Synopsis: Issue 2 opens with Salvo and Angie preventing a bank robbery by one “Mr. Mollusk” and an associate. Angie, of course, saw that it was going to happen and had Tony staking out the building. Unfortunately, as Angie’s voiceover narration tells us, she couldn’t intervene because the Mollusk crew had flame throwers, and this is where we discover her fear of fire…foreshadowing revelations later on. As a result of her inability to see what’s happening, a man dies. As soon as they leave the building, though, Tony snaps into action- he shoots out a fire hydrant in front of the fleeing robbers’ van, causing them to divert down a narrow street in the direction of the bank they just left… then he leaps off the building, his momentum halted via a series of flagpoles which Angie causes to appear beneath him. It’s also implied that she’s controlling the wind currents, and by extension controlling Tony’s downward momentum. As he closes in on the van, he shoots a circle of bullet holes in the roof and crashes through, causing them to drive into the side of the bank, where he shoots the trigger finger off the flamethrower guy, and turns them over to the police.
We are then introduced to their sightless mother- Marietta Salvotini, who, despite her handicap, owns and operates an Italian restaurant called “Home”. Mom is still unaware of what has happened to her daughter. When she and Tony decide to visit her, Angie uses her abilities to merge with Tony and reshapes his face to look like hers, which deceives their mother. Thinking she’s feeding two “thin children”, she serves up a double portion of pasta, which causes Tony no end of discomfort.
Meanwhile, at the Trinity Building, we check back in with Dan Grove as he horses around with Crackerjack, and in the scuffle they wake up Edward and Angie’s infant son, Scotty. Resigned to going in to change the crying child, they are interrupted by Scotty’s nanny, introduced as Molly Lusk- who Dan immediately recognizes from the fateful night when his brother was killed- she is actually Scabbard’s mate Malocchia! When he confronts her, she hypnotizes him into thinking that they’ve never met.
Back at “Home”, Tony, stuffed and miserable, says goodbye and goes outside to keep watch on his mother…seems Angie has foreseen some kind of trouble involving her. Janet (White Satin) Valentine joins him. It’s here that Tony reveals the events that led to his mother’s blinding and his father’s death due to a house fire when he and his sister were children.
The scene shifts back to the Trinty, as Dan and Edward have a question-and-answer session in which Angie’s husband reveals how the two came to be merged due to a lab experiment with alien DNA that went awry…Ed serving as body, and Angie as soul. The two can now never be in the same place at the same time. Finally, back at “Home”, Salvo hears a noise coming from a manhole cover in the street. As he bends over to get a closer look, the cover suddenly flies up and strikes him, rendering him unconscious. Scabbard then emerges, and the last panel shows the neon “Home” sign reflected on his face.
Comments: Lots of comic book physics in this issue, to be sure…I can buy Salvo’s rooftop plunge simply because Angie has the power to affect wind currents, but the whole “creation of flagpole-like projections out of the side of the building” thing gave me pause. It had been established that Angie could merge with organic material like Tony, but we had not been shown that she could also merge with inanimate objects or materials, so while I suppose it’s not exactly playing fair with the reader, this ability is portrayed consistently in future issues so it gets a pass as well. Also, there’s the whole nature of the experiment which Ed conducts with his colleague Moses Lusk (notice a theme here?)…he’s discovered a “rogue cell” in some alien DNA (where this alien originated from is one of many unsolved Thriller mysteries, and alas I never thought to ask RLF) which he hopes to use to cure cancer (depressing that 50 years in the future cancer is still undefeated). It’s not really clear how and why the resulting conflagration, explosion and merger takes place…but we are talking alien DNA 50 years from now, so who knows. We’re supposed to just roll with it , I guess.
Speaking of Lusk, he gets at least one cameo in this issue (I’m not sure that the cocky bank robber in the opening scene wasn’t he), first of several mentions in subsequent issues…Bill DuBay went on to establish him as the prime motivator in the whole scheme of all things Thriller, but if memory serves, RLF told me that while he did have a bigger role in mind for the character down the road, DuBay took him in a different direction than he intended, so as far as I’m concerned Lusk will an enigma remain.
Another first- the romance between Satin and Salvo. It was hinted at in #1, rather obliquely, but here it’s made plain. There were complications later, as we’ll see, but this relationship was an integral part of the Thriller mosaic.
There’s an attempt to parallel the Salvotini house fire and the lab accident that resulted in Ed and Angie’s merger…but it wasn’t made particularly clear, was inferred more than anything- par for the Thriller course. I think the colorist may have to share some blame, but the sequence as presented was pretty difficult to do by 1983’s standards, I’ll bet. This did help to establish why Angie’s so averse to fire; her fear is rooted in this traumatic event, which cost the Salvotini kids their circus acrobat father (this is where Tony picked up many of his high-wire-like stunt abilities). Salvo’s poignant revelation at the end was a complete surprise to me, and was one of the many signals (another- the amusing, if discomforting- imagine being forced to eat multiple plates of ziti!- diner scene early on) that here were characters that behaved like family and friends in a naturalistic manner, as opposed to typical comic book style.
Not so good, though, was the scene at the end of the big bank robbery…a police officer comes up to thank Tony for stopping the thieves, and Salvo responds by curtly smarting off to him. Perhaps this was intended to demonstrate his distrust of authority figures (to be discussed more later on), or maybe it was meant to make him seem badass…but here he comes across as a real jerk, unfortunately. Fleming went on to atone for this; his first post-Thriller series was the 1985 Ernie Colon-illustrated NYPD Blue-style miniseries Underworld.
We also meet bank teller Marjorie Collins. She will soon embark on a difficult career path.
Script: Robert Loren Fleming
Art: Trevor Von Eeden
Color- Tom Ziuko
Lettering- Phil Felix
Editor- Dick Giordano