustrating the story’s drug hallucinations with great style, and adding much-needed visual flair to a few dull subplot scenes (such as the two pages spent on Gemini discussing a damaged computer disc they swiped from Ragnarok’s base). The storylines still aren’t offering any great surprises, but Wein’s picked up the pace from the previous issue, and he’s even having a few of the characters acknowledge just how absurd some of these plots are. I’m interested to see what happens next, which is a feeling I haven’t felt since the #0 issue derailed the book.