Written by Cary Bates & Greg Weisman ° Pencils by Pat Broderick ° Inks by Steve Mitchell ° Colors by Shelley Eiber ° Letterer: Carrie Spiegle ° Editors: Denny O’Neil & Dan Raspler
“The Captain’s Word is Law!”
On the opening splash page, someone is using their super powers to cut out ads seeking mercenaries from Soldier For Hire. Mostly likely our sad sack Nate Adam who only has one skill – killing for the government. And since he quit that gig, business has been bad. There is a nice shout-out to Sergeant Rock on his table, though. Who knew Captain Atom liked comics?
We cut to Nate and Sally leaving a Grateful Dead concert. Nate is schooling her on the hip new lingo the kids are using these days. Who knew Nate was a Deadhead? No surprise that his new sugar mama is, though. Sally is stressed that Nate is taking a mysterious sudden vacation, not telling him where he’s going, and leaving her to run the store herself. Nate, or “Cameron” as she knows him, won’t say a thing about the trip.
Later, Nate meets up with a shady character on a boat calling himself the “ancient mariner.” He presents his team with a slide show of a third-world country in peril. The rebels have tanks and heavy firepower. One of the satellite images reveal a young soldier in peril to be the son of the Mariner. The mission is to find the son, Billy, dead or alive.
The three men he’s hired for this job are Witman Halsy, Dwight Crane, and of course Cameron Scott. They have all been researched by the Mariner and are considered experts. No one is aware that Scott is a super-hero.
Later, suited up and flying over an unnamed Communist country, they are informed that they are just above the spot where the boy was last seen. His name is now Dwayne and not Billy. The three men parachute into the jungle. By dawn, they are on patrol and Nate already doesn’t like Halsy (now spelled Halsey). They find the kid’s jeep, which looks like it was flipped by a landmine. Nate thinks it is eerily familiar…
They gather the body and go back to camp. While waiting the four days for their pickup, they get to know the rebels. They help to train them. They get word of an enemy tank in the area and decide to go on the offensive. Halsey is in command. They take the tank and one prisoner.
Halsey proceeds to torture the prisoner for information. This does not sit well with Nate. He washes off his face but he cannot wash off his guilt. He tries to console himself by thinking that both sides resort to torture to get what they want. And Halsey is successful, but the prisoner is killed in the process.
With Halsey in command, they attack the enemy base at an old abandoned gas station. They end up pinned down behind a truck. They fight back, and Nate is hit by a stray bullet. His wound is pronounced as just a graze, but he is out cold when the gas station goes up and a lone rebel walks out.
When Nate comes to, he discovers that he has been captured by Russian speaking militants who appear to be in cahoots with none other than his old “friend” Plastique.
Nate is disgusted that she is still selling her powers to the highest bidder, but recognizes that he is doing the same thing. However, he assures her that he is Cameron Scott on this mission and not Captain Atom. Bette ain’t buying it. They have a heart-to-heart. in spite of the fact that he is a hero and she is a villain, the last time they met she saved Captain Atom’s life. So there is a small amount of trust between them. Also she knows who he really is.
The two of them activate their power and begin to scrap Nate says he will do whatever he’s in his power to help these people, and Bette says she has a job to do and she wants to get paid. Nate has had it with both sides and decides it is time for him to take charge.
One thing Nate does not know is that there are witnesses to this altercation. a helicopter crew is filming the whole thing. He takes out Plastique, but when he goes after the military equipment it is witnessed by General Eiling. Megala is worried about what this will do to his super secret government project and insists that the military sends someone down to subdue Captain Atom. The General asks who he had in mind. Cut to Amanda Waller (of the Suicide Squad), demanding that Nightshade be sent after Cap.
This was a fine issue. It’s setting up quite the throwdown between Nate’s former girlfriend and his jungle hookup. I like to see where this is going. The artwork is capable, not Pat at his finest but certainly not Pat at his worst. Also I like to see Nate doing military stuff sometimes and not always super-heroing. I give the issue an A.