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Starman #23



Starman #23 Writer: James Robinson
Pencils: Tony Harris
Inks: Wade Von Grawbadger
Letters: Okaley/N.J.Q.
Colors: Kevin Somers
Assistant Editor: Chuck Kim
Editor: Archie Goodwin

#23, October 1996
Sand and Stars: Part Four

Wesley challenges the two armed guards directly. The two guards are shocked long enough for a handcuffed Jack to jump one of them. Jack fights the two guards, getting one to shoot the other with his tazer and overheating the armor of the other with his rod. After Jack and Wesley save the guards from the about-to-explode armor, Jack tells Wesley that he overheard "Croft" and "Gayle" talking and that he knows they are impostors. The man impersonating Gayle is about Wesley's age and knew him as an enemy. The man impersonating Croft is the protégé of the older man. Jack also knows that something important is in room 4-J. After a quick negotiation with the guards outside the room (wherein Jack does a too convincing James Cagney impression) they find the real Warren Gayle, tied up.

A last second escape!

The two heroes emerge from the compound, only to find that the airship has already taken off. Jack takes to the air to stop the Croft impersonator from crashing the blimp, taking a bullet as he approaches. After saving the captive crew and getting them off the plane, Jack makes a direct attack on "Croft", crashing through the viewscreen of the airship cockpit. The two struggle, with Jack pulling the mask off of Croft, revealing him to be hideously scarred underneath. The airship crashes seconds later, Jack barely flying out before a massive fireball engulfs it.

Discussing the case later, Wesley says that he found out the the Gayle impersonator was an old enemy of his: a master of disguise called The Face and the younger one, his student, called Nobody. They were hired by an investor in Gayle's company whose investment was insured; enough that they stood to make more money if the airship crashed than if it flew. The real Croft, whose body was found in a junkyard that morning, had gambling debts and offered to sell the technical specs of the ship to the two assassins so they could find a way to put a bomb on the ship and make it look like part of an accident. Hiring Turner to embezzle the money and the murder of John Blaine were just ruses to draw attention away from the crash. The case solved, Jack is finally able to ask Wesley about The Mist's Medal, which we see resting on a shelf as the story ends.

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