#22, September 1996
Sand and Stars: Part Three
Wesley calls Gayle after Jack doesn't report back. Gayle denies seeing any superheroes at his place. Wesley then asks for and recieves two passes to see the test of the airship, which is that very afternoon. The two go to Gayle's compound, Dian keeping Gayle busy while Wesley puts on his costume and searches the building for Jack. While Wesley is gone, Dian is introduced to the airship pilot; a man named Daniel Croft... who looks a LOT like Croft, the man killed at the junkyard by two masked men...
Wesley enters the building in full Sandman regalia. He wanders by Gayle's office and overhears a conversation between Gayle and "Croft". Gayle comments that he is disappointed in Wesley and that he wishes there had been more of a contest. Still, he contents himself that Wesley will die "never knowing that it was me". He then hears "Gayle" say that he plans to bring the airship down on the heads of the press and public there at the launch. Wesley searches the building again, finding Jack tied up and under the gaze of the tech-suit wearing guards.
As Wesley prepares himself for a fight, he recalls the case he dreamt of the night before. Ted called Wesley and told him he was coming to New York for a few days following a case. He said he would call Wes once he was in town, but no calls ever came. Wesley then called the police in Opal, who told him that Starman had gone after someone who hired The Gambler to steal a statue in Opal.
Wesley tracked down this someone and they told him where Gambler could be found. Shooting his gas into the room, Wesley quickly frees Ted before being grabbed by The Gambler himself and held at knifepoint. The Gambler threatens to kill Wesley and starts to back away. Without hesitating, Ted uses his rod to blow up the statue. This distracts Gambler long enough that Wesley can break free and knock him out. Ted reveals that the statue Gambler had was a fake and that the man he was recovering the statue for paid Gambler to steal the fake while he had the real thing hidden. That way, he'd keep the real art while making a tidy sum on the insurance of the statue. But even so, Ted says that even if it were the real thing he would have destroyed the statue to save Wesley. Inspired by the remembrance of his courage, Wesley moves to rescue Jack as the issue ends.