Chase #2 (1998)

Chase #2 (March, 1998)
Co-Plot/Script – D. Curtis Johnson
Co-Plot/Pencils – J.H. Williams III
Inks – Mick Gray
Colors/Separations – Lee Loughridge
Lettering – Comicraft
Associate Editor – Dana Kurtin
Editor – Eddie Berganza
Cover Price: $2.50

No real preamble today… just taking a brief detour from our #Action100 endeavor to continue chasing Chase!

We open outside of a pyramid near the Peruvian/Bolivian border… inside sorta-kinda Giger-esque robots speak to one another in broken English, code, and binary.  Before they can activate… something (I think), the JLA arrives to take care of bidness.

We shift to Cameron Chase’s apartment… and we can see that her boyfriend Peter has arrived.  He’s crashed out on the couch… and she decides against waking him before leaving on a D.E.O. trip to South America… which, we might assume has something to do with that pyramid/temple… because it totally does.

At the office, Chase is assured that this trip is “hers”… as in, she’s running the show.  It appears as though the elusive “Director” has been impressed with her work so far.  Cam and Sandy enter the briefing room where they are… well, briefed… by Amanda Waller.  The Wall fills them in on the goings-on by the Peru/Bolivia border.

Chase flashes back to an argument she had with Peter a day or two prior.  He’s not terribly pleased that she’s working for the Department… and even less pleased that her next assignment will be in South America.  He badgers her about the identity and motivations of this “Director” that speaks so highly of her… and she assures him everything is on the up and up.

Back in the “present”, the Wall is still laying out the assignment.  Cameron is tasked with… clean-up, basically.  Taking out every piece of hardware in the pyramid/temple before members of the Shining Path Tribe start salvaging… and she’s not going to be doing so alone.  It’s time to meet our new Suicide Squad.

Sixteen hours later, Chase and the Squad are hovering in the air above the jungles in a chopper.  While the Squaddies try to make Cam feel as uncomfortable as possible, her mind begins to wander again… back to her argument with Peter.  This time the subject is Chase’s nebulous metahuman “talent”.  Things get heated, as a) she doesn’t understand it herself, and b) there are laws in place for those with the “talent” (there are?)… and so, she needs this to remain a secret.

The helicopter lands… and the team is greeted by a young local named Paolo.  Well, actually Copperhead attacks and threatens to eat him… but, he assures the gang that he is their guide.

And so, he guides them… for several interesting hours.  This is a really fun page… it even has Bolt trying to get the “real news” on Roswell from Cam… she tells him that it was just a crashed Dominator craft, but he’s sure that’s just the “cover story”.  I mean, what?  Isn’t a Dominator craft bad enough?  Very funny stuff in the context of a fantastical world.

The crew is frightened by the sound of movement… but it’s just a rat, that Copperhead is more than happy to eat.  Chase’s mind wanders one more time… the argument continues, and now they’re talking about Peter not having (or being interested in) a job.  Cam insists that she’ll drop a resume at the Department’s Computer Ops… but he ain’t down with working alongside freaks.

In the present, the Squad arrives at an overlook.  Down below, the Shining Path confer.  Paolo is able to listen in, and translates what they’re saying.  It would seem they already know about the Temple… but also, that there are already people at the Temple!  People in armor, even!

The Suicide Squad kinda shrugs it off… and says if they can’t complete their original mission, then they ought to move to Plan B… which involves escaping… and maybe, just maybe killing Cameron Chase.

Chase is all “b-b-but your collars”, to which Bolt shows her a “jammer” he whipped up to solve that problem.  Sledge appears to be the only member of the Squad who doesn’t want to kill Chase. Copperhead, Bolt, and Killer Frost seem to be all about it.

Copperhead lunges toward Cam… sending them both off the edge of the overlook.  The both manage to hang on… and Paolo begins to pull Chase back up.  Copperhead insists that Paolo let Chase fall… otherwise he’ll just kill her with venom.  Cam tells Paolo to do what the snake-man says… and just let her fall.

And so… he does!

Another really good issue of Chase.  I mean, we’ve covered just about one-third of the entire series here… and haven’t been let down yet!  That’s a pretty good sign, right?

I really dig the way this story is being kinda “weaved” together.  We’re getting story threads via flashback which really lend flavor to what is going on in “the present”.  Chase letting her mind wander and not being completely focused on the mission at hand is a very human way to be.

The flashback-argument scenes that her mind was wandering to were also incredibly well done.  Johnson has done a terrific job merging real-world bones of contention into the unreal-DC Universe.  The argument(s) felt incredibly real… and while we only saw a brief snapshot… it was more than enough to understand both sides.

Speaking of “real”, I thought the page illustrating the several-hour jungle trek was pretty great.  Just odd conversation… Bolt asking if anyone minds if he sings… that was pretty funny.  The Roswell “cover-up” chat… also really good.

This new Suicide Squad… well, I suppose it could’ve been worse (though, I think that was kind of the point).  I really want someone to punch Copperhead in the face, that’s for sure.  I dig that Sledge is kind of conflicted… he seems a-okay with escaping, but doesn’t see any point in killing Cam.  Gotta wonder if he’ll play a more heroic role down the line.

Overall… one heckuva package here, words and art alike… all top-notch!  A series definitely worth your time!

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